Facility Rules and Policies

There are many activities to enjoy while visiting Sand Lake Wetland Management District, but to minimize disturbance to wildlife and to ensure visitor safety there are certain rules and regulations to follow while visiting.

Rules and Regulations

There are lots of fun, interesting, and educational things you can do on Waterfowl Production Areas.  Keep in mind, if an activity is not wildlife related and doesn’t help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, there are probably rules governing this activity.  Please check with management before participating in an activity that could harm the environment or yourself. 

There are approximately 45,000 acres of Waterfowl Production Areas in the Sand Lake Wetland Management District. These areas have been set aside to provide habitat for fish and wildlife and for the continued benefit of the American people. 

Wildlife dependent recreational activities that are allowed on Waterfowl Production Areas include hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education and interpretation. 

Vehicles are permitted only on designated roads, parking areas, and on the ice for ice fishing. Vehicle access to the ice is limited to ice which is accessible from a right-of-way or designated road. Motorized vehicles must be licensed in accordance with State laws and regulations. 

Motorized boats are allowed for wildlife-dependent 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. 

Collection of mature wild fruits, berries, above-ground portion of asparagus, and mushrooms for personal daily non-commercial use is allowed. 

Commercial activities are not allowed unless authorized by a special use permit issued by the WMD manager. 

Prohibited Activities 

The following activities are prohibited on WPAs and associated parking areas: 

  • Overnight camping 
  • Fires 
  • Littering, including leaving spent shotgun shells or remains of hunted animals 
  • Removing or disturbing property, including artifacts 
  • Removing natural objects or destroying plants, excluding the gathering of dead plant materials for on-site blind construction 
  • Riding or using horses for any purpose 

Fishing Regulations

Unless otherwise noted, fishing is allowed in accordance with State regulations. Fish houses may be used for ice fishing in accordance with State regulations. Fish houses may not be left unattended on uplands or in parking areas. Boats, motor vehicles, fishing equipment and other personal property (excluding fish houses) must be removed at the end of each day. 

Hunting Regulations   

Unless otherwise noted, hunting is allowed in accordance with State regulations. 

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).

Ammunition: 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. 

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. 

Equipment Removal: With the exception of tree stands and fish 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. 

Dogs: 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. 

Baiting: The distribution of bait and hunting over bait is prohibited. 

Alcohol: Using or possessing alcoholic beverages while hunting is prohibited. 

Trapping: Trapping is allowed in accordance with Federal and State regulations. 

For further information, please contact the Sand Lake office.