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Plan your visit

*See welcome page for information about when public use day starts

Entrance Fees

Entrance fees

There is a fee to enter the refuge! If you do not have a pass please go to the Big Oaks Office to watch the safety video and get a pass.

Annual Permit: $15.00

Daily Permit: $3.00

Hunting Permit: $20.00

Share your pictures with us! We will post them on our Facebook page or mention Big Oaks Conservation Society in your Facebook post and we will repost your pictures.

If you enjoyed your visit, consider becoming a member or a volunteer.

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1661 West JPG Niblo Road Madison, IN 47250

Entrance to the refuge is on U.S. Highway 421, on the former Jefferson Proving Ground, five miles north of Madison, Indiana


Big Oaks Conservation Society
Post Office Box 935
Madison, IN 47250
Phone: (812) 273-0783
Fax: (812) 273-0786


Facebook: @bigoaksfriends

Instragam: @bigoaksconservation

Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge
1661 West JPG Niblo Road
Madison, IN 47250
Phone: (812) 273-0783

Fax: (812) 273-0786



Ignore the "do not enter", "no trespassing", and "private property" signs! New Big Oaks Office signs were put up. Follow the arrow and go straight! Go all the way to the stop sign in front of two large abandoned buildings and turn right. Take the first exit. Go past the railroads tracks and turn left. The building with the red roof is the office.

How to

Opening Hours

Public Use Season: 7am - 4:30pm Monday- Friday and 2nd and 4th Saturday's of each month from mid-April to mid-November. Refuge is closed on federal holidays.

Office Hours: 8am - 4:30pm Monday - Friday and 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month during Public Use Season.

Hunting Season: Dates in April, October and November vary from year to year. Please contact the refuge office for more information. Hunting map.

Dogs are welcome on a leash!

To enter the refuge, you MUST have watched the safety video and gotten a pass. Make your way to the Big Oaks Refuge Office, staff members will assist you. Once you have both watched the video and gotten a pass, staff will direct you to the East Entrance Gate. Please stop at the stop sign and trailer. A staff member will ask you for your pass and sign you in. 
When you are ready to leave, you MUST sign out at that same gate. You do not need to go back to the office once you leave. EXCEPT FOR DEER AND TURKEY HUNTING SEASON.

Refuge Rules


1. All visitors are required to attend a safety briefing, sign an acknowledgment of danger agreement, and obtain a public access permit before entering the refuge. Visitors must possess a valid daily pass at all times. All visitors must check into and out of the refuge in accordance with the provisions of their refuge permit.

2. A lottery system is used as needed during public use. Any activity by a refuge visitor that will result in an unfair advantage or improve one’s chance in the lottery is prohibited.


3. We prohibit trespassing into unassigned areas. In areas posted “Area Closed,” we prohibit entry. It is the responsibility of each person to know where they are at all times.


4. Pets must be kept on a leash, except hunting dogs used during refuge squirrel hunting season. All pets are required to wear a collar displaying the owner’s name, address, and telephone number.


5. Searching for, removing, or possessing objects of antiquity or historical significance or unexploded ordnance, munitions or any item(s) associated with the Army’s historical mission is prohibited.


6. Camping, fires, swimming, dumping, trapping, ATV’s, and littering are prohibited.


7. Vehicles and other modes of transportation are allowed only on designated roads. Vehicles are prohibited off road.


8. Disturbing or collecting plants or animals is prohibited. Wild edible food products (i.e., mushrooms, nuts, wild asparagus and berries) and shed deer antlers may be gathered for personal use during refuge public use days subject to the following condition: permit required. Mushrooms must be collected in a mesh bag.


9. Spotlighting wildlife, even without weapons, is prohibited.

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