Rules and Regulations

Waterfowl Production Area Regulations

Wetland Management Districts are areas, delineated by county, that contain lands in which the Fish and Wildlife Service holds an interest. This interest can be either outright ownership, as in the case of Waterfowl Production Areas, or as an easement, in which certain rights were purchased on areas of the landscape. Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) are small wetland or pothole areas, generally 40 to 3,000 acres, acquired with funds derived from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps. These areas are managed to preserve wetland habitat; to increase the production of waterfowl; to sustain native wildlife, and to benefit the public using these areas. The United States Government owns the waterfowl production areas within the Districts. These lands, identified with special WPA signs, are generally open to public uses such as hunting, fishing, recreational trapping, hiking and bird watching.


  • Hunting, fishing and trapping (except where posted “Closed”). Both are subject to all applicable state and federal laws. Approved non-toxic shot is required for all hunters using shotguns.

  • Wildlife and nature observation, study and photography.

  • Hiking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

  • Collection of edible wild foods for personal use only.


  • Use of trail or game cameras.

  • Mechanized and motor vehicles, including snowmobiles and all terrain vehicles unless posted open to this use.

  • Boats are allowed for wildlife dependent activities.

  • Picking, digging, or destroying flowers, shrubs or any other living vegetation except the collection of edible wild foods for personal use.

  • Collection of arrowheads, artifacts or animal parts.

  • Camping and overnight use.

  • Fires

  • Hunting while intoxicated.

  • Nails, wire, screws or bolts to attach a stand to a tree or hunting from a tree into which a metal object has been driven to support a hunter.

  • Horses and mules.

Easement Refuges

The Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge Complex is also responsible for limited management on six Easement Refuges. These are not typical National Wildlife Refuges although they are posted with the familiar “Blue Goose” boundary signs. When these easement Refuges were established the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service purchased minimal rights on the parcels of land. These rights are: To impound water and maintain our Federal Water Rights; To control all hunting within the boundary. These lands remain in private ownership and the landowners control all access. While WPA’s are open to public recreation the five easement Refuges are closed to all hunting. Sibley Lake NWR is the only easement Refuge open for hunting and is open to deer hunting ONLY. Deer hunting is permitted in accordance with state regulations and hunters must possess a state issued license. Please contact the Valley City Wetland District Manager for current information on Sibley Lake NWR.


Refuge Signs and Their Meaning


Image of WPA sign

Waterfowl Production Areas

Marks the boundary of Waterfowl Production Areas open to hunting and fishing in accordance with State regulations.

Image of Refuge sign

National Wildlife Refuge

Marks the boundary of National Wildlife Refuges or Easement Refuges. Consult Refuge Manager for specific regulations.

Image of Hunting Area sign

Public Hunting Area

Marks the boundary of a National Wildlife Refuge open to hunting.

Image of No Hunting sign

No Hunting Permitted

Marks no hunting in designated areas. Consult Refuge Manager for specific regulations.

Image of Steel Shot Zone sign

Steel Shot Zone

Approved, non-toxic shot is required for all shotgun hunting on National Wildlife Refuges and Waterfowl Production Areas.