The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering waterfowl hunting opportunities at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve (ELER) in Hayward. The reserve includes former salt ponds now managed by CDFW as low-salinity waterfowl habitat and areas restored to full tidal action.
Access to ELER for waterfowl hunting will be open for 100 hunters on a first-come, first-served basis only on the dates listed. There is no fee for these hunts.
The 2016 hunts (check-in at 5 a.m. on each of the following dates) available include: Thursdays, Dec. 8 and Dec. 22; Saturday, Dec. 17.
The 2017 hunts (check-in at 5:30 a.m. on each of the following dates) on the schedule include: Saturdays, Jan. 7 and Jan. 21; Thursdays, Jan. 12 and Jan. 26.
All hunters must check in with CDFW staff on the morning of the hunt with a valid California Hunting License, federal duck stamp and state duck and Harvest Information Program (HIP) validations. Hunters will also be required to check out upon leaving and allow inspection of game to evaluate hunter success and collect harvest data.
Junior hunters must be accompanied by an adult hunter or non-hunter 18 years or older. Vehicles are only allowed on the hunt dates specified above, and drivers must stay on designated levees and use approved parking areas. Hunters are advised to use caution and should be aware of soft mud, swift currents, tidal fluctuations and unmarked hazards.
There is a 25-shell limit in the field, and hunters must use nonlead ammunition. (Nonlead ammunition is now required when hunting on all state wildlife areas and ecological reserves. For more information, see the CDFW nonlead ammunition page.)
A small boat, canoe or other flotation device is highly recommended to access ponds and blinds, navigable sloughs and for game retrieval. Boaters are advised to consult local tide charts before launching and should be aware that extensive mud flats may be exposed and even shallow draft vessels can be subject to hidden underwater hazards during low tides. A hunting dog is also recommended for retrieval of birds. Hunters will receive additional information, including area rules and regulations and maps, upon check-in.
Formal plans for public access opportunities at the reserve in addition to hunting are being developed as part of the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project (www.southbayrestoration.org).