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Visitor Activities

  • Hunting


    Visitors can participate in hunting big and small game, waterfowl and other migratory birds. Both state and federal regulations apply and not all areas of the refuge are open to hunting. The refuge provides accessible hunting stands for both our waterfowl hunts and deer hunting.

    The refuge offers two youth only hunt programs - the Young Waterfowler’s Program and the Youth Turkey Hunt. Both programs are open to junior hunters (12-15 years of age) in the State of New York.

    - Waterfowl Hunting
    - Deer Hunting
    - Turkey Hunting
    - Small Game & Other Migratory Birds
    - Trapping

  • Fishing


    The refuge is open to fishing year round in Ringneck Marsh and Oak Orchard Creek, all state regulations apply. Ice fishing is allowed (conditions permitting) December 1st through the end of February on Ringneck Marsh. Anglers predominately hook northern pike, bass, bullhead, yellow perch and crappie. Canoes are allowed on Oak Orchard Creek from Knowlesville Road to Highway 63.

    A Youth Fishing Derby is held the first Saturday in June for children 17 years old and under. The derby includes fishing, education programs, activities and prizes.

    Download the sport fishing factsheet (pdf)

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Wildlife Viewing

    The refuge maintains four overlooks and five trails for opportunities to observe wildlife. They include: Cayuga Marsh Overlook, Ringneck Marsh Overlook, Mallard Overlook, Schoolhouse Marsh Overlook, Kanyoo Nature Trail, Onondaga Nature Trail, Swallow Hollow Nature Trail, Feeder Road and Mohawk Ski Trail.

    On the trails, you will discover the diversity of wildlife and the habitats they depend on through the different landscapes including vernal pools, emergent marshes, shrublands, upland forests, forested wetlands and grasslands.

    Refuge staff, volunteers and partners provide viewing opportunities through bird walks, owl prowls, canoe tours, and woodcock walks.

    Download the wildlife observation factsheet (pdf)

  • Interpretation


    The refuge staff, volunteers and partners conduct interpretation programs and activities to inform and remind our visitors about issues and opportunities including bird migration, seasonal habitat changes, invasive species, management activities and special events.

    The refuge partners with several organizations to be able to provide opportunities like these:

    Spring Into Nature: Our annual celebration to welcome spring back to the swamps. Generally held the fourth Saturday in April, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm.

    Youth Spring Turkey Hunt: Held on the same weekend as New York State's Youth Turkey hunt. Open to junior hunters 12-15 years of age.

    Youth Fishing Derby: Held the first Saturday in June. Open to children age 17 and under.

    Youth Waterfowl Hunt: Held on the Saturday of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Youth Hunt weekend. Open to junior hunters 12-15 years of age.

  • Environmental Education

    Environmental Education

    Environmental education is conducted to assist youths and adults with becoming more environmentally aware. Environmental education is provided primarily to elementary and middle school students to augment classroom studies. The refuge can provide educational material as well as an outdoor laboratory to augment the teachers existing curriculum and tie into New York State learning standards.

    Refuge staff and volunteers can be scheduled to provide guided programs for youth or school groups. Or youth can participate in the Canisius Ambassadors for Conservation Program. This program includes a guided walk to explore Swallow Hollow Nature Trail which will include field-based exercises followed by conservation games.

    Learn more about field trip opportunities on the refuge.

  • Photography


    The refuge has two photo blinds that are available under a reservation system. One is located on Mohawk Pool and the other one is at Ringneck Marsh.

    Summer months on the refuge are often quieter than spring and fall, although several waterbirds do stay and breed on the refuge, including rails, moorhens and coots. Red-tailed hawks, American tree sparrows, and American goldfinches are some of the most common winter birds. Bald eagles begin working on their nests in January or February and typically lay their eggs in late February. Eggs hatch in April, and the young will often leave the nest in June or July, but will remain in the area until the fall. Also during this time of year, great egrets use the marshes around the refuge as a staging area.

  • Canoeing


    Explore the primitive beauty of Oak Orchard Creek. Canoes, kayaks or fishing boats without motors may access Oak Orchard Creek between Knowlesville Road and Route 63 (approximatley 5.5 miles). Watch for obstructions including beaver dams.

  • Cross-Country Skiing

    The Mohawk Ski Trail begins and ends at the Visitor Contact Station on Casey Road. This ungroomed and mostly flat 7.5 mile loop goes though woods, fields and around marshes affording skiers the opportunity to enjoy a variety of habitats characteristic of Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. The trail merges with a section of the Kanyoo Nature Trail and the Feeder Road as it circles Mohawk Pool. Mohawk Ski Trail opens when conditions permit and closes March 1, when nesting season begins, to provide undisturbed nesting and resting areas for wildlife. 


Page Photo Credits — Credit: USFWS
Last Updated: Sep 07, 2016
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