On this page, you’ll find practically everything you need for hunting ducks, geese, pheasant, snipe, dove, rabbit, raccoon, and crow at the Mendota Wildlife Area. We cover what you can hunt and how you can do it. You’ll find driving directions, hunt maps, and info about the check station, passes, permits, reservations, lotteries, waiting lists, camping, boat launches, hunting blinds, self-registration, parking lots, fishing, and more. Use our custom map.
- About the Area.
- Authorized Species and Hunting Methods.
- General Hunting Rules.
- Area Hunting Rules.
- Other Activities
About the Area
Location, Phone & Directions
The phone numbers are (559) 655-4645 or the Central Region Fresno office at (559) 243-4005 ext. 151 . Use our custom map for directions to the check station, parking lots, camping area, boat launches, blinds for disabled hunters, and self-registration booth.
The Mendota Wildlife Area is a Type A area in CDFW’s Central California Region 4 (Region 4). The area consists of about 11,800 acres, including seasonally flooded freshwater emergent wetland, valley foothill riparian and, to a lesser extent, alkali sink scrub. See 14 CCR 551(b)(63).
Authorized Species & Hunting Methods
The CDFW doesn’t show everything you can hunt or how you can hunt it. It only shows the symbols pictured below. For an explanation of CDFW symbols, see Don’t be misled by CDFW webpage hunting symbols!
From the CDFW symbols, it would appear you can only hunt pheasant and ducks. According to the regulations, you can hunt all of the birds and mammals listed below. See 14 CCR 551(e)(1) and 14 CCR 551(s)(18). Follow the links for seasons, shooting hours, hunting methods, and other places to hunt.
From the CDFW symbols, it would appear you can only use or possess shotguns at the Mendota Wildlife Area. As a Type A wildlife area, you hunt with raptors to take authorized species, but only from the first Saturday after the end of waterfowl season through the end of falconry and pheasant season. During that time, you can only hunt with raptors on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays. See 14 CCR § 550(dd)(3) and California Falconry Laws.
General Hunting Rules
For hunting in California, you must comply with all federal, State, and local hunting rules. In this Section, we cover those general hunting rules. For hunting on public land, each area can add and/or further restriction the general rules. For local rules, see Area Hunting Rules below.
State Hunting Rules
There are California rules for hunting seasons, bag limits, shooting hours, methods of take, etc. To see those rules, go to our menu for All Hunting and select the bird or mammal you wish to hunt.
Federal Hunting Rules
There are federal hunting rules for all migratory birds, which tend to migrate across State lines. Migratory game birds include ducks, geese, doves (western mourning and white-winged), band-tailed pigeon, and snipe. To see those rules, got to our summary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Topics relate to activities like field dressing, methods of hunting, and shooting hours.
Wildlife Area Hunt Rules
There are general State rules applicable to all Wildlife Areas. There are also general State rules applicable to all Type A wildlife areas, like the Mendota Wildlife Area. Topics relate t0 things like biking, camping, falconry, passes, permits, reservations, shotguns, target shooting, trapping, vehicles, and wood cutting. To find those rules, follow the links above.
Area-Specific Rules & Restrictions
In this Section, you’ll find local rules for visiting the Mendota Wildlife Area. We cover local rules for hunting and fishing in the next sections.
Warning shot!!! We combine rules from the hunting regulations, the CDFW webpage, the annual CDFW bird hunting manual, hunt maps, info from check station windows, and other resources. However, you might still find additional rules at the headquarters, check stations, information booths, and road signs (pictured above).
Camping, Campers, Trailers, & Motorhomes
You can camp at the Mendota Wildlife Area, but only during waterfowl season in the check station parking lot (“Tent City“). In addition, there are a limited number of long-term spaces, and you can only get one through a Special Drawing (sample). Applications are due around mid-September. To get an application, call (209) 826-0463. See 14 CCR § 551(m)(19).
You cannot hunt or carry firearms into the closed areas. Dogs must be leashed when in closed areas. See Rule #4 and #8 of the entrance sign (pictured right).
As a Type A wildlife are, Mendota is closed on Christmas Day. Mendota is also closed to all visitors from September 16 until the opening day of waterfowl season. The only exception is the vehicle tour route and fishing site. During waterfowl season, you can only visit Mendota for the purpose of hunting. After waterfowl season, the Area may be closed several days for postseason maintenance. See 14 CCR § 551(e)(1) and 14 CCR § 551(0)(36).
Entry & Exit
You can only enter the Mendota Wildlife Area through designated points of access. During waterfowl season, you can only enter through the Check Station. See our custom map and the CDFW Bird Hunting Manual.
As a Type A wildlife area, you cannot use archery equipment, BB guns, rifles, combination rifle-shotguns, pellet guns, or revolvers. See 14 CCR § 551(cc)(4)(B).
- Use 12-guage shotguns or smaller,
- Use size T shell shot or smaller,
- Take 25 shells in the field during waterfowl season,
- Use steel or other non-toxic shot,
- Carry ammo in the field if you have a permit, or
- Carry unloaded firearms in parking lots, visitor areas, check stations, or other CDFW facility. See 14 CCR § 551(cc)(4).
As a Type A wildlife area, hunt days at Mendota are limited to Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays during waterfowl season. The only exceptions are during youth0only waterfowl days and the early dove season. See 14 CCR § 551(e)(1).
You can only hunt at the Mendota Wildlife Area in areas designated for hunting (pictured below). The Hunt Map is only for general guidance. You can get the legal boundaries online. Click here for instructions.
There are also flood maps posted at the check station window. According to the CDFW webpage, the flood schedule can change at any time due to “changing weather, water availability, and management needs.”
During waterfowl season, you need a Type A Pass to enter the Mendota Wildlife Area. Warning shots!!! You have to buy your pass in advance either online or at a CDFW’s license sales office or license agent. They aren’t sold at check stations. See 14 CCR § 550.5(c)(2) and 14 CCR § 551(e)(1).
During waterfowl season, you need a Type A pass and Entry Permit to enter the Mendota Wildlife Area. At all other times of the year, you need a permit from the self-registration fishing access booth. See 14 CCR § 550.5(c)(3) and our custom map.
You cannot cut an woody-stemmped plants. See 14 CCR § 550(g)(3).
Waterfowl Hunting Rules
In this Section, we cover how to get in the Mendota Wildlife Area during seasons for ducks and geese, plus rules related to boats, camping, hunt days, hunter quota, passes, permits, reservations, lotteries, sweat lines, hunting methods, vehicles, and the waterfowl zone.
During waterfowl season, you can access the Mendota Wildlife Area by foot, bicycle, boat, and vehicle. See Bicycles, Boats and Vehicles below.
You can use boats at the Mendota Wildlife Area. On waterfowl hunt days, you have to get an entry permit from the check station before launching. In addition to the main boat ramp, the are several launch sites for small boats and kayaks. See our custom map.
Camping, Campers, Trailers & Motorhomes
You can camp at the Mendota Wildlife Area, but only at the check station parking lot during waterfowl season. In addition, there are long-term spaces and you can only get one through a Special Drawing (sample). Applications are due around mid-September. To get an application, call (209) 826-0463. See our custom map, 14 CCR § 551(m)(10), and the CDFW Bird Hunting Manual.
Disabled Blinds Sites
The blinds are available to all hunters unless it’s being used by a MIH. If it’s being used by a non-MIH, a MIH with a permit can ask you to leave. When being used by a MIH, you have to give them 100 yards. For more info, open the images below. See CDFW Regulations Manual for Waterfowl, Upland Game Public Use of Department Land.
This flood maps reflects water levels in October 2016.
You can hunt waterfowl at the Mendota Wildlife Area, but only on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays. See 14 CCR § 551(e)(1).
During waterfowl season, the quota at the Mendota Wildlife Area changes from year to year. Historical, the capacity has been 600 hunters. Due to water shortages, the capacity was reduced to 300 in 2015-2016. It’s expected to be at full capacity for 2016-2015.
Juniors can get a free permit to hunt on waterfowl and pheasant hunt days. It comes with a kill can that must be returned to the check station. Also see Permits:Lottery below.
You need an entry Permit to hunt during waterfowl season. You get them from the check station on the morning of each hunt day. They’re issued first to Reservation holders, followed by vehicles parked in the Waiting Line. Warning shot!!! All applicable federal, State, and local rules are incorporated into your permit as a condition for use.
If you get drawn, go to the Mendota Check Station at least two (2) hours before shoot time. During opening weekend, get there at least two and a half (2 1/2) hours before shoot time.
Park in the reservation line on the lefthand side of the road. Park next to the number that corresponds with your reservation number.
If you get there after the vehicle line begins to move, to to the back of the line. CDFW staff will continue to process reservations until one (1) hour before shoot time, at which time reservations expire. See 14 CCR § 551(x)(9) and Parties below.
Warning shot!!! You cannot leave your vehicle unattended in line. You cannot crowd other vehicles or save spots in line. Your dog is supposed to be on a leash while in “tent city.” You can’t make open fires while in the check station lane. See CDFW Bird Hunting Manual.
If you don’t have a reservation, park in the non-reservation line or “sweat line.” It’s used to fill any vacancies on a first-come, first-serve basis after reservations are processed. The Area Manager may do a “cattle call” for everyone to come to their vehicles, and issue a “cattle tag” that’s required to get a permit. So listen for the bullhorn announcement. Also see Parties below.
If you want to hunt as a party, only two adults can enter on the same reservation or lottery card. Each adult can bring two junior hunters, two non-shooters, or one of each. You have to hunt the same assignment. See 14 CCR § 551(x)(9).
You can only drive on designated roads, which go to and from the parking lots.
The Mendota Wildlife Area is in the Balance of State Waterfowl Zone, which determines the waterfowl seasons, bag limits, and possession limits.
Pheasant Hunting Rules
Pheasant hunting is open daily for the first nine days of the pheasant season, on waterfowl hunt days for the remainder of the pheasant season and on the day after Thanksgiving. See 14 CCR § 551(s)(17).
Dove Hunting Rules
You can hunt doves at the Mendota Wildlife Area. During the early dove season in September, you can hunt daily. During the late dove season, you can only hunt them on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays or youth waterfowl hunt days. See 14 CCR 551(e)(1).
Snipe Hunting Rules
You can hunt snipe at the Mendota Wildlife Area. During waterfowl season, you can only hunt them on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays or youth waterfowl hunt days. See 14 CCR 551(e)(1).
Rabbit Hunting Rules
You can hunt rabbits at the Mendota Wildlife Area, but self-registration is required. During waterfowl season, you can only hunt rabbits on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays. Park in the boat launch area. See 14 CCR § 551(s)(18). Also see Closures above.
Warning shot!!! Park in the boat launch area. See 14 CCR 551(e)(1) and Rule #1 and #2.
Raccoon Hunting Rules
Crow Hunting Rules
You can hunt American Crow at the Mendota Wildlife Area. During waterfowl season, you can only hunt crows on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays. Warning shot!!! You have to self-register at the booth located in the fishing area. See 14 CCR 551(e)(1) and 14 CCR § 551(s)(18).
Dog Training & Field Trials
You can train your hunting dog at the Mendota Wildlife Area, but there are two conditions. First, you can only to it from the end of waterfowl season through March 3. Second, you can only do it in designated areas. Dogs trials are also allowed at Mendota, at which time you can also ride horses and use the pack animals. See 14 CCR § 551(i)(7) and 14 CCR § 551(l)(16).
You can fish for sport at the Mendota Wildlife Area, but there are conditions. First, you can only fish in designated areas. Second, during waterfowl season you need a Pass and Permit to enter the hunting area. See our custom map and 14 CCR § 551(o)(36).
You can ride a horse at the Mendota Wildlife Area, but only during authorized dog trials. See 14 CCR § 551(l)(15).
Vehicle Tour Route