Visit SGL 86 by the Allegheny River this spring
By Wes Bower
State Game Land 86 in Warren County is a great place for spring gobbler hunting and trout fishing.
Its numerous roads provide an excellent opportunity for dispersion of turkey hunters and its many high points are favorite sunrise locations as listening posts to hear birds leaving the roost.
Consisting of 14,320 acres, game land 86 is located on the west bank of the Allegheny River about one mile north of Tidioute.
Part of Wildlife Management Unit 2F, elevations on this game range from about 1,130 feet along the Allegheny River, to approximately 1,900 feet on the ridge peaks on Davey Hill.
This tract is almost completely forested with oak species being most predominate. There are a few narrow hemlock drainages situated on this parcel. Much of State Game Land 86 was heavily timbered during the early 1900s.
Due to the steep nature of the hills along the Allegheny River, log chutes were constructed to transport timber from the hillside and upper reaches of the area to the river and to railroad sidings.
Major streams include Dunn Run, Pennsylvania Hollow, Thompson Run and Perry Magee Run. Smaller waterways includes Conklin Run, Connelly Run, Dry Run, Double Run, Little Run, Hague Run, Big Buckhorn Run and Snow (Thomas Magee) Run.
Thompson Run, Dry Run and Perry Magee Run are stocked with trout.
Connelly Run and Conklin Run are tiny streams that meander through SGL 86, and at times, offer native trout opportunities. Thompson Run, which empties into the Allegheny River near Alton, is typically a cooler stream and the mouth of this stream is a summer favorite for trout enthusiasts.
There is a parking lot available where this stream joins the river and a gated dirt road provides some further up-stream access.
Perry Magee Run is not easily accessed – there is some road access from Township Road 372, about three miles north with its intersection with state Route 300 (where it enters the Allegheny River near the village of Magee. Another option is to walk in from strategic spots along Township Route 372.
Thompson Run is a local favorite with convenient access from Althon. Following the unpaved road will provide easy access for nearly three miles, which is the traditional stocked area.
The most convenient ways to reach SGL 86 is from Route 127 near Tidioute in the south and from Route 177 adjacent to Irvine. Route 62 runs parallel to this game lands along the Allegheny River.
Bisecting game land 86 is Davey Hill Road (state Route 3007,) Rocky Ridge Road (T642,) McCauley Hill Road (T-372) and Dunn’s Eddy/Althon Road (T-422.)
There are nine parking lots on this game land, with 15 miles of road. This includes three parking lots on McCauley Hill Road, three lots on Davey Hill Road and one lot on Rocky Ridge Road.
Two parking lots are located on the interior of this game land, which are used only during deer season.
There is a combined horseback riding trail/Disabled Hunter ATV Trail adjacent to Thompson Run. Begin at York Hills and gate off Township Road 642 near the communication tower. Travel 5.9 miles to a game land gate along township Route 642 near Althon.
While part of the popularity of this game lands is its proximity to the 513,175-acre Allegheny National Forest and the Allegheny River, State Game Land 86 has a lot to offer on its own.
State Game Land 86 provides about 175 acres of herbaceous openings with about 89 cultivated herbaceous openings, 10 acres of warm season grasses, 21 acres of orchards, 55 acres of log landings and four acres of reverting fields.
This wildlife habitat has been further improved by cutting borders and seeding narrow strips. Some clear cuts of yesteryear are reverting to hawthorn, apple and dogwood. Many spring seeps are found on the tract and are an integral part of the habitat for the local turkey population.
As with most game lands in this portion of the state, the typical myriad of birds and mammals can be hunted, trapped or provide enjoyable sightings, including bald eagles and ospreys.
The Allegheny River, which borders this tract, is listed federally as a “Wild and Scenic River.” The Hickory Creek/Hearts Content Natural Area is designated as an Important Bird Area and is located less than two miles from this game land.
As you would expect, deer, bear and turkeys receive priority hunting attention, as does waterfowl gunning, particularly for Canada geese, adjacent to the Allegheny River.
It’s notable that in the Northwest Region, Warren County, with 146 reported bear kills, topped the list.
Small-game hunting opportunities should not be overlooked. Squirrels are plentiful throughout this parcel and the area along McCauley Hill Road typically provides some quality rabbit-hunting opportunities. That area, along with the “fill farm” along Davey Hill Road is on the annual pheasant stocking lists.
Game land 86 was purchased between 1933-35. In 2011, an agreement involving a timber exchange with a local forestry company, resulted in a small parcel, consisting of 18 acres being obtained.
This parcel is situated in the vicinity where Davey Hill Road and Rocky Ridge Road intersects. Total acquisition cost of State Game Land 86 was $58,562.
State Game Land 86, Warren County
Closest town: Tidioute
Location: On the west bank of the Allegheny River
Size: 14,320 acres
What you should know: Various streams meander through the gameland and at times offer native trout opportunities. Thompson Run is a local favorite with convenient access from Althon.
The most convenient ways to reach SGL 86 is from Route 127 near Tidioute in the south and from Route 177 adjacent to Irvine. Route 62 runs parallel to this game land along the Allegheny River.
There are nine parking lots, with 15 miles of road.
For more information: Contact the Northwest Regional office in Franklin at 814-432-3187.