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Wading River WMA Special Use Area
Youth Waterfowl Blinds and Mentoring Program


The Division of Fish and Wildlife, in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited and the New Jersey Waterfowlers Association, has developed a Special Use Area for youth waterfowl hunters. The Wading River Special Use Area is an 86-acre parcel containing two impoundments within the 159-acre Wading River Wildlife Management Area, located in Bass River Township, Burlington County. Use of a blind is by registration only.

The DFW designated the Wading River Special Use Area as an area dedicated to youth waterfowling in order to help preserve the rich heritage of waterfowling in our state. The DFW is proud to partner on the project with the DU, NJWA and the USFWS that have a longstanding commitment to waterfowl conservation in our state.

The Wading River Special Use Area, formerly known as the Petrecca property, was donated to the Division by Charles Petrecca and Mary H. Petrecca. Work to control the extensive phragmites on the site was initiated in 2005 with funding provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Ducks Unlimited. The initial work was completed in early 2007 but the project remains ongoing. Water levels will be managed primarily for waterfowl but also for shorebirds and wading birds during the appropriate seasons.

Ducks Unlimited and the New Jersey Waterfowler's Association built and donated five blinds that have been placed on the impoundments. The Ducks Unlimited state chapter and NJ Waterfowlers are both providing experienced waterfowl hunters as mentors for youth hunters that want to be introduced to the sport or learn more about proper waterfowling techniques.

The Wading River Special Use Area was first opened to licensed youth hunters for waterfowl hunting during the 2005-2006 hunting season. The blinds have since been available for reservation through an application process.

The Waterfowl Hunting Area:

Access to the property is through a locked gate to a compacted gravel lot. From here compacted gravel roads provide access to waterfowl hunting blinds designed to accommodate four people each. All vehicles must park in the lot after hunters and gear have been transported to their respective hunting areas.

Members from Ducks Unlimited and New Jersey Waterfowler's Association will provide hunting mentors to assist with the hunts. A mentor will be assigned to each hunting party. Mentors will assist with decoy placement and waterfowl retrieval, which can be challenging since all of the waterfowl hunting areas are not wadeable.

Hunt Area Rules:

Hunters that violate the conditions established for use of the Special Use Area will be subject to possible fines and denial of future requests to use the area.

  • Only properly licensed youth hunters (until the end of the year they turn 16) are permitted to hunt on the property.
  • Only youth hunters are allowed to hunt. Mentors and observers are there to provide assistance to the hunters.
  • A shell limit of one box of 25 nontoxic shot shells per hunter per morning session is permitted.
  • All hunters using the area must be registered utilizing the online application on this site. Registration will only allow for two hunters per blind accompanied by a maximum of two non-shooting adults (21 years of age or older).
  • All waterfowl hunters must conclude their hunt by noon and be back in the parking area by 1:00pm.
  • All regulations concerning waterfowl hunting, including bag limits must be followed. These regulations can be found each year in the Hunting & Trapping Digest.

Hunt Registration

Hunting dates will be on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the South Zone Duck Season in 2021:
2021-2022 Migratory Bird Seasons Summary (pdf, 165kb)

Use of this area will be permitted by registration only. To register, e-mail or call 856-629-1014 and provide requested date.

Map of Wading River WMA Special Use Area (pdf, 365kb)

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: September 25, 2020