Deer in Spring Landscape

Elk Forest Managed Hunting Area (MHA)

Located along the northern shore of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, east of Chesapeake City, Maryland, this property is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and leased to the Department of Natural Resources for wildlife management and recreation.

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What To See

Elk Forest MHA provides habitat for upland game, waterfowl, and forest species primarily white-tailed deer, grey squirrels, rabbits, and songbirds.

What To Do

This area is open to hunting for all game species during the regulated hunting season established by the Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service. Hunters are required to have a permit to hunt and a daily reservation to access the area. Outside the hunting season this area is open to hiking, fishing, bird watching, nature photography, etc. with non-hunting permit required.

Area Regulations

  • Access to Elk Forest MHA is restricted from September 1 through February 15 for the hunting season to seasonal permit holders.

  • During the spring turkey season, the area is open to turkey hunters with a hunting permit and non-hunting permit holders.

  • To apply for the free Central Region Public Hunting Permit click here.

  • ATV’s and other unlicensed motor vehicles prohibited.

  • Parking is available in designated parking lots.

  • Waterfowl may be hunted anywhere on the area.

  • Six daily reservations are available during the deer firearms/muzzleloader seasons.

  • Non-Hunting Users

  • Outside the hunting season Elk Forest MHA is open for hiking, fishing, bird watching, nature photography, etc. with seasonal non-hunting permit.

  • To apply for the C&D Canal Lands Non-Hunting Permit click here.
  • Directions

    Elk Forest MHA is located just east of Chesapeake City along the C&D Canal. Take Rt. 213 to Elk Forest Rd. Parking is available just past McKeown Rd. For complete area regulations, information, or seasonal permits contact the Gwynnbrook Wildlife and Heritage Service Office at 410-356-9272.


    This area is a part of Marylandís Department of Natural Resources public land system and is managed by the Wildlife and Heritage Service. The primary mission of the WMA system is to conserve and enhance wildlife populations and their respective habitats as well as to provide public recreational use of the Stateís wildlife resources.

    Eighty-five percent of the funding for Maryland's state wildlife programs comes from hunting license fees and a federal excise tax on sport hunting devices and ammunition. The federal aid funds are derived from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (or Pittman-Robertson) Fund, which sportsmen and women have been contributing to since 1937. Each state receives a share of the funds, which is administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service; these funds are used for wildlife conservation and hunter education programs, including the management of the WMA system.

    Other sources of funds for land acquisition include Program Open Space Funding for Maryland's State and local parks and conservation areas, provided through The Department of Natural Resources' Program Open Space. Established in 1969, Program Open Space symbolizes Maryland's long-term commitment to conserving natural resources while providing exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities.