Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement

The refuge law enforcement program exists not only to protect refuge resources, but to ensure that visitors have a safe and pleasant experience. Law Enforcement Officers at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge help visitors understand and obey wildlife protections laws. They work closely with state and local government offices to enforce federal and state hunting regulations that protect migratory birds or other game species from illegal take and preserve legitimate hunting opportunities.

Our refuge officers enforce the following laws:
• The Migratory Bird Treaty Act
• The Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act
• The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act
• The Eagle Protection Act
• The Endangered Species Act
• The Airborne Hunting Act
• The Lacey Act
• The Archaeological Resources Protection Act

Tips for Waterfowl Hunters
1. License. Before you go out into the field, make sure that you have your current license.

2. Stamps. Make sure that you have the required stamps and that they are signed in ink across the face. Usually, you will need a state waterfowl stamp and a Federal Duck Stamp, but if you are under 18 or over 65, check the regulations. Also, some states require habitat stamps. There is no requirement that the stamps be attached to your hunting license, but it is a good idea to do so because it makes you much less likely to lose them.

3. Plug. Your shotgun must not be capable of holding more than three shells. This means a total of three shells, including the one in the chamber. In other words, the magazine may not hold more than two shells. 

4. Lead Shot. Don't use it, don't carry it. If you are in the field and have lead shot shells in your possession, even if they are not loaded into the gun, it is a violation. Nontoxic shot is clearly marked, both on the boxes and on the individual shells. 

5. Limits. Know the limits, know your ducks, and only shoot when you are sure of your target. Also, remember that party hunting for waterfowl is illegal - you may not help your hunting partners fill their limits after you have filled yours. When you have filled your limit, unload your gun.

Questions regarding Law Enforcement or violations on the refuge should be directed to the Refuge Law Enforcement Officer at 217-730-7720 or Refuge Manager at 309-535-2290.