Wildlife

Pass-a-Loutre WMA

Acreage

115,000

Contact

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

Parish

Plaquemines

Owner/manager

LDWF

Description

Pass-a-Loutre WMA is characterized by river channels and their associated banks, natural bayous, and manmade canals which are interspersed with intermediate and freshwater marshes. Hurricane damage and subsidence have contributed to a major demise of vegetated marsh areas and the subsequent the formation of large ponds. LDWF is developing habitat on the WMA primarily by diverting sediment-laden waters into open bay systems (i.e., creating delta crevasses), which promotes delta growth.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting and trapping: Waterfowl and other migratory game bird hunting, rabbit hunting, and archery hunting for deer are permitted on Pass-a-Loutre WMA. There is also a youth deer season. See regulations for details.

Fishing and boating: Fishing is excellent in both fresh and saltwater areas. Common fish species in the interior marsh ponds include bass, bream, catfish, crappie, warmouth, drum, and garfish. Common saltwater species include redfish, speckled trout, flounder, and crabs. See regulations for details.

Camping: There are multiple tent-only campgrounds on this WMA.

Directions

Pass-a-Loutre WMA is located at the mouth of the Mississippi River, approximately 10 miles south of Venice. You can only access this WMA by boat. The nearest public launches are in Venice.

Ouachita WMA

Effective March 2015, Ouachita Wildlife Management Area acreage has been consolidated within the new boundaries of Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area and will continue to be managed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.  To view a site description and map of the combined WMAs acreage, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2777 .

Russell Sage WMA

Acreage

38,213

Contact

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

Parish

Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Caldwell

Owner/manager

LDWF, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ouachita Parish School Board

Description

Russell Sage WMA forms one of the largest remaining tracts of the vast bottomland hardwood forests that historically composed the lower Mississippi River floodplain from lower Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico. Russell Sage WMA was the very first LDWF-owned WMA. LDWF purchased 15,000 acres of the property in 1960; since then, LDWF has leased and purchased several adjacent tracts. LDWF also consolidated the former Ouachita WMA with Russell Sage WMA in March 2015. In total, LDWF owns 34,018 acres of the property, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns 2,955 acres, and the Ouachita Parish School Board owns 1,240 acres.

Located within the Bayou LaFourche floodplain, Russell Sage WMA is flat, poorly drained, and subject to annual winter and spring flooding. Elevations range from 55 to 63 feet above sea level. Numerous sloughs and shallow bayous meander throughout the property, and there is annual backwater flooding. Abandoned and active mineral exploration and production sites, roadways, pipelines, open water lakes, sloughs, and bayous provide diversity throughout the area.

LDWF has planted approximately 4,000 acres of hardwood seedlings to restore the old Ouachita WMA portion of the area to its condition before it was cleared for farming in the 1960s. The forest canopy contains a mixture of bottomland hardwoods grouped into two major timber types: oak-elm-ash and overcup oak-bitter pecan (water hickory). There are smaller areas of cypress-tupelo, gum, and black willow. Individual tree species include honey locust, cedar and winged elm, sweetgum, sugarberry, green ash, red maple, cottonwood, nutmeg and bitternut hickory, and nuttall, willow, and delta post oak. Common woody understory species include peppervine, deciduous holly, poison ivy, rattan, swamp privet, buttonbush, climbing dogbane, palmetto, greenbrier, dewberry, roughleaf dogwood, trumpet creeper, persimmon, box elder, grape, and hawthorn.

LDWF has developed 13 waterfowl management units totaling 7,770 acres on this WMA. This includes 500 acres of flooded agricultural fields, 4,500 acres of moist soil management units, 2,550 acres of greentree impoundments, and 220 acres of shallow water areas.

The 2,767-acre Kennedy Tract, purchased in 2015, is currently in the planning stages for future management activities; no public activity is allowed in this area at this time.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting and trapping: The most popular game species on Russell Sage WMA are white-tailed deer, waterfowl, squirrel, and rabbit. There is a small game emphasis area on this WMA. The areas managed for waterfowl, along with the numerous sloughs and waterways, offer excellent waterfowl hunting. There are youth deer and squirrel seasons and a youth waterfowl lottery hunt. Hunting is also available for dove, raccoon, snipe, and woodcock. There is a dove field, planted annually in brown-top millet, available to area users. See regulations for details.

In addition, there is a physically challenged wheelchair-confined hunting area, deer season, and waterfowl lottery hunt. Click here for a physically challenged hunter permit application and additional information.

Fishing and boating: Recreational fishing for freshwater species including largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, and catfish, crawfishing, and frogging are popular with area users. Commercial fishing is also available. See regulations for details.

Camping: There are two primitive camping areas on Russell Sage WMA.

Birding and wildlife viewing: Many neotropical birds and shorebirds visit Russell Sage WMA annually. The area is also home to large numbers of passerine and wading birds. The areas managed for waterfowl, wading birds, and shorebirds, along with the numerous sloughs and waterways, offer excellent birding. There is a wildlife viewing tower overlooking several waterfowl impoundments in the waterfowl refuge. Russell Sage WMA is also a great location for viewing terrestrial birds and raptors.

Louisiana black bear frequent this area; reported sightings have been increasing.

Hiking: Several walking trails follow pipeline rights-of-way.

Other: horseback riding, berry picking

Directions

Russell Sage WMA is located about 7 miles east of Monroe and 10 miles west of Rayville. You can access the WMA via U.S. Hwy 80 and 165, LA Hwy 15, and I-20. LDWF maintains a system of all-weather gravel roads and numerous ATV trails on the WMA. There are 12 self-clearing permit stations located at major entrances to the WMA.

Sabine Island WMA

Acreage

8,343

Contact

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

Parish

Calcasieu

Owner/manager

Louisiana Office of State Lands, Calcasieu Parish School Board, Rayonier

Description

Sabine Island WMA is bounded by the Sabine River to the south and west and Old River and Big Bayou to the east and north. The area varies from low terrain subject to annual flooding for prolonged periods to winding ridges. Numerous bayous and sloughs are found throughout the area.

The forest cover is composed of two major types of timber—cypress-tupelo makes up about 85 percent and pine hardwood makes up the remainder. In the pine hardwood areas, white oaks, willow oak, and sweetgum are found mixed with loblolly pine. The major understory species are smilax, rattan, arrowwood, Japanese honeysuckle, blackberries, dewberries, and seedlings of the major hardwood species.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting and trapping: Available game species include squirrel, rabbit, deer, woodcock, and waterfowl. Trapping for furbearers is also allowed. Furbearers include raccoon, opossum, mink, bobcat, and nutria. See regulations for details.

Fishing and boating: Due to its location and abundant waterways, Sabine Island WMA is very popular for boating and waterskiing. The WMA also offers excellent fishing, both recreational and commercial, year-round. See regulations for details.

Directions

Sabine Island WMA is located in between Vinton and Starks. Take LA Hwy 109 north from Vinton or south from Starks, then take Niblett’s Bluff Park Road to the west. Sabine Island WMA is completely surrounded by water; you can only access the WMA by boat. You must have a self-clearing permit to access Sabine Island WMA.

Sabine WMA

Map: 

Acreage

7,656

Contact

adailey@wlf.la.gov; 318-487-5885; 1995 Shreveport Hwy, Pineville, LA 71360

Parish

Sabine

Owner/manager

Hancock Timber

Description

The terrain on Sabine WMA varies from rolling hills to creek bottoms. The major timber type is loblolly pine. Upland overstory species also include red, post, and white oak; hickory; and sweetgum. Upland understory species include yaupon, French mulberry, hawthorn, sassafras, black cherry, wax myrtle, huckleberry, and dogwood. The creek bottoms have an overstory comprised of beech; willow, water, and southern red oak; red maple; black and sweetgum; and magnolia, and an understory of ironwood, dogwood, wild azalea, deciduous holly, and seedlings of the overstory.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting and trapping: Available game species include deer, squirrel, rabbit, waterfowl, quail, dove, and woodcock. Turkey hunting is available by lottery only. There is also a youth deer season. Trapping is allowed; available species are mink, raccoon, opossum, skunk, fox, beaver, and coyote. 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.

Camping: There is a primitive camping area in the northwest portion of the WMA.

Other: hiking, photography, birding

Directions

Sabine WMA is located approximately 5 miles south of Zwolle. Access the WMA via LA Hwy 6 or U.S. Hwy 171.

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.

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.

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