Rules and Regulations

Rules and Regulations image

To report a wildlife violation call 1-844-FWS-TIPS (844-397-8477)


Welcome to your national wildlife refuge.  Discover new places to hunt, fish, take pictures, watch wildlife, walk, cross-country ski and snowshoe.  Enjoy spending time outdoors alone or with friends and family. Please consult the Refuge Manager at 815-678-4532 ext 8206 note if you have questions.  We may post additional site-specific regulations.  

To ensure your safety and protect wi


ldlife and habitat, please be aware of these 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 of dog and allowing dogs off leash from April 15th to August 15th. Pets must be under the owner’s control when not on a leash.
  • All motorized vehicles on all refuge land (to include on frozen bodies of water) except on designated parking areas and public roads. Public access is via foot travel only unless otherwise authorized.
  • 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 decoys, blinds, trail cameras, geo-caching items, photography equipment, portable stands, ice houses, climbing sticks 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 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. 
  • Collecting or gathering of edible plants, seeds, mushrooms and deer sheds are prohibited. 
  •  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.


    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.

    • Hunters may only possess approved non-toxic shot, including turkey hunters.  

    • 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, 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 tree stands and ground blinds must be set up and removed each day and be used in accordance to state regulations. 
    • We prohibit organized deer drives. We define a “deer drive” as an organized or planned effort to pursue, drive, chase, or otherwise frighten or cause deer to move in the direction of any person(s) who is part of the organized or planned hunt and known to be waiting for the deer.
    • 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. 
    • Portions of the land within or surrounding the boundaries of refuge are private. Persons wishing to hunt on private land must gain permission from the landowner.
    • Blackmon is CLOSED to hunting. Blackmon is located within the Richmond, Illinois city limits at the intersection of Hwy 12 and Hunter Drive.


    Trapping is prohibited.


    Fishing 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.

    • We prohibit all motorized vehicles including the use over frozen water bodies.
    • Collection of frogs and turtles are prohibited.

      Artificial Lights

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

      Additional information

      • Special-use permits may be issued for compatible secondary uses upon approval of the refuge manager.  Contact the refuge office for application information at 815-678-4532 ext 8206.