Frequently Asked Questions

Can I hunt feral hogs on the refuge? There are no public hunting opportunities for feral hogs available on the refuge at this time.

Can I camp on the refuge? Camping (land or water) is prohibited on Havasu National Wildlife Refuge. Several campgrounds, RV parks and hotels are located near the refuge in Needles, California, Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and Laughlin, Nevada.

What and where can I hunt? The refuge offers waterfowl, upland game bird, migratory bird, and cottontail Rabbit, hunting. Check our hunting page for detailed information.

Why can’t I hunt with lead shot? Waterfowl and other birds can get lead poisoning from lead shot. Diving ducks such as redheads, canvasbacks, scaup, and ring-necked ducks are the most susceptible to lead poisoning because they dig into the bottom of wetlands to forage for tubers and other food. Because much of Havasu National Wildlife Refuge is managed as seasonal wetlands, it is possible that a portion of the refuge which is dry during a certain hunting season will be managed as a wetland later in that season. Therefore, possession and/or hunting with lead shot on the refuge is prohibited.

Where can I buy a hunting/fishing license? Hunting and fishing licenses can be purchased from the state agency of the respective state you are hunting in or from local merchants. It is legal to fish on the Colorado River where state boundaries are formed by the river with either a California or Arizona fishing license. 

Where are the good fishing spots? This changes seasonally. There are several spots on Havasu National Wildlife Refuge that are popular with local fishermen. Check our fishing page for recommended fishing sites or the Yellow Pages to talk with a local fishing guide.

Where can I launch my boat? There are free boat launches that access Topock Marsh at North Dike, Five Mile Landing, and Catfish Paradise. There is no boat access between Topock Marsh and the Colorado River. Local boat launches that allow access to the Colorado River include Topock Marina, Arizona (exit 1, I-40), Park Moabi (located 11 miles south of Needles, California on I-40), Havasu State Park at Windsor Beach (on London Bridge Road in Lake Havasu City, Arizona). There are many other private and public boat launches along the Colorado River.

Where can I launch my canoe/kayak? Canoe/kayak launches are available at any of the above mentioned boat launches. They can also be launched at Castle Rock and Mesquite Bay. Keep in mind that the Colorado River is very popular in the summer season with motorized boaters.

What is the minimum age for operating a personal watercraft (PWC)? The minimum age for operating a PWC is dependent on your residency. Arizona’s minimum age for operation is 12 and California’s is 16. See state boating regulations for further information.

Where can I use my off-road vehicle? Havasu National Wildlife Refuge is managed for the benefit of wildlife. For this reason, it is closed to off-road vehicle use. All vehicles must stay on existing roads and be registered for use on public roads. Operators must be licensed and have proof of insurance. Vehicles not registered for public road use are prohibited on all areas of the refuge.

Where are the birding hotspots? Birding hotspots on the refuge change throughout the year. Please call the refuge headquarters to inquire about recent sightings.

Where can I hike? There are no established hiking trails but most areas of the refuge are open to hiking. Short walks are available in the Castle Rock and Mesquite Bay areas. Certain portions of the refuge are closed from October 1st through the end of the state waterfowl season (including the youth hunt). Areas may also be temporarily closed due to safety concerns. Closed areas are marked by regulatory signs and/or buoys.

Are pets allowed? Pets are welcome on the refuge; however, they must be on a leash and under immediate control. Maximum leash length is six feet. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their animals.

Can I bring and release wildlife on the refuge? Releasing any animal (wildlife or unwanted pets) without a permit is illegal and subject to a fine. (Refer to Arizona § 17-306)