Aug. 11, 2011– Outdoors enthusiasts utilizing Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area (WMA) now have an additional 4,955 acres for hunting and other outdoor activities based on a lease agreement recently signed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and International Paper (IP).
“We are pleased to have been able to arrange this no cost lease agreement and make this announcement prior to the opening of the 2011-12 hunting season,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “We will continue to negotiate with International Paper for eventual transfer of the property.”
The newly leased acreage, north of the existing WMA land owned by LDWF, includes prime waterfowl habitat known locally as Wham Brake. The north Louisiana WMA, encompassing acreage in Morehouse, Ouachita and Richland Parishes, now totals 21,948 acres with IP leased acres included.
“Wham Brake has a rich history as one of the premier waterfowl areas in northeast Louisiana,” said IP’s David Haynes. “International Paper made the area available to the public free of charge for more than 50 years. The fact that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is taking over management of the area will ensure that continues in the future. We are grateful for their efforts to make this happen.”
LDWF is allowing removal of duck blind structures or other private property within the Wham Brake acreage through Sept. 9, 2011. Additional time may be considered for removal, but hunting from any permanent structures will not be allowed. The department is interested in acquiring some existing blinds for possible use in youth waterfowl and Louisiana Hunting Heritage Program hunts, and will evaluate any structure offered for a possible transfer of ownership. The LDWF Monroe field office can be contacted for more information at 318-343-4044.
The existing WMA property provides two greentree waterfowl impoundments totaling 2,400 acres, utilized by species including mallards, wood ducks, and other non-game species. Public hunting options are also available for deer, squirrel, rabbit and woodcock, and a primitive camping area is provided north of U.S. Highway 80.
For more information and directions to Russell Sage WMA, visit the LDWF web site at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma  or contact Jerald Owens or Charles Booth at 318-343-4044.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov  on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb  or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.