There are plenty of great reasons to plan a visit to Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge. Most activities do not require a permit or entrance fee. See the information below for a general understanding of the activities that do require a permit and find resources for obtaining a permit.

There are no permits required to use Umatilla NWR for non-consumptive public activities like hiking, bird watching, etc. However, several hunts require a lottery draw. All waterfowl hunting on the McCormack Unit is done through a preseason lottery. Unused spots, or those opening through someone leaving the hunt on a given day, are filled through an onsite daily lottery. Likewise, the first two weekends of upland game hunting are allocated through a preseason lottery, and a permit is mailed to lottery winners. Deer hunting is also allocated through lotteries run by the states of Oregon (McCormack Unit) and Washington (Paterson and Whitcomb Units).

Hunting also requires the appropriate Oregon and Washington State licenses and stamps.

Other specific activities, like wildlife photography in closed areas, would require a Special Use Permit from the the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Please contact the main office at for details.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issues permits under various wildlife law and treaties at a number of offices throughout the country. Permits enable the public to engage in legitimate wildlife-related activities that would otherwise be prohibited by law. FWS permit programs ensure that such activities are carried out in a manner that safeguards wildlife. Additionally, some permits promote conservation efforts by authorizing scientific research, generating data, or allowing wildlife management and rehabilitation activates to go forward.

Permit Resources

Permits are handled by permitting programs in International Affairs (Management Authority), Endangered Species, Law Enforcement, and Migratory Birds.

Visit the National Wildlife Refuge System web site for Special Use Permits.

For more detailed information, go to How to Obtain a Permit, FAQs/Facts, or Application Forms.