Oklahoma's Honobia Creek and Three Rivers WMAs

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If a deer hunter was told he could access 300,000 acres of prime hunting in oak-pine forested habitat with more than 170 food plots for less than 1/10 of a penny per acre, he might think he was dreaming. But it is a reality for every sportsman in Oklahoma.

For just $40 — the cost of a Land Access Permit from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation — Oklahoma hunters can gain a year of hunting or fishing access on the Honobia Creek and Three Rivers Wildlife Management Areas in southeast Oklahoma, where some of the most rugged terrain and abundant cover in the state allows deer to grow to mature age classes.

Additionally, the upcoming deer season is expected to be a good one on Honobia Creek and Three Rivers WMAs.

"Our 2009 deer surveys produced the highest number of deer surveyed since the WMAs were established in the late 1990s," said Kyle Johnson, Wildlife Department biologist stationed on Honobia Creek and Three Rivers WMA.

He added that both black and white oak trees produced good crops of acorns this year, which offer food for deer and good areas for hunters to focus on when locating a great spot to hunt.

Oklahoma residents who are under 18 years of age on the first day of the current calendar year or are 64 years old or older are exempt from the land access permit requirements, making a hunting trip on Honobia Creek or Three Rivers WMAs a great way to introduce youngsters to the outdoors or spend a few day hunting with the family. Non-residents, regardless of age, are required to purchase an $85 Land Access Permit.

According to Johnson, the Land Access Permit is well worth the money."

"All LAF money goes directly into keeping the WMAs open for public hunting and fishing recreation and to manage the WMAs for the benefit of sportsmen and women as well as wildlife," Johnson said.

The land that comprises the WMAs is privately owned by three timber companies — Weyerhaeuser Company, Hancock Natural Resource Group, and Rayonier Forest Resources, L.P. Through a partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the land is managed for wildlife and open to Land Access Permit holders for hunting and fishing.

According to Johnson, the area offers camping opportunities at no charge to permit holders as well as the chance to hunt in a 5,800-acre walk-in only hunting area that allows sportsmen to hunt free of any disturbance from vehicles. "Hunters willing to walk off the road will find acres and acres of WMA all to themselves," Johnson said.

For specific information regarding atv use on Three Rivers and Honobia Creek WMAs consult the current "Oklahoma Hunting Guide" or log onto wildlifedepartment.com.

Other hunting opportunities exist on the WMAs as well, including the chance to harvest feral hogs, considered a nuisance to native wildlife, as scattered numbers exist on both WMAs. A $10 three-day special use land access permit is available to residents for non-hunting and non-fishing related activities, unless in possession of the $40 land access permit.

Land Access Permits for the areas can be purchased online at wildlifedepartment.com or anywhere hunting and fishing licenses are sold. Digital maps of both areas also available at wildlifedepartment.com, and a detailed print version map of the Three Rivers WMA is available free of charge at the Wildlife Department headquarters in Oklahoma City or at certain field offices.

To learn more about Honobia Creek WMA or Three Rivers WMA, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.