Rules and Regulations


The following regulations are specific to the Refuge and necessary for the protection of wildlife and wildlife habitat, and for the safety of visitors. Observance of these rules will help make the Refuge a better place for visitors and the wildlife they come to enjoy. The Refuge Manager reserves the right to close all or part of the Refuge to hunting and/or public access at any time. Specific regulations will be posted. The Refuge is also subject to Federal, State, and local laws and regulations.

New Requirement For Hunters:  The Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge Hunting Regulations brochure is now available.  Anyone hunting on the Refuge must read the regulations and information in the brochure, sign in the appropriate spaces on the front cover and have the signed portion with them at all times while hunting.  This requirement will begin with the fall 2015 hunt season.  There is no charge or fee for the brochure.  The brochure is available in the Refuge office, in the kiosk in front of the office, from the Refuge Law Enforcement Officer, or may be downloaded from the Refuge website. 


  General Regulations and Guidelines

  • Closed areas are closed to the public.  The Refuge Manager reserves the right to close all or part of the open areas to hunting or public access at any time.  
  • Motorized vehicles are restricted to public roads and parking lots.
  • Blocking gates or access roads is prohibited.
  • The use of ATV's, bikes, or other forms of transportation other that foot travel is prohibited on interior refuge roads.
  • Camping is prohibited.
  • Pets must be leashed except when being actively used for hunting during the appropriate hunting seasons.
  • Molesting or injuring any animal or plant, except fish and game taking in season, is prohibited.
  • Disorderly conduct and leaving of any refuse on the land or water is prohibited.
  • Collecting shed deer antlers is prohibited.
  • The Use of game or trail cameras is prohibited.
  • Deer hunting is open during the Archery and January Antlerless season to those possessing the appropriate Refuge Access Permits.
  • Firearms are prohibited except when used for appropriate small game, waterfowl, and turkey hunting seasons.
  • Use of centerfire and rimfire rifles and pistols is prohibited at all times.  
  • The use of permanent blinds, tree stands, nails screw-in steps, or other items that penetrate the bark of a tree is prohibited. 
  • Tree stands and blinds must be removed at the end of each day's hunt.
  • Removal of boats, decoys, portable blinds, and other personal property is required to be removed from the Refuge at the end of each day. 
  • Discharge of firearms within 150 yards of any residence or occupied building is prohibited.
  • Non-toxic shot is required for all shotgun hunting, including turkey.
  • Hunting with the aid of or distribution of any feed, salt, or other mineral is prohibited.


  • Fishing regulations generally follow statewide regulations.
  • Outboard motor use is restricted to the westernmost 5 1/2 mile section of the Marais des Cygnes River. 
  • Non-motorized boats and electric trolling motors may be used on all open portions of the Refuge.