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Wildlife Management Area: General Rules & Regulations

These lands are held in trust by the Department to conserve habitat for wildlife. The goal of the Wildlife Management Area system is to: Maintain and enhance habitats that support game and nongame wildlife while providing opportunities to hunt, fish, trap, and view wildlife. Other uses of WMAs may be allowed by written authorization of the Director, as long as they do not interfere with the goals and uses of WMAs.

NOTE: Not all activities listed below are available on each WMA; check our website at for specific WMA information.

Access Permit

  • Any person 17 years of age or older accessing a DWR Wildlife Management Area or Fishing Lake must have in possession one of the following valid Virginia licenses/permits: freshwater fishing license, hunting license, trapping license, boat registration, or DWR Access Permit.


  • Primitive camping is permitted for up to 21 consecutive days when occupants are engaged in authorized activities. No more than 3 camping units are permitted per site.
  • Camping is prohibited on or within 100 yards of any boat ramp, fishing lake, or at other specific sites as posted.
  • It is unlawful to leave a campfire unattended. From February 15 to April 30 campfires are allowed only between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and midnight.

Cave Access

  • All caves are closed to access without written authorization from the Department.

Disabled Hunter Access

  • Trails are open to manual and power wheelchairs and personal mobility assistive scooters (for indoor/outdoor use) designed primarily to assist people with disabilities. Individuals are encouraged to use caution when selecting trails, as many were designed for foot traffic only. Terrain may make them unsuitable for personal mobility devices.
  • Electric vehicles up to 54 inches in width are permitted only on designated trails.


  • It is lawful to chase with dogs or train dogs on Department-owned lands only during authorized hunting, chase, or training seasons that specifically permit these activities.
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times outside of open hunting, chase, or training seasons.


  • It is unlawful to have in possession a firearm or any hunting weapon that is not unloaded and cased or dismantled:
    • While on Department-owned lands statewide, except during the period when it is lawful to take bear, deer, grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, turkey, waterfowl or migratory game birds on these lands.
    • Except when possessing a permit issued by the Department.
    • Except when possessing a handgun and a valid concealed carry permit issued by a Circuit Court.
  • It is unlawful to possess or transport any loaded firearm or loaded hunting weapon in or on any vehicle at any time on Department-owned lands statewide. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders on Legal Use of Firearms & Archery Tackle.)
  • Target shooting is permitted only on designated ranges.

Fishing, Boating, & Swimming

  • Refer to the current Freshwater Fishing & Boating in Virginia guide and posted signs for special fishing rules which apply to this WMA.
  • It is unlawful to use boats propelled by a gasoline motor, sail, or mechanically operated recreational paddle wheel unless otherwise posted.
  • Swimming is prohibited unless otherwise posted. Anglers, hunters, and trappers actively engaged in fishing, hunting, or trapping may wade in public waters.
  • Only rod and reel angling is permitted. All other methods of take (trotlines, juglines, limblines, etc.) are prohibited.


  • Activities involving groups of more than 12 persons require written authorization from the Department.
  • Display or consumption of alcoholic beverages in public is prohibited.
  • Commercial activities are prohibited except by written authorization from the Department.

Horseback/Bicycle Riding & Hiking

  • Horseback and bicycle riding only on roads and trails designated for these uses. No riding in cultivated or planted fields, or on eroded areas.
  • Hiking is welcome.
  • Riders, cyclists, and hikers should be mindful of all open hunting and trapping seasons. Please avoid engaging in these activities when they may interfere with hunters, anglers, and wildlife watchers.
  • A blaze colored hat or clothing is recommended for non-hunters during hunting seasons.

Resource & Property Damage

  • It is unlawful to construct or occupy any permanent structure (including a permanently-affixed tree stand) except by Department permit.
  • It is unlawful to cut, mutilate, destroy, or remove vegetation or to remove other minerals, artifacts or other property from this area. Metal detecting/artifact hunting is prohibited.
  • Berry picking and gathering of mushrooms or other fruits is allowed.
  • It is unlawful to damage, deface, or remove any building, gate, fence, sign or other property.
  • No posting of unauthorized signs, notices, and flyers anywhere on the WMA.


  • Motor vehicles are prohibited behind barricades or gates designed to prevent entry or within areas otherwise posted to prohibit motor vehicles.
  • Operation of ATVs and other unlicensed motor vehicles is prohibited.
  • Cross-country motor vehicle travel is prohibited.
  • Motor vehicles, campers, and trailers may be parked on Department-owned lands only when the owners/responsible party are engaged in authorized activities.
  • It shall be unlawful to use a drone or other unmanned aircraft on department-owned lands.

For more information on the Department’s Wildlife Management Area System: