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Visitor Activities

Hiking Boardwalk

Visitors enjoy many activities at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge including wildlife observation, photography, hiking, fishing, educational programs, guided tours, bicycling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and deer and upland game hunting.

  • Hunting


    The Refuge is open for squirrel, pheasant, partridge, rabbit and deer hunting in accordance with all current statewide seasons and regulations. The Refuge is closed to migratory bird hunting, except for an annual Learn to Hunt Waterfowl session. Opportunities for hunters with disabilities are available. 

    Horicon Marsh Hunting Map and Regulations 

    Hunts for Hunters with Disabilities  

    The refuge offers three gun deer hunts and one archery hunt in a designated part of the refuge for hunters with disabilities. Hunters must already have obtained a Class A, B, C or D permit to be able to apply for the hunts. All of these permits can be obtained from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Ten hunting blinds are available for use during the gun hunts. For more information call 920-387-2658 ext. 200 or contact John Below at 920-948-2579.

    Disabled Hunt Blind Map

    Learn to Hunt Waterfowl  

    No waterfowl hunting is allowed on the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge except for selected youth participants of the Learn to Waterfowl program. The Learn to Hunt programs introduce novice hunters - both youth and adults - to a variety of hunting experiences with the aid of an experienced hunting mentor. 

    Horicon Marsh Learn to Hunt Waterfowl 2015

    For more information contact John Below at 920-948-2579. 


    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service To Host Scoping Meetings for Horicon, Fox River, and Green Bay National Wildlife Refuges

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be hosting open house events in three communities before the development of updated or new hunt plans for Horicon, Fox River and Green Bay National Wildlife Refuges.

    All three refuges currently have comprehensive conservation plans (CCP’s) completed which identify goals, objectives, and broad strategies for refuge management which includes the hunt programs. However, staff would like to consider any additional public input before starting the environmental assessment process necessary to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the further development of more detailed draft hunt plans for these refuges. Open house events will be held on:

    Friday, February 12, 2016, 6-8 p.m.
    Washington Island Community Center Gymnasium
    910 Main Road. Washington Island, WI

    Saturday, February 13, 2016, 2:30-4 p.m.
    Liberty Grove Town Hall
    11161 Old Stage Road, Sister Bay WI 54234

    Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 6-8 p.m.
    Horicon National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
    W4279 Headquarters Road, Mayville WI

    Thursday, February 18, 2016, 6-8 p.m.
    Buffalo Town Hall
    W3205 County Road O
    Montello, WI 53949

    The purpose of these open houses is to offer the public the opportunity to provide input regarding hunting activities on several refuges managed under the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge / Leopold Wetland Management District Complex. Please note that the waterfowl production areas within the Leopold Wetland Management District will not be included in this planning phase.

    To review current conservation plans for each of these refuges visit:
    Horicon and Fox River National Wildlife Refuges   Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge

    If you are unable to attend an open house and would like to submit written comments for one or all of these refuges, download the Hunt Plan Comment Form . Forms may be emailed to or mailed to Steve Lenz, W4279 Headquarters Road, Mayville, WI 53050. Comments are encouraged to be returned by March 25, 2016. 

    If you have any questions concerning the planning process please contact Steve Lenz, Project Leader - Horicon NWR/Leopold WMD at 920-387-2658 ext.111.

  • Fishing


    Fishing on the refuge is open year-round in accordance with state fishing regulations. Fish for perch, pike, bullhead, and other game species. Peachy Road, Ledge Road and Main Dike Road are open for bank fishing (piers) - visitors may only fish in designated locations. From December 1- March 15 the entire Refuge is open to ice fishing but motorized vehicles are not allowed. Non-lead tackle (lures, sinkers, etc.) are required. For more information on state fishing regulations visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

    Peachy Road Fishing Site Boundary Map

    Learn More
  • Wildlife Viewing

    Wildlife Observation Redheads

    Wildlife viewing is popular year-around at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. In spring, look for the return of waterfowl, wading birds and pelicans and listen for the chorus of frogs. Horicon Refuge is well known for the fall migration of birds, including thousands of Canada geese and numerous duck species. Whooping crane sightings are also increasing due to a recent expansion of reintroduction efforts. The Wisconsin Birding Network is a great place to stay up-to-date with bird sightings. From December 1 through March 15 the entire Refuge is open to visitors. 

     Horicon Refuge Bird Checklist  

    Waterfowl Numbers Fall 2014 FINAL 

    Waterfowl Numbers November 3, 2015 Survey


    Tips for Wildlife Viewing  

    • Dawn and dusk are the best times to see wildlife
    • Move or sit quietly and watch for movement or listen for sounds or look for animal signs
    • Keep a safe distance to avoid disturbing an animal - use a scope or binoculars for a closer look
    • Cars make good observation blinds
    • Don't feed wildlife - human food can disrupt wild digestive systems and alter natural feeding habits
    • Leave "abandoned" young alone - a parent is most likely close by waiting for you to leave
  • Interpretation


    Celebrate the seasons of the Refuge by visiting during one of our special events. We celebrate Earth Day in April, the Horicon Marsh Bird Festival in May, National Trails Day in June, National Public Lands Day in September, and National Wildlife Refuge Week in October. We also offer many guided hikes and educational programs on weekends during the fall migration. A variety of visitor center exhibits and kiosks and wayside signage along the auto tour and trails highlight Refuge wildlife, history, and habitats.

    Refuge 5K Run/Walk for Wildlife 2015

    Horicon NWR 2016 Public Programs and Events

    Horicon Marsh Public Programs and Events Fall/Winter 2015-2016

  • Environmental Education

    Environmental Education

    We offer environmental education programs for K-12 and college students, scouts, 4-H, and other organized groups. On-site field trips, service learning opportunities, off-site presentations and a variety of other educational materials are available. Reservations are required. All programs and activities are free. Contact Erin Railsback at 920-387-2658 ext 124 or for current programming and reservations.

  • Photography


    Opportunities for photography at the refuge are endless. Whether photographing unique birds, colorful wildflowers, impressive sunsets or other marsh wildlife, amateur and professional shutterbugs alike will enjoy the abundant diversity of the refuge wildlife and habitats. A photo blind is also available and is located at the east end of Old Marsh Road. Contact the Refuge office at 920-387-2658 for reservations.

  • Hiking


    Several miles of established trails and interior roads lead through marsh, prairie and forest habitat on the refuge for enjoyable hiking year-round. In most areas, visitors are advised to stick to trails and roadways except for the Bud Cook Hiking Area where exploration off-trail is encouraged. Make sure to stop at the Egret Trail Floating Boardwalk - one of the most popular destinations on the marsh.

    Horicon Refuge Trail Maps

    Nature Discovery Trail

  • Bicycling


    Traveling by bicycle is a great way to see wildlife on the refuge. Several roads such as Old Marsh Road and Main Dike Road bisect the interior of the marsh offering great views and enabling the visitor to make shorter or longer loops and link to the nearby

      Wild Goose State Trail.

    Horicon Marsh Bicycle and Auto Tour Map

    West Side Main Dike Road Parking Map - Bicycle Access

  • Trapping


    Both marsh and upland trapping are offered annually based on management needs of the refuge. Interested trappers must obtain a permit at the refuge office. An annual trapping auction is held jointly with the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area each year. 

    Horicon Marsh Trapping Information 2015

    For more information contact Sadie O'Dell at 920-387-2658 ext. 114 or

Last Updated: Jan 30, 2016
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