Rydell National Wildlife Refuge will be closed to the general public during two special deer hunts that will be held on the Refuge in October.  

    The Accessible Deer Hunt is conducted in cooperation with the Options Interstate Resource Center for Independent Living and will take place Thursday, October 10 through Saturday, October 12.  The Mentored Youth Deer Hunt is a cooperative effort with the Minnesota DNR for youth between the ages of 12 and 15.  It will take place Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27.  Both of these hunts have a limited number of participants that were selected through a drawing, earlier in the year.  Signs will be posted at Refuge entry points during both of these closures.  

    For more information on these closures or if you have questions, contact Gregg Knutsen, Refuge Manager, at 218-687-2229 x16 or gregg_knutsen@fws.gov.


    Rydell National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) will be offering woodcutting permits to the area public for the time period of mid-October, 2019 through January, 2020.  Earlier this year, staff began removing conifers (pines and spruce) from a roughly 1-acre portion of the headquarters/visitor entrance area of the Refuge.

    When homesteaders settled in what is now Rydell NWR, many of the trees were cleared for farming. Later, when landowners replanted trees, they planted several small conifer plantations.  Historically, woody habitats on the Refuge included aspen parklands, dogwood-willow swamp, bur oak savanna and woodland, and maple-basswood forest. Conifers are not part of the natural habitat at Rydell NWR.

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff are responsible for maintaining and improving the biological integrity of the lands they manage. For this reason, we are removing these non-native conifers and plan to inter-seed this site with a diverse mix of prairie grasses and forbs.  After reestablishment of the understory, we’ll allow Mother Nature (succession) to continue to recreate native habitats at this site, which will likely consist of a combination of grasses, forbs, shrubs, and deciduous trees.  

    Cut trees have been placed into three piles in a large gravel parking area just north of the Refuge headquarters and visitor center.  One pile consists of 15-20 cords of large timbers that range from 13” to 18” in diameter, and are roughly 18 feet in length.  The other two piles consist largely of slash, but include some useable firewood, up to 6” in diameter. Permittees will be allowed to cut up and take these downed trees on a first-come, first-served basis.  Use of chainsaws will be allowed.  Wood may be taken for personal use only. No sale of the wood will be allowed under these permits.

    For more information on this opportunity or if you want to get a permit, contact Gregg Knutsen, Refuge Manager, at 218-687-2229 x16 or gregg_knutsen@fws.gov.  You can also stop in at the Rydell NWR Headquarters at 17788 349th St. SE, Erskine, MN 56535.