Frequently Asked Questions

Where is it? San Andres National Wildlife Refuge is in Doña Ana County, east of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

When was it established? January 22, 1941.

How big is it? 57,215 acres.

Why is it here? The refuge was originally established “for the conservation and development of natural wildlife resources” and later for the protection of desert bighorn sheep. The refuge serves as a natural laboratory for the study of a variety of plant and animal species.

What can I do there? The refuge is not open to the public due to concerns for safety and security. It is located within the White Sands Missile Range Military Testing Facility, the largest military installation in the country.

Is this where I get a fishing and hunting license? No. Hunting and fishing licenses are issued through the State government. San Andres is a federal agency. Contact the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish for more information on how to obtain a license.

Since the refuge is closed to the public, where can we go in the area for outdoor recreation? The nearest camping and picnicking areas are Aguirre Spring Campground and Dripping Springs Natural Area, both managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The White Sands National Monument is also a popular picnic and recreation area.

Are there Mexican gray wolves in our area? No. There are no Mexican gray wolves in Doña Ana County, which includes Las Cruces and the entire Mesilla Valley. The area does have large coyotes which can be mistaken for wolves.

Can I bring and release wildlife on the refuge? Releasing any animal (wildlife or unwanted pets) on San Andres National Wildlife Refuge is illegal and subject to a fine. For information on releasing wildlife, contact the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.