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Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge
opens for 2011 season

Public invited to take part
in tours and outdoor activities

Staff Report

(May 2011) – Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge opened April 18 for public use. The springtime public use season at Big Oaks consists of fishing at Old Timbers Lake, wildflower photography, bird watching, morel mushroom hunting and turkey hunting. Mushroom hunting is for personal use only and the refuge requires a mesh bag for collecting to allow mushroom spores to be released.
Th refuge offers no-show drawings for its Turkey Hunts at 6:30 a.m. with the requirement that everyone must hunt with a partner. During the past several years the refuge has not filled up during our turkey season. Refuge turkey hunt dates in May are May 1, 2, 7, 8, 14, 15.

Group Tour

Photo provided

Big Oaks offers an Outdoor Women’s
event each year, along with
birding and other tours.

As the year progresses, the refuge plans special events, such as Outdoor Women at Big Oaks (June 4, reservation required), Take a Kid Fishing Day (July 16), the annual Butterfly Survey (July 30) and refuge tours. Tours of the refuge can be arranged by calling the refuge office two weeks in advance for a special group tour or attend one of the regularly scheduled tours. The refuge is having a special tour on May 14 in conjunction with a birding festival at Muscatatuck NWR (Wings over Muscatatuck). Call the Muscatatuck NWR office at (812) 522-4352, ext. 12, to register for this wildlife tour.
Big Oaks offers birding tours. Is your Audubon group looking for a great birding experience? Would your garden club or science class enjoy exploring for birds in a multitude of habitats?
Big Oaks welcomes birding groups at the refuge and would be glad to help you organize an outing. Your group might just get the opportunity to see a Henslow’s sparrow or perhaps even a cerulean warbler, among many other species.
A small trial with a photo blind is ready for wildlife photographers and nature lovers at Big Tree Point at Old Timbers Lake. Off trail hiking is also allowed in the northeast portion of the refuge known as the public use area.
All refuge visitors must view the safety briefing once per calendar year, and sign an acknowledgement of danger form. A daily pass to the refuge costs $3, an annual pass is $15 and hunt permits are $10. Holders of an interagency Access-Senior Pass would be charged a reduced rate. For information about how to obtain an Access-Senior Pass please call the refuge office.
Big Oaks NWR consists of approximately 50,000 acres on the former Jefferson Proving Ground located in Jennings, Ripley, and Jefferson counties in southeastern Indiana. The refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and provides public use opportunities, such as hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, interpretation and environmental education.
The refuge has one of the largest contiguous forest blocks in the southeastern part of the state as well as one of the largest grassland complexes in the state, both of which provide wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities to refuge visitors. Recreational fishing is allowed in the 165-acre Old Timbers Lake from April through November on Mondays, Fridays, and the second and fourth Saturdays.

• For further information about Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge events, visit: www.fws.gov/midwest/bigoaks.

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