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Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge

This is the Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge home page. It is accessible from all the pages in the Southeast Louisiana (SELA) Refuges Complex web site in the menu on the left.

Photo of refuge sign and on-the-water hunter check station
© Tom Carlisle

There are eight National Wildlife Refuges in the SELA Refuges Complex. The mission of these refuges and the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer a national network of  lands and waters for the conservation, management and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Each of the programs in the SELA Refuges Complex also has a page. Each of the programs is accessible from all the pages in the SELA Refuges Complex web site in a menu on the left side or near the bottom of the page.

Contact information for all the refuges can be found on the Contact Us page.

Directions to the Refuge: Mandalay NWR is located approximately 6 miles southwest of Houma, Louisiana, which is approximately 55 miles southwest of New Orleans. The refuge is only accessible by boat. The headquarters is located five miles west of Houma, on LA Highway 182. See the documents below for maps and additional information.

Photo of cypress trees and Spanish moss along one of the canals at the refuge
© Tom Carlisle

Endangered and Threatened Species on the Refuge: American alligator and bald eagle. The American alligator was de-listed as an endangered species in 1987 but remains listed as threatened due to similarity in appearance to the endangered American crocodile. The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was de-listed as a threatened species in 2007. Bald eagles visit the refuge each year. They can be seen from October to May but move off the refuge and out of Louisiana in the late spring and summer months.

Other Wildlife Species: There are abundant wildlife such as migratory birds, raptors, wading birds and waterfowl. The refuge has partnered with Cornell University and Google to provide a link below to bird sightings on the refuge.

Habitat Description: The 4,416 acre refuge was established in 1996 in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. The refuge has a beautiful fresh-water marsh with ponds, levees and man-made canals. Oil and gas wells, and the Gulf-Intracoastal Waterway are important man-made features in the area.

Management Goals:

The management goals are to provide the highest quality migratory bird habitat possible, provide for the needs of endangered plants and animals, allow compatible public uses such as fishing, trapping, wildlife observation and photography, promote research and restoration of wetland resources and provide opportunities for environmental education and interpretation, when possible.

Photo of the fresh-water marsh at Mandalay NWR
© Tom Carlisle

We accomplish our goals through habitat management including aquatic vegetation control and marsh restoration and conservation, erosion control, environmental education programs and law enforcement.

For more information about waterfowl management, see the Fish and Wildlife Service Louisiana Waterfowl Issues web page.

Opportunities for Public Use: The opportunities for public use include bird watching, wildlife observation, boating, photography, fishing and hunting, during designated seasons in accordance with applicable regulations. Please see the applicable hunting, fishing and public use brochures and maps available below.


For an article on the Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge hiking trail, please click here.

See our refuge photo album for photos of public use activities.

Questions and Answers:

Where is the Mandalay NWR?

Mandalay NWR is located approximately 6 miles southwest of Houma, Louisiana, which is approximately 55 miles southwest of New Orleans. Access is by boat only.

Photo of American alligator swimming in Lake Hatch
© Tom Carlisle

Can I hunt on Mandalay NWR?

Yes, a Lottery waterfowl hunt and a bow hunt for white-tailed deer are held annually during the state hunting season. No special permit is needed for the bow hunt. However bow hunters are required to check in and check out at one of the check stations. Applications for the Lottery waterfowl hunt must be received by October 15th of each year. Saturdays will be reserved for parties that include youth hunters and one adult hunter supervisor. Wednesdays will be open for adult and youth parties of up to three hunters. More information is available by late August of each year from the refuge office and applications and updates will be posted on this web page. Please see the applicable hunting, fishing and public use brochures and maps available below.

Is fishing allowed on Mandalay NWR?

Yes, fishing is allowed year-round. All Louisiana regulations, such as license and creel limits, apply to all areas of the refuge.

Where can I see a bald eagle?

Bald eagles nest in tall cypress trees in the swamp near Houma and Morgan City, LA from October through May. Eagles are not present in Louisiana in the late spring and summer months. Look for eagles foraging along waterways and over open marshes..

Documents, maps, aerial photos and brochures related to the refuge can be found here.

The JPG image files will open in a new browser window. When it opens, you can click on the image to view it full size.

Document Name
Click to Open or Download
Refuge Map
Map of the refuge and the general area
197 kB
Open the refuge map here
Aerial Photo of the Refuge
Aerial photo showing land and water features
255 kB
Open aerial photo of the refuge here
Refuge Fact Sheet
Additional facts about the refuge
235 kB
Download the refuge fact sheet here
Refuge Hunting and Fishing Regulations
Hunting and fishing regulations and a map of the refuge
124 kB
Download document here
Waterfowl Hunt Lottery Application
Directions on how to apply for the waterfowl hunt lottery
21 kB
Download the watefowl hunt lottery application here
Refuge Check Station Map
Locations of refuge self clearing check stations
1 MB
Refuge Check Station Map
Hunting News Release
News release describing the fall hunt plans, requirements and lottery procedures
234 kB
Download the news release for the 2016-2017 fall hunts here
Refuge Boundary File

This file will load on your Google Earth TM software and your Google App TM on your smartphone

While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes every effort to represent the data shown on these maps as completely and accurately as possible (given existing time and resource constraints), the USFWS gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of these data. In addition, the USFWS shall not be liable for improper or incorrect use of the data described and/or contained herein. Graphical representations provided by the use of this data do not represent any legal description of the data herein and are provided only as a general representation of the data.

3 kB
Download the news release for the 2007-2008 fall hunts here

Last Updated on September 14, 2016