Volta 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

  • California rules and regulations for the public use of the West Hilmar State Wildlife Area to hunt 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, dove, pheasant, quail, rabbit and jackrabbit.

    Directions

    Authorized Activities:

  1. Waterfowl hunting: geese, ducks, coot & moorhen
  2. Upland game bird hunting: pheasant & snipe
  3. Small game hunting: rabbits
  4. Other activities: sport fishing, nature study, and related activities
  • City: Volta (3 mi. north)
  • Complex: Los Banos Complex
  • County: Merced
  • Habitat: managed marsh and valley alkali shrub
  • Location:see our Google map
  • Owner: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Lands
  • Phone: (209) 826-0463
  • Recreational use: Type A
  • Region 4: map
  • Size: 2,891 – 3,004 acres (regs v. CDFW webpage)
  • Waterfowl Zone: Balance of State WF Zone
  • Website: Volta WLA

B. All Hunting

  • 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 for watefowl, conventionally fletched arrows may also be used to take waterfowl while sitting on the water from scullboats or similar watercraft (see our summary). Warning shot!!! During any archery season, archers may NOT possess a firearm while in the field hunting with a archery equipment.
  • Camping & trailers: ONLY during Waterfowl Season (see blow)
  • Closures: CLOSED to hunting from Aug. 15 until Waterfowl Season begins [ref. § 551(0)(60)]
  • Enter/Exit: ONLY at designated points of access (see our Google map)
  • Hunt area: legal boundaries, pic. right

  • Hunter capacity: 150 during waterfowl season
  • Reservations: available during waterfowl and pheasant seasons (see below)
  • Shotgun shells: 25 max while in the field during waterfowl season except on
  1. Youth-Only Waterfowl Days: NO limit
  2. Upland Game Only Days: NO limit
  • Vegetation: NO cutting of woody-stemmed plants
  • Vehicles: NOT allowed except with a “Type A” permit for waterfowl and pheasant hunting
  • Weapons: NO rifles or pistols—ONLY shotguns and archery equipment

C. Waterfowl Season

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

Boat Restrictions

  • Access: by boat, foot and/or vehicles
  • Blinds:
  1. Plants: do NOT cut woody-stemmed plants
  2. Materials: NO plant material from outside the WLA
  • Boats: carry-in ONLY
  1. Capacity: six (6) boats with four (4) people per boat
  2. Launch: from the bridge at the corner of Field #26
  3. Ramps: NOT available
  4. Trailers: may be used for launching
  5. Vehicles: park in Lot #1

[ref. § 551(l)(28)]

 

Image of campers, trailers and tents.

Use of Campers, trailers and tents

  • Camping & trailers: ONLY at the check station parking (see our Google map)
  1. Overnight: limited space
  2. Trailers: fifteen (15) long-term spaces available by special drawing__

[ref. § 551(m)(30)]

 

California rules and regulations for public use of the Volta State Wildlife Area to hunt ducks and geese (scaup, brant, Canada geese, dark geese, snow geese, white-fronted geese, specklebellies, white geese); migratory game birds (snipe); and resident small game (pheasant, rabbit, jackrabbit)

  • Hunt area: pic. left
  • Hunt days: Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays
  • Juniors: under the age of 16
  1. Lottery: see below
  2. Supervision: required by an adult, which may accompany two (2) juniors
  3. Youth-Only Days: NO limit on the number of shells in the field
  • California rules and regulations for public use while fishing and/or hunting ducks and geese (scaup, brant, Canada geese, dark geese, snow geese, white-fronted geese, specklebellies, white geese); migratory game birds (snipe); and resident small game (pheasant, rabbit, jackrabbit) on the State wildlife areas (Volta, North Grasslands (Salt Slough, Gadwall and China Island Units), and Los Banos; and the San Luis national wildlife refuge (Blue Goose, Bear Creek, Kesterson and Freitas Units)

    Lottery (non-reservation)

    Lottery: non-reservation hunters may register in person for a drawing to determine the order of entry in which permits are issued to fill any vacancies after reservations are processed

  1. Check station: Los Banos WLA (see our Google map)
  2. Drawing: at the check station 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 b/n 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. at the evening before each hunt day at the Los Banos check station. Warning shot!!! Violators will be eliminated and NOT be allowed to hunt that day
  • Parties: must hunt the same assignment
  • Party size:
  1. Free roam: two (2) adults, each accompanied by a combination of two (2) juniors or non-shooters (6 people max.)
  2. Blinds: up to the capacity (e.g. 2 people in a 2-person blind)

[ref. § 551(x)(26)]

  • Passes: a “Type A” pass is required and must be purchased in advance from a CDFW sales office, license agent or the Internet
  • Permits:
  1. Daily entry permit: a “Type A” permit is required and available at the Volta check station until 3:00 p.m.
  2. Priority: (1) Reservations, (2) Lottery, and (3) Waiting List (see above and below)
  • Reservations:
  1. Applications: purchase at least 17 days in advance from the CDFW (link to purchasing info)
  2. Availability: for waterfowl and pheasant seasons
  3. Parties: see “Parties” and “Party size” above
  4. Priority: processed in numerical order beginning w/ Reservation #1
  5. Processing: begins at the Volta check station at least two (2) hours before shoot time and continues until one (1) hour before shoot time, at which time reservations expire

[ref. § 551(x)(26)]

  • Shotgun shot: ONLY steel or other non-toxic shot approved by the USFWS
  • Vehicles:
  1. Passengers: No “dumping,” i.e. dropping off prior to parking
  2. Equipment: No “dumping”
  3. Parking: ONLY in designated parking areas
  4. Stopping: NOT allowed b/n designated parking areas
  • Waiting list: hunters w/o a Reservation or Lottery number may be added to the waiting list
  1. Parties: see “Parties” and “Party size” above
  2. Priority: first-come, first-served from the vehicle line at the Volta check station
  3. Registration: sign in as an individual or party

D. Pheasant Season

California rules and regulations for hunting pheasant on national wildlife refuges, California wildlife areas, and California ecological reserves

Pheasant

  • Access: ONLY by vehicle and foot
  • Hunt days: ONLY Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays during waterfowl season
  • Shotgun shells: NO limit when ONLY upland game may be taken
  • Permits: a “Type A” permit is required and available from the Volta check station until 3:00 p.m.
  • Reservations: available ONLY on waterfowl shoot days (see “Waterfowl Season” above)
  • Vehicles: park ONLY in designated parking areas

E. Rabbit Season

California rules and regulations for hunting rabbits and jackrabbits on national wildlife refuges, California wildlife areas, and California ecological reserves

Rabbit hunting

  • Access: ONLY by foot except for waterfowl and pheasant hunting
  • Closures: NO rabbit hunting during “Waterfowl Season”
  • Hunt days:
  1. Pre-waterfowl season: DAILY from Opening Day of rabbit season (Jul. 1, 2013) until Aug. 15
  2. Post-WF season: DAILY until Mar. 31

[ref. § 551(s)(28)]

  • Permits: without a “Type A” permit during Waterfowl Season and Pheasant Season (see above), self-registration is required at the fishing access booth [ref. § 551(s)(28)]

E. Snipe Season

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

Snipe Hunting

  • Access:ONLY by foot except for waterfowl and pheasant hunting
  • Hunt days:
  1. Waterfowl and pheasant season: from Opening Day of snipe season (Oct. 19, 2013), hunt ONLY on waterfowl hunt days
  2. Post-WF season: DAILY until the close of snipe season (Feb. 2, 2014)
  • Permits: without a “Type A” permit during Waterfowl Season and Pheasant Season (see above), self-registration is required at the fishing access booth
  • Shotgun shells: NO limit when ONLY upland game may be taken
  • Vehicles: access by vehicle to the parking areas is NOT allowed except w/ a permit during WF and pheasant seasons

F. Other activities

  • Permits: unless hunting with a “Type A” permit during waterfowl and pheasant seasons, self-registration is required at the fishing access booth

    Sport fishing in California

    Sport Fishing

  • Sport fishing: ONLY in the Volta Wasteway Channel for a distance of one mile downstream of Ingomar from Sep. 15 until the first Sat. after waterfowl season
  1. Pre-waterfowl season—CLOSED to all public use from Aug. 15 until WF season begins except see “Sport Fishing” below
  2. Waterfowl season: CLOSED except for hunting
  • Vehicles: NOT allowed except with a permit during Waterfowl Season and Pheasant Season (see above)

G. Regulations

Below are rules and regulations from the CDFW hunting booklet and procedures posted at the check station.

  • CDFW Hunting Booklet

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

(70) Volta Wildlife Area (Los Banos Complex) (U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Lands)

Type A Area 3,004 acres

Location and Access: Approximately ¾ mile north of Volta on Ingomar Grade. From Highway 152, take Highway 33 north to Santa Nella, or from Interstate 5 take the Santa Nella exit and proceed south on Highway 33; turn east on Henry Miller Avenue, travel 4 ½ miles, turn left over the railroad tracks and then left again and proceed north about ¾ mile on Ingomar Grade Road. From Los Baños, proceed west on Highway 152 for approximately 3 ½ miles to Volta Road; turn north (right) on Volta Road and proceed 3 miles. Turn left at stop sign; proceed about ¼ mile; turn right over railroad tracks and turn left; proceed approximately ¾ mile on Ingomar Grade Road. The area is accessed by foot only except for waterfowl and pheasant hunting. Area is open to small game hunting, fishing, nature study, and related activities. Reservations: Available during waterfowl and pheasant seasons. Checking Station: Permits will be issued to reservation holders starting two (2) hours before waterfowl shooting time. reservations must be presented at the checking station by one hour before waterfowl shooting time. reservations will expire at this time. Hunters without reservations may register in person at the Los Baños Wildlife Area 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. 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 adult licenses. If a person’s name appears more than once in the drawing, he will be eliminated from the draw and will not be allowed to hunt that day. Persons arriving after the 9:00 p.m. lottery registration deadline will be added to the list on a first-come, first-served basis, by the order they are parked at the Volta checking station. 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. No permits will be issued after 3:00 p.m. Daily Hunter Capacity: Limited up to 150 during waterfowl season. Only six parties will be allowed with boats with a maximum of four persons per boat. Boats will be launched at the bridge at the corner of field 26, and vehicles will be returned to parking lot 1. (Note: This is not a ramp, but a spot where light boats can be carried to the water.) During waterfowl season, 15 spaces are available for long term parking of trailers, by special drawing. Limited space is available for overnight parking. For information, phone (209) 826-0463.

(A) Method of Take Restrictions: Limited to shotguns and archery equipment. 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 shells taken into the field.

(B) Hunt Days: Waterfowl: Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays during open seasons. Pheasants: Every Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday during the pheasant season when the pheasant season occurs during the same period as waterfowl season. Other Authorized Species: Daily from July 1 through August 15, and from the beginning of waterfowl season through March 31 when in season, except that hunt days are restricted to waterfowl and pheasant hunt days during the waterfowl and pheasant season.

(C) Authorized Species: Waterfowl, snipe, coots, moorhens, pheasants, and rabbits. Rabbits may not be taken during the waterfowl season.

(D) Camping and Trailers: Allowed at checking station parking lot during waterfowl season only. Boat trailers are permitted beyond the checking station for the purpose of launching boats at designated areas. Permit holders may drive to designated parking areas during waterfowl and pheasant hunt seasons only. Stopping vehicles between designated parking areas to drop off passengers or hunting equipment is prohibited, except vehicles may be driven past parking lot 1 to launch boats.

(E) Special Restrictions: Closed to all public use from August 15 until the beginning of waterfowl season, except for fishing in the Volta Wasteway Channel. From August 15 through the Saturday following the end of waterfowl season, fishing is restricted to the Volta Wasteway Channel for a distance of one mile downstream of Ingomar Grade. The wildlife area is closed to all nonhunting uses during the waterfowl season. The cutting of woody stemmed plants is prohibited. Blinds may not be constructed or covered with plant material brought from outside the wildlife area.

(F) Reservation and Entry Permits: A type A permit is required for entry to hunt during the waterfowl and pheasant hunt seasons. All other users must self register at the fishing access booth. Persons entering together on a reservation will receive the same hunting assignment.

(G) Except during waterfowl and pheasant seasons, when hunting permittees are allowed to drive to designated parking areas, vehicle access is not allowed. Hunters may enter or exit only at designated locations. Stopping vehicles between designated parking areas to drop off passengers or hunting equipment is prohibited.

  • Check Station Rules and Procedures

Area rules and regs

Area rules and regulations for hunting on the Volta wildlife area in California

Area rules and regs

Area rules and regulations for hunting on the Volta wildlife area in California

Area rules and regs


Dogs, quiet hours and speed limits

Rules for dogs and speed limits at the Volta wildlife area in California

Dogs and Speed Limit


 

Non-reservation lottery procedures

California rules and regulations for public use while fishing and/or 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), Volta and Los Banos, and on the San Luis national wildlife refuge (Blue Goose, Bear Creek, Kesterson, San Luis and Freitas Units)

Lottery (non-reservation)

Lottery draw procedures for the Volta WLA in California

Lottery Draw Procedures

Lottery draw procedures for the Volta WLA in California

Lottery Draw Procedures

 


Re-fill procedures

Re-fill procedures for the Volta wildlife area in California

Re-fill procedures

Re-fill procedures for the Volta wildlife area in California

Refill procedures


Junior hunting permit

Junior entry permit for hunting on the Volta and Los Banos wildlife areas, and the Merced national wildlife refuge, in California

Junior Entry Permit


 

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