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Visitor Activities


The Refuge's wetlands and prairies provide resting, nesting, and feeding habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. Prairie habitat restorations increase plant diversity that attracts additional insects, which deposit eggs and larva, providing a rich protein source for spring chicks and ducklings.

  • Hunting


    Hunting opportunities on Hamden Slough are relatively new. The refuge is open each fall for the State-set youth waterfowl hunt. The one-day hunt is allowed on roughly 60% of the refuge, maintaining 40% of the refuge as a sanctuary for waterfowl. In addition, the US Fish & Wildlife Service together with Ducks Unlimited and Minnesota Department Natural Resources sponsor a mentored youth hunt geared towards kids new to hunting. Deer muzzleloader hunting is offered on the refuge during the State-set season on all fee refuge land. This hunting option allows for a quality deer hunt after waterfowl migration, thus limiting any disturbance. Rules and Regulations can be found at the attached link.

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  • Wildlife Viewing

    Wildlife Viewing

    Wildlife viewing, especially birding, is a favorite pastime at Hamden Slough NWR. Many roadways intersect the refuge and allow for easy viewing of the refuge’s natural resources. Favorites include the county road along the Big 6 wetlands and Highway 14 bisecting Bisson Lake. Both roadsides offer easy pull-off access and great views of refuge waters and wildlife. Booming prairie chickens in spring are a popular draw to Hamden Slough. Each year, biologists place a blind near the lek for people to observe the breeding spectacle up close. Reserve your spring morning in the blind by calling the office at 218-847-4431. 

  • Interpretation


    Interpretation connects people to their natural surroundings whether walking alone on a trail or as part of a group presentation. Hamden Slough refuge offers a little of both. Public events, a trail and interpretive signs help explain the value of the fragile prairie and wetland habitats to both wildlife and people alike. Interpretive programs are available for your class, group or organization upon request. Contact refuge staff for additional information or to schedule a program at 218-847-4431. 

  • Environmental Education

    Environmental Ed

    One of the most critical roles of the Hamden Slough refuge is to provide learning opportunities for younger generations about the importance of prairie-wetlands, wildlife and their associated benefits. Available tools to help accomplish this role include a prairie trunk and prairie chicken curriculum, geared toward fourth grade. To enhance educational opportunities and expose local school children and others to the prairie-wetland setting, the US Fish and Wildlife Service along with several partners constructed an environmental education shelter at the refuge. Contact refuge staff for more information on educational opportunities at 218- 847-4431. 

  • Photography


    In this information age, nature photography is a growing activity among outdoor enthusiasts. Although there are no “established” photography blinds on Hamden Slough, great opportunities still exist. On the south unit of the refuge, the Hesby memorial trail and overlook offers a short walk through a restored prairie ending with a breathtaking view of Hesby wetland and beyond. The Prairie Chicken blind also provides an up-close view of male prairie chickens “dancing and booming” to attract a mate (make reservations by calling 218-847-4431). Multiple roads throughout the refuge also provide excellent viewing and photography opportunities. 

Page Photo Credits — Credit: USFWS
Last Updated: Apr 09, 2014
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