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Piney Creeks WMA

Zone County
520 Conway, Johnson, Newton, Pope, Searcy, Van Buren
2023-24 Closed Seasons
  • Alligator
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, 2024WMA Deer Bag Limit: Three deer, no more than two antlered bucks, which may include:

  • Two antlered bucks with archery, muzzleloader or modern gun,
  • Three antlerless with archery,
  • One antlerless with muzzleloader during muzzle loader season, or one antlerless during modern gun season.
  • During youth hunt, youths may take three deer, two antlered bucks and one antlerless.

Deer Notes:

  • No antler restrictions.
  • No dogs.
2023-24 Quail
Nov. 1, 2023-Feb. 5, 2024. Daily limit – 6, possession limit -12.
2023-24 Rabbit
Sept. 1, 2023-Feb. 29, 2024. Daily limit – 8, possession limit – 16.
2024-25 Squirrel
May 15, 2024-Feb. 28, 2025. No dogs allowed Nov. 11-19. 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, 2023Bear Notes:

2024 Turkey
Youth Hunt: April 6-7, 2024. One legal turkey.
Firearms Hunt: April 15-May 5, 2024. One legal turkey.
About the Name
Named for Big and Little Piney Creeks, those generally wind from North to South through the area.
From I-40 at Russellville; turn north on Hwy. 7 and go 15 miles north and you will be at the southern boundary of the area when you pass the Ozark National Forest portal sign. Exit I-40 at Lamar; take Highway 64 west to Highway 123 and go 15 miles north to the National Forest/WMA boundary. Take Highway 7 south from Harrison about 50 miles to Pelsor, at Pelsor State Highway 16 is the northern boundary to the east and Highway 123 is northern boundary to the west until you reach the junction Newton County Rd 61.
Established 1967 through a cooperative agreement between the USDA Forest Service and AGFC.
Area Notes
Longpool Recreation Area is a developed camping, picnic and swimming area that is located on Big Piney Creek, 5 miles west of Hwy. 7 near the southern boundary of the area. Rotary Ann Recreation Area is located 4 miles south of Pelsor on Hwy. 7. and Haw Creek Falls Campground is located 2 miles south of Ft. Douglas on Hwy. 123. The U.S. Forest Service maintains all of the developed recreation areas. Primitive camping is allowed anywhere but on food plots and areas marked closed to camping.
Contains 504,643 acres of rugged Ozark Mountain terrain. The area is predominantly forested in upland hardwoods and mixed shortleaf pine/hardwood forest types. Big Piney Creek and the North Fork of the Illinois Bayou flow generally north to south through the central and eastern part, respectively, and Little Piney Creek more or less traverses the western and southern boundaries of the area.
Hunting Opportunities
The Piney Creeks WMA provides fair to good hunting and trapping opportunities during most years for all resident forest game and furbearer species including white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, black bear, gray and fox squirrels and raccoons. The scarcity of alternative food sources and the dependence on fickle mast crops for winter food on the area often results in dramatic fluctuations in survival and reproductive rates of popular game birds and animals. Hunters can expect to encounter population cycles that are very obvious increases or decreases in the numbers of animals and birds observed from one year to the next. Cyclic fluctuations may be quite dramatic for such species as squirrels, wild turkey and raccoons.
Pope, Johnson and Newton counties. Located 16 miles north of Russellville or 50 miles south of Harrison on Hwy 7 and 15 miles northeast of Clarksville, on Hwy. 123 north.
Management Practices
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the U. S. Forest Service work closely together to manage the wildlife and fisheries resources on all National Forest lands including the Piney Creeks WMA. Multiple strategies including conservative hunting seasons, more intensive law enforcement efforts and habitat improvement projects are used. Since 1968 a total of 364 wildlife openings/food plots averaging about an acre and a half and 220 waterholes have been constructed on the Piney Creeks area. These openings are mowed on a planned schedule and most of them are maintained in a mixture of nutritious grasses and legumes that are heavily used by popular wildlife species. These openings/food plots are designed to improve habitat conditions on the area by increasing the availability of nutritious forage and by providing a dependable emergency food source when natural food sources are scarce. Controlled burning, which has been increased dramatically in recent years, also provides increases in forage quality and quantity over relatively large areas for a reasonable expense. Monitoring of wildlife populations, general health and habitat conditions are also a very important component of a balanced wildlife management program. Radio telemetry tracking of black bears and wild turkeys has provided valuable information about reproduction, mortality, survival and habitat use and preferences for these species. Projects such as these have been ongoing in and around the Piney Creeks WMA for many years.
USDA Forest Service (Although there are some privately owned land inholdings, the majority of the land within it is Federally owned.)
To restore, protect and enhance native wildlife and aquatic species and provide optimal recreational opportunities for the people of the state and nation.
Recreation Other Than Hunting
The Ozark Highlands Trail traverses the entire breadth of the Piney Creeks area. Big Piney Creek and the North Fork of the Illinois Bayou, offer canoeing, kayaking and fishing opportunities. Driving through area observing the abundant wildlife and admiring the scenery especially in the spring and fall is also very popular. Hurricane Natural Bridge is in the Hurricane Wilderness Area. The historic Ft. Douglas CCC and the Sandgap CCC Camps are both located in the area. Pedestal Rocks, a unique geological feature is near State Highway 16 just east Sand Gap.
Restaurants and Other Facilities
Numerous motels and restaurants are available in Russellville, Clarksville and Jasper. Camping supplies and food are available at Hagarville, Dover, Sand Gap and Hector. Longpool Recreation Area has a pavilion for meetings.
It is rough and hilly Ozark Mountain terrain, hikers and hunters should be careful of their footing in steep areas. During the warmer months of the year hunters, hikers and campers should use a good insect repellent to ward off disease carrying ticks and chiggers. People should watch for venomous snakes when venturing off roadways and campers should take precautions to prevent bear encounters.