DGIF Updates Related to COVID-19

Introducing the Robert W. Duncan WMA & Mattaponi Bluffs WMA

Photos by Lynda Richardson, Virginia Wildlife Art Director, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

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.

Learn More:

Looking to explore a DGIF Wildlife Management Area or lake? Considering getting a Restore the Wild membership!

DGIF invites you to join us in our mission to ensure wildlife has healthy places to live and thrive.

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Hunting During the COVID-19 Outbreak

  • If you choose to hunt during the pandemic it is essential that you follow CDC guidelines.
  • Purchase your hunting license online instead of in-person.
  • Hunt alone or with family members or others that you live with and are isolating with during the Governor’s “stay at home” order.
  • Do not hunt if you feel sick or think you might be sick.
  • Stay at home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds or using alcohol-based sanitizer even while afield or afloat.
  • Do not share equipment with anyone, and wash your equipment when you’re done.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other hunters you encounter and try to avoid crowded access points.
  • Try to hunt near home as much as possible and avoid traveling long distances.

Fishing During the COVID-19 Outbreak

  • If you choose to fish during the pandemic it is essential that you follow CDC guidelines.
  • Purchase your fishing license online instead of in-person.
  • Fish alone or with family members or others that you live with and are isolating with during the Governor’s “stay at home” order.
  • Do not fish if you feel sick or think you might be sick.
  • Stay at home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds or using alcohol-based sanitizer even while afield or afloat.
  • Do not share equipment with anyone, and wash your equipment when you’re done.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other anglers you encounter and try to avoid crowded access points.
  • Do not float in a raft, drift boat, john boat, or canoe with friends that you are not isolated with during the “stay at home” order.  If you choose to float please do so with individuals that you live with and are isolated with.
  • Try to fish near home as much as possible and avoid traveling long distances.
  • April 25, 2019