Law Enforcement

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement officers have a wide variety of duties and responsibilities. Officers help visitors understand and obey wildlife protection laws. They work closely with state and local government offices to enforce federal, state and refuge hunting regulations that protect migratory birds and other game species from illegal take and preserve legitimate hunting opportunities. Some other duties include patrolling closed areas or wilderness areas, maintaining relationships with neighboring landowners, maintaining refuge boundaries and participating in public events related to refuge issues. 

Law enforcement issues should be referred to the refuge manager.  


In case of emergency please call 911. To report a violation that is occurring on Kankakee National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area, please call 815-354-3399, or the National Wildlife Refuge System TIPs hotline at 1-844-697-8477 or

  • The TIPs line consists of a dedicated phone line and email address for reporting refuge violations
  • The hotline and email are monitored Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. ET, but can be used 24/7
  • You will be asked for the type of incident as well as the date, place (refuge name or county/state) and approximate time of the incident
  • People may leave their name and contact information, which will aid law enforcement in the response and investigation. They also may remain anonymous. Any contact information provided will be used for official purposes only.

Refuge Law Enforcement Mission

Protecting resources and people on refuges is the fundamental responsibility of federal wildlife officers. The mission of the refuge law enforcement program is to support the administration of the National Wildlife Refuge System through the management and protection of natural, historic and cultural resources, property and people on lands and waters of national wildlife refuges.

Becoming a Federal Wildlife Officer

Students interested in becoming a federal wildlife officer are encouraged to pursue a two or four year degree in natural resources conservation, criminal justice or a related field; though applicable experience may be substituted for education. Applicants must pass a physical fitness test, a psychological screening, a background check, be between the ages of 18 and 37 and be qualified to carry a firearm to be considered eligible. Wildlife officers must then undergo rigorous training including 17 weeks at a federal law enforcement training center, three weeks of federal wildlife officer basic school and 10 weeks of the field training and evaluation program. All openings for local law enforcement positions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are posted on

What to do if you find sick or injured wildlife

During the spring and summer, wildlife refuges, parks, zoos and veterinary clinics across the country are presented with a problem. People working in their yards, walking on trails or visiting other outdoor sites find a baby bird that cannot yet fly. It seems apparent that there are no adult birds tending to the youngster, so people immediately assume that the fledgling needs help. So they scoop up the bird, put it in a cardboard box, and bring it to the nearest facility they can think of to save the youngster. Sadly, this act of kindness probably does more harm than good.

Learn more about how to report sick or injured wildlife off of the refuge andhow to find a permitted Illinois rehabilitator near you.