Tomorrow is National Hunting and Fishing Day. Held every year since 1972, National Hunting and Fishing Day celebrates outdoor sports, and how hunters and anglers contribute to conservation. Whether you are a first-timer or a seasoned sportsman or woman, your public lands are some of the best places to wet a line or bag the big one. Just ask the people at Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi, a very popular place for outdoor sports. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Located along the northeast coast of Massachusetts, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge provides feeding, resting and nesting habitat for a wide variety of migratory birds. The refuge includes more than 4,700 acres of diverse habitats – from sandy beaches and dunes to cranberry bogs, maritime forests and freshwater marshes. The most abundant habitat on the refuge is salt marsh, one of the most productive ecosystems in nature. It’s a great place to see your favorite birds as the fall migrations begin. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Huron National Wildlife Refuge is made up of eight small islands three miles off the Michigan shoreline of Lake Superior. Accessible only by boat, the refuge’s forests and bog provide habitat for birds like the herring gull, cedar waxwing and bald eagle. Visitors can stroll along Huron’s lone trail and take pictures of the historic stone lighthouse, the grays and pinks of the exposed bedrock, the blues of the lake and the contrasting greens of the trees. The bedrock itself offers shutterbugs a chance to capture the unique patterns caused by boulders cutting grooves into the rock as glaciers moved slowly over the landscape 8,000 years ago. Photo by Garrett Peterson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
There’s nothing quite like a wetlands summer sunset. The colorful sky reflects in the still water as the chorus of frogs and crickets grows louder and louder. At Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in Vermont, ducks, terns and herons swoop down to find their last snacks before returning to their nests. Grab a comfortable seat by the bog or on the edge of the forest and enjoy the show! Photo by Inna Malostovker (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Morris Wetland Management District includes wetlands and grasslands scattered throughout an eight-county area in Minnesota. Like other wetland management districts in the prairie states, the goal of the Morris District is to restore and protect enough habitat to meet the needs of prairie wildlife – particularly breeding waterfowl – as well as provide places for public recreation. The stunning summer sunsets are just a bonus. Photo by Alex Galt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Raccoons use their nimble paws in surprising ways. Highly intelligent, they have adapted to live in forests, mountain areas, coastal marshes and even urban centers. In Native American legends, raccoons are often known as tricksters and mischief-makers. Raccoons are common throughout North America, and this mother and her kits were spotted at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Photo courtesy of Alan Crutcher, Friends of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.
High in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge has a cool, moist climate more typical of Maine. Many plants and animals are near their southern limits amidst the valley’s rugged beauty. Rare species abound in the high elevation wetlands. Visitors enjoy misty mornings, snowy winters, cool summers and expansive views looking over mountains, grasslands and wetlands. Photo of Joe-pye weed growing along the Blackwater River by Gerri Wilson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteer.
Fog clings to the wetlands as the sun rises above Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin. The refuge includes more than 15,000 acres of marsh habitat including dense stands of cattail, bulrushes, burreed, sedges and smartweeds – all great food for ducks and other migrating birds. It’s an amazing place for bird-watching as well as photography, fishing, hunting and exploring the effigy mounds left behind by Native Americans over 1,000 years ago. Photo by Rachel Samerdyke, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Showers and rainbows bring coolness and color to Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming. A wide variety of birds find habitat for breeding and nesting on the refuge where the wetlands along the Green River stand out in an otherwise arid landscape. In addition to resident and migrating birds, large and small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and even bats make their homes in this lovely oasis. Photo by Tom Koerner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The baby bison at the National Bison Range Refuge Complex in Montana – often called “red dogs” because of their size and color – are growing quickly. Still not drifting too far from their mothers, they’re eating lots of spring greens and starting to form their distinctive shoulder humps. The refuge’s bison herd numbers over 300 and draws visitors year round to see these majestic animals and the beautiful landscape. Photo by Bureau of Land Management.