US Fish & Wildlife Service Federal Wildlife Officers regularly patrol Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, the Wetland Management District and satellite refuges with the focus of visitor safety and resource protection. Officers enforce Federal Statutes and Regulations and all Montana State Laws associated with motor vehicles, hunting and fishing. You can expect to encounter a Federal Wildlife Officer anywhere you travel within the C.M.R. as they often patrol in vehicles and boats as well as by ATV, horseback and foot. Feel free to contact any officer as they are often the best resource for on-the-ground information about road conditions and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Federal Wildlife Officers encounter a wide variety of violations on the Refuge that stem from violations of hunting and fishing laws to general public use regulations. Also, remember that all CMR numbered routes are treated the same as state roadways which means if it is illegal activity on the highway, it is illegal on CMR roads. Also note that motor vehicles are allowed only on numbered routes and off-road travel is illegal and enforced as such. Collection or transportation of any plants, animals or other items found on the Refuge is illegal except for legally taken wildlife. A comprehensive list of Refuge regulations is available at the top of this page under the “Rules and Regulations” tab. For specific regulation questions, contact CMR Headquarters or any officer.
Make a difference and help protect your Refuge and your wildlife resources! Report wildlife violations and suspicious activity to an officer any time you see them. With over 1 million acres to patrol, every set of eyes is helpful to officers. To contact an officer in the event of an on-going violation, call 800-TIPMONT or 911. In non-emergency events or for general law enforcement questions, contact the CMR Headquarters (406)538-8706 and ask to be directed to the officer who works in the area where you have questions. Please be advised that our officers are usually in the field, so leaving messages in their direct voicemail is often the best way to get in touch with one.
The Willow Creek Unit of Lake Mason National Wildlife Refuge is managed for the benefit of mountain plovers. A Montana state species of concern, these birds are attracted to sparse vegetation. The short-grass prairie of this refuge is maintained by prescribed burning and grazing.