Woman dressed warmly in camouflage and standing in marsh reeds aims a shotgun into the air

Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge was established to restore and conserve wetlands at the terminus of the Carson River and today offers some of the best waterfowl hunting in Nevada. To maintain the wetlands, water is diverted from the Carson River and directed through a complex system of ditches to flood the marsh and fill ponds. The marsh and ponds provide important migration habitat for many duck species. These shallow wetlands also provide good hunting for ducks and swans, with opportunities to walk-in or use boats. Because the refuge is at almost 4,000 feet in elevation, the ponds can be frozen in December and January. As many as 100,000 ducks can be on the refuge in the fall, and hunters can expect to see a variety of species, such as gadwall, green-winged teal, widgeon, redhead and canvasback.


General waterfowl season usually runs from the second week in October through the third weekend in January. A late snow goose season is often held from mid-February to early March. Check NV state regulations prior to your hunt visit. A state-wide waterfowl hunt day for youth aged 10 - 16yrs is held two weeks prior and two weeks after general waterfowl season.

  • There is no check station, permit or fee to hunt at Stillwater NWR. 
  • All state and Federal migratory bird seasons, rules and bag limits are in effect. Non-toxic shot is mandatory. 
  • Hunting is only permitted north of Division Road. 


Boating is not allowed in any wetland unit outside of waterfowl hunting season, except non-motorized boating on Swan Check Lake. During the October - January waterfowl hunting season, boating is only allowed in open units north of Division Road. Airboats need a Special Use Permit.

Airboat operators are required to obtain a free special use permit from the Stillwater NWR office prior to use. You can download the permit application here, or or call (775)423-5128 Mon - Fri. NOTE: Airboats are not allowed on the water until 1 hour after shoot time, on opening day only. No pre-hunt season scouting by boat is allowed.


Hunting on Stillwater NWR is allowed during state regulated seasons throughout the year for big game, small game, upland and migratory birds. Please check Nevada state hunting regulations and license, permit and tag requirements before planning a hunt trip. The refuge hunt area is open north of Division Road, about 6 miles north on Hunter Road, after you enter the refuge. 

Remember, there is a 200 yard 'Retrieval Zone' from the north side of Division Road. You may walk through this area to reach the hunt site, but no loaded firearms are allowed. Hunting is not allowed south of Division Road.

Be aware of refuge-specific Hunting Regulations. Waterfowl and upland game hunting is only allowed with shotguns and non-toxic shot. Big game hunting is allowed with Archery, muzzle-loaders, and shotguns.  Hunting with center-fire rifles or handguns is not allowed for any species and target shooting is strictly prohibited.

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, trapping and fishing do not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances are necessary for sound wildlife management.  For example, because their natural predators are gone, deer populations will often grow too large for the refuge habitat to support. Hunting programs can promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on lands and waters in the Refuge System.

To find out more about hunting opportunities, seasons and regulations on Stillwater NWR please call us at (775)423-5128.

For refuge-specific hunting regulations, visit our Rules and Policies page, in the left-column menu. 

For accessible blind information, click here to learn about reasonable accommodations for hunters. 

Protect your hunting dog! Learn more about an infectious disease at Stillwater which could affect your dog. 

There are frequently asked questions for Stillwater NWR. Click here to learn more.