By Steve Hickoff
Sound wildlife management on National Wildlife Refuges often includes hunting. While the public notion of habitat preservation this way might seem contrary to the idea of protecting big- and small-game populations, including waterfowl, it’s actually a renewable and funded resource.
As a for instance, Federal Duck Stamp sales — required to hunt waterfowl annually — have generated more than $800 million over the years toward the purchase and lease of over six million acres of this habitat in the United States.
That said, some refuges permit hunting; some do not. Some require you to obtain a free permit, while others charge for targeting a specific species. Some allow for it, but by lottery drawings. Go here for a list of refuges requiring recreational fees for both hunting and other refuge uses:
Some tips for hunting National Wildlife Refuges include:
Call specific refuges before, during and after the season to learn about system changes and possible new regulations for wildlife management on these properties. This includes learning more about permit availability, special hunting opportunities and insider source information you may not find widely broadcast in media outlets.
Always double-check regulations regarding your style of hunting. Are portable blinds and treestands permitted? As access goes, are you required to use specific parking areas? Can you ride your ATV or Side-by-Side on the refuge?
What kind of multiple-use expectations will be found where you are hunting? Will hiking trails get attention from recreational users? Will anyone else be on the land when you hunt it?
Go here for more information about hunting the National Wildlife Refuge system: