Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge

Law Enforcement

Refuge Law Enforcement / Federal Wildlife Officers possess diverse roles and specialized skills which are vital components needed to continuously pursue and fulfill the missions of both the National Wildlife Refuge System and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Wildlife Officers possess law enforcement authority to enforce federal and state laws and regulations to safeguard fish, wildlife, plants, and habitat; archaeological, historical, and cultural significance; government property and interest; and the protection of employees, visitors and their property throughout the lands and waters of Refuge system. These tasks are accomplished through partnerships with the public; helping others understand and obey wildlife protection laws through interpretation and education; and coordinate and cooperate with federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement and conservation agencies to conserve wildlife and visitor crime.

Wildlife Officers work closely with the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Office of Law Enforcement and the Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks to enforce Federal laws such as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Refuge Administration Act, Refuge Recreation Act, and the Endangered Species Act, as well as all pertinent state wildlife, criminal, and traffic laws and regulations. 

Activities Prohibited to Protect Wildlife and Visitors:

  • Camping and overnight parking
  • Open fires
  • Cutting firewood
  • Littering
  • Baiting or feeding wildlife for any reason 
  • Trail marking (marking any tree or other feature with flagging, reflectors, paint, or other substance)
  • The removal of any object (including plants and animals)
  • Abandonment of wild or domestic animals  
  • Horseback riding, bicycles, roller blades, skateboards, and cross country skiing 

Please refer to the Refuge Hunting and Fishing Regulations Brochure and Code of Federal Regulations for more information.

Report Prohibited Activities/Poaching

Federal Hotline for Prohibited Activities on Refuges ONLY: You can call 1-844-FWS-TIPS (397-8477) or email NWR_TIPs@fws.gov 24 hours a day. You'll be asked for the type of incident as well as the date, place (refuge name or county/state) and approximate time of the incident. You may leave your name and contact information, which will aid law enforcement in the response and investigation, or you may remain anonymous. Any contact information provided will be used for official purposes only.

Montana Hotline POACHING ONLY: Call the toll-free TIP-MONT Hotline at 1-800-TIP-MONT (800-847-6668).

Common Regulatory Signs on Lee Metcalf NWR:

To better enjoy your Refuge visit, please follow the Refuge rules and regulation that benefit all users’ individual experiences. Please take note of the more common regulatory signs that you will encounter when on the Refuge:

  • The maximum posted speed limit on Wildfowl Lane, the county road inside the refuge boundary, is 25 mph [50 CFR 31.(d)].
  • The Area beyond This Sign Closed sign will be found within the refuge boundary or at various boundary access points signifying that the refuge areas beyond the signs are not open for public access; this benefits wildlife and habitat.
  • The Unauthorized Entry Prohibited signs are located on the rouge boundary in addition to the standard Refuge Boundary signs signifying that entry into the areas beyond the signs is not permitted.
  • The No Hunting Zone signs will be found adjacent to public use areas, private inholdings, and Headquarters’ facilities signifying hunting beyond the signed areas is not permitted.
  • The Public Hunting Area sign will be posted at both the perimeter and hunting access locations of legally established waterfowl and archery deer hunting areas.
  • The Nontoxic Shot Zone signs are displayed in the waterfowl hunting area entrance, kiosk, parking lot, and various locations giving notice that the possession / use of lead shot shells are not permitted [50 CFR 20.21(j)].