Wildlife Management Areas
The following are prohibited: alcoholic beverages, camping, geocaching, cutting or damaging vegetation, removing timber or firewood, dumping, fires, metal detecting, swimming, picnicking, airsoft or paintball gunning, and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles known as drones.
Wildlife management area (WMA) regulation violations carry penalties of not less than $50 nor more than $1,500. A second violation of any WMA regulation will result in a five-year loss of all sporting licenses and privileges.
For special WMA permits that allow for activities otherwise prohibited on WMAs, write to NJDEP Fish and Wildlife, MC 501-03, P.O. Box 420, Trenton, NJ 08625-0420, or dep.nj.gov/njfw/wildlife/wildlife-management-area-regulations/.
Fish and Wildlife may revoke any permit (or other authorization) for violation or due cause.
Boat Ramp Maintenance Permit
Any vehicle used to transport or launch a vessel or water conveyance on the following WMAs must have affixed to the lower corner of the driver’s side rear window a Boat Ramp Maintenance Permit (for the waterbodies listed below), or a photocopy of a valid hunting, fishing or trapping license with your Conservation ID number clearly displayed. For privacy, all other personal information may be blacked out. Boat ramp maintenance permit fee: $15 at license agents or at Fish and Wildlife’s Internet sales site. More information at: dep.nj.gov/njfw/wildlife/wildlife-management-area-regulations/.
Persons 70 years and older do not need a boat ramp maintenance permit or a license but must affix to their window proof of age such as a former license displaying the date of birth.
- Round Valley Angler Access
- Dennis Creek
- Mad Horse Creek
- Union Lake
- Menantico Ponds
- Prospertown Lake
A person may exercise or train dogs only in designated dog training areas from May 1 to Aug. 31, inclusive, and only on the following select WMAs:
- Black River
- Colliers Mills
- Stafford Forge
All dogs must be properly licensed. Dogs may be exercised or trained on any WMA from Sept. 1 to April 30.
Any person releasing partridge or pheasant for dog training must have a game bird receipt in their possession. Additional regulations involving the use of pigeons, the use of firearms, frozen game birds, the use of call-back pens and the release of fox, raccoon, rabbit and hare apply. For maps showing dog training areas on these select WMAs, go to dep.nj.gov/njfw/hunting/dog-training-exercising-hunting-on-wildlife-management-areas/. For more information call (609) 984-0547.
A permit to conduct a field trial on a wildlife management area may be obtained by contacting Fish and Wildlife at (609) 259-2132 or dep.nj.gov/njfw/conservation/wildlife-management-area-permits/.
Higbee Beach WMA is closed to hunting from Sept. 1 until 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 12, 2022.
Horseback riding is allowed on designated WMAs only by permit from the NJ Fish and Wildlife online at NJFishandWildlife.com/licensesalessite.htm. Horseback riding permits should be displayed on outer clothing while riding. For more information on horseback riding group permits, call (609) 259-2132.
Firearm hunting on wildlife management areas on the day prior to the opening of the regular small game season for pheasants and quail is allowed.
The quail season is closed statewide with the exception of the Peaslee and Greenwood WMAs. See Areas Open to Quail Hunting section in Upland Game Birds.
It is legal to use a .22 caliber rifle and .22 caliber rimfire short cartridges for hunting raccoon and opossum and for dispatching trapped animals other than muskrat on WMAs.
For coyote and fox hunting: the use of .177 and .22 caliber rimfire or .177 through .25 caliber centerfire rifle ammo is allowed on WMAs. See Small Game ammo table in Small Game Hunting for additional restrictions.
Rifles, including muzzleloading rifles, are not allowed for hunting woodchucks on WMAs.
Motor Vehicles and Other Forms of Conveyance
No person shall operate an unregistered vehicle on any WMA. All motor vehicles are restricted to established public roads and parking areas.
All motor boats must be properly registered and have all the required safety equipment. (See Outboard Motors, below.)
The use of dog sleds, dog carts, off road vehicles, ATVs, trail bikes or snowmobiles is prohibited on all WMAs unless authorized by Fish and Wildlife. E-bikes are allowed up to 750 watts. For mountain bike and paddleboard regulations, visit dep.nj.gov/njfw/conservation/wildlife-management-area-permits/.
Only electric motors are allowed on freshwater lakes and ponds on WMAs with the exception of Union Lake where an outboard motor, not exceeding 9.9 hp, may be used. On Prospertown Lake, only manually operated boats and canoes are allowed.
All titled boats must also be registered. Any boat mechanically propelled, regardless of length, must be registered. All boats greater than 12 feet, regardless of propulsion means, must be titled and registered. A boat license and New Jersey boat safety certificate are required to operate a power vessel on non-tidal waters of New Jersey. A boat license is not required for non-powered vessels.
Wildlife management areas are closed from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. unless engaged in lawful hunting, fishing or trapping activities. Special permission may be granted for Fish and Wildlife-approved activities.
Only archery, shotgun, muzzleloading shotgun, muzzleloading rifle, .177 and .22 caliber rimfire rifle shooting is allowed in designated hunter training ranges according to regulations posted at the training area. See WMA Shooting Ranges.
WMA ranges types, statewide:
- Shotgun Range: for use with clay birds and patterning of fine shot;
- Archery Range: approved backstops at select ranges, no broadheads allowed unless a user brings their own target;
- Muzzleloader Rifle Range: for sighting in with shotgun slugs or buckshot, .177 or .22 caliber rimfire rifles, air guns and muzzleloaders; no other firearms allowed.
- Centerfire Rifle Range: See WMA Shooting Ranges for ranges and requirements to sight in with shotgun slugs or buckshot, .177 or .22 caliber rimfire and air guns, muzzleloader and centerfire rifles up to and including .30 caliber. No other firearms allowed.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or Drones
The use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone is prohibited on WMAs. A UAV is computer-controlled for nearly their entire flight either autonomously or remote-controlled by a pilot and has the capacity for autonomous flight and navigation. See Drones section in General Hunting Regulations for additional regulations.
All waterfowl hunting blinds, except for those blinds constructed by Fish and Wildlife for agency-sanctioned waterfowl hunting program, on state WMAs, including those constructed by a hunter, shall be available for public use on a first-come, first-served basis. No permanent waterfowl blinds, including pit blinds, shall be constructed, hunted from or used in any manner on any of the following WMAs:
- Black River
- Colliers Mills
- Stafford Forge
- Beaver Swamp
- Sedge Island
- Salem River
Any blind used in these WMAs must be portable and shall be completely removed at the day's end. Blinds remaining in WMAs are subject to confiscation and disposal by Fish and Wildlife.