On Nov. 13, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks formally dedicated the Phil Bryant Wildlife Management Area, a highly prized 18,000-acre matrix of bayous, cypress sloughs and well-managed bottomland hardwoods in Warren and Issaquena Counties.
“I am humbled and honored with the naming of this amazing Wildlife Management Area,” said outgoing Gov. Phil Bryant said. “I will continue to do all in my power to earn this distinction. It will be dedicated, if not in name, in spirit, to the Mississippi outdoorsmen and women who will forever enjoy its beauty and harvest.”
The MDWFP will be maintaining an intact bottomland hardwood forest in perpetuity for the benefit of many wildlife species. The WMA will be vital in maintaining a long legacy of outdoor recreation for sportsmen and women, while offering a unique hunting experience.
“We are applying a new concept with the Phil Bryant WMA by allowing group hunts in a primitive setting,” said Dr. Sam Polles, executive director of MDWFP. “It is divided into four tracts that offer a variety of hunting opportunities.”
In 2018, the MDWFP, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, purchased about 18,000 acres in Issaquena and Warren counties from Anderson-Tully Company. The horrific flooding of 2019, which inundated the entire 18,000 acres, delayed development of the WMA.
It has since been divided into four units based on accessibility and geographical features, all named after previous hunting clubs that were located on the property: Buck Bayou, Ten Point, Goose Lake and Backwoods.
The Bryan WMA will offer hunters unique opportunities not previously offered on other WMAs. From October to January, groups of hunters — such as fathers and sons — will be drawn for a specific hunting unit. For five days, they can camp and hunt any game species that is in season.
From Dec. 26-Jan. 12 on the Ten Point Unit, draw hunts will be conducted for youth and handicapped hunters. This hunt will be during the peak of the rut and provide an exciting hunting opportunity.
The Buck Bayou Unit will be included in the neighboring Mahannah WMA draw-hunt system. These areas are a combination of moist-soil impoundments and flooded timber, providing a quality waterfowl-hunting experience. Other WMA units will offer open waterfowl hunting on specific days.
The Goose Lake Unit, accessible only by boat or foot, will have archery-only draw hunts throughout the season. This unit offers a unique hunting experience for those wanting to get off the beaten path.
The Phil Bryant WMA is the 55th WMA managed by MDWFP, providing more than 700,000 acres of land to public access in all four corners of the state.
For more information about the new Phil Bryant WMA, and all other public lands managed by the agency, visit MDWFP.com.