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Rex Hancock Black Swamp WMA

Zone County
550 Woodruff
2023-24 Closed Seasons
  • Alligator
  • Bear
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 (permit hunt): Oct. 21-25, 2023
Deer Modern Gun (permit hunt): Nov. 11-15, 2023
Deer Modern Gun Special Youth Hunt: Nov. 4-5, 2023

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

  • Two bucks with archery,
  • Three does with archery,
  • One buck and one doe with muzzleloader permit,
  • One buck and one doe with modern gun permit.
  • Limit during the modern gun special youth hunt is two deer; one buck and one doe.

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.
2023-24 Squirrel
May 15, 2024-Feb. 28, 2025. Dogs allowed. Daily limit – 12, possession limit – 48.
2023-24 Waterfowl

Waterfowl Notes:

  • No boats allowed Nov. 11-17, Nov. 27-Dec. 8 and Dec. 24-26. Exception 1 – Boats allowed from 4 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2. Exception 2 – Boats allowed on the following waters:
    • Gregory Access (County Road 758) to include the ditch to the Cache River
    • Float Road Access (County Road 752) to include the marked marked trail to the Cache River.
    • Cache River within the boundaries of the WMA.
  • Closed to all access (except in designated campsites, parking areas, boat launch ramps and boat staging areas) from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., Nov. 18-Jan. 31 and Feb. 3. Boats may only be launched in boat staging areas after 2 a.m. and must remain occupied between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m.
  • Spinning-wing and mechanically operated decoys not allowed. See Page 43.
  • No boats allowed from 1 p.m. to 4 a.m. Nov. 18-26, Dec. 9-23 and Dec. 27-Jan. 31. Exception 1 – Boats allowed from 1 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., Dec. 2 and Jan. 31.
    Exception 2 – Boats allowed from 1 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. on the following waters:
    • Gregory Access (County Road 758) to include the ditch to the Cache River
    • Float Road Access (County Road 752) to include the marked trail to the Cache River.
    • Cache River within the boundaries of the WMA.
  • Motors with factory exhaust systems only during waterfowl season.
  • No camping allowed in parking areas at Gregory and Float Road access ramps during waterfowl season.
2024 Turkey
Includes Cache River NWR Unit 2 lands within an area bounded by U.S. Highway 64 on north, Arkansas Highway 17 on east, Arkansas Highway 38 on south and Arkansas Highway 33 on west.
Youth Hunt: April 6-7, 2024. One legal turkey.
Firearms Hunt (permit required): April 15-16 and April 20-21, 2024. One legal turkey.

Turkey Notes: A WMA Turkey Hunt Permit is required to hunt turkeys on this WMA during the permit hunt. Click here for details.

About the Name
It was formerly called Black Swamp. In 1981, the commission changed the name to include Rex Hancock because of his hard work and dedication to saving wetlands along the Cache River corridor.
Public access can be obtained by taking state highway 33 from Augusta to Gregory. At Gregory, one will find a WMA highway sign; turn left onto County blacktop road and travel 3 miles. At the end of the blacktop go straight onto the all-weather gravel road which will enter into the WMA. This principal access road ends at a parking and camping area beside the boat ramp, which accesses a boat canal leading to the Cache River. Access can also be gained by driving 1 mile south of Gregory on Hwy.33 to the Hwy. Directional sign Rex Hancock/Black Swamp Float Road Access turn left on gravel road and go east appox.2 miles. This road ends at a camping area and boat ramp, which can be used during high water. The LeBlanc unit can be accessed by going west on hwy. 38 out of Cotton Plant for 3 miles. Turn left at the hwy. directional sign and follow the county road for eight miles to the WMA boundary.
The initial purchase was made in 1971 from 3 different owners; approximately 3,888 acres were purchased at this time. In 1983, 1,694 acres of Potlatch land on the south end was purchased by the Natural Heritage Commission, which deeded it to the AGFC. Another 377 acres know as the LeBlanc Unit was purchased in cooperation with Ducks Unlimited and the Nature Conservancy in 1990. In 1995 a 427-acre FmHA tract was deeded to the Commission bringing the total acreage to 6,394, all under AGFC ownership.
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 or by calling 833-345-0325 or any regional office.
  • Only non-toxic shot may be possessed and used while hunting small game with shotguns.
  • Deer hunting closes when the Cache River gauge at Patterson exceeds 10 feet and reopens when the gauge falls below 8.5 feet.
  • The Lee LeBlanc Waterfowl Rest Area closes to access Nov. 1 and reopens to access Feb. 16.
  • Call 833-345-0398 to check if roads are closed before heading out to hunt, fish or camp.
  • For access restrictions that affect all users during waterfowl season, check the waterfowl guidebook.
  • No camping allowed in designated parking areas during waterfowl season.
There are four camping areas located on Rex Hancock. The largest and most used camping area is located at the end of the all-weather road east of Gregory. Camping is primitive.
The WMA is mostly low bottomlands and swamps. The Cache River splits the area in the middle. Major hardwood species are Cypress, tupelo, oaks and hickory.
Hunting Opportunities
Waterfowl is probably the main species hunted on this area but good hunting is dependent on rainfall to flood the Cache River bottomlands. During the right conditions, this WMA is in some of the best duck hunting territory in the state. Non-toxic shot is required. Deer hunting is becoming more and more popular in this area. Archery and crossbow season is the same as statewide. Gun and muzzleloader seasons vary somewhat from the statewide season. Permits are required for muzzleloader and gun deer seasons. Squirrel hunting is generally good along the river and higher ridges. Squirrel populations tend to fluctuate somewhat. Swamp rabbit hunting is fair and dogs are permitted for rabbit hunting. Non-toxic shot is required for all small game hunting. Dove and quail hunting are not popular on the area itself but some fair hunting of these species can be had on lands surrounding the area. Raccoon is the most sought after furbearer on this area. Trapping and hunting with dogs at night are legal and both seasons are the same as statewide. Hunting coyote is not a favorite sport on the area. However, hunters while hunting other species harvest some. Turkey hunting is allowed by permit. Black bear season is closed.
This WMA is in Woodruff County 10 miles south of Augusta and 4 miles east of Gregory along the Cache River.
Management Practices
At this time, other than food plotting, there are no special management practices being carried out on the WMA. However, in the near future, some forest management practices will begin. Approximately 30 acres of permanent food plots are in the process of being established in perennials such as clovers and perennial rye grass. Approximately 120 acres of the FmHA property has been reforested in hardwood seedlings. Two wetland complexs are being developed to provide approx. 50 acres of habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds.
The area was originally purchased to preserve wetlands along the Cache River and is excellent wintering habitat for waterfowl.
Recreation Other Than Hunting
Fishing is the favorite activity. Most of the fishing is done with trotlines and the major species sought after are flathead and channel catfish. During the right water conditions, crappie and bass fishing is fair. During the winter months the opportunity does exist for one to see an eagle along the river. The WMA has several stands of virgin cypress and of cypress and tupelo. Most stretches of the Cache within this area are lined with these species, providing an environment which is aesthetically attractive and increasingly unusual. Along with Dagmar WMA, at the lower end of the Cache, the Rex Hancock/Black Swamp WMA provides some of the best opportunities available anywhere to experience this type of river swamp environment.
Restaurants and Other Facilities
The nearest place for restaurants, motels or supplies is Augusta.
The possibility of getting lost is greater during high water times as it is sometimes hard to recognize the main river channel. It is always a good idea to carry a compass on this area. Mosquitoes are always a problem, especially during summer and fall months.