Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Covering over 40,000 acres in Yazoo and Humphreys Counties, Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is the largest refuge in the state of Mississippi. Its expansive bottomland hardwood forests, cypress-tupelo sloughs, and meandering bayous represent some of the best remaining examples of the historically predominant habitat types that once characterized the entire Mississippi floodplain. This Refuge was established in 1978 and is noted for its large waterfowl population, resident game and its numerous sloughs and wetlands.  

 

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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 32.731094 Longitude: -90.594622
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Amber Breland

Recreational Opportunities

With its close proximity to the state capitol, Jackson, the refuge provides a variety of recreational opportunities. Approximately 30 miles of gravel roads are open on the refuge for most of the year, providing access to points of interest. Additionally, some portions of the refuge can be accessed from Highway 149W, and Satartia Road. Other areas are accessible by foot or small boat.

Popular recreational activities include:

Hunting

Hunting opportunities for white-tail deer, waterfowl, wild turkey, squirrel, swamp rabbit and various small furbearers are abundant. Feral swine are also plentiful and harvest is optional during deer and turkey hunts. Designated roads, ATV trails and boat ramps provide access to remote locations throughout the Refuge. Please review all regulations prior to your hunt.  

There are three limited draw deer hunts offered at Panther Swamp. Applications for these hunts are accepted in the fall. Initial purchase of the T R Complex Annual Public Use Permit is required to be eligible to apply.

Wildlife Observation, Photography, and Birdwatching

Visitors can expect to see a variety of both migrating and resident wildlife in their natural settings on Panther Swamp. Neotropical songbirds migrate through the refuge seasonally, and wintering waterfowl are most abundant during the winter months. Everyone’s favorite, the American alligator can be seen basking on logs and banks during warm spring days, and floating motionless in water during the hot summer months. The endangered Louisiana Black Bear is occasionally observed on the refuge as well. White-tailed deer, wild turkey, and numerous small mammals spend their lives on the refuge year-round and are easily viewed from car, boat, or on foot.

A colonial waterbird rookery exists at Panther Swamp and is active in the spring and early summer. To view the rookery, travel south on the East Levee from Highway 149 West approximately 5 miles. The rookery will be on your right. Other photography opportunities abound on the Refuge. Commercial photographers are required to obtain a Special Use Permit. Please contact Refuge headquarters for more information!

Fishing, Paddling and Boating

Available species for fishing include catfish, largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie, buffalo, carp, gar and bowfin. A valid T R Complex Annual Public Use Permit is required in addition to a state fishing license.  Waters between the East and West levees, the Landside Ditch and the portion of Panther Creek adjacent to the West Levee are open year-round except during limited draw deer hunts. All other refuge waters are open March 1-November 15. Trotlines, limb lines, jugs, seines and traps are prohibited. Some of the preferred fishing areas are Wade Bayou, Panther Creek, Deep Bayou, Lake George and the waters lying between the East and West levees. The Refuge's facilities include two all-weather access concrete boat ramps at Deep Bayou and Lake George. Please review the fishing regulations prior to your visit.

Panther Swamp waterways offer tremendous opportunities for paddling. Paddling adventures lead to great birding and photography opportunities. Several gravel entry points and concrete boat ramps provide easy access. May through June are some of the best months to enjoy the wildlife and scenery while water levels provide for easy access. It is recommended that groups larger than three contact Refuge headquarters for access. Bring your own gear and enjoy the sights!

Visitor Center

In the office lobby are native animal exhibits such as the American Alligator, a black bear, wild turkey, fish, waterfowl, birds and even a raccoon stealing eggs from a wood duck nest. There is also an interactive kiosk which provides neat facts along with photos about the refuge.

 

Seasons Accessible

Panther Swamp NWR is open to the public year-round during daily hours. Please be aware that accessibility may be impacted by local flooding or road conditions.  Much of the habitat is subject to flooding on an annual basis. 

Summer temperatures frequently reach 100 degrees F. Humidity is highest in August and September reaching an average close to 90%. Insect repellent is highly recommended as mosquitoes and red bugs are plentiful.

Fees

A $15 permit is required for hunting or fishing, in addition to state and federal licenses.

Pet Friendly Notes

Dogs are only permitted for hunting raccoon, squirrel, and for the February rabbit hunts. All other pets are prohibited.

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