Butterfly Garden in summer
  • Permits

    A free hunting permit and brochure is available at all hunter parking locations and at the refuge visitor center, and is required to hunt on the refuge. You may download a current copy of the hunting brochure here. This brochure (permit) must be in possession of the hunter at all times. 

    Special Use Permits are issued to the public free of charge for firewood collection when downed wood is available. Special use permits are also granted for research activities and work activities on the refuge on a case by case basis. Contact the refuge office at 515-994-3400 to obtain Special Use Permits.


  • Passes

    There is no entrance fee at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge. However, you can purchase a series of passes covering the entrance and standard amenity fees charged for using other federal recreational lands – including national wildlife refuges – in our visitor center. These include the America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass - Senior, Access, and Annual passes. You can find more information about these passes at

    Note: passes are not available for purchase when the visitor center is closed.

    Passes are available for purchase in our visitor center Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm ONLY. They are NOT available on weekends or Federal holidays. Accepted payment for these passes is cash or check. Debit or credit cards cannot be used. If you have questions, please call 515-994-3400.