Visitor Activities

fire tower on the prairie

Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of visitor opportunities from hunting, bird watching, and photography to wildlife observation. Please ask the Refuge staff for specific locations to find certain plants or animals. 

  • Hunting

    In many areas of the Northern Great Plains large expanses of native prairie have been lost forever. Of the 27,589 acres on Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge about 70 percent are native prairie. A hunter visiting the refuge will see rolling, grass-covered hills and numerous prairie pothole wetlands dotting the landscape. 

    White-tailed and mule deer make their home in woody draws, wetland edges and taller grasses. Bow, gun and muzzleloader hunting for deer is permitted during regular state seasons. Moose numbers on the refuge have steadily increased over the past decade. Moose feed, rest and raise young in the aspen and willow thickets that surround many wetlands and lakes. Bow and regular firearm hunting for moose is permitted during regular state seasons. 

    A regular and late upland game season is permitted on specific areas of the refuge, primarily for sharp-tailed grouse but opportunities for pheasant and partridge also exist. Hunters should be prepared to cover a lot of ground to find birds and will have improved success if using a dog.

    No migratory bird hunting is allowed on the refuge, but numerous opportunities exist on adjacent private lands to hunt ducks, geese and other migratory birds. 

    Beginning fall of 2018, moose hunting is allowed in accordance with state regulations on all areas of the refuge open to deer hunting. Refer to the Lostwood Hunting Regulations tear sheet for a map and refuge specific rules and regulations. Hunters are encouraged to contact refuge headquarters with questions regarding special refuge regulations.

    To find out more about hunting license requirements visit the North Dakota Game & Fish Department website

    To learn more about hunting on National Wildlife Refuges in general, check out our Guide to Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges

  • Wildlife Viewing

    If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider visiting refuge lands! From birding to whale watching, from viewing speedy pronghorn antelope or slow-moving box turtles, wildlife observation is the most popular activity for refuge lands visitors.

    From every state and all parts of the globe, about 40 million people visit each year, especially for the chance to see concentrations of wildlife and birds. The National Wildlife Refuge System’s extensive trail system, boardwalks, observation decks, hunting and photography blinds, fishing piers and boat launches encourage visitors to discover America’s best wildlife spectacles.

    At Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge, you can view a vast array of wildlife by traveling the 7-mile self-guided auto tour route through the center of the Refuge, open from May through September. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times for viewing wildlife, and built in turn-off points at each informative stop gives visitors great photo opportunities. 

    Want to take a stroll through native prairie and experience wildlife in their own habitat? Hike through the 7-mile nature trail, open from May through September. Enjoy the scenery while getting closer to plants and animals of the prairie.

    For more information and brochures, visit the kiosk at the Refuge headquarters or contact the Refuge Manager.

    Check out our Lostwood NWR Birding Guide for more information on great birding locations in the area.

  • Grouse Viewing Blind

    Grouse-Nate Carle-04012009

    Visit a viewing blind located on one of the Refuge's many sharp-tailed grouse dancing grounds available by phone reservation (best viewing is mid-April to early May). 

    Photograph wildlife and wildflowers, and add to your bird list during your visit. Please ask the Refuge staff for specific locations to find certain plants or animals.

  • Lostwood Wilderness Area

    Experience the prairie much like early settlers did. This area is open for hiking, photography, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. See the special wilderness regulations at Refuge headquarters for more information.