The entrance to the refuge is on U.S. Highway 421, on the former Jefferson Proving Ground, five miles north of Madison, Indiana. Enter at the main entrance of the former Jefferson Proving Ground and follow the brown directional signs to Big Oaks office, 1661 West Niblo Road. Office phone 812-273-0783, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 165-acre Old Timbers Lake is popular for fishing. More than 200 species of birds and 46 species of mammals are found on the refuge. Big Oaks Refuge is designated as a “Globally Important Bird Area.” More than 500 pairs of state-endangered Henslow’s sparrows are estimated to breed in the large grasslands.
Because of the past use and history of the property as an ordnance testing facility, all visitors must view a safety video and sign an acknowledgement of danger form prior to entering the refuge. You can view the safety video and purchase an access permit at the refuge office on public use days (Mondays, Fridays, and the second and fourth Saturdays of the month). During hunting seasons, the safety video will be shown at 7:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. on public use days and the day before the hunt. Insect repellent recommended. Potable water is not available on the refuge.
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Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge's public use days are Mondays, Fridays, and the second and fourth Saturdays of the month (closed on federal holidays) during the public use period from mid-April through November.