San Pablo Bay 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

  • San Pablo Bay WLA map with directions


    Authorized Activities:

  1. Waterfowl hunting: goose, duck, scaup, coot & moorhen
  2. Sport fishing: allowed; common species include ___

[ref. § 551(t)(23)]

B. All Activities:

  • Access: ONLY by boat from the Petaluma River

  • Archery: a bow and arrow or crossbow bolts with flu-flu fletching is allowed ONLY for the purpose of hunting migratory game birds or small game within designated shoot areas except that for waterfowl, conventionally fletched arrows may also be used to take waterfowl while sitting on the water from scullboats or similar watercraft. Warning shot!!! During any archery season, archers may NOT possess a firearm while in the field hunting with a archery equipment(see our summary)

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

    Use of Boats

  • Boats:
  1. Anchoring: Warning shot!!! When along main sloughs, allow enough anchor chain for water level changes and enough room for other boats to navigate.
  2. Zones: Use may be restricted to certain zones
  • Boat speed: 5 mph max
  • Boat ramps: see our Google map
  1. Petaluma Marina:
  2. Black Point: on the W. side of the Hwy 37 bridge off Harbor Drive in Novato
  • Camping: NOT allowed

    Dog and pet restrictions

    Use of dogs

  • Dogs: allowed only for hunting or if under immediate control (link to summary of dog-specific regulations)
  • Hunter capacity: NO limit
  • Passes: N/A
  • Permits: N/A
  • Personal property: remove daily (e.g. blinds, decoys, fishing materials, shot shells, trash)
  • Private property: observe and respect adjacent private property
  • Reservations: N/A
  • Target shooting: NOT allowed
  • Weapons: NO rifles or pistols may be possessed—ONLY shotguns and archery equipment [ref. § 551(r)(48)]

C. Waterfowl Season:

  • Blinds: first-come, first-served __ [need map from CDFW] [ref. § 551(q)(19)]
  • Caution: when walking (small ditches), wading in ponds and sloughs (soft and irregular), and of tidal changes (unnavigable on minus tides)
  • Decoys: may NOT be left in the field overnight
  • Hunt days: DAILY during open seasons for the “Balance of State” waterfowl zone (link to summary of seasons and limits)
  • Shooting hours: one half (1/2) hour before sunrise to sunset (link to CDFW’s Shooting Time Table)

D. 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

(55) San Pablo Bay Wildlife Area

Type C Area 11,038 acres

Location and Access: Located in the mudflats and surrounding San Pablo Bay waters in Marin County, between the mouths of the Petaluma River and Gallinas Creek. Daily Hunter Capacity: No limit. For information call (707) 944- 5500.

(A) Method of Take Restrictions: No rifles or pistols may be used or possessed.

(B) Hunt Days: Daily during open seasons for authorized species.

(C) Authorized Species: Water fowl, coots, and moorhens.

(D) Blinds: Shall be available on first-come, first-served basis.


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