Laws and Regulations

Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge offers many opportunities for visitors to safely enjoy hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, and environmental education and interpretation. Refuge lands are open to the public during daylight hours only, and the visitor center is open from 8am until 4pm, Monday through Friday. Refuge hunting and fishing regulations generally follow applicable Illinois and Missouri state seasons and regulations - some special regulations apply. Consult the refuge hunting and fishing brochure for specific information.

Closures - To help meet the primary refuge purpose of providing valuable habitat for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife, the Swan Lake unit and other managed wetlands within the Calhoun Division are closed from October 16 through December 31. The remaining portion of the Calhoun Division (Calhoun East and Yorkinut), and all of the Batchtown and Gilbert Lake divisions are open to foot traffic and hunting, but are closed to boats from October 16 through December 31. Designated vehicle parking areas in Calhoun East, Yorkinut, Batchtown, and Gilbert Lake remain open year round. 

Hunting - The refuge allows for non-waterfowl migratory bird, waterfowl (ducks, geese, and coot), archery deer and turkey, firearm deer, youth deer firearm, firearm turkey, and upland game hunting in designated areas. Areas open to hunting include Apple Creek, Batchtown, Clarksville Island, Gilbert Lake, and Portage Island divisions, and Calhoun East and Yorkinut areas within the Calhoun Division. Regulations differ among divisions and areas, consult the refuge hunting and fishing brochure for specific information on the area you'd like to hunt. 

Fishing - The refuge allows fishing and bow fishing during applicable Illinois and Missouri state seasons and follows respective Illinois and Missouri state regulations. All areas of the refuge, excluding Swan Lake, are open to fishing and bow fishing year-round. Swan Lake is closed to all activities, including fishing, from October 16 through December 31. Nighttime fishing is prohibited on the refuge. The refuge maintains several boat launches, and refuge areas can be accessed by many other surrounding boat launches. We also offer areas to fish from shore. 

Learn more about the refuge and hunting rules and policies

The refuge has additional prohibited, and restricted use rules. Consult the refuge hunt brochure for maps of hunted and restricted areas, and detailed rules and policies.

Prohibited activities include

  • Off road vehicle use, and ATV and UTV's.
  • Trapping, and the taking of turtles and frogs.
  • Possession of alcoholic beverages.
  • Camping and fires.
  • Searching for, or the removal of any natural items such as antlers, plants, bones, feathers, or historic or archaeological features. Berry, nut, and mushroom gathering are permitted for personal consumption only, not for commercial use. 
  • Private vehicles are prohibited on roads marked "authorized personnel only".
  • Use of trail cameras or video monitoring recording devices. 
  • Marking or flagging any tree or other refuge feature with reflectors, paint, or other substances.
  • Permanent tree stands, nails, screw-in steps, or other items that penetrate the outer bark of a tree. 
  • Hunting within 50 yards of any public use facility.
  • Nighttime fishing. 
  • Target shooting or discharging of firearms in non-hunting activities. 
  • Firearms in the refuge visitor center.
  • Lead shot ammunition for all hunting. 

Restricted activities are outlined below

  • All refuge roads and trails are open to foot traffic, some close seasonally to provide waterfowl sanctuary. Signs are posted at entrances.
  • Pets must be on a leash, except when used for in association with in-season hunting activities.
  • Authorized hunters or visitors possessing a valid Illinois or Missouri concealed carry permit may carry a firearm except inside the visitor center. All other firearms must remain in a motor vehicle in compliance with Illinois and Missouri firearm laws.
  • Daylight hours are defined as 30 minutes before legal sunrise until 30 minutes after legal sunset. 
  • Hunters may access the refuge two hours before legal sunrise until two hours after legal sunset. 
  • Portable stands and blinds may be used but they must be removed at the end of each day's hunt. No nails, screws, or other hardware may be used to climb or secure stands to the trees that penetrate the out layer of bark. 
  • Only non-motorized boats may be used in the Gilbert Lake Division. 
  • All areas of the refuge with an unobstructed direct connection to the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers are open to all boats year-round.