Hunting and Hunt Results

2018 Ducks

Hunting 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. 


2021-2022 Waterfowl Season Update:

Due to extreme drought conditions, Kern National Wildlife Refuge was allocated significantly less water than last year. This reduction in water allocation will have a direct impact on the flooded habitat we can provide, and the hunt program.

Given the current water allocation, Kern NWR will not be able to have enough wetland acreage flooded to have the hunt program begin on October 23, 2021, the Southern San Joaquin Valley Zone opener. Therefore, Kern NWR will delay the hunt opener until November 20, 2021.

This delay will give Kern NWR the time to flood the acres needed to support healthy waterfowl habitat and a waterfowl hunt program. If you have any questions, please contact our office (see Contact Us link below). 

 

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. For authorized species check the State of California Department of Fish and Wildlife Regulations. The Refuge has a total of 23 hunting blinds, assigned ponds, and 2 wheelchair accessible or ADA compliant blinds spread throughout over 1000 acres of moist soil wetlands. A maximum of four hunters are allowed per blind. Kern Refuge also provides up to 1,953 acres of free roam hunt area. The maximum hunter density in this area in one hunter per 20 acres. Under ideal conditions when water is available, the refuge can provide hunting opportunities for up to 160 hunters. Contact the Refuge for specific quota numbers assigned to free roam units.

 

Youth Waterfowl Hunting  

Kern National Wildlife Refuge offers youth hunters age 16 and under on July 1, 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. Youth hunters who applied for regular season hunts using a season-long application must apply separately for these special hunts. 

 

Mobility Impaired Hunters   

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. 

 

Assigned Ponds

The Refuge will introduce Assigned Ponds in place of the 4B blinds (blinds 1, 2, 4, and 5). Assigned ponds will allow hunters to move around within the levees of the assigned pond and are not restricted to the island blinds. Hunting parties will be able to spread out throughout the assigned pond, or stay grouped up. There is no hunting within 100 feet from the assigned pond levees. For more information about hunting party combinations please scroll down to the Hunting Party Combinations section.

 

Licenses, Reservations, Stamps, and Regulations 

No purchases will be made at the Kern NWR check station. To hunt on Kern NWR please have the following licenses and validations: Hunting License, Federal Duck Stamp (required for hunters over the age of 16), California Duck Validation (not required for junior license holders), Hunting Information Program Validation (no cost), and Type-A Hunting Pass (either one day pass, two day pass, or season pass), junior hunters are exempt from permit requirements. 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 their reservation at the Hunter Check Station on the Refuge 2 1/2 hours before local shoot 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. It is up to the hunter to know when shoot time is, it's the law. Hunters are permitted to enter only the assigned blind site, assigned pond, or free roam unit for which the hunting permit is issued. All hunters are required to check out at the Refuge Hunter Check Station, report hunt results, and return their permits before leaving the area. 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. 

For Kern waterfowl hunting regulations click the link Kern Waterfowl Hunt Regulations  

 

Hunting Party Combinations 

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, 3 adult hunters, 4 adult hunters, 1 adult hunter and 2 juniors, 2 adult hunters and 2 juniors, 3 adult hunters and 1 junior, 1 adult hunter and 2 nonshooters, 1 adult hunter and 3 nonshooters, 2 adult hunters and 2 nonshooters. 

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.

Assigned Ponds: Assigned ponds will allow hunters to move around within the levees of the assigned pond and are not restricted to the island blinds. Hunting parties will be able to spread out throughout the assigned pond, or stay grouped up. There is no hunting within 100 feet of the assigned pond levees. Only one hunting party will be allowed in the assigned ponds. A reservation shall assure entry for up to 4 persons total. The following combinations are only allowed; 1 adult hunter, 2 adult hunters, 3 adult hunters, 4 adult hunters, 1 adult hunter and 2 juniors, 2 adult hunters and 2 juniors, 3 adult hunters and 1 junior, 1 adult hunter and 2 nonshooters, 1 adult hunter and 3 nonshooters, 2 adult hunters and 2 nonshooters.    

 

Additional Information

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

 

Waterfowl Surveys

Biweekly ground surveys are conducted at the Kern NWR. Below is the latest data from the waterfowl surveys. The top species surveys were Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Green-winged, and Wigeon respectively.

Kern Waterfowl Surveys:

Date

Refuge

Waterfowl

9/14/2020

Kern

1,040

9/29/2020

Kern

4,553

10/14/2020

Kern

6,204

10/26/2020

Kern

10,238

11/9/2020

Kern

12,492

11/23/2020

Kern

17,820

12/11/2020

Kern

26,029

1/7/2021

Kern

26,041

1/21/2021

Kern

25,347

 

 

2020-2021 Waterfowl Hunting (Updated 1/19/2021)  

Free Roam: 1A, 2, and 2A

Space Blinds: 11, 17, 20, 26, 27, ADA 1, and ADA 2

Assigned Ponds: 2, 18, 22, 25

Hunter Capacity: 98

Number of Reservations: 10

Hunt MapWaterfowl Hunt Map 1.19.2021   

 

2020-2021 Youth Waterfowl Hunting

The Kern NWR will be having its annual Youth Waterfowl Hunt on February 6, 2021. 

This hunt will be through reservations and lottery draw. If Jr's are unsuccessful in drawing a reservation, they can still get on via the lottery draw the morning of the hunt. Apply for a reservation through the CDFW website

(https://wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Waterfowl#877770-reservations--passes). The following units will be open for hunting:

 

Free Roam Units: 1A, 2, 2A, 5A, and 5B 

Space Blinds: 6, 11, ADA 1, and ADA 2

Assigned Ponds: N/A   

Hunter Capacity: 110

Hunt Map: JR Waterfowl Hunt Map 2020-2021 

Please note that in order to participate in the Youth Waterfowl Hunts, federal regulations require that hunters must be 17 years of age or younger and must be accompanied by an a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older.

 

2020-2021 Veterans and Active Military Personnel Waterfowl Hunting

The Kern NWR will be having a Veterans and Active Military personnel waterfowl hunt on February 13, 2021. This hunt is for Veterans and Active Military only, and hunters will have to provide a valid identification to show proof of their military status. A Hunting License, Federal Duck Stamp, California Duck Validation, Hunting Information Program Validation (no cost), and Type-A Hunting Pass (either one day pass, two day pass, or season pass) are still required for this hunt. Veterans and Active Military may be accompanied by a non-military person (non-shooter), but the non-military person cannot hunt or posses a method of take. For more information click on the following link.  Veterans and Active Military Personnel 

This hunt will be through reservations and lottery draw. If a hunter is unsuccessful in drawing a reservation, they can still get on via the lottery draw the morning of the hunt. Apply for a reservation through the CDFW website

CDFW Waterfowl Hunting Reservations  The following units will be open for hunting:

 

Free Roam Units: 1A, 2, 2A, 5A, and 5B  

Space Blinds: 6, 11, ADA 1, and ADA 2

Assigned Ponds: N/A     

Hunter Capacity: 110

Hunt Map: Veterans Waterfowl Hunt Map 2020-2021  

 

 

2020-2021  Waterfowl Hunt Species Composition Reports

October 24, 2020

October 28, 2020

October 31, 2020

November 4, 2020

November 7, 2020

November 11, 2020

November 14, 2020

November 18, 2020

November 21, 2020

November 28, 2020

December 2, 2020

December 5, 2020

December 9, 2020

December 12, 2020

December 16, 2020

December 19, 2020

December 26, 2020

December 30, 2020

January 2, 2021

January 6, 2021

January 9, 2021

January 13, 2021

January 16, 2021

January 20, 2021

January 23, 2021

January 27, 2021

January 30, 2021

February 6, 2021_Jr Hunt

February 13, 2021 Veterans Hunt

2019-2020  Waterfowl Hunt Species Composition Reports

 2019-2020 Hunt Composition(Breakdown of total hunters, total waterfowl, and averages for each blind/unit)