Facility Activities

Wildlife observation is the main attraction for visitors at the refuge, but there are also excellent opportunities for wildlife photography, birding, hiking, fishing and hunting. The refuge is a beautiful and relaxing place to get outside and connect with nature. Environmental education and interpretive activities are offered by staff and volunteers throughout the year to people of all ages. 

Archery deer hunting is permitted in certain areas of the refuge during the State season. The refuge archery season does close during the muzzleloader deer hunt but resumes when muzzleloader season is over. Check the refuge hunting brochure for current information.

The approximately four-mile loop Auto Tour starts and ends near the Visitor Center and is open year-round, except during flood conditions. Numbered signs along the tour route correspond to a guide that may be pulled up on your smart phone by visiting Muscatatuck.org (the Friends group website...

Biking is permitted on existing gravel roads but not on hiking trails or off-road. County Line road going south from the refuge entrance, the road to the Stanfield boat ramp, and the road to Lake Linda were recently reworked with a smooth gravel surface and provide good bicycling opportunities....

Over 290 different species of birds have been seen on the refuge and Muscatatuck is a wonderful place to find birds year-round.  The best times to visit depend on what you are interested in.  Early May is the peak of the songbird migration.  The largest variety of waterfowl...

Rowboats, canoes, and kayaks are permitted on Stanfield Lake. Canoes and kayaks are allowed on Richart Lake and are frequently used by fishermen to gain access to shallow backwaters.  Boats are not allowed on other refuge waters.

Dogs are welcome at Muscatatuck but must be kept on a leash.  Please do not leave your pet in your vehicle while visiting the refuge in warm months of the year.

In non-COVID times, many school and youth groups visit the refuge to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities to connect and learn about nature and wildlife. Refuge staff are happy to work with groups, but as our staff is limited, we prefer to work with teachers before their visits to help...

Stanfield Lake is open to fishing from hand-powered boats and canoes year-round (no motors are allowed). Richart Lake is open to fishing from canoes and kayaks. Bank fishing is permitted at Lake Sheryl, Sandhill Ponds, Persimmon Ponds, Lake Linda, and the open portion of the Muscatatuck River....

There are five short hiking trails on the refuge that include the Chestnut Ridge interpretive trail, Turkey and Bird Trail, Hunt-Richart Trail, and Wood Duck Trail. Old overgrown farm roads and lanes also provide wonderful hiking opportunities but are not usually mowed or maintained. ...

Muscatatuck is a quiet, uncrowded place for hunters to enjoy a public hunt in southern Indiana. Archery deer hunting begins in October during the state archery season. The archery season closes when the state muzzleloader deer season starts. Muzzleloader hunting on the refuge is by lottery....

A number of people enjoy coming to the refuge to set up easels and do painting and drawings. There is lots of inspiring scenery at the refuge and artists are always welcome.

Muscatatuck is a terrific place for photographers to visit at all times of the year. Excellent photos can be taken from car windows along refuge roads (especially along the Auto Tour) by those who arrive early in the morning and drive slowly.  Photographers should always watch for other...

Picnicking is allowed on the refuge in conjunction with other activities.  Picnic tables are provided at the Visitor Center.

Refuge and volunteer staff give interpretive programs for visitors on various wildlife and nature subjects in a normal year. Programs include Woodcock Watches, Junior Birder Programs, Nature Time Pre-school Programs, Bird Walks, Wetland Walks, Big Tree Walks, and Sandhill Crane Viewing tours....

Many visitors enjoy jogging on refuge roads and trails, usually early in the morning.  Runners are welcome but should wear colorful clothing while jogging on roads and stay aware of vehicle traffic.

The collection of shed deer antlers is permitted but cutting antlers off dead animals is not allowed. Walking deer trails in late winter is a great way to exercise, and if you are lucky you might be rewarded with a shed antler!  

The collection of mushrooms, nuts, and berries is permitted for personal use only (not for sale). Potential collectors, especially mushroom hunters, should be aware that hunters may be afield in the same areas they are searching for wild edibles. Hunter orange is recommended for those hunting...

Muscatatuck is a wonderful place for wildlife watching.Those who slowly drive the Auto Tour and refuge roads early in the morning usually see the most wildlife. Hikers who venture out early never know what animals or signs of animals they might spot along the trail. For visitors who prefer not...