West Kentucky WMA
A great place for the outdoor enthusiast
By Lee McClellan
The 6,560-acre West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area in McCracken County is a unique piece of Kentucky bordering the Ohio River.
“It has a good diversity of habitats for wildlife,” said Tony Black, public lands regional coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “It has rolling areas, flat woodlands, bottomland habitat, wetlands and creek bottoms.”
The area holds good numbers of mature bucks. “There’s always been a good population of deer on the area,” Black said. “There are some pretty decent bucks.”
It is also one of the better wildlife management areas (WMAs) in the state for quail hunting. “There a quite a few quail on the area,” Black said. “Like anywhere else in Kentucky, you have to work for them. You can walk a good distance before you see some coveys, but they are there.”
The area also contains several popular dove fields.
West Kentucky WMA also offers 12 ponds with largemouth bass, white crappie, bluegill and catfish. Several have ramps suitable for small boats, but most anglers fish from the bank. A pond on Tract 4 has a handicap accessible fishing pier.
West Kentucky WMA is a popular place to hold field trials. “They use the ponds for retriever trials,” Black said. “We get a really good turnout for those trials.” Some ponds are closed to fishing during these trials.
Located along the Ohio River with natural wetlands and creek bottoms, the area is a superb place for bird watching. “We have a lot of warblers including the prairie, yellow and Prothonotary,” Black said. “We have northern harriers, red-shouldered hawks and, of course, red-tailed hawks. Down toward the Ohio River, we see Mississippi kites at certain times of the year.”
West Kentucky WMA offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including horseback riding trails, a skeet range, a mobility impaired archery range and hiking trails.
Most areas are open to archery and crossbow hunting for deer except during the Dec. 12-13 quota gun hunt. Hunters may only use muzzleloaders and slug shotguns during the gun hunt. Consult the 2009-2010 Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide for seasons and special regulations governing this area. A map of the area is under online at fw.ky.gov. Search under the keywords, “West Kentucky WMA map.”
To get there: From I-24 at Paducah, take exit 4 west onto U.S. 60 to Future City. Turn north on KY 996 for 3˝ miles. Turn west on KY 358 to area.