Boatwright WMA

Western Kentucky area adds more than 400 acres


Public hunting and wildlife watching opportunities in western Kentucky have grown again.

In January, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources added 443 acres of sloughs and bottomlands adjoining the Boatwright Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Ballard County.

The acreage, known as the Virginia Payne tract, was once a tree plantation operated by MeadWestvaco. Only members of the companyís private club were allowed to hunt it, said Charlie Wilkins, Boatwright WMA supervisor for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.

Thatís changed. The property is now open for public hunting under statewide seasons for most game, including deer and turkey. Special regulations apply for waterfowl hunting, Wilkins said. Two permanent waterfowl blinds and one boat blind will be available this season for hunters.

The new property adjoins the Burnt Pond tract. Burnt Pond is an 18-acre oxbow lake ringed with tupelo and cypress trees.

Wildlife watchers may see shorebirds, herons, eagles, bobcats, furbearers and other animals typically found in an Ohio River floodplain, Wilkins said.

The new area contains a mixture of sloughs, forests and open fields. The property includes planted trees such as ash, sweet gum and cottonwoods, but most of the timber is in sycamore trees. Some sycamores were planted four years ago, while other sycamores have reached 35 to 40 feet in height.

Wilkins said the property includes row crops, such as corn and soybeans, and is supplemented by wildlife food plots.

The Payne tract is prone to flooding due to its proximity to the Ohio†† River. The property includes a slough and enough clear bank to drag a boat into it. The lake is trolling motor only.

Fishing opportunities are limited because Asian carp have invaded the waterway, Wilkins said. The slough is periodically flooded by the Ohio River, which allowed the carp into the slough. The slough is still a good place for archers to bow fish.

As with all wildlife management areas, always check the latest hunting and fishing guides for the most current regulations.



How to get there


From Paducah, take US 60 west to Barlow. Continue west on Holloway Landing Road. Once you pass Fish Lake, the road bends to the right then bends back to the left. The road to the Payne tract appears to the left shortly after the second bend in the road. After you turn, this road takes you to both parcels of the Payne tract before ending in the Burnt Pond tract.†††


- Dave Baker