William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge provides a wide array
of recreational opportunities. With over 12 miles of hiking
trails, observation blinds and platforms the refuge is a great place for wildlife
observation. Hike to the oak platform along the nationally recognized
Woodpecker Loop Trail to enjoy wonderful views across the Willamette
Valley. Or visit the McFadden Marsh observation blind to view numerous
migratory waterfowl in the winter.
Auto Tour Route
A great way to visit the refuge and see various types of wildlife
during the winter months is by driving along the Auto Tour Route
. This road winds through the middle of the Refuge taking you past
wetlands, creeks and ponds that migratory birds call home in the
winter. Follow the road to the south end of the refuge to see hundreds
of birds on McFadden Marsh, geese feeding on the fields and Pigeon
Butte. See map for more information.
Hunting (updated August 7, 2013)
Hunters and other visitors to William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge will see even more changes to the annual black-tailed deer hunt this season. The Refuge will be expanding the popular 2 day Zone 2 hunt of the 2012 season to a week-long extended season this year. These changes were put into place after a public comment period and are designed to provide increased recreational opportunities.
The Refuge archery season begins on August 24th and ends September 22nd. The hunt will take place in the same designated Refuge area as in previous years, referred to as Zone 1. Valid state 615 tags may be used from September 1st through September 22nd using archery only. Hunting with a valid state 615 tag continues in Zone 1 from September 23rd through October 31st, using archery, shotguns using buckshot or slugs, and muzzleloaders. The general firearm and state muzzleloader 100M tag season for Zone 1 begins on September 28th and runs through October 31st.
The extended hunt period will begin on October 24th and end on October 31st in the hunt area referred to as Zone 2, which includes Woodpecker Loop, Intertie Trail, and Mill Hill Trail. Hunters must possess valid state 615 tags, 100M tags or general season deer tags. Hunt methods are restricted to archery, shotguns using buckshot or slugs, and muzzleloaders. Zone 2 will be closed to all other public access during the week-long hunt.
Self-service hunt kiosks will be located off Finley Refuge Road at the Display Pond/Mill Hill Trail parking area, at the Turtle Flats restrooms, and off Bruce Road near the east end of McFadden Marsh bridge. Maps and regulations will be clearly posted at the hunt kiosks.
Only black-tailed deer may be hunted. All other hunting is prohibited. Hunting is permitted seven days a week from ½ hour before legal sunrise to ½ hour after legal sunset. Only shotguns using buckshot or slugs and muzzleloaders for the restricted firearms deer hunt may be used during the designated dates. Either sex deer may be harvested with appropriate state-issued tag. Overnight camping and after hours parking is prohibited on the Refuge. All hunters must complete the two-part Big Game Harvest Report, available at the self-service hunt kiosks, before and after each hunt day. Hunters may use portable or climbing deer stands but must remove them from the Refuge daily. Hunters must have a current State hunting license and valid state-issued deer tag. Hunters under 18 must have their hunter safety card on their person.
Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on National Wildlife Refuges must comply with all provisions of State and local law. Persons may only use (discharge) firearms in accordance with Refuge regulations.
If you have questions regarding the 2013 hunt, please contact refuge biologist Jock Beall at 541-757-7236 x207
Season dates vary every year. For more information on hunting on
the Refuge including regulations, dates and additional permit information
please click here for Hunting Flyer
Fishing is allowed in designated areas on Muddy Creek from the beginning of the State trout season in April through October 31.
All State of Oregon regulations apply. The use of boats is not permitted.
Wildlife Viewing and Photography
The wildlife that use William L. Finley NWR as a home or just pass
through are diverse and wonderful to see. A large herd of Roosevelt elk are
commonly seen browsing on refuge fields and spring is a great time
to view migratory songbirds in the prairie habitats. Here are a few tips for viewing wildlife:
- Dawn and dusk are the best times to see wildlife. In warmer climates, little is moving on hot summer afternoons or windy days.
- Observe from the sidelines. Leave "abandoned" young animals alone. A parent is probably close by waiting for you to leave.
- Don’t offer snacks; your lunch could disrupt wild digestive systems.
- Cars make good observation blinds. Drive slowly, stopping to scan places wildlife might hide. Use binoculars or a long lens for a closer look.
- Try sitting quietly in one good location. Let wildlife get used to your presence. Many animals that have hidden will reappear once they think you are gone. Often you will hear more than you will see.
- Teach children quiet observation. Other wildlife watchers will appreciate your consideration.
- Look for animal signs. Tracks, scat, feathers, and nests left behind often tell interesting stories.
William L. Finley NWR is fortunate to have numerous registered historical
buildings on the refuge that act as a glimpse of what life was like
many years ago. The historic Fiechter House built in 1855, Cabell
Lodge, Fiechter Barn, Cheadle Barn and the Big Barn. All of these
historic buildings are closed to the public except for Cabell Lodge
which is the refuge headquarters. During special events one or more of these buildings are occasionally
open for guided tours with the assistance
of Benton County Historic Society.
Interpretation \ Environmental Education
Along the Auto Tour Route and along Woodpecker Loop Trail there
are numerous interpretive and education signs that describe habitats,
historical land uses, migratory birds, elk and much more. Take the
time to read these signs and learn about this unique area.