DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge offers public archery deer hunting and will hold two muzzleloader antlerless deer hunts on Dec. 4-5 and Jan. 8-9.
Hunters will be allowed to hunt the entire refuge for the two muzzleloader hunt weekends.
During the muzzleloader hunt weekends, the Visitor Center will remain open, but the refuge roads and trails will be closed to all other visitor activity, according to a press release from the refuge. The scout days for the hunt weekends will be the Saturday prior to the hunts.
For the December hunt, the scout day will be Nov. 27, and for the January hunt, the scout day will be Jan. 1. During the scout days, hunters can scout the refuge and hang a tree stand or put out a blind.
Nebraska residents will need to purchase either a statewide muzzleloader permit or a season choice Wahoo unit permit to participate in the Dec. 4-5 hunt. For the Jan. 8-9 hunt weekend, Nebraska residents will need to purchase a season choice Wahoo unit permit. The statewide muzzleloader or season choice Wahoo unit permit can be obtained through the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Nebraska hunters do not need to apply through the refuge but will need to obtain a DeSoto NWR hunting regulation access permit (details below).
Iowa residents can apply for the muzzleloader hunt weekends by mailing in a card with their name, address, phone number and the requested hunt weekend, or the information can be emailed to email@example.com. For Iowa hunters, remaining unfilled slots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
For Iowa residents, the December and January hunts will only require antlerless licenses that are specific for the DeSoto hunts and will not count against the hunter’s take, according to the press release. Specific information concerning the licenses will be provided to those drawn. Iowa hunters can apply by mailing their requests to DeSoto Refuge, 1434 316th Lane, Missouri Valley, IA 51555.
All hunters must possess a DeSoto NWR hunting regulation access permit for the hunts. These are free of charge and can be obtained on the DeSoto website at fws.gov/refuge/desoto/ or by contacting Peter Rea at firstname.lastname@example.org or 712-388-4803.
Archery deer hunting is also available on DeSoto Refuge and is open to the public. The archery season on the refuge runs from Oct. 1 to Jan. 10. Hunters must be properly licensed and carry a free DeSoto NWR hunting regulations access permit from the refuge, the press release stated. The permit has a map showing the areas that are open to archery deer hunting and explains the refuge regulations. The permit can be picked up at the refuge hunt parking lot kiosks or from the refuge website listed above.
At DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, an entrance permit is required for all vehicles on days other than fee-free days. The regular daily entrance fee for private vehicles is $3. Permits may be obtained at the pay stations near the entrances or at the visitor center. The charge for commercial vans and buses is $20, or $30 if 21 or more people are aboard. Annual permits, including the $15 DeSoto Refuge pass, can be obtained at the Visitor Center (hours: 8:30 a.m.- to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday).
The nation’s 568 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts welcome over 45 million visitors each year. Visitors participate in activities such as fishing, hunting, wildlife observation, birding, interpretive hikes and photographing iconic wildlife in their natural setting.
DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge is located north of Omaha along U.S. Highway 30 between Missouri Valley and Blair, Nebraska. Check the refuge’s website for refuge updates at fws.gov/refuge/desoto/ or by searching Facebook for DeSoto and Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuges.
For more information, please call 712-388-4800 or email the refuge at Desoto@fws.gov.