Visitor Activities

Tom Eagle Puffer Pond Walkway (Cropped)
  • Hunting


    Please download our Hunt Brochure to read and understand all Refuge hunting rules and regulations.

    Hunt Regulations and Information Brochure

     -Portions of Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge are open for the hunting of white-tailed deer (archery, muzzleloader, shotgun), spring and fall turkey, American woodcock, ruffed grouse, Eastern cottontail rabbit, and gray squirrel. Please see the Hunt Brochure for maps of the areas that are open to hunting

     -All youth hunters (12-17 years old) must obtain a Youth Hunt Permit, which is free other than an online processing fee

     -All active-duty military members, seniors (at least 62 years of age) and permanently-disabled individuals receive a 50% discount on hunt permit fees

     -We are open for the Youth Deer Hunt on September 28th, 2019

     -Archery permits are valid during muzzleloader and shotgun seasons, but only in designated archery-only areas

     -Please see the flyer below for Refuge hunt seasons:

     2019-2020 Hunting Seasons At Assabet River NWR

     Hunters seeking to purchase permits for the 2019-2020 season: 

     Please visit this web address to purchase your permits:

     -The application period for the muzzleloader and shotgun lotteries will run from July 15th-September 15th, 2019

    -Applicable refuge hunting dates and times correspond to state regulations, please see state abstracts for details 

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    Learn More
  • Fishing

    Puffer Pond Fishing Pier_Kevin M Roberto

    Fishing is allowed at Puffer Pond on the handicap-accessible fishing pier on the Sandbank Trail and at the Barron Fishing Access Site on the Puffer Pond Trail.

    -It is catch and release only.

    -Limited live bait (worms only) is allowed, and ice fishing is prohibited.

    -Parking is available at the refuge Visitor Center and at the head of the Carbary trail.

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

  • 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

    Jared Green Blandings Turtle Bristol Aggie Student

    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 fishing programs for adults and children, bunker tours, etc. Sign up at the visitor center to get monthly announcements emailed to you.

  • Environmental Education


    We currently run an Urban Education Program with elementary, middle, and high school students from Lowell, Massachusetts as part of the Lowell Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership (

    Our Refuge Explorers Program is a hands-on group program for 5-10 year olds focused on getting kids outside and engaged in nature. Programs are by appointment and the minimum group size (including parents, siblings, or teachers) is 15 participants. Please contact Visitor Services Specialist Kelsey Mackey at for more information.


  • 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, Taylor Way, or Winterberry Way.

    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!

    Launching, landing, or operating an aircraft to include unmanned aircraft (drone) from or on lands and waters administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service is prohibited, 50 CFR 27.34