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Honobia and Three Rivers – A Pair of Southeast Oklahoma Gems

Terry Stuart
Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Three Rivers WMA, owned by Weyerhaeuser Company, covers about 450,000 acres in McCurtain and Pushmataha counties, while Honobia Creek WMA, owned by Hancock Natural Resource Group, is located mainly in Pushmataha County, with a portion falling in southwestern Leflore County near Honobia. Together they form an area comprised of a variety of habitat to suit just about every kind of sportsman. Both areas include tall, rocky ridges forested with pines and mixed hardwoods as well as clear creeks and open meadows. 

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has separate cooperative agreements with these two private landowners, and together they have been successful in managing for wildlife and providing opportunities for hunters. Equally important is the assistance from sportsmen who responsibly and ethically use the two areas. In the past hunters have helped in the discouragement of unlawful activities like littering, vandalism and arson on the WMAs . In return, the private landowners continue to keep these prime, game-rich areas open to the public. 

A total of three walk-in turkey areas (over 11,000 acres) are available, one in Honobia Creek and two in Three Rivers. These are excellent for both turkey and deer hunting Since motor vehicles are prohibited (hence the term "walk-in"), the only buzz you should hear in your ear is the buzz of a bloodthirsty mosquito. This makes for fantastic, secluded hunting and a lesser likelihood of missing the gobble of a wary tom. 

Motor vehicles are allowed during deer season on a few select roads in the walk-in areas, but the roads are closed immediately following deer season to give turkeys seclusion during the critical nesting and brood-rearing season. Turkey studies have shown that vehicles greatly interfere with nesting, since turkeys often use road right-of ways for nesting sites. The Signal Mountain Walk-in Turkey Hunting Area on Three Rivers WMA is closed to vehicles year-round. 

With a diversity of hardwood and pine forest habitats as well as a maze of pure, sparkling streams, Oklahoma small game hunting is at its best at Three Rivers and Honobia Creek. Rabbits , squirrels and furbearers will fill plenty of game bags. 

Diverse and scenic fishing opportunities are plentiful as well, with serene scenery and a buffet of fish to fry. Anglers can catch bass and even catfish by fishing from the banks or by wading, tubing or canoeing. 

Camping in the areas is primitive, meaning no electric hookups or water, and is not designated to any specific "campgrounds" Instead, primitive campsites exist throughout both WMAs that sportsmen can use for up to 14 days. Hunters can hike in to get away from the roads and to experience a more primitive wilderness setting as well as camp out while on the move. 

Some hunters would pay a hefty cash sum to get access to the kind of wildlife habitat these WMAs provide, not to mention more acreage than one hunter could cover in several trips. But sportsmen don't have to dig deep into their wallets to take a trip to Three Rivers and Honobia Creek. Users are required to purchase a $16 Land Access permit ($25 for nonresidents), which allows them access for the whole calendar year. The funds generated from these permits pay for wildlife management practices on the WMAs and the equipment needed to do the work. That's a deal, seeing that you can barely take your family out to eat one time for that price and have as much fun to boot. For Oklahoma hunting and fishing license requirements, consult wildlifedepartment.com . 

If you have never been to Three Rivers and Honobia wildlife management areas, plan to take a trip today. 

Land Access Permit

The land access permits for Honobia Creek and Three Rivers WMAs are available at all hunting and fishing license vendors The permit. S16 for Oklahoma residents and $25 for nonresidents. is for all persons accessing the WMAs for any recreational purpose, including hunting and fishing. A $5 three-day special use land access permit is available for residents for non-hunting or non-fishing related activities. Oklahoma residents who are less than 18 years of age on the first day of the current calendar year or 64 years of age or older are exempt from permit requirements. 

Fish and Wildlife Management

One walk-in only turkey hunting area in the Honobia Creek WMA and two in the Three Rivers WMA offer hunters an opportunity to hunt free from vehicle disturbance. Management efforts focus on preserving hardwood stands on steep terrain and maintaining streamside management zones as travel corridors during timber harvest. A few roads have been chosen for closure and are managed as linear forest openings Small agricultural food plots are planted annually. 

Camping and Facilities

No designated camping areas exist, but primitive is allowed no more than 50yds off an open road during open WMA hunting seasons on Three Rivers and no more than 50 yards from an open road on Honobia.  . Lodging and restaurants are available in Hochatown, Broken Bow, and Clayton. 

Three Rivers WMA : At a Glance

Name Origin: No mystery here. Three Rivers WMA obtained Its name because there are three rivers that run through it; the Glover river, the Mountain Fork and Little river.

Area Description: Three Rivers WMA covers about 450,000 acres in McCurtain and Pushmataha counties in southeast Oklahoma. Located north of Hwy 3/7 and east and west of Hwy. 259 (north of Broken Bow). It includes some of the area's most scenic forest lands characterized by a diversity of pine and hardwood forest habitats as well as a maze of pure, sparkling streams, including portions of the Glover River- Oklahoma's last free-flowing river.

Landowner: Weyerhaeuser Company.  


Honobia Creek: At a Glance

Name Origin: According to George H. Shirk, author of "Oklahoma Place Names," Honobia (pronounced "HO-nubby") was named after "0-no-bia," a Choctaw Indian landowner.

Area Description: Located in the heart of trophy deer country, Honobia Creek WMA is one of Oklahoma's most unique wildlife management areas. It covers about 76,768 acres in Pushmataha and LeFlore counties in southeast Oklahoma. Located north of Hwy 3/7 and east of Hwy 271 (northeast of Antlers). Honobia Creek WMA is a mixture of pine and hardwood forests. The 15 miles of streams and rivers provide excellent angling opportunities.

Landowner: Hancock Natural Resource Group.  

Hunting and Fishing 

Whitetail Deer - With their isolated ridges, secluded hollows and remote highland benches, Honobia Creek and Three Rivers WMAs have all the ingredients necessary for producing trophy whitetail deer. Best of all, the vastness of these areas makes it possible for hunters to find a special spot where they can hunt in peace and solitude. To increase your deer hunting prospects, pay special attention to hardwood-studded creek bottoms as well as oak and hickory flats. 

Wild Turkey -Turkey hunting is a time-honored tradition in the Kiamichi Mountains, and Honobia Creek and Three Rivers WMAs offer some of the region's best opportunities. The rugged terrain makes for some challenging hunting, but calling up a wary old Eastern turkey among the dogwoods and redbuds on a crisp mountain morning will produce some of your most memorable experiences. Look for roosting signs over creeks, rivers and ponds, and then select a hunting spot nearby. 

Small Game - A diversity of habitats and forest structures makes Honobia Creek and Three Rivers WMAs a paradise for small-game hunters Gray and fox squirrels are plentiful throughout the areas, especially in areas dominated by hardwoods Also, young pine stands offer some of the best bobwhite quail habitat available in southeastern Oklahoma. These areas are also prime habitat for rabbits. If you're looking for a place to pass on your hunting heritage to your children, the bountiful small game populations on these wildlife management areas can provide the foundation for a lifetime of outdoor enjoyment. 

Fishing - The Glover River. Oklahoma's last major free-flowing river. offers outstanding fishing for small mouth bass. spotted bass. rock bass and the beautiful longear sunfish. Excellent fishing can also be found in the tributaries of the Mountain Fork and Little Rivers. especially in clear, deep pools. Finding that special spot may require a long trip off the beaten path, but your hard work will be rewarded with quality fishing in an authentic wilderness environment. Fishing opportunities for smallmouth and spotted bass as well as sunfish species also are available in the Little River. Small ponds throughout the area offer opportunities for bass. sunfish and channel catfish. 

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