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. 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

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.

For all emergencies please dial 911

To Report Violations           

Call 1-888-334-CALTIP (888-334-2258)The toll free telephone number operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You do not have to give your name.

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 one (1) field blind on the Tule Lake Refuge. It is 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 concider their own abilities and limitations before using the refuges.  

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

Story Tags

Water birds

Recreational Activities