Laws and Regulations

Refuge-Specific Hunting Regulations 

Listed below are the proposed changes to the refuge-specific regulations that pertain to Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Refuge as of the date of this plan. These regulations may be modified as conditions change or if refuge expansion occurs. 

Migratory Bird Hunting (Reserved) 

Upland Game Hunting

We allow hunting of cottontail rabbit and gray and fox squirrel in designated areas of the refuge subject to the following conditions: 

  • You must possess and carry a signed refuge tearsheet. 

  • We prohibit falconry 

  • We allow methods of take to include shotgun, .17/.22 rimfire rifle, and archery equipment as defined by state regulations. We only allow the use of approved nontoxic shot. 

Big Game Hunting

We allow hunting of white-tailed deer on designated portions of the refuge. Incidental take of feral hogs is allowed during permitted refuge hunts. Big game hunting shall be in accordance with state and federal regulations subject to the following conditions: 

  • You must possess and carry a signed refuge tearsheet. 

  • We only allow the use of archery equipment. 

  • We allow the use of portable type deer stands only. They must be removed from the refuge within two days of the last day of the season. 

  • Incidental take of feral hogs may occur during deer, rabbit and squirrel hunting seasons. 

Relevant State Regulations 

  • Hunters 30 and younger: Anyone who is not Hunter Education-certified may buy a hunting license that is apprentice-designated. Such hunters must abide by accompanying hunter requirements. 
  • Accompanying hunter requirements: a person 18 or older who is licensed (unless exempt) and Hunter Education-certified (unless exempt). For big game hunting, an accompanying hunter must be within arm’s length of the apprentice hunter or close enough to take immediate control of the firearm or bow of the apprentice. For upland game hunting, the accompanying hunter must be within sight of and able to communicate with the apprentice in a normal voice without aid. 

Other Refuge Rules and Regulations for Hunting 

Generally, hunting will be in accordance with State regulations. 

  • Equipment: Archery will be allowed for hunting of white-tailed deer, gray and fox squirrel, eastern cottontail rabbit, and feral hog. Shotguns, rimfire rifles (.22/.17), and state approved archery equipment may be used for upland game and feral hogs. For shotguns, only legal non-toxic shot is allowed and must be plugged and only capable of holding three shells. Baiting is prohibited. We require upland game hunters to follow state blaze-orange regulations. 
  • License and Permits: Unless exempt, all hunters must possess a valid State of Oklahoma hunting license and any state required stamps or tags. 

To protect the delicate caves and habitat from human disturbance, the refuge is generally closed to public use except for certain planned events by permit only. Hunting on