Top WMAs for Deer Archery Hunting


Deer archery is the same as statewide season on a number of Wildlife Management Areas. Increased opportunities to archery hunt on WMAs and liberal bag limits means there has never been a better year to archery hunt white-tailed deer in Oklahoma. With so many places to choose from, we’ve rounded up the top WMAs for archery hunting whitetail deer in each region to help you get started. And as you head into the field this year, remember that Hunters in the Know … Take a Doe!

Beaver River WMA/


Less than 100 miles northwest of Oklahoma City is Canton WMA. Its 14,877 acres surround the majority of Canton Lake known for excellent walleye fishing. Canton WMA has a lot to offer Oklahoma bowhunters. Much of the area adjacent to Canton Lake and the North Canadian River is a densely vegetated bottomland habitat. Primitive camping is available at designated areas along most access roads on the area. Additionally, developed campgrounds with RV hookups are available around Canton lake. Contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for more information on the developed campground sites.

Ft. Supply WMA and Cooper WMA are just 8 miles from Woodward and surprisingly don’t receive a lot of attention from bowhunters. The river bottom consists of cottonwood, American elm, hackberry and eastern red cedar, giving bowhunters excellent options for ground or treestand hunting. A bonus is the proximity of these areas to Woodward, which offers hunters who aren’t into “roughing it” the chance to grab a hot meal and sleep in a warm bed.

Beaver River WMA covers a sprawling 17,700 acres in western Beaver County. From the eastern boundary, a hunter would have to walk more than 15 miles to reach the western boundary. Near the southern border lies the Beaver River. Pockets of river bottom hardwoods can be bustling with deer activity. These pockets are great for the hunter who doesn’t have a tree stand or blind and simply uses natural vegetation as cover.

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Cookson WMA/Photo by Jena Donnell


Both Cookson WMA and Cherokee PHA/GMA were previously closed to archery hunting from the opening day of muzzleloader through deer gun season. Now, archery hunting is the same as statewide season dates, giving archery hunters an additional 6 weeks of hunting. (Some weekends are closed for controlled hunts only). These 2 areas combined offer more than 46,000 acres giving archery hunters lots of space to roam.

Hulah WMA is in the heart of big deer country. This WMA is vast, covering more than 16,000 acres in Osage County. In Oklahoma, Osage county holds the record for most bucks harvested during the archery season with 681 bucks during the 2019-20 season. Hulah WMA is often overlooked as hunters focus on leasing private land in Osage county.

James Collins WMA/Photo by Jena Donnell


Three Rivers and Honobia Creek WMAs are a popular spot for gun hunters. In fact, Three Rivers WMA had the second-highest harvest totals for the 2019-20 deer gun season, and the highest deer harvest totals overall (archery, muzzleloader and gun). So what does that mean for archery hunters? Early access to one of the top destinations for whitetail hunting.

Ouachita WMA is always a great destination, but be warned, this WMA is not for the faint of heart. Covering 232,000 acres of remote and rugged forest land of the Ouachita mountain foothills, this will not be an easy hunt but it will be rewarding.

Atoka WMA is unique in that it is part of a chain of public hunting land. To the east is the Atoka Public Hunting (PHA) area bordered to the south by Stringtown WMA and McGee Creek WMA. With so many public areas sharing borders, it is like a public land supergroup.

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James Collins WMA has a reputation for producing trophy bucks, meaning it can get crowded. Our advice is to carve out some weekday trips to avoid weekend crowds. Take some time to scout the area, and be ready to hunt the week prior to opening deer gun season. Crowds are smaller, and deer are beginning to move. But even if you can’t do that, James Collins is still a great option for those who intend to hunt archery during the statewide gun season, since the area is closed to gun hunting.

Sandy Sanders WMA/Photo by Jena Donnell


The Black Kettle Wildlife Management Area is contained in the Black Kettle National Grassland. It is one of Oklahoma’s most popular public hunting areas. More than 100 scattered units make up the 30,710 acres, also making it the largest WMA in western Oklahoma. Archery hunting on this WMA has its challenges and requires a lot of planning and scouting. But ask any bowhunter who has been hunting here, it is well worth it.

Waurika WMA offers bowhunters the chance to hunt without the noise and pressure from gun hunters. Except for a controlled hunt, this area is closed to rifle hunting, making it a perfect destination for bowhunters to hunt during the rut. Just be sure to check the regulations as the area could be closed for it’s controlled hunt.

Packsaddle WMA has grown in popularity over the last decade and for good reason. Great deer management has not only produced a healthy deer herd, but also nice sized bucks. The success found at Packsaddle has not gone untold, however. A great time to bow hunt the area is after the 9 day gun season when the crowds have left and the deer are still active.

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Sandy Sanders WMA in southwest Oklahoma is quiet, rugged, and remote. It’s the perfect spot for any bowhunter looking for a unique Oklahoma hunting experience. Some hunters enjoy Sandy Sanders because they have opportunities to use “spot and stalk” hunting techniques.

Note: See the “Public Hunting Lands Special Area Regulations” section of the Oklahoma Hunting Guide for more information.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>