Created to conserve and protect wildlife and wildlands through research, Patuxent Research Refuge offers 13,000 acres of tranquil forest, meadow and wetlands amid a densely populated urban area. Countless birds, mammals, pollinators, amphibians, and more call it home. Immerse yourself in this natural world; visit and connect with your nature.
Patuxent Research Refuge Hunt Plan

The Refuge is seeking public review and comment on our proposed hunting plan. The public is invited to review the draft documents for our proposed changes, including the Draft Hunting Plan, Compatibility Determination, and an Environmental Assessment. These documents will be available for no less than a 60-day comment period.

The full draft is available for review at Patuxent Research Refuge Draft Hunting Plan.

The comment period will stay open through the end of the “2022- 2023 Station-Specific Hunting Regulations” comment period. This comment period will end on August 8th. Comments can be sent via email to HuntFishRuleComments@fws.gov with 'Patuxent RR' in the subject line. They may also be mailed to the refuge or received by phone.

Visit Us

Whether walking trails or fishing pond, the sounds and sights of the eastern woods give serenity to the soul.

Our Two Entrances:

South Tract, also known as the Dan Ashe Division, hosts 5 miles of walking trails and two scenic lakes. It is also the site of the National Wildlife Visitor Center. The grounds are open sunrise to sunset and closed for federal holidays. Fishing and hunting is available seasonally. 

North Tract offers 25 miles of trail for walking, biking, and horseback riding. With less visitation than South Tract, North Tract offers a quiet atmosphere for those seeking solitude. The grounds are open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. The refuge closes for federal holidays and occasionally for scheduled hunts.  (Some trail closures should be expected on Mondays and Saturdays for turkey hunting. All trails reopen May 23rd.)

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Patuxent Research Refuge was established in 1936 by executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and is the only wildlife refuge established to support wildlife research. Today the U.S. Geological Survey’s Eastern Ecological Science Center carries on the refuge’s rich tradition in scientific investigation.

      Biologically, the refuge is of regional importance in that it is home to many deep-forest song birds such as the Scarlet Tanager. Patuxent’s large areas of unbroken tree cover, rare in central Maryland, allows these birds to hide from predators.

      Currently, the refuge welcomes over 200,000 visitors per year and seeks to nourish their spirits as well as the wildlife of the area.

      What We Do

      Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the National Wildlife Refuge System. It drives everything on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managed lands and waters, from the purposes for which a national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
      A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

      Learn more about national wildlife refuge
      is established, to the recreational activities offered, to the resource management tools used. Using conservation best practices, the Refuge System manages Service lands and waters to help ensure the survival of native wildlife species. 

      Our Organization

      Refuge Our Organization (Programs)

      The Migratory Bird Program works with partners to protect, restore and conserve bird populations and their habitats for the benefit of future generations by: ensuring long-term ecological sustainability of all migratory bird populations, increasing socioeconomic benefits derived from birds,...
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 560 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.

      Our Species

      Bald Eagle

      A large raptor, the bald eagle has a wingspread of about seven feet. Adults have a dark brown body and wings, white head and tail, and a yellow beak. Juveniles are mostly brown with white mottling on the body, tail, and undersides of wings. Adult plumage usually is obtained by the sixth year. In...

      FWS Focus
      Scarlet Tanager
      Spotted Salamander
      FWS Focus
      American shad
      Atlantic shad
      common shad
      white shad
      FWS Focus

      Our Library

      Refuge Library

      Get Involved

      As an organization dedicated to conserving wildlife and habitats, there are many ways for you to be involved. This could be as a volunteer, member of Friends of Patuxent, an intern, or working with the Youth Conservation Corp.

      Projects and Research

      Our projects and biological research provides invaluable aid and scientific knowledge about the numerous resident and migrant wildlife species found on the refuge.