Eastern Shore Coastal Forest Wildlife Management Area open for public hunting

April 5, 2023
Coastal Forest Wildlife Management Area

The Coastal Forest Wildlife Management Area (WMA), consisting of 54 unique tracts of discontiguous bayside and seaside properties totaling about 8,645 acres—primarily in Accomack County with tracts also located in Northampton County, is officially open for public hunting. Formerly owned by Chesapeake Corporation, the newly acquired tracts were managed for lumber and forest production and currently consist of dense secondary growth pine habitat with sparse distribution of some hardwoods.

Strategically situated along the Atlantic Flyway, the Coastal Forest WMA is crucial to millions of avifauna traveling this major migratory route. In addition to the value for migratory bird species, the properties will also furnish quality habitat for upland game species, such as American woodcock, northern bobwhite, and wild turkey.

A subset of these properties—including 11 new tracts within the Coastal Forest WMA consisting of nearly 3,700 acres, 328 new acres added to Doe Creek WMA, and 358 new acres added to Saxis WMA—will be open to hunting for Spring Gobbler season along with the existing hunting opportunities along the Eastern Shore at Doe Creek, Saxis and Jones Cove (formerly the GATR Tract of Mockhorn Island WMA).

Spring Gobbler season begins Saturday, April 8, 2023 and continues for 7 weeks until May 13th, 2023. All federal and state laws and county and DWR regulations apply. 

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Information hubs at Doe Creek WMA (Doe Creek WMA map link) and Coastal Forest WMA (Coastal Forest WMA – Tract #51 map link) will contain information, maps, and updates to help hunters find parking areas and access points to these new hunting opportunities. Each parking area will be marked with a DWR sign identifying the tract as part of the Coastal Forest WMA with a tract number and a map to the tract.

After the close of Spring Gobbler season on May 13, 2023, hunting these areas will be prohibited until otherwise posted. 

For more information, including maps, please visit: dwr.virginia.gov/wma/coastal-forest/ 

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