Russell Sage WMA expanded

Agreement adds almost 5,000 acres to wildlife management area

Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area has been expanded by 4,955 acres, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced yesterday (Aug. 11).

The new tract of land is part of a no-fee lease from International Paper, the LDWF said.

“We are pleased to have been able to arrange this no-cost lease agreement and make this announcement prior to the opening of the 2011-12 hunting season,” LDWF Secretary Robert Barham said. “We will continue to negotiate with International Paper for eventual transfer of the property.”

The North Louisiana WMA, encompassing acreage in Morehouse, Ouachita and Richland Parishes, now totals 21,948 acres.

The newly leased acreage, north of the existing WMA land owned by LDWF, includes prime waterfowl habitat known locally as Wham Brake.

“Wham Brake has a rich history as one of the premier waterfowl areas in Northeast Louisiana,” IP’s David Haynes said. “International Paper made the area available to the public free of charge for more than 50 years.

“The fact that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is taking over management of the area will ensure that continues in the future. We are grateful for their efforts to make this happen.”

LDWF is allowing removal of duck blinds or other private property within the Wham Brake acreage through Sept. 9. Additional time may be considered for removal, but hunting from any permanent structures will not be allowed.

The department is interested in acquiring some existing blinds for possible use in youth waterfowl and Louisiana Hunting Heritage Program hunts, and will evaluate any structure offered for a possible transfer of ownership.

Call the LDWF’s Monroe office (318.343.4044) if you would like to transfer ownership of a blind,

The existing WMA property provides two green-tree waterfowl impoundments totaling 2,400 acres that are utilized by species including mallards, wood ducks, and other non-game species.

Public hunting options also are available for deer, squirrel, rabbit and woodcock, and a primitive camping area is provided north of U.S. Highway 80.

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