Two Waterfowl Destinations To Consider

Ducks Unlimited listed five destinations throughout the West Coast (Pacific Flyway) that waterfowl hunters should consider as seasons get set to begin this fall.

As you would expect, two of the hot spots the DU folks mentioned are in California:

Photo by USFWS
Photo by USFWS


From the DU story:

Delevan National Wildlife Refuge (Colusa)

Delevan National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is one of five refuges within the Sacramento NWR Complex. Managed wetlands and uplands on this 5,797-acre refuge provide superb habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. Public hunting is allowed on 1,922 acres of the refuge, and harvest data clearly show that Delevan NWR ranks among the nation’s top public waterfowling destinations. 

“Of all the refuges in the area, Delevan probably has the highest duck-per-hunter average,” says refuge manager Steve Emmons. “I think that has a lot to do with the way the hunting areas are laid out. There are no-hunting refuges north and south of the hunting areas so birds move through the entire area.”

Los Banos Wildlife Area

Los Banos Wildlife Area consists of 6,217 acres managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. This property is located in the San Joaquin Valley’s legendary Grasslands, the largest freshwater marsh complex west of the Mississippi River. Los Banos’s green-winged teal flights can be epic, as these fast-flying migrants flock to their historical wintering grounds here late in the season.

“Los Banos Wildlife Area is a great place to hunt, and the property has a variety of seasonal, semi-permanent, permanent, and riparian wetlands,” says Chris Hildebrandt, a DU regional biologist in California. “The predominant birds are green-winged teal, but you can also expect to see northern shovelers, northern pintails, American wigeon, and mallards. There are even some larger wetlands with good diving duck hunting as well.” 

The Ducks Unlimited story also reminds that the drought conditions that have plagued California and several spots in the Pacific Flyway “may impact waterfowl habitat conditions and hunting opportunities in unprecedented ways.”

Oct. 4 marks the duck and scaup opener for California’s Northeastern Zone. The Balance of State Zone season begins on Oct. 19.