Refuge Hunting Information

Three hunters standing in front of a truck, one of them is holding up a dead duck

Hunting Rules and Regulation at Benton Lake NWR

Waterfowl and upland game bird hunting is permitted on the Refuge in designated hunting areas starting with the opening of state waterfowl season and closing November 30th.  The Refuge complies with State hunting regulations, and enforces several Refuge specific hunting regulations, including:

  • Non-toxic shot only.  Hunters may not use or possess toxic (lead) shot while in the field on the Refuge.
  • Big game hunting is prohibited.
  • Motorized boats are prohibited.
  • Hunters may not enter closed areas to retrieve birds.
  • Parking is permitted in designated parking areas only.
  • Hunters may harvest ducks, geese, coots, swans (permit required), ring-necked pheasants, sharp-tailed grouse, and gray partridge.  ALL other species are protected on the Refuge.
For the complete list of regluations: Click here to view our hunting brochure.  Check in at the Refuge office for updated maps or regulation changes.  The hunting brochure is also located at the kiosk on the Entrance Road.


Benton Lake NWR Hunting Update 2017 

The refuge hunt area will be open for the special youth only waterfowl and pheasant hunt on September 23rd and 24th; general season waterfowl, sharp-tailed grouse, and gray partridge (Huns) on September 30th ;  and pheasant on October 7th .  This season returns to the traditional hunt areas of 4C, 5, and 6. Unit 4B will be closed to all hunting this year.  Unit 5 on the Refuge will receive supplemental water and will be the primary waterfowl hunting unit.  Small amounts of water may leak through stop logs into Units 4C and 6, but there will be very limited, if any, waterfowl hunting opportunities in those units. The Lower Marsh Road will close on September 22nd and hunters will not be allowed to use the road to access Unit 4C. The Refuge is open for hunters two hours before legal sunrise and closes two hours after legal sunset.  All hunters and gear must be off the Refuge during closed hours.  Hunters are reminded that all vehicles must be parked in designated parking areas and access to Refuge hunting areas from other than authorized Refuge parking areas is prohibited. The Refuge closes to all hunting on November 30.

Hunting regulations and maps are available in the refuge office from 8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, and at the refuge entrance road kiosk.  We encourage waterfowl hunters, in particular, to contact the refuge for any updates as we get closer to the season opener.

For more information, please contact Bob Johnson, Deputy Refuge Manager at 406-727-7400 x226.