Federal Lands: Waterfowl Production Areas and National Wildlife Refuges

Federal Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) are open to public hunting except where prohibited, while National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) are closed unless expressly permitted. Here are some general restrictions and regulations for hunting on these federal lands in Minnesota:

General Restrictions:

  1. Small game hunters using shotguns, including turkey hunters, must use and possess only non-toxic shot.
  2. Small game hunters must wear an article of blaze orange/pink consistent with state regulations.
  3. Target shooting is prohibited.
  4. During the small game season, hunting dogs must be under the immediate control of the hunter. Training and allowing pets off leash are prohibited.
  5. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on all NWRs and WPAs except on designated parking areas, access roads, and public roads. Permits to operate vehicles on other roads may be available for hunters with disabilities.
  6. Motorized watercraft are prohibited on all WPAs and are restricted on most NWRs. Motorized watercraft are allowed without a permit on designated portions of the Tamarac and Upper Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge.
  7. Camping, campfires, and overnight parking are prohibited on all WPAs, including designated parking areas. Camping, campfires, and overnight parking are restricted on most NWRs.
  8. No permanent stands are permitted, and the use of nails, wire, screws, or bolts to attach a stand to a tree or hunting from a tree with a metal object driven into it is prohibited. Portable hunting stands must be set up and removed each day.
  9. All property brought onto an NWR or WPA must be removed after each day, including vehicles, boats, decoys, trail cameras, and trash.
  10. The use or possession of alcoholic beverages while hunting is prohibited.
  11. The destruction, defacement, disturbance, or unauthorized removal of any natural object or government property is prohibited.
  12. Plants and animals cannot be introduced, liberated, or placed on NWRs or WPAs.
  13. Disposing of animal carcasses, trash, refuse, rocks, wood, or other debris is prohibited.
  14. Cutting, mowing, sawing, digging, collecting, injuring, or removing vegetation is prohibited.
  15. Distribution of feed or bait, or hunting over bait is prohibited, including salts and minerals.
  16. Launching, landing, disturbing of wildlife by, or hunting with an unmanned aircraft/drones on national wildlife refuges or waterfowl production areas is prohibited.


  • A person may not trap in a National Wildlife Refuge without a permit from the refuge manager.
  • Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) are open to trapping per state regulations unless specifically prohibited.

Artificial Lights:

  • A person may not use a spotlight, headlight, or other artificial light to spot, locate, or take any wild animal in an NWR or WPA.

For more information about federal lands in Minnesota, you can visit fws.gov/refuges/hunting/.

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.