Rules and Regulations

Trail Sign

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


General Refuge Regulations

  • The refuge is open during daylight hours only 
  • Dogs are welcome but must be leashed 
  • Access for wildlife observation/photography/hiking is limited to public use areas during most of the year - majority of the refuge is closed to public access to protect migratory birds. From Dec 1 through Mar 15 the entire Refuge is open to hiking/snowshoeing/cross country skiing)
  • Visitors should stay on established trails and roadways of approved public use areas except during the winter open access period
  • NOT PERMITTED on the refuge: boats, canoes, kayaks, or other floatable devices; ATVs and snowmobiles; horses; collecting plants, berries, seeds, mushrooms, antlers or other artifacts; fireworks; camping; campfires; overnight parking; geocaches; drones; trail cams; damaging vegetation

Public Use Areas and Special Regulations

Horicon "TernPike" Auto Tour and Hiking Trails - located on State Highway 49, just east of the city of Waupun. Open daily year-round, conditions permitting. Paved driving route (3 miles) and three hiking trails along with a floating boardwalk and bicycling and hiking access to the Wild Goose State Trail. Closed to hunting except during the deer gun seasons - auto tour route is closed to vehicles during this time and hikers are required to wear blaze orange. 

Highway 49 Wildlife Viewing Area - located on State Highway 49 just west of County Road Z. Open daily year-round. Hiking trail (1/4 mile) with observation area. Closed to all hunting

Old Marsh Road - Accessed from Point Rd or auto tour. Only open seasonally (June through August and special Earth Day opening in April) for hiking and bicycling to minimize disturbance to migratory birds. Adjacent dikes are closed. Photo blind located on east end of the road and may be reserved year-round - contact the refuge office for reservation information.  

Bud Cook Hiking Area - located off Point Rd. Two hiking trails and observation area. Open daily year-round. Closed to all hunting. 

Rockvale Road Viewing Point - Rockvale Rd. Observation platform with spotting scope. 

Main Dike Road - Open daily year-round conditions permitting. Entire road is open for hiking and bicycling year-round. Access is limited to the road only - adjacent dikes are closed. Vehicles can drive eastern portion (two-level gravel). Please use pull-offs for wildlife viewing/photography on the eastern portion of Main Dike Road. Parking located near fishing platform on the eastern portion of the road as well as near the Wild Goose State Trail on the western portion of the road (Access from Hwy 26 and use designated parking area). 

Peachy Road, Ledge Road, and Main Dike Road - Designated locations for bank fishing/piers.   


Fishing Regulations  

Fishing on the refuge is open year-round in accordance with state fishing regulations. For more information on state fishing regulations visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.    

  • Non-lead tackle is required (lures, sinkers etc.)
  • Fishing is limited to designated bank fishing areas (Dec 1 through Mar 15 the entire refuge is open to ice fishing - no motorized vehicles allowed for access
  • Peachy Rd, Ledge Rd, and Main Dike Rd are designated locations for bank fishing (piers)

Hunting Regulations

The 33,000 acre Horicon Marsh is divided into the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area, managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The two areas have different regulations and different season dates for hunting. For more information on state hunting regulations visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

The refuge is open for hunting of the following species: deer, black bear, pheasant, hungarian partridge, ruffed grouse, turkey, squirrel, woodcock, cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, coyote, red fox, gray fox, bobcat, raccoon, opossum, skunk. The Refuge is closed to migratory bird hunting, except for an annual Learn to Hunt Waterfowl mentored program (open for goose, duck, coot, and common moorhen). Opportunities for hunters with disabilities are available for deer hunting. For more information see refuge hunting map below. 

Horicon National Wildlife Refuge Hunting Map and Regulations 2021-22


Hunts for Hunters with Disabilities  

The refuge offers several deer hunts in a designated part of the refuge for hunters with disabilities. Hunters must already have obtained a Class A, B, C or D permit to be able to apply for the hunts. All of these permits can be obtained from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The designated disabled hunt area is located in Dodge County within the "Southern Farmland Zone" (previously Unit 68B) Ten hunting blinds are available for use during the gun hunts. For more information on obtaining an application, call 920-387-2658 ext. 200 or ext. 124. 


Learn to Hunt Waterfowl  

No waterfowl hunting is allowed on the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge except for selected participants of the Learn to Hunt Waterfowl program. The Learn to Hunt programs introduce novice hunters - both youth and adults - to a variety of hunting experiences with the aid of an experienced hunting mentor. For more information contact Erin Railsback at 920-387-2658 ext. 124.