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Visitor Activities

  • Hunting


    The refuge is open for spring turkey, white-tailed deer (archery, shotgun, muzzleloader), American woodcock, ruffed grouse, eastern cottontail rabbit, and gray squirrels. Hunting is allowed subject to refuge regulations, State and federal laws and permit restrictions. The most intense hunt period is during the shotgun deer season which is typically early December. Other than the deer season, hunt pressure is generally light. Starting on July 1st people interested in hunting on the refuge will be able to go online to apply for the upcoming seasons. The website is currently being developed; when we have the new URL we will post it here.  The application season is open for one month for lottery hunts and during each hunt season for non-lottery hunts. All youth (12 - 17 yrs old) are exempt from the lottery process and all fees. All active military, seniors (62 yrs plus) and anyone who is permanently disabled receive a 50% discount on permit fees. Full details are found on the application link above. 

    We are open for the annual MA Youth Hunt.

    Hunt brochure (pdf)

     2016-17 Assabet Hunt (pdf)

    For information from MassWildlife, visit the following:

     2016-17 MassWildlife Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping Seasons

     2016-17 MassWildlife Migratory Bird Regulations

    Learn More 
  • Fishing


    Fishing is allowed at Puffer Pond on Puffer Pond Trail at the Barron Fishing Access Site. It is catch and release only. Live bait cannot be used, and ice fishing is prohibited.

    Parking is available at the head of Carbary trail.

    For more information please visit the Office of Fishing and Boating Access.

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Wildlife Viewing

    Wildlife viewing is a great way to practice your scientific wildlife observation! Wetlands are prime areas for wildlife activity – for bird watching or other wildlife that depend on wetlands. Go to the wetlands down on Winterberry Way when the road ends and continue on to Taylor Way and Otter Alley to be surrounded by wetlands. Any of the trails near the pond are great at attracting wildlife too so hike Sandbank Trail, Puffer Pond Trail and Kingfisher Trail.

    Trail Brochure (pdf)
    Bird Brochure (pdf)

  • Interpretation


    Pick up an “Upcoming Programs at Your Local National Wildlife Refuges” flier at one of our kiosks or in the visitor center. These fliers come out every month with free public programs available to adults, children and families. The Friends of the Assabet River NWR offer a special speaker on the 4th Wednesday of 8 months in the year. Other programs include bike tours, kids fishing programs, bunker tours, etc. Sign up at the visitor center to get monthly announcements emailed to you.

  • Environmental Education

    Environmental Education

    We have had an established environmental education program with schools in Dorchester, Mattahunt and Lowell for 10 years, which is supported through volunteers in our Urban Environmental Education Program. If you are a retired school teacher, scout leader or naturalist we are always looking for volunteers!

    Currently we are accepting requests dependent on staff schedules and available time as we are developing a standard curriculum that meet state school standards and scout requirements. If you would like to plan an environmental-based program at the refuge or if you would like to schedule a visit, please contact us at 1-978-562-3527.

  • Photography


    The habitats and wildlife are dependent on seasonal changes. Each season brings a unique change to the landscape and what wildlife you’re able to see.

    Great blue herons are a common sighting at the pond throughout most of the year. A great spot for seeing them is from Otter Alley or the Puffer Pond fishing dock.

    A fun bird to catch zipping around the marshy habitat at Taylor Way is our refuge logo – the kingfisher! You can catch this characteristic bird during the spring and summer months.

    If you get a good shot, please share your photos with us!


Last Updated: May 11, 2017
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