Rules and Regulations

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There are lots of fun, interesting, and educational things you can do on the refuge.  Keep in mind, if an activity is not wildlife related and doesn’t help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, there are probably refuge rules governing this activity.  Please check with the refuge management before participating in an activity that could harm the environment or yourself.  There are plenty of activities on Kootenai NWR for you to enjoy.  Be safe and have fun!

The Refuge is open during daylight hours only, except for hunters to set up blinds and decoys. 

Hunting and Fishing 

National Wildlife Refuges are in place to protect wildlife but also to provide a place for people to hunt, fish, take photos of wildlife and observe them and experience environmental education and interpretation. Learn more about expanded opportunities:

Click here to view interactive maps of hunting and fishing opportunities on the Kootenai Refuge.

**Regulations on the Refuge may differ from State regulations**  Refuge Specific Brochure

Contact the Refuge Manager for more information on sport fishing and hunting opportunities.  


Weapons are permitted in designated hunting areas during hunting seasons. At other times, weapons may be transported through the refuge in vehicles if they are unloaded and cased, or dismantled.  Weapons are not allowed in any federal buildings or facilities.  


On January 1st, 2006, Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge began enforcement of a year round dog leash law. According to 50 CFR 26.21(b) - “No unconfined domestic animals, including but not limited to dogs,..., shall be permitted to enter upon any national wildlife refuge or to roam at large upon such an area”.  Leashed dog walking and jogging are allowed on the Auto Tour Route only. In accordance with the completion of the Refuge's Comprehensive Conservation Plan, implementation the new rule takes effect immediately. This rule will help reduce disturbance to wildlife. 

 Exception: Waterfowl retrieving dogs, while not required, are highly encouraged in order to reduce the number of lost birds during the hunt. Retriever dogs must be under the control of the owner at all times.

Prohibited activities 

Sorry, but all activities not listed above are prohibited. Examples include removal of animals or plants without special permits, camping, overnight parking, fires, swimming, wading, horseback riding, fruit picking, ice skating, boating, flying of unmanned aircraft/drones, and firewood gathering. 

Prohibited Activities Flyer