Hunting on the Sacramento River NWR

This webpage is specific for Sacramento River NWR....

Waterfowl Hunting <-- click here for information about Waterfowl Hunting at Sacramento NWR Complex


General Overview Maps

Sacramento River NWR Hunting Access Map  <-- click here for an overview map of areas open to hunting
Unit Brochures/Maps <-- click here for detailed brochures/maps each river unit (with regulations).
Sacramento River NWR Brochure <-- click here for overview brochure/map of areas open to all public use.
- Visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website for information on some of the neighboring units on the Sacramento River. *Please note that some of the regulations can be different on their properties.


UPDATES 2023-24 (2024-25 TBD)

  • ALERTS:  no alerts at this time

  • Butte City Bridge - starting March 14, 2022, CalTrans began construction on the new Butte City Bridge at the Sul Norte and Codora Units.  A new bridge and causeway is being constructed adjacent to the existing structures, after which the old structures will be demolished.  The Sul Norte and Codora Units will continue to be open to the public through the current parking lot, although road and trail access may be temporarily re-routed to accommodate construction activity.  The SAFETY ZONE adjacent the bridge has been expanded by 150 feet during the construction project - please follow all signs in the field.
  • Dairy Fire - the Sacramento River NWR Safety Closure due to the 2021 Dairy Fire burn area is re-opened to public access.  The area that was closed in June 2021 due to the Dairy Fire has been re-opened after hazard tree removal has been completed.  The Dairy Fire affected the southern portion of the La Barranca Unit, the western portion of the Todd Island Unit, and the northern portion of the Mooney Unit.  Please continue to use caution when visiting this area as tree health may continue to change over the upcoming months.
  • Dogs: no dogs are permitted for use in hunting any big game.
  • ATTENTION: as of July 1, 2015, lead slugs are no longer permitted on Sacramento River NWR units and State Wildlife Areas for use in hunting big game. For more information about Non-lead Ammunition in California, visit the CDFW's website (look under Frequently-Asked Questions).  


General Information

  • The Sacramento River NWR is a Type-C hunt area
  • No recreation fees
  • No hunter check stations
  • No hunter quotas 


Regulations at Sacramento River NWR:

All Units Are Different! - Each Unit has different regulations and boundaries. Please consult the INDIVIDUAL UNIT BROCHURES to be familiar with hunting boundaries and regulations.  To see which units you might be interested in, look at the General Hunting Access Map for the Sacramento River NWR.

GENERAL REGULATIONS (remember, all units are different, see above link to unit maps/regulations):

  • Hours - The units are day use only, open 2 hours before legal sunrise to 1-1/2 hours after legal sunset. Only gravel bar access is allowed at other hours.
  • Foot/Boat Access - Seven Units have foot access through parking areas. 
    • Four of these units can be accessed for hunting via the parking area (Capay, Sul Norte, Drumheller, and Drumheller North). Most units must be accessed by boat for hunting.
    • Bogg's Bend has foot access through a parking area on adjacent California Department of Fish and Wildlife property.
  • Hunting - Hunting is allowed only in designated areas for authorized species from August 15 to May 31.
  • Dogs - dogs are welcome but must be kept on leash except for authorized hunting activities under the immediate control of a licensed hunter. Dogs are no longer permitted to be used while deer hunting on the Sacramento River NWR.
  • Camping - Camping is allowed only on gravel bars for up to 7 days during a 30 day period. Camping is prohibited on other refuge lands. No overnight stay in parking lots.
  • Littering - Be a land steward and take out what you bring in. It is unlawful to litter!
  • Bicycles are permitted on Rio Vista, Pine Creek, Capay, Sul Norte, Packer, and Drumheller between May 15 through August 15 on designated trails. Visit the Bicycles info page for more information.
  • Firearms - Rifles and pistols are prohibited. Shotguns and archery equipment allowed during hunting season, in hunting areas only. Firearms are not allowed in the parking areas of the Rio Vista and Pine Creek Units - hunting access is only by boat. Target shooting is not permitted. No crossbows.
  • Ammunition - Lead ammunition is not permitted. Learn more about non-lead ammunition in California on CDFW's website (look under Frequently-Asked Questions).
  • Fires - Fires are prohibited except for portable gas stoves on gravel bars.
  • Horses - Horses are prohibited.
  • Motorized Vehicles - Motorized vehicles are prohibited. Mobility impaired hunters should consult refuge manager for allowed conveyances.
  • Flooding - Units are prone to flooding. Some county roads may close during flooding events. Do not go through closed areas to access the refuge. "Road closed" means the road is closed!


Bag Limits

Hunting Seasons and Bag Limits  <-- Click here to find information on Hunting Seasons and Bag Limits, including....

- Big game, waterfowl and upland game season dates
- Big game, waterfowl and upland game bag limits
- Special junior/youth hunting season dates


Frequently-Asked Questions

FAQ AND SAFETY TIPS <-- Click here to find information about....

• scroll down to the Sacramento River NWR section for river-specific FAQs


Junior & Youth Hunting

Junior and Youth Hunting  Click here to see our Sacramento NWR Complex Junior and Youth Hunting page and find our more about.....

- Junior and Youth hunting opportunities at Sacramento NWR Complex
- Junior and Youth hunting permits and regulations
- The Codora Unit offers hunting only for Junior Hunters


Mobility-Impaired Hunting

Mobility-impaired Hunting  Click here to see our Sacramento NWR Complex Mobility-impaired Hunting Opportunities page and learn more about....

- Hunting blinds and reservations available for mobility-impaired hunters, including Rio Vista and Sul Norte units
- Reservation Application for Rio Vista and Sul Norte mobility-impaired hunting blinds
- Admission procedures for mobility-impaired hunters at Sacramento, Delevan, Colusa and Sutter NWR

A "mobility impaired hunter” is defined as a person who has been issued one of the following:

  1. A Department of Motor Vehicles Mobility Impaired License Plate
  2. A Permanent Parking Placard Identification Card
  3. A “Mobility Impaired Veteran” License Plate
  4. A valid “Mobility Impaired Persons Motor Vehicle Hunting License” (FG Form 1460)

 **The blue plastic “Mobility Impaired Parking Placard” may not be substituted for the required identification which bears the name of the mobility impaired person. Mobility impaired hunters must provide the registration certificate for DMV issued mobility impaired license plates.   



Unit Maps and Recreation Info  <-- Click here to see our Sacramento River NWR Unit Maps and Recreation Info page and find out more about.....

- Information about how to access the Sacramento River NWR units
- Information about hunting, hiking and biking opportunities
- Maps for the individual Sacramento River NWR units, with regulations


What species can I take?

 Migratory Game Birds

Hunting of goose, duck, coot, moorhen, dove, and snipe is permitted on designated areas of the Sacramento River NWR in accordance with state regulations. Water areas (sloughs, streams, ponds, etc) within the Sacramento River NWR that are open to migratory bird hunting include (amount of water can vary on weather conditions): Sul Norte and Capay.

Information on Dove:

See Sac River NWR Hunting Access Map/Hunting & Fishing Regulations

Goose, duck, coot, moorhen and snipe hunting is permitted on the Sacramento, Delevan, Colusa, and Sutter NWRs. Visit the waterfowl hunting page for more information.

Big Game Hunting

Hunting of black-tailed deer and feral pigs is permitted on designated areas of the Sacramento River NWR in accordance with State regulations.

  • See Sac River NWR Hunting Access Map/Hunting & Fishing Regulations
  • Dogs are no longer permitted to be used while deer hunting.
  • Shotguns and archery equipment are permitted during the hunting season in hunting areas only, but must be transported "unloaded" (meaning no ammunition in the chamber or magazine) through safety zones from the parking to hunting areas. 
  • Rifles, pistols, and crossbows are prohibited.

Visit the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife's website for the following information: 

  • Deer Hunting 
    • Map of zones on the CDFW's website
    • The Refuge Units fall in the following zones: C4 (north of Highway 162, Sul Norte Unit and north) and D3 (south of Highway 162, Codora Unit and south)
  • Feral Pig Hunting (including tag return map, guidelines, etc) (feral pigs have been confirmed on the Sacramento River NWR's northern and some central units)
Upland Game Hunting

Hunting of pheasant, turkey, and quail on designated areas of the Sacramento River NWR is permitted in accordance with state regulations. 

Pheasant hunting is also permitted on Sacramento, Delevan, Colusa, and Sutter NWR. Visit the waterfowl hunt page for more information on hunting on those refuges.

Visit the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife's webpage for the following information:

See Sac River NWR Hunting Access Map/Hunting & Fishing Regulations


Be Safe!

Exercise caution at all times! Pond and river bottoms can make wading hazardous. Be familiar with the Sacramento River's banks and underwater hazards. Be aware of the locations of nearby hunters and visitors when shooting.

This is a natural and wild area, be alert! You may encounter ticks, mosquitoes, wasps, yellow-jackets, bees, poison oak, stinging nettle, poison hemlock, rattle snakes, feral pigs, and mountain lions.

Mountain lions have been sighted on Sacramento River NWR. Immediately report all encounters or attacks by calling the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's (CDFW) 24-hour dispatch center (916) 445-0045 and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Sacramento NWR Complex at (530) 934-2801.