Long and narrow in its shape, the Pettigrew Wildlife Management Area offers a broad range of opportunities. Hunting, hiking, and its diversity of upland and wetland habitats appeal to an array of outdoor interests.
Nearly level, the 934-acre Pettigew Wildlife Management Area’s modest elevations range from 50 to 200 feet. Most of the area is forested. Oaks and beech dominate hardwood stands, and pine stands consist of both Virginia and Loblolly. Formerly part of Fort A.P. Hill, areas that were once open, when used by the military for training, have reverted to Virginia pine and lower growing vegetation — greenbriar, honeysuckle and Virginia creeper. Mount Creek crosses the southern portion of the area. Aided by the work of beavers, the Mount Creek drainage is the management area’s primary wetland. Other water on the area includes Ware Creek, at the extreme northern end of the property, and numerous tributaries of both Ware and Mount Creeks.
Deer, dove, turkey and squirrel are the most abundant game species. Quail, woodcock, and ducks are present in small numbers. Small sales of hardwood timbers have created brushy areas that provide food and cover. About thirty acres is under periodic cultivation, alternately planted and allowed to remain fallow.
Ware Creek offers limited fishing opportunity for herring during spawning runs in the nearby Rappahannock River, and for largemouth bass and crappie.
The area offers the opportunity to view wildlife and wildflowers, including the hard-to-find showy orchis. A variety of aquatic vegetation can be found throughout the marshy areas along Mount Creek. In addition to beaver, Mount Creek offers wildlife viewers the opportunity to see otter and muskrat. Adjacent Fort A.P. Hill permits public hunting and fishing. Permits are sold on post near the main entrance from U.S. Route 301.
There are five designated parking areas. Trails near the center of the area and along the eastern perimeter provide access to the area by foot.
Pettigrew Wildlife Management Area is located in Caroline County, 15 miles southeast of Fredericksburg. It is accessed from U.S. Route 17 between Fredericksburg and Port Royal via State Route 615 or 614. Consult the map for detail.
Images by: Meghan Marchetti - DGIF