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Big Lake WMA

Zone: 040

County: Mississippi

2021-22 Closed Seasons
  • Deer muzzleloader
  • Bear
  • Alligator
2021-22 Crow

Sept. 2, 2021-Feb. 20, 2022. Open Thursdays through Mondays. No limit.

2021-22 Deer

Deer Archery: Sept. 25, 2021-Feb. 28, 2022
Deer Muzzleloader: Closed.
Deer Modern Gun: Nov. 13-14, 2021
Deer Modern Gun Special Youth Hunt: Nov. 6-7, 2021 and Jan. 1-2, 2022

WMA Deer Bag Limit: Three deer, no more than two bucks, which may include:

  • Two bucks with archery or modern gun,
  • Three does with archery,
  • During youth hunt, youths may take three deer, two bucks (no antler restrictions) and one doe.

Deer Notes:

  • Deer hunting is closed when the water level exceeds 236 msl at Seven Mile access gauge.
  • Three-point rule.
  • No dogs.
2021-22 Dove

Sept. 4-Oct. 24, 2021 and Dec. 8, 2021-Jan. 15, 2022

Mourning Dove and White-Winged Dove 
Daily Limit - 15, possession Limit - 45

Eurasian Collared-Dove
No daily or possession limit
Eurasian Collared Doves must remain fully feathered in the field and while being transported from the field.

Dove Notes:

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission prepares a few fields each year for the opening weekend of dove season so the public has a place to enjoy this exciting form of wingshooting.

Dove fields on WMAs are available on a first-come, first-served basis. WMA acreage put into dove fields is relatively small because most hunters only pursue doves the first few days of the season. However, after opening weekend of dove season, many wildlife species feed in the fields, particularly those that were topsown with winter wheat.

2021-22 Furbearers

Ditch 28 closed to all trapping.

2021-22 Quail

Nov. 1, 2021-Feb. 6, 2022. Daily limit - 6, possession limit -12. Bird dogs allowed.

2021-22 Rabbit

Sept. 1, 2021-Feb. 28, 2022. Daily limit - 8, possession limit - 16. Dogs allowed except during firearms deer hunts.

2021-22 Squirrel

May 15, 2021-Feb. 28, 2022. Dogs allowed except during firearms deer hunts. Daily limit - 12, possession limit - 48.

2021-22 Waterfowl

The 2021-22 Arkansas Waterfowl Hunting Guidebook should be posted online early October. Check back for complete WMA information.

2021 Turkey

Youth hunt (permit required): April 10-11, 2021. One legal turkey.

About the Name

The area is named after Big Lake, a large natural lake formed by the New Madrid Earthquake in 1811.

Access

Big Lake WMA can best be reached off Arkansas highways 181 and 18. The area is about 15 miles west of Blytheville in Mississippi County. The Arkansas-Missouri state line forms the northern border of the area and the western border lies along side the refuge. Manila is the closest sizable town and is 5 miles west of the refuge headquarters. The main access route to the waterfowl hunting area is by gravel road atop the west levee to the 7-mile lateral and from that point boats are required. Another access route is on the East Side of the area off Arkansas Highway 181 at Simmons Bridge and also at Bo Doc Landing. Hunters may walk in from Simmons Bridge, while access from Bo Doc Landing is mostly by boat. Walk-in hunting access is possible from Bo Doc Landing. A new boat ramp was completed in 1998 at the Highway 18 entrance near the work center building. This ramp allows boat launching into the State Line Outlet Ditch on the East Boundary of the Area. The entire eastern boundary, which is about 12 miles, can be accessed by boat.

Age

A 7,000-acre tract next to Big Lake NWR was purchased in 1950. The adjoining 5,000+ acres were purchased in subsequent years through 1969.

Area Notes
  • A free annual General Use Permit (WMP) is required to hunt or trap on WMAs. Permits are available online by clicking "Buy Licenses" at agfc.com or by calling 800-364-4263 or any regional office.
  • Deer hunting is closed when the water level exceeds 236 msl at Seven Mile access gauge.
  • For hunting info on Mallard Lake, refer to https://www.agfc.com/en/zone-map/fishing-map/667/.
  • Any firearm being transported in Ditch 28 must be dismantled or unloaded and cased.
  • Only shotguns (.410 and larger) with slugs (no buckshot allowed) or muzzleloading rifles shooting a single projectile are allowed during deer modern gun and deer modern gun special youth hunt.
  • For access restrictions that affect all users during waterfowl season, check the waterfowl guidebook or visit www.agfc.com/wmas.
Camping

Historically, there has been little interest in overnight camping on Big Lake, but camping is permitted around Mallard Lake Where there is adequate space, and at access areas on the east and west sides of the area. There are no improvements other than gravel parking areas at campsites. Mosquitoes and biting flies are a nuisance from early spring through fall.

Description

This 12,320-acre WMA is the only sizable public hunting area in extreme northeastern Arkansas. The area contains a mixture of typical bottomland forest, such as tupelo, willow, buttonbush and cypress. The northern third of the area supports timber types such as oak, elm and hackberry.

Hunting Opportunities

While emphasis is placed on waterfowl management, the area supports huntable populations of deer, squirrels, rabbits and furbearers. Severe and sometimes prolonged periods of natural flooding have historically limited year around habitat availability for such species as deer and turkeys. Deer harvest numbers have historically been relatively low for an area of this size.

Location

Big Lake WMA is adjacent to Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge 15 miles west of Blytheville.

Management Practices

About 300 acres are planted to small grain crops to provide supplemental food sources for resident wildlife species and migratory birds. Flooding the area for waterfowl hunting is accomplished entirely by gravity flow of water from Ditch 28, which separates the state area from the Federal area.

Ownership

AGFC

Phone

877-972-5438

Purpose

Big Lake provides critical wintering habitat for ducks as well as a variety of other non game migratory birds. While management practices are designed to consider all wildlife species that are indigenous to the area. Emphasis is placed on waterfowl habitat management for this reason.

Restaurants and Other Facilities

Overnight lodging may be found in Blytheville, which also has many shops and stores where about any essentials can be found. Entertainment and dining can be found in Blytheville, Jonesboro or Paragould.

Safety

Boating safety is of importance due to the heavy boat traffic during waterfowl season. Crowded conditions sometimes exist at launching facilities during duck season. Observance of all boating laws and safety rules is a must. Adequate nighttime lighting on boats and legal flotation devices are especially important. Water depth varies from a few inches to over 10 feet. Hunters should be cautious of deep water when wading.

Detailed Interactive Map Public Use Maps