Wildlife and Waterfowl Abound East of Baxter State Park at Francis Dunn WMA

ArrayMarch 23, 2016 at 12:50 pm

[caption id="attachment_1338" align="alignright" width="402"]Img2006-09-13_0115 Canoeing on the Sawtelle Deadwater in the Dunn WMA may provide you with the opportunity to see a moose.[/caption] By Allen Starr, IFW Wildlife Biologist The Francis D. Dunn Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in T6 R7, also known as the Sawtelle Deadwater, is a 2.7 mile long, 197.5 acre, freshwater marsh just east of Baxter State Park.  This WMA offers excellent opportunities to view moose, and abounds with other wildlife as well. There is a small, hand-carry launch located at the parking area and dam site on the southeast end of the flowage (please refer to the attached map). The flowage can be an exceptional place for viewing moose feeding on aquatic vegetation on and early morning or late afternoon canoe paddle.  This WMA abounds with other wildlife as well, including:  waterfowl, songbirds, raptors (bald eagles, osprey), aquatic furbearers (river otters, beaver, and muskrats), reptiles, amphibians and the occasional white-tailed deer. Waterfowl hunting is the primary hunting activity on this area, but trapping and the potential to harvest big game is a possibility.  There is also a seasonal brook trout fishery on the flowage and Sawtelle Brook.  Camping and fires are prohibited on Department-owned Wildlife Management Areas. The deadwater was originally formed by a dam constructed on Sawtelle Brook built to facilitate operation of a sawmill.  As early as 1956, wildlife biologist Francis D. Dunn recognized the value of this wetland habitat to wildlife and attempted to negotiate a purchase.  It took 30 years before the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife reached an agreement with J. M. Huber Corporation to purchase the flowage area and dam site in 1984. Since then, the Department has conducted wildlife management activities to promote the highest quality wildlife habitat while maintaining species diversity and enhancing populations of wildlife to provide quality recreation for residents and visitors to the state. This WMA can be reached by taking Rt. 159 out of Patten thru Shin Pond to the Grand Lake Road (which is the same route to the north entrance of Baxter State Park).  Continue on the Grand Lake Road and turn onto the Sawtelle or Scraggly Lake Road, which is located about ½-mile before the Huber Road.  Stay on this road for about two miles, crossing Sawtelle Brook, the WMA parking area is located just ahead on the left.  Make a day trip to this WMA, you will not be disappointed! Forest Dunn map