Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Updated:03/2022

Established in 1978, Panther Swamp NWR is noted for its large waterfowl population, resident game and its numerous sloughs and wetlands. Although limited archaeological evidence exists about the earliest inhabitants of the Lower Mississippi Delta, early Native Americans probably hunted, fished, and even farmed much of the area now included in the boundaries of Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Unlike the more nomadic tribes of the northern and western plains, the Yazoo Indians built small villages and retreated into the loessal bluffs along present-day Yazoo City only when forced to by rising flood waters. Many raised “Indian Mounds” can be found still visible throughout the Delta. 

Points of Interest

Covering over 40,000 acres in Yazoo and Humphreys Counties, Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is the largest refuge in the state of Mississippi. Its expansive bottomland hardwood forests, cypress-tupelo sloughs, and meandering bayous represent some of the best remaining examples of the historically predominant habitat types that once characterized the entire Mississippi floodplain. With its close proximity to the state capitol, Jackson, the refuge provides a variety of recreational opportunities. These include hunting, fishing, birding, wildlife observation, photography, and boating; public boat ramps are located on Lake George and Deep Bayou. Including the levees along the Whittington Channel, approximately 30 miles of gravel roads are open on the refuge for most of the year. Additionally, some portions of the refuge can be accessed from Highway 149W, and Satartia Road. Other areas are accessible by foot or small boat. 

Much of the habitat is subject to flooding on an annual basis. The refuge has a number of bayous that slowly drain flood waters, leaving shallow swamps and oxbow lakes which support stands of tupelo gum, cypress, buttonbush, and other species tolerant to extremely wet habitats. The upland areas or ridges often crest at no more than one foot above swamp areas, and contain nuttall, willow and water oaks and other species while overcup oak, bitter pecan and ash dominate the transition zone from swamp to upland. Additional habitat types consist of reforested and agricultural areas. Crops left in the field are used to support large concentrations of wintering waterfowl. The refuge supports healthy populations of resident wildlife and neotropical migrants. Hunting seasons are established for waterfowl and all native game species, which include white-tailed deer, fox and grey squirrels, swamp and cottontail rabbits, raccoon, opossum, and wild turkey. The endangered Louisiana Black Bear is occasionally observed on the refuge. Most days you can find several alligators sunning along the water’s edge. 

In the office lobby are native animal exhibits such as the American Alligator, a black bear, wild turkey, fish, waterfowl, birds and even a raccoon stealing eggs from a wood duck nest. There is also an interactive kiosk which provides neat facts along with photos about the refuge.




Contact Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

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Contact Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
12595 Mississippi Highway 149
Yazoo City, MS  39194
Phone: (662) 836-3004
Fax: (662) 836-3009

Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Yazoo County, Mississippi