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Frequently Asked Questions

Five bald eagles, four adults with white heads and tails and one motley brown immature, sit and feed on ice covered reservoir.  Photo by Ronald L. Bell, USFWSIf you have any specific questions about Pablo National Wildlife Refuge, feel free to contact us. We’d love to chat with you!

National Bison Range, 58355 Bison Range Rd, Moiese, MT 59824
Phone: 406-644-2211, FAX: 406-644-2661
Email: bisonrange@fws.gov 

Why can’t I ice fish on Pablo Reservoir as soon as there is ice?

Pablo NWR was established to function “as a refuge and breeding grounds for native birds” (Executive Order 3503, June 25, 1921). As such, there are certain times of the year when all or parts the Refuge are closed to public use to accommodate the birds. This includes being completely closed during the waterfowl hunting season (typically from early October to early January). Areas around the Refuge are open to hunting and the closure of the refuge provides waterfowl with a resting place. Disturbance to birds is eliminated by closing the Refuge to all public use during this time. The southern and western edges of Pablo NWR are closed year round to create a Migratory Bird Sanctuary. This also includes parts of the ice during the winter so be aware of where you are when ice fishing. To see designated open and closed areas, refer to the Public Use Opportunities pamphlet.
 

When is the best time to see migrating birds?

The Mission Valley is in the middle of the Pacific Flyway located to the west and the Central Flyway, which is over the Continental Divide to the east and as such, does not see large migrating flocks during migration. Waterfowl numbers vary through the year, with major concentrations occurring in spring and fall. Spring migration is at a peak from late March to early May. Fall populations often peak in early October to late November. The birds seem to come in waves – such as a flock of 100 tundra swans for a few days before they move on, then the next week it might be the western grebes, then redheads, then coots, and so on. So we never see very large numbers of birds during migration but we do get a wide variety. Check of Seasons of Wildlife for more details.
 

Is hunting allowed at Pablo National Wildlife Refuge?

Pablo NWR is completely closed to any hunting and is closed to all public use during the waterfowl hunting season (usually early October to early January). Areas around the Refuge are open to hunting and the closure of the refuge provides waterfowl with a resting place. Do remember, hunting in the valley is in accordance with applicable Tribal, State and Federal regulations so consult with Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal regulations

Last Updated: Mar 24, 2014
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