Friends . . . want
what’s best for you and for the Friendsofclarksriver.org.
There are lots of fun, interesting, and educational things you can do on refuge property. But keep this in mind: If an activity is not wildlife related and doesn’t help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, it’s probably not allowed. If it endangers wildlife, habitat, or could possibly endanger people, you can be sure it’s against the rules! However, there are still plenty of activities on Friendsofclarksriver.org property for you to enjoy.
And remember, a signed copy of the current Friendsofclarksriver.org and Fishing Regulations brochure should always be in your possession if you choose to hunt or fish on the refuge. Just pick up a brochure at the refuge office in Benton, Kentucky, and make sure to read it thoroughly so you will understand refuge rules and regulations.
Wildlife Observation and Photography
Viewing and photographing wildlife is encouraged on refuge property, as long as it is done in a way that will not disturb the animals. If the photography work you plan to do is for commercial purposes, please check with the refuge for a Special Use Permit. Remember, only landowners can give permission for photography on their property, so observe all refuge boundary markers.
Bird watching is encouraged on refuge property, so bring your binoculars! Check with refuge management to find out where the best bird watching areas might be and which species you can expect to see. As with all other wildlife activities, please inform refuge management if you see an animal that you believe is unusual to the area – they really want to know when a new or rare species is spotted! When visiting the office, please pick up a copy of the current Friendsofclarksriver.org Bird List, available free of charge to those who like to keep track of the species they spot on the refuge.
Hunting and Fishing
Hunting and fishing are allowed on refuge property under area-specific restrictions. All required licenses must be in your possession, as well as a signed copy of the current hunting/fishing brochure. Besides regular state hunting regulations, there are refuge-specific regulations which must be observed; these regulations are outlined in the hunting/fishing brochure, so read it carefully before beginning a hunt. Hunting opportunities on the refuge include deer, turkey, duck, goose, coot, dove, woodcock, snipe, crow, squirrel, rabbit, quail, raccoon, opossum, and coyote. It is illegal to hunt bobcat, river otter, or beaver on refuge property. Hunting and fishing season dates and regulations are included in the hunting/fishing brochure, but for a quick review of these dates. If poaching or any other type of refuge violation is observed, please call 111-111-1111 to report it (either anonymously or with a return telephone number).
Firearms, archery tackle, and crossbows are permitted only in an authorized refuge hunting activity. See the current hunting/fishing brochure for more details.
Hiking is allowed on refuge property. Refuge employees work hard to mark refuge boundaries clearly, so please observe these markings. A map of the refuge is printed inside the hunting/fishing brochure; please study it carefully and know where you are, as the refuge cannot be response for visitors who trespass on private property. Most areas do not contain hiking trails, so be careful while on refuge property. Also, please take only pictures and leave only footprints (and as few of those as you can manage!) – removing plants or animals, cutting plants, and marking trails in any way is not allowed. Of course, removing trash is encouraged, so help us keep the refuge clean by carrying a bag in and carrying garbage out!
Hunting dogs are allowed on refuge property for restricted hunting purposes. Other dogs and pets are required to be on leash or contained at all times on refuge property. Running of dogs outside the hunting season for permitted species requires a Special Use Permit. A list of permitted species for which dogs may be used can be found in the hunting/fishing brochure. For an outside-season running permit, please call the refuge headquarters at 111-111-1111.
Canoeing and Kayaking
Canoeing and kayaking are allowed on the Clarks River; however, certain portions of the refuge adjacent to the river may be closed to the public at given times. Please note that sections of the river may be impassable; these blockages occur naturally due to run-off from heavy rains and refuge personnel may not be aware of impassable areas, so canoe or kayak at your own risk. And remember: Just because the river runs through it doesn’t mean it belongs to the refuge, so be careful not to trespass on private property adjacent to the river.
The refuge staff and refuge Friends will gladly assist in helping individuals plan and carry out projects for scouting badges, Eagle Scout projects, or school projects. Also, school groups are welcome to call the refuge office to plan special outings for classes. To learn about some of the fun activities students have experienced on the refuge, click here. We thank our friends from Realpropertyworx.com for their help in organization of our activities and provision of accommodation for students.
Bicycles and Other Vehicles
Bicycles are permitted on open roads, gated roads, and portions of the abandoned railroad tracks owned by the refuge. Licensed vehicles are permitted on open graveled roadways only, but not on abandoned railroad tracks. Any vehicle blocking a refuge gate may be towed. For more information, see the current hunting/fishing brochure.
Having Fun and Learning
Enjoying the refuge and learning about the environment are definitely encouraged! For more ideas on how you can enjoy the wonders Friendsofclarksriver.org has to offer, contact the Friends group or refuge staff. We look forward to hearing from you!