Wildlife & Hunting

John Bell Williams WMA

Manager: Michael Cleveland


John Bell Williams is located in Prentiss County near Booneville. From the intersection of Hwy 30 and Hwy 4 on the east side of Booneville, go east on Hwy 4 10.3 miles to County Road 4101. Turn south on CR 4101 and go 8.9 miles to the John Bell Williams headquarters on the right. If you have any questions regarding John Bell Williams call (662) 862-2723.


The John Bell Williams Wildlife Management Area is located in Itawamba and Prentiss counties in northeast Mississippi, with approximately 90 percent of the area in Prentiss County.  The south boundary of the area is along the Prentiss and Itawamba county line.  The area extends northward along the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to one-half mile south of the Bay Springs Lock and Dam on the waterway.  The area is four miles east of Marietta, MS, and 15 miles east of Booneville, MS.  This management area was established in 1973 and contains approximately 3,000 acres owned by the Tombigbee River Valley Water Management District and leased to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) for wildlife management and public usage.

The soil is predominantly fertile bottomland soil as found in the Tombigbee River bottom.  The remainder of the area is much less fertile sandy clay hills, hollows and small creek bottoms.  The bottomlands are mostly forested in mature hardwoods, although some of these hardwoods are maple, gum and ash.  There are very good mast producers such as swamp chestnut oak, water oak and cherrybark oak present as well.  The uplands are a mixture of compositions ranging from pine only to mixed pine/hardwood to mostly hardwood.  The hardwoods on the upland sites are mainly blackjack and post oaks due to the poor soil fertility.  An extensive ten year timber management plan for the area been developed and is being implemented.  This plan was developed by the Mississippi Forestry Commission and the MDWFP.  The plan was designed for sound timber management with wildlife management as the most important objective in all recommended practices.

The bottomland hardwoods in Mackey's Creek bottom offer some fine squirrel hunting.  These same areas, when flooded, attract wood ducks and mallards which feed on acorns in the bottom.  This area also features a large greentree area that is flooded annually for waterfowl.  There are plenty of gobbling toms in the hill country and the bottomlands during the spring turkey season.  Deer are plentiful also, with some fine bucks seeking refuge in the 'hard to get to' areas.  Feral hogs have invaded the area from illegal release on adjacent private property and their impact on native game species is not fully understood.  Hogs are legal to harvest during any open season for game animals as long as you use weapons and ammunition legal for that particular game animal.  Due to their destructive nature, hunters are encouraged to harvest all the hogs they can.

The deer population on the area is below carrying capacity; however, with implementation of the recommended forest management practices, the deer population should increase on this area in the future.  Many non-game species of wading birds and songbirds are found on the area.  The area also has a good population of fur bearing animals such as raccoons, beaver, muskrat, otter, opossum, fox, and bobcat.  Visitors can also enjoy fishing on Mackey's Creek and in the borrow ditch of the greentree levee.

The permit station with cards is located close to the headquarters.
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