Refuge Hunting Regulations

White tail Bow Hunter

New Hunting Opportunities

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pleased to announce the expansion of hunting opportunities at Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge, starting in fall of 2020. Click the thumbnail below to view a short video that provides details about this exciting opportunity.


Steve Hunting Announcement

Fort Niobrara NWR Hunt Permit Application Procedures:

Elk and Deer Hunting:

Elk and deer hunting with archery and muzzleloader equipment is allowed on Fort Niobrara NWR.  Hunters must obtain a refuge hunting permit in addition to an appropriate State elk or deer permit.  Elk hunters possessing a State Landowner elk tag are not eligible for a refuge elk permit.  Legal archery and muzzleloader equipment is defined in the Nebraska Big Game Guide.

To apply for a refuge hunting permit, applicants must submit a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Big/Upland Game Hunt Application, along with an empty self-addressed, stamped envelope to the Refuge Manager.  Permits will be mailed to the applicant. We will issue permits at the Refuge office; however, fall office hours are inconsistent.  It is better to plan ahead and mail in your application. Big/Upland Game Hunt Applications may be accessed by downloading the application from a computer at: or applicants may pick up an application from the Refuge office located at Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge, 39983 Refuge Road, Valentine, NE 69201; Phone (402) 376-3789.

When filling out the application, fill in “Primitive Weapons” for Item 4 Method, and fill in “Deer” or "Elk" for item 7 Special Hunt. You don’t need to fill in items 5, 6, or 7A. You must submit separate applications for deer and/or elk.

Incomplete or duplicate applications will be disqualified.  Elk and deer Hunting applications will be accepted August 1 through November 1.  All applications will be reviewed, and permits issued provided all of the aforementioned procedures are met. We reserve the right to restrict the number of Fort Niobrara NWR Hunt Permits.

Please refer to the Fort Niobrara Hunting Regulations for current regulations.

Harvest Reporting: 

In addition to meeting statewide harvest requirements, refuge elk and deer hunters must complete a Big Game Harvest Report (FWS Form 3-2359) and return it to the refuge by February 15 in order to be eligible to hunt the following year. The Big Game Harvest Report is included with the Refuge Access Hunting Permit.