Optima Wildlife Management Area

By: Weston Storer, Biologist at Beaver River, Optima and Rita Blanca WMA’s. Phone:  (806) 339-5175. 

Area Description:
Optima WMA covers 8,062 acres of eastern Texas County in the Oklahoma panhandle. Located just north off Hwy. 412 (northwest of the town of Hardesty), Optima WMA is a mixture of upland and river bottom.

Sagebrush and buffalo grass predominate on upland sites, which are interspersed with sand plum thickets. Bottomlands consist of sand plum thickets, salt cedar and mixed grassland. The Beaver River, which is dry, offers a classic western Oklahoma floodplain comprised of cottonwood trees. The average annual precipitation for the area is about 17 inches. 

WMA Driving Directions: From Hardesty: 3 miles west on U.S. Hwy 412, 3 miles north on State Hwy 94.

Game Species of Interest: 

Pheasant: Present in low numbers, most often taken as a bonus for quail hunters. 

Quail: Bobwhite quail are usually present in good numbers but are highly sought after. Very few blue quail present. 

Deer: Mostly white-tailed deer. Mule deer present, but not in large numbers. 

Turkey: Rio Grande wild turkeys are present, but not abundant. 

Rabbit: Both cottontails and jackrabbits are present, with cottontails being more common. 

Furbearers: Coyote, bobcat and raccoon are available. 

Dove: One of several western Oklahoma WMAs that offers good dove hunting opportunities based on its semi-arid habitat and location within a major migration corridor. 

Waterfowl: The early Teal season can be good dependant upon weather and water level in Optima Lake. Other waterfowl opportunities for ducks or geese are generally poor. 

Nongame Species of Interest: 

            Black-tailed prairie dog: Present on the WMA; no hunting of prairie dogs allowed on Optima WMA. 

            Bald eagle: Eagles winter around Optima WMA.

Description of Fish and Wildlife Management Practices:
Approximately 3 windmills and 9 guzzlers have been installed to provide watering facilities for wildlife. Management practices include prescribed burns, strip disking and strip mowing.  Management efforts focus on producing native wildlife foods such as ragweed and sunflower, although some small agricultural food plots are planted annually throughout the WMA.  An additional 200 acres of agricultural plots are planted in an agriculture lease program.

Camping and Facilities:
Two designated primitive camping areas are offered on the area. 

The towns of Hardesty and Hooker offer fuel and food.  Both lodging and restaurants are available in Guymon.  The Hooker Chamber of Commerce can be reached at (580) 652-2809. The Guymon Chamber of Commerce can be reached at (580) 338-3376.

A rifle range can be found on the north side of the area. It offers both 100 and 200 yard ranges and has a covered shooting bench. 

Fishing Opportunities:
Optima Lake has historically been subject to water levels too low to sustain a permanent fishery. And, there are no ponds or permanent pools on Optima WMA to sustain a reliable fishery. A winter time trout fishery is run at Sunset Lake in Guymon is available, about 15 miles west of the area.  Contact City of Guymon for cost and season dates at (580) 338-3396.

Maps:

Optima WMA Map - best general purpose map, pdf format (8.5x11)

Regulations: Seasons on public lands section of hunting regulations

For additional information and area attractions:
Guymon Tourism
www.guymonok.com

Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department
Post Office Box 52002
Oklahoma City, OK 73152-2002
(800) 652-6552 or (405) 521-2409
www.travelok.com

Click here for an area map courtesy of US Army Corp of Engineers

Optima National Wildlife Refuge