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Waterfowl General Regulations

Please read the following general regulations for hunting waterfowl and pheasants at the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.  Site specific regulations and maps are available at the main kiosk of Lower Klamath Refuge or at the check station on the Tule Lake Refuge.




A yearly recreation pass is required for all hunting on the Tule Lake and Lower Klamath Refuges. Hunters may obtain this pass on-line at as well as in person at the Refuge Headquarters and the Tule Lake hunter check station. Other local vendors are available, please contact the Visitor Center at (530) 667-2231 for specific locations.

Annual Recreation Passes are $25.00 (an additional service fee may apply on-line); $12.50 for Golden Age, Golden Access Passport holders, and full time students.  Youth hunters 15 years & under are FREE.

All fees collected are are used to improve the Klamath Basin NWRC hunt program. Please note: Passes must be carried at all times while in the field.


 Licenses & Permits        

All hunters must carry valid state hunting licenses and all required state and federal stamps or validations and refuge passes. During the first two days of waterfowl season, all hunters 16 years of age or older must be drawn and carry a valid entry permit for the controlled unit in which they are hunting. Hunters under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a permitted adult.  


Huntable Species

Only geese, ducks (including mergansers), coots, moorhens, snipe, and pheasants may be hunted on the Refuges. All other wildlife species are protected.

Refuge Hours   

The public is allowed on the refuges only during the times posted at refuge entrances. Camping and overnight parking are not permitted on the refuges. However, several campground/trailer parks are located nearby.


Shooting Hours

Hunting is permitted 7 days per week during the normal state regulated season. Legal waterfowl shooting hours end at 1:00 PM on the Tule Lake Refuge and the California portion of Lower Klamath Refuge. Waterfowl shooting hours for the Oregon portion of Lower Klamath correspond to state regulations. Pheasant hunting hours on all refuge areas correspond to state regulations. After Dec. 15, waterfowl hunting will be permitted all day on Wednesdays and Saturdays.



Boats may be used on all areas open to waterfowl hunting. Air-thrust and inboard water-thrust (jet) boats are prohibited. Unit 6B-1 on Lower Klamath Refuge is motor-less, or electric motors only areas until December 1st. Starting December 1st, unit 6B-1 will be open to motorboat use. Boat launching is not permitted after 1:00 PM. State lighting requirements are enforced by refuge officers.

For your safety, it is advised anyone using layout style boats or kayaks to hunt from should use head lamps or other lighting so they may be seen by motorized boaters in motor hunt units. 


Retrieving Zones            

Retrieval zones are NO hunt zones. Possession of firearms in retrieving zones is prohibited, except unloaded firearms may be taken through the zones when necessary to reach hunting areas. Decoys may not be set in retrieving zones. Restrictions apply to both waterfowl and pheasant hunting.


Access Routes  

It is illegal to shoot from or across any access route or parking area. Motor vehicles are allowed only on designated access routes. It is illegal for hunters to carry loaded firearms on hunter access routes open to motor vehicles. Some roads may be closed during parts of the season due to weather and/or bad road conditions.



Waterfowl hunters may drive off access routes on both Tule Lake and Lower Klamath Refuges to set out or pick up decoys and equipment only; hunters are required to park in designated parking areas unless otherwise posted except in the Oregon Straits. Due to the variety in habitat and weather conditions, driving off access routes is at your own risk. The Refuge takes no responsibility for damage to vehicles or equipment.

Vehicle access is NOT permitted on dikes unless the dike is marked open to vehicle traffic.


Personal Property          

All decoys, boats, and other personal property must be removed from waterfowl hunt areas by 2:30 PM and from the refuges at the close of each day. Hunters are responsible for removing all trash including shot shell hulls when leaving hunting areas.


 Spaced Blind /Check Station Procedures (Tule Lake NWR)

 You must check in and be drawn to hunt the blind site areas, Frey's Island or Sump 1B on the Tule Lake Refuge.  Line up for the check station takes place at the County Road 103 entrance and let in time is at 4:30 a.m.. At the check station you will be required to fill out a party card with the name and city/state of each person in your party, parties may consist of 4 adult hunters and 2 junior hunters or 2 non-hunters; please be prepared to show your recreation pass, hunting license and duck stamps.  Staff allow 30 minutes for check in before conducting the draw. Sump 1B and the Frey's Island areas are drawn first with field blinds immediately following. Hunters may not combine parties after the draw is completed.  Hunters may choose a blind or change a blind up to 6:30 a.m., no additional parties or changes after this time.  Each hunting party is provided a harvest card which is to be filled out and turned in to the check station at the end of the hunting day.  Parties who do not return the harvest card will automatically be drawn last their next hunting day.

Rules for blind sites are as follows: no more than one party per hunting site; each party is required to actively hunt using waterfowl decoys; parties must set up and hunt with in a 200 foot radius of the post that marks the site.  No loaded firearms are allowed outside this area.  For areas with no specific site posted, hunters must pick a hunting spot and keep within 200 foot radius, no loaded firearms outside of this area.

Vehicles are allowed in all of the blind area to drop off and pick up hunters and equipment only, hunters must park in their designated parking area.  Please follow the directional stakes to your blind area, as a reminder, driving into hunt fields is at your own risk, the Refuge takes no responsibility for damage to vehicles or equipment.



All accidents and injuries occurring on the refuges must be immediately reported to the refuge manager: Klamath Basin NWR's, 4009 Hill Road, Tulelake, CA 96134. Phone (530)-667-2231


Weapons and Ammunition        

No person may possess any weapon or ammunition in the field that may not be legally used for taking waterfowl or pheasants on these refuges. Nontoxic shot must be used to harvest ALL hunted species including ducks, geese, coots, moorhens, snipe, and pheasant on the Klamath Basin Refuges. Alcohol use or possession of alcoholic beverages while hunting is prohibited.


Hunter-made Blinds     

Only portable blinds and temporary blinds built of natural vegetation are permitted. Digging or pit blind construction in fields is not permitted.



The refuge has a list of commercial hunting guides authorized to conduct guided hunts on the Refuges. No other guides are allowed to conduct commercial business on the Refuges.  Permitted Guides


Mobility Impaired Hunters        

To qualify for blinds for mobility impaired hunters, you must be registered for one of the following: 1) a state DMV issued disabled license plate or disabled veteran license plate. 2) a permanent parking placard identification card or 3) a mobility impaired motor vehicle hunting license.  Hunters must show proof of registration information at the Visitor's Center either at the time of reservation or when picking up the blind permit.

The Refuge Complex currently offers only one field blind for hunters with mobility impairments on the Tule Lake Refuge.  This blind is available by reservation only and may be reserved for no more than 2 days in a 7 day period.  Hunters with reservations must check in the day prior to the hunt to receive their blind permit. Reservations and additional information may be obtained by calling the Refuge Visitor's Center at (530)667-2231.  Additional mobility impaired hunting opportunities for this area are offered at Modoc National Wildlife Refuge in Alturas, CA; Miller Island Wildlife Area near Klamath Falls, Oregon; and Shasta Valley Wildlife Area in Yreka, CA.  

Our Refuges cover a variety of habitats which include rough, uneven terrain, deep waters, dense stands of bulrushes (tules), stubble fields, ditches, and others. Rainfall can make road and field conditions muddy and slippery, making them more difficult to negotiate. Hunting difficulty varies by area and hunters should examine their own abilities and limitations before using the refuges.  Consult the hunt program coordinator for suggestions on hunting the area safely.

Last Updated: Oct 31, 2016
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