Arbuckle Wildlife Management Area
Managed in cooperation with
Florida Forest Service
Arbuckle WMA consists of 13,530 acres east of Avon Park in Polk County 5 miles south of Frostproof. Part of the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest, this area was purchased to protect numerous rare and endangered plants and animals. Arbuckle occupies a high ridge of ancient sand dunes and contains fast disappearing pine and oak scrub, home to Florida scrub-jays and gopher tortoises. Other natural communities include pine flatwoods, sandhill, and bottomland hardwoods along streams and creeks. Lake Arbuckle, where fishing and canoeing may be enjoyed year round, adjoins the area. The area offers very good deer hunting. On the area is a .8-mile nature trail as well as a segment of the Florida Trail. Horseback riding is allowed on firebreaks, named or numbered roads or designated horse trails. Horses are prohibited on hiking trails and during established hunting seasons. Children under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet when horseback riding on public lands. For more detailed information go to Nicole's Law. All horseback riders must have proof of current negative Coggins Test results for their horses when on state lands. Arbuckle WMA is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Florida scrub-jays inhabit the oak scrub along the road into the area. Short-tailed hawks may be observed on the Paula Dockery Trail, and at Lake Arbuckle are wading birds, bald eagles, limpkins, and ospreys. Camping is permitted at the designated campground off Rucks Dairy Road, and at designated campsites along the Florida Trail and at other sites by Special-Use Permit. The Florida Forest Service regulates camping. There is a daily use fee and a camping fee is required per campsite. For information, call the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest at (863) 635-7801.
Add your bird observations to the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest: Arbuckle Tract eBird Hotspot.
Rules Regarding Dogs
- For purposes other than hunting, dogs are allowed, but must be kept under physical restraint at all times. Dogs are prohibited in areas posted as "Closed to Public Access" by FWC administrative action. No person shall allow any dog to pursue or molest any wildlife during any period in which the taking of wildlife by the use of dogs is prohibited.
- Hunting dogs may be taken onto the WMA after 8 a.m. the day before the opening of a season and shall be removed by 6 p.m. one day after the end of the season. Hunting with dogs is prohibited, except small game may be hunted with bird dogs, retrievers and dogs with a shoulder height of 15 inches or less. Dogs are prohibited in areas posted as "Closed to Public Access" by FWC administrative action. No person shall allow any dog to pursue or molest any wildlife during any period in which the taking of wildlife by the use of dogs is prohibited. Dogs on leashes may be used for trailing wounded game.
- View FWC's Regulations Summary for Arbuckle for an area map, hunting seasons, permits, fees, and area regulations.