Rules and Regulations

Bowfishing on DeSoto Lake

Special regulations help protect resources and visitors at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge.  Please consult the refuge specific regulations brochure available at the kiosks or contact the visitor center for complete rules and regulations.  Visitors are permitted on the refuge 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 hour after sunset.  An entrance fee is required.

  • Wildlife observation from vehicles encouraged. Vehicles are allowed on public roads and designated parking areas only.  
  • Anglers are welcome on DeSoto Lake from April 15 to October 14. State and federal regulations apply. An Iowa or Nebraska license is required.  Archery and spearfishing are permitted for roughfish only.
  • Boating and paddling operation is permitted in accordance with state regulations.  Boating is limited to no-wake speeds not to exceed 5 mph.  DeSoto Lake closed October 15-April 14.
  • Limited hunting is available.  Refer to hunting brochure for more information.
  • Mushroom gathering for personal consumption only is permitted in open areas of the refuge from April 15 through October 14.

Prohibited Activities:

  • Trespassing into closed areas.
  • Launching, landing, or disturbing wildlife by aircraft (drones) on the Refuge.
  • Camping, open fires, overnight parking, or any night fishing activities on the refuge.
  • Swimming on any refuge waters.
  • Horseback riding
  • Collecting or destruction of plant and animal life.
  • Collecting shed deer antlers
  • Searching for or removing artifacts or objects of antiquity.
  • Use of motorized All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs, snowmobiles, etc.)

This is a partial list of rules and regulations.  Consult the refuge regulations brochure for more details.