Rules and Regulations

Photo of a mono-filament line bin at a kiosk on the Overton Bottoms North Unit of the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge by Anna Weyers/USFWS.

Anglers are encouraged to dispose of old fishing line safely, by placing them in the marked mono-filament line bins posted on kiosks throughout the Refuge.


  • Hunting is subject to all applicable state and federal laws
  • Units near St. Louis have archery only or archery and shotgun only restrictions; see the corresponding maps of those units on our Maps page for specifics
  • You may use and possess only approved non-toxic shot within Refuge boundaries; this includes turkey hunting
  • Distributing or hunting with the aid of bait, including salt or other minerals, is prohibited
  • Target shooting is prohibited
  • Use or possession of alcoholic beverages while hunting is prohibited

 Check out the Department of Interior blog page here for more information about hunting on public lands.  


  • Trapping is prohibited on all areas of the Refuge

Stand / Blind / Decoy Use 

  • Only portable tree stands and blinds may be used between September 1 and January 31
  • Use of nails, screw-in steps or any material that would damage trees or other resources is prohibited
  • Unattended stands and blinds must be plainly labeled on durable material with the owner's full name and address
  • Decoys and portable blinds are permitted during the prescribed hunting seasons, but must be removed from the area daily


  • Fishing is allowed year round and is subject to all applicable state and federal laws
  • All motorized boats must be operated at a no-wake speed
  • Anglers are encouraged to utilize the mono-filament line bins on kiosks throughout the Refuge to dispose of fishing line safely


    • All vehicles are restricted to designated roads and parking areas
    • Vehicle speed limit shall not exceed 25 mph except as otherwise legally posted


      • Camping and unauthorized overnight use on the Refuge is prohibited

        Animal and Plant Collection

        • Harvest of berries, mushrooms, and nuts for non-commercial use is allowed at hunters' own risk
        • Otherwise, disturbing, injuring, and damaging any plant or animal, except fish and game taken in season, is prohibited
        • Collecting of other objects including shed antlers is prohibited

          Domestic Animals

          • Horseback riding is prohibited
          • Pets must be leashed, except when under control of hunter during appropriate hunting season

          Fires and Fireworks

          • Building or setting fires is prohibited on the Refuge
          • Fireworks are prohibited on the Refuge


          • Launching, landing, or disturbing wildlife by aircraft (to include drones) is prohibited on the Refuge

          Historical Artifacts 

          • Artifacts and historical items are protected; collecting these items is prohibited