LDWF purchased the majority of Buckhorn WMA in 1995 and added about 2,400 acres of cultivated farmland to the WMA between 2001 and 2003. LDWF has reforested the majority of Buckhorn WMA and manages a portion as wetlands.
The terrain on Buckhorn WMA is made up of undulating ridges and swales, with elevations ranging from 50 to 70 feet above sea level. Six small bayous flow through the area, providing approximately 13 miles of waterways. There are also six small lakes, approximately 200 acres, on Buckhorn WMA; all are subject to backwater flooding from the Tensas River. The bayous and lakes receive turbid runoff from the surrounding agricultural areas.
The main tree species on Buckthorn WMA are willow, nuttall, overcup, and water oak; sweetgum; green ash; persimmon; sugarberry; honey locust; sweet and bitter pecan; elm; cypress; and tupelo gum. The understory is extremely dense throughout the WMA; understory species include palmetto, switchcane, rattan, Rubus sp., Crataegus sp., buttonbush, swamp dogwood, Vitis sp., deciduous holly, Smilax sp., baccharis, poison ivy, and many herbaceous species.
Activities and Amenities
Hunting and trapping: Buckhorn WMA’s most popular game species are white-tailed deer, squirrel, and rabbit. There is a youth deer season and lottery hunt. Waterfowl, woodcock, snipe, and raccoon hunting are also available. In fact, the areas managed for waterfowl, along with the sloughs and waterways, offer excellent waterfowl hunting. See regulations for details.
Physically challenged wheelchair-confined hunting areas are available on Buckhorn WMA. There is also a physically challenged deer season. Click here for a physically challenged hunter permit application and additional information.
Fishing and boating: Boat launches are available on most area lakes. Recreational fishing for freshwater fish, including largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, and catfish, crawfishing, and frogging are available; however, fishing is limited by lack of available aquatic habitat. See regulations for details.
Birding and wildlife viewing: Recognized by the American Bird Conservancy as an Important Birding Area, Buckthorn WMA is visited by many neotropical bird and shorebird species annually and is home to large numbers of passerine and wading birds. The areas managed for waterfowl, wading birds, and shorebirds, along with the sloughs and waterways, offer excellent birding opportunities. Birders frequently observe bald eagles and their nests in this area.
Louisiana black bear frequent Buckthorn WMA; reported sightings have been increasing. Black bear research is ongoing at Buckhorn WMA.
Hiking: The 1-1/2-mile Brushy Lake Nature Trail located adjacent to Clydesdale Road provides a unique opportunity for users to enjoy both aquatic and terrestrial aspects of the bottomland hardwood ecosystem. Several walking trails follow pipeline rights-of-way.
Other: horseback riding, berry picking
The 1-1/2-mile Brushy Lake Nature Trail located adjacent to Clydesdale Road provides a unique opportunity for users to enjoy both aquatic and terrestrial aspects of the bottomland hardwood ecosystem.
Buckthorn WMA is located 14 miles west of St. Joseph. Access routes include LA Hwy 4 and 128 and parish roads such as Clydesdale Road and Honeysuckle Lane. LDWF maintains a system of all-weather gravel roads and several ATV trails that provide access to area users. There are four self-clearing permit stations located at major entrances to the area.