Hunting

Grassy Lake WMA

Acreage

12,983

Contact

jhaynes@wlf.la.gov; 337-948-0255; 5652 Hwy 182, Opelousas, LA 70570

Parish

Avoyelles

Owner/manager

LDWF

Description

Grassy Lake WMA lies within the Red River alluvial floodplain and is subject to periodic backwater flooding. The terrain is flat and drainage is poor. Bayou Natchitoches transects the area and has several smaller tributaries. There are four major waterbodies on the WMA: Smith Bay, Grassy Lake, Lake Chenier, and Red River Bay.

The WMA’s forest cover is entirely bottomland hardwood species such as willow, cypress, bitter pecan, swamp privet, water elm, overcup oak, cottonwood, sycamore, honey locust, and hackberry. Understory vegetation is typical for such poorly drained land. Common species include buttonbush, deciduous holly, smilax, dewberry, rattan, peppervine, and various annual grasses and sedges.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting and trapping: Popular game species include swamp rabbit, white-tailed deer, squirrel, turkey, woodcock, and waterfowl. There is a youth deer season and turkey lottery hunt. Trapping for furbearers is allowed. See regulations for details.

Fishing and boating: Recreational fishing is fair for largemouth bass, crappie, and bream. Commercial fishing is allowed by special permit. See regulations for details.

Camping: There are two primitive camping areas on Grassy Lake WMA.

Other: hiking, photography, birding

Directions

Take LA Hwy 451 to Bordelonville, cross the levee at the Bayou des Glaises flood control structure, and follow the gravel road for 6.5 miles. LDWF maintains approximately 20 miles of all-weather limestone roads on Grassy Lake WMA. There is also a 7-mile network of ATV trails.

Fort Polk WMA

Map: 

Acreage

105,545

Contact

wsmith@wlf.la.gov; 337-491-2575; 1213 North Lakeshore Dr, Lake Charles, LA, 70601

Parish

Vernon

Owner/manager

U.S. Army, U.S. Forest Service

Description

Fort Polk-Vernon WMA is a military training facility. The area has many all-weather roads, which make all portions accessible for recreational use when it is open.

The WMA’s terrain is primarily rolling hills interspersed with flats. There are several fairly large stream bottoms in addition to numerous small creeks. Longleaf pine dominates about 70 percent of the area. Blackjack, sandjack, and red and post oaks are scattered throughout the pines. The understory is very sparse and is composed of wax myrtle, dogwood, huckleberry, yaupon, French mulberry, and seedlings of the overstory.

The creek bottom overstory consists of willow, water, and cow oak; beech; sweetgum; blackgum; and magnolia. The understory contains seedlings of the overstory as well as red and white bay, sweetleaf, ironweed, fetterbush, wild azalea, gallberry, deciduous holly, and viburnums. The area also has bog communities with unusual plant forms such as Venus fly trap, sundew, pitcher plant, and sphagnum moss.

Managers plant approximately 110 acres of wildlife openings in the area each year with browntop millet, sunflower, sorghum, cowpea, and winter wheat.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting and trapping: Game species available for hunting include deer, squirrel, quail, woodcock, dove, rabbit, and turkey. There is a youth turkey lottery hunt. Trapping is allowed for raccoon, fox, bobcat, skunk, opossum, beaver, mink, and coyote. All hunters and trappers must obtain an annual permit from the U.S. Army. See regulations for details.

Birding and wildlife viewing: There are numerous species of birds on Fort Polk-Vernon WMA, including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.

Camping: Camping is not permitted on Fort Polk-Vernon WMA, but there are camping areas available on nearby U.S. Forest Service lands.

Directions

Fort Polk-Vernon WMA is located 10 miles southeast of Leesville, just east of U.S. Hwy 171, 1 mile south of LA Hwy 28, and 1 mile north of LA Hwy 10. You must have a self-clearing permit to access this WMA.

Salvador/Timken WMA

Acreage

34,520

Contact

jgalloway@wlf.la.gov; 504-284-5264

Parish

St. Charles

Owner/manager

LDWF, City Park Commission of New Orleans

Description

Salvador WMA is located along the northwestern shore of Lake Salvador. LDWF acquired Salvador WMA in 1968. The area is primarily freshwater marsh with many scattered ponds. Common marsh plants are maiden cane, cattail, bull tongue, and numerous other aquatic plants. There are several large stands of cypress in the northern portions of the WMA. These stands of trees grow on old natural stream levees, which were once distributary channels of the Mississippi River.

Timken WMA is a marsh island, located immediately east of Salvador WMA. LDWF leases the property from the City Park Commission of New Orleans. The area is identified as Couba Island on maps; however, it has been named Timken WMA after the former landowner who donated it to New Orleans. Like Salvador WMA, Timken WMA consists of freshwater to intermediate marsh.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting and trapping: Available game species include waterfowl, deer, rabbit, squirrel, rails, gallinules, and snipe. There is a youth deer season. Furbearers include mink, nutria, muskrat, raccoon, opossum, and otter. See regulations for details.

Fishing and boating: Freshwater fishing for bass, bream, crappie, catfish, drum, and garfish is excellent. Commercial fishing is prohibited. See regulations for details.

Birding and wildlife viewing: Both WMAs provide excellent habitat for waterfowl, furbearers, and alligators, as well as nesting habitat for the previously endangered bald eagle.

Directions

These WMAs are located about 12 miles southwest of New Orleans. You can only access them by boat, primarily via Bayou Segnette from Westwego into Lake Cataouatche, then west to the areas; Sellers Canal to Bayou Verrett into Lake Cataouatche, then west to the areas; or via Bayou Des Allemands. The interior marshes are accessible via the areas’ many canals, bayous, and ditches.

Sandy Hollow WMA

Acreage

4,655

Contact

fburks@wlf.la.gov; 985-543-4781; 42371 Phyllis Ann Dr, Hammond, LA 70403

Parish

Tangipahoa

Owner/manager

LDWF, Tangipahoa Parish School Board

Overview

The terrain on Sandy Hollow WMA is mostly rolling hills with young longleaf pine; there is only a small portion with mature trees. Hardwoods are the main species in the few creek bottoms.

LDWF owns 4,473 acres of the WMA and leases the remaining 182 acres from the Tangipahoa Parish School Board. The WMA is divided into three separate tracts near Wilmer—the larger tract is north of LA Hwy 10, a smaller one is south of Hwy 10, and the third is south of Hwy 10 and east of Hwy 1061.

LDWF primarily manages the area for upland game birds such as quail and dove. LDWF is also creating wildlife openings to increase wildlife use on the WMA, as well as hunter success. Although Sandy Hollow WMA is small compared to other WMAs, it is a valuable research area; LDWF conducts numerous habitat, game, and non-game studies on the WMA.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting: Quail, dove, and woodcock hunting are good. There is a small game emphasis area and field trial courses and trails on the WMA. Deer, turkey, and squirrel hunting are fair due to limited habitat. There are youth deer and squirrel seasons and a youth dove hunt. See regulations for details.

In addition, there is a physically challenged deer season. Click here for a physically challenged hunter permit application and additional information.

Directions

Sandy Hollow WMA is located approximately 10 miles northeast of Amite.

Sherburne WMA

Acreage

43,637

Contact

jhaynes@wlf.la.gov; 337-948-0255; 5652 Hwy 182, Opelousas, LA 70570

Parish

Pointe Coupee, St. Martin, Iberville

Owner/manager

LDWF, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Description

Sherburne WMA is located in the Morganza Floodway system of the Atchafalaya Basin between the Atchafalaya River and the East Protection Guide Levee. LDWF owns Sherburne WMA (11,800 acres) but manages the area as one unit along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge (15,220 acres) and another 16,618 acres owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The area is classified as bottomland hardwoods with four dominant tree species groups: cottonwood-sycamore, oak-gum-hackberry-ash, willow-cypress-ash, and overcup oak-bitter pecan. Midstory species include seedlings of dominant species along with boxelder, maple, red mulberry, and rough-leaf dogwood. LDWF has managed the timber in some areas to improve habitat; ground cover in these areas is very dense and provides excellent habitat for many game and non-game species. Common ground cover species include rattan, greenbrier, Rubus sp., trumpet creeper, Virginia creeper, poison ivy, elderberry, and milkweed.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting and trapping: Deer, squirrel, and woodcock hunting are good; rabbit hunting is fair. Waterfowl hunting is seasonal, depending on many factors, but the opportunities to hunt waterfowl are excellent. Turkey populations are small, and turkey hunting is limited. There are general and youth waterfowl and turkey lottery hunts, youth deer and squirrel seasons, a youth deer lottery hunt, and a small game emphasis area. In addition, physically challenged wheelchair-confined deer and waterfowl hunting areas are available on this WMA. Click here for a physically challenged hunter permit application and additional information. There is also a disabled veterans lottery hunt for waterfowl. See regulations for details.

Shooting range: Sherburne Shooting Range has rifle, pistol, skeet/trap, and archery ranges. Click here or call 337-566-2251 for details.

Camping: There are two designated camping areas—a primitive area on the southern portion and an area with running water on the northern portion.

Directions

You can access Sherburne WMA via Hwy 975, which connects with Hwy 190 east of Krotz Springs on the north and I-10 at Whiskey Bay on the south. Access routes to the interior include a series of all-weather roads, ATV trails, and Big and Little Alabama Bayous. There are two public boat launches on Big Alabama Bayou. There is one public launch on the northern portion of Little Alabama Bayou.

J.C. “Sonny” Gilbert WMA

Acreage

7,524

Contact

mmcgee@wlf.la.gov; 318-343-4044; 368 CenturyLink Dr, Monroe, LA 71203

Parish

Catahoula

Owner/manager

LDWF

Description

The unique habitat on J.C. “Sonny” Gilbert WMA supports a diversity of plants and animals, including rare and endangered species. The WMA’s terrain is extremely rugged with high ridges dropping sharply into creek bottoms and elevations ranging from 35 to 245 feet above sea level. Four small streams, totaling approximately 10 miles in length, meander through the WMA. Big Creek, the longest of these streams, is a rapidly flowing stream with a sand, gravel, and sandstone ledge bottom.

The forest overstory is a mixture of loblolly-shortleaf pine and upland hardwoods. The main tree species are magnolia; sweetgum; blackgum; loblolly and shortleaf pine; hickory; elm; ash; white, southern red, cherrybark, water, and post oak; beech; red maple; and hophornbeam. The understory species include Vitis sp., deciduous holly, Smilax sp., baccharis, flowering dogwood, rattan, huckleberry, oak leaf hydrangea, buckeye, blackberry, silky camellia, sourwood, downy serviceberry, Crataegus sp., and many other grasses and herbaceous plants.

The majority of the WMA (approximately 6,180 acres) was established in 1980; LDWF purchased 2,021 acres of the property and 4,159 acres were donated. Between 1984 and 2002, LDWF purchased approximately 1,345 additional acres in various tracts.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting and trapping: Popular game species on J.C. “Sonny” Gilbert WMA include white-tailed deer, squirrel, and turkey. The turkey population is healthy—LDWF holds an annual public lottery hunt for turkey on this WMA as well as an annual youth lottery turkey hunt on the weekend prior to the regular turkey season. There is also a youth deer season. Woodcock, rabbit, and raccoon are also available. See regulations for details.

Fishing and boating: The Boeuf and Ouachita Rivers provide boating access to the western portion of the WMA. There is an impounded 5-acre gravel pit which offers some fishing opportunities. A boat launch is available at the impoundment. Freshwater species including bass, sunfish, and catfish are popular with area users, but fishing is limited by lack of available aquatic habitat. See regulations for details.

Camping: There are two primitive camping areas on J.C. “Sonny” Gilbert WMA.

Birding and wildlife viewing: Louisiana black bear frequent J.C. “Sonny” Gilbert WMA; reported sightings have been increasing. Black bear research is ongoing on this WMA.

Birders often observe bald eagles and their nests in the area. Many neotropical birds visit the WMA every year, and the area is home to large numbers of passerine birds.

Hiking: There are three nature trails on J.C. “Sonny” Gilbert WMA. The Big Creek Hiking Trail, located on the north end of the WMA, winds through 7 miles of stands of mature mixed pine hardwoods and passes many scenic points of interest including several waterfalls. Hikers should be aware this trail is rugged and best suited for the physically fit. St. Mary`s Falls Trail is also located on the north end of the WMA; it is a 1-3/4-mile trail through upland mixed pine hardwoods and passes several smaller waterfalls and scenic views. The Rock Falls Trail is located on the south end of the WMA; it is a 1-1/2 mile trail though through mature stands of mixed pine hardwoods. The waterfall along this trail measures near 17 feet and is reported to be one of the tallest in the state. These three trails offer some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities and natural beauty in the state.

Other: horseback riding, berry picking

Directions

J.C. “Sonny” Gilbert WMA is located 6 miles west of Sicily Island. Major access routes to the WMA include LA Hwy 8 and 915. LDWF maintains a system of all-weather gravel roads and several ATV trails that provide access to area users. There are three self-clearing permit stations located at the WMA’s main entrances.

Floy Ward McElroy WMA

Acreage

681

Contact

mmcgee@wlf.la.gov; 318-343-4044; 368 CenturyLink Dr, Monroe, LA 71203

Parish

Richland

Owner/manager

LDWF

Description

Floy Ward McElroy donated this property to LDWF in 1990 to establish a wildlife refuge and management area. Mrs. McElroy retained use of the property, primarily for cattle production, until her death in November 2000. Mrs. McElroy mandated that LDWF use this WMA for outdoor education and youth hunting activities.

The property consists of pastures with scattered hardwood timber, a band of hardwoods along the Boeuf River, which borders the WMA for 4 miles, and one stand of approximately 20 acres of bottomland hardwoods. The upland hardwood habitat on Floy Ward McElroy WMA is unique in this part of the state. Sloughs and backwater areas are found along the Boeuf River. LDWF has planted 240 acres of the pastures with hardwood seedlings. Tree species on the WMA include water, willow, cherrybark, cow, Shumard, overcup, nuttall, white, and post oak; hickory; sweet and bitter pecan (water hickory); sweetgum; sycamore, basswood; elm; cypress; swamp cottonwood; persimmon; and honey locust. The forest is very fragmented; many trees are found along old fencerows and river scars.

The majority of the WMA’s terrain is flat, varying only 10 feet in elevation, from 75 to 85 feet below sea level. Elevation dips to 65 feet near creek bottoms and the Boeuf River. Other than backwater flooding of the drains stemming from the Boeuf River, the property does not flood.

In the early 1980s, beavers impounded a scar of the Boeuf River, creating a swamp-like 32-acre lake. Permanent water has killed most of the timber in this area, except cypress, black willow, water elm, and buttonbush.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting: LDWF holds annual youth lottery hunts for white-tailed deer and squirrel on Floy Ward McElroy WMA. There is also an open youth dove hunt the second weekend of the dove season each year. See regulations for details.

In addition, LDWF holds a physically challenged wheelchair-confined lottery hunt for deer. Click here for a physically challenged hunter permit application and additional information.

Birding and wildlife viewing: The wetland area of this WMA provides habitat for wood ducks, wintering waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, alligators, and wetland mammals. LDWF has constructed an observation platform overlooking the lake.

Directions

Floy Ward McElroy WMA is located 2 miles north of Rayville. This WMA is only open to vehicular traffic on specified days.

Soda Lake WMA

Map: 

Acreage

2,500

Contact

jjohnson@wlf.la.gov; 318-371-3050; 9961 Hwy 80, Minden, LA 71055

Parish

Caddo

Owner/manager

Caddo Levee District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Description

Soda Lake WMA was historically a seasonal lake that flooded during late winter and spring. A similar water regime continues today, but only the bluffs located on the western edge of the WMA remain above flood level. The lower elevation habitat is a broken woodland consisting of willow, cottonwood, ash, hackberry, and overcup oak. Due to annual flooding, the understory is very sparse and contains rattan, peppervine, dewberry, and sawbriars. Open areas support wild millet, smartweed, and several species of grasses.

The rugged escarpment of Twelve Mile Bayou on the western edge of the area supports a diverse, old growth forest. Approximately 35 acres in size, this forest is a unique natural upland plant community of shortleaf pine, sweetgum, and white, post, cherrybark, shumard, and cow oak. The dominant trees are estimated to be 100 to 130 years old. Two rare plants, American alumroot (Heuchra americana L.) and lowland brittle fern (Cystopteris protrusa Bernh.) have been found growing on the north and east-facing bluffs.

LDWF manages Soda Lake WMA primarily as a refuge for migrant waterfowl and songbirds. The WMA also provides year-round habitat for a diverse population of resident songbirds, mammals, and insects. Together, LDWF, Ducks Unlimited, and the Caddo Levee District maintain a series of moist soil impoundments that provide excellent waterfowl and bird watching opportunities.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting and trapping: There is an archery-only season for white-tailed deer. Small game and waterfowl hunting are available under special conditions. See regulations for details.

Fishing and boating: There is a public boat launch which can be accessed through the WMA parking area on the south side of LA Hwy 169. The launch allows convenient access for boating and fishing on the upper end of Twelve Mile Bayou. See regulations for details.

Other: birding, wildlife viewing

Directions

Soda Lake WMA is located about 15 miles north of Shreveport, approximately 1 mile east of LA Hwy 1. You can access the southern end of the area from LA Hwy 173 west of Twelve Mile Bayou and the northern end from LA Hwy 169 east of Twelve Mile Bayou. Interior access is limited to walk-in and bicycles only.

Elm Hall

Map: 

Acreage

2,839

Contact

jhaynes@wlf.la.gov; 337-948-0255; 5652 Hwy 182, Opelousas, LA 70570

Parish

Assumption

Owner/manager

LDWF

Description

Acquired by LDWF in 1998, Elm Hall WMA is located on the northeast corner of Lake Verret; the western boundary of the WMA fronts the lake. There is an aesthetically rich, naturally flooded cypress-tupelo swamp adjacent to Lake Verret. Moving east, elevation rises slightly toward a more bottomland hardwood area. Bayous and oilfield canals provide access and diversity to the WMA. Most of the swamp stays flooded year-round; the bottomland areas periodically flood.

Common swamp plant species include cypress, tupelo, buttonbush, alligator weed, smartweed, elephant ear, and duckweed. The main species in the bottomland areas are red maple, black willow, swamp privet, and hackberry. Cottonwood, sycamore and oaks are found on the slightly higher areas, especially on the banks of oilfield canals.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting and trapping: Common game species are white-tailed deer, rabbit, and squirrel. Waterfowl species are present during winter migration, and wood ducks are found on the area year-round. Hunters must have a self-clearing permit. See regulations for details.

Fishing and boating: Fishing for bream, white crappie, and bass is excellent in the oilfield canals and on the edge of the WMA in the northeast corner of Lake Verret. Other common fish include catfish, mullet, and freshwater drum. See regulations for details.

Camping: Camping is allowed in the designated camping area.

Birding: Bald eagles frequent Elm Hall WMA and nest in the tall cypress trees surrounding Lake Verret. Ospreys, hawks, owls, and neotropical migrant birds are also found on the WMA.

Directions

Elm Hall WMA is located 5 miles west of Napoleonville. You can only access this WMA by boat; major public launches nearby include: Attakapas Landing at the end of Hwy 401, Pierre Part on Hwy 70, and the end of Hwy 402.

Spring Bayou WMA

Acreage

12,506

Contact

jhaynes@wlf.la.gov; 337-948-0255; 5652 Hwy 182, Opelousas, LA 70570

Parish

Avoyelles

Owner/manager

LDWF

Description

Spring Bayou WMA is in the low-lying Red River backwater system. In general, the terrain is low, poorly drained land, with numerous lakes and narrow ridges. About 40 percent of the WMA is covered by water, with various open lakes, bayous, bays, and sloughs. The area is drained by Little River.

The forest cover consists of nuttall and overcup oak with bitter pecan on the higher elevations. The lower elevations contain overcup oak, bitter pecan, swamp privet, and buttonbush. Lake edges are fringed with cypress, willow, and buttonbush. The understory consists of deciduous holly, hawthorn, dogwood, and seedlings of the overstory. Other plants include rattan, greenbrier, peppervine, trumpet creeper, dewberry, smartweed, verbena, wild lettuce, vetch, sedges, and grasses. Aquatic species include water hyacinth, alligator weed, delta duck potato, water primrose, lotus, and duckweed.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting and trapping: Available game species include deer, squirrel, rabbit, waterfowl, and woodcock. There are youth deer and squirrel seasons and a youth turkey lottery hunt. Trapping for furbearers is allowed; available species are raccoon, mink, bobcat, and nutria. See regulations for details.

Fishing and boating: Fishing is excellent and very popular during the spring and summer. LDWF has released triploid carp throughout the area to combat encroachment of aquatic vegetation and improve the health of the fishery. Common species are largemouth bass, various panfish, and catfish. Commercial fishing is allowed by permit. Boating and waterskiing are popular in open water portions of the WMA. See regulations for details.

Camping: There are campgrounds with electricity accessible via Spring Bayou Road.

Other: hiking, photography, birding

Directions

Spring Bayou WMA is located 2 miles east of Marksville, off LA Hwy 115 and 452. These highways connect to LA Hwy 1 and 107 in the immediate vicinity of Marksville. Vehicle access to the east side is via an improved shell road off the Bordelonville levee. You can mainly access the interior by boat. There are three concrete boat ramps on the WMA. You can access the Boggy Bayou boat launch and campgrounds via Spring Bayou Road.

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