Two children looking at a herd of elk from the bed of a carriage in a snowy landscape with mountains in the background

The refuge champions wildlife viewing as a key activity. Whether you're interested in insects, birds or wildflowers, the refuge provides a wide array of opportunities to spot wildlife in their element.

A variety of plants and animals call the refuge home. The spring brings about new growth as the oak savanna’s characteristic bur oak trees burst with new leaves. Keep an eye out for the non-venomous bull snakes taking advantage of the warmer days by sunning on the trails and Prairie’s Edge Wildlife Drive. In June, the wild lupine blooms and Blanding’s turtles nest on the Wildlife Drive. Red-headed woodpeckers raise their young in cavities of dead trees.

Throughout the year, river otters frolic and fish in the St. Francis River and refuge wetlands. In the winter, white-tailed deer, coyotes and red foxes leave tracks, scat and other signs behind as they move around on the refuge.