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Rules and Regulations

At Refuges, Wildlife Rules 

National Wildlife Refuges are places where wildlife comes first. Although people are welcome, activities are regulated and monitored to ensure that impacts are minimal to the plants and animals that call the refuge “home”. Below is a list of rules and regulations for Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.

Refuge Hours 

Visitors are welcome to recreate in the refuge during daylight hours. Refuge headquarters is open from 7:00 am - 4:00 pm Monday through Friday, and is closed on all Federal holidays. The Visitor Center is open 9:00 am – 5:00 pm daily during October thru February and 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Tuesday thru Saturday during March thru September.


Hiking is permitted on refuge trails and roadways. 


Areas within refuge boundaries may be closed to public entry due to sensitive species or restoration activities. Be aware of signs indicating closed areas. Each year, between November 15 and January 15, the Garth Slough area is closed to all public entry, including foot travel.  The area west and north of Airport Road around the Visitor Center and Observation Building is closed to all entry at all time.  


Dogs must be kept on a leash, except dogs engaged in authorized hunting activities.


Bicycles are allowed on roads within the refuge.  Bicycles are not allowed on refuge trails.


Fires are prohibited.


Hunting of deer, feral hogs, squirrel, rabbit, raccoon, and quail is permitted on designated areas of the refuge. All state regulations apply to hunting on the refuge. Learn more about specific refuge regulations…


Fishing is permitted within the refuge except the observation pond and special use pond.  All state regulations apply.  

Collecting of Natural or Cultural Objects is Prohibited 

Collecting and removing archeological or historic objects is prohibited, as well as removing any natural material such as plants, mushrooms, berries, and antler sheds.


Horses are allowed to be ridden on open roads within the refuge.  Horses are not allowed behind any closed gate on the refuge.

ATVs are prohibited on the refuge. 

 In case of an emergency, call 911. 

There are lots of fun, interesting, and educational things you can do on the refuge.  Keep in mind, if an activity is not wildlife related and doesn’t help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, there are probably refuge rules governing this activity.  Please check with the refuge management before participating in an activity that could harm the environment or yourself.  There are plenty of activities on Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge for you to enjoy.  Be safe and have fun! 

Last Updated: Nov 26, 2013
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