Visitor Activities

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  • Hunting

    Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage. Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciate of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs.

    As practiced on refuges, hunting, trapping, and fishing do not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances are necessary for sound wildlife management. For example, because their natural predators are gone, deer populations will often grow too large for the refuge habitat to support.

    Hunting programs can promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on lands and waters in the Refuge System.

    We allow hunting of multiple species on designated areas of the refuge subject to certain conditions.  

    Approximately 290 acres of the refuge will be open to hunting in accordance with applicable State and Federal regulations as published annually by the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife (MassWildlife). This area is divided between two parcels (see maps): Bufflehead Bay parcel (284.4 acres) and Conboy parcel (5.5 acres). A conservation easement on Town of Mashpee land nearby the Mashpee High School will remain closed to hunting (54 acres). 

    Please refer to the Massachusetts Hunting Guide for clothing requirements, definition of approved weapons, bag limits, license requirements, and other important information. Contact MassWildlife at (508) 389-6300 or check their web page at https://www.mass.gov/hunting-regulations

    Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge Hunting Information Sheet

    Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge 2019 Hunt Plan

  • Wildlife Viewing

    If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider visiting the miles of walking trails and fire roads within the Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge Partnership Boundary.


    Hike through the upland forests, which provide support for a variety of habitats and wide-ranging biological diversity. These forests provide energy to streams in the form of organic material. Small streams rely on this energy almost exclusively to initiate their trophic interactions and food webs. Upland forests provide filtration along wetlands, rivers, and streams. In addition, upland forests stabilize soils and sediment, minimizing erosion; moderate temperature by providing shade to small streams; provide important habitat for wildlife species that occupy vernal pools; and provide either direct or indirect habitat benefits to wildlife species including forest-dependent species, such as warblers and thrushes, and forest dwelling salamanders, such as marbled and Jefferson salamanders.


    Enjoy birding within the early successional habitats of the Partnership Boundary. A common site to see and hear are Eastern towhees. Grouped in the “songbird” category, they are infamous for their song “Drink your teeeaaaaa”. They can be heard and seen in spring through early fall during their arrival and departure migration, and nesting periods. Adult males have a blackish hood, upperparts, and tail, with white edges to tertials and flight feathers, and white at base of primaries. Flanks are reddish orange, undertail coverts are buff, and underparts are otherwise white. The Eastern towhee is a species we anticipate will benefit from the management throughout the Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge Partnership Boundary.

  • Photography

    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on public lands 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. Lands within the Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge Partnership Boundary provide enhanced opportunities to photograph wildlife in natural habitats.

  • Environmental Education

    Environmental education and interpretive programs are offered throughout the year by our refuge Friends group (on and off site). For a complete map please contact the Friends of Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge; there are public use areas on several of the partner's properties which are posted on the Refuge map.