Hunting - San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge
Woman dressed warmly in camouflage and standing in marsh reeds aims a shotgun into the air

San Bernard NWR is known for the variety of birds that use this refuge throughout the year, from nesting terns and herons in the spring to migrating warblers in the fall. Among these birds is a large population of waterfowl, including puddle ducks and snow geese. San Bernard NWR offers both general and special permit hunts for waterfowlers who come to hunt these birds. The general hunt areas can be accessed only by boat, while the permit hunt is walk-in. Because many hunters don't want to carry decoys, they often hunt by pass shooting. For hunters who have taken the time to learn the refuge, pass shooting can be an extremely effective tactic. Each fall, there can be a lot of ducks and geese using the refuge, but the hunting is highly dependent on their daily flight patterns. There are nearly always lots of snow geese, but they can be extremely wary. They are most often taken incidentally by hunters hunting the many puddle duck species on the refuge.

Sargent Waterfowl Hunt Area  

Please note - These hunts are depending on water availability.  If prolonged drought conditions continue and we have no water in the Pentagon Marsh hunt areas, the drawing for Permit Hunts may be postponed until we have sufficient water.  Check the website as the regular season draws near for further information.  

The Sargent Permit Waterfowl Hunt area will be opened for hunting during the regular season beginning November 5, 2022.  Permits will enable the applicant and up to three additional hunters to hunt from 30 minutes before sunrise to 12:00 noon on the two days (Saturday and Wednesday) for which the permit is issued.  Eighty permits for a two day hunt will be issued for the 2022/2023 waterfowl season. Each permit is $45.00.


To apply for the hunt, fill out the Waterfowl Lottery Application below, elements 1-6 and submit the application via email to between September 1 and September 30.  We will hold the drawing on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 at 09:00 AM.  We will fill slots in the order applicants are drawn with priority given to the week preference.  You may only apply once.  You must provide an email address, as all permits will be issued by email. 

Please utilize the Sargent Unit Permit Waterfowl Hunt Regulations & Map to identify your area preferences.  Due to the ease of access, we will give priority for Area #1 to those with limited mobility.  All successful applicants will be notified as placements are made and the fee requested.  Payments must be made by calling (979) 964-3639 and providing checking account information for electronic processing or credit card / debit card.  Upon receipt of the fee, your permit will be approved and emailed.  This permit must be printed, signed and be in hand while on the refuge.  Only one permit will be issued per applicant.  The permit holder must be present and included in the hunt party.   

Stand By Hunters - Permits remaining unfilled, will be filled on a first come, first served basis by calling the San Bernard NWR Field Office (979) 964-3639 beginning the Thursday of the hunt week at 8:00 AM.     

Permits will be issued for the following dates:  

November 5 and 9, 2022

November 12 and 16, 2022

November 19 and 23, 2022

December 10 and 14, 2022

December 17 and 21, 2022

December 24 and 28, 2022

December 31, 2022 and January 4, 2023 

January 7 and 11, 2023

January 14 and 18, 2023

January 21 and 25, 2023


Other Areas open for Waterfowl Hunting on San Bernard NWR

The refuge is open for waterfowl hunting only in designated areas, which includes ducks, geese and coots.  See the San Bernard NWR Waterfowl Hunting Regulations for refuge-specific information on hunting the designated areas below.

The refuge is open for early teal and regular waterfowl seasons, in accordance with Texas State Regulations. No fees are charged and no permits are required for hunting the Salt Bayou, Smith Marsh or Cedar Lakes Waterfowl Hunt Areas. The Sargent Permit Waterfowl Hunt is a lottery hunt that takes place in Pentagon Marsh off of FM 457.

  • Approximately 6,700 acres are open for hunting in the Salt Bayou, Smith Marsh and Cedar Lakes Waterfowl Hunt Areas, which can be reached by boat.  
  • The Sargent Permit Waterfowl Hunt provides 8 hunt areas within Pentagon Marsh. Selected hunters are permitted to hunt the Saturday and following Wednesday for which they are selected. 


Hunt Information for other refuges on Texas Mid-coast Refuge Complex

Big Boggy NWR - Waterfowl Hunting Regulations

Brazoria NWR - Waterfowl Hunting Regulations

Helpful Information:
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department