- Hailstone NWR is part of the Big Lake Complex, a large drainage area beginning with Hailstone to the north and ending at the state-owned and managed Big Lake to the south. This complex is one of the most productive areas in Central Montana for waterfowl. This area was established by Executive Order as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.
It has a complex ownership and administrative pattern with 160 acres of fee title refuge, 760 acres of refuge easement and 1,828 acres of Waterfowl Production Area (WPA). The habitat component valuable to waterfowl and other wildlife at this site is a 300 acre reservoir.
Historically, the area surrounding this refuge was shortgrass prairie, but over the years it was plowed and planted to wheat. Hailstone NWR was managed as a no-hunting refuge easemant from the mid-1930's until 1980 when the WPA was acquired.
It is managed as part of the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge Complex located in Lewistown, Montana.
Hailstone NWR is located five miles northeast of Rapelje, Montana.