State Game Lands 107, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania

State Game Lands 107 takes in around 8,000 acres in central Pennsylvania. Most of the tract is upland forest, but part of it, on the northern flank of Shade Mountain, extends down to a lower elevation and includes stream-bottom land along Jacks Creek.

Upland areas grow red and chestnut oak, red maple, black birch, hickory, tuliptree, sassafras, and other hardwood trees. Those species also grow along Jacks Creek, as do white oak, sugar maple, basswood, and American hornbeam. Nearby old fields support many native shrubs including witch hazel, hawthorn, alder, willow, redbud, and dogwoods, as well as non-native exotic shrub species such as multiflora rose and autumn olive.

A wide range of wildlife can be found on SGL 107, including white-tailed deer, black bear, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, squirrels, and cottontail rabbits; wild turkeys, ruffed grouse, and numerous songbirds (species that use deep woods, and also those that prefer edge or old-field habitats); and reptiles such as wood and box turtles. Woodcock use damp wooded and brushy areas near Jacks Creek. Many people visit this publicly owned tract to hunt, fish, hike, and watch wildlife.

Improving the Land for Woodcock

Land managers and biologists with the Pennsylvania Game Commission laid out a 231-acre Woodcock Management Area on both sides of Back Maitland Road (State Route 2004) on the Mifflin County portion of SGL 107. A grid of eight linear units lie parallel to one another in low-quality, middle-aged hardwood forest. The units begin at Back Maitland Road and run uphill on the lower north-facing slope of Jacks Mountain, on a north-to-south orientation, following the moisture gradient of the slope. Together, the strips total 114 acres.


Logging will the primary habitat-management tool used on this part of the management area. In 2004, loggers cut down trees on two of the eight strips, with the pair of cuts totaling 27 acres. In 2009 they cut two more strips, totaling 28 acres. Much of the wood from these operations was chipped on site and sold for pulp. Hardwood trees have sprouted densely on the cut-over areas; their growth is providing dense habitat for deer, woodcock, grouse, and songbirds such as chestnut-sided warblers and indigo buntings. Managers used herbicides to get rid of invasive stilt grass and hay-scented fern that otherwise might have suppressed the trees’ regrowth.

In 2013, two more strips will be harvested, and the final two strips will be cut in 2017. After that, the cutting cycle on the eight-strip area will continue into the future at five-year intervals, so that there always will be four different age-classes of regrowing forest on the management unit. Woodcock will use the different densities of tree stems for all of their life-cycle needs. For instance, newly logged land will function as singing and displaying habitat for males in springtime. Hens will nest in older, more-mature strips, then lead their growing fledglings into more recent cuts whose thicker stems will offer good protective cover and feeding habitat. Lightly graveled log landings will provide roosting cover in late summer.


The other 117 acres of the Woodcock Management Area consist of several reverting fields and lowland wooded areas with small openings. The fields extend north from Back Maitland Road to a forested corridor through which Jacks Creek flows. Managers periodically mow parts of the fields to keep them functioning as woodcock singing and displaying habitat, and they remove taller trees when they begin to cast shade on the shrubs that grow thickly in the old fields. Woodcock forage for worms in the dense shrub habitat, and they find nighttime roosting cover along the edges of mowed areas.

planted alder

Managers have planted alders and bigtooth aspen in the old fields. They plan to spot-spray exotic invasive shrubs with herbicides, so that native shrubs can compete successfully with the non-native invasives. Wildlife biologists will establish and run a woodcock singing ground survey route on the management area starting in spring 2012.

Golden-winged warblers should breed on both the northern, lowland portion of the Woodcock Management Area and on the southern, upland part in the regrowing logged areas. They will find feeding cover in the dense vegetation, and nesting habitat in the thickets of blackberry that have expanded on the recently logged strips. Male warblers sing from perches in snags and den trees that were left standing during logging operations. Other young-forest songbirds recently sighted during the spring breeding season include Eastern towhee, indigo bunting, and Brewster’s warbler (a cross between golden-winged and blue-winged warblers).

Funding and Partners

Pennsylvania Game Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Wildlife Management Institute.

How to Visit

The Woodcock Management Area on SGL 107 is 6 miles east of Lewistown along Pennsylvania State Route 2004. For more information on this project, contact Pennsylvania Game Commission land manager Steve Bernardi at the Commission’s Southcentral Division regional office at 814-643-1831.