Coyote Hunting and Ice Fishing Regulations Highlights


Coyote hunting and ice fishing draws hundreds of refuge visitors every year.

Coyote Hunting and Ice Fishing Regulations Highlights

Ice fishing and coyote hunting are popular winter recreation activities here at the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. As with any activity on the refuge, please know the rules and regulations that govern the activity you are participating in. 

The following are highlights from our Hunting Regulations which pertain to coyote hunting and ice fishing on the refuge. Consult the full hunting regulations for more rules and regulations. They can be found on our website under Visit > Rules and Regulations or by contacting any of our field stations.


Coyote Hunting 
  • Coyote hunting is allowed from the first day of the antelope rifle season through March 1. Coyotes may be hunted only from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset (no permit required). Coyotes cannot be hunted with the aid of dogs, aircraft, or mechanized vehicles. 
  • The use of artificial lights to attract, search for, or spot wildlife is prohibited. 
  • Trapping is not allowed on the Refuge. 
  • Collection of antlers and animal skulls is illegal. These items are an important source of renewable calcium for elk, deer, and other wildlife on the Refuge. 
  • All other wildlife is protected; this includes, but is not limited to, badger, bobcat, cottontail rabbits, jack rabbits, moose, mountain lions, prairie dogs, snakes, wolves and other wildlife. 
    Ice Fishing 
    • Fishing is permitted on the Refuge. Anglers often catch catfish, walleye, northern pike, sauger, perch, smallmouth bass, bullhead, paddlefish, and lake trout from the Missouri River and Fort Peck Reservoir. 
    • A Montana fishing license is required to fish on the Refuge. State fishing regulations and limits apply to the Refuge. 
    • Ice fishing houses are permitted on Fort Peck Reservoir from December 1 to March 31. The owner’s name and address must be attached to the outside wall of the structure. 
      • Off-road travel is prohibited. (This includes shoreline travel and travel to retrieve game.)  
      • In winter conditions, snowmobiles and mechanized vehicles are allowed on the frozen ice of Fort Peck Reservoir below Soda Creek Bay. 

        • Any camping unit and/or party is limited to 14 days within any 30 day period. Any property including camping equipment, boats, trailers, and other personal property left unattended for a period in excess of 72 hours is subject to removal. 
        • Select a safe place for campfires. Build only small fires, and make certain that your fire is completely out when you leave. Campfires must be attended at all times. 
        • Collection and use of dead and downed wood for campfires is allowed on the Refuge. Cutting of standing timber, live or dead, is prohibited. 
        • All human waste, including tissue paper, must be buried immediately. 
        • Dumping of RV tanks (gray or black water) on the Refuge is prohibited. 
        • Help keep the land and wildlife healthy. Pack out all trash, and restore your campsite to a natural condition when you leave. 
          Developed Campgrounds

          Developed camping areas near the Refuge are available at James Kipp Recreation Area (managed by the Bureau of Land Management Lewistown, MT), Crooked Creek, Devils Creek, Forchette Bay, The Pines, Nelson Creek, McGuire Creek, Rock Creek, Fort Peck Recreation Areas (all managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Peck, MT) and Hell Creek State Park/Recreation Area (managed by the State of Montana).