If you ever find yourself in Muleshoe, be sure to check out the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge, a 6,400 acre refuge for wildlife that is located south of Muleshoe by about 20 miles. This wildlife refuge is the oldest in the state of Texas and was established in 1935 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order into place. It was first opened at the Muleshoe Migratory Waterfowl Refuge and the name was changed years later to what we know it as today under a proclamation issued by President Roosevelt. The National Park Service deemed the refuge a National Natural Landmark in the year 1980.
Part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge contains land and other natural features that have been specifically dedicated to and protected for the habitat and its natural wildlife. The refuge is a major contributor to some types of migratory bird migration patterns and serves 15% of the lesser sandhill crane population during the spring and fall months. When visiting, guests are encouraged to bird watch, take photographs, and hike and camp. There are also times when “limited hunting by drawing only” is allowed within the refuge.
The refuge is focused on the preservation of land as well as resident species and their habitats. They also work to conserve and maintain this space and all the native creatures. According to their website, wildlife refuges must put all the different types of species as their first priority which the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge claims to always do. One of this refuge’s specific purposes is to “protect migratory birds,” but most refuges tend to have their own special reasons for existing, such as endangered species in the region. Because a wildlife refuge should operate for the reason in which it was founded, it must monitor all activity taking place on the land.
The Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge was declared an inviolate sanctuary for migratory birds. These kinds of refuges are funded with money from the sales of Duck stamps through the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Act. To qualify as an inviolate sanctuary, these lands must provide adequate protection from hunters during hunting season in a certain section of the property. This is because it was opened to protect these birds during their migration and over hunting could easily endanger the species.
The migratory species of bird that migrates through the refuge are traveling between Canada and Mexico. The refuge has a few intermittent salt lakes and some have been altered to maintain a longer wet period. One of these special lakes is named Paul’s Lake located east off Highway 214. During times when the other lakes are dry, Paul’s Lake is home to an abundance of wildlife that wouldn’t be able to inhabit the area without this supply of water. Even during some winters, when there is ample water in the area, sandhill cranes will live in the area in large quantities.
If you are interested in visiting the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge, it is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is free of charge. To read another article from our collection, click here.
Map from Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge to AW Broadband:
Map from Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge to Carr’s Chapel: