Manager: Andrew Arnett
Okatibbee is located in Lauderdale and Kemper Counties near Collinsville. Take Hwy 19 north from Meridian towards Philadelphia. At the 4-way stop in Collinsville, turn right (east) onto West Lauderdale Road and go 1.8 miles to a "T". At the "T", turn right onto Center Hill-Martin Road and go approximately 1/2 mile. The headquaters entrance is on the left. If you have any questions regarding Okatibbee call (601) 737-5831.
Okatibbee Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is located in the hilly,
east-central region of the state approximately 10 miles northwest
of Meridian, Mississippi. The land comprising the WMA was
purchased in the early 1960's by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
(Corps) to construct Okatibbee Lake for the purposes of flood
control, water quality control, water supply, and recreation.
Okatibbee Lake was formed by the impoundment of Okatibbee Creek,
which is the headwater stream of the Pascagoula River Basin.
Construction of the 3,800-acre lake was completed in 1968.
Since 1969, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and
Parks (MDWFP) has managed 6,883 acres surrounding the lake as a
WMA, and the Corps has managed 1,352 acres of the project lands for
operational and recreational purposes. In 1990, the WMA lands
were designated for wildlife mitigation purposes to compensate for
wildlife losses resulting from the construction and continuing
operation of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in Mississippi and
This small WMA is becoming rapidly surrounded by housing
developments as human populations continue to increase in the
area. As one drives around the populated outskirts of the
area and along the many roads which access the fragmented WMA, it
will appear that the WMA has little to offer the outdoor
enthusiast. But, don't be fooled. The WMA has a mix of
several different wildlife habitats. The valley surrounding
the lake is forested with mature bottomland hardwoods with adjacent
uplands being composed of a mix of mature pine and hardwood
timber. Beaver activity for the past three decades has helped
to create a vast expanse of open, marshland habitat on the WMA
along the northern reaches of the lake. WMA personnel also
maintain permanent wildlife openings and plant summer and winter
food plots to provide additional food for wildlife.
The WMA has served as an important site for the re-introduction
of endangered and threatened wildlife species into the
region. American alligators were re-established at Okatibbee
Lake in the 1970's and can be seen throughout the warmer months of
the year. Bald eagles were re-established on the WMA
beginning in 1992 when 15 juvenile eagles were hacked using a tower
hacking facility behind the WMA headquarters building. They
were subsequently released on the WMA. Bald eagles, which now
overwinter and nest on the WMA, are a popular attraction for
Hunting is the primary public use activity on the WMA.
Squirrel hunting, with and without the use of dogs, is the most
popular form of hunting followed closely by deer hunting.
Deer hunting pressure ranges between light to moderate with an
annual harvest rarely exceeding 20 deer. Seasons available
for hunting deer include archery, primitive weapon and gun, with
gun being limited to shotguns with slugs only. Deer hunting
on the WMA is 'still hunting' only. Waterfowl hunting
opportunity exists on the WMA and can be fair, at times,
considering that the WMA does not lie along a major flyway.
Okatibbee Lake helps to attract more diverse waterfowl species than
one would expect to see in the hilly landscape of east-central
Mississippi. Rabbit, quail and dove hunting is poor, at
best. In the spring, hunters can pursue turkeys on the