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Visitor Activities

Kids on dock - Prince William County Schools.
  • Hunting

    Hunter in tree stand - USFWS.

    Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge hosts two white-tailed deer hunt programs to manage the deer population. Refuge staff manages a three day deer hunt in December and January. Hunting is via treestand and buckshot only. Hunters are required to apply to a lottery, attend an orientation, and qualify their firearms at designated firing ranges. Click below for a deer hunt and more information.

    The second hunt is a Youth Deer Hunt and Workshop conducted by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. This opportunity is for youth, ages 12–18, with minimal hunting experience to participate in a hunt with a non-hunting adult companion. Youth attend session highlighting deer biology, hunting techniques, and firearm safety followed by hunting via treestand. Contact Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for information: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/managedhunts/ or 804-367-8747.

    Deer Hunt Application and Information 

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Children walking on a trail - Kay Defonde.

    A network of roads from the site’s military days forms the basis for trails and a wildlife drive. Approximately 4 miles of gravel roads are reserved for foot traffic only. Snow shoes and cross-country skis are allowed on these roads during snow events. The refuge also offers a 2-mile loop serving as a one way auto tour route. Vehicles can serve as mobile blinds, allowing visitors closer views to habitat and wildlife. We ask that all drivers and passengers remain in their vehicles while on wildlife drive. Public use rotates among the trails to permit a variety of wildlife observations while minimizing stress on nesting, migrating wildlife and to facilitate land management.

    Occoquan Bay Bird List (pdf - 7.5MB)

  • Interpretation

    Event at Occoquan Bay Refuge - USFWS.

    Pay a visit to refuge volunteers at the Visitor Contact Station, open weekends, to learn about the local wildlife, habitat, and upcoming events or programs. Use our interpretative kiosks and information booths to choose a refuge trail or route to explore. Interpretive sites include a kiosk site outside the gate, the Main Parking Lot Pavilion featuring 6 interpretive panels, an interpretive trail featuring 10 small signs developed by the Friends of the Potomac River Refuges, and several locations scattered throughout the refuge discussing topics such as butterflies, the marsh-beaver lodge, the Harry Diamond Laboratory, birds, bird banding, and habitat management.

  • Environmental Education

    Environmental education on the refuge - Prince William County Schools.

    The refuge features several environmental education sites including two outdoor pavilions, a 2.7 acre pond with a dock and ramp, and a floating boardwalk in a freshwater marsh. Environmental education activities are primarily self-guided field trips exploring topics prepared by the teacher. Educators may arrange appointments with staff to tour the refuge and prepare for a field trip. Field study equipment is available for loan including a small audio visual library. Interested educational groups or institutions are required to obtain a Special Use Permit to gain refuge access for their program. Fees may be waived for education programs.

  • Photography

    Photographer in a photo blind - USFWS.

    Wildlife photography is an increasingly popular activity on Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Search for grassland dwelling songbirds along our hiking trails in the spring and summer or walk Deephole point road to catch a glimpse of waterfowl floating in rafts along the Potomac River. Visit the refuge’s photo blind situated on Marumsco Creek or the observation platform at the intersection of Fox and Deephole Point Roads. Photography opportunities are boundless along all refuge roads and trails open to the public.

Page Photo Credits — Kids on dock - Prince William County Schools., Children walking on a trail - Kay Defonde., Environmental education on the refuge - Prince William County Schools.
Last Updated: Jul 05, 2013
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