Rules and Regulations

Boat Launch Site at Emiquon Refuge

All refuge land is open to public access in accordance with refuge regulations and temporary seasonal closures for waterfowl sanctuary as posted. Refuge lands are open for public use activities from sunrise to sunset. Access for hunting is permitted from one hour before legal shooting time until one hour after sunset.

The possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages is not allowed.

Motorized vehicles are allowed in existing parking areas only. Off-road vehicle use, including ATVs, is prohibited. During high water, the use of motorized boats is allowed at no wake speed on all refuge waters.

Nuts, berries and mushrooms are for personal use only. Nut, berry, and mushroom picking is allowed on all refuge lands.

Camping, overnight use of the refuge, fires and fireworks are not allowed.

Pets must be on a leash unless engaged in hunting.

Hunting of migratory game birds, upland birds, upland game, deer and turkey is allowed in designated areas in accordance with Illinois and refuge regulations. Furbearer hunting and trapping is prohibited. Access for hunting is allowed from one hour before legal shooting time until one hour after sunset. The construction and use of permanent blinds, ladders and stands are prohibited. All hunting aids such as stands, blinds, or decoys must be removed at the end of each day's hunt. Approved, non-toxic shot must be used while hunting all species except deer. No hunting is allowed in Double Ditch Area, adjacent to Route 97/78. We recommend 200-yard spacing between hunting parties. All migratory bird hunting on the refuge closes in accordance with published State waterfowl seasons.  Refuge hunting is not open for the conservation order light goose season.

The staging of vehicles in parking lots or entrance roads prior to one hour before legal shooting time will NOT be allowed. Hunters may only arrive at and enter the refuge one hour before legal shooting time. Please coordinate with other hunters as you arrive to ensure a safe and quality hunt.

Other hunting notes:
The Wilder Tract and the Oxbow Area are seasonally flooded during periods of high water on the Illinois River. High water from the Illinois River flows into the Oxbow Area. As the Oxbow Area fills, water is allowed to flow through water control structures into the Wilder Tract. These tracts are only flooded as opportunity presents itself, mimicking the historic flood cycle from centuries ago. A map of the water levels in the Wilder Unit as they correlate with Illinois River levels may be found here. The Forgotten Road Access consists of wooded area which lends to upland game and upland bird hunting, as well as deer and turkey hunting opportunities.

Sport fishing is allowed on all refuge waters except during temporary seasonal closures for waterfowl sanctuary as posted. The use of bow and crossbow for fishing is prohibited. Public hunting areas are closed to fishing during the waterfowl hunting season.

Emiquon NWR Public Use Regulations