Rules and Regulations


Welcome to your National Wildlife Refuge. Wildlife refuges are places where wildlife comes first. However, some units of the refuge are open to wildlife compatible public recreation uses such as fishing, hunting, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education and interpretive activities. These activities, when and where allowed, are carefully managed to ensure sustainable natural resources.

To ensure your safety and protect wildlife and habitat, please be aware of Refuge regulations.

General Restrictions

Access to open units of the refuge is allowed from 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 hour after sunset unless otherwise posted or stated in hunting regulations.

To Protect Natural Resources and the Public these Activities are Prohibited: 

  • Target shooting
  • Allowing pets off leash
  • All types of motorized vehicles except on designated parking areas, access roads and public roads
  • Bicycles are not allowed on trails
  • Drones (UAVs) taking off, landing, and/or flying on or over Refuge lands
  • Camping, fireworks, open fires, and overnight parking
  • Destructing, defacing, disturbing or removal of any natural object, artifact, cultural resource, or government property
  • Littering
  • Cutting, mowing, sawing, digging, collecting, injuring, or removing vegetation
  • Commercial enterprise without a special use permit
  • Use or possession of any illegal drug or drug paraphernalia


If hunting is an approved use on a Refuge Unit, hunters must follow both state regulations, and the Refuge Unit specific regulations. During the small game and migratory bird seasons, hunting dogs must be under the immediate control of the hunter. Download a copy of Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge 2020 Hunt Brochure (874 KB PDF)


Drone use is not a permitted activity on any refuge unit, including, but not limited to: launching or retrieving drones, or operating drones in airspace above refuge lands. Drone restriction is to protect the public from hazards and preserve the refuge’s natural, aesthetic, and scenic values. The use of unmanned aircraft devices, such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones, has the potential to interfere with public safety by posing an in-flight hazard to other legal aircraft use in the area. The use of these devices also has the potential to disrupt wildlife by interrupting migration, nesting, mating, and hunting as well as native birds and mammals, which could result in harassment of wildlife, 50 CFR 27.51(a).