Rules and Regulations

There are a lot of fun, interesting, and educational things you can do on the refuge. Keep in mind, if an activity is not wildlife related and doesn’t help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, there are probably refuge rules governing this activity. Please check with the refuge before participating in an activity that could harm the environment or yourself. There are plenty of activities on the Wichita Mountains Refuge for you to enjoy. Be safe and have fun!

A Few Simple Rules 

  • Effective December 15, 2017: The Mt. Scott Road will be open to foot-traffic only (pedestrians/bicyclists) from 6:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.  Group size is restricted to 8 persons or less and users must remain on pavement until sunrise.  From 9:30 a.m. to sunset, the road will open for motorized traffic.  To maintain safety, pedestrians and bicyclists will not be permitted to walk/bike the road after it is open for motorized traffic.  More information here.
  •  To protect wildlife, please observe posted speed limits.  
  •  Motorized vehicles are allowed only on developed roads and parking areas. Driving on roads closed by sign or barrier is prohibited. ATVs and UTVs are not allowed. Vehicles found parked in closed areas, or in any area after the hours of authorized activity, will be impounded.  
  •  Picnicking and cooking fires are allowed in designated areas only. Fires must be built in grates and grills and dead fallen timber may be gathered (no saws). Fires must not be left unattended and must be completely extinguished before leaving the area.During periods of extreme high fire danger (as noted by signs at refuge entrances), wood fires may be prohibited. Check at the Visitor Center, Headquarters or the Doris Campground for verification.  
  •  Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge should be a quiet place to enjoy nature. Please leave radios and loud sound equipment at home. Fireworks are prohibited.  
  •  Alcoholic beverages, drugs, and drug paraphernalia prohibited. 
  •  Help us protect wildlife habitat – swimming, snorkeling, and wading are prohibited.  
  •  Keep wild things wild – collection of plants, rocks, animals, minerals, bones, and antlers is prohibited.  
  •  Aircraft landings and take-offs are prohibited. This includes but is not limited to: sail planes, hang-gliders, hot air balloons, paragliders, and parasails. Kites, drones, and remote controlled aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles are also prohibited.  
  •  Use of metal detectors or any activities that involve searching for, collecting or disturbing artifacts or treasures is prohibited.  
  •  Pets must be under direct control on least less than 10 feet long at all times.  For their safety in potentially hot and dangerous conditions, consider leaving them at home.  
  •  Show you care…Feeding wildlife is prohibited.  
  •  Bicycles are allowed only on paved roads and on the Mt. Scott Service Road.   
  •  Bicycles are prohibited on other trails.  
  •  The use of skates, skateboards, longboards, lugeboards and other similar devices is prohibited.  
  •  Swimming, wading, and snorkeling are prohibited on the refuge.  
  •  Camping is allowed only in designated areas and all campers must have a permit.  
  •  Hiking is limited to daylight hours only.  
  •  Nighttime use on the Refuge is restricted to fishing or permitted activities.  
  •  Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on National Wildlife Refuges must comply with all provisions of state and local law. Persons may only use (discharge) firearms in accordance with refuge regulations (50 CFR 27.42 and specific refuge regulations in 50 CFR Part 32).  
  • Federal law prohibits the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon in this Federal facility unless specifically authorized. 18 USC 930(a) possession violations are subject to fine and/or imprisonment up to one year, while 18 USC 930(b) possession violations with an intent to commit a crime are punishable by a fine and imprisonment up to five years. 
  •  Individuals that participate in hunting and fishing activities or who have a special use permit for collection on the Refuge are subject to inspection of all harvested resources, licenses, permits, vehicles, containers, packs, bags etc., that are used in support of these permitted activities.  
  •  Special Use Permits are required for all special events and commercial activities. Some of the uses requiring a permit include, but are not limited to: commercial filming and photography, scuba diving instruction, fishing tournaments and rock climbing classes.  
  •  Buffalo and longhorn can be dangerous! Keep your distance.  
  •  For a complete copy of the refuge's regulations, stop by the Visitor Center.