While much of the year McKee Beshers is popular with hunters, in early August several fields of sunflowers come into bloom drawing people from all around.
Every year the location of these sunflower fields moves around the wildlife management area (WMA), but their purpose remains the same. They are planted as a food source for mourning doves and other wildlife species. Mourning doves are hunted in these fields during hunting seasons that generally begin on September 1 and continue through early January.
Located on River Road in Western Montgomery County, McKee-Beshers WMA is a 2,000-acre tract with a mixture of woodlands, fields, wooded bottomland and managed wetland. The WMA shares a common boundary with the National Park Service Chesapeake and Ohio Canal to the south and borders Seneca Creek State Park, a 1,200-acre public hunting area, on the east.
The diverse habitat of the WMA provides a great home for over 200 species of songbirds, many amphibians and reptiles, deer, wild turkey, and waterfowl among many others.
There are many trails through the forests and fields at the site. With it backing up to the C&O Canal, you can enter the 184 mile path from Washington DC to Cumberland, Maryland.
The hunting tradition at McKee-Beshers goes back to 1695 when a ranger named Richard Brightwell “sought to establish a settlement far from his neighbors, where he and his friend could enjoy the pleasure and excitements of fishing and hunting.”