Hunting can be viewed as a management program on some refuges. But it’s also important to recognize that hunting is also a viable form of wildlife oriented recreation. An annual Refuge hunting permit is required. At Alligator River there are lots of types of hunting. The primary species sought is White Tailed Deer, but waterfowl, Dove, Rabbit, squirrel and a few other species are authorized. There is a large farming area that is managed primarily for waterfowl. Policy and common sense require that we manage the hunt program so it doesn’t conflict with management objectives. Therefore hunting is allowed for Whitetail Deer, Rabbits or Squirrels or other approved species in the farm fields up until November 1. Since waterfowl arrive in November, the farm fields are closed to provide a sanctuary area for waterfowl.
State and Federal biologists monitor game populations carefully and set the seasons and bag limits accordingly. If hunters obey all laws, they will have no negative impacts on game populations.
If you look into the forest here, you can see how difficult it is to navigate this type of habitat. When you visit during hunting season, you might see a truck with a cage in the back. Alligator River Refuge allows a traditional form of hunting for deer where chase dogs are used. Many local “dog hunters” and their families spend hundreds of hours of quality time in the out-of-doors, listening to those dogs announce they’ve found a deer. The Refuge has found no indication this form of hunting has adverse affects on deer populations. Hunting for black bear on the refuge is prohibited.
Fishing is allowed on the Refuge in accordance with Refuge and State regulations. Because both hunting and fishing regulations may change on an annual basis, it’s always wise to call the Refuge office or visit appropriate websites prior to your visit to obtain the current year's information. Some of the most enjoyable fishing on the refuge can be had by simply stopping alongside the highway and tossing out your line!! There is a universally-accessible fishing dock at the head of Creef Cut Wildlife Trail.
Other places, such as Sawyer Lake, a part of the Milltail Creek Paddle Trails, offer peaceful fishing opportunity! All canals, creeks, and lakes on the refuge located in areas open to the public are open to fishing during State seasons. Because fishing is in fresh water, a State Fishing License is required. Resident species such as gar, pickerel, white and yellow perch, a variety of sunfish, and catfish inhabit the blackwater streams and lakes of the refuge. Migratory species that use the refuge include Atlantic croaker, spot, Atlantic menhaden, and the southern and summer flounders. The Alligator River and Milltail and Whipping Creeks are used heavily by striped bass, alewife, and blueback herring.