Waterfowl General Regulations

 Licenses & Permits         

All hunters must carry valid state, federal and Refuge required hunting licenses, stamps, validations and permits with them in the field. During the first two days of waterfowl season, all hunters 18 years of age or older must be drawn and carry a valid entry permit for the controlled unit in which they are hunting. In years with poor field conditions Refuge Management may choose to waive the opening weekend permit, please see the Opening Weekend information posted on the main hunt page. Youth hunters ages 17 and under must be accompanied by a permitted adult. 


An annual Refuge Recreation Pass is required for all hunting on the Tule Lake and Lower Klamath Refuges. Adults escorting youth for the pre-season youth hunt in September are not required to purchase a pass for this special hunt.

Hunters may obtain this pass on-line at www.klamathrefuges.recaccess.com or in person at Parkers Rod & Gun in Klamath Falls, Oregon; Kirb's Outlet or the West Side Market in Tulelake, California.  

Annual Adult Recreation Passes are $25.00, Seniors and full time students are $12.50 (a vendor service fee may apply).  Youth hunters 15 years & under do not require a pass. 

All fees collected are used to improve the Klamath Basin NWRC hunt program.


Huntable Species

Only geese, ducks (including mergansers), coots, moorhens, snipe, and pheasants may be hunted on the Refuges. All other wildlife species are protected.


Refuge Hours   

Daily hours of operation for our refuges is sunrise to sunset, hunting season entry hours are 4:30am. Hunter line up may not begin until midnight except for opening weekend when lineup may begin at 6pm. Camping and overnight parking are not permitted on the refuges. However, several campground/trailer parks are located nearby in Tulelake California and Merrill Oregon.


Shooting Hours

Hunting is permitted 7 days per week during the state regulated general waterfowl and pheasant seasons, the Refuges are not open for any early, late or special seasons except the Upper Klamath Refuge is open for the Oregon September goose hunt. Beginning shoot times follow state shoot time schedules.  Waterfowl shooting hours end at 1:00 PM on the Tule Lake Refuge and the California portion of Lower Klamath Refuge.  Waterfowl shooting hours for the Oregon portion of Lower Klamath correspond to state regulations throughout the season. Pheasant hunting hours on the Tule Lake Refuge and both sides of Lower Klamath Refuge correspond to state regulations. 


Boats and OHVs    

Boats may be used for hunting on all areas open to waterfowl hunting. Air-thrust and inboard water-thrust (jet) boats are prohibited. Unit 6B-1 on Lower Klamath Refuge is motor-less, or electric motors only through November 30. Starting December 1st, unit 6B-1 will be open to motorboat use. Boat launching is not permitted after 1:00 PM. State lighting requirements are enforced by refuge officers.

For your safety, anyone using layout style boats, kayaks or other non-motorized boats is strongly encouraged to wear reflective clothing and use head lamps or other types of lighting while moving through hunt units in order to be seen by motorized boaters. 

OHVs including Argos are permitted inside agricultural and upland fields only.  OHVs and Argos are not allowed in marsh units; OHVs and Argos are not allowed on roads or dikes.  A marsh unit is defined as a unit with permanent or seasonal wetland vegetation, typically this vegetation consists of green and red natural looking plants sometimes with cattail and bulrush present.  These units may or may not be flooded.  If you are unsure about a particular unit please contact the main office for clarification.


Retrieving Zones            

Retrieval zones are No Hunting zones. Possession of loaded firearms in retrieving zones is prohibited, unloaded firearms may be taken through the zones when necessary to reach hunting areas. Decoys may not be set in retrieving zones. Restrictions apply to both waterfowl and pheasant hunting.


Access Routes  

It is illegal to shoot from or across any access route or parking area. Motor vehicles are allowed only on designated access routes. It is illegal for hunters to carry loaded firearms on hunter access routes open to motor vehicles. Some roads may be closed during parts of the season due to weather and/or bad road conditions.

Waterfowl hunters may drive into fields on both Tule Lake and Lower Klamath Refuges to set out or pick up decoys and equipment only; hunters are required to park in designated parking areas unless otherwise posted except in the Oregon Straits.  Hunters are NOT allowed to drive into unharvested crop fields containing grain, peas or other seed crops.  Due to the variety in habitat and weather conditions, driving off access routes is at your own risk. The Refuge takes no responsibility for damage to vehicles or equipment. 

Vehicles, are NOT permitted on dikes other than those marked as hunter assess roads.  


Personal Property          

All decoys, boats, and other personal property must be removed from the hunt areas by 2:30 PM and from the refuges at the close of each day. Hunters are responsible for removing all trash including shot shell hulls when leaving hunting areas.  If you have lost items in the field please contact our Visitor Center, most items found in the field are turned in to us.


 Spaced Blind & Sump 1B Drawing Procedures (Tule Lake NWR)

Due to covid-19 restrictions and low water availability, Space blind areas for the 2021 season will be open to free roam hunting.

Sump 1b will be closed to all hunting until further notice

General draw Rules

A minimum of one party member must be present for the draw

Hunters may not be listed on more than one party card. 

A party may consist of a maximum or 4 hunters with the option for two additional youth or non-hunters.

Persons may not be added to a party after the selection is completed, this includes youth and non-hunters.

Party cards must contain the full name, city and state of each hunter and non-hunter or youth.

All hunters are required to complete their harvest card at the end of each day and drop it at the check station or drop box located at the Visitor Center or check station. 


Sump 1B/ Frey’s Island

Only Ten hunting parties are allowed in the Sump 1B.

One motor boat is allowed per party.

No Argos or UTV vehicles are allowed.

All party members must hunt together over one set of decoys; party members may not spread out into sub-parties.



No more than one party is allowed per blind site.

Parties must actively hunt using waterfowl decoys.

Parties must set up and hunt with in a 100-yard radius of the post; no loaded firearms are allowed outside this area.

In areas with no posts hunters must pick a spot to set up and hunt within 100 yards of this area, no loaded firearms are allowed outside this area.

Vehicles are allowed in all of the spaced-blind fields, including UTVs and Argos.  Hunters are allowed to pick up and drop off party members, decoys and equipment only, they must park in the designated parking area. UTV/ATVs may be parked near the hunt blind as long as they do not interfere with other hunters.

Driving on dike roads is not permitted in the spaced blind area unless it is designated as a parking area. Vehicles must be parked in the designated parking area.

Driving into fields is at the hunter’s risk, the Refuge takes no responsibility for damage to vehicles or equipment. Please follow the directional stakes as they are placed to reduce these risks. 



All accidents and injuries occurring on the refuges must be immediately reported to the refuge manager: Klamath Basin NWR's, 4009 Hill Road, Tulelake, CA 96134. Phone (530)-667-2231 or contact the Refuge Officer directly at (541) 891-5980.


Weapons and Ammunition        

No person may possess any weapon or ammunition in the field that may not be legally used for taking waterfowl or pheasants on these refuges. Nontoxic shot must be used to harvest ALL hunted species including ducks, geese, coots, moorhens, snipe, and pheasant on the Klamath Basin Refuges. Our refuges do not have a 25-shell limit for hunters in the field.


Hunter-made Blinds     

Only portable blinds and temporary blinds built of natural vegetation are permitted. Digging or pit blind construction in fields is not allowed.



Only guides who have been permitted by the Refuge Manager are allowed to provide commercial guiding services on the Klamath Basin Refuges. Visit our Commercial Hunt Guides page to view a list of permitted guiding services. 


Mobility Impaired Hunters        

To qualify for blinds for mobility impaired hunters, you must be registered for one of the following: 1) a state DMV issued disabled license plate or disabled veteran license plate. 2) a permanent parking placard identification card or 3) a mobility impaired motor vehicle hunting license.  Hunters must show proof of registration information at the Visitor's Center either at the time of reservation or when picking up the blind permit.

The Refuge Complex currently offers two (2) mobility impaired blinds; one (1) field blind on the Tule Lake Refuge and one (1) marsh blind on the Lower Klamath Refuge.  These blinds are available by reservation only and may be reserved for no more than 2 days at a time.  These reservations may be extended an additional 2 days on the second day provided the blind is available.  Hunters with reservations must check in the day prior to the hunt to receive their blind permit. Reservations and additional information may be obtained by calling the Refuge Visitor's Center at (530)667-2231.  

Additional mobility impaired hunting opportunities for this area are offered at Modoc National Wildlife Refuge in Alturas, CA; Miller Island Wildlife Area near Klamath Falls, Oregon; and Shasta Valley Wildlife Area in Yreka, CA.  


Habitat and Conditions

Our Refuges cover a variety of habitats which include rough, uneven terrain, deep waters, dense stands of bulrushes (tules), stubble fields, ditches, and others. Rainfall and winter weather conditions can make road and field conditions muddy and slippery or frozen, making them more difficult to negotiate. Hunting difficulty varies by area and hunters should examine their own abilities and limitations before using the refuges.  Please consult the hunt program coordinator or Visitor Center staff for suggestions on hunting the area safely.

The legal speed limit on refuge property is a maximum of 35 MPH, unless otherwise posted. 


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Recreational Activities