Visitor Activities

White-tailed deer

Whether you like to fish, hunt or just enjoy the outdoors, Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation.  



  • 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 does not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances are necessary for sound wildlife management. Upper Ouachita NWR allows hunting where compatible with the refuge’s objectives and purposes.

    All refuge hunters must fill out a daily self-clearing card each day they hunt and have a refuge hunting permit in addition to a valid Louisiana hunting license. Please refer to the Public Use Regulations Brochure for complete regulations regarding hunting including a map of areas open to hunting. Three weekends of either sex deer gun hunting is offered. One antlered or one antlerless deer may be harvested each day. All State regulations apply in addition to refuge-specific regulations. The refuge is open to the full State season for archery deer, squirrel and rabbit hunting.

  • Fishing

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    Fishing is one of the most popular activities on Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge. Public boat ramps are available on the west side of the refuge at Harrell Lake and Cecil Creek Rd. Also a public boat ramp is available at the Finch Bayou Recreation Area which is owned by the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers. On the east side of the refuge in Morehouse Parish, boat ramps are located at Irvine Lake, the North Reservoir and at the Wigeon Ponds. Many anglers pursue large-mouth bass, crappie and various species of sunfish, locally known as bream. Bank fishing is popular as well as hanging yo-yos and trotlines. A valid Louisiana fishing license is required to fish on the refuge. Fishing using recreational gear such as slat traps and hoop nets is allowed by permit, which can be obtained at the Refuge Complex Headquarters on Holland’s Bluff Rd at D’Arbonne NWR.

  • Wildlife Viewing and Photography

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    Many visitors come to the refuge each year to view and/or photograph wildlife. Many seek out the wintering waterfowl at the Mollicy Unit. Many forest interior songbirds can be seen in the woods, including brightly colored warblers. Birdwatchers can find out what birds visitors have seen recently by checking the Upper Ouachita eBird list. Other wildlife that visitors may see are white-tailed deer, gray and fox squirrels, raccoons, turkeys, snakes, turtles and the occasional bear. Photographers are welcome to take pictures of wildlife but are cautioned to keep a safe distance from animals. All wildlife, including snakes, are protected on the refuge. Commercial photographers must apply for a permit from the Refuge Headquarters.