Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge

USFWSOn this page, you’ll find:

  1. General information about the Refuge
  2. Authorized species for hunting and fishing
  3. Summary of general regulations for the Refuge, plus those specific to the Salmon Creek Unit and Blind Zones
  4. Maps with driving directions and of hunting and fishing areas, including the check station, visitor center, parking areas and boat launches
  5. Links to legal summaries (e.g. regulations for seasons, bag limits and waterfowl zones)
  6. Links to federal and state government webpages (USFWS, the Refuge, and Arizona and California fish & game departments)

General Info:


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

Humboldt 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 , 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.  Summary of Refuge Rules and Regulations

A. General Refuge-Specific Rules and Regulations

Warning shot!!! For waterfowl hunting regulations applicable to the Salmon Creek Unit, see Par. B below

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


 

Access: ONLY by boat to the Eureka Slough and Jacoby Creek Units.  Warning shot!!!  No access to the Refuge through closed areas

ADA: see “Salmon Creek Unit,” Par. B below

Bikes: allowed only on the paved entrance road

Blinds: only portable or temporary blinds constructed of natural materials are allowed and must be removed daily after each hunt

California rules and regulations of boats while hunting and/or fishing

Use of Boats

Boats: access ONLY by boat to the Eureka Slough and Jacoby Creek Units.

Camping & overnight: NO overnight parking or camping

Closures:

  1. Closed areas: dogs are NOT allowed
  2. Eureka Slough Unit: see “Retrieval zones” below
  3. Jacoby Creek Unit: see “Retrieval zones” below
  4. Table Bluff Unit: see “Retrieval zones” below
Dog and pet restrictions

Use of dogs

Dogs: except while hunting–

  1. Closed areas: dogs are NOT allowed for any reason
  2. Control: dogs must either remain in the vehicle or on a leash and must be under control at all times.

Warning shot!!!  Link to our summary for dog hunting regulations (also see “Pets” below)

Firearms: to remain unloaded while being transported between parking areas and hunting sites

Fires: NOT allowed

Fireworks: NOT allowed

Free-roam: (a) everywhere except the Salmon Creek unit; (b) only portable blinds are allowed

Horses: NOT allowed

Hunt areas: hunting is only allowed on designated areas–

  1. Salmon Creek Unit: see Par. B below
  2. Table Bluff Unit: located at the SW corner of S. Bay
  3. Eureka Slough Unit: portions
  4. Jacoby Creek Unit: portions and the free-roam area

Hunt Days:

  1. Egret Island: Saturdays, Sundays & Wednesdays, including holidays
  2. Eureka Slough Unit: DAILY on those portions adjacent to the shoreline
  3. Hookton Slough: Saturdays, Sundays & Wednesdays, including holidays
  4. Jacoby Creek Unit: DAILY on those portions adjacent to the shoreline
  5. Salmon Creek Unit: see Par. B below
  6. Table Bluff Unit: DAILY on those portions adjacent to the shoreline
  7. Teal Island: Saturdays, Sundays & Wednesdays, including holidays
Junior hunting in California

Junior hunting

Juniors: juniors must be accompanied by an adult, which may supervise up to three Juniors

Kites: NOT allowed

Litter: see “Personal property” below

Lottery: see “Salmon Creek Unit,” Par. B below

Natural resources: collecting natural objects such as plants, animals, feathers, antlers, and objects of antiquity (including Native American artifacts) is strictly prohibited.

Personal property: at the end of each day, remove all blinds, decoys, shotshell casings, personal equipment, trash, etc.

Pets: dog walking and pets are NOT allowed (see “Dogs” above)

Regulations: hunting is governed by federal and state regulations, including Refuge-specific regulations

Retrieving zones: within 100 yards of any roadway on the following units are designated as retrieval zones only–

  1. Eureka Slough
  2. Jacoby Creek
  3. Table Bluffs
Shotgun restrictions

Use of shotguns

Shotguns:

  1. Shells: 25 max while hunting on the Salmon Creek Unit
  2. Shot: only steel or other non-toxic shot approved by the USFWS
  3. Shot size: no larger than “T” in steel or “BB” in other non-toxic shot

Shoot times: coincides with State except on Salmon Creek, Par. B below (click here for shoot times for the Eureka area in Northern California

Shooting: see “Closures” above

Units:

  1. Eureka Slough Unit—NO hunting within 100 yards of Hwy 101
  2. Jacoby Creek Unit—NO hunting within 100 yards of Hwy 101
  3. Salmon Creek Unit—see “Salmon Creek Unit,” Par. B below
  4. Table Bluff Unit (SW corner of S. Bay)

Vehicles:

  1. Driving: NO driving except on the paced entrance road
  2. Parking: ONLY in designated areas

Violations: report violations, such as poaching, by calling 888-DFG-CALTIP

Weapons: except for hunting, weapons are NOT allowed


B. Salmon Creek Unit (Waterfowl Hunting)

ADA blind: one blind is available for mobility-impaired hunters (see “Hunt map” below), defined as any person who has either a–

  1. DMV Disabled license plate,
  2. Mobility Impaired Disabled Persons Motor Vehicle Hunting License (FG Form 1460), or
  3. Permanent parking placard identification card*

* The blue plastic “Disabled Parking Placard” may NOT be substituted for the required “Identification card,” which bears the name of the mobility impaired person. Disabled hunters must provide the registration certificate for DMV issued disabled license plates. Warning shot!!!  When the disabled hunter vacates the blind, his or her party must vacate as well.

Bag limits: link to our summary of seasons and limits for ducks and geese

Humboldt national wildlife refuge in California

Blind description

Blinds:

  1. ADA blind: see above
  2. Assignments: all blinds are assigned through the “Lottery” and re-fill procedures.  Hunters are required to remain in their designated zone except to retrieve downed birds–NO free roam
  3. Availability: determined by habitat conditions
  4. Hunt map: see below
  5. Zones: click image for “Blind Zone Regulations”

Enforcement: federal officers patrol the Refuge to ensure compliance with Refuge rules and regulations

Fees: see “Permits” below

Hunt areas: vary by zone assignment, which includes blinds, pit blinds, cattails, and sloughs (see “Blinds” above)

Hunt days: Saturdays and Tuesdays except the Salmon Creek Unit is CLOSED on Federal holidays

Humboldt national wildlife refuge in California

Salmon Creek Unit

Hunt map: click for location of pit blinds, stand up blinds and zone boundaries (also see our Google map for directions, etc.)

Juniors: must be accompanied by an adult, age 18 or over

Location: adjacent to the Visitor Center is located on the west side of Hwy 101, approximately halfway between Eureka and Fortuna.  Take the Hookton Road exit.  (See our Google map)

Lottery: there is a random drawing at the check station to establish the order of issuing permits, which are required for entry.  Also see “Parties” and “Waiting list” below

  1. Check station: opens two hours before “Shoot time” (see below)
  2. Sign-in: hunters or groups of hunters must sign in at the check station by their name(s) on a 3X5 card and give it to the attendant.
  3. Lottery number: upon sign-in, hunters will receive a lottery number
  4. Participation: hunters must be present for the drawing in order to participate
  5. Lottery #1: the drawing is held one and one-half (1 1/2) hour before shoot time, after which numbers are posted in the order in which they were drawn
  6. Options: if a participant is one of the first fourteen (14) drawn, the hunter may opt to either (a) select an available blind, (b) join with any other hunter called ahead of them  (see “Parties” below), OR (c) request a re-fill number by telling the check station attendant.  If called after the first fourteen are called, the participant may either (a) join up with one of the first fourteen OR request a “Re-fill” number (see below).
  7. Re-fill: at 10:00 a.m., the check station attendant assigns priority based on the morning draw.  Warning shot!!! Hunters must be present in order to maintain position from the morning draw. Hunters that did not participate in the Lottery may sign in to receive a re-fill number.  Hunters with re-fill priority may either (a) join up with a hunter called for re-fill, (b) select an available blind, or (b) pass it to the next group in line.  However, re-fills end at 12:00 p.m.

Parties: each lottery card ensures entry of up to four (4) individuals per blind area (see “Blinds” above)

Permit:

  1. Entry: a permit is required for entry onto the Unit 
  2. Fee: operated under the Federal Recreation User Program, the fee varies by age and mobility:

 15 and under: no fee 

16 through 61: $10 for paired or $20 for single

62 and older: 1/2 price with a Golden Age Passport

  1. Mobility-impaired: 1/2 price with a Golden Access Passport
  2. Issuance: permits are issued through a random drawing on the morning of each hunt day (see “Lottery” above)
  3. Reporting: Hunters must return their permit to the check station by 4:30 p.m. and report hunting results
  4. Revocation: see “Revocation” below

Reservations: NOT applicable

Revocation:  hunting on the Refuge is a privilege–not a right.  Permits may terminated or revoked by the Refuge Manager (or designee) for the following reasons–

  1. Noncompliance with the terms of the permit
  2. Non-use
  3. Violation of any law, regulation or order applicable to the Refuge
  4. To protect public health or safety
  5. To protect resources of the Refuge

Seasons: link to our summary of seasons and limits for ducks and geese

Shoot times:

  1. Begins: link to our summary of shooting hours.  Click “Northern California” and go to the column for “Eureka”
  2. Ends: at 3 p.m.  Warning shot!!!  Hunters must return their permit to the check station by 4:30 p.m. and report hunting results
Shotgun restrictions

Use of shotguns

Shotguns:

  1. Loading: firearms must remain unloaded while being transported between the parking areas and blind sites
  2. Shells: no more than 25 shells may be possessed and used while in the field
  3. Shot: only steel or other non-toxic shot approved by the USFWS

Vehicles: the speed limit is 25 mph while on the Unit


C. Sport Fishing

Sport fishing in California

Sport Fishing

Access: only by boat except the Hookton Slough trail and dock

Boats: only non-motorized boats

Common species: varies with season, time of day and tides, but includes sharks, rays, jack smelt, greenling, starry flounder, English sole and halibut

Fishing areas: see map (pictured right)

  1. Humboldt Bay: the Bay and its tidal sloughs are open year round
  2. Hookton Slough: the designated trail and boat dock are open

Hours: only from sunrise to sunset (no night fishing)

License: a California fishing license is required in all “Fishing areas” (see above)

Methods of Take: Only pole and line and rod and reel

Tips: Fishing is generally best during the two hours before and after a high tide.  Fishing small pieces of squid or herring is often a successful approach to catching a wide variety of estuarial fish species.  Click here for more information on fishing in Humboldt Bay and rigging tips.


III.  Refuge Rules and Regulations

  • 50 CFR § 32.24

Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge

A. Migratory Game Bird Hunting. We allow hunting of goose, duck, coot, common moorhen, and snipe on designated areas of the refuge in accordance with State regulations subject to the following conditions:

1. We require adults age 18 or older to accompany youth hunters under age 16. No more than three youth hunters may accompany one adult hunter.

2. You may only possess approved non-toxic shot while in the field (see §32.2(k)).

3. We prohibit public access into or through closed areas and designate closed areas as nonretrieval zones.

4. You may only use portable blinds in the free-roam hunting areas (i.e., all hunt areas except Salmon Creek Unit).

5. You must remove all blinds, decoys, shell casings, and other personal equipment and refuse from the refuge at the end of each day (see §§27.93 and 27.94 of this chapter) .

6. We require hunters to keep dogs inside vehicles, or on a leash, except when using them for authorized hunting purposes (see §26.21(b) of this chapter).

7. On the Salmon Creek Unit, we allow hunting on Tuesdays and Saturdays (except Federal holidays), and hunters must possess and carry a valid daily refuge permit. We issue refuge permits prior to each hunt by random drawing conducted at the check station 112 ; hours before legal shooting time. Shooting time ends at 3 p.m. Hunters drawn for a blind must completely fill out a Refuge Hunt Permit, which includes a “Record of Harvest” section. Each hunter must possess and carry the Refuge Hunt Permit/Record of Harvest document while on the refuge and turn in a complete Record of Harvest at the check station before leaving the hunt area.

8. On the Salmon Creek Unit, you may possess only approved non-toxic shotshells (see §32.2(k)) in quantities of 25 or less per hunter, per day.

9. On the Salmon Creek Unit, we restrict hunters to within 100 feet (30 meters) of the assigned hunt site except for placing and retrieving decoys, retrieving downed birds, or traveling to and from the parking area. You must unload firearms (see §27.42(b) of this chapter) while transporting them between the parking lot and designated blind sites.

10. We open the Table Bluff Unit (southwest corner of South Bay) to hunting.

11. We open portions of the Eureka Slough and Jacoby Creek Units to hunting. We designate the Eureka Slough and Jacoby Creek Units as boat access only. On the Eureka Slough and Jacoby Creek Units, we prohibit hunting within 100 yards (90 meters) of Highway 101.

B. Upland Game Hunting. [Reserved]

C. Big Game Hunting. [Reserved]

D. Sport Fishing. We allow fishing on the refuge in accordance with State regulations subject to the following condition: We allow fishing from the designated shoreline trail and dock (for nonmotorized boats only) at the Hookton Slough Unit from legal sunrise to legal sunset, only using pole and line or rod and reel.


  • Refuge Webpage Hunting Brochures

Hunting Brochure

Hunting Brochure

Lottery Procedures

Lottery Procedures

Permit Revoking Information

Permit revocation


 

  • Salmon Creek Unit Blinds

Humboldt national wildlife refuge in California

Salmon Creek Unit

Humboldt national wildlife refuge in California

Blind description

Disabled Access Blind

Disabled Access Blind


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