Rules and Regulations

Rules and Regs

To report a wildlife violation call 1-844-NWR-TIPS (844-697-8477)

Welcome to your national wildlife refuge.  Discover new places to hunt, fish, take pictures, watch wildlife, walk, cross-country ski, snowshoe and canoe.   Enjoy spending time outdoors alone or with friends and family. Please consult the Refuge Manager at 920-387-2658 if you have questions.  The refuge is managed by staff at the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Mayville, WI. We may post additional site-specific regulations.

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

Green Bay Public Use Information and Regulations 

General Restrictions

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

We prohibit:

  • Target shooting. 
  • Training pets and allowing pets off leash.
  • All types of motorized vehicles on all refuge land (to include on frozen bodies of water) except on    designated parking areas, access roads and public roads
  •   Camping, open fires and overnight parking  
  • Abandoning, discarding or otherwise leaving any personal property.  All property brought onto a refuge must be removed at the end of each day.  This includes all common items like vehicles, boats, decoys, trail cameras, blinds, geo-caching items, photography equipment, portable stands, climbing sticks, ice fishing shelters and trash. 
  • Destructing, defacing, disturbing or unauthorized removal of any natural object, artifact, cultural resource or government property. 
  • Introducing, liberating, or placing plants or animals or their parts taken elsewhere on refuge lands or waters.
  • Disposing of animal carcasses, trash, refuse, rocks, wood or other debris.
  • Cutting, mowing, sawing, digging, collecting, injuring or removing vegetation. 
  • Launching, landing or disturbing of wildlife by aircraft (drones) on the refuge.  This includes for recreational or commercial purposes. 
  • Commercial enterprise without a special use permit.
  • Use or possession of any illegal drug or drug paraphernalia is prohibited.


  • If hunting is an approved use on the refuge that activity may have additional requirements than state regulations based on location, timing, species, methods of take, etc…  See refuge specific regulations below.
  • If small game hunting is an approved use on the refuge then hunters using shotguns, including turkey hunters, are required to use and possess only non-toxic shot.
  • During the small game and migratory bird seasons, hunting dogs must be under the immediate control of the hunter.
  • Hunters must wear an article of blaze orange/pink consistent with state regulations.
  • We prohibit constructing or occupying permanent stands or blinds.  We also prohibit the use of nails, wire, screws or bolts to attach a stand to a tree or hunting from a tree, into which a metal object has been driven to support a hunter.  Portable hunting stands must be set up and removed each day.
  • We prohibit the use or possession of alcoholic beverages while hunting.
  • We prohibit distribution of feed or bait, or hunting over bait.  This includes salts and minerals.



  • Trapping is not open on the refuge. 


    • Plum Island is open to shoreline fishing. 

      Artificial Lights

      • You may not use a spotlight, headlight or other artificial light to spot, locate or take any wild animal in a refuge.

      Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge Specific Regulations

      • Pilot, Hog, St. Martin, and Rocky Islands (Green Bay NWR) and Spider and Gravel Islands (Gravel Island NWR) are closed to public access for use by nesting birds. Please maintain ¼ mile distance from these islands to minimize disturbance to the birds and their nests/young.
      • Plum Island is open to public use during daylight hours Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend for hiking, wildlife observation, and nature photography on designated trails and beach areas only. 
      • Kayaks, canoes, and dinghies may access Plum Island at the designated landing area (near boathouse on northeast side of Plum Island).  Commerical charters may also be reserved for your visit to the island. Email for more information.    Docking Map - Plum Island
      • Foot travel only on the island (no motorized vehicles or bicycles) and use of boot brush station  is mandatory to prevent the spread of invasive species. Dogs are welcome but must be leashed and pet waste picked up and removed.
      • Prohibited on Plum Island: fishing from the dock or other structures; swimming from the dock or other structures; docking at the breakwater.

      Migratory Game Bird Hunting Not Open

      Upland Game Hunting Not Open


      Big Game Hunting 

      Deer Hunting on Plum Island is by special use permit only. Deer hunting on the Detroit Island parcel of the refuge is open for state seasons, no special use permit needed from the refuge.

      We allow hunting of white-tailed deer on designated areas of the refuge and subject to the following conditions:

      • Hunters must remove all stands from the refuge following each day’s hunt. We prohibit hunting from any stand left up overnight. 
      •  Hunters may enter the refuge no earlier than 1 hour before legal shooting hours and must exit the refuge no later than 1 hour after legal shooting hours end. 
      • Any ground blind used during any gun deer season must display at least 144 square inches (929 square centimeters) of solid, blaze-orange material visible from all directions. 
      • We require hunters to possess a permit (FWS Form 3-1383-G) for deer hunting on Plum Island. 

      Relevant State Regulations

      • Fires on the refuge – open fires are not permitted on the refuge. 
      • Boats must use designated landing area at the boathouse dock and boat access on south side of island. 
      • No motorized vehicles or bikes. 
      • Artifact hunting is not allowed. 
      • No camping

      Species to be Taken, Hunting periods, Hunting Access 


      White-tailed deer hunting: 

      Plum Island

      • Hunters will be selected by a drawing and issued a refuge special use permit for a limited number of tags. The season will begin after Labor Day and go through December. Access is by boat to the designated boat dock. Allowable methods are rifle, shotgun, and muzzleloader in accordance with state firearm restrictions as published in Wisconsin.

      Deer Hunting Regulations. Either sex deer may be harvested

      • Each party will be given a 6 day hunting period. 
      • Two to eight persons per party.
      • Hunters will be selected by lottery administered by refuge staff. Take limit will be up to the number of state issued tags available for that season. The state issued 20 harvest tags in 2016 and 30 tags in 2017 
      • All other state hunting regulations would be in effect. 
      • Access is by boat only with landing at the designated dock. 

      Detroit Island: 

      •  Deer hunting according to state regulations and state seasons. No special refuge permits required. 
      •  Access is by boat only at designated access points.

      Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge Specific Fishing Regulations

       No special permits or other authorizations will be required for Plum Island visitors to fish from the shoreline 

        Relevant State Regulations


        State regulations prevent the fishing of smallmouth bass in the outlying waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan within 1/4 mile of Washington, Detroit, Plum, Pilot, Hog or Rock Islands before July 1 (WI DNR 2018). 

          Additional Information

          • The above information is a partial list of rules and regulations.  Contact the manager for more details. 
          • Special-use permits may be issued for compatible secondary uses upon approval of the refuge manager.  Contact the refuge office for application information at 920-387-2658 or