WILDLIFE OBSERVATION & PHOTOGRAPHY
These two activities are the most popular recreational activities on the refuge. Viewing wildlife in its native environment is a richly rewarding activity for the young and old. A few tips will help you see and enjoy refuge wildlife.
Early morning and late evening is when wildlife are most active.
Your car makes an excellent observation blind. Many types of wildlife can be approached more closely in a car than on foot. However, road access is very limited on the refuge, so hiking into more remote areas may also provide excellent opportunities to view animals, take-in the beautiful scenery, and experience the solitude and wildness of the refuge. Hike quietly to improve your odds of wildlife encounters.
Binoculars or spotting scopes are very important for viewing wildlife across the great expanses of refuge habitat.
Hiking is encouraged throughout the refuge, but trails are NOT maintained. The open terrain of the refuge provides ample cross-country hiking options. Game trails may be followed in many of the canyons. Please exercise caution when entering rocky and rugged terrain.
Overnight backpacking is a great way to experience some of the more remote parts of the refuge. Backpackers/hikers are required to obtain a self-issued permit at the Refuge headquarters visitor center, before departing into the back country (available 24 hrs/day, 7 days/week). Check for current regulations when filling out your permit.
Biking is an enjoyable way to see many parts of the refuge. Bicycles may only be used on roads open to motorized vehicles. Even the best roads are rough and rocky, so sturdy mountain bikes are a must.
Horses may be ridden throughout the refuge. Overnight use is allowed at Post Meadows camping area where corrals are available, call ahead for availability. Stock water in the creek is about 100 yards away. Pelletized feed is required to avoid introducing weeds with hay. Access to this campground is weather dependent.
Fishing is allowed in Rock and Guano Creeks and at Warner Pond in accordance with state and federalregulations. An Oregon fishing license is required. Please check current regulations for seasons, limits, and other guidelines. at: www.dfw.state.or.us/ .
Hunting is permitted in accordance with state and federal regulations. A very limited number of tags are offered for deer, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep hunts in the late summer and fall. Applications for these tags are available through ODFW, information can be found in the Big Game hunting regulations or on-line at: www.dfw.state.or.us/ . Chukar may be hunted in limited areas on the refuge of the west face of Hart Mtn and Poker Jim Ridge. Only those game animals for which the hunt has been established may be taken. No hunting is allowed within three miles of refuge headquarters. Spotlighting of any type is not permitted. Gut piles are prohibited within the campgrounds or within 100 feet of any road.
Persons possessing transporting, or carrying firearms on national wildlife Refuges must comply with all provision 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).
Rock hounds are permitted to collect surface rock specimens not to exceed seven pounds per person per day. Surface collecting only, digging with any implement and blasting are prohibited.
Not far from the refuge on BLM lands are the Sunstone (Oregon gem stone) mines. For more information, contact the Hart Mtn General Store in Plush, OR.