War Horse National Wildlife Refuge was established as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife in 1958. This refuge consists of three units: War Horse Lake, Wild Horse Lake, and Yellow Water Reservoir. All are open to wildlife observation and hunting. Yellow Water Reservoir also provides boating and fishing opportunities. All units support waterfowl and other migratory birds. Spring and fall seasons provide the best opportunities. It's famous for its elk population which was reestablished in 1951 from Yellowstone National Park; and be sure to look for the ferrets which were released in 1993, large black-tailed prairie dog towns, which the ferrets depend on, sage grouse in early spring as they breed, birds like mountain plovers, peregrine falcons, and long-billed curlews.
Wild Horse Lake: This natural depression infrequently contains water, but is very valuable for waterfowl and shorebirds when it does. Additionally, the sagebrush uplands surrounding the lake are critical for wintering sage grouse and pronghorn antelope which can be found in the area though out the year. Visitors will also encounter prairie dogs, mule deer and rattle snakes.
War Horse Lake: Similar to Wild Horse Lake, this natural depression contains water only infrequently, but is very productive for waterfowl and shorebirds when it does. Prior to acquisition by the USFWS, the lake was unitized as an irrigation storage reservoir for local farmers, but the project was later discontinued. Currently, water is supplied to the basin through natural runoff. The uplands surrounding the reservoir consist of sage brush/grasslands, with a unique association of ponderosa pines to the south. These pines are part of the acid-shale pine forest unique to central Montana. The area is open to public hunting and wildlife observation. Both Wild Horse and War Horse units are north of Teigen, Montana.
Yellow Water Reservoir: This area includes a portion of the state-owned Yellow Water Reservoir, which is managed by DNRC for irrigation supply to neighboring ranches. As such, water levels fluctuate radically, significantly reducing wildlife benefits. Surrounding uplands provide critical nesting and wintering habitats for sage grouse. Pronghorn antelope, mule deer and rattle snakes are also commonly observed, and there is a large prairie dog town located west of the reservoir. The reservoir contains rainbow trout, which are stocked occasionally by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks.
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