Gadwall Unit

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:
  1. Waterfowl hunting: geese, ducks, coot & moorhen
  2. Upland game bird hunting: pheasant & snipe (NOT dove)
  3. Small game hunting: rabbits
  4. Furbearers: raccoon
  5. Other: Dog training/field trials and sport fishing

    North Grasslands wildlife area in California with directions.

    Directions

  • City: Los Banos (6 mil. north)
  • County: Merced
  • Habitat: wetlands, riparian habitat & uplands
  • Phone: (209) 826-0463
  • Recreational use: Type A
  • Region 4: map
  • Size: 7,069 acres (all three units combined)
  • Waterfowl Zone: Balance of State
  • Website: North Grasslands WLA

B. All Hunting:

  • Access: [bicycles, boat or foot___?]

  • Camping & trailers: ONLY at the hunter check station
  • Closures:
  1. Pre-waterfowl season: CLOSED from Sept. 15 – opening day of WF season
  2. Post-WF season maintenance: the WLA may be closed for the first seven (7) days after WF season
  • Hunt area: see our Google map (Located approx. two (2) mi. E. of Los Banos at Santa Fe Grade)
  • Juniors: see Waterfowl Season: Lottery and Shotguns below
  • Permits: a Daily Entry Permit is required and available at check station until 3:00 p.m. ___
  • Reservations: available for waterfowl and pheasant seasons (see below)
  • Shotgun shells: 25 max during waterfowl season except
  1. Upland game days: NO limit when ONLY upland game may be taken
  2. Youth-Only Days: NO limit on special “Youth Only” waterfowl hunts
  • Weapons: NO pistols or rifles—ONLY shotguns and archery equipment ___

B. Waterfowl Season

  • Hunt days: Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays
  • Hunt maps: below
    Hunt map for the Gadwall Unit of the North Grasslands widlife area in California

    Hunt Map

    Hunt map for the Gadwall Unit of the North Grasslands widlife area in California

    Unit F Hunt Map


     

     

  • Hunter capacity: 24 during WF and pheasant hunting
  • Lottery: Hunters may register in person for a drawing to determine the order in which permits are issued to fill any vacancies after Reservations (see below) are processed

    California rules and regulations for public use while hunting ducks and geese (scaup, brant, Canada geese, dark geese, snow geese, white-fronted geese, specklebellies, white geese); migratory game birds (dove and snipe); resident small game (pheasant, rabbit, jackrabbit); and non-game (raccoon) on State wildlife areas (Volta, North Grasslands (Salt Slough, Gadwall and China Island Units), and Los Banos, and on the San Luis national wildlife refuge (Blue Goose, Bear Creek, Kesterson, San Luis and Freitas Units)

    Lottery (non-reservation)

  1. Check station: Salt Slough Unit (see our Google map) (Located approx. 7 mi. N. of Los Banos. From Hwy 152 in Los Banos, turn N. on Hwy 165 and proceed 6.5 mi. N., turn right onto Wolfsen Rd. and proceed one (1) mi. to the check station
  2. Drawing: held shortly after 9:00 p.m.
  3. Juniors: may participate if accompanied by a responsible adult
  4. Participation: NOT required for potential hunting partners
  5. Parties: see “Parties” and “Party size” below
  6. Register: ONLY once between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. the evening before each hunt day. Warning shot!!! Violators will eliminated from the drawing and NOT be allowed to hunt that day
  • Parties: all hunters entering on the same Reservation, Lottery number or Waiting List must hunt the same hunting assignment
  • Party size: two (2) adults, each accompanied by two (2) juniors or non-shooters (6 people max.) [ref. § 551(x)(12)]
  • Passes: a “Type A” pass is required during waterfowl and pheasant seasons and must be purchased in advance from a CDFW sales office, licensed agent or the Internet. Warning shot!!! NOT sold at the check station. (The CDFW webpage calls in a “permit”___)
  • Permits: are issued in the following order: (1) Reservations, (2)  Lottery, (3) Waiting List (see above and below)
  • Reservations: during waterfowl season
  1. Applications: purchase at least 17 days in advance from the CDFW (link to purchasing info)
  2. Check station: Salt Slough Unit
  3. Parties: see “Parties” and “Party size” above
  4. Priority: processed in numerical order beginning w/ Reservation #1
  5. Processing: permits are issued at least two and one-half (2 1/2) hours before shoot time until one (1) hour before shoot time, at which time reservations expire.

[ref. § 551(x)(12)]

  • Shotguns:

    Shotgun restrictions

    Use of shotguns

  1. Shells: 25 max. while in the field during WF season except there are NO limits on (a) days when ONLY upland game may be taken and (b) special “youth ONLY” WF hunt days
  2. Shot: ONLY steel or other non-toxic shot approved by the USFWS
  • Waiting list: hunters w/o a reservation or lottery number may be added to the first-come, first-served list before 3:00 p.m.
  1. Check station: Salt Slough Unit
  2. Register: as an individual or party
  3. Priority: first-come, first-served
  4. Parties: see above

C. Pheasant Season

Pheasant hunting in California

Pheasant hunting

  • Hunt days:
  1. Opening: DAILY for the first nine (9) days
  2. Remainder of season: Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays
  3. Thanksgiving: CLOSED but open the day after
  • Hunter capacity: 24 during pheasant and waterfowl hunting
  • Passes: a “Type A” pass is required during waterfowl and pheasant seasons and must be purchased in advance from a CDFW sales office, licensed agent or the Internet. Warning shot!!! NOT available at the check station. (The CDFW webpage calls in a “permit”___)
  • Permits:
  1. Check station: varies by shoot day
  2. Opening two days: if pheasant season opens on a non-waterfowl shoot day, permits are issued at the Salt Slough check station beginning one (1) hour before pheasant shoot time for the first two (2) days of season
  3. Remainder of season: on non-waterfowl shoot days, permits are issued at the Los Banos WLA check station; otherwise, see “Waterfowl Season” above
  • Reservations:
  1. Applications: purchase at least 17 days in advance from the CDFW (link to purchasing info)___

D. Rabbit Season

Rabbit hunting in California

Rabbit hunting

  • Hunt days:
  1. Summer: DAILY from Jul. 1 – Sept. 15
  2. Waterfowl and pheasant seasons: ONLY on WF and pheasant hunt days
  3. Post-WF season: DAILY until the close of rabbit season (the last Sun. in Jan.)

E. Raccoon Season

California rules and regulations for hunting raccoon on national wildlife refuges, State wildlife areas, and/or State ecological reserves

Raccoon Hunting

  • Hunt days:
  1. Waterfowl season: NO hunting
  2. Post-waterfowl season: DAILY until March 31

F. Snipe Season

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

Snipe Hunting

  • Hunt days: ONLY on waterfowl and pheasant hunt days during snipe season (Oct. 19, 2013 – Feb. 2, 2014)

G. Other activities

  • Closures:
  1. Pre-waterfowl season: CLOSED from Sept. 15 – opening day of WF season
  2. Post-WF season maintenance: the WLA may be closed for the first week after WF season

    The Legal Labrador

    Use of dogs

  • Dog leashes: required from Apr. 1 – Jun. 30
  • Dog field trials & training:
  1. Horses: allowed ONLY for authorized dog trials

H. 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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