Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area
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Gus Engeling WMA

Gus Engeling WMA (GEWMA) is located in northwest Anderson County, 21 miles northwest of Palestine. This 10,958-acre area was purchased from 1950 to 1960 under the Pittman-Robertson Act using Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program funds. The GEWMA's primary purpose is to function as a wildlife research and demonstration area for the Post Oak Savannah Ecoregion. The area is comprised of 2,000 acres of hardwood bottomland floodplain and almost 500 acres of natural watercourses, 350 acres of wetlands: marshes and swamps and nearly 300 acres of sphagnum moss bogs.

The GEWMA is an island of Post Oak Savannah surrounded by coastal bermuda grass pastures, harvested timberlands, and fragmented wildlife habitat. It's rolling sandy hills dominated by post oak uplands, bottomland hardwood forests, natural springs, pitcher plant bogs, sloughs, marshes, and relict pine communities contain a rich variety of wildlife. Sound wildlife management tools like prescribed burning, grazing, brush control and hunting are used to demonstrate the results of proven practices to resource managers, landowners, and other interested groups or individuals.

Dates Open

Open except for drawn hunts in fall and winter. Please call ahead when planning to visit during hunting season.

Daily On-site registration

Required of all public users. General public access to the area is during daylight hours through designated legal entry points only and by APH or LPU Permits.
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Recreational Opportunities

Anglers and hunters interested in waterfowl and small game need only possess an Annual Public Hunting Permit and valid hunting license to gain access on designated days during the appropriate season. Deer hunters, both archery and gun, are randomly selected during the Special Permit drawing to avoid over harvesting of the resource. Antler restrictions on white-tailed deer have helped hunters harvest many mature white-tailed deer, including several bucks qualifying for the Texas Big Game Awards.

Visitors may enjoy nature viewing, bird watching, photography, hiking, camping and the general beauty of nature. The GEWMA also serves as an outdoor laboratory for local colleges, universities, and schools.

A self-guided auto tour takes a visitor through nine stops addressing wildlife habitat and management techniques. In addition, the Beaver Pond Viewing Blind and Dogwood Nature trail offer visitors the chance to experience the lush green mysteries of east Texas. However, be warned, all four varieties of venomous snakes occur in this area - so please watch your step.

Visitors seventeen years of age and older must possess either an Annual Public Hunting (APH) Permit or Limited Public Use (LPU) Permit to utilize the WMA. These permits are available at all license sale locations in Texas or by calling 1-800 TXLIC4U (895-4248). Permits are not for sale at the WMA. Refer to Outdoor Recreational Opportunities on WMAs for additional information about opportunities on the Gus Engeling WMA.

Please note:
  • All users must perform on-site daily registration.
  • Bring your own drinking water.
  • The wildlife observation blind and the restrooms are wheelchair accessible.
  • Walking in the bog area is prohibited.
  • Insecticide and sunscreen are advised.
  • Alligators inhabit some areas and should be considered dangerous.

Research and Demonstration Activities

One of the principle goals of the GEWMA is to provide a site where university-based research of wildlife populations and habitat may be conducted under controlled conditions. Through such studies biologists hope to gain a better understanding of the interrelationships between native wildlife species, domestic livestock, management practices, and habitat resources. This will enable biologists to make recommendations for a sound multiple-use management program tailored to the Post Oak Savannah region of Texas. As of 2010, 35 approved research projects have been conducted on the GEWMA involving such topics as:
  • White-tailed deer aging techniques
  • Factors affecting white-tailed deer fawn survival
  • Comparisons of feeding habits between white-tailed deer and cattle
  • Site-specific competition between feral hogs and white-tailed deer
  • Effects of selective clearing on wildlife habitat
  • Controlled burning to improve woodland habitat for wildlife
  • Diet and genetics in inland populations of American alligators

Current projects are investigations into the impacts of different habitat management techniques on the flora and fauna of our upland Savannah Restoration Site and the area’s bog communities.

In addition to formal research projects conducted by universities, GEWMA provides a site for TPWD biologists to demonstrate and fine-tune management practices for east Texas. Landowners, property managers, university groups, and other interested individuals can see the results of management practices such as prescribed burning, brush treatments, native grass restoration, and other management practices with their own eyes.

The GEWMA’s Small Acreage Demonstration Area (SADA) provides East Texas landowners with a look at how important management practices can be applied at a smaller scale. This 30-acre demonstration area is managed using equipment available to most landowners such as a small tractor, mower, disk, ATVs and ATV sprayers, handtools, and manual labor. All management practices are from the Comprehensive Wildlife Management Planning Guidelines for the Post Oak Savannah available from TPWD and conducted at a level that would qualify for the 1-d-1w Wildlife Management Open Spaces Tax Valuation.

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