Rules and Regulations

Detailed map of Pablo NWR showing boundaries, roads, parking, restricted areas.  Map created by USFWS

Our number one priority at Pablo National Wildlife Refuge is the wildlife and their habitat. But we welcome the opportunity to share these resources with you. Therefore, we have a number of rules and regulations that help protect the resources as well as visitors. Please help by following all rules and regulations.

Check out the Public Use Opportunities pamphlet for full details of visitor access, rules, regulations and a map.  

The southern and western parts of Pablo NWR are closed to all public use year round to provide for a Migratory Bird Sanctuary. The Refuge is also closed to all public use during the Waterfowl Hunting Season (typically late September to early January). Pablo NWR itself is closed to all hunting, to include members and non-members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Game may not be retrieved from the refuge. Plan your hunting to ensure that game does not fall into the refuge. If your game falls within the refuge boundary you must contact refuge law enforcement at 406/883-7301 before attempting to retrieve it.  

Pablo NWR is closed to all public use from sunset to sunrise. Leaving personal property, including ice fishing shelters and vehicles, is not permitted between sunset and sunrise.

Wading and walking are the only means to access the Refuge when off road. Off road vehicle travel, to include vehicle travel on ice, is prohibited. Be considerate and do not block roads or gates. Mountain bikes (non-motorized) must remain on Refuge roads and respect all closed areas.

Please be aware of special closures due to low water, fire danger, safety concerns, and other unforeseen events. Comply with all posted signs.

All pets must be on a leash and under control at all times when outside of vehicles. Be considerate and clean up after your pet. Horses are not permitted on the Refuge.

Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on National Wildlife Refuge System lands must comply with all provisions of State and local law. Persons may only use (discharge) firearms in accordance with Refuge regulations (50 CFR 27.42 and specific Refuge regulations in 50 CFR Part 32). Neither fires nor fireworks are permitted on the Refuge.

To provide for an enjoyable and safe visit to all visitors, the Refuge enforces laws in regards to the use of alcohol and controlled substances. Persons under the age of 21 years may not possess, consume or be given alcoholic beverages on the Refuge. Possession of a controlled substance is prohibited (50 CFR 27.82). Entering or remaining on the refuge when under of the influence, to a degree that may endanger oneself or other persons or property or cause a disturbance to visitors or the resource is prohibited.

Everything on Pablo NWR is either a home or food for wildlife. Therefore, the collection and disturbance of natural objects such as plants, animals, feathers, antlers, bones, and rocks is not permitted without a Special Use Permit. Archaeological and historic objects are our national heritage so collecting and removing any of these objects is also prohibited.