James E. Daughtrey WMA

Phone: (361) 274-3573
Fax: (830) 676-3493
South Texas Ecosystem Project
Admin Offices
64 Chaparral WMA Dr.
Cotulla, TX 78014

Contact: DWMA Office

Dates Open:

Limited access by permit only. Area closed to the general public during hunt dates. General Public Use is allowed only from April 1- August 1. Contact the Area Manager for details.

San Miguel boat ramp is closed during special permit hunt dates and during low water conditions.

Bank access to the lake through the WMA is not allowed.

Lake access is allowed only by boat through designated boat ramps or the Choke Canyon State Park units (Calliham, South Shore, Mason Point, HWY 99).

Physical Address:
DWMA Office
198 Wildlife Ranch Rd.
Tilden, TX 78072


The James E. Daughtrey Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is a 34,000 acres low fenced multiple-use recreational area including Choke Canyon Reservoir. Located in Live Oak and McMullen counties midway between San Antonio and Corpus Christi, the WMA is representative of South Texas habitats and is a component of the South Texas Ecosystem Project (STEP). The Frio, Atascosa, and Nueces Rivers join near the town of Three Rivers, just east of the WMA. The WMA occupies all perimeter lands surrounding the lake excluding the state park units and dam operations.

Choke Canyon Reservoir (25,733 acres) also provides valuable habitat to migratory species, including a wide variety of waterfowl. The lake itself is considered part of the WMA for purposes of waterfowl hunting. All regulations applicable to waterfowl hunting, including a prohibition of airboats on the lake, apply to hunters accessing the lake for waterfowl hunting purposes. Waterfowl season is open during all open waterfowl seasons when accessed by boat through public boat ramp. An Annual Public Hunting (APH) permit is required of all waterfowl hunters. Access to the lake through the WMA is closed during special permit hunts as posted at on-site registration stations and in the Annual Public Hunting Lands Map Booklet.

Originally grassland, after the suppression of fire and the elimination of the buffalo, this region developed into the South Texas brush country of today. The climate includes long, hot summers, mild winters and erratic precipitation distribution. The average annual rainfall rate is 20-25 inches. Mesquite and associated thorny shrubs, such as catclaw acacia, huisache, blackbrush, granjeno, brasil, whitebrush, Texas persimmon, and prickly pear, account for much of the cover. Live oak, hackberry, and elm are the dominant tree species. Silver bluestem, buffelgrass, curly mesquite, and Arizona cottontop are the dominant grasses throughout the WMA. The topography is gently sloping to level and the soils range from loamy sand to heavy clay.

Ample cover, food, and water in close proximity result in a very productive wildlife habitat. White-tailed deer, javelina, wild turkeys, mourning and white-winged dove, bobwhite and scaled quail, rabbits, coyotes, gray foxes, bobcats, mountain lions, feral hogs, and many other wildlife species inhabit the WMA.

Texas Parks and Wildlife assumed responsibility of the property in 1981 for the care, operation, maintenance, and replacement of the recreation, fish and wildlife, and open space resources of the Choke Canyon Reservoir. The WMA historically has been used as a public use area to provide optimum hunting opportunity and appreciable public use, commensurate with availability of the resource. The Daughtrey WMA offers an interpretive nature trail, wildlife viewing, and hunting. Fishing is available on Choke Canyon Reservoir through access by public boat ramp.

The James E. Daughtrey WMA is named in memory of state game warden James E. Daughtrey, who was fatally injured in a vehicle accident while pursuing game law violators in McMullen County.

Please Note
  • Bring your own drinking water.
  • A primitive campground is available for use only by persons authorized to hunt under Special Permits and will open the evening prior to scheduled special permit hunt periods. Public camping is available at Choke Canyon State Park. The WMA is closed to public access during the periods posted on site and in the Annual Public Hunting Lands Map Booklet.
  • Alternate contact: WMA Field Office at (361) 274-3573.