Hunting at Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR

A mixed flock of ducks takes off from a marsh with trees in the background.

Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciate of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs.


Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy and traditional outdoor pastime deeply rooted in America’s heritage. As practiced on refuges, hunting does not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances is necessary for sound wildlife management. Hunting programs can promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on lands and waters in the Refuge System.

The Refuge offers several sites at our Hazard and Union ponds for waterfowl hunting during waterfowl season in accordance with the State of California regulations. Only ducks, white geese, coots and moorhens (gallinules) may be hunted. The daily quota of hunters shall be filled by those holding advance reservations, which are issued by the California Department of Fish & Game.  All hunters are required to check out at the Wister Check Station, report hunting results, and return their permits before leaving the area. 

Since daily bag and possession limits and hunting regulations can change from year to year, call 760-359-0577 or 760-348-5278 or visit for details. 

By October, all rules, regulations and any important information will be posted in our bulletin boards at our Hazard ponds and are a great place to stop at to get up-to-date hunting information for the refuge.

Requirements for obtaining an entry permit to hunt at the refuge:


  1. California Hunting License
  2. Prepaid Hunting Pass* (not required for junior hunters)
    • (Type A One-Day, Two Day or Season Pass for Type A Areas), OR
    • (Type A or B Season Pass for Northeastern Zone Type B Areas)
  3. Harvest Information Program (HIP) Validation
  4. California Duck Validation (not required for junior hunters)
  5. Federal Duck Stamp (required for all hunters age 16 or older) 


Click here to view the Refuge and Hunting Maps (1.34MB PDF)



It is the policy of Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge to accommodate all individuals.  We have two hunting blinds that are specifically constructed and available to accommodate hunters who are physically challenged.  If you have any questions concerning the Refuge's programs, or if you need any accommodation to enable you to participate in the Refuge's programs, please contact the Visitor Center at 1-760-348-5278