Ridgefield NWR - Waterfowl Regulations
Hunting is allowed by permit only in accordance with Washington
State and Federal regulations, and subject to the following special
Only ducks, geese, and coots may be taken. All other species are
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
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
The current 3-year running average population of dusky Canada geese
remains below 10,000. By prescription in the Pacific Flyway Manatement
Plan for the Dusky Canada Goose management agencies from Alaska
to Oregon are initiating many management efforts to safeguard dusky
Canada goose populations. At Ridgefield, Blinds 17, 18, and 19 will
be closed to goose hunting this season. A review of historical data
identifies that approximately 45% of dusky Canada geese shot on
the Refuge came from these three blinds. These blinds will remain
open during the regular season for duck hunting.
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
16. Hunt 2: hunt days in December - applications due November 15.
Hunt 3: hunt days in January - applications due December 16. 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
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
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
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.
(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
(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.
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 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.
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.
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.