Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge provides visitors with outstanding opportunities to immerse themselves amidst the wildlife and wildlands of Virginia's Eastern Shore.
Chincoteague & Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuges Hunt Plan

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a final hunting plan for Chincoteague and Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) in Virginia.

A draft plan was issued earlier this spring. During the 97-day public comment period, 11 comment letters were received from the public. We are grateful to the people who provided meaningful comments on the draft, which helped in developing the final plan. A summary of all substantive comments, and our responses, can be found in Appendix E (Finding of No Significant Impact). No significant changes have been made between the draft and final versions of the Hunting Plan. As part of next year’s proposed rule, Chincoteague and Wallops Island NWRs will propose a non-lead requirement, which will take effect on September 1, 2026. The EA analyzes the impacts of lead ammunition; based on the breadth of comments received on the plan to require non-lead ammunition by 2026, the Service intends to complete additional analysis and provide another opportunity to comment during next year’s annual rulemaking.

We have implemented the Hunting Plan for Chincoteague and Wallops Island NWRs upon publication of the final 2022-2023 Station-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations in the Federal Register. A hard copy of the hunt brochures/permits can be found at the hunt check station or the refuge visitor center. 

Visit Us

With 15 miles of hiking and a pristine beach, there are plenty of opportunities to seek out wildlife and connect with the area's rich cultural history.

 

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Located on the Indigenous homelands of the Pocomoke and Occohannock people, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge protects beach, dune, marsh, and maritime forest habitats. Originally established in 1943 to protect migratory birds, this refuge is now one of the most visited in the United States. This gem of Eastern Virginia is a birder's paradise, as well as the home of cultural treasures such as Assateague Lighthouse and the world famous Chincoteague ponies. 

      What We Do

      With a focus on providing high quality habitat for migratory birds, our refuge features 14 moist soil management units that serve as a rest and refueling location for waterfowl, shorebirds and other coastal birds during their long journeys. In the summer, our biology team works to protect the habitat and nesting sites of the threatened piping plover, as well as other beach nesting birds such as the American oystercatcher and least tern. In our forests, we were a proud contributor to the recovery of the once endangered Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel population. Setting aside certain habitat areas to reduce disturbance by people helps us preserve the natural heritage that many American have come to love and treasure. 

      Our Species

      We have a diversity of habitats, ranging from the beach and dunes to the vast salt marshes to the west of the islands. It's no surprise then that our wildlife is equally varied and bountiful, from the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel, an animal recently removed from the endangered species list, to our vast array of migratory and nesting birds such as the threatened piping plover. This refuge is truly a wildlife enthusiast's paradise.

      Size: 18 cm (7.25 in) in length. Color: Breeding season: Pale brown above, lighter below; black band across forehead; bill orange with black tip; legs orange; white rump. Male: Complete or incomplete black band encircles the body at the breast. Female: Paler head band; incomplete breast band....

      FWS Focus

      Adult monarch butterflies are large and conspicuous, with bright orange wings surrounded by a black border and covered with black veins. The black border has a double row of white spots, present on the upper side of the wings. Adult monarchs are sexually dimorphic, with males having narrower...

      FWS Focus

      This large, slate grey tree squirrel (Sciurus niger cinereus) has an unusually full, fluffy tail and white belly. Larger than common gray squirrels, this fox squirrel subspecies measures up to 28 inches long and weighs up to three pounds. Once found throughout the Delmarva Peninsula, the range...

      FWS Focus