Law Enforcement

A Law Enforcement Officer answers questions from a motorist.

Law enforcement is an integral part of managing the National Wildlife Refuge System. Federal wildlife officers are responsible for upholding federal and state laws and regulations that protect natural resources, visitors and employees.

We work closely with state and local government offices to enforce federal and state hunting regulations that protect migratory birds and other game species from illegal take and preserve legitimate hunting opportunities. Questions regarding Law Enforcement or violations on the refuge should be directed to the refuge manager via contact information provided on our 'About the Refuge' page here

Refuge Law Enforcement Mission 

Protecting resources and people on our refuges is the fundamental responsibility of Federal Wildlife Officers. The mission of the Refuge Law Enforcement Program is to support the administration of the National Wildlife Refuge System through the management and protection of natural, historic and cultural resources, property, and people on lands and waters of our national wildlife refuges.    


In case of emergency please call 911. To report a violation on the Kankakee National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area, please call 815-354-3399.

In addition, the National Wildlife Refuge System TIPs hotline is an effective means of reporting violations occurring on your local national wildlife refuge.  

  • The TIPs line consists of a dedicated phone line and email address for reporting refuge violations.  
  • The hotline and email are monitored Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. ET, but can be used 24/7  
  • By phone: 1-844-NWR-TIPS (697-8477)  
  • By email:  
  • You will be asked for the type of incident as well as the date, place (refuge name or county/state) and approximate time of the incident.  
  • People may leave their name and contact information, which will aid law enforcement in the response and investigation. They also may remain anonymous. Any contact information provided will be used for official purposes only.

Becoming a Federal Wildlife Officer 

Students interested in becoming a federal wildlife officer are encouraged to pursue a two or four year degree in natural resources conservation, criminal justice or a related field; though applicable experience may be substituted for education. Applicants must pass a physical fitness test, a psychological screening, a background check, be between the ages of 18 and 37 and be qualified to carry a firearm to be considered eligible. Wildlife officers must then undergo rigorous training including 17 weeks at a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, three weeks of Federal Wildlife Officer Basic School and 10 weeks of the Field Training and Evaluation Program. All openings for local law enforcement positions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are posted on 

What to do if you find sick or injured wildlife 

During the spring and summer, wildlife refuges, parks, zoos and veterinary clinics across the country are presented with a problem. People working in their yards, walking on trails or visiting other outdoor sites find a baby bird that cannot yet fly. It seems apparent that there are no adult birds tending to the youngster, so people immediately assume that the fledgling needs help. So they scoop up the bird, put it in a cardboard box, and bring it to the nearest facility they can think of to save the youngster. Sadly, this act of kindness probably does more harm than good.  

Learn more about how to report sick or injured wildlife off of the refuge and how to find a permitted Illinois rehabilitator near you here