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A white-tailed deer hunt is held on 13 days in October and November. A scouting day is held on the last Saturday in September. A refuge permit and state hunting license are required. The refuge permit is $15.00. Applications are through An additional application fee applies.

A black bear hunt is held in mid-November. A refuge permit and state hunting license are required. This is a quota hunt. Fifty registered hunters will be drawn. Each selected hunter is allowed to designate a companion. Each hunter is required to have a refuge permit ($25.00) and a state big game hunting license. An additional application fee applies. 

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Hunting Dog Retrieval 

Hunting dog retrieval permit applications are available beginning the first week of September. Application for this Special Use Permit must be completed and returned to the administrative office for approval. Once approved, permittee may retrieve hunting dogs that have inadvertently entered the refuge after the dog owner has first notified refuge staff. The refuge permit fee is $25.00. 

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Seasonal Boating/Fishing access at the Interior Ditch boat ramp is by a special use permit during the fishing season of April 1 to June 15, some restrictions apply. Permit applications are accepted beginning March 1 each year. Permit allows 7 day a week, sunrise to sunset, access via the Railroad Ditch entrance.  Permittees must call the refuge during business hours the day before a planned visit to reserve a space. For weekend access, permittees must call on Friday between 8:00am and 1:00pm.


Download 2014 Fishing/Boating Permit Application. 

Download 2014 Fishing/Boating Permit instructions. 


Research and Monitoring 

We encourage research and studies that assist in answering management questions to enhance wildlife and their habitats on Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Research is usually conducted by universities, Federal, State, and local agencies, non-governmental agencies, and qualified members of the general public. Research is authorized via a Special Use Permit (SUP). To apply for a SUP, complete the application below. Priority will be given to studies applicable to management on or nearby the refuge. Proposals must demonstrate that the study will not have an adverse effect on wildlife or habitat. Feel free to contact the biology staff to discuss whether your project helps fill an information gap, and how it can be conducted to minimize impacts.

Research and Monitoring Special Use Permit application (pdf)

Other Special Uses 

Other Special Use Permits may be issued to individuals or organizations that request the use of facilities or resources beyond what is offered to the public. Each request is evaluated on a case by case basis to ascertain the proposals compatibility with the refuge’s mission. For more information contact Visitor Services at 757-986-3705.

Last Updated: Mar 18, 2014
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