Public Use Opportunities
Hunting - Public hunting on Wheeler NWR is permitted on approximately 18,000 acres. A variety of species can be taken including squirrel, raccoon, oposum, rabbit, bobwhite, and deer. Permits and special regulations apply. Please contact the Refuge Visitor Center for specific information.
Fishing - Fishing is very popular at Wheeler NWR with an estimated 200,000 anglers trying their luck in Refuge waters annually. The Refuge has six improved boat ramps and several unimproved ramps suitable for small boats and canoes. Many creeks and sloughs adjoin the main channel of the Tennessee River throughout the Refuge. This provides excellent fishing opportunities for bass, sunfish, crappie, sauger, and catfish. Special regulations apply. Please contact the Refuge Visitor Center for specific information.
Environmental Education - Structured educational programs are available for schools, universities, and professional groups and are offered in our 65 student classroom or can be conducted outside on the Refuge. Please call the Visitor Center at (256) 350-6639 for additional information.
Interpretation - Exhibits and films are available at the Visitor Center as well as an opportunity to view a live Red-tailed Hawk up close. "Hawkeye", as we call her, is an non-releasable rehabilitated hawk who now makes her home at the Visitor Center and has dazzled thousands of school children with her splendor. A small sales area operated by the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Association is also located in the Visitor Center and carries educational and interpretive products, clothing, and other wildlife related items.
Wildlife Observation and Photography - Located 200 yards from the Visitor Center is the Wildlife Observation Building. Built on a knoll overlooking a waterfowl impoundment, it offers visitors the opportunity to see waterfowl and other wildlife up close and personal. Spotting scope stations are provided but they are often occupied so bring your binoculars. The Beaverdam Peninsula Observation Tower is located on the north side of the Refuge and offers visitors an elevated view of an area of the Refuge managed primarily for geese and sandhill cranes. To get there, contact the Refuge Visitor Center for directions and a map.
Five (5) nature trails are present on the Refuge ranging in length from 200 yards to four miles, and most Refuge levees are open year round to foot traffic. These trails and levees present excellent opportunities to view wildlife in a wide variety of habitats. In addition, a photography blind is located near the display pool.
Headquarters - Open 7:30 am to 3:30 pm, Monday - Friday
Visitor Center - Open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, seven days a week October - February; 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Tues. - Sat. March-September
Outdoor facilities - Open daylight hours only (year-round)
All Refuge facilities are free to the public.
All Refuge activities are free to the public.