Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region

Refuge Regulations

Hunting Regulations for Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.
Pungo Unit Regulations and Visitor Information

Pungo Unit Map


Federal, State, and local laws and regulations apply on Pocosin Lakes Refuge. Regulations specific to the refuge are in Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations. These rules include, but are not limited to, the following.

The taking or possession of any wildlife (including reptiles and amphibians), or any part thereof, is prohibited. There are exceptions for wildlife taken during a refuge hunt and transporting wildlife on a state road.

The refuge is open for authorized public use activities during daylight hours only (30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset). There are exceptions for certain hunting activities.

There are areas that are closed to all public entry during the waterfowl season (November - February). They include:

  • Pungo Lake and New Lake
  • Duck Pen Road and the Pungo Banding Site
  • The section of Molt Road on the south side of the Smartweed Moist Soil Unit (MSU)
  • Jones Pond MSU and it's dikes
  • The Riders Creek and Dunbar Road Banding Sites.

Allen Road now open for Public Access

There are about 80 miles of roads on the refuge that are open to noncommercial, licensed vehicles that are less than 8,000 pounds. All state traffic laws apply on these roads. Many of the open roads are now rocked (but not on the Pungo Unit). Some of the open roads on the Pungo Unit are closed to vehicles from November through February to reduce disturbance to waterfowl. Another 170 miles of unimproved roads all across the refuge are closed to vehicles, but open to walking and bicycling for hunting, wildlife observation and photography (we try to mow about a third of these roads each year). The speed limit on refuge roads is 25 mph.

Boats are not allowed on Pungo Lake. All state regulations governing boating apply to other refuge waters.

Refuge staff need vehicular access to all travel ways for management and emergency response purposes. Therefore, parking so as to block any gate or route of travel is not allowed.

The Pungo Unit is closed to everyone except permit holders during the special permit-only deer gun hunts on certain Fridays and Saturdays in late September and October. Check the Pocosin Lakes Hunt brochure for this year's dates.

All domestic pets (dogs, cats, etc.) must be properly confined or leashed and under the owners control at all times.

The following are prohibited on the refuge:

  • Taking, possessing, injuring, disturbing, damaging, destroying, or collecting any plant or animal, or attempting these actions;
  • Feeding or baiting wildlife;
  • Using a spotlight, automotive headlight, or other artificial light to spot, observe, located, or take any animal;
  • Littering or dumping of garbage, refuse, sewage, debris, ore other wastes or poisons;
  • Traveling in a vehicle outside of designated routes of travel, especially off road travel;
  • Camping, open fires, and swimming in refuge waters;
  • Entering any area posted with Area Closed signs;
  • Destroying, defacing, damaging, disturbing, or removing any private or public property, including any natural object or artifact;
  • Using or possessing metal detectors or similar devices;
  • Entering or remaining on the refuge when under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance;
  • Begging or soliciting in any form or conducting a commercial enterprise;
  • Carrying, using, or possessing paintball guns or paintball markers;
  • Any act of indecency or disorderly conduct.

Other regulations also apply; contact the refuge if you have any questions.


Last Updated: 5/8/13