Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge

A. General Refuge Info

  • Activities: waterfowl hunting for geese, ducks, coots and moorhens
  • Administrator: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS“)
  • CDFW Region: Region 4 (Central California)
  • Complex:  SF Bay NWR Complex
  • County: Monterey
  • Location:  11 miles north of Monterey at the confluence of the Salinas River and Monterey Bay, take the Del Monte Avenue exit from Highway 1 and drive 0.75 miles west to the parking lot (Google map)
  • Phone Number:  510-792-0222
  • Recreation Type: Type C
  • Waterfowl Zone: Balance of State WF Zone
  • Website: Salinas River NWR

B. Waterfowl Hunting

  • Access: ONLY by foot except inflatables and dogs are allowed to retrieve downed birds from within closed areas.  Warning shot!!! Mobility-impaired hunters should consult with the refuge manager for allowed conveyances
  • Accidents: report immediately to the Refuge Manager, Diane Kodama, Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge, 1 Marshlands Rd., Fremont, CA 94555, Phone: 510-792-0222, email: Diane_kodama@fws.gov
  • Alcohol: use or possession of alcoholic beverages while hunting is prohibited
  • Bicycles: NOT allowed
  • Blinds: encourage not to use vegetation to create blinds
  • Boats: inflatables may be used to retrieve downed birds from within closed areas.  Warning shot!!! All weapons must be left on the bank
  • Camping and overnight: NOT allowed
  • Decoys: remove at the end of each day
  • Dog and pet restrictions

    Use of dogs

    Dogs and pets:

  1. Hunting: ONLY hunting dogs are allowed (link to our summary of dog-specific regulations)
  2. Control: To remain under control at all times
  3. Dog training: NOT allowed
  4. Pets: no other animals or pets allowed (e.g. cats)
  • Fires: campfires are NOT allowed
  • Hunt area: along the southeast bank of the Salinas River, within the posted boundaries of the hunt area
  • Hunt days: open daily
  • Hunt hours: one half-hour before sunrise until sunset
  • Hunt map:

    Salinas River national wildlife refuge hunt map with directions.

    Hunt Map

  • Hunter Survey: encouraged to complete optional hunter survey, which is located in a wooden box by the parking lot, to assist in determining hunting participation and aid in procuring funds for further improvements
  • License: all hunters 16 years or older must possess a: (a) California hunting license, (b) signed, Federal Duck Stamp, (c) a California Duck Stamp/validation, and (d) the Harvest Information Program participation stamp/validation
  • Permit: NOT required
  • Personal Property: remove at the end of each day (e.g. blinds, decoys, shotshell hulls, trash, etc.)
  • Regulations: State waterfowl regulations (see our summary page)
  • Reservations: unavailable
  • Retrieval: see “Boats” and “Dogs” above
  • Shotgun restrictions

    Use of shotguns

    Shells: 25 max while on the refuge

  • Shot: steel or other non-toxic shot approved by the USFWS
  • Shotguns: to remain unloaded until reaching hunt area
  • Shooting:
  1. Direction: NO shooting from the river toward the refuge river bank
  2. Location: Allowed ONLY along the bank of the Salinas River on the southeast portion of the refuge toward the river
  3. Non-hunting discharge: NOT allowed
  4. Target practice: NOT allowed
  • Vehicles: overnight parking is NOT allowed

C. Regulations

Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge

A. Migratory Game Bird Hunting. We allow hunting of goose, duck, coot, and moorhen on a hunt area along the Salinas River on the southeast portion of the refuge, as designated by posted signs, in accordance with State regulations subject to the following conditions:

1. You may only possess approved nontoxic shotshells while on the refuge (see §32.2(k)) in quantities of 25 or less.

2. Access to the hunt area is by foot traffic only. We do not allow bicycles and other conveyances. Mobility-impaired hunters should consult with the refuge manager for allowed conveyances.

3. You must keep firearms unloaded until you are within the designated hunt area.

4. We only allow dogs engaged in hunting activities on the refuge during the waterfowl season. Hunters must keep their dog(s) under their immediate control at all times (see §26.21(b) of this chapter). We prohibit training of dogs on the refuge. We prohibit other domesticated animals or pets.

5. We prohibit target practice on the refuge or any nonhunting discharge of weapons (see §27.42 of this chapter).

B. Upland Game Hunting. [Reserved]

C. Big Game Hunting. [Reserved]

D. Sport Fishing. [Reserved]

  • Refuge Website

Waterfowl Hunting Information

Hunt Area. Hunting is allowed within the posted boundaries of the hunt area (see map). Shooting is only allowed along the bank of the Salinas River on the southeast portion of the refuge toward the river. Access to hunt area is by foot only. Shooting from the river toward the refuge river bank is prohibited. Mobility-impaired hunters should consult with the refuge manager for allowed conveyances.

Hunting Season. Waterfowl hunting season extends from approximately mid-October to mid-January. During the season, hunting is permitted daily from one half-hour before sunrise until sunset. More specific information is contained in California Hunting Regulations, Waterfowl.

Huntable Species. Only ducks, geese, coots, and common moorhens may be hunted on the refuge. All other wildlife is protected.

Retrieval Dogs. Only dogs engaged in hunting activities in the hunt area of the refuge during the waterfowl season are permitted. Hunters must keep their dog(s) under their immediate control at all times. Dogs may not be trained on the refuge. All other dogs and pets are prohibited.

Retrieving Zones. Hunters may use dogs or inflatables to enter closed areas of the refuge to retrieve downed birds, provided that they leave all weapons on the bank.

Licenses. All hunters must carry a valid California hunting license. Hunters 16 years or older must also possess a valid, signed, Federal Duck Stamp, a State Duck Stamp, and the Harvest Information Program participation stamp.

Additional Permits and Reservations. None Required.

Bag and Possession Limits. Hunting limits vary from year to year; read California Hunting Regulations, Waterfowl on the California Department of Fish and Game’s website for up-to-date information.

Weapons and Ammunition. Only legal shotguns are permitted in the designated hunt area during the waterfowl hunting season. Firearms must be unloaded until you are in the designated hunt area. Hunters may possess only approved non-toxic shot shells in quantities of 25 or less while on the refuge.

Accidents. All accidents and injuries occurring on the refuge must be immediately reported to the Refuge Manager, Salinas River NWR.

Removal of Personal Property. Decoys and other personal property, including blinds, must be removed from the refuge at the end of each day. Hunters must remove all trash, including shotshell hulls, when leaving hunting areas. Please refrain from using vegetation to create blinds.

Alcohol. Use or possession of alcoholic beverages while hunting is prohibited.

Camping, Campfires, and Overnight Parking. Prohibited

Hunter Survey. Please fill out the optional hunter survey (located in a wooden box by the parking lot) prior to leaving the refuge. This information will assist us in determining hunting participation in the area as well as aid in procuring funds for further improvements.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Webpage and Download

Salinas River NWR, located just 11 miles north of Monterey, protects the place where the Salinas River empties into Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay is recognized as providing habitat for some of the most interesting wildlife in the country. The migrating humpback and right whales, sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions and pelicans attract the most attention. But this bay is also important for a wide variety of bird species, including migrating waterfowl. Portions of the refuge are open to public hunting for waterfowl. Waterfowl hunting is allowed along the southeast bank of the Salinas River, within the posted boundaries of the hunt area. During the waterfowl season, hunting is permitted daily from one half-hour before sunrise until sunset. There are no facilities on the refuge other than a parking lot and pedestrian trails leading to the Salinas River or beach.

Getting there: The refuge is located 11 miles north of Monterey at the confluence of the Salinas River and Monterey Bay. Take the Del Monte Avenue exit from Highway 1 and drive 0.75 miles west to the parking lot.

Species Icons: WF

Refuge Hunting Permit: No

Ref. Your Guide to Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, p. 44 [download pdf from the bottom left-hand corner of the page]

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