Cibola National Wildlife Refuge

USFWSOn this page, you’ll find:

  1. General information about the Refuge
  2. Authorized activities (e.g. hunting and fishing)
  3. Summary of general, refuge-specific, and unit-specific rules and regulations
  4. Maps of the hunting areas, driving directions, parking lots, check stations, blinds, etc.
  5. Links to our summaries (e.g. regulations for waterfowl zones, seasons and limits for duck and goose hunting)
  6. Links to federal and state government webpages (USFWS, the Refuge, and Arizona and California fish & game departments)

General Info

  • Administrator: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS“)
  • CDFW Region: Region 6 (Inland Deserts)
  • Complex:  Southwest Arizona NWR Complex
  • County: Imperial County, CA and La Paz County, AZ
  • Location: link to our Google map and driving directions
  • Phone Number:  928-857-3253
  • Refuge: Cibola NWR (map)
  • Size: 18,444 acres
  • State agencies: Arizona and California
  • Waterfowl Zone: Colorado River WF Zone
  • Website: Cibola NWR

 I. Regulatory Summary

A. General Regulations

California rules and regulations for hunting ducks, geese, scaup, brant, Canada geese, dark geese, snow geese, white-fronted geese, specklebellies, white geese, and migratory game birds on national wildlife refuges, California wildlife areas, and California ecological reserves

Waterfowl hunting

Cibola is owned and operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. In addition to our summary of Refuge-specific regulations below, link to our summary of general regulations from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

B. Refuge-Specific Regulations

Beginning with Par. II below, you’ll find an alphabetical summary of legal topics that combine Refuge-specific rules and regulations from the following sources:

 Warning shot!!! There may be additional rules located at the Refuge (e.g. check station window, entry permit, information booth, signs, permits, reservations).


 II. Hunting

A.  All Species

Alcohol: use or possession (within physical proximity) is strictly prohibited on the Refuge

Authorized species: see Paragraphs B -E below

Blinds: permanent and pit blinds are NOT allowed except those provided by the Refuge in the Unit II

Image of campers, trailers and tents.

Use of Campers, trailers and tents

Camping & trailers: NOT allowed on the Refuge

Closures:

  1. Cibola Lake: closed to all activities between Labor Day and March 15 at the lake and all adjoining lands
  2. Retrieval: closed areas may not be accessed by hunters or dogs to retrieve downed game except with specific consent from an authorized Refuge employee
  3. Shooting: no hunting or shooting within 50 yards (also see “Levees”)
  4. Unit I: no hunting in the North or South
  5. Unit II: see below

Cultural features: protected and illegal to remove from the Refuge

Dogs: hunting dogs are allowed except that—

  1. Dog and pet restrictions

    Use of dogs

    Closed areas: dogs are NOT allowed in closed areas to retrieve downed game without specific consent from an authorized Refuge employee

  2. Control: dogs must be leashed or confined when NOT actively participating in legal hunting activities

Firearms:

  1. Discharge: only in accordance with Refuge regulations
  2. Possession: possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms must comply with all federal, state and local laws

Fires: open fires are NOT allowed

Guides: a Special Use Permit from the Refuge manager is required for anyone hired to assist or guide a hunter of fisherman (click here for permit information).

Levees: no hunting or shooting within 50 yards

License: a hunting license is required from the state in which is being hunted

Permits: hunters are required to sign and carry the appropriate hunt brochure, which serves as the permit for regular Refuge hunts—

Waterfowl Hunting Brochure

Big Game Hunting Brochure

Small & Upland Game Hunting Brochure

Unit II Goose Hunting Brochure

Personal interference: it is illegal to disturb or interfere with any person engaged in authorized activities at the Refuge

Personal property: must be removed from the Refuge immediately after each hunt, including temporary binds, boats, cameras, decoys, equipment, etc.

Plants: it is illegal to disturb, destroy or removing Refuge plants

Protected species

Protected species

Protected species: no hunting or trapping is allowed for mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, fox, beaver, muskrat, or any other fur bearing animals.

Public roads:

  1. Right-of-way: use caution when walking on roads, yielding to approaching vehicles (see “Hunt areas” above)
  2. Shooting: no hunting or shooting within 50 yards (also see “Levees”)

Regulations: all federal and state regulations are in effect while hunting on the Refuge (e.g. Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Federal Register, Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations), which are enforced by the–

  1. Arizona Game & Fish Department (AFWD)
  2. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW)

Retrieval: see “Closures” above

Scouting: possible during the National Public Lands Day (NPLD), which is a volunteer event to clean up the Refuge, typically held on the last Saturday in September.

Shooting:

  1. Purpose: allowed ONLY for the purpose of hunting
  2. Target practice: NOT allowed
  3. Public Roads: no shooting within 50 yards or any public roads

Shot:

  1. Lead shot: possession is NOT allowed
  2. Lead slugs: possession is NOT allowed
  3. Non-toxic: only steel or other non-toxic shot approved by the USFWS may be possessed while in the field hunting for any species

Shotgun shell capacity: three (3)

Duck StampStamps: hunters must possess any required stamps from the state in which they are hunting.

Target shooting: NOT allowed

Vehicles:

  1. License, registration and insurance: required for the driver and vehicle for highway use
  2. Speed limit: 25 miles per hour
  3. State regulations: apply
  4. Traffic: limited to designated roads and parking areas

Violations: report by calling 800-637-9152 day or night (e.g. poaching, taking endangered species, dumping trash, illegal operation of all-terrain vehicles, trespassing)

Wildlife: in general, all wildlife is protected and illegal to remove from the Refuge


B. Waterfowl, Coot, Moorhen and Snipe Hunting

Warning shot!!!  Also apply the rules in paragraph “A. All Species” in Section II above

ADA: see “Unit II,” Par. C below

Archery: does not appear to be authorized

Authorized species:

Duck hunting in California

Duck Hunting

Goose hunting in California

Goose Hunting

American Coot hunting in California

Coot Hunting

Moorhen hunting in California

Moorhen Hunting

California rules and regulations for hunting snipe on national wildlife refuge, California wildlife areas, and California ecological reserves

Snipe Hunting


Blinds: all temporary blind materials must be removed from daily from the Refuge

Boats: must be removed from the Refuge immediately after each hunt

Common species:

  1. Ducks: American wigeon, bufflehead, gadwall, green-winged teal, mallards, merganser, Northern pintail, and Northern shoveler
  2. Geese: Canada geese, snow geese
  3. Coots: American coot
  4. Gallinules: Common Moorhen
  5. Snipe: Common snipe (though uncommon)
California rules and regulations for the use of decoys on national wildlife refuges, California wildlife areas, and California ecological reserves

Use of Decoys

Decoys: must be removed daily from the Refuge (also see Unit II: Spaced-blinds)

Entry and exit times: except as noted below, hunt areas may be entered from one half (1/2) hour before sunrise and must be exited by 3:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (MST)—

  1. Hart Mine Marsh: during AZ waterfowl season, entry is allowed at 10 a.m.
  2. Island Unit: entry is allowed at 4:30 a.m.
  3. Unit II: see Par. C below

Fees:

  1. Entrance fee: no fee
  2. Hunt fees: required in portions of the refuge (see “Hunting Leaflet”)

Hart Mine Marsh:

  1. Shoot time: during the goose season, the Marsh is open daily for hunting from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  2. Hunting: no hunting for quail, doves, or cottontail rabbit

Hunt areas: hunting is only in designated areas (see Google map)

  1. California side: all water and land located in California west of the center line of the old river channel in the Colorado River
  2. Hart Mine Marsh
  3. Island Unit
  4. Pretty Water
  5. Unit II: see below

Hunt days: restricted to seasons, dates, times, and areas posted by signs and/or indicated on refuge leaflets, special regulations, and maps available at the refuge office.

Island Unit: a permit is required to enter

Levees: no hunting or shooting within 50 yards (45 m)

Permits: each hunter must sign and carry the Waterfowl Hunting Brochure, which serves as the permit

Pretty Water Area: during the AZ and CA waterfowl hunting seasons, the Area

  1. Closes: at 3:00 p.m. MST
  2. Opens: one half (12) hour before sunrise
  3. Personal property: no boats, decoys, blind materials or other floating devices may be on the water until the Area opens and it must be removed before it closes

Shells: Consult the refuge hunt leaflet for the shot limit.

Shoot times: except as noted below, begins one half (1/2) hour before sunrise and ends at 3:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (MST)—

  1. Hart Mine Marsh: during AZ waterfowl season, hunting begins at 10 a.m.
  2. Unit II: see Par. C below

Duck StampStamps:

  1. Federal duck stamp: required and may be purchased at the Refuge office during business hours.
  2. State duck stamp: required from the state that is being hunted

Weapons: ONLY shotguns may be used for waterfowl hunting


C. Unit II Goose Hunting

Goose hunting in California.

Goose Hunting

Warning shot!!!  Also apply the rules in paragraph “A. All Species” in Section II above, and any additional regulations posted at the check station.

ADA blinds:

  1. Blinds: two pit blinds (#5 and #13) are available for persons with a disability (see “Blinds” below)
  2. General use: if unselected by a disabled hunter, the two blinds are available for general use
  3. Permit: requires possession of an Arizona CHAMP permit

Authorized species: except for goose hunting during the Arizona waterfowl season, the Unit is closed to hunting

Cibola national wildlife refuge in California and Arizona.

Pit blind locations

Blinds:

  1. ADA: see “ADA blinds” above
  2. Assignments: hunters must hunt from their designated blind except to retrieve downed birds. Warning shot!!! If flooded, the hunter may request another blind and, if unavailable, lay down adjacent ground blinds with permission from the Hunt Coordinator.
  3. Availability: there are fourteen (14) spaced-blinds
  4. Concealment: hunters must remain concealed in their blind until 10:00 a.m. MST
  5. Youth workshop: see “Youth workshop” below
California rules and regulations for the use of decoys on national wildlife refuges, California wildlife areas, and California ecological reserves

Use of Decoys

Decoys: a minimum of 12 goose decoys is required

Hunt days: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, beginning November 23, 2013 through the end of the Arizona goose season (except see “Youth workshop” below)

Lottery: there is a standby drawing the morning of each hunt day to fill non-reserved blinds and reservation no-shows.

  1. Blocks: hunters may be selected for only one hunt block, but may hunt as many times as they wish
  2. Check in: all hunters must check in and register at the goose hunter check station, by submitting all required paperwork, prior to 4:30 a.m. MST. Warning shot!!! Late arrivals will not be accepted.
  3. Drawing: held at 4:30 a.m. Warning shot!!! Late arrivals will not be accepted
  4. Location: the check station

Parties: each reservation assures entry of up to four people per blind

Permits:

  1. ADA: see “ADA blinds” above
  2. Brochure: each hunter must sign and carry the Unit II Goose Hunting Brochure, which serves as the permit
  3. Hunt permits: are required for goose hunting and are issued by random drawing through the “Reservation” and “Lottery” systems (see above and below)

Reservations: also see “Reservations” below

  1. Blinds: selections take place on the morning of each hunt day (see “Blinds” above)
  2. Blocks: hunters may be selected for only one hunt block
  3. Check in: all hunters must check in and register at the goose hunter check station by 4:30 a.m. MST. Warning shot!!! Late arrivals will not be accepted.
  4. Parties: each reservation holder may bring up to three (3) hunting companions
  5. Priority: permits are issued to reservation holders beginning with the lowest permit number

Reservations applications:

  1. Availability: applications are available online for each hunt day, including the entire weekend (totaling two hunt days). Paper applications may also be requested from the Refuge.
  2. Fees: the application fee is $15 and successful applicants must purchase a $15 hunt permit for each member of the hunting party. Checks, money orders and cashier checks must be made out to the Kinsail Corporation
  3. Licenses: hunters must possess a license for the hunt year in which the application is submitted.
  4. Notification: successful applicants will be notified by email on or before November 1st
  5. Permit: to secure the reservation, successful applicants must purchase a $15 hunt permit for each hunter in the party
  6. Rejection: incomplete and illegible applications will not be considered for the drawing (e.g. submission without the required fee).
  7. Submission: applications must be sent to:

Cibola NWR, c/o Kinsail Corporation
PO Box 7087
Arlington, VA 22207

  1. Submission Deadline: applications must be received by October 18, 2013

Shoot hours:

  1. Begins: one-half (1/2) hour before sunrise
  2. Ends: 12:00 p.m. MST
Cibola national wildlife refuge in California and Arizona.

Unit II Goose Hunt

Shooting restrictions: shoot no higher than 10 yards above the pit blind or up to 50 yards in any directions (click to expand the image to the right)

Shot limit: no more than ten (10) rounds may be fired per day

Violations: will result in (a) removal from the hunt for the remainder of the day and/or (b) a citation. Warning shot!!! Repeat offenders may result in being banned from the Unit II Goose Hunt.

Youth Workshop: the goose fields are reserved for the Youth Workshop on the 2nd weekend in December (13th – 15th)


D. Dove, Quail and Rabbit Hunting

Warning shot!!!  Also apply the rules in paragraph “A. All Species” in Section II above

Use of bow and arrows

Use of bow and arrows

Archery: allowed subject to all applicable state and federal regulations (link to our summary of State archery regulations) Also see “Weapons” below.

Authorized species:

Dove hunting in California

Dove Hunting

Quail hunting in California

Quail Hunting

Rabbit hunting in California

Rabbit hunting

 


Blinds:

  1. Permanent blinds: prohibited except those provided by the Refuge in Unit II
  2. Pit blinds: prohibited except those provided by the Refuge in Unit II
  3. Spaced-blinds: see Unit II below

Entry times: except as noted below, hunt areas may be entered from one half (1/2) hour before sunrise and must be exited by 3:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (MST)—

  1. Island Unit: entry is allowed at 4:30 a.m.
  2. Pretty Water: entry is allowed at 4:30 a.m.
  3. Unit I (South): entry is allowed at 4:30 a.m.
  4. Unit II: upland game hunting is closed from November 1 through January 31

Hunt areas: hunting for “Authorized species” is allowed only in designated areas (see above)—

  1. California side: all land and water west of the center line of the old river channel of the Colorado River is open for hunting quail, cottontail rabbit and waterfowl concurrent with the CA season.  Warning shot!!!  The area appears to be CLOSED for dove hunting (see “Hunt areas” below)
  2. Hart Mine Marsh: CLOSED for hunting quail, doves or cottontail rabbit
  3. Island Unit
  4. Pretty Water
  5. Unit II: CLOSED to all hunting except goose hunting during the Arizona waterfowl season from November 1 through January 31

Permits: all hunters must sign and carry the Small & Upland Game Hunting Brochure, which serves as the permit for regular Refuge hunts

  1. Guides: hired to assist or guide a hunter or fisherman must obtain a Special Use Permit from the Refuge manager
  2. Island Unit: required to enter

Seasons:

  1. Rabbit hunting in California

    Rabbit hunting

    Cottontail rabbit: September 1st through the last day of quail season in each respective State.

  2. Unit II: no hunting except for goose during the Arizona waterfowl season

Shoot times: except as noted below, hunting begins one half (1/2) hour before sunrise and ends at 3:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (MST)—

  1. Pretty Water: hunting is allowed during daylight hours in accordance with AZ hunting regulations
  2. Unit I (South): hunting is allowed during daylight hours in accordance with AZ hunting regulations
  3. Unit II: upland game hunting is closed from November 1 through January 31

Weapons:

  1. Quail hunting in California

    Quail Hunting

    Dove: only shotguns and archery gear are allowed

  2. Quail: only shotguns and archery gear are allowed
  3. Cottontail rabbits: only shotguns and archery gear are allowed

E. Big Game Hunting

Archery: bow and arrows are allowed during archery season (link to our archery-specific regulations)

Mule Deer hunting in California

Mule Deer hunting

Authorized species: only mule deer on designated areas of the Refuge

Enter & exit:

  1. The Island Unit: entry is permitted at 4:30 a.m. MST to one hour after sunset.
  2. Unit I (South): entry is permitted at 4:30 a.m. MST

Hunt areas: hunt only in the following areas, which are designated for deer hunting

  1. California side: land west of the center line of the old river channel concurrent with CA seasons
  2. Island Unit
  3. Unit I (South)

Permits: all hunters must sign and carry the Big Game Hunting Brochure, which serves as the permit

Shooting hours: legal shooting time in both units is during daylight hours in accordance with Arizona State hunting regulations

Weapons:

  1. Unit I (South): Archery-only
  2. The Island Unit: gun, and muzzleloader, and archery during archery season

IV. Sport Fishing Regulations

Warning shot!!!  Also apply the rules in paragraph “A. All Species” in Section II above

Authorized activities:

Sport fishing in California

Sport Fishing

Gigging for bullfrog in California

Gigging for bullfrog


Common species:

  1. Sport fishing: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, crappie, sunfish, tilapia, and common carp
  2. Frogging

Closures:

  1. Cibola Lake: closed to public between Labor Day and March 15
  2. Colorado River: fishing is permitted in a boat on the main channel and all land and water to the west.

Fishing days: March 15 through Labor Day

Stamp: a Colorado River fishing stamp allows anglers licensed in both CA and AZ to fish any open area of the Refuge


V. Regulatory Text

CIBOLA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Refer to § 32.22 Arizona for regulations.


CIBOLA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

A. Hunting of Migratory Game Birds. We allow hunting of geese, ducks, coots, moorhens, common snipe, and mourning and white-winged doves on designated areas of the refuge subject to the following conditions:

  1. We allow only shotguns.
  2. You may possess only approved nontoxic shot while in the field.
  3. You must obtain a permit to enter the Island Unit.
  4. You must pay a hunt fee in portions of the refuge. Consult refuge hunting leaflet for locations.
  5. We do not allow pit or permanent blinds.
  6. You may hunt only during seasons, dates, times, and areas posted by signs and/ or indicated on refuge leaflets, special regulations, and maps available at the refuge office.
  7. You must remove all temporary blinds, boats, and decoys from the refuge following each day’s hunt.
  8. We do not allow hunting within 50 yards (45 m) of any public roads or levees.
  9. We close Farm Unit 2 to all hunting except goose hunting during the Arizona waterfowl season.
  10. Consult the refuge hunt leaflet for the shot limit.
  11. The area known as Pretty Water is open to waterfowl hunting from 1⁄2 hour before sunrise to 3:00 p.m. MST during the Arizona and California waterfowl seasons.
  12. The Hart Mine Marsh area is open to hunting from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily during goose season.

B. Upland Game Hunting. We allow hunting of quail and cottontail rabbit on designated areas of the refuge subject to the following conditions:

  1. We allow only shotguns and bows and arrows.
  2. You may possess only approved nontoxic shot while in the field.
  3. You may hunt cottontail rabbit from September 1 through the last day of the respective State’s quail season.
  4. During the Arizona waterfowl season, you may not hunt quail and rabbit in Farm Unit 2.
  5. You may not hunt within 50 yards (45 m) of any public road.

C. Big Game Hunting. We allow hunting of mule deer on designated areas of the refuge subject to the following conditions:

  1. During the Arizona waterfowl season, you may not hunt mule deer in Farm Unit 2.
  2. You may not hunt within 50 yards (45 m) of any public road.

D. Sport Fishing. We allow sport fishing and frogging subject to the following condition:

Cibola Lake is open to fishing and frogging from March 15 through Labor Day.


 

  • Waterfowl Hunting Brochure

Cibola national wildlife refuge in California and Arizona.

Waterfowl Hunting, p. 2

Cibola national wildlife refuge in California and Arizona.

Waterfowl hunting, p. 1

 


  • Big Game Hunting Brochure

Big Game Hunting, p. 2

Big Game Hunting, p. 2

Brochure, Leaflet

Big Game Hunting, p. 1

 


  • Small & Upland Game Hunting Brochure

Small and Upland Game, p. 2

Small and Upland Game, p. 2

Small and Upland Game, p. 1

Small and Upland Game, p. 1

 

 


  • Unit II Goose Hunting Brochure

Unit II Goose Hunt, p. 1

Unit II Goose Hunt, p. 1

Cibola national wildlife refuge in California and Arizona.

Unit II Goose Hunt


  • Cibola NWR Webpage

Pets must be on a leash or under control.

Possession or use of alcohol is prohibited on the refuge.

Pits or permanent blinds are prohibited.

Use caution when walking on roads. Yield to approaching vehicles.

Observe wildlife from a safe distance. Young animals should be left alone.

Help protect resources. All plants, wildlife, and cultural features on the refuge are protected and it is illegal to remove them.

Open fires are prohibited.

Hunting in designated areas only.

Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on National Wildlife Refuges must comply with all provisions of state and local law. Persons may only use (discharge) firearms in accordance with refuge regulations.

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