Facility Rules and Policies

All public use recreational activities on Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge are regulated to protect wildlife, this differs from regulations on other public lands. While managed to protect wildlife and maintain the rugged, remote, and undeveloped character of the Refuge, a wide variety of opportunities are available for visitors to experience and explore. As a visitor, it is your responsibility to understand and follow the rules and regulations to protect wildlife and to ensure your own safety. Be safe. Be prepared. Be responsible!

Wildlife Observation and Photography

Wildlife Observation & Photography are the most popular recreation activities on the Refuge. To avoid disturbing Greater sage-grouse during their mating season, you must have a Refuge Special Use Permit and follow special rules when viewing or photographing sage-grouse from March 1 until June 1.


Hunting for some big game, waterfowl, and upland bird species is permitted in accordance with state and federal regulations. All hunting is strictly prohibited within 3 miles of the Refuge Headquarters. Hunting within the Refuge may be more restrictive than state regulations. Consult all refuge regulations and state regulations prior to hunting on the Refuge.

All other wildlife is protected.


Fishing is allowed only in Rock Creek, Guano Creek, and Warner Pond. Check current Oregon state regulations for seasons, limits and other requirements


Vehicles (both motorized and nonmotorized) are allowed only on designated Open Routes. Roads are open as indicated by road signs, refuge maps, or other information subject to weather and road conditions and for resource/habitat protection.

Vehicle use off-road is prohibited. You may pull off the road one vehicle length, subject to seasonal fire danger restrictions.


Camping is permitted year-round for up to 14 days only in designated campgrounds, please check website for seasonal closures. Camping is not allowed on roads or pull-off areas.  

If you would rather enjoy more remote areas of the Refuge, camping is also permitted with a backcountry permit. Backcountry camping requires campers to be at least 1/2 mile from any road, 1/2 mile from their vehicle, and 50 feet from a water source. No fires area allowed when backcountry camping.  

Camping is free and is on a first come, first serve basis.  


Campfires are permitted only in designated firerings where provided. The use of campfires may be further restricted during periods of increased fire danger – check for campfire restrictions posted at the Refuge Headquarters or at the campground. Bring your own firewood because collecting firewood within the Refuge is prohibited.


Pets must be leashed or confined, except dogs used for bird hunting. Hunting dogs must be kept under the immediate control of their handlers at all times.


Firearms and their possession within the Refuge is allowed in accordance with Oregon state law. The discharge of any firearm and the possession or use of weapons other than firearms, except as allowed for purposes of legal hunting, is prohibited.


Searching for, collecting removing, disturbing, digging, or cutting resources such as artifacts, arrowheads, petroglyphs, trees and other plants is strictly prohibited. Observe and enjoy refuge resources in place.

Rock Collecting

Surface collection of up to seven (7) pounds of rock per person per day is allowed. Disturbing the ground or using tools or equipment as well as the collecting of arrowheads, stone tools, or any other type of artifact is strictly prohibited.

Special Use Permits

On National Wildlife Refuges wildlife comes first. Refuges are not managed for multiple uses like other public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Some commercial, recreational and research activities are allowed on National Wildlife Refuges only with a special use permit and are subject to specific conditions and fees. This permit requirement is meant to ensure that all activities are compatible with the refuge’s Congressionally mandated wildlife conservation goals.

At Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, a special use permit is required for most commercial activities as well as some non-commercial activities such as research, inventory and monitoring, and photographing sage-grouse from March 1- June 1. Other activities may also require a permit. Contact the Refuge or visit Special Use Permits to learn more.