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Rules and Regulations

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Federal, State, and local laws and regulations apply on Pocosin Lakes Refuge. Regulations specific to the refuge are in Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations. These rules include, but are not limited to, the following.
 
The taking or possession of any wildlife (including reptiles and amphibians), or any part thereof, is prohibited. There are exceptions for wildlife taken during a refuge hunt and transporting wildlife on a state road. 
 
The refuge is open for authorized public use activities during daylight hours only (30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset). There are exceptions for certain hunting activities.
 
There are areas that are closed to all public entry during the waterfowl season (November - February). They include:
• Pungo Lake and New Lake
• Duck Pen Road and the Pungo Banding Site
• The section of Molt Road on the south side of the Smartweed Moist Soil Unit (MSU)
• Jones Pond MSU and it's dikes
• The Riders Creek and Dunbar Road Banding Sites.
 
There are about 80 miles of roads on the refuge that are open to noncommercial, licensed vehicles that are less than 8,000 pounds. All state traffic laws apply on these roads. Many of the open roads are now rocked (but not on the Pungo Unit). Some of the open roads on the Pungo Unit are closed to vehicles from November through February to reduce disturbance to waterfowl. Another 170 miles of unimproved roads all across the refuge are closed to vehicles, but open to walking and bicycling for hunting, wildlife observation and photography (we try to mow about a third of these roads each year). The speed limit on refuge roads is 25 mph. 
 
Generally, the Pungo Unit is open for daylight use only.  We define daylight as 30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset. Official sunrise and sunset times change almost daily and are different as you move east and west. Official sunrise/sunset tables are available on the internet and from other sources. In general, however, you cannot be on the Pungo Unit when it’s dark.  
 
There are approximately 44 miles of roads on the Pungo Unit. All of them are dirt surface and can get slippery and rough during wet periods and dusty during dry periods.  About half of roads are open to licensed vehicles at least part of the year. Some of these roads are closed to vehicles during the wintering waterfowl season (November through February) and some may be closed to all public entry during that time. The Pungo Unit is closed to everyone except permit holders during the special permit-only deer gun hunts on certain Fridays and Saturdays in late September and October. Check the Pocosin Lakes Hunt brochure for this year's dates.
 
Closed roads are shown on the map in this brochure and/or posted with signs. Sometimes, roads have to be temporarily closed because they become impassable.  State traffic laws apply on refuge roads when they are open to vehicles. The speed limit on all refuge roads is 25 m.p.h. unless otherwise posted. Unless closed to all public entry, the roads on the Pungo Unit are open for foot travel and bicycling.
 
The following state, county, and refuge roads that can be used to access refuge areas by licensed vehicle:
 
• NC Highway 45, a paved state road.
• Pat’s Road, a paved county road.
• South Pungo Road, a dirt refuge road.
• Hyde Park Road, a dirt refuge road that is gated at the southern refuge boundary and closed to vehicles south of South Pungo Road during the wintering waterfowl season.
• D-Canal Road, a dirt refuge road.
• Molt Road, a dirt refuge road that is closed to all public entry during the wintering waterfowl season.
• West Lake Road, a dirt refuge road that may be closed to vehicles during the wintering waterfowl season.
• South Lake Road, a dirt refuge road part of which may be closed to vehicles or all public entry during the wintering waterfowl season.
• Refuge Road, a paved county road.
• Van Staalduinen Road, a dirt refuge road open to vehicles from Refuge Road to South Pungo Road.
• Allen Road, a dirt refuge road (which can become impassable and is closed when wet); it is gated at the southern refuge boundary. Most of Allen Road is within the boundaries of the Pungo Unit and subject to Pungo Unit regulations. There are three locations (two roads and one foot-bridge) along the Pungo Unit section of Allen Road where visitors can walk or bicycle across the Allen Road Canal to refuge lands east of Allen Road and off of the Pungo Unit. However, visitors should note the private lands interspersed in this area and avoid trespassing on these private properties.
 
Refuge staff need vehicular access to all travel ways for management and emergency response purposes. Therefore, parking so as to block any gate or route of travel is not allowed.
 
There are no towing services available. When in doubt, do not attempt to drive on wet refuge roads. You may need to consider parking and walking in to access the refuge.

 
All domestic pets (dogs, cats, etc.) must be properly confined or leashed and under the owners control at all times.
The following are prohibited on the refuge:
• Taking, possessing, injuring, disturbing, damaging, destroying, or collecting any plant or animal, or attempting these actions;
• Feeding or baiting wildlife;
• Using a spotlight, automotive headlight, or other artificial light to spot, observe, located, or take any animal;
• Littering or dumping of garbage, refuse, sewage, debris, ore other wastes or poisons;
• Traveling in a vehicle outside of designated routes of travel, especially off road travel;
• Camping, open fires, and swimming in refuge waters;
• Entering any area posted with Area Closed signs;
• Destroying, defacing, damaging, disturbing, or removing any private or public property, including any natural object or artifact;
• Using or possessing metal detectors or similar devices;
• Entering or remaining on the refuge when under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance;
• Begging or soliciting in any form or conducting a commercial enterprise;
• Carrying, using, or possessing paintball guns or paintball markers;
• Any act of indecency or disorderly conduct.
 
Other regulations also apply; contact the refuge if you have any questions.
 
Other Access Restrictions
All of the agricultural fields and moist soil units on the Pungo Unit are closed to all public entry during the wintering waterfowl season (November – February).  
 
Pungo Lake is closed to all public entry year round; boats are not allowed on Pungo Lake at any time.
 
The entire Pungo Unit is closed to all public entry during the special six-day, deer and feral hog gun hunts except for those persons with a valid permit to participate in the hunts. There are four of these six-day (Monday through Saturday) hunts during late September and October.

Please see Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge Hunting and Fishing Regulations brochure, which is updated annually, for more information on hunting opportunities on the Pungo Unit.
 

 

Page Photo Credits — Scuppernong by Jacob Mills
Last Updated: Aug 11, 2015
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