If you’re looking for the best places to hunt around Oakland, you’ve come to the right place.

Oakland is one of the biggest cities in California. Located on the east side of San Francisco Bay, it is a crowded urban area—presumably not the best place for hunting.

Additionally, California has the strictest gun laws in the country, hardly the conditions for fruitful hunting. 

However, many people don’t know that the Oakland area boasts a significant amount of land belonging to the Bureau of Land Management—and 99 percent of BLM land is open for hunting and fishing. 

There are areas around Oakland where hunting is legal—and where the game is more than abundant.

This guide includes everything you need to know about where to hunt in Oakland—and how to snag the best game. 

1. San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge

The San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a vast expanse of mudflats and pickleweed marshes, replete with waterfowl as you’ve never seen before.

The refuge is open from sunrise to sunset, and you can access it through Sears Point Road. This refuge was established in 1974 to support migratory bird species, and it consists of over 19,000 acres of land along the northern side of the Bay. 

Waterfowl hunting is allowed on most of the property, including through tidal sloughs and in the Cullinan Ranch region. Dates vary depending on the animal, but you can hunt only goose, duck, and coot in designated refuse areas. 

Hunting in Cullinan Ranch is only allowed on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays—and be sure to keep an eye out for “no hunting” zones.

2. Knoxville Wildlife Area 

Find the best game in California in this beautiful wildlife area, including deer, wild turkey, rabbit, quail, gray squirrel, pigeon, quail—and bear. If California has it, you can hunt it here.

The Knoxville Wildlife Area is a sprawling expanse of approximately 21,5000 acres near Napa, Lake, Colusa, and Yolo Counties.

This habitat supports a wide range of flora and fauna, including rare animals like bobcats, mergansers, golden eagles, and more. It’s a gorgeous place to hike and an even better place to spend the day hunting. 

You can access the Knoxville Wildlife Area by taking Highway 2 to Lower Lake, then Morgan Valley Road, where it becomes the Berryessa-Knoxville Road. You can also access it through Highway 128 to Knoxville Road or Winters. 

This wildlife area does not require the purchase of a hunting permit, and the best time to visit is during the winter. Hunting seasons vary by animal, so do your research ahead of time. 

3. Cow Mountain Recreation Area 

The Cow Mountain Recreation Area consists of 30,000 acres of public land on which it is free and legal to hunt. Here, you can hunt deer, rabbits, and wild turkeys. 

The Cow Mountain Recreation Area is split into the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The North Cow Mountain Recreation area consists of 26,000 acres of public land and boasts a dedicated shooting range in addition to hunting zones.

The South Cow Mountain Recreation Area boasts over 31 miles of streams, meadows, and hills; you can even hunt bears in this area. Remember that people live here and that it is illegal to discharge a firearm within 150 yards of any occupied home or campground. 

You can get there by taking State Highway 101 from Ukiah to the Talmage exit, turning right at East Side Road. Take Mill Creek Road three miles to the North Cow Mountain Recreation Area. 

4. Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

You can find waterfowl—like geese, coots, and ducks—in these beautiful marshes.

The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge consists of 30,000 acres of habitat for migratory birds and other species. Hunting is allowed on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays in all ponds and tidal areas. There is a 25-shell limit, target practice is illegal, and you must use non-toxic, non-lead ammunition. Consider using Tulammo or steel-based shells to hunt in this area.

Regular duck season is from October 22nd through January 31st, and special hunts occur during select periods throughout the year. 

To access this area, direct your GPS to 1 Marshlands Road, Fremont, CA 94555, and follow the signage toward the refuge. 

5. Los Banos Wildlife Area 

Los Banos Wildlife Area comprises 6,200 acres of wetland habitats, including lakes, sloughs, and managed marshes. You’ll find Western pond turtles, raccoons, skunks, beavers, muskrats, and over 200 species of birds in this area, and you can hunt waterfowl and pheasant by this beautiful lake. 

Keep in mind that this area is closed to the public during the winter, from September 15 through the 2nd Monday of February.

A CDFW land pass is necessary to hunt in this area, though you are exempt if you have a California hunting permit. 

To get there, drive from Highway 152 through the east edge of Los Banos, turn north on Highway 165, then take a right on Henry Miller Avenue for three miles. Follow the signage to the wildlife area.

6. Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area

The Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area is a sprawling expanse of baylands, wetlands, and tidal sloughs along the California Ridgeway and San Pablo Bay. It consists of over 15,200 acres of prime hunting land.

You’ll find waterfowl species and shorebirds here, including the rare California Ridgeway rail. 

You can hunt waterfowl, including coos, moorhens, quail, snipe, rabbits, pheasants, and doves. 

The area is located north of San Pablo Bay and is relatively easy to access. Remember that you need to use a small boat or kayak to navigate the wetlands and sloughs in the area.

The Waterfowl hunting season runs from October through January every year, and you’ll need to do further research on the permits required to hunt here.

Hunt days are Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays during open hunting season, and some zones are off-limits. There is a junior hunt every year in November, so check the website for additional information on special events.

7. Hastings Island Hunting Preserve 

Hastings Island Hunting Preserve is a state-licensed, zone B pheasant club located 70 miles east of San Francisco and 35 miles from Sacramento.

The private ranch includes over 4,700 acres of huntable land, and the preserve offers hunter-safety courses to familiarize new club members.

This preserve functions differently from others. You must obtain a club membership and enroll in orientation courses to prepare for your hunt.

Open season is during the winter months from October through January, though the club is available for chukar hunts during the off-season on Wednesdays through Sundays from eight to four. 

8. Grizzly Island Wildlife Area 

Grizzly Island Wildlife Area consists of a whopping 12,900 acres of bays, sloughs, and land. 

In this beautiful landscape, you can hunt:

  • Waterfowl 
  • Dove
  • Pheasant
  • Rabbit
  • Tule Elk (with a permit)

Rare and threatened species also live in this area so that you can spot (but not hunt) peregrine falcons, salt marsh harvest mice, California black rail, bald eagles, Suisun asters, and soft-haired birds’ beaks.

Grizzly Island is open from dawn until dusk but occasionally closes during winter, so call ahead to ensure you can go.

You’ll take I-80 north from San Francisco or south from Sacramento to get three. Take Highway 12 off-ramp east towards Rio Vista and turn only Grizzly Island Road. Follow the signage to the main entrance from there. 

9. Native Hunt 

Native Hunt is a San-Jose-based wildlife hunting range. 

At this unique hunting range, you can hunt for fonts, Boars, and other animals like pheasants. 

This is a private, paid hunting experience, and you’ll need to embark on your hunt with a registered guide.

You’ll enjoy over 27,000 acres of land throughout Monterey and Fresno counties, where you can spot and stalk wild game under the supervision of a guide.

The company offers first-class lodging for overnight guests, and you can target shoot off the deck of your room or fish in one of the local ponds and marshes. 

The company offers sporting clay shooting, varmint hunting, hiking, and more, so there’s plenty to keep you busy. 

To schedule a hunt, visit the website and fill out the contact form. 

10. Wing and Barrel Ranch

Picture taken on the Wing and Barrel Ranch which featured on Covey Rise Magazine

Wing and Barrel Ranch is a private West Coast Sporting and Hunting Course. With over 24 open hunting fields across 1,000 acres of upland territory, you can hunt seasonal pheasant, chukar, and quail.

Hunting season is from October to April, and you can even rent one of the club’s dogs to accompany you on your trip.

Remember that you will have to register to become a club member, and you’ll need to pay a membership fee to access the hunting grounds and sporting clays.

The club offers many additional perks, including a shooting range, clubhouse, winery, farm, and plenty to do all year round. 

Wrapping Up: The Best Places to Hunt Around Oakland

Hunting around Oakland is relatively easy when you know where to look.

With this guide, you can enjoy the best hunting grounds the Bay Area has to offer.

Remember that there are many restrictions on hunting in California, and you’ll need to use the right ammo. Tulammo is safe to use and offers unparalleled quality compared to other brands, so consider using this top product throughout your hunts.

Happy hunting!