Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area is located in Morehouse, Ouachita and Richland Parishes, approximately seven miles east of Monroe and ten miles west of Rayville. Access is provided by U.S. Highway 80 and Interstate 20, which bisect the area. Interior, all-weather roads are maintained by the department.
Russell Sage includes 16,993 acres owned by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Located within the Bayou LaFourche flood plain, this WMA is flat and poorly drained. Elevations range from 58 feet to 63 feet above mean sea level. Numerous sloughs and shallow bayous meander throughout and backwater flooding occurs annually.
In August 2011, an additional 4,955 acres was added to Russell Sage based on a lease agreement signed with International Paper, bringing the total WMA acreage to 21,948.
The newly leased acreage, north of the existing WMA land owned by LDWF, includes prime waterfowl habitat known locally as Wham Brake.
There are two major timber types on the WMA. The predominant type is overcup oak-bitter pecan (water hickory) and the other is oak-elm-ash. Much smaller acreage of other types is also present, including willow-cypress-ash and oak-gum. Timber overstory species include Nuttall oak, hackberry, overcup oak, bitter pecan, bald cypress, rock elm, green ash, honey locust, red maple, tupelo gum, and American elm. Cottonwood, water oak, and other higher ground species are located on canal spoil banks throughout the management area.
Understory species present include deciduous holly, roughleaf dogwood, dewberry, peppervine, greenbrier, poison ivy, rattan, swamp privet, persimmon, buttonbush, climbing dogbane, and palmetto.
There are two greentree waterfowl impoundments on Russell Sage totaling 2,400 acres. Excellent hunting is provided for mallards and wood ducks along with several other species. Wading birds and other non-game species utilize the impoundments.
Hunting is available for deer, squirrel, rabbit, and woodcock. Russell Sage is a consistent producer of quality deer. Squirrel hunting is particularly popular on the WMA and hunters experience good success.
Trapping is permitted for raccoon, beaver, coyote, nutria, mink, bobcat, fox, and opossum. The river otter and American alligator are present, but taking of these species is not allowed.
A primitive camping area is provided north of U.S. Highway 80.
Additional information may be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 368 CenturyLink Drive, Monroe, Louisiana 71203. Phone (318) 343-4044.