Division of Visitor Services
The Division of Visitor Services is dedicated to helping refuges provide high quality and safe visitor experiences for all.
Hunting and Fishing
White-tailed deer at Hagerman NWR
Photo Credit: Rick Cantu
Almost every refuge in the Southwest region offers high quality hunting opportunities and list specific hunting regulations and seasons on their website. Each state has primary responsibility and authority over the hunting of wildlife that resides within state boundaries. State wildlife agencies that sell hunting licenses are the best source of information regarding hunting seasons, species and areas open to hunting.
Hunting of migratory birds such as ducks and geese is managed cooperatively by state fish and wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Migratory waterfowl hunters must possess both a state hunting license and a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp), and each hunter needs a Harvest Information Program (HIP) number for each state in which they hunt migratory birds.
In addition, some refuges offer hunting opportunities specifically for youth, and most refuges can make arrangements for hunts for those with disabilities.
To find hunting opportunities on refuges near you, click on the link below for your state wildlife agency, or use our refuge finder to check opportunities at your favorite refuge.
Links to state agencies
Many refuges in the Southwest Region offer both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Fishing piers are strategically placed to allow access to all. Use the refuge finder to find fishing opportunities near you.
Building bird houses at Wichita Mountains.
Photo Credit: USFWS
For schools, scouts and other organized groups, many refuges within the Southwest Region provide environmental education programs throughout the school year, and special wildlife camps during the summer. Programs are offered for all ages, ranging from preschoolers to university level inquiry based learning. Contact a refuge near you to find out what types of programs are offered.
Interpretation and Visitor Centers
Looking to make some memories? Refuge interpretive programs range from guided tram rides at Santa Ana in Texas to Stargazing at Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma. Many refuges have visitor centers with interactive exhibits, interpretive trails and kiosks that provide a deeper understanding of refuge wildlife. To find out more about interpretive programs visit a specific refuge website.
Wildlife Observation and Photography
Young visitor on a viewing
deck at a NWR
Photo Credit: USFWS
Refuges nationwide are outstanding places to view and photograph wildlife, and the Southwest Region is no exception. From spectacular mountains where mountain lions roam, to coastal marshes with elusive and rare birds, the Southwest Region provides many once in a lifetime chances to observe and photograph wildlife.
Duck Stamps and Junior Duck Stamps
What are Duck Stamps?
Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as “Duck Stamps,” are pictorial stamps produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They are not valid for postage. Originally created in 1934 as federal licenses required for hunting migratory waterfowl.
In 1989, the first Junior Duck Stamps were produced. Junior Duck Stamps are now the capstone of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Junior Duck Stamp environmental education program, teaching students across the nation “conservation through the arts.” Revenue generated by the sales of Junior Duck Stamps funds environmental education programs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and several territories.
To learn more visit the Federal Duck Stamp Homepage.