Have some fun on Old River

Published 7:00 am Friday, April 22, 2016

ATV TRAIL: This bridge is accessible by foot or ATV, but is currently at a dead end due to flooding along the Pearl River. Photo by Jeremy Pittari

ATV TRAIL: This bridge is accessible by foot or ATV, but is currently at a dead end due to flooding along the Pearl River.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

For more than three decades the Old River Wildlife Management Area has provided outdoor sports enthusiasts with a place to hunt, fish and camp close to home.
Located in between Mississippi 43 North and the Pearl River in Pearl River County, the 15,408-acre site has four entrances.
Vehicle traffic is limited for the most part, but there is access for ATVs and boats, said Josh Moree, regional WMA biologist for the southwest region.
Most motorists who have traveled Miss. 43 North have passed the headquarters, located just south of the intersection of Highway 26.
Moree said anyone can access the WMA, provided they have secured a Wildlife Management user permit from one of the various methods, such as visiting the website, purchasing one from a location where hunting and fishing licenses can be bought or calling the 1800 number. The permit costs $15, is good for one year from the date of purchase and valid at any of the state’s various WMA sites. People who go to the site to hunt or fish are required to have the proper hunting and fishing license as well. The only time a person would not have to secure a WMA permit is if they are not within the age range of 16 to 65, or have some other government issued exemption.
A confirmation number will be provided for use while waiting on the WMA permit to arrive by mail.
Before visitors go to a WMA, Moree suggests they become familiar with the rules and regulations, which can be found on the website. He said it is each visitor’s responsibility to know and abide by those rules and regulations.
One of the major rules hunters need to abide by is that hunting season closes when flooding occurs. Hunters should keep up with the level of the Pearl River, either through the website, or via the National Weather Service’s website. When the monitoring station at Bogalusa registers a flood level of 18 feet or more along the Pearl River, hunting, especially of deer and turkey, closes. Moree said that is done to protect the wildlife, since flooding causes deer, turkeys and other game to head to higher ground, eliminating fair chase.
Alternately, when the river floods, it makes for better fishing, which is not restricted by the river’s flood stage.
Another rule is that visitors must fill out a check-in slip at a check station when utilizing the WMA. The access points all have check stations at the entrances.
Before heading into the area, the visitor must fill out a portion of the slip to leave at the station, and keep the second portion of the slip with them during their visit. These stations are unmanned, but Wildlife and Fisheries agents patrol the WMAs and will ask for the visitor’s portion of the ticket to confirm they have filled it out. Moree said by filling out the slips the agency can track usage of the resource.
To find out more about the WMA, apply for a permit or to read the rules and regulations visit https://www.mdwfp.com/wildlife-hunting/wmas/southwest-region/old-river.aspx.

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