What We Do

Refuge staff use a variety of tools to manage wildlife populations and habitat on Catahoula NWR while maintaining opportunities for the public to participate in recreational activities like hunting and fishing.

Deer Harvest Management

Deer hunting is a major public use on Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge and is an important wildlife management tool that the National Refuge System recognizes 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. At Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge hunting does not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances it is necessary for sound wildlife management. It is used to manage the deer herd in the absence of natural predators like wolves and mountain lions that historically kept deer herds at a level that the habitat could support, also known as carrying capacity. 


Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds or to control certain wildlife populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals. Outside of Alaska, refuges that permit trapping as a recreational use may require trappers to obtain a refuge special use permit. Signs are posted on refuges where trapping occurs. Contact the refuge manager for specific regulations. 

Management and Conservation

Refuge conservation plans are called “comprehensive conservation plans” (CCPs). The purpose of a CCP is to specify a management direction for the Refuge for the next 15 years. The goals, objectives, and strategies for improving Refuge conditions—including the types of habitat we will provide, partnership opportunities, and management actions needed to achieve desired conditions – are described in the CCP.  From there, various step-down plans guide the day-to-day workings of the Refuge.

Our Services

Catahoula NWR's headquarters is located approximately 12 miles east of Jena, Louisiana.  The Duck Lake Wildlife Auto Drive and the Headquarters Unit Walking Trail are both located at the Headquarters unit and open year-round although the office is only open intermittently based on available staffing.  Please call ahead before coming.

Law Enforcement

Protecting resources and people on our refuges is the fundamental responsibility of refuge officers. The mission of the Refuge Law Enforcement Program is to support the administration of the National Wildlife Refuge System through the management and protection of natural, historic and cultural resources, property, and people on lands and waters of our national wildlife refuges.

Laws and Regulations

Law enforcement is essential to virtually every aspect of wildlife conservation. The law enforcement officers contribute to Service efforts to manage ecosystems, save endangered species, conserve migratory birds, preserve wildlife habitat, restore fisheries, combat invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
, and promote international wildlife conservation.