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KY opens new Union County WMA for spring turkey season

From Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources

-- Hunters have a new area in western Kentucky to pursue wild turkeys this spring following the opening of the 2,500-acre Big Rivers Wildlife Management Area and State Forest in Union County.

The WMA and state forest is located at the Tradewater River's confluence with the Ohio River near Sturgis. The Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources jointly manages the new area with the Kentucky Division of Forestry.

Kentucky's youth only turkey season is April 7 and 8. The statewide wild turkey season runs from April 14 through May 6.

"The turkey numbers are great; the toms are out in the fields strutting now," said Scott Harp Wildlife Regional Coordinator. "It should be an awesome experience for the kids during youth only season."

Deer hunting on the property will include statewide archery and crossbow seasons, youth firearms seasons and a quota firearms hunt Nov.10 and 11.

Furbearer trapping will be by permit only. Big Rivers will be open under statewide seasons for all other species.

Access to the area is available off KY 1508 in the northern section of the WMA. Locust Lick Road and Lover's Lane Road branch off of KY 1508 and lead to the interior of the area. Access beyond gated areas on these roads is by foot only.

Visitors also have the option to access southern portions of the WMA via boat on the Tradewater and Ohio rivers. The WMA has a boat ramp located in the northeast corner of the property off Tradewater Road. A second voluntary public access ramp is located approximately 200 yards east of the first ramp.

Visitors can also use another ramp located at the end of KY 1508. This provides access to the Ohio River just upstream of the property.

Some areas of the property are steep. No area on the property is more than a mile away from an access point, either along a road or by the river. A map of the area is available online at fw.ky.gov.

In addition to hunting, Big Rivers will provide public recreational opportunities for fishing, hiking, canoeing and wildlife viewing.

Hunters will find upland hardwoods, bottomlands and an uncommon forest type in Kentucky,  post oak flatwoods. Big Rivers, previously managed as a sustainable forest, is primarily wooded with a good number of mast producing trees.

Approximately 600 acres of open fields will be planted with corn and soybean crops. Several wildlife habitat improvement projects also begin this year on the property.

Big Rivers is an important area for federally-endangered bats and mussels. Migrating waterfowl use the area when coming through the state. Hunters should note the area includes excellent numbers of deer, squirrels and turkey.

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