Mendota Wildlife Area

On this page, you’ll find rules, regulations, and procedures specific to hunting at the Mendota Wildlife Area (see 14 CCR Sec. 551 and search for “Mendota”).  These area-specific rules often add to or override “general use regulations” applicable to all State Wildlife Areas.  Together, these rules are a condition for using the Mendota Wildlife Area and are incorporated by reference into your entry permit.

On this page, you’ll also find links to supporting law, relevant websites, driving directions, hunt maps, and a hunter’s blog.  Warning shots!!!  Remember that federal hunting regulations apply to hunting migratory game birds like waterfowl, dove, and snipe (Migratory Bird Treat Act).  There may be additional rules posted at the Area that you can’t find anywhere else (e.g. check station window, information kiosks, entry permits, reservations, road signs, etc.).


Authorized Activities

In general, hunting is not allowed on State Wildlife Areas.  However, the Mendota Wildlife Area is a “Type A” Wildlife Area that authorizes hunting for the species listed below.

Waterfowl Hunting

California Hunting Season and Limits

Waterfowl hunting is allowed, which includes ducks and geese.

NOTE: the CDFW website for the Mendota Wildlife Area neglects to include hunting for coots and moorhen as a recreational hunting opportunity. See 14 CCR § 551(q)(63)(C).

Also see Waterfowl: Hunt Days below and CDFW’s manual with regulations for hunting waterfowl on CDFW land.

Upland Game Bird Hunting

Pheasant hunting in CaliforniaUpland game bird hunting is allowed, but is restricted to doves, pheasant, and snipe and certain days of the week.  Also see CDFW’s manual with regulations for hunting upland game on CDFW land.

NOTE: the CDFW website for the Mendota Wildlife Area neglects to include hunting for dove and snipe as a recreational hunting opportunity.  See 14 CCR § 551(q)(63)(C).

American Crow Hunting

Crow hunting in CaliforniaAmerican Crow is not considered a “game bird” but may be hunted on certain hunting days.

NOTE: the CDFW website for the Mendota Wildlife Area neglects to include hunting for crows as a recreational hunting opportunity. See 14 CCR § 551(q)(63)(C).

Rabbit Hunting

Rabbit hunting in CaliforniaSmall game hunting is allowed, but is restricted to rabbits on a certain hunting days.

NOTE: the CDFW website for the Mendota Wildlife Area neglects to include hunting for rabbits as a recreational hunting opportunity. See 14 CCR § 551(q)(63)(C).

Raccoon Hunting

Raccoon hunting on California State Wildlife Areas.Hunting for furbearing mammals is allowed, but is restricted to raccoons on certain hunting days.

NOTE: the CDFW website for the Mendota Wildlife Area neglects to include hunting for raccoon as a recreational hunting opportunity. See 14 CCR § 551(q)(63)(C).

Other Activities

Sport fishing in CaliforniaIn addition to hunting, dog field trials, dog training, and sport fishing are allowed.  You may also enjoy the vehicle tour route. Click here for California hunting dog laws, including rules for specific hunting locations.


Contact Information

Click here to link to the CDFW’s website for the Mendota Wildlife Area.  The telephone number for the Mendota Wildlife Area is (559) 655-4645.


Location & Directions

CDFW Region

Region 4 of the CDFW includes Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Stanislaus, Tulare and Tuolumne counties.

CDFW Region 4

The Mendota Wildlife Area is part of the Central Region (Region 4) of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Fresno County

The Mendota Wildlife Area is located in Fresno County, approximately three miles southeast of Mendota or 16 miles west of Kerman.

Entrance

Map with driving directions to the Mendota Wildlife Area.

Driving Directions

The entrance to the Mendota Wildlife Area is located on the south side of Highway 180 (Whites Bridge Ave.).

Check Station

The check station of the Mendota Wildlife Area is located about one mile down the gravel road.  Use our Google map, to find the check station, as well as blinds and boat ramps.


General Hunting Rules

The rules, regulations, and procedures are applicable to all hunting.  See below for rules applicable to specific species.

Boats

Entry Permit

Boats are allowed but hunters must get an entry permit from the check station prior to launching.

Boat Ramps

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

In addition to the boat ramp, the are several launch sites for small boats and kayaks (see our Google map).

Camping & Trailers

RV Park / Boat Launch

RV Park / Boat Launch

In general, camping is not allowed.  However, camping is allowed during Waterfowl Season (see below).

Closures

In general, the Mendota Wildlife Area is closed for a few days before and after waterfowl season.  Prior to the season, it’s closed from September 16.  Afterwards, it’s closed several days for postseason maintenance.  See 14 CCR § 551(o)(36).  NOTE: The tour route and fishing site remains open during these closures.

Firearms

Archery Equipment

Archery equipment is allowed.

Rifles & Pistols

Warning shot!!!  Rifles and pistols are NOT allowed.

Shotguns & Shells

Shotgun Restriction for Bighorn Hunting in CaliforniaShotguns are allowed.  In general, there is no limit of shotgun shells that may be taken into the field while hunting.  During waterfowl season, however, only 25 shotgun shells may be taken into the field.

Hunter Capacity

The hunter capacity / quota changes from year to year.  In 2014, the capacity was 600 hunters in the free roam area, including ADA blinds. Due to water restrictions, the capacity was reduced to 300 in 2015.

Hunting Map

Mendota wildlife area water map.Warning shot!!!  The Mendota Wildlife Area publishes a hunting map that is for general guidance only.  For legal boundaries, you either have to go to Sacramento or follow our directions to an interactive map published by the CDFW.


Crow Hunting

Also see “General Hunting Rules” above.

Crow hunting in California

Hunt Days

Waterfowl & Pheasant Seasons

American Crow may be hunted but ONLY on waterfowl and pheasant hunt days falling on or after opening day of crow season (Dec. 7, 2013).

After Waterfowl Season

After waterfowl season, American Crow may be hunted until March 31.

Self-Registration

Self-registration is required to hunt American Crow.  See 14 CCR § 551(s)(18).


Dove Hunting

Also see “General Hunting Rules” above.

Dove hunting in California

Hunt Days

Early Season

During the early dove season in September, doves may be hunted every day.

Late Season Restrictions

During the late dove season, doves may be hunted but ONLY be hunted on waterfowl and pheasant hunt days.

Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Warning shot!!!  Don’t forget that federal laws apply to waterfowl hunting (see our summary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act).

Reservations

Early Season

Reservations are required to hunt during the early dove season.  The check station opens two (2) hours before shoot time on opening day to begin issuing permits to reservation holders until one (1) hour before shoot time, at which time reservations expire.

Waterfowl & Pheasant Season

Reservations are required to hunt dove during the waterfowl and pheasant seasons. For details about applying for a reservation, see “Pheasant Hunting” and “Waterfowl Hunting” below.


Pheasant Hunting

Also see “General Hunting Rules” above.

Hunt Days

Pheasant hunting in California

For the first nine (9) days of pheasant season, pheasant may be hunted every day.

After that, pheasant may only be hunted on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays.

Warning shot!!!  Pheasant hunting is closed on Thanksgiving Day but open the day after Thanksgiving.  See 14 CCR § 551(s)(17).

Permits

A permit is required to hunt pheasant and are issued at the check station.

Reservations

During waterfowl season, a reservation is required to hunt pheasant and are honored on waterfowl shoot days.


Rabbit Hunting

Also see “General Hunting Rules” above.

Hunt Days

Rabbit hunting on Wildlife Areas, including Mendota.

Prior to waterfowl season, rabbits may be hunted every day from opening day of rabbit and hare seasons (July 1, 2013) through Sept. 15, 2013.  During waterfowl and pheasant seasons, rabbits may only be hunted on waterfowl and pheasant hunt days.  Afterwards, rabbits may be hunted until the last Sunday in January.

Self-Registration

Rabbit hunting is allowed, but self-registration is required.  See 14 CCR § 551(s)(18).


Raccoon Hunting

Also see “General Hunting Rules” above.

Hunt Days

Raccoon hunting on Wildlife Areas, including Mendota

Raccoons may NOT be hunted during waterfowl season.  Afterwards, raccoons may be hunted every day of raccoon season until March 31.

Self-Registration

Self-registration is required to hunt raccoon.  See 14 CCR § 551(s)(18) and FGC Sec. 464.


Snipe Hunting

Also see “General Hunting Rules” above.

Hunt Days

Hunting on Wildlife Areas, including Mendota.

During waterfowl and pheasant seasons, snipe may only be hunted on waterfowl and pheasant hunt days.  Afterwards, snipe may be hunted until the close of snipe season.

Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Don’t forget that federal laws apply to waterfowl hunting (see our summary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act).


Waterfowl Hunting

Also see “General Hunting Rules” above.

ADA Blinds

ADA blinds at the Mendota Wildlife Area for mobility-impaired hunters.

ADA Blinds

There are seven (7) waterfowl blinds accessible by mobility-impaired (“MI”) hunters.  These blinds are shown on the Area map and can be located on our Google map.

Definition

A mobility-impaired (“MI”) hunter is defined as any person who has been issued one of the following licenses from Department of Motor Vehicles:

  1. ‘Disabled License Plate
  2. Permanent Parking Placard Identification Card
  3. Disabled Veteran License Plate
  4. Mobility Impaired Disabled Persons Motor Vehicle Hunting License” (FG form 1460).
Rules for hunting at ADA blinds at the Mendota Wildlife Area.

ADA Blind Rules

ADA Blinds RulesThe 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.

Assignment

ADA blinds are assigned to MIH hunters on a first-come, first-served basis.  Prior to relocating to another ADA blind, MIH hunters must get authorization from the check station,

Hunt Area

When being hunted by an MIH-hunter, there is a 100-yard radius in which non-MIH hunters may NOT pass through.

Public Use

ADA blinds are available to non-disabled hunters except that they must be yielded to MI hunters upon request [1].

Vehicles & Parking

MIH hunters are allowed to drive the vehicle to the site and drop off equipment; however, the vehicle must return to the designated parking site

Camping & Trailers

Camping and trailers on Wildlife Areas, including Mendota.In general, camping in trailers, tents, and vehicles is allowed during waterfowl season.  However, it’s only allowed in the check station parking lot (commonly referred to as “Tent City.”  There are only 100 spaces for longterm parking, permits for which are issued through a special drawing.  See 14 CCR §  551(m)(19).

Check Station Hours

In general, the check station opens two hours before shoot time.  However, on Opening Day of waterfowl season, it opens three (3) hours before shoot time.  See our Google map for directions.  Also see “Passes,” “Permits,” “Reservations,” and “Sweat Line” below.

Hunt Maps

Warning shot!!! The hunt map issued at the Area is for general guidance only.  For legal boundaries of the Area, refer to the map published by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Water Maps

Mendota wildlife area water map.

Water Map

Fields are watered throughout the season.  Water maps, like the one pictured to the right, are posted at the check station window.

Hunt Days

Waterfowl hunting is allowed, but only on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays during waterfowl season.

Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Don’t forget that federal laws apply to waterfowl hunting (see our summary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act).

Passes

A “Type A” pass is required and must be purchased in advance from a CDFW sales office, licensed agent or the Internet.

Permits

Permits and reservations on Wildlife Areas, including Mendota.

A daily entry permit is required to hunt waterfowl. Permits are available from the check station and issued in the following order:

  1. Reservation Holders: Beginning in the 2015-2016 waterfowl season, permits issued in order of your reservation number.  You must be parked in your corresponding number at least 90 minutes before shoot time; otherwise, you must go to the back of the existing line. Warning shot!!!  This is a change from 2014-2015, when entry permits were issued first to reservation holders based on a first-come, first-served basis.  It also conflicts with CDFW’s 2015-2016, manual with regulations for hunting waterfowl and upland game, see p. 32 [

    Numbered reservations will be honored in numerical order, at the time the check station starts issuing permits for the hunt day, except for Grizzly Island and Mendota Wildlife Areas, where reservations are processed in order of vehicle position.]

  2. Non-Reservation Holders: Any remaining permits will be issued to hunters parked in the “sweat line.”
  3. Parking: For reservations, park on the left side of the gravel road, forming a single line in front of the check station gate.  Warning shot!!!  This is a change from 2014, when reservation holders formed two lines. For the “sweat line,” form a single line on the right side of the gravel road.

Reservations

Application Deadline

Applications for waterfowl hunting reservations must be purchased from the CDFW at least seventeen (17) days in advance of your proposed hunting date (link to purchasing info).  They are available for waterfowl, pheasant, and dove seasons.

Parties

Parties may enter on the same reservation number.  Each “rezzy” assures entry of two (2) adult hunters, each of which may bring a combination of two (2) juniors or non-shooters.  See 14 CCR § 551(x)(9).  Parties entering on the same reservation number must hunt the same assignment.

Processing

Local rules for the Mendota Wildlife Area in California.Except for opening days, processing of reservations begins at the check station two hours before shoot time.  On opening days, processing begins three hours before shoot time.  Processing continues until one (1) hour before shoot time, at which time reservations expire.  See 14 CCR § 551(x)(9).

Vehicles

Warning shot!!! Stay with your vehicle or within “tent city” or you could be sent to the back of the line.

Scouting

The regulations do not address scouting, but boating and fishing is allowed in the Mendota Slough every day.

Shotgun Shells

During waterfowl season, only 25 shotgun shells may be taken into the field.

Sweat Line

If you don’t have a reservation, you may be able to enter from the “sweat line,” which means entry is NOT guaranteed. Warning shot!!! Park on the right side of the gravel road, forming a single line in front of the check station gate.

Waterfowl Zone

Waterfowl zone map for hunting in California, including Mendota.

Waterfowl seasons are determined, in part, by the location of the area within CDFW waterfowl zones. Mendota Wildlife Area is located in the Balance of State Waterfowl Zone.


Other Activities

Closures

The Mendota Wildlife Area is closed to entry prior to, during, and after certain hunting seasons for some or all purposes:

  1. Pre-waterfowl Season: the Area is closed to the public from Sept. 16 until the opening day of waterfowl season except that the designated tour route and fishing site are open all year;
  2. Waterfowl and Pheasant Seasons: the Area is closed to the public except for the purpose of hunting;
  3. Postseason Maintenance: after waterfowl season, the Area is closed to the public for several days.

Dogs

Click here for California hunting dog laws, including rules for specific hunting locations.

Leashes

Dogs are allowed, but leashes are required from April 1 through Jun. 30.

Training

Dog training is allowed, but only in designated areas after the end of waterfowl season.

Trials

Dog trials may be held at the Area.

Horses

In general, horses are not allowed; however, they are allowed during dog field trials. See 14 CCR § 551(l)(16).

Sport Fishing

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

Sport fishing is allowed all year long in designated sites. Common species include bass, bluegill, catfish, and striped bass.

Vehicle Tour Route

There is a designate vehicle tour route that is open all year long.


Local Rules

ADA BlindsMendota wildlife area map with ADA blinds.

Pictured here is an image of local rules for ADA blinds.


Junior Entry Permits

Junior entry permit for state-operated wildife areas in CDFW's Central Region (Region 4) of California

Pictured here is an image of local rules for Junior en


Parking & Vehicles

Local rules for the Mendota Wildlife Area in California.Pictured here are local rules for parking lines, unattended vehicles, crowding, saving spots, dogs leashes, etc.


ViolationsMendota wildlife area map with ADA blinds.

Pictured here is a potential order to go to the back of the reservation line for failing to remain with the vehicle.


Self-Registration

Local rules for the Mendota Wildlife Area in California.

Pictured here are local rules related to self-registration, parking at the boat launch, use of bicycles on the tour loop, dogs and leashes, trash, use of firearms, and other warnings (e.g. rattlesnakes). Mendota Rules

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