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The Black River WMA was originally named after the Black River that flows through the area.
The majority of the area was purchased to preserve bottomland habitat and provide top-quality waterfowl hunting. Black River represents a significant portion of the remaining bottomland hardwood habitat in eastern Arkansas. It also provides critical wintering habitat to thousands of migratory birds. This area also provides critical habitat to many species of Neotropical migrants. This area includes some of the finest greentree reservoir duck habitat in Arkansas.
Hardwood forests comprise several tree species. The dominant species are nuttall oak and overcup oak, as well as, pin oak and water oak. Bald cypress, as well as, tupelo and willow may also be found along the sloughs. These sloughs form a network of waterways on the area. The major streams are Black River and Little River.
Main access points may be reached by going north on Highway 90 about 2 miles from Deleplaine. Turn left on Highway 280, then north about 4 miles to a stop sign. Turn left and this will take you to the Brookings access on Black River. From Brookings, go east on highway 280 toward the town of Peach Orchard about 1 mile. Turn left on a secondary blacktop road, go about 1 mile to the Hubble Bridge access on Little River. From Corning go south on Highway 67 to Reyno and watch for the Datto access. Lake Ashbaugh may be reached from highway 304.
Waterfowl hunting accounts for the vast majority of recreational use days on the WMA. Squirrel populations are highly cyclic, depending on the abundance of acorns. Hunter success is also good in most seasons, although participation is primarily limited to the opening days of the fall season. The area supports a thriving deer population. Hunting is limited to archery and limited permit muzzleloader hunting. Trappers also find a good population of furbearers on the area. Beaver, and muskrat, as well as, mink and raccoon are fairly plentiful.
Specialized farming on about 200 acres of agricultural land and seasonal flooding of about 7,000 acres of green timber to attract waterfowl is done yearly. Selective thinning of trees is also done to stimulate the growth of new timber, to provide a diverse habitat type and to remove unhealthy or unproductive trees from the forest.
The Brookings Moist Soil Unit was developed in 1998 to provided wintering habitat for ducks and other migratory birds. This 200-acre site is managed to produce native vegetation and invertebrates, which are essential elements to the health of ducks. Furbearers and deer, as well as, wild turkeys and shorebirds also benefit from moist soil management practices.
Along with Lake Ashbaugh there is also excellent fishing on the Black and Little Rivers. The main species to fish for in the rivers are catfish and crappie, as well as, largemouth bass. Bald and golden eagles have wintered around Lake Ashbaugh since its completion in the late 1970s. Numerous eagles can also usually be sighted on or around the lake on any given day from November through February.
Although there is little interest in overnight camping on Black River, camping is permitted in designated campsites. These sites are marked on area maps that are available at the area headquarters. They are also available from commission employees and regional commission offices. These are also primitive areas and no modern facilities are available. Mosquitoes, as well as, biting flies and poison ivy are extremely common and campers should be prepared for them.
A FREE GENERAL USE PERMIT IS REQUIRED TO HUNT ANY SPECIES ON THIS WMA. CLICK HERE TO RECEIVE YOUR PERMIT.
To prevent overcrowding on popular WMAs, the AGFC limits some hunting opportunities through a permit draw system. To apply for one of these WMA deer hinting permits click HERE.
Be sure to see CAVENAUGH MARINE & SPORTING GOODS in Pocahontas, AR for your boating, fishing and hunting supplies.
MULLIGAN’S RV PARK can accommodate you and your RV while you’re in the Pocahontas area.
Have you visited this WMA? If so, please leave a comment. Thanks.