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Cookson WMA

Cookson WMA, photo by Jena Donnell


Game Warden (County):
(918) 431-2562(Cherokee)
(918) 431-2552(Cherokee)

Area Acres
14,725 ac.
Area Non-Ambulatory Acres
50.20 ac.

The Cookson WMA consists of approximately 14,725 acres in southeastern Cherokee and southwestern Adair Counties. Located approximately 6 miles east of Cookson on Bluetop Road.

The WMA is a mixture of uplands with scattered meadows and openings, found generally at lower elevations. Dense stands of oak-hickory timber with some short leaf pine on rolling, rocky, and relatively steep hills predominates the area.  Fields and meadows with improved domestic grains, like clover and rye are found throughout. The average annual precipitation is about 41 inches.

The WMA has numerous opportunities for public access, including a lengthy deer archery season, and also offers some controlled deer hunts. Consult regulations for area use restrictions.

Watch Cookson Wildlife Management Area on YouTube.


Watch Cookson WMA on YouTube.


From Cookson: 5.2 miles east on Blue Top Road.

  • Bear: No season. Animals are present on the WMA but very secretive.
  • Deer: White-tailed deer are present in good numbers but are highly sought after. 
  • Turkey: Eastern wild turkeys are present in fair numbers but are highly sought after. 
  • Quail: Bobwhite quail are present in very limited numbers. 
  • Rabbit: Cottontail rabbits are present in good numbers. 
  • Squirrel: Both fox and gray squirrels are abundant.   
  • Furbearers: Coyote, bobcat, gray fox, and raccoon can be found on the area. 
  • Dove: Very limited opportunity.  Not a major game species on the area. 
  • Waterfowl: Limited opportunity.  Restricted to area ponds. 
  • Elk: Present in low numbers.  Limited hunting through the controlled hunts program.
  • Bald Eagle: bald eagles occasionally winter on an impoundment known as Buzzard Lake.
  • Nongame Birds;
  • Bats: Several species that are uncommon or rare can be found on the area;
  • Salamanders: 9 species of salamanders have been documented on the WMA, along with a host of other amphibians and reptiles;

Management efforts focus on improving the forage base for game species by controlled burning, mowing, timber management and agricultural food plots.  Annually, 100-150 acres (30-50 food plots) are planted on the area.  Ponds are scattered throughout for wildlife watering.  Those holding water year round have fishable populations of bass and sunfish.

One designated primitive camping area is available for hunters.  Other accommodations can be found in Tahlequah ( or at the many cabins, lodges, COE campgrounds and state parks along Lake Tenkiller.

Fishing is limited to those area ponds that hold water year around.  Buzzard Lake (approximately 7 acres) is the primary source available.  Light tackle is generally appropriate.

Area closed to all activities for controlled deer and elk hunts Sept. 26 - 27, Oct. 26 - 27, Nov. 2 - 3, Nov. 9 - 10, and Nov. 16 - 17, 2024. 

Closed Seasons
Deer Gun, Deer Muzzleloader, Youth Deer Gun, Holiday Antlerless Deer Gun, Turkey Fall Gun
Same As Statewide Seasons
Turkey Fall Archery, Deer Archery
Seasons w/ Special Restrictions
  • Quail, Squirrel, Rabbit, Crow, Dove, Rail, Gallinule, Snipe, Woodcock, Trapping, Predator/Furbearer Calling, Waterfowl

Closed from the opening day of deer archery season through deer gun season.

  • Pursuit with Hounds for Furbearers

Closed from the opening day of deer archery season through deer gun season and during spring turkey season.

  • Turkey Spring, Youth Turkey Spring

One-tom limit combined; seasons combined, area combined.

Additional Restrictions:

Hunter and angler camping is allowed in designated areas only, and only during open hunting seasons on the area.

Closed to all nonhunting activities, except hunter camping, from Oct. 1 - Jan. 31 and during spring turkey season.

Tahlequah Chamber of Commerce

Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce


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

Upper McClellan-Kerr Waterway Association
PO Box 2361
Muskogee, OK 74402

Stilwell Area Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 845
Stilwell OK 74960

Tulsa Convention and Visitors Bureau
Williams Center Tower II
Two West Second Street, Tulsa OK 74103

Greater Tenkiller Area Association
PO Box Ten-K
Cookson OK 74427

Q: Is Cookson WMA open to Elk harvest?

A: No. Cookson WMA is NOT open for public Elk harvest. There is a single tag drawn each year through ODWC's Controlled Hunts program.

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