Hunting

Sicily Island Hills WMA

Information
Owned: 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Acreage: 
7,524 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
(318) 757-4571

Sicily Island Hills Wildlife Management Area (SIHWMA) is located in northeast Catahoula Parish, 6 miles west of Sicily Island, Louisiana. Major routes to the area are Louisiana highways 8 and 915. A series of unimproved roads and trails provide access to the interior of the area. Boeuf and Ouachita Rivers supply boat access to the western portion of the property. SIHWMA is comprised of approximately 7,524 acres with the majority acquired by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in December 1980. The terrain is extremely rugged with high ridges dropping sharply into the creek bottoms. The elevations range from 35 feet M.S.L. to approximately 245 feet M.S.L. The area is extremely unique and supports a diverse group of plants and animals including rare and endangered species. The forest overstory is a mixture of loblolly-shortleaf pine and upland hardwoods. The property consists of a variety of uneven-aged timber species, with a relatively closed canopy. On ridges, the predominant tree species are loblolly and shortleaf pine. Also present on the ridges are hickory, elm, ash, and a variety of upland oak species. The lower elevations and creek bottoms support stands of beech, magnolia, hickory, sweet gum, black gum, and oak. Important species in the understory are flowering dogwood, arrowwood, rattan, huckleberry, buckeye, greenbriar, blackberry, and grape.
SIHWMA offers many recreational opportunities for the outdoor oriented public. There are two primitive camping areas and three nature trails including a rugged 7-mile long hiking trail. Big Creek Nature Trail winds through stands of mature pine hardwoods and passes many scenic points of interest including several waterfalls. The area supports a substantial turkey population which is hunted by lottery only. A youth lottery turkey hunt is held each year on the weekend prior to the regular turkey season. Deer and squirrel hunting are popular with the public. Additional information may be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at P.O. Box 1640, Ferriday, LA 71334. Phone (318) 757-4571.

Floy Ward McElroy WMA

Information
Owned: 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Acreage: 
681 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
(318) 343-4044

Floy Ward McElroy Henry donated a 681acre tract in Richland Parish, two miles north of Rayville, to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in 1990 for the purpose of establishing a wildlife refuge and wildlife management area. Mrs. McElroy retained use of the property until her death in November 2000. Mrs. McElroy mandated that the Floy Ward McElroy WMA be use restricted for outdoor education and youth hunting activities. The WMA is not open to vehicular traffic on a daily basis.

The property consists of pastures with scattered hardwood timber, a band of hardwoods along the Boeuf River, and one stand of approximately 20 acres of bottomland hardwoods. Sloughs and backwater areas are found along the Boeuf River, which borders the property for a distance of four miles. Cattle production was the primary use of the tract during Mrs. McElroy?s ownership. Department personnel have planted 240 acres of the pastures with hardwood seedlings.

Timber species on the area include water oak, willow oak, cherrybark oak, cow oak, Shumard oak, overcup oak, Nuttall oak, white oak, post oak, hickory, sweet pecan, bitter pecan (water hickory), sweetgum, sycamore, basswood, elm, cypress, swamp cottonwood, persimmon, and honey locust. The forest is very fragmented with many trees occurring along old fencerows and river scars.

A swamp-like 32-acre lake was created in the early 1980's when beavers impounded a scar of the Boeuf River. Permanent water has killed most of the timber on the site, except cypress. Black willow, water elm, and buttonbush are present. This wetland is providing habitat for wood ducks, wintering waterfowl, wading birds, shore birds, alligators, and wetland mammals. An observation platform has been constructed overlooking the lake.

An access road and parking areas have been constructed. Additional development plans include a fishing pond and nature trails.

Additional information may be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 368 CenturyTel Drive, Monroe, Louisiana 71203. Phone (318) 343-4044.

Soda Lake WMA

Information
Owned: 
Caddo Levee District, USACOE
Acreage: 
2,500 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
(318) 371-3050
Map: 

Soda Lake Wildlife Management Area is located in Caddo Parish about 15 miles north of Shreveport, approximately one mile east of Louisiana Highway 1. Access into the area at the southern end is from La. Hwy. 173 west of Twelve Mile Bayou and at the northern end from La. Hwy. 169 east of Twelve Mile Bayou. Access in the area is limited to walk-in and bicycles only.
Soda Lake is comprised of 2,500 acres owned by the Caddo Parish Levee District and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and leased to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The entire area is located in an area that historically was a seasonal lake that flooded during late winter and spring. A similar water regime continues today with only the bluffs located on the western edge of the area remaining 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 containing rattan, peppervine, dewberry, and sawbriars. Open areas support wild millet, smartweed and several species of grasses.
The rugged escarpment of Twelve Mile Bayou located on the western edge of the area supports a diverse, old growth forest. Approximately 35 acres in size, a unique, natural, upland plant community of shortleaf pine, oak and hickory can be found there. Dominant species include shortleaf pine, sweetgum, white, post, cherrybark, shumard, and cow oaks. The dominant trees are estimated to be 100 to 130 years old. Two state-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.
The Department manages the area primarily as a refuge for migrant waterfowl and songbirds. However, Soda Lake WMA also provides year around habitat for a diverse population of resident songbirds, game and non-game mammals and insects. A cooperative agreement among the Department, Ducks Unlimited and the Caddo Levee District helps to maintain a series of moist soils impoundments that provides excellent waterfowl and bird watching opportunities.
White-tailed deer hunting opportunities are provided through an archery-only season. The area is a noted year around bird and wildlife viewing area.
Camping is not available on the area.
Additional information may be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 1401 Talton Street, Minden, Louisiana 71055. Phone (318) 371-3050.

Elm Hall

Information
Owned: 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Acreage: 
2,839 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
(337) 948-0255
Map: 

 
Elm Hall Wildlife Management Area is located in Assumption Parish about five miles west of Napoleonville. It is located on the northeast corner of Lake Verret with the western boundary of the WMA fronting the Lake. The land was acquired in 1998.
Access to the 2,839 acre tract is by boat only with major public launches available: (1) Attakapas Landing at the end of Hwy. 401, (2) Pierre Part on Hwy 70, and (3) end of Hwy 402.
An aesthetically rich, natural flooded cypress-tupelo swamp is present next to Lake Verret. There is a slight elevation rise moving east through the area toward a more bottomland hardwood area. Bayous and oilfield canals provide access and diversity to the area. Most of the swamp stays flooded year round with the bottomland areas receiving periodic flooding.
The prevalent swamp plant species are cypress, tupelo, buttenbush, alligator weed, smartweed, elephant ear and duckweed. In the bottomland areas Red maple, black willow, swamp privet, and hackberry are prevalent. Cottonwood, sycamore and oaks are present on the slightly higher areas, especially on the banks of oilfield canals.
Common game animals are white-tailed deer, rabbit and squirrel. Waterfowl species are present during winter migration. Wood ducks are year-round residents on the area. Other animals present on the area are beaver, nutria, otter, bobcat, opossum, and alligators.
Bald eagles nest in the tall cypress trees surrounding Lake Verret and will frequent area. Ospreys, hawks, owls and neo-tropical migrants are present on the area.
Excellent bream, sac-a-lait and bass fishing occurs in the oilfield canals and on the edge of the management area in the northeast corner of Lake Verret. Other fish include catfish, mullet and freshwater drum. Camping is allowed in the designated camping area. A self-clearing permit is required for hunters only. Additional information may be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 5652 Hwy 182, Opelousas, Louisiana 70570. Telephone 337-948-0255.

Spring Bayou WMA

Information
Owned: 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Acreage: 
12,506 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
(318) 253-7068

Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Area is located in north central Avoyelles Parish, two miles east of Marksville, off Louisiana Highways 115 and 452. These highways connect to Louisiana Highways 1 and 107 in the immediate vicinity of Marksville. Convenient access to the area headquarters on the west side is provided by a blacktop road. Access by vehicle to the east side is provided by an improved shell road off the Bordelonville levee. Access to the interior is mainly by boat. Three concrete boat ramps are provided for this purpose.
Spring Bayou contains 12,506 acres and is owned by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The area is in the low lying Red River backwater system. General topography is low, poorly drained land, with numerous finger lakes and narrow ridges. About 40 percent 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 oak 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 finged with cypress, willow and buttonbush.
The understory consists of deciduous holly, hawthorn, dogwood and the saplings of the overstory. Other plants include rattan, greenbrier, peppervine, trumpet creeper, dewberry, smartweed, verbena, wild lettuce, vetch, sedges and grasses. Aquatic species are water hyacinth, alligator weed, delta duck potato, water primrose, lotus, duckweed, and others.
Game species hunted are deer, squirrels, rabbits, waterfowl, and woodcock. Bowhunting is allowed for deer. Trapping for furbearers is allowed and species avalailable are raccoon, mink, bobcat and nutria.
Fishing is excellent; principal species caught are largemouth bass, various panfish, and catfish. Commercial fishing is allowed by permit. Species caught are catfish, buffalo, freshwater drum, and garfish. Boating and water skiing are popular in open water portions.
Additional information concerning Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Area can be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 5652 Hwy 182, Opelousas, LA 70570. Phone 337-948-0255

Elbow Slough WMA

Information
Owned: 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Acreage: 
160 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
(318) 371-3050

Elbow Slough is a small tract consisting of 160 acres located in southeastern Rapides parish near the intersection of U.S. Hwy 1 and LA Hwy 3170. It was formerly cropland.The area lies within the Red River floodplain.Terrain is flat with heavy clay soils that are poorly drained. Approximately 100 acres were planted to native hardwood species in the early 1990's. A 40 acre impoundment was constructed and is managed to provide seasonal shallow water habitat to benefit migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, and wading birds. The remaining acreage is in natural water and planted fields. Although small in size Elbow Slough provides quality habitat for numerous wildlife species. A wide variety of resident and migratory song birds utilize the area as well as many species of wading birds. Mammals ranging in size from shrews to white-tailed deer make Elbow Slough their home. Hunting opportunities are limited due to the size of the tract. However, success is usually good for dove and rabbits. Hunters should take note that the use of non-toxic shot is required for all hunting.

Tangipahoa Parish School Board

Information
Owned: 
Tangipahoa Parish School Board
Acreage: 
1,643 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
(985) 543-4777

In April of 2003 the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries entered into an agreement with the Tangipahoa Parish School Board to free-lease some of their "16" sections. The intent of both parties is to better manage wildlife and insure continued public access. The tracts leased are relatively small and scattered throughout the Parish but do offier the Public additional outdoor recreational opportunties. The first tract is located in the center of the Parish, south of La. Hwy. 16. It contains 347 acres of upland pine habitat actively managed for loblolly pine timber production. The site consists of timber stands of various ages with scattered hardwoods. Access is via Neal Road west of Briar Patch Road and La. Hwy. 445. Game species found on site include whitetail deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, mourning dove, bobwhite quail, and woodcock. The second site is also found south of La. Hwy. 16 and can be accessed by heading south on the Dummyline Road at the Sharon M.B. Church. This 649 acre tract is bordered on the east by the Hillcrest School Road. Longleaf pine, loblolly pine and mixed pine/hardwood habitats occur on this site. Again whitetail deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, mourning dove bobwhite quail, and woodcock occur on this site. The third site is located North of La. HWY. 38, near Lewiston. It can be accessed via Brumfield Lane. Whitetail deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, mourning dove, bobwhite quail and woodcock occur on the site. All sites require self-clearing permits. Hunting seasons on the three tracts are the same as outside except still hunt only for deer; beagles are only allowed for rabbits Jan. 24-Feb. 28; squirrel dogs are only permitted Jan. 24-Feb. 28 and Nightime raccoon hunting allowed Jan. 24-Feb. 28. No horseback riding during gun season for deer or turkey and no ATVs are allowed. For more information contact the Region 7 office at 225/765-2360.
 
42371 Phyllis Ann Rd. Hammond, LA  70403 985-543-4777

Thistlethwaite WMA

Information
Owned: 
Thistlethwaite Heirs
Acreage: 
11,100 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
(337) 948-0255

Thistlethwaite Wildlife Management Area is located in north central St. Landry Parish, immediately northeast of Washington off Louisiana Highway 10. Access by I-49 also, Lebeau exit. Seventeen miles of all-weather shell roads are maintained within the area, allowing convenient access to virtually the entire tract. Approximately eleven miles of woods trails are also maintained for the convenience of hunters.
Thistlethwaite is 11,000 acres in size and is owned by Thistlethwaite heirs.
The terrain is generally flat bottomland, with a gentle north-to-south slope. Drainage is slow, with standing water for considerable periods after heavy rains.
Forest cover is predominantly oak, most commonly water oak, willow oak, overcup oak, white oak, cherrybark oak, nuttall oak, cow oak, and post oak. Other species are bitter pecan, sweet pecan, hichory, hackberry, sweetgum, ash, elm and maple. The lower areas contain cypress and tupelo gum.
Selective timber cuttings have enhanced a natural understory of dogwood, redbud, spice bush, French Mulberry, greenbriar, rattan, blackberry, and many others. Choice browse plants are dogwood and wild lettuce. Japanese honeysuckle grows profusely. Game species are deer, squirrels, rabbits, wood ducks, and woodcock. The deer herd is outstanding in quality, with many trophy bucks taken by hunters. Trapping for furbearing animals is permitted. The species caught are beaver, raccoon, mink, bobcat, otter and opossum. Hawks, owls, woodpeckers and neo-tropical migrants are very prevalent on the area.
No camping is allowed by the landowner. Non-consumptive activities include nature walks and nature studies by various civic organizations, schools and the public.
Self-clearing permits are required for all activities on the area. Additional information may be obtained from Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 5652 Hwy 182, Opelousas, Louisiana, 70570. Telephone 337-948-0255.

Dewey Wills

Information
Owned: 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Acreage: 
61,871 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
(318) 487-5885

Dewey Wills Wildlife Management Areas is located in the southern portion of LaSalle and Catahoula Parishes in Central Louisiana approximately 20 miles northeast of Alexandria. The area is easily accessible from the large metropolitan areas via Louisiana Highway 28 . The interior contains a network of all-weather roads providing vehicular access.

Dewey Wills Wildlife Management Area is composed of approximately 61,871 acres and is owned by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and is managed to provide wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation.

The area is flat, poorly drained land that is subject to annual overflow. This tract is interlaced with a large number of bayous and lakes.

The forest cover is a mixture of bottomland hardwoods. The major overstory species are overcup oak, bitter pecan, nuttall oak, ash, elm, and willow oak. The understory of the flats or lower elevations is composed mainly of swamp-privet, reproduction of the overstory, and native grasses and forbs. On the higher elevations the understory is composed of deciduous holly, hawthorn, smilax, swamp dogwood, peppervine, rattan vine, dewberry, blackberry, palmetto, and reproduction of the overstory.

The timber was harvested prior to Department ownership, creating an open canopy, and the removal of livestock competition was all that was necessary to stimulate understory production. At present, the forest canopy has closed and browse plants have been reduced. In recent years a very serious combination of conditions known as Oak Decline has developed on the area. As a result large numbers of trees have died. The timber management program, including harvests, has been modified to counteract this threat.

Game species hunted are deer, squirrels, rabbits, raccoon, turkey and waterfowl. Each year the area produces trophy sized bucks.  Trapping for furbearers is allowed and the species available include raccoon, nutria, beaver, mink, bobcat, fox and coyotes.

A tremendous variety of non-game bird species are present on the area. Neo-tropical nesters, shorebirds, wading birds, and various raptors are among the birds that can be found on the WMA.

The area affords excellent sport and commercial fishing. Species caught include black bass, white bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, and other species of sunfish. Commercial species present include buffalo, carp, drum, gar, and catfish.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has constructed and maintains four camping areas, five concrete boat ramps, and three stone covered boat ramps. The camping areas offer primitive camping only.

A nature trail is located on the northern end of the area.

Additional information may be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 1995 Shreveport Highway, Pineville, LA 71360. Phone (318) 487-5885.

Tunica Hills WMA

Information
Owned: 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Acreage: 
5,906 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
(985) 543-4777
Map: 

Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is composed of two separate tracts lying northwest of St. Francisville in West Feliciana Parish.  The North Tract (2,346 acres) lies immediately adjacent to the Louisiana State Penitentiary. This tract is accessed from Farrah Davis Road off of LA 66, approximately 14.3 miles west of US 61.  A check station is located on the WMA approximately three miles down Farrah Davis Road from LA 66.  The South Tract (3,560 acres) has a few different access points, but is most commonly accessed by driving 17.3 miles west on LA 66 from US 61 to Old Tunica Road.  Continue on Old Tunica Road for about one mile to enter the WMA.  The Old Tunica Road is a portion of the scenic Natchez Trace System and has been used for travel since colonial times.  Three check stations are located on the South Tract.
Tunica Hills WMA encompasses 5,906 acres and is owned by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.  Terrain on the area is characterized by rugged hills, bluffs, and ravines. The area lies at the southern end of the “loess blufflands” escarpment that follows the east bank of the Mississippi River south from its confluence with the Ohio River. These blufflands offer a diverse and unique habitat that supports some species of plants and animals not found elsewhere in Louisiana.
The forest type on the area is classified as upland hardwood, with some loblolly pine and eastern red cedar mixed in on the ridge tops and creek terraces. Hardwoods consist of American beech, American holly, flowering magnolia, cherrybark oak, water oak, cow oak, hickory, sweetgum, Osage orange, hackberry, eastern hophornbeam, ironwood, yellow poplar, elm, maple, and other less predominant species. The understory varies from dense in younger areas of timber to fairly open in older areas. Common understory species are oak leaf hydrangia, two-winged silverbell, trifoliate orange, pawpaw, flowering dogwood, sweetleaf, spicebush, blackberry, and switchcane. At least 20 species of plants classified as rare in Louisiana are found on this area and two of these species have not been found to occur anywhere else in the state.
Tunica Hills WMA is open to a variety of outdoor recreational activities, including hunting, trapping, birdwatching, hiking, horseback riding, bike riding, sightseeing, and photography. A nature trail and three hiking trails are present. Hunting is allowed at specified times for deer, turkey, and small game. Trapping is allowed for coyote, fox, bobcat, raccoon and opossum. Eastern chipmunks are found on the area. Infrequently, black bear tracks are observed. Numerous snake species are common in the area, including canebrake rattlesnakes and copperheads.  Resident and migratory bird species are abundant on the area, including several that are rare elsewhere in the state, such as the worm-eating warbler and the Coopers hawk.  A tent-only camping area is located off of Parker Road on the South Tract.  Access to both tracts is provided by a series of trails. All-Terrain-Vehicles are only allowed on designated ATV trails from September through February.
Additional information can be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Wildlife Division, 42371 Phyllis Ann Rd, Hammond, LA 70403, 985-543-4777.

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