Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), located 12 miles south of Cambridge, Maryland, was established in 1933 as a refuge for migratory waterfowl. The refuge includes more than 32,000 acres, composed mainly of rich tidal marsh characterized by fluctuating water levels and variable salinity. Other habitats include freshwater ponds, mixed evergreen and deciduous forests, cropland and managed impoundments that are seasonally flooded for waterfowl.
Blackwater NWR is home to the largest natural population of formerly endangered Delmarva peninsula fox squirrels and is also home to one of the largest breeding population of American bald eagles on the East Coast, north of Florida.
The refuge contains one-third of Maryland's tidal wetlands, which makes it an ecologically important area within the state. These wetlands also provide storm protection to lower Dorchester County, including the town of Cambridge.
Need to Know
Permit and License Requirements
You must print, sign your permit and bring it with you. Print the permit from your Recreation.gov account, My Reservations, before coming to the refuge. The refuge will not print permits.
Each hunter must have the following in his/her possession while hunting and scouting, and display them upon request.
All hunters must obtain a permit regardless of age. Permits are non-transferable. Each permitted hunter may be accompanied by a non-hunting assistant.
The non-hunting assistant must remain within sight and normal voice contact of hunter. Non-hunting assistants must not be afield with a hunting firearm, bow, or other hunting device, must read the turkey hunting brochure, and must sign the permit of the person they are assisting in ink. Non-hunting assistants must possess a valid government-issued photo identification on their person. Non-hunting assistants who call and/or set up decoys must possess a valid Maryland State hunting license.
Access the Refuge
Area B1 Access Regulations (Only Available to Hunters with Disabilities)
We only allow hunters with a permanent disability to operate ATV/ORVs. If the hunter with a disability is unable to physically do so, the assistant may operate the ATV/ORV.
Hunters with Disabilities
Hunters wishing to qualify for the hunt in Area B1 must have a Federal Interagency Access Pass prior to applying. Hunters with a disability may have a non-hunting assistant as described above. We require assistants to remain within sight and normal voice contact. To hunt from a vehicle, including ATVs, hunters require U (universal disability pass) designation on MD State hunting license or a handicap placard and a universal disability pass (formerly known as a hunt from vehicle permit), and a Federal Interagency Access Pass.
Youth Turkey Hunt
Youth hunters must be 16 years of age or younger to participate and must be accompanied by only one licensed or licensed exempt, unarmed adult, 21 years of age or older.
General Conditions and Regulations
View the complete Blackwater NWR Turkey Hunt Regulations, which include details about the following refuge regulations :
Reservation Fee: $6.00 non-refundable reservation fee per permit
Recreation Fee: $10 for the Turkey Hunt Permit; Fees are reduced by ½ for all federal Senior Pass or Access Pass holders. Pass number must be provided when applying for your permit.
Fees are non-refundable.
There are no modifications allowed for this permit.
Customers, the call center, and the facility can cancel a reservation at any time. No refunds are provided for cancellations. If a reservation is cancelled, that hunting opportunity will become available on a first-come, first-served basis through Recreation.gov
The permit is non-transferrable.
There are no refunds allowed for this permit.
2145 Key Wallace Drive Cambridge MD 21613
Visitor Center hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.