Plan Your Visit

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Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) provides numerous recreation opportunities to hundreds of visitors every season of the year. People enjoy the prairie landscape and diverse wildlife, whether driving, bird/wildlife watching, photographing, hiking, hunting, or fishing. Regulation of recreation activities allow for public enjoyment of the Refuge while still protecting the wildlife and habitats.

General Regulations and Visitor Recreational Opportunities

The 2019 Fall and Winter Visitor Information (1339KB) will give you updated visitor information.  

Refuge Hours

Tewaukon NWRs public use areas are open a ½ hour before sunrise to 10:00 P.M..  Office and Visitor Center hours are 8:00 am - 4:30 pm Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays. However, we do encourage you to call ahead to ensure the Office is open, as we have a small staff, who are often out in the field.

General Regulations

  • Dogs must be on a leash, see "Hunting" section for exceptions.
  • Collecting of plants, animals, minerals, antlers, and artifacts is strictly prohibited.
  • No off-road vehicle travel or camping is allowed.
    For questions, please contact the refuge office.

Motorized Vehicle

Visitors can access the Refuge via the Auto Tour Route or through a number of other access roads. Most roads are gravel and can become difficult to travel during extended wet weather.

  • Refuge roads have a speed limit of 25 miles per hour and require all motor vehicles to be licensed and driven in accordance with state law.
  • Parking is allowed in designated parking areas and pullouts.
  • No overnight parking is allowed on the Refuge.
  • To limit erosion and to protect wildlife and habitat, mechanized vehicles are permitted only on Refuge roads that are designated as open. Seasonal road closures may occur.
  • Operation of mechanized vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off of designated open roads is not permitted.
  • Off-road vehicle travel is not permitted for retrieving downed game.
  • Drivers should be prepared for emergencies and changing conditions depending on the season.
  • Bicycles may be used only on designated open roads. Bicycles may not be used on seasonally closed roads or service/administrative roads.
  • Horseback riding is allowed only on designated open roads.  Horses may not be used or ridden on seasonally closed roads, off trail or service/administrative roads. 

Hiking, Wildlife Observation, and Photography

Hiking, wildlife observation, and photography are allowed and encouraged on Tewaukon NWR east of County Road 12 from May 1st through September 30th.  Please minimize disturbance to plants and animals, especially breeding/nesting animals or animals with young.  The Refuge is closed to these activities all other times of the year.  Please use county, township roads, and the overlook on the south side of Lake Tewaukon.


  • Camping is not allowed on the Refuge.
  • The North Dakota Game & Fish Department allows camping on the Tewaukon State Wildlife Management Area located north of Tewaukon NWR.
  • Sargent County operates the Silver Lake campground southwest of Rutland. Camper hook-ups and some facilities exist at the campground.


  • Fishing is allowed on Lake Tewaukon and Sprague Lake in accordance with North Dakota State regulations. Visit the North Dakota Game & Fish Department website for more information on fishing regulations.
  • All other Refuge waters are closed to fishing.
  • Shore fishing is available year round and ice fishing is also allowed.
  • Fishing from boats is allowed starting on May 1st through September 30th each year on both Lake Tewaukon and Sprague Lake.
  • Boats must be equipped and operated in accordance with North Dakota boating laws, including the new Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) laws, which can be found at the North Dakota Game & Fish website.


Boating is not allowed on any Refuge waters except for fishing purposes on Lake Tewaukon and Sprague Lake. Personal water craft, air boats, and jet boats are not allowed.


  • Hunting is permitted in designated areas of the Refuge for only ring-necked pheasants and deer in accordance with all North Dakota Game and Fish Department regulations. All other wildlife species are protected.
  • Hunters should be familiar with North Dakota state hunting regulations and special refuge hunting regulations. Please contact the Refuge for current refuge specific hunting regulations.
  • Federally approved non-toxic shot is required for all shotgun hunting. Possession of lead shotgun shells while hunting is prohibited.
  • Off-road vehicle travel is not permitted for retrieving downed game.
  • Dog must be confined or leashed, except when participating in a legal hunt for ring-necked pheasants.
  • Ammunition casings are litter.   Please pack out shell casings.
  • Commercial guiding for any hunting activities is not permitted.
  • Use or possession of alcohol while hunting is prohibited.


Firearms and other weapons are subject to state law. At all times, persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on the Refuge must comply with all provisions of state law. Firearms may only be discharged in accordance with Refuge hunting regulations, i.e., only during the lawful pursuit of game during legal seasons.  Firearms and dangerous weapons possession in Federal facilities is prohibited by Title 18, U.S.C., Section 930.