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Visitor Activities

Wild Turkey

View a map of Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge and the locations of our public use activities here.

2016 Hunt Information Available NOW!  Check out the Links Below!

 

  • Hunting

    Hunting

    Hunting is permitted during specific seasons in accordance with applicable State regulations and specific refuge regulations. A refuge permit is required for all hunts and must be carried while hunting, and is not valid until signed. Permits are non-transferable.  There are designated seasons for mourning doves, woodcock, white-tailed deer, Northern bobwhite quail, rabbits, raccoons, opossum, and wild turkeys (quota hunt).

    The refuge is open (except designated closed areas) for pre-hunt scouting from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset. Dogs are permitted for bird hunting and for hunting raccoon and opossum at night only.

    The use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on the refuge is prohibited except by mobility-impaired hunters in the designated mobility-impaired hunt area. These hunters must provide a copy of their South Carolina Disabled Hunting license. This document must be presented at the Refuge Office no later than 10 calendar days prior to the first day of the hunt period. A special permit will be issued to permit the use of an ATV on the Refuge. All rules and regulations pertaining to standard vehicles will also apply to ATVs. 

    Hunting Regulations 

    2016 Dove Regulations and Map  

    Hunter Education Classes 

    2016 Hunt Dates 

  • Fishing

    Fishing

     

    -Sport fishing on Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge is permitted on approximately 310 acres. All fishing shall be in accordance with all applicable State and refuge regulations.

    -A South Carolina fishing license is required.

    -All fishing is prohibited in Martins Lake.

    -Oxpen Lake is for adult-youth fishing only. A youth (under 16 years of age) must be actively fishing and accompanied by no more than two adults at least 18 years of age. Adults are not allowed to fish unless accompanied by a youth.

    -Only boats with electric motors are permitted; gas motors are prohibited.

    -Swimming and wading are prohibited.

    -Visitors are permitted on the Refuge from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset.

    The regulations and conditions, as well as boating information and a map of open fishing areas, can be downloaded at the links below:

    Fishing Regulations

    Refuge Fishing Map

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Eastern fox squirrel

    Bird watching is a favorite activity at Carolina Sandhills NWR. The refuge is home to nearly 200 species of birds, including the red-cockaded woodpecker and a variety of migratory birds. If you're looking for a place to flesh out your "life list" of birds you've spotted, definitely consider Carolina Sandhills NWR as a prime destination.

    Migrating ducks and geese begin to arrive in October and remain through early March. Wood ducks and a small flock of Canada geese are resident on the refuge and nest here in spring and summer. Many species of water birds, raptors, and songbirds are found on the refuge throughout the year. Carolina Sandhills NWR has the largest population of red-cockaded woodpeckers, an endangered species that builds its nesting cavity in living pine trees, on Fish and Wildlife Service lands.

    Good Birding Spots

    The Woodland Pond Trail, located approximately one mile from the Refuge office, is a good area for spotting songbirds, possibly Bachman's sparrow. (Caution: there may be many horseflies in this area during the late spring and summer.)  

    Several large open fields located adjacent to Visitor's Drive provide opportunities to see raptors, wild turkey, and small mammals. The Oxpen area has a clearly marked observation tower and is good for grassland birds. You can also see raptors in this area. Many birders come to the Refuge specifically to spot a red-cockaded woodpecker. Listen for its the call.  Cavity trees for this species are marked with a white band.  We ask that you stay at least 200 feet away from the nesting and roosting trees of the red-cockaded woodpecker and use binoculars or a spotting scope to view these birds.

  • Hiking and Trails

    Hiking and Trails

    All areas of Carolina Sandhills NWR are open to foot traffic. However, the following trails are maintained for public use.

     Woodland Pond Nature Trail

    This trail is located approximately one mile from the refuge office at Pool A. The Woodland Pond Trail is one mile in length, and passes through wetlands, upland pine, and a small open area. It loops around Pool A, so you'll return to where you've parked. This is a good trail for viewing songbirds. (Caution: biting horseflies maybe present in abundance during the late spring and summer along this trail.)

    Longleaf Pine Trail

    From the refuge headquarters, drive approximately one mile to the parking area opposite Pool A. This nature trail is one-quarter mile in length.

    Tate's Trail

    This trail is 3.5 miles in length. It provides a number of bird and wildlife viewing opportunities. You can access this trail at Martin's Lake, along Visitors Drive at Pool D, or in the Lake Bee Recreation Area.

    Tripod Trail

    This 1/4-mile trail with interpretive signage leads to a photoblind on Martin’s Lake, known for waterfowl viewing October through February.

    Pine Barrens Gentian Trail

    This 6/10 of a mile trail starts at the information kiosk located on the south side of the Wildlife Drive, east of SC Highway 145.  The trail follows an old logging road to Lake 12 where you can extend your hike on Tate’s Trail.  In October, look for the diminutive Pine Barrens Gentian, a purple wildflower.

    Oxpen Area

    The refuge has recently completed a new observation tower at the Oxpen area. This tower offers a panoramic view of the area including lakes, fields and thousands of acres of forestland. Follow the Wildlife Drive from the refuge headquarters past the Lake Bee Recreation Area to reach the Oxpen tower. You will enter the Oxpen area at mile point 8, and you will see a sign for the tower on the right side of the road. Follow the gravel road until you reach the tower on your left.

  • Environmental Education

    Environmental Education

    National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes, and one of our most important roles is as outdoor classrooms to teach about wildlife and natural resources.  Many refuges offer environmental education programs for a variety of audiences.  Refuges provide unique and exciting outdoor environments – excellent locations for hands-on learning activities.  Thousands of youth and adult groups visit every year to learn about a specific topic on wildlife, habitat, or ecological processes.

    We conduct environmental education programs throughout the year for school children, civic organizations, and the general public, and would be happy to host your group at Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge. Please contact the Refuge offices at (843)335-8401, or e-mail us at carolinasandhills@fws.gov to make arrangements for your group

  • Photography

    photography

    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on National Wildlife Refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography.  That’s not surprising – the digital camera population explosion and cell phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities are increasing the number of nature photographers at a rapid rate.  You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started.  A small camera or basic cell phone will do just fine for most visitors.

    The Refuge also maintains a photography blind (pictured left) located at Martin’s Lake. Follow the Wildlife Drive to the three-way stop sign, turning right on Route 9. Approximately half a mile on the right will be a gravel road with a sign indicating Tripod Trail and Photography Blind. This is a hike-in area unless you are mobility impaired. From the parking area, the photography blind is ¼ mile south to Martin’s Lake. If you have mobility impairment, you may access the photography blind via a dirt road that continues to the lake from the parking area.

  • Bicycling

    Bicycling

    There are more than 100 miles of sand and graveled roads that are open to bicyclists. Many of the roads have sections with steep hills; so don't worry about a lack of challenging riding. Please note that all trails, such as the nature trails and walking/hiking trails, are closed to bicycles. You won't find this at all limiting. The refuge offers some pristine riding in areas that are seldom visited by the general public.

    Also note that many of the roads have stretches of deep sand, which can make riding difficult. This is a skill you'll quickly master. Keep your speed up, and shift to a lower gear so you can power through the sand stretches. A mountain bike with wider tires is the preferred bicycle for the road conditions and terrain you'll find at Carolina Sandhills.

Page Photo Credits — Bicyclist - ©Nathan McMillan
Last Updated: Aug 08, 2016
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