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Wildlife Branch


Wildlife Management Areas

Western Region

Alonsa 10,917 ha
Northwest of Alonsa, south of PR 235

The dominant cover of this WMA is aspen forest, with some native grasslands. Open areas have bearberry, saskatoon and chokecherry throughout. The prominent wildlife species are deer, sharp-tailed grouse, and ruffed grouse. Moose are seen on rare occasions. Furbearers include coyote, fox, ermine, snowshoe hare, red squirrel, and muskrat. The area is important to both breeding and migratory birds, especially songbirds. A trail network runs through the area in a southeast northwest direction, following the ridges. A hiking trail and Medicine Rock interpretive site were developed in cooperation with the Alonsa Conservation District.

Assiniboine Corridor 3,275 ha
South of CFB Shilo

Some of the most scenic portions of the Assiniboine River including the junction with the Souris River are included in this WMA. Made up of numerous parcels of land along the river, some units contain riparian forest as well as stabilized sand dunes dominated by little bluestem, and blue grama grasses. The area supports white-tailed deer and numerous furbearers. A variety of birds is found in the WMA, especially grassland species such as savannah sparrows and bobolinks, and edge-habitat species including the rufous-sided towhee and brown thrasher.

Bernice 65 ha
West of Lauder

The endangered Baird's sparrow and other grassland birds nest in this WMA. The area was almost entirely cultivated at one time, but habitat was created for wildlife by planting trees and shrubs and seeding dense nesting cover. The WMA now consists mainly of grasslands, with a significant representation of native grass species.

Brandon Hills 722 ha
South of Brandon

Exceptionally high winter populations of white-tailed deer are consistently recorded in this area, which is the reason for the lands in this WMA being acquired in the early 1970s. It is one of the few large blocks of mature forest in the Brandon area. The rolling terrain, combined with dense aspen and bur oak forest interspersed with mixed-grass prairie openings, provides essential food and thermal cover for wildlife. Most of the land within the WMA was never cultivated and has remained in a natural state. Deer that are dispersed throughout nearby farmland in the remainder of the year rely on this habitat to endure the hardships of winter. Recent studies have also revealed the importance of the Brandon Hills as a breeding area for neo-tropical migrant birds, such as willow flycatchers. 

Shortly after its establishment, this WMA became popular with cross-country skiers. In 1979, the Brandon Winter Games Committee completed development of a cross-country ski trail system in the WMA for the competitive ski events. The attention focused on the area during the games established it as a major cross-country skiing destination, with over 400 people using the area on peak weekends. The trails are now maintained by the local cross-country ski club. Public use of the area remains at a significant level, both for skiing in winter, wildlife viewing and cycling in spring and summer, and hunting in fall.

Broomhill 330 ha
Northwest of Melita

The WMA was originally established to protect grassland and wooded cover for wildlife such as sharp-tailed grouse. In recent years, its importance for the endangered Baird's sparrow and loggerhead shrike has been recognized. Other birds in the WMA include upland sandpiper, marbled godwit, willet, and lark bunting. Portions of the WMA were cultivated prior to its acquisition, but mixed-grass prairie continues to be found here in varying degrees of quality.

C. Stuart Stevenson 128 ha
4.8 km east of the town of Shoal Lake off PTH 16

The WMA, which contains three permanent wetlands interspersed with grasslands, provides excellent nesting habitat for waterfowl, yellow warblers, northern orioles, and clay-coloured sparrows. Aspen bluffs are found on the slightly elevated knolls, and grasses and shrubs are on the flatter, more saline areas. It is used year-round by deer and grouse.

Cayer 1,529 ha
16km north of Cayer

This WMA was established to protect deer wintering habitat, but it is also used by grouse and a variety of other birds. The area is aspen parkland, typical of that found west of Lake Manitoba.

Ebor 64 ha
Southwest of Virden

The WMA is a locally important habitat for deer, grouse and grassland birds. It contains mixed-grass prairie, aspen woodland and numerous small wetlands. The mixed-grass prairie on this WMA continues to be grazed, but has never been cultivated. The wetlands afford habitat for marsh wrens, rails, grebes and other waterfowl.

Gerald W. Malaher 61 ha
West of Melita

Deer and a great variety of grassland and forest birds now use this haven, once thought a wasteland. It was formerly cultivated land that proved unsuitable for agriculture because the soils were very light and subject to significant wind erosion. When the land was acquired, there was little vegetation remaining and much of the area was open sand. The Melita Cover Plot, as it was known at the time of its establishment, was an attempt to take a piece of abused farmland and demonstrate that it could be rehabilitated for wildlife management purposes. A wide variety of trees and shrubs were planted, along with grasses, forage and food plots. A small dam was constructed across a shallow ravine to provide water.

Harrison 65 ha
West of Erickson

This WMA contains a lush deciduous forest and two forage fields. It is used by white-tailed deer and occasionally by elk.

Holmfield 64 ha
7.2km west of Cartwright, north side of PTH 3

This WMA was purchased in 1986 with joint funding by the Manitoba Department of Natural Resources, Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation, Wildlife Habitat Canada, Manitoba Naturalists Society and the Manitoba Wildlife Federation. Approximately one-third of the area is wetland and is an important waterfowl nesting area. A marsh management project was developed by Ducks Unlimited Canada to improve the attractiveness of the area for waterfowl. The balance of the area is primarily grassland with some willow and aspen bush. White-tailed deer and grouse also use the area.

Langruth 1,813 ha
5km north and 2km west of Langruth

The habitat in this WMA is particularly attractive for neo-tropical migrant birds. The topography of the WMA is ridge-and-swale, with aspen and grasslands in higher areas and wetlands in low lying areas. Used as a practice bombing range by the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, the WMA now provides habitat for deer, waterfowl and grouse.

Lauder Sandhills 3,145 ha
6 km west of Hartney

Originally established to protect white-tailed -deer winter habitat, this WMA is also one of the best places in Manitoba to see orange-crowned warblers. Five species of woodpeckers and seven species of flycatchers have also been observed in the WMA.

Sand dunes and rolling hills are found through the central portion of the area, and flat terrain with aspen forests and open grasslands are located towards the area's periphery. Oaks tend to dominate the crests of the hills, while aspen and dense stands of hazel are found in the depressions and on north-facing slopes.

Associated shrubs are chokecherry and juniper. Designated vehicle routes have been established in the NVNU to minimize the impact of vehicles on the fragile terrain.

Little Saskatchewan 323 ha
North of Strathclair

Deer, grouse and waterfowl are found in this WMA. There are two separated parcels, and both include a portion of the Little Saskatchewan River. The terrain is gently rolling on the uplands, with deep ravines leading down to the river. The vegetation is primarily aspen-oak forest, with some mixed-grass prairie openings. It is also on an important migration route for neo-tropical migrant birds.

Maple Lake 65 ha
Southeast of Pipestone

This WMA includes a portion of the Maple Lake marsh and associated mixed-grass prairie uplands, providing habitat for waterfowl and grassland birds. 

Onanole 574 ha
East of Onanole

The WMA has gently rolling topography with numerous wetlands and small creeks throughout. It is heavily treed with aspen and white spruce dominating. Balsam poplar, bur oak and white birch are also present. The understorey is primarily hazel with a good mixture of red osier dogwood, chokecherry, willow, cranberry, rose, Saskatoon and bog birch. White-tailed deer, elk, moose, black bears, wolves, ruffed grouse, great gray owls and beaver are found in the WMA.

Otter Lake 67 ha
South of Riding Mountain National Park, north of Erickson

This small WMA is gently rolling, with dense aspen forest and a wetlands Deer, moose, elk, waterfowl and a variety of furbearers use the WMA.

Parkland 910 ha
This WMA's four units include wetlands, grasslands and mature forests. This habitat diversity in a primarily agricultural landscape is critical for breeding and migrating neo-tropical birds, such as rufous-sided towhees, as well as for deer and other wildlife.

Buckleyville Unit (West of Town of Shoal Lake) is primarily wetland and provides excellent waterfowl breeding habitat.

Horrod Unit (South boundary of Riding Mountain National Park near Lake Audy) had most of its upland area cultivated at one time but was later sown to grasses. The wetlands provide habitat for waterfowl. Moose and elk occasionally use the WMA, along with deer, black bears, and grouse.

Ruska Rawa Unit (South of Riding Mountain National Park near Rossburn) is quite hilly and well forested with mature aspen. It is used by elk, moose, over, black bears, grouse, and a variety of waterbirds.

Snake Creek Unit (East of St. Lazare) includes riparian habitat and remnant grasslands along Snake Creek, providing habitat for deer, grouse and other wildlife. Western and eastern wood peewees have been seen here.

Pembina Valley 3,263 ha
The WMA consists of 14 separate units in the Western Region, along the Pembina River, and two units in the Red River Region. The WMA provides important wildlife cover and contributes to soil conservation and erosion control. In this area, many species of birds are at the northern fringe of their ranges such as the indigo bunting, brown thrasher, rufous-sided towhee, orchard oriole, and lark sparrow. The WMA also provides exceptionally good habitat for deer, moose, wild turkeys, grouse, waterfowl and a great variety of other wildlife.
  1. Pelican Lake Marsh Unit (North end of Pelican Lake) is almost entirely wetland and provides nesting and staging habitat for waterfowl.
  2. West Derby Unit (West shore of Lorne Lake) is comprised of two parcels of mainly upland habitat, with some aspen-oak woodland and grassland areas.

Pierson 264 ha
Two units of this WMA are important locally for white-tailed deer, sharp-tailed grouse, gray partridge and a variety of grassland birds. The occasional pheasant is also observed as are mule deer and pronghorn antelope.

Frank W Boyd Unit (Southwest of Pierson) has several go-back fields and forage fields, as well as aspen woodland with numerous small wetlands. Previously cultivated areas were reseeded to permanent cover and some tree planting was undertaken. There are several producing oil wells in this unit.

Gainsborough Creek Unit (Southeast of Pierson) contains remnant mixed-grass prairie and important riparian habitat along Gainsborough Creek.

Point River 3,446 ha
20km northeast of Ethelbert

This WMA provides winter habitat for deer and upland game bird habitat. The topography of the area is typical Westlake till plain, with aspen-covered ridges interspersed with low grassy swales.

Proven lake 2,003 ha
Northwest of Erickson

The majority of the WMA consists of a 650-ha wetland situated in the heart of some of North America's most productive waterfowl breeding habitat. Nesting species include gulls, terns, grebes, and black-crowned night herons in addition to a great variety of ducks. It attracts large numbers of migrating birds in spring and fall.

Riverside 96 ha
South of Brandon west of PTH 10

This WMA, located along the Souris River, provides habitat for grassland birds and white-tailed deer. It is primarily riparian woodland, with mixed-grass prairie in upland areas.

Souris River Bend 2,196 ha
Southwest of Wawanesa near Margaret

This WMA contains one of the most extensive areas of natural vegetation in southwestern Manitoba. The scenic landscape includes a significant tract of riparian woodlands and undisturbed mixed-grass prairie. Previously cultivated portions of the WMA were reseeded to permanent cover or forage and some tree planting was undertaken. To protect sensitive habitats, vehicles are restricted to designated trails.

The WMA provides essential habitat for neo-tropical birds, grassland birds and white-tailed deer. Elk, moose and mule deer are occasionally seen in this area as well. There are excellent birding opportunities here, which can also be enjoyed by canoeing through the WMA along the Souris River when water levels permit. The landscape and wildlife can be experienced from horseback as well, along the trail system developed and maintained in cooperation with a provincial equestrian organization.

Spruce Woods 291 ha
Southwest side of Spruce Woods Provincial Park

Situated on the ancient Assiniboine Delta, cacti and a variety of reptiles can be found in the three parcels of this WMA. Its rolling sandhills have aspen-oak forest, stands of spruce, and native mixed-grass prairie. The WMA also provides habitat for elk, white-tailed deer, and upland game birds.

Steeprock 1,905 ha
North of Mafeking off PTH 10

The WMA was established because of the area's high value for furbearers, but it also provides habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. Found along the Steeprock River, the WMA includes spruce forest, bogs and a major managed wetland.

Tiger Hills 558 ha
The WMA consists of three units and provides habitat for white-tailed deer, grouse and waterfowl. 

Delta Unit (Northeast of Pelican Lake) includes aspen-oak forest and a previously cultivated area that is hayed. The riparian zones support neo-tropical migrant birds including the Lincoln's sparrow.

Mimir Unit (South of Glenboro) has rolling topography with aspen-oak forest and a 30 ha lake.

Ninette Unit (North of Ninette) is predominantly aspen-oak forest with interspersions of native grassland.

Turtle Mountain 257 ha
West of Turtle Mountain Provincial Park

This WMA has extensive stands of aspen and balsam poplar interspersed with numerous small wetlands. It was established to preserve habitat for deer and ruffed grouse, and moose frequent the area. Elk are occasional visitors. Brown thrashers, rufous-sided towhees, and indigo buntings may also be seen here.

Upper Assiniboine 2,095 ha
The 12 units of this WMA include portions of the Assiniboine River valley and associated uplands. There is an incredibly rich wildlife diversity, particularly of neo-tropical migrant birds. The WMA is a good place to view migrating bald eagles and it provides habitat for deer grouse and waterfowl.
  1. Arrow River Unit (Northeast of Miniota) consists mainly of wetlands. It is a waterfowl production and staging area.
  2. Bird Tail Creek Unit (North of Willen) includes a deep ravine, mixed-grass prairie and aspen-oak forest.
  3. Gambler Unit (Southwest of Binscarth) has mixed-grass prairie and aspen-oak forest.
  4. Mayne Unit (North of Alexander) has a large area seeded to tame forage and several shelterbelts have been established. It also includes native grasslands interspersed with aspen-oak bluffs.
  5. Miniota Unit (Northwest of Miniota) contains aspen-oak forest, valley slopes and an oxbow Lake.
  6. Pleasant Plains Unit (East of Routledge) contains low areas along the Assiniboine River with steep banks. There is a managed wetland developed in cooperation with Ducks Unlimited Canada. Dense nesting cover and shelterbelts have been established
  7. Reeder Unit (Southwest of Miniota) is characterized by) flat uplands cut by steep ravines and Assiniboine valley slopes. Niso Creek runs through a portion of this unit. A Large portion of the unit was seeded to grass and alfalfa and several shelterbelts were planted. The remainder consists of some native grassland with aspen bluffs and oak on the valley slopes.
  8. Routledge Unit (West of Town of Oak Lake) has partially stabilized sand dunes underlying mixed-grass prairie, and aspen-oak forest. Several producing oil wells occur on this unit.
  9. Runnymede Unit (Southeast of Town of Oak Lake) is relatively)flat with some stabilized sand dunes. The -vegetation consists of aspen bluffs interspersed with native grasslands. 
  10. Two Creeks Unit (West of Village of Two Creeks) features some native mixed-grass prairie and aspen bluffs. Formerly cultivated areas were seeded to grasses.
  11. Uno Unit (West of Uno) has grasslands, aspen-oak forest and riparian habitat
  12. Willen Unit (South of Willen) contains aspen bluffs, mixed-grass prairies and previously cultivated areas sown to grass.

Wakopa 66 ha
East of Turtle Mountain Provincial Park

This WMA was established to preserve habitat for deer and ruffed grouse. The area has aspen and balsam poplar forest interspersed with a few small wetlands. Moose are occasionally seen in the WMA. Much of the forest and grasslands were cleared due to gravel extraction, with rehabilitation to be undertaken in future.

Weiden 851 ha
15km southeast of the Village of Fork River, off PR 364

This WMA provides habitat for deer, waterfowl and upland game birds. It includes habitat typical of the Westlake till plain. Aspen dominates the well drained ridges, while wetlands occur in the swales between them.

Westlake 5760 ha
20km west of Cayer

The WMA has aspen forest interspersed with grassland and shrubs. It is an important white-tailed deer wintering area, which is also used by ruffed and sharp-tailed grouse.

Whitemud Watershed 5,682 ha
The WMA is comprised of 13 widely-spaced units which provide important habitat for deer, upland game birds, amphibians and other wildlife. 

Edington, Oak Leaf, Robins Ridge, Grass River, Glenella and Waldglen Units (in the Gladstone-McCreary area) include aspen forest, mixed-grass prairie and formerly cultivated areas seeded to grasses or forage.

Edrans and Hummerston Units (Northeast of Carberry) are characterized by sand dune formations, aspen-oak forest and native mixed-grass prairie.

Lower Assiniboine Unit (along the Assiniboine River) is made up of IO parcels that include riparian forest and previously cultivated areas seeded to grasses and forage. Some parcels also have sand dune formations and native mixed-grass prairie.

Pratt, Clairmont, Chipping Hill and Sight Hill Units (South of MacGregor) are dominated by aspen-oak forest.

Whitewater Lake 8,257 ha
West of Boissevain, north of PTH 3

This WMA is a major staging area for waterfowl and shorebirds. It includes Whitewater Lake and a managed marsh unit at the eastern side of the lake. A wildlife viewing site has been developed in cooperation with the Turtle Mountain Conservation District and Ducks Unlimited Canada at the southwest corner of the managed marsh cells. Numerous species of marsh and grassland birds breed in the area and it is also used by deer and upland game birds. Large numbers of Franklin's gulls can be seen during the breeding season, while tundra swans are a major attraction during spring and fall migration.