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Spotlight: Experience Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges

Spotlight: Experience Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges

National Wildlife Refuges offer exceptional hunting opportunities for all

Hunting Pheasant hunting on National Wildlife Refuge Land (USFWS)

"The sweetest hunts are stolen. To steal a hunt, either go far into the wilderness where no one has ever been, or else find some undiscovered place under everybody’s nose." -Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

What You’ll Find

From Alaska to Florida, from far into the wilderness to undiscovered places under everybody’s nose, are more than 300 National Wildlife Refuges that offer some of the best hunting in the country.

Hunters have long been National Wildlife Refuge System partners and have played a major role in the conservation of the nation’s wildlife resources since the late 19th century. Today’s hunters can be assured of quality hunts on National Wildlife Refuges across the country, carefully managed in accordance with the Refuge System’s Guiding Principles. Read more in America’s Hunting Heritage.

Make Sure You

Purchase your state hunting license, required in every state in order to hunt on National Wildlife Refuges. Visit WhereToHunt.org to find what you will need to meet your state’s requirements.

Some refuges also require special hunting permits, while others are open to hunters for general hunting seasons without permits. Some permits are free while others have a small charge. Check Your Guide to Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges and remember--permit requirements and fees do occasionally change so it’s important to check the individual refuge website or staff for specifics.

Federal Duck Stamps are required for hunting waterfowl anywhere in the country and proceeds from Duck Stamp sales are used to purchase and preserve wetland habitat. Since the stamp’s inception in 1934, more than $800 million have been raised to purchase more than six million acres of wildlife habitat!

Stay Here

Be sure to search Recreation.gov for advance camping or cabin reservations in or near the National Wildlife Refuge where you plan to hunt. A few refuges offer first-come, first-served camping and cabins. Check refuge websites to learn about these and other visitor activities.

Don’t Forget

Get Safe. Get Certified! Read Safety During Hunting Season for information on hunter education.

Learn more about youth hunt opportunities in Teaching Young People to be Good Hunters – and More and about accessible hunt opportunities in Wheelchairs and Whitetails, courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Try This

National Hunting and Fishing Day is the fourth Saturday of each September and provides opportunities for people from all walks of life to learn more about outdoor skills and conservation through hands-on hunting, shooting, fishing or archery activities and more. National, state and local organizations host these public events in various locations — from National Wildlife Refuges to fish hatcheries to shooting ranges or suburban frog ponds.

You can check for hunting and fishing events happening in your state or on refuges throughout the fall season.

Get Started

Find the perfect refuge hunt with Your Guide to Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges. It is easy to find hunting opportunities by species and location with this web search form. You can also search for sites that offer special youth hunts or sites that are universally accessible.

If you still need inspiration to try hunting on a National Wildlife Refuge, don’t miss one refuge hunter’s story in The Joy of Duck Hunting.