A cooperative agreement between the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and a timber company with land in southeast Oklahoma will secure more than 22,000 new public acres for sportsmen.
At its September meeting, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission authorized the director of the Department to enter into a three-year lease with Southern Diversified, LLC, for the company’s lands in LeFlore, McCurtain and Pushmataha counties. The agreement would expand the Honobia Creek Wildlife Management Area to 102,346 acres.
According to Alan Peoples, chief of wildlife for the Wildlife Department, the new properties would include land never previously available to the public, including several sections of the Mountain Fork River and the Little River that would benefit both hunters and anglers. The land is located east of Smithville near Watson.
The Honobia Creek and Three Rivers WMAs provide access to thousands of acres of privately owned timberlands in southeast Oklahoma through lease agreements between the Wildlife Department and the timber companies that own the land, currently including Weyerhaeuser, Hancock, Rayonier and Molpus.
Sportsmen fund the lease agreements through their purchase of the land access permit required of most residents and all non-residents who hunt or fish on the areas. The cost of the land access permit is $40 for residents and $85 for non-residents and provides access to over 300,000 acres of land for hunting and fishing.
The Wildlife Conservation Commission is the eight-member governing board of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The Wildlife Commission establishes state hunting and fishing regulations, sets policy for the Wildlife Department and indirectly oversees all state fish and wildlife conservation activities. Commission members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.
The next scheduled Commission meeting is set for Nov. 5, at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters (auditorium), located at the southwest corner of 18th and North Lincoln, Oklahoma City.