Deer in Spring Landscape

Cunningham Swamp WMA

Wood Duck Drake on water

Cunningham Swamp WMA is located in Central Garrett County, approximately 8 miles south of Grantsville, near the Western Maryland 4-H Center off of Route 495. This 258 acre tract encompasses the majority of Cunningham Swamp, a rich wetland habitat with exceptional habitat for wetland and bog related species. There are open field and upland forest habitats within the boundaries of the WMA as well. There is exceptional cover here for everything from ruffed grouse and American woodcock to black bears and white-tailed deer. Habitat for waterfowl such as wood ducks and Canada geese is excellent, and beaver and other furbearers will be pleased to call this WMA home as well.

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What To See

American woodcock and various species of waterfowl will be at home at Cunningham Swamp. The thick alder and viburnum species growing here make for excellent cover. The WMA is home to a healthy number of black bears. A diverse array of songbird species will be found here through the nesting and migrating seasons as well.

What To Do

There is ample opportunity for hunting waterfowl and big game such as white-tailed deer and black bears. The abundant cover here will challenge hunters to find game, but provides a unique opportunity to hunt in a pristine wetland habitat. Bird watchers may find some interesting species here that prefer the thick cover of alder swamp types of habitat, including alder flycatchers, Nashville warblers, and golden-winged warblers.

Area Regulations

  • Use of Cunningham Swamp WMA is generally permitted seven days a week throughout the year .
  • Hunting is allowed in accordance with open seasons and shooting hours.
  • No special permits or drawings are required to hunt this area, except appropriate licenses and stamps.
  • Trapping by permit only.

Photo of Cunningham Swamp WMANon-hunting Users Guide

  • Non-hunting visitors are welcome.
  • Be aware of open hunting seasons and visit accordingly.
  • Season dates available in newspapers, online, and at some area stores.
  • Colorful and melodious wetland songbirds nest here in the late spring and summer, with many others migrating through.

Site Management Goals

  • The open field and upland forest habitats are managed for providing wildlife nesting and feeding cover.
  • The area is predominantly a shrub wetland and provides habitat for many small game, bird and mammal species, as well as a number of rare, threatened, and endangered plants and animals.

Small MD Map showing approximate location of Cunningham Swamp WMADirections

Access to Cunningham Swamp WMA is provided off of Route 495. From Grantsville, follow Route 495 South toward Swanton. Travel approximately 8 miles. Cunningham Swamp WMA is located on the right. Follow signs to the parking area. For additional information, contact the Mt. Nebo Wildlife Office at (301) 334-4255


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.