Kaw WMA covers 16,254 acres adjoining the upper two thirds of Kaw Lake in eastern Kay County in north central Oklahoma. Located just four and one half miles east of Newkirk, Oklahoma, Kaw WMA is a mixture of upland and bottomland forest, tallgrass prairie, old fields, and cropland.
Bluestem grasses and post oak- blackjack forests are predominate on upland sites, which are interspersed with sand plum thickets and agricultural fields. Bottom land forests consist of burr oak, hackberry, sycamore, sand plum and other species. The average annual precipitation for the area is 30 inches per year.
West arm – From Newkirk: 4½ miles east on E. River Rd (E0090).
South area – From Ponca City: 2 miles north on U.S. Hwy 77, 6 miles east on Sate Hwy 11, 2 miles north on Enterprise Rd, ¼ mi east on E0150.
East arm – From Newkirk: 13 miles east on E. River Rd (E0090).
Game Species of Interest:
- Pheasant: Very few present, most often taken as a bonus for quail hunters.
- Quail: Bobwhite quail occur in fair numbers during most years.
- Deer: White-tailed deer are abundant and highly sought after.
- Turkey: Rio Grande turkeys are present in good numbers and highly sought after.
- Rabbit: Cottontails are usually present in good numbers.
- Furbearers: Coyote, bobcat, and raccoon are plentiful.
- Dove: Good dove hunting is usually available.
- Waterfowl: Ducks and geese are usually available in good numbers.
- Squirrel: The fox squirrel is present in good numbers.
Nongame Species of Interest:
- Greater Prairie Chicken: Present, but only in low numbers.
- Bald Eagle: One of Kaw Lake’s most popular winter attractions is the American Bald Eagle. Traditionally, Kaw Lake has one of the states largest populations of wintering bald eagles. Numerous sites around the lake offer visitors excellent opportunities to view our nation’s symbol. Peak viewing opportunities occur in January.
- Osprey: Commonly observed along the shoreline in early fall.
- Upland Sandpiper: Present in low numbers on the east side of the WMA.
- Texas Horned Lizard: Present in low numbers on the east side of the WMA.
Description of Fish and Wildlife Management Practices:
Approximately 4,000 acres are managed through a share crop agricultural lease program that are planted annually with both warm season and cool season crops. Typical warm season crop rotations include soybeans, sorghum, milo, and corn. Wheat is the primary cool season crop with the occasional field(s) planted to oats. These agricultural leases provide food resources for wildlife throughout the year and assist with hunter harvest success. The dove hunting program on Kaw WMA relies heavily on these agricultural leases as some leases provide standing wheat fields which are manipulated prior to the dove season opener.
In addition to the agricultural lease program, more than 1200 acres are managed through growing season grazing leases. Cattle are a very useful habitat management tool. Not only will cattle thin vegetation by grazing, but they will trample woody vegetation that is unpalatable helping to reduce or maintain current woody vegetation densities. Maintaining a desirable vegetation density is a key component when managing for upland game birds such as bobwhite quail and wild turkey. These leases are closely monitored by the area biologist to ensure approved stocking rates and dates are adhered to by lessees.
Another primary tool utilized across Kaw WMA is fire. Prescribed burns are rotated across the landscape and during different seasons of the year to stimulate desired plant communities. Fire has historically managed the wild habitats of Oklahoma and is vital for maintaining and improving habitats for most native species. The primary use of fire on Kaw WMA is to decrease canopy cover. Canopy cover, in a forested area, refers to the amount of overhead cover, i.e. branches and leaves on trees. By reducing canopy cover more sunlight is allowed to reach ground level. This stimulates plant growth allowing for more food resources at heights useable by wildlife.
Camping and Facilities:
Several primitive camping sites are available free of charge on the WMA. These sites are mowed in the early fall. Nine public use areas are available around the lake. Campers can select from over 250 campsites, many of which are equipped with water and electric hookups. Reservations for these campsites can be obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ten boat ramps provide boaters with easy access to Kaw Lake. Once on the water, boaters can find two full service marinas located at Pioneer Park and McFadden Cove. The number for the Corps project office at Kaw is 580-762-5611.
Kaw Lake and the Arkansas River have long been known for producing some of Oklahoma’s largest catfish. The flathead, blue and channel catfish all reside in the lake. Kaw Lake also offers anglers excellent opportunities to catch crappie, sand bass, black bass and walleye. The lake covers 17,000 surface acres and has 168 miles of shoreline.
For additional information and area attractions:
Bartlesville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
201 SW Keeler
PO Box 2366, Bartlesville OK 74005
Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department
Post Office Box 52002
Oklahoma City, OK 73152-2002
(800) 652-6552 or (405) 521-2409
Ponca City Tourism
516 E Grand Avenue
Ponca City Chamber of Commerce