Visitor Activities


Sand Lake Wetland Management District offers a variety of habitats on Waterfowl Production Areas with opportunities for wildlife observation, bird watching, education, photography, hunting, trapping & fishing. 

  • 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 appreciation of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs. Hunting is allowed on Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) in South Dakota in accordance with State regulations (unless otherwise noted). Please see the 2013 South Dakota Hunting & Trapping Handbook for public land regulations.  



    Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on National Wildlife Refuge System lands must comply with all provisions of State and local law. Persons may only use (discharge) firearms in accordance with refuge regulations (50 CFR 27.42 and specific refuge regulations in 50 CFR Part 32). 


    When hunting with a shotgun, hunters must use and possess only approved non-toxic shot. Lead bullets in rifles and muzzle loaders are allowed in accordance with State regulations. 

    Tree Stands 

    Portable tree stands and free-standing elevated platforms may be used in accordance with State regulations. The use of nails, wire, screws, or bolts to attach a stand or steps to a tree is prohibited. 

    Equipment Removal 

    With the exception of tree stands and fish houses, all personal property including, but not limited to, boats, decoys, trail cameras, portable blinds, and any materials brought into the area for blind construction, must be removed at the end of the day. Blinds constructed of dead and down materials gathered on-site may be left throughout the hunting season. 


    The use of dogs is encouraged for hunting. Dogs are allowed for other activities only if the dog is confined to a vehicle, boat, fish house, or is on a leash controlled by the handler. Dog training is prohibited. 


    The distribution of bait and hunting over bait is prohibited. 


    Using or possessing alcoholic beverages while hunting is prohibited. 


    Trapping is allowed in accordance with Federal and State regulations. 


    For more information, please contact the Sand Lake office. 

  • Fishing

    In addition to the conservation of wildlife and habitat, the Refuge System offers a wide variety of quality fishing opportunities.  Fishing programs promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on all lands and waters in the Refuge System. 

    Unless otherwise noted, fishing is allowed in accordance with State regulations. Fish houses may be used for ice fishing in accordance with State regulations. Fish houses may not be left unattended on uplands or in parking areas. Boats, motor vehicles, fishing equipment and other personal property (excluding fish houses) must be removed at the end of the day. For more information, please contact the Sand Lake office. 

  • Wildlife Viewing

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

    The Waterfowl Production Areas managed by Sand Lake offer outstanding opportunities for bird watching, wildlife observation, and photography. 

    For more information about wildlife observation opportunities at Sand Lake WMD, contact the Sand Lake office.  

  • Interpretation

    Refuge System interpretation programs provide opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the natural world.  From self-guided walks to ranger-led programs, many national wildlife refuges help visitors learn more about the wildlife and habitat behind the landscapes. 

    In addition to staff and volunteers presenting programs to audiences, refuges use a variety of exhibits, signs, brochures, and electronic media to communicate natural history stories to visitors.  Printed and virtual information is often available on many topics, including plants and animals, seasonal migrations, habitats, refuge management strategies, and endangered species at the Sand Lake office as well as this website. 

    Contact the Sand Lake office for additional information. 

  • Environmental Education

    Is your school, youth, environmental or other group interested in learning more about the wildlife, plants, habitats, and ecology of a particular habitat or area? Contact or visit the Sand Lake office to check on program availability and reservation policies. 

  • Photography

    Nearly 12 million people visit outdoor areas each year to photograph wildlife, and wildlife photography is a high-priority activity in the Refuge System.  We welcome beginning and expert photographers alike to record their outdoor adventures on film, memory card or internal hard drive!