Frequently Asked Questions
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- Is the Refuge open to the public?
- Is there hunting presently going on and if so, is it safe to visit?
- We like to drive around and look at wildlife, do the gates close at night?
- We are looking for a place to camp while visiting the area and the Refuge. Is there a place to camp?
- What is needed to hunt on the Refuge?
- Are there bicycle trails on the Refuge?
- Is horse riding permitted?
Yes, 365 days a year and there is no cost to enter. However, you cannot bring firearms into the refuge except during our managed hunting seasons.
Most of the season is from late October through November, mostly during weekends.
Two public use areas are closed to hunting all year. These include the River Trail, Bottomlands Boardwalk and kiosk area which provides a view of the beautiful Suwannee River. Closer to the Gulf, the Shell Mound Unit which offers a fishing pier, trails, bank fishing, small boat launch, birding, a 6,000 year old mound and picturesque vistas of the Gulf coast.
We like to drive around and look at wildlife, do the gates close at night?
No, the gates do not close at night. You are welcome to drive through. Camping, fires, and the use of spotlights are not permitted.
Although the refuge does not permit public camping, several private campgrounds near the refuge in both Levy and Dixie County offer campsites for a reasonable fee. In addition Levy County operates a campground adjacent to the refuge at Shell Mound. Dixie County operates a campground adjacent to the refuge at Shired Island. Both are open on a first come basis and charge a small fee.
A Florida hunting license and the refuge Hunt Brochure that contains current information on species allowed to harvest, season dates, special regulations, and permitted activities along with a detailed map. This brochure serves as a hunting permit and is available without charge by mail or at the refuge headquarters or local outlets. Hunt Brochures are available. Please contact the refuge office to request your hard copy or click on the link to view the brochure.
There are no roads or trails designated only for bicycles. However, there are 50 miles of improved dirt roads open to both vehicle and bicycle traffic. Additionally, there are fifty miles of gated roads that are open only to foot and bicycle traffic. Roads are not paved and are therefore unsuitable for high performance road bicycles. Grass and limerock roads are in excellent condition and a heavy-duty off-road bicycle is not necessary.
In Dixie County, there is a nine-mile interpretive auto and bicycle trail which connects County Roads 349 and 357, called the Dixie Mainline Road. The trail passes through upland pines, bottomland hardwoods, cypress sloughs, hardwood hammocks, and crosses tidally-influenced creeks. The Dixie Mainline Trail Guide is available at either end of the trail, from the refuge office, or from the link above.
Management policy disallows horses. Nearby Goethe Forest and Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve do accomodate equestrians.