Visitor Activities

Plan Your Visit

Necedah National Wildlife Refuge is home to more than 110 species of migratory and resident wildlife. Visitor activities include wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, nature programs, fishing, hunting and more!

  • Hunting


    Necedah National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest public hunting areas near Madison, Wisconsin covering 44,000 acres. Hunters may pursue white-tailed deer, gray and fox squirrel, rabbit, snowshoe hare, ruffed grouse, raccoon, turkey, and waterfowl in accordance with State and Federal regulations. There is no special refuge permit required to hunt on the refuge. However, only specific units of the refuge are open for certain game species. Non-toxic shot is also required on the refuge. Please contact the visitor center for more information: 608-565-2551.

  • Fishing


    Anglers fish the Refuge in accordance with Wisconsin regulations as managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The refuge's fishing brochure provides information on seasons, open and closed areas, and other refuge-specific regulations. The refuge has an accessible fishing pier on Harvey's Pond and on Goose Pool.

    All refuge pools are managed as resting and feeding sites for migratory birds, so water levels are periodically lowered in the spring. This limits desirable fish species that inhabit the refuge, such as northern pike, largemouth bass, bluegill, yellow perch, bullhead, and black crappie.

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Wildlife Viewing

    Wildlife viewing is the single most popular recreational use of the refuge. The refuge hosts plants and animals that have nearly vanished from the state. It contains two State Natural Areas and harbors the world’s largest population of endangered Karner blue butterflies. The refuge boasts the most abundant red-headed woodpecker population in the state and is home to whooping cranes. Necedah is designated as an Important Bird Area. Take the self-guided auto tour route through the refuge that highlights the most productive wildlife viewing areas, including the Observation Tower, Boghaunter, and Lupine Loop Trails.

  • Interpretation


    Necedah National Wildlife Refuge provides year round programs designed for families to get out and explore the refuge. From guided hikes, to learning bird ID, to discovering tracks in the snow, the refuge has something for all ages. For a list of current nature programs click here.

    For upcoming programs, contact the refuge at 608-565-2551 or

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  • Environmental Education


    Schools, scouts, summer camps and youth groups can discover and learn about wildlife through interactive and age-specific environmental education opportunities at the refuge. The refuge is the ultimate open space for outdoor education due to its large outdoor space, diverse wildlife, kid-friendly trails, specialized programming and best of all there’s no cost! For more information, see the “For Educators” tab on this website or click here.

    For availability and scheduling, contact the Education Coordinator at 608-565-4403.

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  • Photography


    There are outstanding opportunities throughout the year to photograph wildlife on the refuge, as evident by the many entries in the annual Necedah National Wildlife Refuge Amateur Photo Contest. Lupine Loop, Observation Tower, Boghaunter Trail, and public roads in the refuge are prime locations to see deer, turkey and ruffed grouse. The Karner and Muskrat Loop Trails located at the visitor center are exceptional locations to see muskrat, ducks and whooping cranes.

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  • Hiking


    Hiking offers a chance to discover the refuge throughout the seasons! Each trail showcases a variety of wildlife and habitats. Over eight miles of trails provide a variety of routes to choose from: Visitor Center Trail (0.25-1.0 mile), Observation Tower Trail (0.8 mile), Boghaunter Trail (0.8-3.6 miles), or Lupine Loop Trail (0.8 mile).

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  • Snowshoeing


    Snowshoeing is a fantastic way to explore the winter beauty of the refuge! Snowshoeing is permitted anywhere on the refuge between December 15th-March 31st. Adult and child-sized snowshoes can be rented for free from the Visitor Center, Monday – Saturday, 9:00am – 3:30pm.

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  • Berry Picking

    Berry Picking

    Foragers may enjoy picking wild berries at the refuge from July 1 – August 15. Blueberries, raspberries, elderberries, huckleberries and a variety of other wild edible berries are found on the refuge. Some berries are toxic and may make you ill. Always reference a trusted resource before eating! Gathering of wild berries is permitted for personal use only.

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  • Brochures & Publications

    Brochure Page

    Find all of the refuge's brochures in one convenient location!

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  • Find Your Way Scavenger Hunt

    Find Your Way Scavenger Hunt

    Find Your Way Scavenger Hunt is created to help you explore the trails, roads and nooks of the refuge you may not have seen before!  Visually find and check off as many items as you can or preferably take a photo and tag us. #NecedahNWR and #FindYourWay   We love to see the creativity of your visit through your photos and to hear your stories!  Download a scavenger hunt to take with you.