Donations add 1,800 acres for hunting and recreation in Hopkins Co.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources(Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife)
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 10:57 AM CDT
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HOPKINS CO., Ky. (WFIE) - Officials with the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources say Kentucky’s newest wildlife management area will open April 1.

They say it will provide additional recreational opportunities for hunting, fishing and wildlife watching in Hopkins County.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources acquired two adjoining parcels totaling around 1,800 acres through separate donations to form the new Harris-Dickerson Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

Located near KY 70 about 7 miles east of Madisonville and north of the Vogue and River Queen units of Peabody WMA, the new area includes frontage on the Pond River and abounds with wetland habitat.

Harris-Dickerson WMA will be open under statewide regulations for fishing and hunting, including the youth-only and general spring turkey hunting seasons.

“Harris-Dickerson WMA will provide a wide range of hunting and fishing opportunities,” said Eric Williams, local public lands biologist with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “Staff are working on plans for a multitude of habitat improvement projects to benefit the grasslands, forests and wetland habitat found on the area.

“The wetland restoration work in the northern portion of the property has been a tremendous success and will provide excellent bottomland hardwood habitat as the forest continues to grow,” he added. “Wildlife viewing will also be good due to the variety of habitats found here. The 2021 tornados impacted the area, so we ask that visitors please use caution while hiking in sections with downed trees.”

Interior access to the new WMA will initially be limited mostly to walk-in, and boat-in access from the Pond River. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is actively working to further improve access, signage and parking areas. Visitors should monitor the department’s social media pages and website at for updates, including maps.

The property consists of two tracts.

The more than 700-acre northern tract includes hardwood trees planted as part of a wetland restoration project. This tract will provide opportunities for deer, turkey, squirrel and rabbit hunting.

The almost 1,100-acre southern tract is primarily reclaimed surface-mined land, offering habitat suitable for small game and waterfowl hunting, as well as wildlife viewing.

In addition to its Pond River frontage, the new WMA features two large lakes and nine ponds. These waters total 339 acres. Department staff will survey the waterbodies this spring to evaluate the existing fisheries and develop an appropriate management plan. Anticipated work includes lake-floor mapping, fish population evaluation, addition of fish habitat, and bank fishing access improvements. Two boat ramps will be available when the WMA opens. However, additional boat ramps will be opened as road infrastructure improves.

The donation of the southern tract from Hopkins County Coal received final approval in October 2021. It represents the second and final donation of properties to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife as part of an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Andalex Resources to satisfy wetland conservation requirements under the U.S. Clean Water Act.

The latest donation cleared the way for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife to open the adjoining northern tract previously donated as part of the same agreement.

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