Laws and Regulations

There are many fun, interesting, and educational things you can do on the Refuge. 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 Refuge rules governing this activity. Refuge rules and regulations are necessary for the protection of visitors, and wildlife and their habitats. The Refuge is subject to Federal, State, and local laws and regulations.

All violations of Refuge regulations are subject to a fine, arrest, or both.  Please check with refuge management before participating in an activity that could harm the environment or yourself. Be safe and enjoy your national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Learn more about national wildlife refuge

General Refuge Regulations

  • The auto tour route, Wetland Wonders trail, and Marsh Meander trail are open from sunrise to sunset, 365 days of the year.
  • The auto tour route is one-way only. Signs indicate correct direction of travel.
  • The speed limit is 25 mph unless otherwise posted.
  • Legally licensed motor vehicles are allowed only on Refuge roads open to the public.
  • Unlicensed off-highway vehicles (OHVs) may not be used anywhere on the Refuge.
  • Off-road vehicle travel is prohibited.
  • Hiking, walking, jogging, bicycling, and other similar activities are permitted only on roadways, parking areas, and trails that are open for public use.
  • Dogs must be under the direct control of a responsible person at all times.
  • Parking is allowed only in designated areas. Please be mindful of other visitors and do not block access to roadways, parking lots, or kiosks.
  • Wildlife observation and photography are allowed only from designated trails, the auto tour route, and designated vehicle pullouts and parking areas.
  • Fires and fireworks are prohibited.
  • Camping or overnight parking, including RVs, is prohibited.
  • Target shooting, including using air rifles and archery equipment, is prohibited.
  • 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).
  • Recreational boating is allowed only on the Bear River. The Refuge provides access to the Bear River from one boat ramp located at the site of the Historic Duckville Gun Club. This ramp is indicated on Refuge brochures, maps, and kiosks.
  • Takeoff or landing of any aircraft including drones or unmanned aircraft systems is prohibited.
  • Littering is prohibited. Litter can cause harm or death to wildlife. Please help keep your Refuge beautiful and protect wildlife by taking all trash and personal belongings with you when you leave!
  • Fishing is allowed on the Refuge in accordance with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources regulations and bag limits in designated areas along the Bear River and in canals and wetlands. Please review the Refuge Fishing Brochure for fishing specific rules and regulations.
  • Waterfowl and pheasant hunting are permitted in accordance with both federal and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources regulations and bag limits in designated areas. Please visit the Refuge Hunting brochure for hunting specific rules and regulations.

General Hunting Regulations and Information

Waterfowl and pheasant hunting is allowed on the Refuge only in designated hunting areas during the appropriate season.  For more information on the Refuge Hunting areas, map, and regulations, download the Refuge Hunting brochure and Map (707KB PDF).  If you have a smartphone GPS app, you can use this georeferenced map (347KB PDF).  

Pheasant hunting is allowed only in areas already open for Waterfowl Hunting.  Current Federal and State regulations for seasons, hours, bag and possession limits apply. Consult the Utah Upland Game Proclamation for more details. For more information on Utah State hunting licenses, seasons and regulations, check out the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources website.

Some important reminders for a safe and enjoyable hunting experience:
  • Hunters must have a valid Utah hunting or combination license in their possession. A digital “e-license” is sufficient for this purpose. In addition, waterfowl hunters aged 16 and older must possess a signed federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, commonly known as a Duck Stamp.
  • Hunters may enter the Refuge two hours prior to legal sunrise, and must exit the Refuge within two hours of legal sunset.
  • Hunting is prohibited within 100 yards of any publicly accessible roadway, the D Line levee, observation platform, or parking area.
  • Hunting is prohibited within 200 yards of any occupied structure structure
    Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish cleaning table, satellite dish/mount, or well head.

    Learn more about structure
    including the Refuge maintenance shop.
  • Hunters are expected to maintain a sufficient distance between closed hunting units and themselves to allow for the retrieval of birds. Retrieval of birds by hunters or dogs in closed areas is prohibited.
  • Dogs must always be under the direct control of a responsible person.
  • Shotgun shells are considered litter.  Please pack all trash out with you. 
Prohibited Activities
  • Camping or overnight parking, including RVs.
  • Lighting of fires or campfires.
  • Use or possession of alcoholic beverages while hunting.
  • Littering, including spent shell casings.
  • Commercial guiding and outfitting.
  • Target shooting.
  • Entering closed areas, even for the purpose of retrieving downed birds.
  • Hunting or shooting within 100 yards of Refuge roads, the D line levee, parking areas, and observation platforms.
  • Hunting any wildlife species aside from coot, duck, goose, pheasant, and tundra swan.
  • Entering the hunt units prior to opening day of hunting season.

General Fishing Regulations

Fishing is allowed in designated areas accessible from West Forest Street along Reeder Canal, Whistler Canal, “O” Line Canal, Duckville Parking Lot, and the auto tour route entrance, as indicated on the map.  Fishing west of the auto tour route gate is allowed in designated areas from sunrise to sunset.  See Fishing Brochure for map.

  • Access to designated fishing areas is walk-in only. Driving off road is prohibited.
  • Fishing from Refuge bridges and water control structures is prohibited.
  • Fishing outside of designated areas is prohibited.
  • Littering is prohibited. Pack out all trash including bait, fishing line, and hooks.
  • Boat access is only allowed at designated boat ramps on the Bear River.

Normas generales de pesca

Se puede pescar de conformidad con las normas del estado de Utah. Consulte la Declaración sobre Pesca de Utah, disponible en el Centro de educación sobre vida silvestre del Refugio y en el folleto de pesca para ver el mapa.

  • Se puede pescar en áreas designadas a tal fin, a las que se podrá acceder desde West Forest Street, sobre Reeder Canal, Whistler Canal, “O” Line Canal, Duckville Parking Lot y la entrada del camino para recorrido en automóvil, según se indica en el mapa.
  • Al oeste de la puerta de entrada del camino para recorrido en automóvil se puede pescar desde el amanecer hasta la puesta del sol en áreas designadas a tal fin.
  • A las áreas de pesca designadas solo puede accederse a pie. Está prohibido conducir fuera del camino.
  • Está prohibido pescar desde los puentes y estructuras de control de aguas del Refugio.
  • Está prohibido pescar fuera de las áreas designadas.
  • Está prohibido arrojar basura. Retire toda la basura, incluidos cebos, líneas de pesca y anzuelos,en paquetes.
  • El acceso de botes solo está permitido en las rampas para botes designadas sobre Bear River.

Other Federal Register Notices, Laws, Treaties, and Regulations

Please note, this is not an exhaustive list.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (16 U.S.C. 703-712) implements four international conservation treaties that the U.S. entered into with Canada in 1916, Mexico in 1936, Japan in 1972, and Russia in 1976. It is intended to ensure the sustainability of populations of all protected migratory...

An aerial view of pelican island.

The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act provides authority, guidelines and directives for the Service to improve the National Wildlife Refuge System; administers a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and restoration of fish, wildlife and plant...

The National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Improvement Act authorizes cooperative agreements with nonprofit partner organizations, academic institutions, or State and local governments to construct, operate, maintain, or improve refuge facilities and services, and to promote volunteer, outreach, and...

Spells out wildlife conservation as the fundamental mission of the Refuge System; requires comprehensive conservation planning to guide management of the Refuge System; directs the involvement of private citizens in land management decisions; and provides that compatible wildlife-dependent...

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.