North Grasslands Wildlife Area

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

On this page, you’ll find area-specific regulations that supplement and/or supersede general use regulations, both of which are a condition for use and incorporated by reference into the entry permit. You’ll also find links to supporting law, websites, directions, hunt maps, and a suggestion box.

Warning shot!!! Remember, federal law also applies (link to our summary of the Migratory Bird Treat Act.) and additional may be located at the Wildlife Area that you can’t find anywhere else (e.g. check station, information kiosks, permits, reservations, road signs, etc.)


A. General Info

  • Authorized Activities:

    O'Neil Forebay, Los Banos, North Grasslands, San Luis Reservoir, Volta and West Hilmar WLA map with directions.

    Directions

  1. Waterfowl hunting: geese, ducks, coot & moorhen
  2. Upland game bird hunting: doves, pheasant & snipe
  3. Small game hunting: rabbits
  4. Furbearers: raccoon
  5. Other: Dog training/field trials and sport fishing

B. All Units

  • Camping: allowed only in check station parking lot, and only during waterfowl season [Ref. § 551(m)(20)]
  • Dog training: allowed only in the designated portion of the area from the end of waterfowl season. Click here for California hunting dog laws, including rules for specific hunting locations.
  • Dog trials: allowed on the area but prohibited from April 1 through June 30 and September 15 through the end of waterfowl season. Click here for California hunting dog laws, including rules for specific hunting locations.
  • Horses: Horseback riding is allowed only during CDFW-authorized dog trials. [Ref. § 551(l)(17)]
  • Pheasant hunting: open daily for the first nine days of the pheasant season, on waterfowl hunt days for the remainder of the pheasant season and on the day after Thanksgiving [Ref. § 551(o)(40)]
  • Rabbit hunting:
  1. Registration: Self-registration required
  2. Pre-waterfowl season: rabbit may be taken daily from July 1 through September 15
  3. Post-season waterfowl season: rabbit may be taken from the day after the end of waterfowl season until the end of the rabbit season.
  • During the waterfowl season, rabbit hunting is allowed only on waterfowl and pheasant hunt days [Ref. § 551(s)(19)]
  • Raccoon hunting: Self-registration required and may not be taken during waterfowl season. [Ref. § 551(s)(19)]
  • Shotgun shells: a hunter shall not possess more than 25 while in the field during waterfowl [Ref. § 551(x)(9)]

C. Unit Specific

Follow the links for a summary of unit-specific rules and regulations (see our Google map)


C. Regulations

California rules and regulations for the use of boats while on national wildlife refuges, California state wildlife areas, and California ecological reserves while hunting for ducks and geese (scaup, brant, Canada geese, dark geese, snow geese, white-fronted geese, specklebellies, white geese); migratory game birds (doves, pigeon, snipe, waterfowl) resident small game birds (grouse, pheasant, ptarmigan, quail, turkey), resident small game (jackrabbit, rabbit, squirrel), big game (antelope, bear, deer, elk, pig, sheep), non-game (coyotes, crow, fox, raccoon) and fishing (bullfrogging, commercial fishing, crayfishing, crawfishing and sport fishing)

CA. Hunting Rules & Regulations

(66) North Grasslands Wildlife Area

Type A Area 7,069 acres

Location and Access: China Island Unit: Located between Gustine and Newman; From Gustine-from the intersection of Highways 140 and 33, travel north on Highway 33 approximately 1.7 miles, turn right on Canal School Road, travel 1.4 miles and turn right onto Brazo Road, travel 0.7 miles and turn left through the gate and proceed 1.2 miles following signs into area. Permits for hunting during the waterfowl and pheasant season are issued at the Kesterson Unit on Highway 140. See San Luis NWR for direction to Kesterson checking station.

Gadwall Unit: Located approximately two miles east of Los Baños at Santa Fe Grade. Permits for hunting during the waterfowl and pheasant season are issued at the Salt Slough checking station. Salt Slough Unit: Located approximately 7 miles north of Los Baños. From Highway 152 in Los Baños, turn north on Highway 165 and proceed 6.5 miles north, turn right onto Wolfsen Road and proceed one mile to the checking station on the left side of the road. Daily Hunter Capacity: China Island Unit, 32 for waterfowl and increased to 60 during the pheasant season. Gadwall Unit, 24 for waterfowl and/or pheasant hunting. The Gadwall Unit is not open for dove hunting. Salt Slough Unit, 60 for waterfowl and/or pheasant hunting. Reservations: Available for waterfowl, pheasant and the early dove season. Checking Station: Waterfowl and Dove: During the waterfowl season, permits will be issued to reservation holders starting two and a half hours before shooting time. reservations must be presented at the checking station by one and one half hours before shooting time. reservations will expire after this time. When reservations are required during the early dove season, permits will be issued starting two hours before shooting times.  reservations will expire one hour before shooting time. China Island reservations during waterfowl season must be presented at the Kesterson checking station. No checking station will be run for hunting during the early dove season at China Island. Hunters without reservations for the Salt Slough or Gadwall Units may register in person at the checking station between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. the evening before each hunt day for a lottery drawing to be held shortly after 9:00 p.m., to establish the order of issuance of permits to fill vacancies after reservation holders on the morning of the hunt. Each potential hunter including juniors (if accompanied by a responsible adult) must register in person to participate in the lottery. A hunting partner does not have to be present for the registration, nor be a lottery participant. If a person’s name appears more than once in the drawing, he will be eliminated from the draw and will not be permitted to hunt that day. For “free roam” areas, each lottery number may allow entry of up to six persons including the person that was issued the valid lottery number. No more than two may be hunters who have an adult license. In blind areas each lottery number may allow entry of up to the capacity of the available blinds. Persons arriving after the 9:00 p.m. lottery registration deadline will be added to the list on a first-come, first-served basis. Persons signing in on the first- come, first-served list must sign in as a party or as an individual. All hunters entering on the same reservation, lottery number or when signing in as a party on the first-come, first-served list must hunt the same hunting assignment. Hunters without reservations for the China Island Unit may register at the Kesterson checking station, between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. the evening before each hunt day. See San Luis NWR for Kesterson lottery information. No permits will be issued after 3:00 p.m. If pheasant season opens on a non-waterfowl shoot day, the checking station will be open one hour before pheasant shooting time for the first two days of the season. On pheasant shoot days that are not waterfowl shoot days, permits will be issued at the Los Baños Wildlife Area checking station, except that permits to hunt China Island on the first Monday will be issued at the Kesterson Unit checking station. For information, phone (209) 826-0463.

(A) Ammunition Restrictions: A hunter shall not possess more than 25 shot shells while in the field during the waterfowl season, except on days when only upland game may be taken, and on special “youth only” waterfowl hunt days when there shall be no restrictions on the number of shot shells taken into the field.

(B) Hunt Days: Waterfowl, coots, and moorhens: Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays during waterfowl seasons. Snipe may be taken on waterfowl and pheasant hunt days. Pheasants: Every day during the first nine days of the pheasant season and thereafter on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays during the remainder of the pheasant season and on the day following Thanksgiving. Dove: Opening day of the early dove season, and from the first Saturday of the early dove season through September 15, and on pheasant and waterfowl hunt days during the late dove season. Rabbits: Daily during the open season from July 1 through September 15, and from the day after waterfowl season through the end of rabbit season, and on waterfowl and pheasant hunt days. Other authorized species: Daily during open seasons from July 1 through September 15, and from the beginning of waterfowl season through March 31, except that hunt days are restricted to waterfowl and pheasant hunt days during the waterfowl and pheasant season. Raccoons may not be hunted during the waterfowl season.

(C) Authorized Species: Waterfowl, snipe, coots, moorhens, pheasants, doves, raccoons, and rabbits.

(D) Camping and Trailers: Not allowed beyond checking station.

(E) Special Restrictions: Dogs must be on a leash from April 1 through June 30. Horseback riding is allowed for authorized dog trials only. Closed to all public use from September 15 to the opening of waterfowl season, and may be closed to all public uses for seven days following the close of waterfowl season to allow for post season maintenance.

(F) reservations and Entry Permits: A type A permit is required for entry during waterfowl and pheasant seasons. All person’s entering on the same reservation will receive the same hunt assignment.

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