Facility Rules and Policies

Welcome to your National Wildlife Refuge. Discover new places to hunt, fish, take pictures, watch wildlife, walk, bicycle, cross-country ski, and snowshoe. Enjoy spending time outdoors alone or with friends and family. Please consult the refuge manager at 952-854-5900 if you have questions. We may post additional site-specific regulations.

To ensure your safety and protect wildlife and habitat, please be aware of these regulations.

Refuges are first and foremost national treasures for the conservation of wildlife. Through careful planning, consistent refuge system-wide application of regulations and policies, diligent monitoring of the impacts of uses on wildlife resources and preventing or eliminating uses not appropriate to the refuge system, we can achieve the refuge system conservation mission while also providing the public with lasting opportunities to enjoy quality, compatible, wildlife-dependent recreation.

Through consistent application of this policy and these procedures, we will establish an administrative record and build public understanding and consensus on the types of public uses that are legitimate and appropriate within the refuge system. Visitors should be aware of permitted activities and inquire if their use is permitted.

General Restrictions
  • Access to the refuge trails and lands are open from 5:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. unless otherwise posted
  • Camping, open fires and overnight parking are prohibited
  • Pets must remain on a 6-foot or shorter leash at all times and off-leash training of any kind is prohibited
  • Bicycles must remain on designated trails, even in winter.
  • Drones may not launched, landed or flown over the refuge, including personal or commercial use, without a special use permit
  • Do not enter areas signed as closed. For access information related to hunting, visit our hunting information web page.
  • Hunting is permitted in designated areas, during state seasons. Refuge regulations supersede state regulations. Be sure to review our hunt map and brochure for more information. Target shooting is prohibited.

We prohibit

  • Target shooting
  • Training pets and allowing pets off leash
  • All types of motorized vehicles on all refuge land (including on frozen bodies of water) except on designated parking areas, access roads and public roads
  • Drones (UAVs) taking off, landing and/or flying on or over refuge lands
  • Launching, landing or disturbing of wildlife by aircraft (includes drones) on the refuge. This includes for recreational or commercial purposes.
  • Motorized watercraft are prohibited on all waterfowl production areas and are restricted on most national wildlife refuges. Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge prohibits the use of motorized (gas or electric) boats. We allow non-motorized boats in areas open to waterfowl hunting during the waterfowl hunting seasons only.
  • Camping, open fires and overnight parking are prohibited
  • Abandoning, discarding or otherwise leaving any personal property. All property brought onto a refuge must be removed at the end of each day. This includes all common items like vehicles, boats, decoys, trail cameras, blinds, geocaching items, photography equipment (including trail cameras), portable stands, climbing equipment, ice fishing shelters and trash.
  • Destructing, defacing, disturbing or unauthorized removal of any natural object, artifact, cultural resource or government property.
  • Introducing, liberating or placing plants or animals, or their parts, taken elsewhere on refuge lands or waters
  • Disposing of animal carcasses, trash, refuse, rocks, wood or other debris
  • Cutting, mowing, sawing, digging, collecting, injuring or removing vegetation
  • Commercial enterprise without a special use permit
  • Use or possession of any illegal drug or drug paraphernalia is prohibited
Hunting
  • If hunting is an approved use on the refuge that activity may have additional requirements than state regulations based on location, timing, species, methods of take, etc. See refuge-specific regulations below.
  • If small game hunting is an approved use on the refuge then hunters using shotguns, including turkey hunters, are required to use and possess only non-toxic shot
  • During the small game and migratory bird seasons, hunting dogs must be under the immediate control of the hunter
  • Hunters must wear an article of blaze orange or pink consistent with state regulations
  • Constructing or occupying permanent stands or blinds is prohibited. We also prohibit the use of nails, wire, screws or bolts to attach a stand to a tree or hunting from a tree, into which a metal object has been driven to support a hunter. Portable hunting stands must be set up and removed each day.
  • We prohibit the use or possession of alcoholic beverages while hunting
  • We prohibit distribution of feed or bait or hunting over bait. This includes salts and minerals.
Trapping
  • Trapping is by special use permit only and may have additional requirements than state regulations. See refuge-specific regulations below.
Fishing
  • If fishing is an approved use on the refuge that activity may have additional requirements than state regulations based on location, timing, species, methods of take, etc. See Refuge-specific regulations below.
  • Non-motorized/motorized watercraft use is prohibited for fishing
  • We prohibit all types of motorized vehicles on frozen water bodies
Artificial Lights
  • You may not use a spotlight, headlight or other artificial light to spot, locate or take any wild animal in a national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
    A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

    Learn more about national wildlife refuge
Refuge-specific Information

Hunting

See the refuge hunting brochure for specific season dates that differ for state seasons. Please note: If an area or refuge unit is not listed or shown within this document, it is closed to hunting.

  • Single projectile ammunition is prohibited on all refuge units except: 1) for upland game and furbearers, .22 caliber and smaller rim-fire rifles and handguns are allowed on Jessenland and Blakeley units and 2) where firearms deer hunting is allowed, shotgun and muzzle- loading rifles are permitted.
  • The use of air guns is prohibited
  • We prohibit hunting on, from, across or within 100 feet (30 m) of any road, parking area or designated trail
  • Entry into the refuge earlier than 2 hours before legal shooting time is prohibited. Hunters must leave the refuge no later than 1 hour after legal shooting time.
  • You may only hunt coyotes, skunks, fox, opossum and raccoon from 1/2 hour before legal sunrise until legal sunset
  • Some areas are posted as no hunting zones to protect buildings, private property or critical habitat areas. Firearms and weapons must be cased and unloaded while accessing hunting areas through no hunting zones.
  • Training and allowing pets off leash are prohibited
  • Permits to operate operate
    To manipulate the controls of any conveyance, such as, but not limited to, an aircraft, snowmobile, motorboat, off-road vehicle, or any other motorized or non-motorized form of vehicular transport as to direct its travel, motion, or purpose.

    Learn more about operate
    vehicles on other roads may be available for hunters with disabilities. Hunters may use bicycles and game carts on designated trails and service roads during the hunting seasons
  • Motorized watercraft are prohibited on all waterfowl production areas and are restricted on most national wildlife refuges. We prohibit the use of motorized (gas or electric) boats. We allow non-motorized boats in areas open to waterfowl hunting during the waterfowl hunting seasons.
  • We prohibit the taking of any turtle, frog, leech, minnow, crayfish and mussel (clam) species by any method on the refuge

Trapping

  • Trapping on the refuge is by special use permit only. The refuge currently only issues permits for nuisance beaver removal as needed for management purposes.
Additional Information

The above information is a partial list of rules and regulations. Consult the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge hunting brochure for more details.

Special-use permits may be issued for compatible secondary uses upon approval of the refuge manager. Contact the refuge office for application information at 952-854-5900 by email MinnesotaValley@fws.gov.