Visitor Activities

Horicon Floating Boardwalk

Visitors enjoy many activities at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge including wildlife observation, photography, hiking, fishing, educational programs, guided tours, bicycling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and deer and upland game hunting.

  • Hunting

    Hunting

    New hunting opportunities and regulations are in effect for fall 2020 and into 2021 . The refuge is open for hunting of the following species: deer, black bear, pheasant, hungarian partridge, ruffed grouse, turkey, squirrel, woodcock, cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, coyote, red fox, gray fox, bobcat, raccoon, opossum, skunk. The Refuge is closed to migratory bird hunting, except for an annual Learn to Hunt Waterfowl mentored program (open for goose, duck, coot, and common moorhen. Opportunities for hunters with disabilities are available for deer hunting. For more information see refuge hunting map. 

    Horicon National Wildlife Refuge Hunting Map and Regulations 2020-21

     

    Hunts for Hunters with Disabilities  

    The refuge offers several deer hunts in a designated part of the refuge for hunters with disabilities. Hunters must already have obtained a Class A, B, C or D permit to be able to apply for the hunts. All of these permits can be obtained from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The designated disabled hunt area is located in Dodge County within the "Southern Farmland Zone" (previously Unit 68B) Ten hunting blinds are available for use during the gun hunts. For more information on obtaining an application, call 920-387-2658 ext. 200 or ext. 124.

     

    Learn to Hunt Waterfowl  

    No waterfowl hunting is allowed on the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge except for selected participants of the Learn to Hunt Waterfowl program. The Learn to Hunt programs introduce novice hunters - both youth and adults - to a variety of hunting experiences with the aid of an experienced hunting mentor. For more information contact Erin Railsback at 920-387-2658 ext. 124.

     

  • Fishing

    Fishing

    Fishing on the refuge is open year-round in accordance with state fishing regulations. Fish for perch, pike, bullhead, and other game species. Peachy Road, Ledge Road and Main Dike Road are open for bank fishing (piers) - visitors may only fish in designated locations. From December 1- March 15 the entire Refuge is open to ice fishing but motorized vehicles are not allowed. Non-lead tackle (lures, sinkers, etc.) are required. For more information on state fishing regulations visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

    Peachy Road Fishing Site Boundary Map

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  • Wildlife Viewing

    Wildlife Observation Redheads

    Wildlife viewing is popular year-around at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. In spring, look for the return of waterfowl, wading birds and pelicans and listen for the chorus of frogs. Horicon Refuge is well known for the fall migration of birds, including thousands of Canada geese and numerous duck species. Whooping crane sightings are also increasing due to a recent expansion of reintroduction efforts. The Wisconsin Birding Network is a great place to stay up-to-date with bird sightings. From December 1 through March 15 the entire Refuge is open to visitors. 

     Horicon Refuge Bird Checklist

     

  • Interpretation

    Kiosk

    Celebrate the seasons of the Refuge by visiting during one of our special events. We celebrate Earth Day in April, the Horicon Marsh Bird Festival in May, National Trails Day in June, National Public Lands Day in September, and National Wildlife Refuge Week in October. We also offer many guided hikes and educational programs on weekends during the fall migration. A variety of visitor center exhibits and kiosks and wayside signage along the auto tour and trails highlight Refuge wildlife, history, and habitats.

     

     

  • Environmental Education

    Environmental Education

    We offer environmental education programs for K-12 and college students, scouts, 4-H, and other organized groups. On-site field trips, service learning opportunities, off-site presentations and a variety of other educational materials are available. Reservations are required. All programs and activities are free. Contact Erin Railsback at 920-387-2658 ext 124 or Erin_Railsback@fws.gov for current programming and reservations.

  • Photography

    Photography

    Opportunities for photography at the refuge are endless. Whether photographing unique birds, colorful wildflowers, impressive sunsets or other marsh wildlife, amateur and professional shutterbugs alike will enjoy the abundant diversity of the refuge wildlife and habitats. A photo blind is also available and is located at the east end of Old Marsh Road. Contact the Refuge office at 920-387-2658 for reservations.

  • Hiking

    Hikers

    Several miles of established trails and interior roads lead through marsh, prairie and forest habitat on the refuge for enjoyable hiking year-round. In most areas, visitors are advised to stick to trails and roadways except for the Bud Cook Hiking Area where exploration off-trail is encouraged. Make sure to stop at the Egret Trail Floating Boardwalk - one of the most popular destinations on the marsh.

    Horicon Refuge Trail Maps

    Discovery Trail / Nature Play Area

  • Bicycling

    Bicycling

    Traveling by bicycle is a great way to see wildlife on the refuge. Several roads such as Old Marsh Road and Main Dike Road bisect the interior of the marsh offering great views and enabling the visitor to make shorter or longer loops and link to the nearby Wild Goose State Trail.

    Horicon Marsh Bicycle and Auto Tour Map

    West Side Main Dike Road Parking Map - Bicycle Access

  • Trapping

    Trapping

    Both marsh and upland trapping are offered annually based on management needs of the refuge. Interested trappers must obtain a permit at the refuge office. An annual trapping auction is held jointly with the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area each year. Please note for 2020 there will be no in person auction but use of sealed bids. See below for more information.

     Horicon Marsh Trapping Program Information 2020-21 Season 

    Horicon Marsh Trapping Bid Procedures and Forms 2020-21

    For more information contact Sadie O'Dell at 920-387-2658 ext. 114 or Sadie_ODell@fws.gov.