Resource Management

deer in farm field


Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is managed with four broad objectives: wildlife management, agriculture, recreation, and industry. The primary wildlife management objective is to satisfy the food and resting needs of wintering Canada geese. This objective is coordinated with the agriculture objective through cooperative farming.

Approximately 4,000 acres of cropland are managed with the help of local farmers. The farmers sharecrop the Refuge land, harvesting a percentage of the crops and leaving the rest in the field for wildlife. Hay cutting and cattle grazing are also permitted on approximately 2,000 acres. Moist soil wetlands are also maintained to create shallow feeding areas for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Upland habitat is maintained using fire and timber management. Prescribed fire is very carefully used to remove vegetation that often is too dense and to assist with the removal of invasive plant species. Timber stand thinning may also occur.

Trapping Occurs on this Refuge

Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds or to control certain wildlife populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals. Outside of Alaska, refuges that permit trapping as a recreational use may require trappers to obtain a refuge special use permit. Signs are posted on refuges where trapping occurs. Contact the refuge manager for specific regulations. Click here for more information.