Owned: Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries, LaSalle Parish School Board, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Dewey Wills Wildlife Management Areas is located in LaSalle, Catahoula, and Rapides parishes in Central Louisiana approximately 20 miles northeast of Alexandria. The area is easily accessible from the large metropolitan areas via Louisiana Highway 28 . The interior contains a network of all-weather roads providing vehicular access.
Dewey Wills Wildlife Management Area is composed of approximately 63,901 acres and is owned by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, LaSalle Parish School Board, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This area is managed to provide wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation.
The area is flat, poorly drained land that is subject to annual overflow interlaced with a large number of bayous and lakes.
The forest cover is a mixture of bottomland hardwoods. The major overstory species are overcup oak, bitter pecan, nuttall oak, ash, elm, and willow oak. The understory of the flats or lower elevations is composed mainly of swamp-privet, reproduction of the overstory, and native grasses and forbs. On the higher elevations, the understory is composed of deciduous holly, hawthorn, smilax, swamp dogwood, peppervine, rattan vine, dewberry, blackberry, palmetto, and reproduction of the overstory.
The timber was harvested prior to Department ownership, creating an open canopy, and the removal of livestock competition was all that was necessary to stimulate understory production. At present, the forest canopy has closed and browse plants have been reduced. In recent years a very serious combination of conditions known as Oak Decline has developed on the area. As a result large numbers of trees have died. The timber management program, including harvests, has been modified to counteract this threat.
Game species hunted are deer, squirrels, rabbits, raccoon, turkey and waterfowl. Each year the area produces trophy sized bucks. Trapping for furbearers is allowed and the species available include raccoon, nutria, beaver, mink, bobcat, fox and coyotes.
A tremendous variety of non-game bird species are present on the area. Neo-tropical nesters, shorebirds, wading birds, and various raptors are among the birds that can be found on the WMA.
The area affords excellent sport and commercial fishing. Species caught include black bass, white bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, and other species of sunfish. Commercial species present include buffalo, carp, drum, gar, and catfish.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has constructed and maintains four primitive camping areas and five concrete boat ramps.
Additional information may be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 1995 Shreveport Highway, Pineville, LA 71360. Phone (318) 487-5885.