Gene Rush WMA
Counties: Newton, Searcy
- 2023-24 Closed Seasons
- 2023-24 Crow
Sept. 1, 2023-Feb. 19, 2024. Open Thursdays through Mondays only. No limit.
- 2023-24 Deer
Deer Archery: Sept. 23, 2023-Feb. 29, 2024
Deer Muzzleloader: Oct. 21-29, 2023 and Dec. 9-11, 2023
Deer Modern Gun: Nov. 11-Dec. 3, 2023 and Dec. 26-28, 2023
Deer Modern Gun Special Youth Hunt: Nov. 4-5, 2023 and Jan. 6-7, 2024
WMA Deer Bag Limit: Four deer, no more than two antlered bucks, which may include:
- Two antlered bucks with archery, muzzleloader or modern gun,
- Four antlerless with archery,
- Two antlerless with muzzleloader or modern gun.
- During youth hunt, youths may take four deer, two antlered bucks and two antlerless.
- No antler restrictions.
- No dogs.
- 2023-24 Quail
Nov. 1, 2023-Feb. 5, 2024. Daily limit - 6, possession limit -12.
While training bird dogs, you may use handguns or shotguns with blank ammunition. Pen-raised quail may be taken with a Shoot-To-Kill Bird Dog Field Training Permit. This permit is available from your local wildlife officer.
- 2023-24 Rabbit
Sept. 1, 2023-Feb. 29, 2024. Daily limit - 8, possession limit - 16.
- 2023-24 Squirrel
May 15, 2023-Feb. 29, 2024. Dogs allowed. Daily limit - 12, possession limit - 48.
- 2023 Bear
Bear Archery: Sept. 13-Nov. 30, 2023
Bear Muzzleloader: Oct. 21-29, 2023
Bear Modern Gun: Nov. 11-30, 2023
Bear Modern Gun Youth Hunt: Nov. 4-5, 2023
- Statewide bag limit.
- No dogs.
- Bear seasons close earlier if bear zone quota is reached. Click here for details.
- 2023 Elk
Elk Youth Hunt (permit hunt): Oct. 7-8, 2023 and Oct. 28-29, 2023
Elk Hunt (permit hunt): Oct. 2-6, 2023 and Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 2023
- 2024 Turkey
Youth Hunt: April 6-7, 2024. One legal turkey.
Firearms Hunt: April 15- May 5, 2024. One legal turkey.
- About the Name
The area was originally called Buffalo River WMA (due to its proximity to the Buffalo River), but was renamed in honor of Gene Rush, long-time employee, native of Newton County and former chief of the AGFC Wildlife Management Division.
Access to the WMA is off U.S. Highway 65 and Ark. Highways 123, 7, and 74 and various county roads from these highways. Highway directional signs point the way from the above mentioned highways at Western Grove, Carver, Mt. Judea and south of Jasper.
- 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 833-345-0325 or any regional office.
- CWD regulations apply. Due to ongoing research, collared or ear-tagged deer may be present. Research deer are legal for harvest. Tag and check research deer as required and call 833-356-0824 within 12 hours of harvest.
- No antler point restrictions for buck harvest.
- Horses and mules are not allowed for any use on that portion of Gene Rush WMA lying east of Searcy County Road 14 and west of the Buffalo National River property line from Woolum Ford to the intersection of Searcy County roads 12 and 14.
- All caves closed to public access.
Camping is primitive and is restricted only to designated campsites.
The topography of the area is rolling hills to mountainous with some sheer bluffs with elevations ranging from 800 feet msl to 200 feet msl. Three major creeks flow through the area - Big Creek, Cave Creek and Lick Creek, all flow generally northward and are tributaries of the Buffalo River.
- Hunting Opportunities
The area offers good public hunting opportunities for white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, black bear, elk and squirrels.
The WMA is about 15 miles southeast of Jasper and 15 miles northwest of Marshall. The area is bordered to the north by the Buffalo National River and to the south by the Ozark National Forest.
- Management Practices
Wildlife management on Gene Rush WMA involves multiple strategies that include conservative hunting seasons and regulations, more intensive law enforcement efforts, and an ongoing aggressive habitat management program. Habitat management is accomplished in several ways including the development and management of permanent openings, construction of waterholes, and forest management practices including planned timber harvests, timber/wildlife stand improvement practices and controlled burning.
The area was purchased by the AGFC in two major segments. The first segment totaled 9,198 acres and was purchased during 1966-1973 from Paul Meers, the Eleven Sixty-Six Corporation and some smaller landowners. This first segment is located south of the Buffalo River and west of Cave Creek. The second major segment was purchased from the Sutton family from 1978-1980 and consisted of 7,248 acres (this segment was officially designated the "Sutton Unit". The Sutton Unit lies east of Cave Creek, south of the Buffalo River and west of Richland Creek. The purchase of several smaller tracts of land over the years has increased the total size of the WMA to 17,652 acres.
The area was purchased to ensure the perpetual integrity of the wildlife habitat and to provide outdoor recreation opportunities for the citizens of the state and country.
- Recreation Other Than Hunting
Fishing on the area is limited to the nearby Buffalo River and its tributaries. The Ozark highlands hiking trail crosses the east side of the area and provides access from the Ozark National Forest to the south across the area to the Buffalo National River to the North. The area is also popular for viewing wildlife, especially elk that can often be observed grazing in the managed fields on the area. Horseback riding is an increasingly popular activity on the area as well. All caves are closed to public access to prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome into Arkansas in order to protect bat populations.
- Restaurants and Other Facilities
The nearest motels and restaurants are in Jasper, about 15 miles west of the area. The nearest supplies can be found at small grocery stores in Hasty, Piercetown, Mt. Judea, Western Grove and Jasper.
This is a rugged mountain area, where 4-wheel drive vehicles can prove handy at times to reach out of the way places. The WMA and surrounding area has a good bear population, so campers should remain alert and take appropriate precautions.
- WMA Master Plan