Facility Rules and Policies

Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge covers a large area along the Missouri River through the central region of the state of Missouri and has more than 20 separate units that are generally regulated under the state fish and wildlife code for hunting and fishing. While most refuge units follow statewide or regional fish and game seasons, some minor exceptions do exist, especially when a unit is in close proximity to a major metropolitan area. Please confirm specific hunting regulations at an information kiosk at the unit or call the refuge at 660-672-2806 for more information.

Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge enforces regulations, allowing for public use and safety while protecting wildlife by following these basic guidelines. Hunting and fishing allowed on all units following general state seasons and limits, except land around the headquarters office closed to hunting. Thank you for remembering the three T’s when you visit the refuge: No trapping, no target shooting and no trashing. Unit-specific regulations may change at any time. Please call the refuge for the most current information.

  • Hunting is subject to all applicable state and federal laws
  • You may use and possess only approved non-toxic shot within refuge boundaries - this includes turkey hunting
  • Distributing or hunting with the aid of bait, including salt or other minerals, is prohibited
  • Target shooting is prohibited
  • Use or possession of alcoholic beverages while hunting is prohibited
Refuge-specific Hunting Restrictions

Unit-specific hunting regulations may change at any time. Please call the refuge at 660-672-2800 prior to hunting on a refuge unit to ensure compliance with current regulations.

  • Units near St. Louis are archery only or archery and shotgun only - these include both the Cora Island and Boone's Crossing Units
  • Cora Island Unit - Deer hunting is archery only; shotgun use with non-toxic shot no larger than a BB is allowed for hunting of other game species
  • Boone's Crossing Unit - Deer hunting is archery only and shotgun use with non-toxic shot no larger than a BB is allowed for hunting of other game species on the Johnson Island (442) acres; archery hunting only with no firearms allowed on adjacent 131 acre area
  • Overton Bottoms North Unit - No Hunting is allowed in the 100 acres surrounding the refuge visitor contact station and headquarters building off Brady Lane in Boonville
  • Trapping is prohibited on all areas of the refuge
Stand, Blind and Decoy Use
  • Only portable tree stands and blinds may be used between September 1st and January 31st
  • Use of nails, screw-in steps or any material that would damage trees or other resources is prohibited
  • Stands and blinds must be plainly labeled on durable material with the owner's full name and address.
  • Decoys and portable blinds are permitted during the prescribed hunting seasons, but must be removed from the area daily
  • Fishing is allowed year round and is subject to all applicable state and federal laws
  • All motorized boats must be operated at a no-wake speed
  • Anglers are encouraged to utilize the mono-filament line bins on kiosks throughout the refuge to dispose of fishing line safely
  • All vehicles are restricted to designated roads and parking areas
  • Vehicle speed limit shall not exceed 25 mph except as otherwise legally posted
  • Camping and unauthorized overnight use on the refuge is prohibited
Animal and Plant Collection
  • Harvest of berries, mushrooms and nuts for non-commercial use is allowed at harvester’s own risk
  • Otherwise, disturbing, injuring and damaging any plant or animal, except fish and game taken in season, is prohibited
  • Collecting of other objects including shed antlers is prohibited
Domestic Animals
  • Horseback riding is prohibited
  • Pets must be leashed, except when under control of hunter during appropriate hunting season
Fires and Fireworks
  • Building or setting fires is prohibited on the refuge
  • Fireworks are prohibited on the refuge
  • Launching, landing or disturbing wildlife by aircraft, including drones, is prohibited on the refuge
Historic Artifacts
  • Artifacts and historical items are protected; collecting these items is prohibited