Oklahoma WMA Has New Regulations Aug 1st

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New regulations go into effect Aug. 1 on one of the state's most popular wildlife management areas – Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area in McCurtain County.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has a new land use agreement with Weyerhaeuser Company for the Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area. Under the new three-year agreement which was signed in May, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will lease 250,190 acres at 50 cents per acre per year for recreational public access as the Three Rivers WMA. As in the past, a Land Access Permit will be required of users.

Beginning Aug. 1, the cost of that permit will increase to cover the cost of the new lease. Oklahoma residents ages 18-63 are required to purchase the annual Land Access Permit, which will be available for $40 at any vendor that sells hunting and fishing licenses. A three-day non-hunting and non-fishing permit will be available to Oklahoma residents for $10. A non-resident permit will be $85 per year, with no exemptions. Permits purchased prior to the price increase will be valid through the end of the year.

Additionally, beginning Aug. 1 ATV use will only be allowed during deer season (Oct. 1 – Jan. 15) and only by licensed deer hunters. The following guidelines will apply to ATV use on the area:

  • * Any hunter while operating an ATV/ORV at any time must comply with daylight fluorescent orange requirements as required for deer gun seasons. If a crash helmet is worn, only the fluorescent orange chest covering is required.
  • * ATV/ORV use is restricted to WMA roads that are on the current Three Rivers WMA map unless otherwise closed.
  • * Only unaltered standard manufactured ATV/ORVs with a 700 cc motor displacement or less are allowed.
  • * ATV/ORV use shall be restricted to a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour.
  • * ATV/ORV operators and passengers under the age of 18 must wear a crash helmet that complies with standards established by 49 C.F.R., Section 571.218.
  • * Passengers in addition to the operator are not allowed on ATV/ORVs unless that ATV/ORV has been specifically designed by the manufacturer to carry passengers in addition to the operator. Passengers must also be licensed to hunt deer in Oklahoma.
  • * Leaving any ATV/ORV unattended on Three Rivers WMA without the owner's name and address conspicuously attached is prohibited.
  • * Use of ATV/ORVs off of delineated roads for retrieval of lawfully taken and tagged deer is permissible only with the following restrictions.
  • * ATV/ORVs shall not travel more than one half mile from the nearest road.
  • * ATV/ORVs shall not cross rivers and streams unless on a road with constructed stream crossing structures.
  • * ATV/ORVs used for deer retrieval shall not be used in areas otherwise closed to the use of motor vehicles.

Located in McCurtain County, Three Rivers WMA comprises thousands of acres of timberland in the rugged hill country of the Ouachita Mountains. Each year about 15,000 users purchase a Land Access Permit. The area is a popular spot among deer hunters, and last year, hunters harvested more than 1,200 deer on the area.

Composed primarily of pine and mixed oak forests, Three Rivers supports large numbers of whitetail deer and eastern wild turkey, as well as plentiful numbers of small game such as rabbits and squirrels. The area also supports an abundance of non-game wildlife, particularly songbirds. Several highland streams flow through both areas, offering excellent fishing opportunities for a number of game species, particularly smallmouth bass.

Land access permit holders also have access to the nearby Honobia Creek WMA, an additional 76,000 acres of land.

For more information about the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation or to see a map of Three Rivers WMA, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.