Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1946 as an overlay of a portion of the Big Mineral arm of Lake Texoma in north-central Texas. Consisting of about 12,000 acres, the refuge provides a variety of habitats for birds and wildlife.
Canada, snow, white-fronted, and Ross' geese along with pintail, mallard, gadwall and other ducks use refuge impoundments and fields as stop-over and wintering grounds. Just 75 miles north of Dallas where the Red River etches the boundary between Oklahoma and Texas, migratory birds by the thousands take up winter quarters or refuel for long journeys. Some species spend the entire winter 'loafing' on the refuge, including, Ross’s, Greater White-fronted and Canada Geese. At times, as many as 10,000 geese can be seen in one field. Ducks such as mallards, northern shovelers, green-winged teal, and northern pintail are commonly seen on refuge waters during fall and winter months.
Although they take top billing, birds are not the only attraction. Colorful wildflowers and prairie grasses provide seasonal food and shelter for wildlife. Butterflies, meadowlarks, and dragonflies flutter through the summer landscape. Bottomland hardwoods along the creeks attract a variety of wildlife including white-tailed deer, bobcats, river otters, turtles, and fox squirrels. Listen for the howl of coyotes at dusk.
Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge was established on lands originally purchased by the U.S. Department of Army Corps of Engineers (COE) for the Denison Dam Project-known today as Lake Texoma. Being located in the Central Flyway, one of four migratory bird “super highways”, was an important factor in deciding to create a refuge here. The refuge lies just on the Texas side of the Red River, which divides the Lone Star State from Oklahoma. This region is where the gently rolling blackland prairies meet the hilly terrain of the eastern cross timbers. Of the nearly 12,000 acres that make up the refuge, about 8,700 acres are uplands and the remaining 2,600 acres are wetlands. This diversity of habitat, actively managed by refuge staff, creates ideal conditions for a wide variety of wildlife and plants.
On national wildlife refuges, wildlife comes first. The establishment purpose of the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is to provide and manage habitat for migratory birds, wildlife, and plants native to this area, and to provide opportunity for outdoor recreation that is compatible. The refuge offers wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities, including wildlife observation and photography, fishing, hunting, and hiking, and educational programs.