Facility Rules and Policies

There are lots of fun, interesting, and educational things for you to enjoy at the Madison Wetland Management District. When in doubt about rules or regulations regarding a specific activity, please check with the Madison Wetland Management District office before participating in that activity. Be safe and have fun! 

This page applies to the South Dakota Public Use Regulations of Waterfowl Production Areas in the Madison Wetland Management District. Wildlife-dependent recreational activities are allowed on waterfowl production areas, including hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education, and interpretation. Please observe the following regulations to protect natural resources and to help ensure that your visit will be safe and enjoyable.    

Additional Information:  Additional information can be obtained by contacting Madison Wetland Management District office at 605-256-2974 or 23520 SD Hwy 19, Madison, South Dakota 57042. 

Hunting, Fishing & Trapping

Eastern South Dakota is a popular area for hunting waterfowl, ring-necked pheasants, and white-tailed deer.  When hunting with a shotgun, hunters must use and possess only approved non-toxic shot. Lead bullets in rifles and muzzle loaders are allowed in accordance with State regulations.  Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on National Wildlife Refuge System lands must comply with all provisions of state and local law. Persons may only use (discharge) firearms in accordance with refuge regulations (50 CFR 27.42) and specific refuge regulations in 50 CFR Part 32).  Many lakes throughout the District offer good fishing for walleye, perch, crappie, and northern pike. 

For further information on hunting, fishing, and trapping, check with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks for details regarding hunting licenses, season dates, bag limits, and other regulations. 

Wildlife Photography, Wildlife Observation & Environmental Education

These priority public uses are encouraged. 


The use of dogs is encouraged for hunting. Dogs are allowed for other activities only if the dog is confined to a vehicle, boat, fish house, or is on a leash controlled by the handler. Dog training is prohibited.


The use of horses is not allowed on Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs). 


No overnight camping is allowed. 

Motorized Vehicles

The use of all motorized vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles, is restricted. 


Boats are allowed while engaged in permitted public use activities. Boats that must be launched from a trailer are limited to those waters that are accessible from a right-of-way or designated road. 

Equipment Removal

With the exception of tree stands and ice houses, all personal property including, but not limited to boats, decoys, trail cameras, portable blinds, and any materials brought into the area for blind construction, must be removed at the end of each day. Blinds constructed of dead and down materials gathered on-site may be left throughout the hunting season. 

Tree Stands

Portable tree stands and free-standing elevated platforms may be used in accordance with State regulations.  The use of nails, wire, screws, or bolts to attach a stand or steps to a tree is prohibited.

Fire & Fireworks

No open fires are allowed. The use or possession of fireworks is prohibited. 

Target Shooting

Although these waterfowl production areas are open to hunting, the use of all firearms for target practice is prohibited. 

Possession of Firearms

Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on National Wildlife Refuge System lands must comply with all provisions of State and local law. Persons may only use (discharge) firearms in accordance with refuge regulations (50 CFR 27.42 and specific refuge regulations in 50 CFR Part 32). 

Alcoholic Beverages

The use or possession of alcoholic beverages while hunting is prohibited. 


Pack-it-in and pack-it-out. There are no trash facilities on site. Please take all garbage and other refuse with you and dispose of properly. Take pride in your Waterfowl Production Areas and help keep them clean. 

Observation of Violations

If you observe a violation of these regulations, or any other violations of federal, state, or local laws or regulations, please report them immediately. You may contact the South Dakota Turn in Poachers (TIPS) at 1.888.OVERBAG (683-7224), your local County Sheriff by calling 911, or the Madison Wetland Management District at (605) 256-2974. Information such as a legal description, violation observed, and identifying information such as a license plate will be very helpful in contacting the suspect. Do not jeopardize your safety in any way to obtain this information. 

Passes and Permits


Although visiting one of Madison Wetland Management District's many Waterfowl Production Areas does not require the purchase of a pass, we have provided this information should you wish to visit another of our country's treasures in the National Wildlife Refuge system. 

The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. 

There are no passes required for the Madison Wetland Management Districts' 220 Waterfowl Production Areas. However, there are a series of passes that cover the entrance and standard amenity fees charged for using federal recreational lands – including national wildlife refuges.

Existing Golden Eagle Passports and National Parks Passes with an expiration date will be honored until they expire. Paper versions of the Golden Age or Golden Access Passports should be exchanged for the new Senior or Access passes. However, plastic Golden Age or Access passes are valid for the pass holder's lifetime and do not need to be exchanged.

The Senior and Access passes are good for the lifetime of the holder and make available (to the pass holder only) 50 percent discounts on some expanded amenity fees.

For the first time, decals and hangtags are available: decals for those who park open-topped vehicles (like Jeeps) or motorcycles at unstaffed federal recreation sites, and hangtags for those who anticipate parking closed vehicles at unmanned facilities.

Please visit the National Wildlife Refuge System Web site for more information about passes.

Passes are sold in South Dakota at Badlands National Park - 605-433-5361; Black Hills National Forest-Main Office - 605-673-9200; Black Hills National Forest-Mystic District - 605-343-1567; Black Hills National Forest-Northern Hills District - 605-642-4622; Buffalo Gap National Grassland - 605-745-4107; Dakota Prairie Grasslands-Grand River District - 605-374-3592; Fort Pierre National Grassland - 605-224-5517; Jewel Cave National Monument -  605-673-8300; Nebraska National Forest-Fall River District - 605-745-4107; Nebraska National Forest-Wall District - 605-279-2125; South Dakota Bureau of Land Management  Office - 605-892-7000; and Wind Cave National Park - 605-745-4200. 


A use not listed above may be allowed.  However, if allowed, it will require a Special Use Permit. The permit can be requested from the Madison Wetland Management District Office.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues permits under various wildlife law and treaties at a number of offices throughout the country.  Permits enable the public to engage in legitimate wildlife-related activities that would otherwise be prohibited by law.  Service permit programs ensure that such activities are carried out in a manner that safeguards wildlife.  Additionally, some permits promote conservation efforts by authorizing scientific research, generating data, or allowing wildlife management and rehabilitation activates to go forward.

Permits are handled by permitting programs in International Affairs (Management Authority), Endangered Species, Law Enforcement, and Migratory Bird.

Visit the National Wildlife Refuge System Web site for Special Use Permits.