Visitor Activities

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Observation Tower at Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge

  • Hunting

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    Hunting is one of the tools used to manage wildlife populations on the Refuge. Area specific regulations apply in addition to state regulations. Hunting at Holla Bend NWR is restricted to archery only for deer and turkey. Hunters are required to obtain a refuge hunt permit and sign a refuge public use regulation brochure before arriving to hunt on the refuge. Other hunting opportunities and youth hunts are offered. 

    For hunting and fishing regulations, please refer to this public use Regulations Brochure link.

  • Fishing

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    In addition to the conservation of wildlife and habitat, the Refuge System offers a wide variety of quality fishing opportunities.  Fishing programs promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on all lands and waters in the Refuge System.  Every year, about 7 million anglers visit national wildlife refuges, where knowledgeable staff and thousands of volunteers help them have a wonderful fishing experience.

    Holla Bend NWR is home to a variety of fish species such as largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, and crappie. Fishing is enjoyed by visitors of all ages, and is a popular use on the Refuge. Fishing on the refuge is open from March 1 to October 31 during daylight hours only. Three boat ramps are available on the refuge, but the most popular is the ramp to the Old River Channel, the largest body of water on the refuge. Information about specific  fishing regulations can be found in this public use Refuge Regulations Brochure link.

    Quality fishing opportunities are available on more than 270 national wildlife refuges.  Visitors can experience virtually type of sport fishing on the continent.  From inconnu and grayling in remote Alaska, to snook hovering by mangroves in Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, national wildlife refuges offer anglers adventure and diversity.

    For a great place to reconnect with a favorite childhood activity or to try it for the first time, make plans to fish at a national wildlife refuge soon.  Find more information with our on-line Guide to Fishing on National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Wildlife Viewing

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    The spring and summer months are a good time to view nesting song birds, wildflowers, turkey poults, and amphibians. While the fall and winter months are good viewing for white-tail deer and migratory birds such as waterfowl. The Refuge is also known to have Bald Eagle sightings year round but more so during the winter and early spring.

    Here are some wildlife viewing tips:
    - Dawn and dusk are the best times to see wildlife.  
    - In warmer seasons, little is moving on hot summer
      afternoons or on windy days.
    - Observe from the sidelines, and use binoculars
      for a closer look. 
    - Walk slow and easy to avoid snapping
      sticks and crunching leaves.
    - Consider your clothes. You want to dress for the
      weather, but quiet clothing is preferable.
    - Leave all “abandoned” young animals alone.
      The parent is probably close by waiting for
      you to leave. 
    - Don’t offer snacks, it disrupts their digestive system
      and leads to other undesirable issues;
      therefore, feeding wildlife is prohibited.
    - Sit quietly in one spot. Often you will hear more than
      you will see.
    - Consider wildlife behavior. For example, between
      rain storms, or before snow storms, wildlife will
      emerge to feed.
    - Do you smell!? Strong unnatural odors such as perfume
      or tobacco can prevent you from seeing wildlife.
    - Teach children to quietly observe, they are
      more likely to be successful.
    - Look for animal signs. Tracks, scat, and nest left behind
      often tell interesting stories about what has been
      to that area. 
    - Don't forget to look above and below you, wildlife
      is everywhere !

    • Interpretation

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      Interpretation allows visitors to make their own connections with our natural resources and is a popular activity on refuges. At Holla Bend NWR, most interpretation takes place along the wildlife drive where there are interpretive signs, an observation tower, trails, and informational kiosks. At the Refuge Headquarters a kiosk is located outside with maps, brochures, and an entrance fee station with brochures and current fees and events or information.

      The refuge is frequently asked to conduct interpretative programs for various schools, churches, clubs, and organizations. Interpretive programs take place on the refuge in the form of bird walks, hiking, and wildlife viewing. These programs are both requested by various groups and put on voluntarily by refuge staff and volunteers as a special event for the community.

    • Environmental Education

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      National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes, and one of our most important roles is as outdoor classrooms to teach about wildlife and natural resources. The Refuge is used by local schools and universities as outdoor classrooms by teachers and professors.

      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.

    • Photography

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      Whether you have expensive equipment or just a cell phone, refuges are a great place to capture wildlife on camera! Holla Bend NWR has a variety of locations good for wildlife photography. Foot trails and an observation tower are located on the Refuge and chances of seeing wildlife may be improved if these places are utilized. Wildlife is most active early mornings and early in the evening and most can be viewed from your vehicle.

      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.

      Nearly 12 million people visit outdoor areas each year to photograph wildlife, and national wildlife refuges naturally are at the top of the list.  Refuges provide enhanced opportunities to photograph wildlife in natural habitats by providing platforms, brochures, interpreters, viewing areas, and tour routes.  Wildlife photography is a high-priority activity in the Refuge System.  We welcome beginning and expert photographers alike to record their outdoor adventures on film, memory card or internal hard drive !