Visitor Activities

Cross-country skiing on the refuge
  • Hunting

    Father and daughter hunters in blaze orange

    Since 2005, the refuge offers an annual limited entry controlled public deer hunt. The hunt is part of an ongoing program to manage an overabundance of white-tailed deer and to provide a recreational opportunity for hunters that is consistent with the 1997 Refuge Improvement Act. Materials for the 2020-21 hunt season are available below for download. 

    Your Guide to Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges 

    2020-21 Hunt Application Materials

  • Fishing

    Fishermen out in a boat

    A New York state fishing license is required; freshwater license for north of Sunrise Highway and salt water (free) to the south.

    You may fish from the shore north of Montauk Highway. South of Montauk requires a boat. Personal watercraft may not be launched or landed on the refuge. There is a small public boat ramp located just south of refuge property on the Brookhaven side of the river.

    Canoes and kayaks can land at Indian Landing, on the east side of the river. The only other access to this site is by walking the Black Tupelo trail from the visitor center (approx. 1.5 miles).

    Common fish species are striped bass, weakfish, brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, carp, largemouth bass and white perch. 

    Your Guide to Fishing on National Wildlife Refuges 

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Child looking through binoculars

    Most wildlife viewing is done from one of two hiking trails. The White Oak Nature Trail is made up of a short loop (1.25 miles) and a long loop (2 miles). The 3.3 mile Black Tupelo trail starts from the visitor center and offers a view of the refuge from the east side of the Carmans River.

    A variety of forest dwelling, waterfowl and wading birds can be seen from both trails. Hot spots include the four Carmans River overlooks. Mammals, reptiles and amphibians can also be seen along the trails and near the water.

  • Interpretation

    Refuge visitor center

    In early June, the refuge partners with the local community and the Central Pine Barrens Commission to host the Tri-Hamlet Community Celebration Day. This event takes place while the refuge is celebrating International Migratory Bird Day and the Central Pine Barrens Commission is celebrating their Discovery Days. The FREE event focuses on interactive activities at local area attractions. Busses move participants from site to site and visitors can determine how much time they spend at the specific sites.

    Occasional guided walks or canoe trips are offered during the course of the year. Please call or check the schedule of events web page.

  • Environmental Education

    Environmental Education

    Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge is in the process of developing a suite of curriculum-based, environmental education programs for various grade levels. Check back soon for updates.

    Groups can contact our general email account to inquire about program opportunities. (


  • Photography

    Osprey nest

    In spring 2013, a new osprey camera will be accessible from the visitor center in Shirley, NY. The nest is located near a viewing platform and has one camera on the nest and another camera focused on the Carmans River. Activity is expected to start in May.