North Louisiana Wildlife

Follow Us through the Forests and Wetlands

Basic Info about the Refuge

The Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana is 25,162 acres.

The Catahoula NWR in Louisiana is one of the best places to go duckwatching — especially in the winter.  You’ll find tens of thousands of ducks hanging around the unironically named Duck Lake during the winter.

You’ll also find the usual suspects hanging around the lake and Cowpen Bayou: great blue herons, great egrets, belted kingfishers, vultures, white-throated sparrows, white checkered skippers, buckeye butterflies, raccoons, deer, and (rumor has it) a black bear or two.

This refuge is made up of two units: the Headquarters Unit (where you’ll find Duck Lake) and the Bushley Bayou Unit. Both units are nice to visit, but if you only have time for one, we suggest checking out the Headquarters Unit first. There, you’ll have the opportunity to take a drive around Wildlife Drive, which loops around Duck Lake, or take a hike down the Headquarters Unit Walking Trail.

By The Numbers

Learn more about the refuge.




Size in Acres

$ 0

Entry Fee




Days Open


Largest # of Ducks Recorded at the Refuge at One Time

Great blue heron standing in tall grassGreat blue heron standing in tall grass

Great Blue Heron

Cowpen Bayou
Mallard duck flying through blue skyMallard drake flying through blue sky


Cowpen Bayou to Duck Lake
Canvasback duck swimmingCanvasback duck swimming

Canvasback Duck

Duck Lake
Common raccoon crossing a roadCommon raccoon crossing a road

Common Raccoon

Wildlife Drive

White-Throated Sparrow

Just off Wildlife Drive
Belted kingfisher perched on a limb over waterBelted kingfisher perched on a limb over water

Belted Kingfisher

Duck Lake

Buckeye Butterfly

Near Duck Lake

White Checkered Skipper

Just off Wildlife Drive
Northern pintail ducks swimming in a lakeMallard ducks swimming while others fly over water


Duck Lake

While we love all our wild friends, ducks – pretty much all of them – are our favorite Catahoula NWR inhabitants. Catahoula is hands-down the best place in North Louisiana to meet pintails, scaups, shovelers, and canvasbacks.

More about How You Can Enjoy the Refuge

Visit Other Areas

The Catahoula NWR is one of many places you can enjoy our local wildlife. 

Explore North Louisiana's Outdoors.

Learn about other national wildlife refuges, state wildlife management areas, and Kisatchie National Forest Ranger Districts found throughout North Louisiana.

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