- Choctaw NWR, located in Choctaw County in southwest Alabama, lies eighty miles north of Mobile on the west bank of the Tombigbee River. The refuge boundary starts two river miles upstream from the Coffeeville Lock & Dam. The 4,218 acre refuge is separated into three land masses by two creeks. Okaktuppa Creek divides the North End from the Middle Swamp and Turkey Creek separates the Middle Swamp from the South End.
The Chocktaw National Wildlife Refuge was established as a protected wintering area for migratory waterfowl and wood duck production. It is the home of endangered and threatened species, namely Bald Eagles and Wood Storks.
Choctaw NWR was established on land that was purchased as part of a Corps of Engineers water development project called the Coffeeville Lock and Dam in the mid 1950's. The Department of the Interior acquired the management rights from the Corps and began refuge management practices during January, 1964.
Approximately 1,802 acres of the refuge lies in lakes, sloughs and creeks. Only 151 acres of the refuge is located in openings. The remaining 2,265 acres is composed of typical bottomland hardwood associated with the Tombigbee River Basin.
The Tupelo Gum Natural Area (SAF 103), located in the Middle Swamp, is the only area set aside as a unique part of the refuge. It was established in 1976 and consists of 30 acres of black gum and 5 acres of bald cypress.
The Choctaw NWR also includes eight perpetual conservation easements, scattered in Sumter, Conecuh, and Monroe counties of Alabama , which total an additional 236 acres.
The refuge was established as a protected wintering area for waterfowl and wood duck reproduction. Natural sloughs, creeks and lakes, in conjunction with bottomland hardwoods and pine ridges, create a mixture of wildlife habitat. This habitat diversity produces an abundance of wildlife.
Deer, turkey, raccoon, rabbit, squirrel and wood duck thrive in the bottomland hardwoods. Endangered or threatened species such as American alligators, bald eagles and wood storks also have an abundance of wetland habitat available.
From November until March wintering waterfowl are present. As the waterfowl depart in the spring, wading bird use increases. The sloughs, creeks and lakes also provide excellent habitat for game fish, and aquatic mammals such as river otter, beaver, nutria and mink.
Recreation - Activities in the Chocktaw Wildlife refuge are wildlife observation, hiking, photography , sport fishing ( rod & reel or pole & line only), boating, sight-seeing and bird watching The Refuge has a boat ramp located near Womack Hill Work Center.
Hunting is permitted with certain restrictions. Hunting for big game is by bow and arrow only, from October 15-November 30 each year. Gun hunting for small game is permitted November 8-November 30.
Climate - The climate of Alabama's lowlands can be described as subtropical with nearly 60 inches of rain each year. The highest amount of rain reaches the region as afternoon thunderstorms in July, August and September. Summers are extremely hot and humid with temperatures frequently reaching above 100 degrees F. Summer nights cool slightly and provide a good time to travel through the region.
From Jackson, Alabama take Highway 69 to Coffeeville, Alabama. Then
take Highway 84, across Tombigbee River going West. Turn north off U.S. Highway 84 at County Road #21, which is about 8 miles west of Coffeeville and 4 miles east of Silas. Then go north 4 miles to Barrytown
and turn east; follow County Road # 14 to Womack Hill,turn right at Womack Hill. Watch for refuge directional signs from Highway 84 to the refuge.