Size, Location and History
Buckhorn Wildlife Management Area consists of 11,262 acres located 14 miles west of St. Joseph, La. Major access routes to Buckhorn WMA are Louisiana Highways 4, and 128, and parish roads such as Clydesdale Road and Honeysuckle Lane provide additional access. The majority of the area, approximately 8,900 acres, was purchased by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries around 1995. Between 2001 and 2003, approximately 2,362 acres of cultivated farmland were added to the WMA. The majority of this acquisition has been reforested with a portion managed as wetlands.
Description of Landscape:
The topography is characterized by undulating ridges and swales, with elevations ranging from 50 to 70 feet M.S.L. Six small bayous flow through the area, providing approximately 13 miles of waterways. Six small lakes, approximately 200 acres, are located on Buckhorn WMA and all are subject to backwater flooding from the Tensas River. All of these lakes and bayous receive turbid runoff from the surrounding agricultural areas.
The predominant tree species are willow oak, Nuttall oak, water oak, sweetgum, green ash, persimmon, sugarberry, honey locust, overcup oak, sweet and bitter pecan, elm, cypress, and tupelo gum. The understory is extremely dense in nearly all locations, 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. Invasive species include trifoliate orange, cattail, water hyacinth, and several other nuisance aquatics.
The most popular game species is white-tailed deer, squirrels/rabbits, with some waterfowl hunting available. Woodcock, snipe, and raccoon hunting opportunities are also available. Freshwater fish including largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, and catfish are popular with area users, but fishing opportunity is limited by lack of available aquatic habitat.
The Louisiana Black Bear frequents this area and reported sightings and nuisance complaints received from adjacent private landowners are on the increase. Black Bear research is ongoing at Buckhorn WMA.
Bald Eagles are observed frequently on this area and nesting is documented in the surrounding area.
Buckhorn WMA is visited by many neo-tropical and shorebird bird species annually and 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 waterfowl hunting and viewing opportunity. The American Bird Conservancy has recognized Buckhorn WMA in its Important Birding Areas Program.
The largest user group of this area is deer hunters. The Department maintains a system of all-weather gravel roads and several ATV trails that provide access to area users. Several walking trails follow pipelines rights-of-way. Boat launches are available on most area lakes. Four permit stations located at major entrances to the area are provided to meet self-clearance requirements. No camping areas are available on Buckhorn WMA. The one and one-half mile Brushy Lake Nature Trail located adjacent to the Clydesdale Road provides a unique opportunity for nature lovers to enjoy both aquatic and terrestrial aspects of the bottomland hardwoods ecosystem.
Other Public Use:
Please refer to the WMA rules and regulations for permitted activities. In addition to hunting, trapping, and fishing other common activities include boating, commercial fishing, hiking, birding/sightseeing, horseback riding, berry picking, frogging, raccoon field trials, and crayfishing. A recreational lottery for alligators is allowed each year also.
Additional information may be obtained from LDWF, 368 CenturyLink Drive, Monroe, LA 71203. Phone (318) 343-4044.
Buckhorn (Department Owned – 11,262 Acres, Monroe Office)