Visitor Activities


National Wildlife Refuges encourage wildlife-dependent recreation activities, such as wildlife observation, wildlife photography, interpretation, environmental education, hunting, and fishing.  In many cases, outdoor activities that provide support or means to participate in the "Big Six" activities, such as hiking, bicycling, boating or horseback riding are also allowed.

Special Permits (Complex) are required for hunting, fishing and all commercial activities.

  • Hunting


    Hunting is an important wildlife management tool as well as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage.  Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciation of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs.

    As practiced on refuges, hunting, trapping and fishing do not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances are necessary for sound wildlife management.  For example, because their natural predators are gone, deer populations will often grow too large for the refuge habitat to support.

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  • Fishing


    Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge offers excellent fishing opportunities. For details about fishing on this refuge, download the Hunting/Fishing brochure or follow the "learn more" link below.  

    Find more information about fishing on other refuges with our on-line Guide to Fishing on National Wildlife Refuge.

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  • Wildlife Viewing


    If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider a visit to Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.  For more information about great places to view wildlife, download Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge Pungo Unit Regulations and Visitor Information.

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  • Interpretation


    Stop by the Walter B Jones Center for the Sounds for a seak peek of wildlife and habitats on Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

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  • Environmental Education


    Is your school, youth, environmental or other group interested in learning more about the wildlife, plants, habitats and ecology of a particular national wildlife refuge?  For environmental education opportunities on Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge follow the Learn more" link below to the Alligator River site.  Refuges are wild places, and we want to teach you more about them!  

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  • Photography


    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography.  That’s not surprising – the digital camera population explosion and cell phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities are increasing the number of nature photographers at a rapid rate.  You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started.  A small camera or basic cell phone will do just fine for most visitors.

    Nearly 12 million people visit outdoor areas each year to photograph wildlife, and national wildlife refuges naturally are at the top of the list.  Refuges provide enhanced opportunities to photograph wildlife in natural habitats by providing platforms, brochures, interpreters, viewing areas, and tour routes.  Wildlife photography is a high-priority activity in the Refuge System.  We welcome beginning and expert photographers alike to record their outdoor adventures on film, memory card or internal hard drive! 

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  • Boating


    The Service does not allow boating on Pungo Lake and does not allow boating on New Lake from November through February. The parts of the refuge that have access by boat are the north and southwest forks of the Alligator River. Other local areas that allow boating include New Lake Fork Canal, Alligator and Scuppernong Rivers, and Frying Pan Lake. The Service considers these modes of transportation that facilitate the priority public uses.  Boats cannot be left anywhere on the refuge overnight. 

  • Hiking/Bicycling


    The Service permits walking and hiking anywhere on the refuge unless the area is posted as closed. Bicycling is allowed on all established roads and trails. Off-road bicycling is not permitted.

  • Horseback Riding


    Horseback riding is allowed on Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge only with a Special Use Permit.  Permits may be issued for riding only on roads open to vehicles.  No group rides.  Other restrictions apply.  Please contact for specifics.