Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area is located in Morehouse, Ouachita and Richland Parishes, approximately seven miles east of Monroe and ten miles west of Rayville. Access is provided via U. S. Highway 80, LA Highway 15 and Interstate Highway 20. The WMA is presently comprised of 34,845 acres following the consolidation of the former Ouachita Wildlife Management Area with Russell Sage WMA in March 2015. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries owns 30,651 acres, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers owns 2,954 acres and the Ouachita Parish School Board 1,240 acres. Russell Sage WMA is distinguished by becoming the very first Department owned wildlife management area in 1960.
Located within the Bayou LaFourche floodplain, the property is flat and poorly drained. Elevations range from 55 to 63 feet above mean sea level. Numerous sloughs and shallow bayous meander throughout and backwater flooding is subject to annual occurrence. The forest canopy contains a mixture of bottomland hardwoods that are grouped into two major timber types: oak-elm-ash and overcup oak-bitter pecan (water hickory). Lesser acreages of cypress-tupelo gum and black willow are present. Individual species present include Nuttal oak, honey locust, cedar elm, winged elm, sweetgum, sugarberry, willow oak, green ash, red maple, cottonwood, nutmeg hickory, bitternut hickory, and delta post oak. Common woody understory species include peppervine, deciduous holly, poison ivy, rattan, swamp privet, buttonbush, climbing dogbane, palmetto, greenbriar, dewberry. roughleaf dogwood, trumpet creeper, persimmon, box elder, grape, and hawthorn.
Thirteen waterfowl management units totaling 7,550 acres have been developed. Included are 500 acres of flooded agricultural fields, 4,500 acres of moist soil management units, and 2,550 acres of greentree impoundments. Upgrades and renovations to pumping stations were completed in 2015. These impoundments are heavily utilized by waterfowl as well as shorebirds and wading birds. An observation tower is present which provides for public viewing of waterfowl and wetland birds. Russell Sage is also an excellent location for viewing terrestrial birds and raptors. An occasional black bear is sighted on the property.
Hunting is available for deer, squirrels, waterfowl, mourning doves, rabbits, raccoon and woodcock. Trapping is permitted for furbearers such as raccoon, beaver, coyote, nutria, mink, bobcat, fox and opossum. The river otter is present but trapping is not allowed for this species. A limited lottery hunt is scheduled annually for the alligator. A small game emphasis area is available which allows for additional opportunity for rabbits and squirrels.
Two camping areas are located on the WMA. Each site offers primitive camping with the southernmost area having a source of drinking water.
Additional information may be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Monroe field office, 368 CenturyLink Drive, Monroe, LA 71203, or by calling ph. (318) 343-4044.