The nation’s first waterfowl refuge, Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The importance of Roosevelt’s vision is apparent every year, when as many as 500,000 ducks and 50,000 geese visit. The refuge offers a variety of hunting opportunities, including hunting over fields and water. Waterfowl and pheasant hunting occur seven days a week during the normal California and Oregon state seasons. Waterfowl shooting ends every day at 1 p.m. on the California portion of the refuge. Opening weekend hunts are under a draw-permit system. When hunting is good, average bags range from three to four ducks. There are duck hunting guides with licenses who operate on the refuge, and this can be a good way for hunters to familiarize themselves with the many hunting options and most productive areas. The refuge offers youth and women’s hunting days during the season.
Description of Lower Klamath Hunt Area
Lower Klamath & Tule Lake Habitat Conditions 2022
Description of the Area
Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge is located 25 miles south of Klamath Falls, Oregon. The Refuge straddles the OR/CA state line and is open to waterfowl and pheasant hunting. The majority of the Refuge is in California and offers a mix of marsh hunting for both boat-in and walk-in hunters and field hunting for geese and pheasant in grain stubble and areas of standing grain. Approximately 5000 acres of harvested grain fields in the Oregon portion of the Refuge is known as the Oregon Straits Unit. It is open to both waterfowl and pheasant hunting with goose hunting the primary pursuit. Hunting is 7 days per week during the general state season, however, waterfowl shoot time ends at 1:00 pm on the California portion of the Refuge. Opening weekend hunts on both California and Oregon portions of Lower Klamath Refuge are under a draw permit system.
Note: A Refuge Recreation Pass is required for hunting on Lower Klamath Refuge. See the general hunt regulations for more information.
Ducks are the most commonly hunted species on Lower Klamath Refuge. Hunting success is usually excellent to good the first weekend of the season with good hunting after that. Although most of the units are open to motor boats, some motor-less and walk in areas are also available. Decoy hunting with a trained retrieving dog is strongly recommended. Geese are also taken in the marsh units (Canada, white-front, snow, and cackler) but usually as an unexpected bonus. Primary species taken are: mallard, pintail, teal, wigeon, gadwall, and shoveler.
The Oregon portion of Lower Klamath Refuge, known as the Straits Unit, is primarily grain stubble hunting for geese with some ducks taken early in the season or late November/December when some of the fields are flooded. Hunting generally improves during windy weather providing some excellent late season hunting. Decoys are essential for a successful hunt in the Straits Unit stubble fields.
Goose hunting in the grain field units of the California portion ranges from good to fair and varies greatly from year to year. Field units with standing grain are most popular producing some excellent Canada and white-front hunting early in the season and some good Canada hunting after Christmas. Interior field units can also produce some good but sporadic mallard hunting as a bonus. Visit our Waterfowl Hunting Page for more information.
Marsh units containing permanent and seasonal wetland vegetation are great areas for hunting ducks, primarily dabbling duck, but divers and geese are taken in these units as well.
Pheasant hunting can be good on the California portion of Lower Klamath. The hunt area primarily consists of grain and upland fields with some intermixed wetlands depending on weather conditions. All pheasants on the refuge are wild birds and can be difficult to hunt, a well trained upland dog is highly recommended. Hunting times and limits follow state regulations, please check your regulation booklets as these may be different between California and Oregon. Blaze orange is required on this refuge to hunt pheasants, please see the general regulations for specifics. Visit our Pheasant Hunting Page for more information.
Klamath Basin Refuge Complex is pleased to offer several special hunts for the education of our youth. These hunts are held on both the California and Oregon portions of the Complex. Visit our Special Hunt Programs site for more information.