|Name||Harold E. Alexander Spring River WMA|
Harold E. Alexander Spring River WMA is approximately 6 miles south of Hardy, 4 miles north of Sitka, and 5 miles east of Highland in Sharp County. The nearest major cities close to the area are Jonesboro, 70 miles east, Batesville, 49 miles south and Mountain Home, 64 miles west.
|Seasons and Regulations|Turkey:
Youth Hunt (permit required): April 8-9, 2017. One bearded turkey.
Firearms (permit required): April 10-12, April 15-17 and April 22-24, 2017. One bearded turkey, no jakes (youths may take one jake in their statewide seasonal bag limit).
Deer Archery: Sept. 24, 2016-Feb. 28, 2017.
Deer Muzzleloader (permit hunt): Nov. 5-9, 2016.
Deer Modern Gun (permit hunt): Dec. 3-7, 2016.
WMA Deer Bag Limit:
Three deer, no more than one buck, which may include:
• One buck with archery,
• Three does with archery,
• One buck and one doe with muzzleloader permit,
• One buck and one doe with modern gun permit.
Deer Notes: 12-inch inside spread or 15-inch main beam rule. No dogs.
Bear Archery: Sept. 24-Nov. 30, 2016.
Bear Muzzleloader: Nov. 5-9, 2016 (deer permit holders only).
Bear Notes: Statewide bag limit. No dogs.
Dec. 10-12, 2016 and Jan. 1-3, 2017.
Daily limit - 4. Bird dogs allowed.
Sept. 1, 2016-Feb. 28, 2017. Daily limit - 8, possession limit - 16. Dogs allowed except during firearms deer hunts.
May 15, 2016-Feb. 28, 2017. Dogs allowed except during firearms deer hunts. Daily limit - 12, possession limit - 48.
Sept. 1, 2016-Feb. 21, 2017. Open Thursdays through Mondays. No limit.
|Leased Land Permit Required||No|
|About the Name|
The area was first named Spring River WMA because of its location and the fact the river runs along part of the area boundary. The name was changed to Harold E. Alexander WMA in recognition of the Commission’s retiring employee of that name.
13,444 acres of the 13,939-acre WMA are owned by the AGFC; the rest is Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission land.
The area was purchased in 1976.
The WMA was created because of a growing concern of habitat loss in the area. The primary goal was to create optimum habitat conditions for white-tailed deer and turkey, with secondary goals for habitat development for quail, rabbit, squirrel and furbearers. As it stands, the goal for the number of deer per acre has been reached. Management practices are now used to ensure it stays at this level. In the past, the area was used as a restocking refuge for turkey. Turkey hunting is now allowed by permit only.
To best describe the area, it should be broken down into different segments for a better understanding of the area.
Topography - the area lies at the edge of the Ozark highlands. Topography ranges from gently rolling to hilly with narrow ridges and drainages. Elevation on the area range from 320 feet msl in the lower creek drainages to just over 800 feet msl on Buck Ridge in the southern portion of the area.
Vegetation - Upland hardwood forest is the predominant vegetative type on the area. This forest covers approximately 90 percent of the area and consists of various oak-hickory stands interspersed with eastern red cedar glades. The remainder of the area is comprised of openlands in the form of maintained field systems, small forest openings and utility and road right-of-ways.
Water - The area has 3 creeks, Rock, Ott and Pierce Creeks, all of which flow into the Spring River.
1.6 miles of the eastern boundary is comprised of the Spring River. There is a usable boat access within this section that can be used throughout the year.
The area has 78 ponds on it, ranging in size from 1/10 to 1 acre. Fields and Openings - there are 905 acres of old fields on the area. Within these fields are 84 food plots. In future plans more openings will be constructed in forest segments.
There are three accesses to the area. Two of which are on Highway 62/267 at Highland and at Hardy, signs are at these accesses. In each of these, the roads start out as paved and turn into county gravel roads. The third access is off highway 58 at Sitka, turn north on county gravel road at Sitka.
The major hunting opportunity is white-tailed deer. Deer hunting by modern gun and muzzleloader are managed by permit hunts to prevent overcrowding and enhance the experience for successful applicants. Archery season is the same as the zone regulations and dates. Turkey hunting by gun is by permit only. Other hunting opportunities exist with squirrel, rabbit and quail.
Plans are for there to be eventually 90 food plots averaging in size from 1/2 to 1 acre, scattered throughout the area where there are at least 2-3 plots per 1 square mile. The area has 22 miles of firelanes which equal 63 acres.
The management system is set up on a four-year rotation. Each spring 15-20 plots are planted with three of the following; milo, cowpeas, soybeans, sorghum and corn. With these plantings and construction of nesting/refuge structures the quail population should increase over the next few years along with the rabbit population.
Each fall 10-15 acres of firelanes and plots are planted in orchard grass, lespedeza and clover. Also, 60-80 acres of food plots are planted in wheat. Other management tools consist of planting shrubs, such
as, honeysuckle, privet and autumn olive; controlled burning of 300-400 acres each winter to increase growth of native browse, fertilize the soil and control growth of unwanted plants; timber harvest, bush hogging and construction of nesting/refuge structures.
|Recreation Other Than Hunting|
The other existing recreational opportunities that exist are fishing, canoeing along the Spring River, hiking, sight seeing on the natural area and a chance to observe bald eagles during late winter along Spring River. A boat ramp was built in the mid 1990’s on the WMA for access to Spring River.
All caves are closed to public access to prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome into Arkansas in order to protect bat populations.
The Rock Creek Natural Area is composed of 640 acres along the creek and some streams feeding into the creek. This natural area is in cooperation with the Heritage Commission. Along Rock Creek a ¼mile natural trail has been constructed that goes from the road bridge on the county road up to Bubbling Springs. The area has a natural area: Bubbling Spring, located in Sect. 7, T18N, R4W and is the principle water source of Rock Creek. The flow of the spring has been estimated at 1,500 gpm.
The area has 5 primitive camping areas scattered in the area. Theses areas are maintained by the commission and camping is only allowed in these areas. Each camping area has 10 - 15 sites. Camping area 1 is in the north end , camping area 2 is located adjacent to the area headquarters in the middle of the area, camping are 3 is in the southern portion of the area and camping area 4 is in the southern portion of the area.
|Restaurants and Other Facilities|
Restaurants and grocery stores can be found close to either one of the accesses of highways 62/167 at Highland and Hardy. Motels and modern camping areas can be found at Hardy.
Careful considerations should be given to the location of the 9 holdings. Even though these are within the area and subject to management area rules and regulations, it is private land (some posted) and without permission from owners, should not be entered upon. Most of the boundaries along the inholdings are marked in some way.