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Hunting and Hunt Results

Ducks in FlightHunting is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage.  Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciate of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs.  As practiced on refuges, hunting and fishing do not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances are necessary for sound wildlife management. 

2015-2016 Waterfowl Hunting Update

The Kern NWR will open it's 2015-2016 waterfowl hunting season on December 19, 2015. The Refuge will have enough habitat flooded to provide hunters with the opportunity to get on. The following units will be open for hunting: 

Free Roam: Units 1A and 2

Space Blinds: 2, 5, 7, 10, 11, 14, and ADA 2

Hunter Capacity: 61 hunters (up from last years 46)

Number of Reservations: 10

Hunt Map: Hunt Map 2015-2016     


Please note one major change to the 2015 Junior Hunting Licence age increase to 18 years of age at the beginning of the license year (July 1), even if the license is purchased after July, 1. All hunters who are 16 years of age or older are still required to have a federal duck stamp. Also, due to the San Joaquin Air Quality Control Board Restrictions, camp fires are still banned in the staging area. Lastly Kern NWR allows overnight vehicle parking only, camping and trailers are still prohibited. For more information about the California Hunting Regulations please click on the following link at the bottom of the page under "Additional Information."


2016 Youth Waterfowl Hunting Update

The Kern NWR will be having its annual Youth Waterfowl Hunt on February 6, 2016. The Refuge will have new areas open for the youth hunt that were not open during the regular season. The following units will be open for hunting:

Free Roam: Units 2, 2A, and 1A.

Space Blinds: 7, 8, 10, 11, 14, and ADA 1.

Hunter Capacity: 74

Hunt Map: Youth Hunt Map 2016

Please note that in order to participate in the Youth Waterfowl Hunts, federal regulations require that hunters must be 15 years of age or younger and must be accompanied by an a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older.

To get on the "Call In" list contact us at 661-725-2767.

**Hunters With Reservations**

Due to the confusing wording used by the 2015-2016 California Hunting Regulations for Kern NWR, here is an official statement regarding blind and free roam capacities.

Adults (18 years or older) may supervise up to 2 minors.

Space Blinds: A reservation shall assure entry for up to 4 persons total. The following combinations are only allowed; 1 adult hunter, 2 adult hunters, 1 adult hunter and 2 juniors, 1 adult hunter and 2 nonshooters, 2 adult hunters and 2 juniors, 2 adult hunters and 2 nonshooters, or 4 adult hunters.

Free Roam: A reservation shall assure entry for up to 6 persons. The following combinations are only allowed; 1 adult hunter, 2 adult hunters, 1 adult hunter and 2 juniors, 1 adult hunter and 1 nonshooter, or 2 adult hunters and 4 juniors.


Waterfowl Hunting Overview 


The Kern National Wildlife Refuge has offered waterfowl hunting since 1960 and is the only public waterfowl hunt area in this portion of the Southern San Joaquin Valley. Hunting is permitted on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the waterfowl hunt season starting in October and ending in late January. Only ducks, geese, coots and moorhens may be hunted in accordance with the State of California Department of Fish and Wildlife Regulations. The Refuge has 17 hunting blinds spaced across 730 acres. Three of the blinds are wheelchair accessible or ADA compliant. A maximum of four hunters are allowed per blind. Kern Refuge also provides up to 1,867 acres of free roam hunt area. The maximum hunter density in this area in one hunter per 20 acres, for a total capacity of 126 hunters. Contact the Refuge for specific quota numbers assigned to free roam units.  


Special Information for Waterfowl Hunting


No purchases will be made at the Kern NWR check station. Please have your Federal Duck Stamp, Cal. Duck Validation, and Day or Season pass prior to coming to the refuge. The Daily quota of hunters shall be filled first by those holding advance reservations, which are issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Hunters with reservations must present them at the Hunter Check Station at the Refuge 2 1/2 hours before local shoot time but no later than 1 1/2 hours before shooting time. Vacancies occurring from no show reservation holders and from hunters leaving the area shall be filled according to the order established in the stand by drawing which occurs 2 hours before shoot time, the day of the hunt, and is performed at the Refuge Hunter Check Station. Hunters are permitted to enter only the assigned blind site or free roam unit for which the hunting permit is issued. A fee is required for all persons 16-years and older. All hunters are required to check out at the Refuge Hunter Check Station, report hunt results, and return their permits before leaving the area. For further information about hunting regulations, refer to the Department of Fish and Wildlife link above or contact the Refuge at 661-725-2767. Previous day's hunt results can also be obtained from the hunter hotline at 661-725-2767 and listen to the voice prompt for instructions. 


Youth Waterfowl Hunting 


Kern National Wildlife Refuge offers youth hunters age 15 and under, with an opportunity to hunt waterfowl after the regular waterfowl hunting season has closed. This special hunt is one of the most anticipated of the year and has been a highlight for young hunters at the Refuge for many years. The special hunts take place in the Southern San Joaquin, Southern California, and Balance of the State Zones. Youth hunters who are interested in participating in the special event may hunt wherever they have legal access, whether private or public lands. A non shooting adult age 18 or older must accompany the youth hunter. Many state wildlife areas and federal wildlife refuges will be open for hunting through the normal reservation system in addition to walk-on's.

To hunt the wildlife areas and refuges, apply using a one or five-choice waterfowl reservation application with the junior hunter’s hunting license number. Applications to hunt on the DFG’s wildlife areas and refuges must be received by January 18, 2014. Youth hunters who applied for regular season hunts using a season-long application must apply separately for these special hunts. Reservations are not needed at all areas - only the most popular fill. In addition to reservation holders, Kern Refuge is compiling the names of youth, along with the name of an accompanying adult. Names from this list will be called after reservation holders and before walk-on's. Names will be called in the order they were received at the Refuge. To add the name of a youth hunter to the list, contact the refuge at 661-725-2767. 



Depending upon water availability, a total of three wheelchair accessible blinds are available for disabled hunters. If these blinds have not been taken by reservation holders, the blinds will be filled by hunters meeting the applicable requirements and that participate in the lottery drawing held 2 hours before shoot time. If you have any questions concerning the Refuge's programs, please contact the Refuge at 661-725-2767. 


Additional Information


For more information regarding hunting regulations, shooting hours, daily bag limits, etc...please click on the following link for the 2015-2016 California Hunting Regulations

2014-2015 Waterfowl Hunt Species Composition Reports

 Week of:

 January  24, 2015 (PDF,1MB) 

 January  21, 2015 (PDF,1MB) 

 January  17, 2015 (PDF,1MB) 

 January  14, 2015 (PDF,1MB) 

 January  10, 2015 (PDF,1MB) 

 January 7, 2015 (PDF,1MB)

 January 3, 2015 (PDF, 1MB) 

 December 31, 2014 (PDF, 1MB)  

 December 27, 2014 (PDF,  1MB)

 December 24, 2014 (PDF, 1 MB)

 December 20, 2014 (PDF, 1 MB)

 December 17, 2014 (PDF, 1 MB) 

 December 13, 2014 (PDF, 1 MB) 

 December 10, 2014 (PDF, 1 MB)

 December 6, 2014 (PDF, 1 MB)

 November 29, 2014 (PDF,1 MB)    




Last Updated: Feb 08, 2016
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