Laws and Regulations


The refuge is open from one half hour before legal sunrise until one half hour after legal sunset, except as noted otherwise in the Refuge Hunting and Fishing Regulations for hunting access.


Recreational crabbing and fishing are allowed year round in accordance with state of Louisiana regulations, with the following conditions: Use of trotlines, limb lines, slat traps, gar sets, hoop and gill nets or alligator lines is prohibited. You may take bait with cast nets eight foot diameter or less. Commercial fishing and shell fishing is prohibited. 

Recreational fishing, crawfishing and crabbing are permitted from 30 minutes before legal sunrise to 30 minutes after legal sunset, except we allow night fishing, crabbing, and crawfishing from the shoreline and pier on Lake Road.


Refer to the Southeast Louisiana Refuges Complex hunt table for more details on hunting seasons and species.

To protect the public and natural resources the following activities are prohibited on Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge  

  • Feeding, enticing, or disturbing alligators or any other wildlife
  • Air-thrust boats, motorized pirogues, mud boats, and go-devils 
  • Camping
  • Target shooting
  • Possession or use of toxic lead shot while hunting on the refuge
  • Taking, collecting, or injuring wildlife or plants 
  • Use of trotlines, jug lines, gill nets, hoop nets, slat boxes, and commercial fishing of any kind.
  • Motorized vehicles off public roads, designated trails, and parking areas 
  • Horseback riding and ATVs
  • It is illegal to operate unmanned aircraft on Refuge property without a special permit. (*A drone flight may be permitted occasionally for research or resource management purposes). If a drone operator stands beyond Refuge boundaries and flies the vehicle over the refuge, fines can be levied if the drone is observed disturbing wildlife.