“It’s like a hunter’s paradise.”

Elk River Wildlife Management Area in Braxton County is beautiful, peaceful and secluded. It has mature forests full of old growth timber, partially timbered areas and well-maintained hunting trails. With varied cover like that, the wildlife love Elk River WMA, and so will you.

If you think public hunting land like Elk River WMA isn’t worth checking out, then you’re missing out. One of the biggest misconceptions about West Virginia’s wildlife management areas is that they’re crowded or completely hunted out. With more than 19,000 acres to explore, Elk River WMA has plenty of space for hunters and game alike.

Before you go, here’s everything Elk River WMA has to offer.

Elk River WMA at a glance

  • Open: All year
  • Size: 19,646 acres
  • Terrain: Steep hills, ridges and benches with mature hardwood forests.
  • Big Game: Deer, Turkey
  • Small Game: Waterfowl, Squirrel, Grouse, Dove, Woodcock
  • Trapping: Bobcat, Coyote, Red Fox, Beaver, Mink, Muskrat, Opossum, Fox
  • Fishing Waters: Elk River, Holly River, Sutton Lake
  • Game Fish: Largemouth, Smallmouth and Spotted Bass, Bluegill, Carp, Channel Catfish, Crappie, Muskellunge, Trout, Walleye
  • Accommodations: Tent and Trailer sites, Primitive camping, Shooting Range
  • Nearby: Holly River State Park, Burnsville Lake
  • Operated By: West Virginia Division of Natural Resources


Hunting Opportunities

Wildlife is abundant at Elk River WMA. There’s deer and turkey, and small game includes waterfowl, squirrel, grouse and other game birds. That’s because the area has a great variety of terrain and cover, as well as an abundance of water sources. Mature hardwoods climb the steep hills and ridges around Sutton Lake and the Elk River and ponds are spotted throughout the area.

Because there’s such a diversity of habitat, different game are attracted to different areas in the WMA. Whether you’re a hunter or wildlife enthusiast, this is a good thing. You can hunt for different game in different seasons and never have to use the same spot. And if you don’t have any luck in one area, you can always move somewhere else.

There’s also a shooting range and several hunting trails you can use. And don’t forget to get your hunting license and stamps at www.wvhunt.com.


Fishing Opportunities

Elk River WMA borders Sutton Lake and the Elk River, so of course it has great fishing opportunities too. You can cast a line for bass, bluegill, catfish, trout and other sportfish.

Sutton Lake has five boat ramps and wheelchair access sites. It also has special fishing regulations. All walleye 20 to 30 inches long must be returned to the water at once. The daily creel limit for walleye is two and only one may be more than 30 inches long. Night fishing and fishing with minnows is permitted.

The nearby Sutton Lake Tailwaters is a 1.95-mile section of trout water and is stocked twice a month from February to April, once in May and twice in October. Before you go, make sure you have a current fishing license. If you need to purchase one, visit www.wvfish.com.

If you have any questions, be sure to call the DNR District 3 office at 304-924-6211. You also can learn more about Elk River WMA and other wildlife management areas by visiting wvdnr.gov and mapwv.gov/huntfish.


From I-79, take Exit 67 at Flatwoods and follow WV-4 south for two miles to WV-19/40. From there, turn east onto WV-17 and follow signage to WMA.

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