Archeological finds on the refuge indicate a prior civilization of nomadic hunters. Bison horns, antlers, stone scrapers and points chronicle the Native American dependence on the wildlife resources. 

Pottery shards, fire rings, and pole marks have also been found on the refuge. Initial surveys indicated the existence of village and burial sites on the refuge dating back to the 1500's. The nomads tended to use the same camp site year after year as they moved through the area. Most activity occurred on the second terrace level overlooking the Washita River. The area was possibly a camp ground for General Custer's 7th Cavalry. Very little excavating has been done on the refuge. Known or suspected sites are protected from disturbance.

When this area was first settled it was a rolling prairie of bluestem, grama, and buffalo grass. The more fertile soils were transformed into cropland. One old settlement town, McClure, was located on what is now the refuge. After the Dust Bowl days of the 1930's, many of the old homesteads were abandoned as families moved to town. Many of the highly erodible sites have been taken out of crop production and placed back into native prairie.