The Davy Crockett National Forest, named for the legendary pioneer, contains more than 160,000 acres of East Texas woodlands, streams, recreation areas, and wildlife habitat. Located in Houston and Trinity Counties, the forest is centrally located within the Neches and Trinity River basins. The ranger district office is located near Ratcliff on Highway 7 about one-quarter mile west of FM 227 in Houston County. A work center is located about one-half mile north of Highway 7 on FM 227. The Davy Crockett National Forest was proclaimed a National Forest by President Franklin Roosevelt on October 15, 1936.
A wide variety of wildlife exists on the Davy Crockett National Forest. Principal game includes squirrel, deer, quail, dove, turkey, and waterfowl. The red-cockaded woodpecker, and other endangered species, lives within the carefully managed habitat of the forest.
|The 20-mile-long Four C National Recreation Trail begins at Ratcliff Lake and winds through a diverse forest of towering pines, bottomland hardwoods, boggy sloughs, and upland forests. Midway down the trail is the Walnut Creek campsite with five tent pads, a shelter, and pit toilet. Another campsite, further north on the trail, has two tent pads. Neches Bluff Overlook, located at the north end of the trail, offers a panoramic view of pine-hardwood forests in the Neches River bottomlands with picnic and primitive camping facilities.
Dispersed camping is permitted in most parts of the National Forest year round, but is restricted to 25 designated hunter camps during the fall deer season to provide a safer hunting experience. A map of these camps is available at the ranger district office in early September.
Hunting is a very popular outdoor sport in East Texas. Hunters are encouraged to be familiar with and follow all hunting guidelines. Hunters must wear daylight fluorescent orange to help prevent accidental shootings. Visitors who are not hunting are also encouraged to wear colorful safety clothing as well. Also to promote safety, all those camping or hunting in the Angelina, Davy Crockett, Sabine or Sam Houston National Forest or the Caddo National Grasslands must camp in designated campsites or developed recreation areas from Sept. 16, 2005 through Feb. 1, 2006.
Hunters using the wildlife management areas (WMAs) must possess the $48 annual hunting permit to hunt deer, turkey, small game, waterfowl and feral hogs. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Official Hunting Guide and the Public Hunting Lands Booklet, regulations vary in different locations. The annual booklets are issued to individuals who obtain a WMA permit, and the booklets list rules for national forest lands within the WMAs.
Hunters are responsible for knowing the regulations and game limits while hunting in national forests and grasslands. Hunters should check bag limits for the county where they are hunting and refer to the current year’s hunting booklets for information to avoid citations. No baiting for wildlife or hunting over baited areas is allowed on the national forests or grasslands in Texas. Portable deer stands are allowed in national forests and grasslands, but are limited to 72 hours in one location. To prevent damage to trees, the stands must not be nailed to trees.For additional information on this year’s hunting season, please contact the Forest Service District Ranger offices.
Visitors should also be aware of vehicle rules in forests. Vehicles should not be near gates or in areas that would impede traffic and block roads. All-terrain vehicle riders are required to comply with state ATV law while on national forest lands. There are various areas closed to off-road vehicles on each forest. For specific information, users need to contact the District Ranger’s office.