Dewey W. Wills WMA is managed to provide wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation. The area is flat, poorly drained land that is subject to annual overflow and is interlaced with a number of bayous and lakes. The forest cover is a mixture of bottomland hardwoods. The major overstory species are overcup, nuttall, and willow oak; bitter pecan; ash; and elm. The understory of the lower elevations is composed mainly of swamp privet, native grasses and forbs, and seedlings of the overstory. On the higher elevations, the understory is composed of deciduous holly, hawthorn, smilax, swamp dogwood, peppervine, rattan vine, dewberry, blackberry, palmetto, and seedlings of the overstory.
Prior to establishing Dewey W. Wills as a WMA, the timber in this area was harvested, creating an open canopy. Through LDWF’s forest management program, livestock was removed from the area, stimulating understory production. The forest canopy has now closed, and browse plants have been reduced. In recent years, a combination of conditions known as oak decline has developed on the area, killing a significant portion of overstory trees. LDWF has modified its forest management program to fight oak decline.
Activities and Amenities
Hunting and trapping: Game species available on Dewey W. Wills WMA include deer, squirrel, rabbit, raccoon, turkey, waterfowl, and woodcock. There is a general turkey lottery hunt as well as a youth deer season and lottery hunt. There is also a small game emphasis area. Trapping is permitted for the following furbearers: raccoon, nutria, beaver, mink, bobcat, fox, and coyote. See regulations for details.
There is also a physically challenged deer season.
Fishing and boating: LDWF maintains five concrete boat ramps on Dewey W. Wills WMA. There is excellent recreational and commercial fishing in this area. Common recreational species include largemouth bass, white bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, and other species of sunfish. Common commercial species include buffalo, carp, drum, gar, and catfish. See regulations for details.
Camping: LDWF maintains four primitive camping areas on Dewey W. Wills WMA.
Birding: A variety of neotropical songbirds, shorebirds, wading birds, and various raptors are found on Dewey W. Wills WMA.
LaSalle, Catahoula, Rapides
LDWF, LaSalle Parish School Board, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Dewey W. Wills WMA is located approximately 20 miles northeast of Alexandria. The area is easily accessible via LA Hwy 28 East. The interior of the WMA has a network of all-weather roads that provide vehicular access.