Facility Rules and Policies
To ensure your safety and protect wildlife and habitat, please be aware of the rules and regulations that are specific to Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge. Please contact the refuge if you have questions or need more information.
Access to the refuge is open from sunrise until sunset, unless otherwise posted or stated in hunting regulations.
- Target shooting
- Training pets and allowing pets outside of a vehicle except dogs used for hunting during the small game and migratory bird hunting seasons. Please refer to the hunting section below for more information.
- All types of motorized vehicles on all refuge land, including on frozen bodies of water, except on designated parking areas, public roads and the Auto Tour Route. Please see refuge-specific regulations below for more information.
- Watercraft use - except boats, canoes and other floating devices may be used in Buffalo Creek Bottoms
- Camping, open fires and overnight parking
- 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, geo-caching items, photography equipment, ice fishing shelters and portable stands and blinds - except those used for deer hunting. Please See the hunting section below for more information.
- 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. However, you may construct temporary hunting blinds using vegetation found on the refuge. Please see hunting section below for more information.
- Launching, landing or disturbing of wildlife by aircraft, including drones, on the refuge. This includes for recreational or commercial purposes.
- Commercial enterprise without a special use permit
- Use or possession of any illegal drug or drug paraphernalia is prohibited
- Hunting is an approved use on the refuge that has additional requirements than state regulations based on location, timing, methods of take, etc... Please see the Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge Hunting and Fishing Brochure for specific details and regulations.
- Small game hunting is an approved use on the refuge
- 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 consistent with state regulations
- We prohibit constructing or occupying permanent stands or blinds
- 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
- We allow the use of boats, canoes and other floating devices in Buffalo Creek Bottoms
- 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 is an approved use on the refuge by special use permit only.
- Fishing is an approved use on the refuge that has additional requirements than state regulations based on location, timing, species, methods of take, etc.
- Please see the Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge Hunting and Fishing Brochure for specific details and regulations.
- We prohibit the use or possession of lead terminal tackle
- We allow the use boats, canoes and other floating devices in Buffalo Creek Bottoms
- We prohibit all types of motorized vehicles on frozen water bodies
You may not use a spotlight, headlight or other artificial light to spot, locate or take any wild animal in a refuge.
- The Auto Tour Route is open sunrise to sunset, from August 1 through September 20 annually. In addition, the route is open around on World Migratory Bird Day, in early May, and during National Wildlife Refuge Week, in early October. Because these dates change each year, we recommend that you call the office at 515-928-2523 before you plan your visit to the refuge.
- The observation platform located a quarter of a mile south of the refuge office is open year round to pedestrian access and to vehicle access for persons with disabilities.
- The above information is a partial list of rules and regulations. Please consult the Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge Public Use Brochure and the Union Slough Hunting and Fishing Brochure for more details.