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Introducing the Robert W. Duncan WMA & Mattaponi Bluffs WMA

DGIF has acquired over 1300 acres in Caroline County. The newly acquired Robert W. Duncan (RWD) Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and the Mattaponi Bluffs Wildlife Management Area officially opened to the public on April 11, 2019.

The RWD is nestled in the northeast corner of Caroline County, in the Upper Coastal Plain and located between Frog Level and Aylett. The land is a contiguous tract of flat to gently rolling land, with a few steep and adjacent to the Mattaponi River. Mattaponi Bluffs is located in the north-central portion of Caroline County, in the Upper Coastal Plain and located between Athens and Penola. The land is a contiguous tract of steep bluffs and wetlands, somewhat typical of the surrounding topography adjacent to the Mattaponi River.

The WMAs feature a diverse set of plant communities and habitats, and are excellent locations to pursue wildlife and angling activities.

Robert W. Duncan WMA

The RWD WMA is 1300 plus acres and conserves important upper coastal plain wildlife habitat, providing quality wildlife-related recreation. Forests range from mature and mixed upland hardwoods to managed pine stands, as well as wetland and bottomland forests. The property borders the Mattaponi River for approximately 3 miles.

Wildlife enthusiasts will find exciting viewing opportunities on the RWD WMA, especially along the 3 miles of Mattaponi river frontage. Bald Eagles, Osprey and Blue Herons are common and the diverse forests provide critical habitats for many migratory warblers. Interior wetland habitats provide opportunities for viewing wading birds and amphibians.

The diverse forests and open lands of the RWD WMA provide abundant habitat for all of game species found in central Virginia. Deer, turkey and squirrel populations are thriving and in recent years, black bears have become more common in the area. An oxbow wetlands complex of the Mattaponi River provides opportunities for duck hunting; woodcock are also common in the bottomlands and wetter forested sites.

Mattaponi Bluffs WMA

The Mattaponi Bluffs WMA is 470 acres and conserves important upper coastal plain wildlife habitat, providing quality wildlife-related recreation. Forests are predominantly mixed upland hardwoods with some wetland and bottomland forests as well. The property borders the Mattaponi River for approximately 1.5 miles.

The Mattaponi River supports a good fishery throughout much of its length, including the section of river adjacent to the RWD WMA. Bluegill and redbreast sunfish, chain pickerel, bowfin, and brown bullheads are common as well as smaller-sized largemouth bass. The spring run of white and yellow perch can make for exciting ultra-light fishing.

The RWD WMA property was purchased from the Neale Family and Mattaponi Bluffs was purchased from Banbury Farm II, LLC. Partnerships with the Fish and Wildlife Service, members of the Neale family, Hopkins family, founders of Green Top Sporting Goods, and hunters and anglers made this possible.

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  • April 25th, 2019

Ware Creek WMA

Newly-opened Ware Creek WMA is 2600 acres in New Kent County, in the community of Barhamsville. Located on the York River and bounded by Philbates and Ware Creeks, this area offers extensive wetlands, as well mixed hardwood and pine forests and open fields.

Ware Creek WMA

The uplands of Ware Creek WMA are comprised primarily of variously aged mixed pine and hardwood forests with some pine plantation. Agricultural fields offer upland habitat variety along with small wildlife clearings. Wetlands include rich saltmarshes as well as tidal freshwater marshes and small interior ponds and beaver wetlands. Excellent opportunities exist for a variety of upland game, especially deer and wild turkey as well as small game. Terrapin Point Marsh on the York River, along with the marshes of Ware and Philbates Creeks offer good waterfowl and rail hunting opportunities.

Fishing opportunities here are primarily found in adjacent York River as well as the brackish Ware and Philbates Creeks. The best access to these areas is by boat. Additional fishing opportunities on the WMA will be developed.

Paddling and boating opportunities exist on the York River and Ware and Philbates Creeks. Launching facilities are available at nearby York River State Park for a fee and at the DGIF ramp located in West Point. Excellent wildlife viewing opportunities exist at Ware Creek WMA. Waterfowl, marsh birds songbirds and raptors like bald eagle and osprey can be found here along with reptiles like diamondback terrapin, eastern box turtle, and eastern rat snake.

Ware Creek WMA

The strategies for wildlife management at this WMA are still under consideration. DGIF welcomes public input and comment as to the management of wildlife and habitat, as well as wildlife-related recreational opportunities, at Ware Creek WMA. A public input meeting will be held at the Heritage Library (6215 Chesapeake Circle Ste. D New Kent, VA 23124) in New Kent County on July 19th from 5:30–8:00 PM. Department staff will gather input into all aspects of wildlife-related recreation and management. This meeting and other venues of public input will help to inform management strategies at Ware Creek WMA moving forward.

Directions to Ware Creek WMA

From Richmond and Points West: From I-64 East take Exit 227 VA-30 Toano/Williamsburg. Turn Left onto Old Stage Rd (VA-30). After 1.5 miles turn right onto Holly Forks Rd. After 0.9 miles Holly Forks Rd becomes Tabernacle Rd. Continue on Tabernacle Rd for 1.9 miles and turn left onto Triangle Rd. After 0.5 miles turn right onto Holly Fork Rd and proceed 0.3 miles to Millers Rd. Turn left on Millers Rd and continue 0.4 miles to the management area.

From Newport News and Points South: From I64 West take Exit 227 VA-30 Toano/Williamsburg. Turn right onto Old Stage Rd (VA-30). After 1.5 miles turn right onto Holly Forks Rd. After 0.9 miles Holly Forks Rd becomes Tabernacle Rd. Continue on Tabernacle Rd for 1.9 miles and turn left onto Triangle Rd. After 0.5 miles turn right onto Holly Fork Rd and proceed 0.3 miles to Millers Rd. Turn left on Millers Rd and continue 0.4 miles to the management area.

  • June 24th, 2016