Located in central Virginia, the Mattaponi Wildlife Management Area (WMA) contains a diversity of natural habitats, creating an ideal environment for many wildlife species, and along with it, and ideal area for wildlife-centered recreation. The Mattaponi WMA is located 1.3 miles west northwest of the town of Bowling Green, within the Virginia Upper Coastal Plain habitat. The land varies from flat to steeply sloped and from wetlands to forests. The topography and natural environment of the WMA is unique from its surroundings. Mature upland forests, mixed forests, and managed loblolly pine stands are all present in the Mattaponi WMA. The Mattaponi and South Rivers flow through and border the WMA, providing 6.5 miles of river within and adjacent to the WMA.
The WMA conserves an important upper coastal plain habitat, making it a fantastic location for hunting, angling, and wildlife-viewing. Rules for hunting, fishing, and recreational activities can be found by clicking the map.
Mattaponi WMA Hunting Opportunities
Deer, turkeys, and squirrels are abundant in the extensive pine plantations, hardwood forests, wetlands, and river bottoms. Although they were previous quite rare, black bear sightings have become increasingly common. Rabbit and quail can be found in clear cut areas, thinned pine stands, and log decks. Woodcocks are common in the wetland areas, and wood ducks can be found in early fall along the old oxbows of the Mattaponi River. The current Hunting and Trapping in Virginia digest and signs posted within the WMA provide information about hunting seasons and bag limits.
Mattaponi WMA Waterfowl Hunting
Waterfowl hunting is a popular draw of the Mattaponi WMA due to the abundance of wetlands and rivers. Duck hunting is excellent within the management area. During the October early duck season, the WMA is open 7 days a week. It is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays during the remainder of the Virginia waterfowl hunting season. To preserve the surrounding environment, permanent blinds are prohibited; hunters should plan to use portable blinds of natural cover.
Mattaponi WMA Fishing
Bluegill and redbreast sunfish, largemouth bass, crappy, white and yellow perch, chain pickerel, bowfin and brown bullheads are among the fish species that one can find in the Mattaponi and South Rivers and nearby ponds. Angler’s should expect most bass to be less than 12 inches in the river, although larger bass can be found in ponds. The ponds offer good fishing for crappie, bluegill, and chain pickerel, as well as the occasional bowfin – making the extra effort to reach the ponds worthwhile. During the spring run, ultra light fishing along the river for perch is possible. Anglers can fish from a number of small impoundments along the river. No boat launch facilities are available.
Wildlife viewing and photography are other popular activities within the Mattaponi WMA. The riverfront and wetlands provide habitat and viewing opportunities for many types of shorebirds, wading birds, and numerous amphibians. Canoeing is permitted on the Mattaponi and South Rivers, but motor boats are not allowed. Hiking and primitive camping are permitted, although no established trails or facilities exist; campfires are subject to local fire restrictions. Visitors should be mindful of hunting seasons and plan accordingly.
Mattaponi WMA is located on Paige Road, State Route 605, in Caroline County. The WMA is located approximately 40 miles north-northeast of Richmond and 20 miles south-southeast of Fredericksburg. From Bowling Green head north on State Route 2 for 0.3 miles. Turn left on Paige Road which is State Route 605 for 1.5 miles. The property begins at the railroad tracks on the right and the Mattaponi River on the left.