Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge

Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 11,556 acres of bottomland hardwood forests, farmland, moist soils, and oxbow lakes that stretch along the scenic Hatchie River in West Tennessee. The Refuge was established in 1964 as an important resting and feeding area for wintering waterfowl and other migratory birds. The Refuge also protects a unique remnant bottomland hardwood ecosystem that once dominated the area. Over 9,400 acres of bottomland forest remain at Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge and still function as a natural forested woodland, much as they did during Pioneer times.

When the first settlers arrived in the Mississippi River Delta, millions of acres of swamp habitat, dominated by water-tolerant oaks, stretched before them. Today, over 95% of this habitat has been cleared for agriculture and other purposes. Approximately one million acres of good quality swamp remain for the fish, wildlife, and people that are dependent on this type of habitat. Additionally, the Hatchie River is the only major stream in Tennessee that has never been impounded, channelized, or modified by human activity. The Refuge provides an excellent example of the 25 million acres of bottomland hardwood forest that once dominated the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley.

Read more


Latitude: 35.519209 Longitude: -89.295403
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Amber Breland

Recreational Opportunities

Recreational opportunities on Hatchie NWR include:

  • Hunting
  • Fishing
  • Wildlife Observation & Photography
  • Birding
  • Environmental Education & Interpretation


Hunting is permitted for big game, small game, and migratory birds, within established seasons. Designated areas are closed from November 15 - March 15 to provide a sanctuary for migrating waterfowl. A Refuge hunt permit is required and is available at the Refuge office or can be found on the Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge website.


Fishing is permitted from legal sunrise to legal sunset. Designated areas are closed from November 15 - March 15 to provide a sanctuary for migrating waterfowl.

Boats less than 18 feet long are allowed on Refuge lakes. Any boat motor must be electric, as gas or diesel motors are prohibited.

Wildlife Observation & Photography.

The Oneal Lake Wildlife Drive, located near Refuge headquarters, extends over two miles along the shoreline of Oneal Lake. Visitors can expect to see migratory waterfowl, bald eagles, shorebirds, wading birds, as well as resident wildlife. An interpretive kiosk and observation tower provide information and a spectacular view.

A drive down more than 30 miles of refuge roads provides an excellent opportunity for viewing migratory songbirds as well as resident wildlife. Visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars, cameras, and field guides to fully enjoy the Refuge's wildlife.


Bird watchers can use the wildlife drives and observation areas described in the above section to see waterfowl, neo-tropical migrants, shorebirds, wading birds, and more at Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge.

Environmental Education & Interpretation

Environmental education and interpretation is one of the primary objectives of the National Wildlife Refuge System, and Hatchie NWR has a refuge complex Visitor Services Park Ranger on staff providing opportunities for educational programs on the refuge, in schools, and for community events.

Hatchie NWRs visitor center is located at the headquarters on Oneal Lake and includes interpretational exhibits and educational exhibits.

Seasons Accessible

Hatchie NWR is open to the public year round from legal sunrise to legal sunset with the exception of legal hunting activities.

Please be aware that waterfowl sanctuaries are closed seasonally (November 15 - March 15) for migratory waterfowl. Other areas may be closed for special management or safety reasons. Roads may be closed at any time due to adverse weather conditions (flooding) or management needs.


Access to the Refuge and facilities are free. Quota hunt permits cost $12.50. See the Refuge website for more information.

Accessibility Notes

Visitor Center facilities are fully accessible, as well as fishing piers on Oneal Lake. Mobility impaired access is provided at the Hatchie NWR viewing tower.

Pet Friendly Notes

Dogs are permitted for small game and migratory bird hunting. All hunting dogs are required to wear a collar displaying the owner’s name, address, and telephone number.

All other dogs/pets must be kept on leash while on the Refuge.

Leave a Comment