Facility Rules and Policies

Prohibited Activities 

  • Littering or dumping including spent shotshell casings
  • Use or possession of alcoholic beverages while hunting
  • Target practice or random shooting
  • Camping or overnight parking
  • Trapping furbearers
  • Open campfires or swimming
  • Taking or attempting to take any wildlife not authorized in these refuge regulations
  • Taking, cutting or destroying any plants or parts thereof including flowers, fruits, nuts, fungi, herbs, shrubs or trees other than specified for temporary blind construction
  • Use of off-road vehicles, horses, mules, llamas and bicycles other than on maintained road rights-of-ways
  • Marking trails, including with tape, ribbons, paper or paint tree blazes
  • Baiting or hunting over bait including salt
  • Blocking gates or roadways with vehicles
  • Searching for or removing any object of antiquity including arrowheads, pottery or beads
  • Use of metal detectors or digging for artifacts
  • Spotlighting is prohibited by state regulations
  • Use of fireworks, trail cameras and drones
  • Unless specifically listed as a permitted use, all uses of natural resources on the refuge are prohibited

To Report Violations

Law enforcement issues should be referred to the refuge at 812-522-3836 or the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Dispatch at 812-837-9536. You can also utilize the Turn In a Poacher Line at 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437).

Hunting and Fishing Hours

The refuge is open for hunting and fishing during daylight hours only with the exception of hunting furbearers. The refuge is open for night hunting of furbearers including coyote, raccoon, fox, opossum and skunk.

General Hunting and Fishing Regulations

State regulations apply for bag limits.

Hunting and fishing regulations are designed to provide safe recreational opportunities through wise use of renewable wildlife resources. Hunting and fishing are permitted in accordance with Federal regulations governing public use on national wildlife refuges as set forth in Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Individuals accessing the refuge are subject to inspections of permits, licenses, hunting equipment, harvest limits, boats, vehicles and their contents by federal and state officers. Indiana state regulations and refuge specific regulations will be enforced. Refuge specific regulations supersede state regulations. Only the species listed below may be harvested.

Hunting and fishing will be in accordance with applicable State of Indiana regulations subject to the conditions stated below. Brochures may be obtained by mail, at the refuge office or online.

Columbia Mine Preserve Special Regulations

The Columbia Mine Preserve is only open to deer hunting during the first week of the state defined archery, gun and muzzleloader seasons and for the spring turkey hunting season. It is closed to hunting of all other game species. Additional regulations are in place on the Columbia Mine Preserve, please contact the office for further information.

Cane Ridge Wildlife Management Area

The Cane Ridge Wildlife Management Area is closed to hunting and fishing. The area is open for wildlife viewing at the observation deck and from county roads only.

Safety Zone

Discharge of firearms within 150 yards of any dwelling or building on or adjacent to the refuge is prohibited. Hunters are cautioned to identify their targets before shooting. In addition to other hunters, non-hunting visitors are present on the refuge throughout the year and may be on the property at any time. Report any injuries or accidents to refuge headquarters at 510 ½ W Morton St., Oakland City, Indiana or phone at 812-749- 3199.

Firearms and Ammunition

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.)

You may only use or possess approved nontoxic shot shells while in the field. Pick up and take out spent casings.

Motorized Vehicles

All motor vehicles must remain on maintained roads and parked so as not to interfere with other traffic. Off-road vehicles are not permitted on refuge lands.


Dogs are allowed for hunting according to state regulations during designated seasons only. Otherwise, dogs must be leashed. Dog training or running in the off-season is prohibited.

Accessibility Information

Equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from programs and activities of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is available to all individuals regardless of physical or mental ability. For more information please contact the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Equal Opportunity.

Duck and Goose Blinds and Decoys

Pits or permanent blinds may not be constructed or used on the refuge. Only portable blinds or structures constructed of native plant materials are permitted for waterfowl hunting. Blinds must be removed or dismantled at the end of each day’s hunt. Decoys must be removed at the end of each day’s hunt.

Deer and Turkey Stands

Permanent tree stands or blinds may not be constructed or used on the refuge. Hunting from a tree into which a metal object has been driven is prohibited. Portable tree stands may be used for deer or turkey hunting and may be left overnight only during the periods specified for public lands in Indiana. Tree stands must be legibly marked with owner’s name, address and phone number at eye level or lower.

Hunting Species

Hunting Species

Only those species authorized for hunting in Indiana and listed below may be hunted on the Refuge. All other species are protected.

Migratory Birds

  • Ducks
  • Geese 
  • Sora  
  • Common snipe
  • Mourning doves 
  • Woodcock  
  • Crow

Game Birds

  • Quail
  • Wild turkey
  • Pheasant

Small Game

  • Cottontail rabbit 
  • Gray and fox squirrel


  • Red and gray fox
  • Coyote
  • Raccoon 
  • Opossum
  • Striped skunk

Big Game

  • White-tailed deer


  • Trapping is prohibited
Fishing Regulations

State regulations apply as to license, seasons, sizes, limits, methods of take and species of fish to be taken with the following exceptions:

  • Fishing is only allowed with rod and reel, pole and line, bow and arrow or crossbow
  • Limb lines, jug lines, trot lines and snares are prohibited as the method of catching fish in refuge waters other than the Patoka River channel
  • Fishing is permitted during daylight hours only
  • Minimum size limit for largemouth bass on Snakey Point Marsh and on the Columbia Mine Preserve is 14 inches
  • Minnows, crayfish, frogs and turtles are protected and may not be collected or harvested
  • On refuge property, motorboats are only permitted on Snakey Point Marsh east of the South Fork and on the Patoka River
  • Motorboats on Snakey Point Marsh are restricted to slow speed and minimum wake
  • To minimize disturbance to wildlife, gasoline powered motorboats are not permitted on other refuge waters
  • Air boats are prohibited on all refuge waters
  • Boats may not be left on refuge property overnight