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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 first youth groups hunted the property on the Southern Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days on November 11 and 12, 2005. 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 NJ Fish and Wildlife Digest and the NJ Migratory Bird Regulation Supplement.

Hunt Registration:

Use of this area will be by registration only using the online form (below). Hunters should choose one day from the list of available hunt dates and must submit their registration request at least two weeks prior to the preferred date to be considered for that date. Open slots not requested prior to the two week pre-registration date will remain available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applicants will be notified by e-mail confirmation two weeks prior to the date requested. Preference will be given to those who have not hunted the area previously (in the current season). Upon selection, hunters will be provided with a map of the area showing blind locations and designation. Contact information for their assigned mentor will also be provided.

In the event that an available date is not applied for this date will remain open and will be available on a first come first serve basis through the application process.

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

PLEASE REGISTER FOR ONLY ONE DATE - only your first submission will be accepted.

  * = required

* First Name

* Last Name

* Address Line 1

Address Line 2

* City

* State * Zip -

* Phone - -

E-mail Address

* License/CID #

* Parent/Guardian Name

Please select your preferred date below. All dates are either a Wednesday or Saturday. You may apply for ONLY one date.

* Two weeks prior to the date you request you will be notified as to whether you have been approved for that date or not; those receiving notice of non-selection are encouraged to submit another application using this web page.

E-mail Nathan.Figley@dep.nj.gov with questions or for information.

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

Last Updated: September 9, 2014