Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Region
 

Ridgefield NWR - Waterfowl Regulations

Hunting is allowed by permit only in accordance with Washington State and Federal regulations, and subject to the following special conditions:

Bag Limits

Only ducks, geese, and coots may be taken. All other species are protected.

Ridgefield NWR (Zone 1 of Goose Management Area 2A) will be closed to goose hunting upon reaching its harvest quota of dusky Canada geese.

Please, consult the Washington State Waterfowl Pamphlet for daily bag and possession limits

Hunt Days

Hunting is permitted on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays during the regular state waterfowl hunt season. Exceptions include any Federal holidays falling on those days. There are no early or late season dates open on the refuge. Check the Hunt Season Calendar when planning your hunt dates. Extreme weather conditions may require that the Refuge be temporarily closed to public access. In these rare instances, the entrance gate will remain closed and the Refuge Hunter Hotline, at (360) 571-2015, will be updated to reflect the closure. Reservations lost due to inclement weather, emergency closures, or events outside of Refuge control (e.g. government furloughs) will not be reassigned to subsequent hunt days.

Goose Season Dates

Please consult Goose Management Area 2A within the Washington State Waterfowl Pamphlet for specific detail about Refuge goose hunting. The Refuge hunts geese on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays within the date framework of Washington Goose Management Area 2A. Please note that the Refuge will be closed to hunting on any Federal holidays. Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge maintains its own dusky Canada goose quota and goose hunting will close if the predetermined quota of dusky Canada geese is reached or exceeded. If you are coming to the refuge specifically to hunt geese, please call the Refuge Hunter Hotline at (360) 571-2015 or call the State office at (360) 696-6211, to make sure the refuge goose season is still open. Duck hunting will continue on the refuge until the end of the season regardless of the Refuge's dusky Canada goose quota.

Waterfowl Hunt Permit Applications

Applications for advanced reservations for waterfowl hunting permits for the will be accepted for the following three hunt periods: Hunt 1: for hunt days in October/November - applications due September 15. Hunt 2: hunt days in December - applications due November 14. Hunt 3: hunt days in January - applications due December 15. Applications may be submitted anytime before their deadline. Applications must be received (not post marked) by closed of business on the due date. Check this website for Application Instructions, Application Forms, and Hunt Season Calendar for this waterfowl season. Applications for all hunts will be available on or about August 15.

Hunting Blind Information/Rules

The Ridgefield NWR provides a spaced-blind hunt area. There are two types of blinds available, pit blinds (in-ground) and box blinds (above-ground), follow this link to a map of the hunt area. There are a total of 10 pit blinds and 12 box blinds. Chest-waders are suggested for all blinds. Because all of the wetland units in the hunt area are dependent upon water being pumped in from the Columbia River, water levels may be low early in the the hunt season.


Blind 1A is a box blind that is wheelchair accessible and reserved for Disabled Hunters. Blind 8 is also wheelchair accessible, but is not specifically reserved for disabled hunters.


Blind 1 has a limited directional shooting area because of its proximity to house boats located at the Ridgefield Marina on Lake River. A screen has been placed around this blind to prevent shots being fired in the direction of the marina to the east.


Blind 15 is a pit blind located in a field and is therefore best suited for goose hunting.

Caution is advised at Blind 17, shots to the east from this blind have the potential of reaching the auto tour route. Blind 17 may be closed or relocated, if complaints persist about shot landing on the auto tour route.


Hunters selecting Blind 7 have the option of hunting either a pit blind or box blind located along North Tree Lake. The box blind offers hunting opportunity during lower water levels. The pit blind is adjacent to a field and offers goose hunting opportunities. Due to the close proximity of the blinds, parties are not allowed to split and occupy both blind locations.


The hunt party must go directly to the blind after making a blind selection. Hunters must stay in the blind, unless retrieving waterfowl. Hunting is only allowed from the assigned blind.


Blinds are only to be accessed from designated hunter parking lots (Lots A, B, C, D, E, & the checkstation) and from designated routes. Access to hunt blinds is not allowed from the Auto Tour Route or Kiwa Trailhead. Driving is only allowed on designated hunter access roads to access hunter parking lots. Driving is not allowed along Refuge sevice roads or on pedistrian hunting routes.


Each hunters must checkout through the checkstation and submit a harvest card for that day's hunt.


Hunters wishing to switch blinds must remove all gear from the field, report to the checkstation, check-out of the vacated blind, submit harvest cards for the vacated blind, check-in to the new blind, obtain new harvest cards for the new blind, and update the tags identifing 'blind available'/'blind occupied'. Hunters switching blinds will be subject to either the 10:00 a.m. lottery or any current waiting list. Hunters switching blinds are not given any selection priority over parties waiting for a hunting opportunity.


If you are hunting in either Blind 1 or Blind 1A, you will be required to park in Parking Lot A. There will be a chain-gate leading to the parking lot that you must open and close yourself to prevent non-hunters for entering the hunt area while you hunt and afterwards.


Hunters may not join a a hunt party after the blind has been assigned.


Violation of any State/Federal Regulation or Refuge specific rules is grounds for citation and/or exclusion from the Refuge's waterfowl hunt program.


Hunter Area Operations

Please remember to bring all the appropriate information with you such as your license, Migratory Waterfowl Stamp (Duck Stamp), and cash for your fee payment. To avoid delaying the blind selection process, hunters wishing to purchase a Season Pass should do so before blind selection begins. Reminder - Senior Passes will not be available for purchase at the checkstation, but are available at the refuge office during regular office hours.

(1) The Ridgefield NWR River "S" Unit gate and the gate leading into the hunt area will open at least two hours before legal shoot time. All hunters (reservations holders and guests, standby hunters), must be signed in at the checkstation no later than 1-3/4 hours before legal shoot time. Blind assignments/orientation start immediately at 1 3/4 hours before legal shooting time. Hunting reservations are valid until 1-3/4 hours before legal shooting time; late arriving reservation holders will be afforded no additional privilages in blind assignment. Two sets of sign-in sheets will be passed around prior to blind assignments, one set for reservation hunters and another set for standby hunters. Please be early to ensure that you have recorded your name on a sign-in sheet before 1-3/4 hours before shooting time. DO NOT sign in for individuals that are not present! Individuals arriving after 1 3/4 hours before shooting time (reservation holders, standbys, or late arriving individuals of a hunt party that is present) are not eligible to participate in the early blind assignment. Hunters arriving after 1 3/4 hours before legal shooting time (after the start of the orientation/blind assignment procedure) are subject to joining the 10 am lottery.

(2) At 1 3/4 hours before legal shooting time, the checkstation operator will gather the sign-in sheets containing only the names of individuals present at that time. Next, the checkstation staff will provide the hunters with a brief orientation including bag limits, season closures, and other information. Blind selection for hunters will begin after the orientation.

(3) Reservation hunters will select blinds first in order of their reservation number (lowest number selecting first). Hunters with reservations who select a blind will be allowed a maximum of two guests (youths, hunters, or non-hunters). Guests do not need a reservation, however they must check-in as described in Step 1 (above). No late-comers will be allowed to join in at the blind later on.

(4) After the reservation hunters have selected their blinds, unoccupied blinds will be filled by standby hunters. Standby hunter blind selection order will be determined by a lottery drawing conducted at the hunter checkstation. Standby hunters will also be allowed a maximum of two guests provided that the accompanying guests have also complied with Step 1 (above). Again, no later-comers will be allowed to join a party already hunting. All hunters will be required to check-in and check-out at the hunter checkstation. The lottery will be conducted by a ping-pong ball lottery. Each PARTY will be issued a number that coincides with a number ping-pong ball. Parties will be asked to self identify all members in the party, so that each party gets a single ball in the lottery. To keep the lottery odds fair, the self-identified party are binding through blind selection. This avoids individuals from merging into a party during the lottery and having improved odds of selection.

(5) Once a hunter has checked in, they are to directly make their way to their blind.

(6) Refilling of unoccupied blinds will only be allowed after 10:00 a.m. Hunters participating in the early blind assignment have the option of not selecting a blind during the early morning blind selection process and joining a waiting list for 10 am. Hunters on the waiting list have first selection at blinds that are available at and after the 10:00 a.m. refill time, based upon an order assigned at the early morning blind assignment. The waiting list hunters MUST be present at 10:00 am to maintain their position of the waiting list. Promptly at 10:00 a.m. a lottery will be conducted to establish the order of blind assignments for the remainder of the morning, hunters picked at 10:00 will be placed in behind the wait line from the early morning blind assignments. After the 10:00 lottery all additional arriving hunters will select blinds on a first-come, first-served basis behind the wait line.

(7) Failure to comply with any State/Federal regulation or specific Refuge rules is grounds for citation and/or exclusion from the Refuge's waterfowl hunting program.

Check-In/-Out Procedures

(1) The checkstation staff will check your license/stamps, collect your fee, and provide you with a harvest report card indicating the blind you have selected, and an optional Hunt Area Map. Once check-in is complete, you may proceed to your blind. Please note, that the harvest report card is also stamped as your reciept and must be with you while hunting.

(2) When you finish hunting, return your harvest report card at the checkstation. The staff may ask to see your ducks to verify identification.

(3) When checking-out during goose season, the staff will need to examine all geese harvested to confirm hunter compliance with regulations governing Canada goose harvest. Additionally, the staff will need to see a hunting licence, goose harvest card, and goose hunting permit issued by the State.

Recreation User Fees

A charge of $10.00 per blind or $8.00 per person (maximum blind capacity is 3) whichever is greater, will be collected at the checkstation. Holders of Golden Age Passport/Senior Pass and Golden Access Passports/Access Pass are entitled to a 50% discount off the recreation fee. These passes are available at the refuge office during regular office hours. The hunter information board mounted on the checkstation will have a chart containing additional user fee combinations.

Season passes are available for $100.00 and are valid for the entire waterfowl hunt season year. They may be purchased at the checkstation or at the refuge office. If you are hunting during the early morning hunt period, please let the checkstation staff know you would like to purchase a pass before blind selection begins. Season pass holders will be exempt from paying their recreation fee. Passes are not transferable and apply only to the holder of the card.

Youth hunters, 15 years of age or younger, are exempt from paying the recreation fee for hunting, however, recreation fees apply to any accompanying adults during the regular season. All hunting recreation fees are waived for Youth Hunt Day.

Dogs

The use of well trained retrievers is encouraged while hunting. Training and exercising your dog, however, is not allowed. Dogs must remain on a leash except when at the blind and must be under the control of its owner at all times.

Hunt Area Access

Access into the hunt area will be allowed during hunt days for the purpose of hunting only. Entering the hunt area for scouting, sight-seeing, and loitering is not permitted. This will ensure less disturbance for hunters during their hunting activities and to provide sanctuary and rest for the birds during non-hunt days. Access to hunt blinds on hunt days is permitted only from designated hunting routes and parking lots (Lots A, B, C, D, E, and the checkstation). Access to the hunt area is not allowed from the Auto Tour Route or Kiwa Trailhead.

The refuge staff will provide current hunt area information throughout the hunt season on this website and on the Hunter Hotline.

Weapons/Ammunition

Weapons must be unloaded except at blinds or while retrieving crippled birds. Only Federal and State-approved, non-toxic shot shells may be used. Please consult the Washington State Waterfowl Pamphlet for details about weapon capacity, maximum gauge, and non-toxic shot types. Hunters may not use or posses more than 25 shells per day.

Disabled Hunters

Two hunting blinds with wheelchair access are available (Blind 1A and Blind 8). Please notify the checkstation staff upon your arrival if you are a disabled hunter before early morning hunter registration begins. Blind 1A will be reserved exclusively for persons with permanent disabilities who either qualify under WAC 232-12-828 and possess a Disabled Hunter Permit from the State or possess an Access Pass/Golden Access Passport. Hunters possessing the Access Pass/Golden Access Passport additionally have additional benefits of reduced blind fees. Non-disabled hunters will only be allowed to use Blind 1A when accompanied by a disabled hunter. Blind 8 is not reserved but is available to any hunter on a first-come, first-served basis regardless of whether the hunter is disabled or not.

Injuries and Accidents

Any injuries and accidents occurring on the refuge must be reported immediately to the checkstation staff or to the Refuge Manager. Please, also promptly report any hazardous conditions requiring attention by refuge staff.

Hunter Hotline

Available anytime, please call the refuge hunter hotline number for the most up to date information about the hunt program. The number is (360) 571-2015.

Checkstaion Update - Avian Influenza Monitoring

Again, this season Ridgefield NWR may participate in a multi-agency monitoring program for avian influenza in migratory waterfowl. Details concerning the monitoring program are still developing. Refuge personnel may swab the cloaca of harvested waterfowl for cultures for laboratory analysis. The Refuge asks your cooperation in gathering these cultures for avian influenza testing.

Useful Links:

Waterfowl Hunting Home Page

Waterfowl Hunting Regulations

Waterfowl Reservation Applications

Waterfowl Hunting Reservation Application Form

Calendar of Waterfowl Hunting Days

Map of Waterfowl Hunting Unit (1.4 MB)

Waterfowl Hunting Weekly Reports

Summary Last Season

Youth Hunt Day

Information on Avian Influenza (http://www.wdfw.wa.gov/factshts/avian_flu.htm)

Washington State Waterfowl Regulations

Last updated: August 15, 2014