Kern National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Southwest Region




Kern NWR staff anticipates having enough habitat flooded to open free roam Units 2, 1A, and Space blinds 2,5, and ADA 1. This will provide habitat for a capacity of 46 hunters. There were 8 reservation issued.

Thank you for your patience and support, Kern NWR Staff.

Thank you for your patience and support, Kern NWR Staff.


Kern NWR Hunt Area Map

Updated Hunt Map November 2013

Auto Tour Route

The refuge auto tour route is a 6-mile all weather gravel road open daily from sunrise to sunset. Stopping is allowed any where along the tour route and three parking lots provide areas to stop and stretch. Please note that during the waterfowl hunting season from October to January, the Refuge Auto Tour Route is closed to uses other than hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Vehicles are permitted only on the tour route from sunrise to sunset. Maximum speed is 20 miles per hour. Hiking and photography are allowed along roads that lead off the tour route but be careful! Rattlesnakes are present on the Refuge.

Restrooms are located at the Refuge Headquarters and along the Refuge Auto Tour Route at parking lot 2. Potable water is available at the Refuge Headquarters. All other water is non potable.

Eleven numbered posts along the Route provide points of reference for the information provided in a pamphlet available at the Refuge Headquarters Office, Refuge kiosk, or can be mailed to interested parties upon request. The auto tour route pamphlet identifies and expounds on topics specific to the Refuge such as water delivery and associated water system, various habitats, wildlife, and habitat management.


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 Game 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 the 2012-2013 Waterfowl Hunt Season.

The Daily quota of hunters shall be filled first by those holding advance reservations, which are issued by the California Department of Fish and Game. 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 Game link above or contact the Refuge at 661-725-2767 or 559-655-4645. Previous day's hunt results can also be obtained from the hunter hotline at 661-725-6504 or you may refer to the Waterfowl Species Composition Report link located at the top of this page.

Youth Waterfowl Hunt, Saturday, February 4, 2012

On February 4, 2012, at the Kern National Wildlife Refuge, youth hunters age 15 and under, will have 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, 2011. 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. Other areas, but not Kern Refuge, are open to youth on Sunday, February 6, 2011; please refer to your 2010-2011 waterfowl regulation publication for more information.


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.

Last updated: December 3, 2013