Regulations for use of Wildlife Management Areas are established by the Division of Fish and Wildlife with penalties of not less than $50 nor more than $1,500. Information on these regulations may be obtained by writing to the Division of Fish and Wildlife, MC 501-03, PO Box 420, Trenton, NJ 08625-0420, or by viewing the WMA Regulations page in the Hunting & Trapping Digest or the Freshwater Fishing Digest.
Some activities on WMAs require a permit (see Wildlife Management Area Permits). The Division may revoke any permit or other authorization issued for violation or due cause.
Please note that state WMAs and facilities are "carry in - carry out" and trash/recycling receptacles are not provided; please plan accordingly to not leave any trash or recyclables behind. WMAs are multiple-use areas and visitors should respect other users engaged in legal, permitted activities.
Hunting, fishing and wildlife related activities are allowed on WMAs. The following are prohibited: camping, swimming, picnicking, dumping, cutting or damaging vegetation, removing timber or firewood, alcoholic beverages, metal detecting, geocaching, airsofting, paintballing, paddleboards (except for fishing; no use allowed at Split Rock Reservoir) and fires.
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 division approved activities.
No person shall operate an unregistered vehicle on roads under the control of the Division of Fish and Wildlife. All motor vehicles are restricted to established public roads and parking areas. The use of dog sleds and dog carts, off-road vehicles, ATVs, motorized trailbikes or snowmobiles is prohibited on all Wildlife Management Areas unless authorized by the Division.
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. 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 (Consult the Hunting & Trapping Digest for more information.) The use of air guns to hunt rabbit and squirrel is allowed. Rifles, including muzzleloading rifles, may not be used to hunt woodchucks on WMAs.
Archery, shotgun, muzzleloading shotgun, muzzleloading rifle, centerfire rifle and modern .17 and .22 caliber rimfire rifle shooting is allowed in designated hunter training ranges. One member of the shooting party must have a current, valid New Jersey hunting license.
The following types of ranges are available on designated WMAs statewide:
Shotgun Range: for use with clay birds and the patterning of fine shot (lead-free only shot at Assunpink);
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 by remote control of a pilot and has the capacity for autonomous flight and navigation.
No permanent waterfowlblinds, including pit blinds, shall be constructed, hunted from or used in any manner on any of the following:
Dog Training and Exercising
Dogs may only be trained between Sept. 1 and Apr. 30. Some areas with designated dog training areas allow dog training all year. All dogs must be licensed according to state law.
Permits for use of Wildlife Management Areas for running of field trials may be granted by the Division; see the Wildlife Management Area Permits page for information.
Higbee Beach WMA is closed to hunting from September 1 until the Monday after the Six-day Firearm Deer Season each year.
This is allowed only on designated WMAs (listed below) with a permit ($25.00 per person, per calendar year, plus $2.00 application fee) purchased from the Division of Fish and Wildlife's license Web site at www.nj.wildlifelicense.com. For information, call 609-259-2132. (For information on Group Horseback Riding Permits see the Wildlife Management Area Permits page.)
Permittees are responsible and liable for any damage which may occur and shall abide by regulations for use of Wildlife Management Areas. Areas on which horseback riding is currently permitted in designated areas are:
Flatbrook, Paulinskill River* and Whittingham, Sussex County* Horseback riding permitted only on existing and established roads and designated trails on these Wildlife Management Areas.
** Beginning in 2021, horseback riding will not be permitted at Capoolong Creek WMA.
Mountain bicycles (non-motorized) are allowed on all roads open to motor vehicle use year-round. Bikes are allowed on existing trails and secondary (woods) roads on Wildlife Management Areas from March 1 to April 15 and June 1 to September 15, as well as on Sundays throughout the year (see Assunpink exception in policy linked below). Use of mountain bikes is permitted year round if engaged in legal hunting and fishing activities. Ebikes with motors up to 750 watts are permitted.
Bikes are not permitted on the Highlands Trail which passes through Berkshire Valley and Wildcat Ridge WMAs. Riding over any dam, wildlife food area, cultivated fields, lawns, gardens and fire break plow-lines is prohibited. Bikers are also prohibited from establishing any new trails through the destruction of existing vegetation. For more information, see the Mountain Bike Policy linked below.
Any club or organization that would like to use Division Wildlife Management Areas for fishing tournaments must secure a permit from the Division. An application must be submitted to obtain a use permit. Applications will be accepted in January at the Divisionís Southern Region office; please see the Fishing Tournament Permit Information for an application and call 609-259-6964 for assistance.
Only electric motors are allowed on freshwater areas with the exception of Union Lake where outboard motors not exceeding 10 hp. may be used. On Prospertown Lake, only manually operated boats and canoes are allowed. Please note that all titled boats must also be registered. In addition, any boat mechanically propelled, regardless of length, must be registered.
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 driverís side rear window a Boat Ramp Maintenance Permit or a photocopy of a current hunting, fishing or trapping license showing the Conservation ID Number (CID#). Identifying information other than the CID# may be blacked out to protect your identity. Boat Ramp Maintenance Permits may be purchased for a fee of $15.00 from any license agent or the Division's license Web site (under "Wildlife Management Area Use Permits" after logging in and selecting to make a purchase).
New Jersey residents 70 years and older are not required to obtain a boat ramp maintenance permit and need no license, but must affix to their window proof of age, such as a former license displaying your date of birth.
1. Round Valley Reservoir, Angler Access
Any questions regarding WMA regulations should be directed to the division law enforcement office nearest you - see the Contact Us page for contact information.