Rules and Regulations

Ring-necked pheasant / USFWS

There are a lot of fun, interesting and educational opportunities on the Optima National Wildlife Refuge. Keep in mind, the refuge is managed for the benefit of wildlife. Please check the rules and regulations or visit with refuge staff before participating in an activity that is not wildlife related or could harm you or the environment. Be safe and have fun!

Please Keep the Following In Mind:

  •  Pets must be on a leash or under control.   
  • The refuge is open to walk-in access only.  
  • Park in designated parking areas. 
  • Observe wildlife from a safe distance. Young animals should be left alone. 
  • Help protect resources. All plants, wildlife, and cultural features on the refuge are protected and it is illegal to remove them. 
  • Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on National Wildlife Refuges must comply with all provisions of state and local law. Persons may only use (discharge) firearms in accordance with refuge regulations. 

Prohibited Activities:

  • Littering, dumping garbage, waste or household items. 
  • Release of wild or domestic animals. 
  • Pits or permanent blinds are prohibited and temporary blinds must be removed at the end of the hunting season. 
  • Spotlighting - artificial light may not be used to locate wildlife. 
  • Marking trails with paint or flagging tape, ribbons, or trail tacks. 
  • Use of UTV/ATV's. 
  • Horseback riding. 
  • Camping. 
  • Open fires/campfires. 
  • Taking of wildlife or plants (including cutting live trees or brush, mushroom picking, and deer shed or feather collection) except game species by licensed hunters during permitted hunting seasons.