What We Do

Refuge staff manage and conserve wildlife habitat while also providing for public use including recreational and educational activities.  Management activities include manipulating areas for waterfowl, banding waterfowl, and controlling 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

Management and Conservation

Waterfowl Management

Banding wood ducks is one wildlife management tool used at Red River National Wildlife Refuge.  During June and July, we close Lake Caroline so we can bait for wood ducks. Once ducks are gathered at the bait site, we capture them using a rocket net. We weigh, age and sex each duck and apply a leg band before letting them go. Banding waterfowl is one factor used to set harvest limits for waterfowl hunting and monitor waterfowl movement.

Staff also manipulate certain areas of the Refuge to promote herbaceous plants with tasty seeds that wintering waterfowl feed on extensively.  This moist-soil management can be as simple as mowing or disking a unit to knock back plant growth.  More conventional farming methods can also be used to plant crops like rice and millet that have a lot of nutritional value and energy for ducks.

Invasive Species Management

The removal of invasive, exotic species is another important management activity that we perform at Red River National Wildlife Refuge. Wild hogs tear up habitat; giant salvia grows quickly to cover water ways; and Chinese tallow trees sprout everywhere soaking up sunlight, taking up nutrients and shading out our native trees. Using GPS, cameras and maps, staff, interns and volunteers monitor the spread and location of these invasive trouble-makers. When necessary we take action to stop them or slow their invasion.


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. 

Our Services

Explore the exhibit hall to discover more about the refuge and the wildlife that calls it home!  Refuge staff and volunteers can help answer questions you may have about the refuge.

Visitor Center Hours 
Monday            8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday           8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday      8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday          8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday               8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday          10:00 AM - 4:00 PM (as volunteer staffing allows)
Sunday            1:00 PM - 4:00 PM (as volunteer staffing allows)

The visitor center also has a nature store operated by the Friends of Red River Refuge open only when volunteers are available to staff it. If you're making a special trip to buy something from the nature store, please call ahead to see if it is open.

There are 5 miles of hiking trails at the Visitor Center/Headquarters Unit.  Trails are open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset.  Well behaved dogs on leashes are always welcome but please be respectful to other visitors and pick up after your pet.

We welcome hunters and fishermen but anybody wishing to hunt and fish on the Refuge must carry a signed copy of the Refuge hunting and and fishing brochure.

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

There are lots of fun, interesting, and educational things you can do on the refuge.  Keep in mind though, if an activity is not wildlife related and doesn’t help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, there are probably refuge rules governing this activity so please do your homework!