The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources opened two new state wildlife management areas on Aug. 21 totaling 2,152 acres—land that will be made available for public hunting access.
Hunters will have 1,293 additional acres to enjoy for the 2010-11 hunting season at the new Marion County Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and State Forest, located southeast of Lebanon. The area will offer excellent squirrel, deer and turkey hunting. Except for fields surrounding the parking area, the entire property is forested and has rugged terrain.
The property officially opened to the public in time for opening day of squirrel season, and hunters will be able to utilize it when archery deer season opens on Sept. 4.
The new management area does not currently have any fishing ponds or streams, although there are water holes that may provide some frog hunting opportunities.
“The Marion County WMA will open initially under statewide hunting regulations applicable to Marion County,” said Scott Buser, a public lands biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “We will evaluate whether special regulations are needed for the area after the first hunting season.”
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, the Kentucky Division of Forestry, and Marion County jointly own the property, which was purchased with money from the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund and the federal Wildlife Restoration program, which is funded from excise taxes hunters pay on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment and arrow components
The WMA is accessible from a graveled lot on Siloam Road. Additional parking will be created in the future. Boundaries are signed and blazed with yellow paint.
To get to Kentucky’s newest wildlife management area, take U.S. 68 east from Lebanon. Turn right (south) onto Penick-Tatum Loop, right (south) onto Tatum Lane, and then right onto Siloam Road. The parking lot is approximately a ½ mile on the right (west) side of Siloam Road. Visitors will find an information kiosk with a map at the parking lot.
In addition to the new Marion County property, hunters will have access to a second new WMA in Pulaski County. Totally 859 acres, the new Buck Creek WMA officially opened on Aug. 21.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife recently acquired Buck Creek WMA through the Kentucky Wetland and Stream Mitigation Fund to protect this unique area and offer public access.
This program uses the Fee-In-Lieu Mitigation Fund to compensate for stream losses in each river basin across Kentucky as authorized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. An Interagency Review Team—headed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and consisting of representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Kentucky Division of Water, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—approved the use of these funds to purchase Buck Creek.
“No sportsmen’s dollars were spent to purchase this property,” said Tony Wheatley, land acquisition coordinator for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.
Buck Creek WMA will be open under statewide regulations for hunting deer, turkey, small game and furbearers. The property is also home to several unique plant communities and many federally endangered mussel species. It will also serve as a mussel restoration site.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife will evaluate this first hunting season on Buck Creek WMA to determine whether special hunting regulations are needed for the area.
Buck Creek, located in eastern Pulaski County, consists of mostly forested habitat with moderately steep terrain. It offers opportunity for deer, turkey and squirrel hunting.
Anglers will enjoy access to one mile of Buck Creek. This stream possesses some of the highest water quality in the state. Long, deep pools punctuated by riffles define Buck Creek. Fishing access is primarily by canoe, kayak, cata-raft or small johnboat. Those willing to hike may access Buck Creek by foot for wade fishing.
To access Buck Creek WMA, travel approximately 10 miles east from Somerset on KY 80 to KY 1003. Turn south on KY 1003 and travel approximately 7 miles, then left on Pea Ridge Road approximately ½ mile to the parking area on the left. No internal public roads exist within the area; travel is by foot traffic only. No camping, horseback riding or all terrain vehicles (ATVs) are permitted on the area.
Maps for Marion County and Buck Creek WMAs, as well as all public hunting areas in Kentucky, are available at www.fw.ky.gov.