Information on ATV Riding near Broken Bow, OK

Disclaimer - while all information provided was current at time of print,
it is the individual rider's responsibility to check for current rules and regulations.

McCurtain County has hundreds of miles of forest roads for the outdoor enthusiast. The Ouachita National Forest and Honobia Creek Wildlife Management are the only areas available in the county for legal public off highway vehicle use. A permit is required for the Honobia Creek Wildlife Management areas.

ATV Riding on Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area is only available for licensed hunters and only during any open deer season. Must possess a valid hunting license, unless exempt, along with a Three Rivers Land Access Permit. (Download Map Here)

Effective August 1, 2008 –
All recreational use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and off-road vehicles (ORVs) is prohibited on Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area. From the period of October 1st – January 15th, properly licensed deer hunters may use ATV/ORVs for deer hunting dependent activities only. Deer hunters using ATV/ORVs must wear daylight fluorescent orange clothing as required while using an ATV/ORV for deer hunting dependent activities during the period of October 1st – January 15th. Deer hunters should read the Oklahoma Hunting Regulations for further restrictions on ATV/ORV use.
 

All other use of ATVs/ORVs is prohibited. ATV/ORVs include all 3-wheelers, 4-wheelers, off-road motorcycles, go-carts, dune buggies and all utility vehicles such as Mules, Gators, Rhinos, etc., that are designed primarily for off-road use and are not considered street legal. Only those vehicles that are registered and licensed to operate on the streets and highways of this state are allowed to operate on Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area during the period of January 16th – September 30th.

Off-Highway Vehicle Use Ouachita National Forest in Oklahoma

Welcome to the Ouachita National Forest in Oklahoma! Listed below are rules and regulations for off-highway vehicle (OHV) use. OHVs include ATVs, 4-wheelers, 3-wheelers, utility vehicles such as mules, and motorcycles. For a more pleasant visit, please take a moment to review the following:
  • OHVs may be used on open unpaved National Forest roads constructed and intended for normal or regular motor vehicle use. A road is considered closed if there is a sign, gate, or other barricade, including a dirt mound, blocking the road. Prior illegal OHV use does not imply permission to ride off the open road. So, just because someone else went around or over that dirt mound that is closing the road doesn’t mean you should do the same. You could receive a fine. You can drive on unpaved county roads but only in the National Forest – not elsewhere.
  • There are places where trails have been illegally used across the forest floor – be aware these are not open roads and are not legal to use for riding. Make sure it is obviously a road before using it - if you aren’t sure then call our office.
  • In McCurtain County north of Broken Bow, OHV use is not permitted on the forest floor (off-road).
  •  Throughout LeFlore County, and in McCurtain County south of Hwy 70, dispersed OHV use is currently permitted on the forest floor. The regulations will be changing in April of 2009 so be sure you have the latest information before you ride.
  • A new state law is now in effect on public lands that requires anyone under the age of 18 to wear a helmet and, that no passengers are allowed on OHV’s that were not made to carry passengers (after market modifications do not count).
  • OHVs are not allowed on trails designated solely for other uses, including hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian use. Currently there are no designated OHV trails on the forest in Oklahoma except for the Indian Nations Trail in LeFlore County, where motorcycles only are allowed.
  • Driving on powerlines, pipelines, seismic lines, fire lines, or railroad right-of-ways is prohibited.
  • Driving on, or crossing, a paved road is prohibited.
  • Driving in streambeds, creek beds, lakebeds, or shorelines is prohibited.
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good condition with an approved spark arrester.
  • Use the appropriate safety gear – helmet (required if under 18), eye protection, boots, and gloves.
  • Obey speed limits and be considerate of other visitors. When encountering horse riders stop and yield the right-of-way since horses may be spooked by motorized vehicles.
The Reason for the Rules:

Heavy or irresponsible OHV use can wreak havoc on the environment. Miles of unplanned trails from heavy OHV use on the forest floor can damage watersheds, destroy habitats, kill native plant and animal species, and pollute streams and rivers.

To help preserve these resources and the continued opportunities for you to enjoy using your vehicle on public lands, we ask that you observe the guidelines listed above and report violations.

Individuals riding in closed areas can currently be fined up to $300. There are also special rules and regulations for the Three Rivers Management Area under the management of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. You do not need a Three Rivers WMA permit to ride on National Forest land but, if you leave it and go on the rest of the WMA, then you need a permit. 

Effective August 1, 2008, all ATV/ORV riding on the Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area is prohibited except during the period of October 1 – January 15 by hunters licensed to hunt deer in Oklahoma. All ATV/ORV riders must be licensed deer hunters and must be wearing a fluorescent orange chest and head covering while operating and/or riding on an ATV/ORV. If a crash helmet is worn, than only a fluorescent orange chest covering is required. Consult the Oklahoma Hunting Guide for additional restrictions.

For more information, please call the Forest Service at (580) 494-6402 or (918) 567-2326.
 
Frequently Asked Questions

1) Why can’t I ride my ATV/ORV on the Three Rivers WMA after August 1, 2008?

ANSWER: The increase in ATV/ORV use on the Three Rivers WMA over the last 10 years has led to much discussion about the safety risks of all people who use and work on the WMA. The increase in ATV/ORV use also led to an increase in ATV/ORV related injuries. While other factors played a role, including environmental issues, safety is the main reason for the ATV/ORV rule changes on the Three Rivers WMA.

2) What type of recreation is available on the Three Rivers WMA since I can no longer ride my ATV on the WMA?

ANSWER: The 250,000 acre Three Rivers WMA offers some of the best sports recreation opportunities available in Oklahoma including hunting for white-tailed deer, eastern wild turkey, bobwhite quail, fox and gray squirrel, and swamp and cottontail rabbit. The Glover River runs through the heart of the WMA and offers angling opportunities for smallmouth bass, spotted bass, channel catfish, and sunfish. Camping, sightseeing, photography, and birdwatching are also popular activities to do on the Three Rivers WMA. Visit www.wildlifedepartment.com to view hunting season dates and license fees.

3) What are the boundaries for the Three Rivers WMA with this new agreement?

ANSWER: The majority of the 250,000 acre Three Rivers WMA occurs in the northwest portion of McCurtain County, north of Highway 3/7 and west of Highway 259. Maps of the Three Rivers WMA are available online at www.wildlifedepartment.com and at hunting and fishing license vendors near the Three Rivers WMA.

4) When does the Land Access Fee price go up?

ANSWER: The Land Access Fee permit increase goes in effect beginning August 1, 2008.

5) Is the $10 three-day Land Access Fee permit now good for hunting and fishing activities?

ANSWER: No, the three-day Land Access Fee permit is only valid for non-hunting and non-fishing activities. Persons wishing to hunt or fish on the Three Rivers or Honobia Creek WMAs must purchase the annual Land Access Fee permit along with appropriate hunting and/or fishing licenses.

6) Is the $10 three-day Land Access Fee permit now available for non-residents to purchase?

ANSWER: No, the three-day Land Access Fee permit is available to Oklahoma residents only.

7) Will I need to purchase the $40 or $85 Land Access Fee permit come August 1, 2008 even if I have already purchased a $16 or $25 permit for 2008?

ANSWER: No, those persons who have already purchased the $16 or $25 Land Access Fee permit for 2008 will not need to purchase the $40 or $85 permits come August 1, 2008 for the 2008 calendar year. The $16 or $25 permits will be honored for the remainder of the 2008 calendar year.

8) Why did the Land Access Fee go up even though the Three Rivers WMA is now half the size it was before?

ANSWER: Under the terms of the new Three Rivers WMA agreement, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has agreed to pay a per-acre lease fee to Weyerhaeuser Company annually in exchange for the public to be able to access 250,000 acres of Weyerhaeuser’s privately owned property. The Land Access Fee permit was increased in order to generate sufficient funds to pay the lease fee to keep the Three Rivers WMA open to the public and manage the WMA for hunting and fishing recreation.

9) May I ride my ATV/ORV off the maintained roads during the deer seasons on the Three Rivers WMA?

ANSWER: No, all ATVs and ORVs must remain on open established maintained roads that are open for regular vehicle use. The only exception to this is for deer hunters retrieving tagged deer according to specific conditions. Consult the Oklahoma Hunting Guide for specific rules and regulations.

10) What is the definition of an ATV and ORV?

ANSWER: ATVs and ORVs include but are not limited to 3-wheelers, 4-wheelers, dune buggies, go-karts, golf carts, mules, rhinos, and dirt bikes. Only those vehicles which are street legal to be driven on Oklahoma State Highways may be used year-round on the Three Rivers WMA. Vehicles which are not tagged or have expired tags are not considered street legal and are prohibited from being used on the Three Rivers WMA.

11) May I ride my motorcycle on the Three Rivers WMA?

ANSWER: If the motorcycle is legal to be driven on Oklahoma State Highways than it is legal to be used year-round on the Three Rivers WMA.

12) Will I get a ticket for riding my ATV on the Three Rivers WMA even if I wasn’t aware that I was on the Three Rivers WMA?

ANSWER: While discretion may be used in some circumstances, the responsibility of knowing all of the rules and regulations including the boundaries of the Three Rivers WMA falls upon each individual. Boundary and informational signs will be posted along entry points into the Three Rivers WMA and at all maintained cross-over roads which also access the Honobia Creek WMA and national forest lands. Maps of the Three Rivers WMA are available online at www.wildlifedepartment.com and at hunting and fishing license vendors near the Three Rivers WMA.

13) May I still ride my ATV on the county roads within the Three Rivers WMA?

ANSWER: No, some county roads may exist that go through the WMA, but it is currently illegal to ride an ATV/ORV on a county road even if the road is a gravel road. All vehicles that are legal to be used on Oklahoma State highways are legal to be used on the Three Rivers WMA year-round.

14) My ATV is manufactured for two people. Does the passenger who rides with me on my ATV need to be a licensed deer hunter or is it just the driver who needs to be licensed?

ANSWER: All drivers AND passengers on ATVs and ORVs must be licensed to deer hunt in Oklahoma for the current year. Passengers are only allowed on ATVs/ORVs if the ATV/ORV was manufactured for two or more persons.

15) Are there any other places near Broken Bow, Oklahoma where I can ride my ATV?

ANSWER: ATV riding is still allowed on the Honobia Creek WMA in Pushmataha County and on national forest lands in McCurtain and Leflore Counties. Consult the Oklahoma Hunting Guide for restrictions governing the use of ATVs/ORVs on those areas.

16) How will I know where the Three Rivers WMA boundary is when I am riding my ATV on the national forest since many of the national forest roads cross over onto the Three Rivers WMA?

ANSWER: Responsibility of knowing all of the rules and regulations including the boundaries of the Three Rivers WMA falls upon each individual. Boundary and informational signs will be posted on all maintained roads that cross over from the national forest onto the Three Rivers WMA. Maps showing the boundaries and road system of the Three Rivers WMA are available at www.wildlifedepartment.com and at hunting and fishing license vendors near the Three Rivers WMA.

17) May I still ride my ATV on Weyerhaeuser’s property that is no longer part of the new Three Rivers agreement?

ANSWER: All of Weyerhaeuser Company’s property is privately owned by Weyerhaeuser. Accessing any portion of Weyerhaeuser’s private property that is not enrolled into the Three Rivers WMA agreement would require written permission from Weyerhaeuser. Violators can be arrested for trespassing.

18) What is Weyerhaeuser planning to do with the 200,000 acres that were not signed into the new Three Rivers WMA agreement?

ANSWER: Weyerhaeuser is establishing hunting lease agreements with traditional local hunters who are from the McCurtain County area.

19) I am concerned that the new agreement is only for three years. Why was the new agreement not for ten years like the old agreement?

ANSWER: Changes occur daily throughout the world, in general, and also in Oklahoma. Just look at how much gasoline prices have changed in the last six months, two years, and especially ten years. Changes are likely to occur in hunting and fishing, land use, timber production, recreation, and so on. A three year agreement allows the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and Weyerhaeuser Company to incorporate the changing times into a new agreement in a few years given all of the new variables that may arise.

20) I plan to ride my ATV on the national forest but will need to cross one mile of the Three Rivers WMA to reach the national forest. May I ride my ATV across that one mile of Three Rivers to reach the national forest?

ANSWER: No, unless in possession of a valid Oklahoma deer hunting license and Land Access Fee permit and riding during the period of October 1 - January 15.

21) I am a non-resident and will be bringing my family to camp on the Three Rivers WMA. Do my non-resident children who are under 18 years of age need to have that $85 permit?

ANSWER: Yes, there are no Land Access Fee permit age exemptions for non-residents.

22) Will I be able to take my ATV into the Signal Mountain Walk-in Turkey Hunting Area to retrieve my deer?

ANSWER: No, the Signal Mountain Walk-in Turkey Hunting Area is walk-in only year-round with no exceptions.

23) Will I have to wear fluorescent orange clothing to ride my ATV even if I am archery hunting?

ANSWER: Yes, all ATV/ORV use by licensed deer hunters during any open Oklahoma deer hunting season must wear a fluorescent orange chest and head covering while operating an ATV/ORV on the Three Rivers WMA. If a crash helmet is worn, then only a fluorescent orange chest covering is required.

24) May I ride my ATV on the Three Rivers WMA in September to scout and locate a hunting spot for opening day of the deer archery season?

ANSWER: No, all ATV/ORV riding is strictly limited to licensed deer hunters during the period of October 1 - January 15.

25) Since I can legally take my ATV off-road to retrieve my tagged deer, does that mean I can drive my ATV off-road and park it at my tree stand while I hunt?

ANSWER: No, all ATV/ORV riding is limited to the open established maintained roads only. ATVs/ORVs may only be taken off the maintained roads to retrieved tagged deer and only under certain restrictions. Refer to the Oklahoma Hunting Guide for specific rules and regulations governing the use of an ATV/ORV for retrieving tagged deer.

26) Will I be able to ride my ATV off-road to look and track down a deer that I shot at and possibly wounded?

ANSWER: No, ATVs/ORVs may only be used to retrieve deer which have already been tagged with the hunters name and hunting license number securely attached. Using an ATV/ORV to track a deer or try and find a downed deer is strictly prohibited.

27) Several family members in my deer camp do not deer hunt but like to ride ATVs during the deer seasons while I hunt. Will they be allowed to ride ATVs during the deer seasons while I am out hunting?

ANSWER: No, unless they are in possession of a current Oklahoma deer hunting license and are wearing both a fluorescent orange chest and head covering. If a crash helmet is worn, then only a fluorescent orange chest covering is required.

28) I ride my ATV on the Honobia Creek WMA but drive it across the Three Rivers WMA to pick up groceries and supplies at a local store. Will I still be able to do this?

ANSWER: No, unless in possession of a current Oklahoma deer hunting license and wearing both a fluorescent orange chest and head covering and riding during any open Oklahoma deer hunting season (October 1 - January 15). If a crash helmet is worn, then only a fluorescent orange chest covering is required.

29) To promote hunting and fishing on the Three Rivers WMA, may I offer guided hunting and fishing trips on the WMA?

ANSWER: No, offering, advertising, assisting, or taking part in any type of guiding service for money or any type of compensation on a Wildlife Management Area is a violation of State law. This includes guided trips that are included in the price of a cabin.