Buckhorn Wildlife Management Area is located in Tensas Parish, 14 miles west of St. Joseph. Major access routes to the area are Louisiana Highways 4 and 128, and parish roads such as Clydesdale Road and Honeysuckle Lane provide additional access. ATV trails and hiking trails provide access into the interior of the area.
Buckhorn WMA is comprised of approximately 11,262 acres, including 200 acres of lakes and water bottoms, and slightly over 8,000 acres of bottomland hardwood timber. Approximately 2,300 acres of previously cultivated farmland were added to the WMA between 2001 and 2003, with the majority of this acquisition scheduled for reforestation and wetland management. An additional 650 acres of agricultural land is currently being reforested and/or managed as public dove hunting fields. Topography of the WMA is characterized by undulating ridges and swales, with elevations ranging from 50 to 70 feet MSL.
Primary timber species on the area are water oak, willow oak, Nuttall oak, overcup oak, hackberry, sweetgum, tupelo gum, sweet and bitter pecan, ash, honey locust, willow, and elm. The forest canopy is generally closed, with a moderate mid-story of less dominant trees and shrubs. However, the understory is extremely dense in nearly all locations, with palmetto, rattan, greenbrier, dewberry, baccharis, buttonbush, and switchcane found in most all wooded areas.
No major streams are located on the area, but six small bayous flow through the area, providing approximately 13 miles of waterways. Six small lakes are located on the area, including Marydale Lake, the largest at 115 acres, Saddletree Lake, and Turkey Lake. All lakes and streams are subject to backwater flooding from the Tensas River, and all receive turbid runoff from the surrounding agricultural areas.
Game species found on the area include whitetailed deer, squirrels, rabbits, and raccoons. Several waterfowl impoundments are available for hunting during the winter months. Mourning doves are common throughout the agricultural areas, and each year the department plants one or two areas specifically to provide hunting opportunities for doves. Buckhorn WMA does not support a huntable turkey population, and the area is closed to turkey hunting. Because of the extremely dense understory, small game hunting can be difficult. However, deer hunting is extremely popular with both archery and gun hunters, and hunter success rates are generally high because of the large deer population.
Trapping for furbearers is allowed, and the species available are raccoon, otter, coyote, bobcat, fox, nutria, mink, beaver, and opossum. Buckhorn is now included in the public lottery hunt for alligators. Five tags are issued to each successful hunter, determined by the yearly lottery drawings.
Fishing on Buckhorn WMA is seasonally popular and also limited by the lack of available aquatic habitat. However, bass, bream, crappie, white bass, and catfish can be caught by sport fishermen, and commercial fishermen take buffalo, carp, gar, catfish, and freshwater drum.
Diverse habitats attract a variety of non-game bird species, both migratory and resident. Spring birdwatching is popular on the area, especially during periods of the northward migration, and the extensive forested areas provide birdwatchers with opportunities to view transient bird species. The American Bird Conservancy has recognized Buckhorn WMA in its Important Birding Areas Program.
A nature trail on the north end of Brushy Lake has been completed. This trail provides a unique opportunity for nature lovers to enjoy both aquatic and terrestrial aspects of the bottomland hardwoods ecosystem.
Additional information may be obtained from LDWF, P.O. Box 1640, Ferriday, LA 71334.