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Divide Section

Manager: David Overby

Directions
Divide Section is located in Tishomingo and Prentiss Counties near Iuka. From the intersection of Hwy 72 and Hwy 25 in Iuka, go south on Hwy 25 4.4 miles to the Midway Community. Turn west on Hwy 364 and go 4.0 miles to the Divide Section WMA. Headquarters compound is on the right. If you have any questions regarding Divide Section call (662) 862-2723.

Additional Resources

 

Description
The Divide Section Wildlife Management Area (DSWMA) is located in the northeast corner of Mississippi in Tishomingo and Prentiss counties.  This WMA lies on both sides of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (TTW) stretching from the Yellow Creek arm of Pickwick Lake on the Tennessee River, southward to Bay Springs Lake, a 2,700 acre impoundment on the TTW.  The nearest towns to the DSWMA are Corinth and Iuka on the northern end and Belmont and Booneville on the southern end.  There are also two state parks near the area, J.P. Coleman State Park located north of Iuka and Tishomingo State Park located between Iuka and Belmont.  At the southern end of the WMA on the west side of Bay Springs Lake, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) operates a full service campground and swimming beach called Piney Grove Campground.

The DSWMA is owned by the Corps and leased to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks for wildlife management.  The WMA was initially started in 1983 funded by state funds and federal aid monies.  Since October, 1991, as part of the congressionally mandated mitigation for loss of wildlife habitat due to construction of the waterway, all funds for management have been provided by the Corps.  The lands of DSWMA are a small part of those purchased for the initial construction of the waterway.  The DSWMA encompasses some 15,300 acres with approximately 5,000 acres being disposal areas.  Disposal areas are where excavation and dredge material generated in the waterway construction was deposited to form a terraced rolling prairie effect.  The disposal areas, approximately 32 of them, were heavily seeded in serecia lespedeza, weeping love grass, and fescue to control erosion and later planted in various hardwood tree species.  The remainder of the area is in upland mixed pine/hardwood of various ages and composition.

The disposal areas were originally forested valleys which were cleared so that excavated material could be placed in them.  They range in size from less than 100 acres to over 600 acres and are scattered along the length of the WMA separated by forested hills and drainage ditches.  The material that was excavated is highly erodible, acidic (low pH) and void of organic material. There was also no native vegetation seed source in the excavated material from which plant succession could begin.  As mentioned above, the areas were seeded in plant species that would help control erosion but they also inhibited native vegetation, especially woody species, from establishing.  The attempt to reforest the disposal areas in hardwoods had very little success.

The DSWMA can be credited with initiating deer management in extreme northeast Mississippi.  When the WMA was started (1983), there were very few deer in the area and no hunting clubs had formed.  For the first several years, the DSWMA was closed to all deer hunting and approximately 30 adult does were stocked on the area.  During this time, the adjacent landowners and hunters noticed more and more deer as the years passed and began to form hunting clubs along the WMA boundaries.  Deer are now plentiful in this region to the point that antlerless harvest is a necessity to control the population.  During the years of low deer numbers, the disposal areas were very good quail habitat and quail was the most hunted wildlife species, but deer soon became, and remains, the most sought after species.  Wild turkey were also void in the area until they were re-stocked in the mid 1980's.  The first turkey season was opened in 1993 and the population continues to expand.  Due to the limited forested habitat, deer hunting is restricted to primitive weapons only, and the yearly bag limit is one buck with a minimum12 inch spread or 15 inch main beam and two antlerless deer per hunter.  The annual turkey bag limit is two gobblers per person.  These rules are to promote quality buck management and to insure that plenty of adult gobblers can be found.

Squirrel hunting can be productive if you don't mind climbing the hills, however, there are many logging roads and trails that are maintained for access.  There is also some good rabbit hunting around the disposal areas and numerous winter food plots.  Area personnel plant three public dove fields each year.  There is no fee required for the dove hunts.

The DSWMA features a 'youth and handicap only' deer hunting area.  This area is a 900 acre peninsula on the northwest side of Bay Springs Lake.  It includes over 25 winter food plots with 11 wheelchair accessible shooting houses and good vehicular access.

Several of the disposal areas have stocked ponds.  All of the ponds that were stocked have largemouth bass and bluegill, some also have channel catfish.  A few of these ponds are accessible seasonally by vehicle, others are walk-in only.

For more information, write the MDWFP Holcut Office, 95 Hwy 364, Tishomingo, MS, 38873, or call 662-423-1455.



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