Canton Wildlife Management Area
By: Thad Potts, Biologist at Canton WMA. Phone: (580) 541-5319.
Driving Directions: From Canton: 1 mile west on State Hwy 51, 1½ miles north on State Hwy 58A, across Canton Dam. From Longdale: 1 mile west on county blacktop road (E0610).
Area Description: Canton WMA covers 14,877 acres in Blaine, Dewey, and Major Counties in northwest Oklahoma, located around Canton Lake (northwest of Canton, Oklahoma, or west of Longdale, Oklahoma). Canton WMA is predominantly floodplain type habitat with some upland sites occurring toward the western end of the area.
Habitat varies on the area from postoak/blackjack crosstimbers type habitat on the eastern end to sandsage grassland interspersed with sandplum, eastern red cedar, American elm, and black locust on the west end. Much of the area adjacent to Canton Lake and the North Canadian River is densely vegetated bottomland habitat dominated by eastern cottonwood, black willow, buttonbush, and roughleaf dogwood. The average annual precipitation is about 27 inches.
Game Species of Interest:
Quail: Bobwhite quail are present in fair numbers.
Deer: White-tailed deer are present in good numbers but are highly sought after.
Turkey: Rio Grande wild turkeys are present in good numbers but are highly sought after.
Rabbit: Cottontail rabbits are relatively common on Canton. Jackrabbits are occasionally present, but are not common.
Furbearers: Coyote, bobcat and raccoon are available.
Dove: Dove are present in fair numbers early in dove season.
Waterfowl: Duck hunting is available on Canton lake and several cutoff oxbow lakes on the management area. Goose hunting is occasionally available on WMA ag fields, but readily available on private land crop fields around Canton lake.
Nongame Species of Interest:
Black-tailed prairie dog: Present on the Corps of Engineers lake property adjacent to the area. Hunting of prairie dogs is not allowed.
Osprey: Present during spring and fall migration near Canton lake dam.
Bald eagle: Present around Canton Lake November through March.
Description of Wildlife
Habitat management on Canton includes controlled burning on 1,000 to 1,500 acres annually, and prescribed grazing on 5,200 acres to manage for native grasses and forbs. In addition, approximately 1,200 acres of ag lease fields and food plots are scattered across the area and planted annually. Eighteen windmills and solar water pumps have also been installed to provide year-around water supplies for wildlife.
Camping and Facilities:
Primitive camping is available at designated areas along most access roads on the area. Additional 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 (580/886-2989). Lodging and restaurants are available around Canton WMA at Canton, Seiling, Fairview, and Longdale. The Canton chamber of commerce can be reached at (580/886-2216)
A rifle range can be found on the eastern side of the area, north of Canton dam. It offers a 200 yard range and has a covered shooting pavilion.
Canton lake is well known for walleye fishing and is also an excellent crappie and sandbass fishery. Management efforts include walleye stocking, hybrid stripped bass stocking, and construction of brush piles to provide habitat. Fishing is also available at several cutoff oxbow lakes located on the western end of the area.
Canton WMA Map - best general purpose map, pdf format (8.5x11)
Canton WMA Map - interactive map with aerial photography available
information and area attractions:
Canton Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 307, Canton 73724
Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department
Post Office Box 52002
Oklahoma City, OK 73152-2002
(800) 652-6552 or (405) 521-2409