Rules on Hunting and Fishing at Cosumnes River Preserve

In general, there is no hunting allowed in the core area of the Preserve because it is not compatible with our public use and wildlife protection objectives. Hunting and fishing are allowed on the river and in the sloughs, but hunters and fishermen must stay in their boats (no bank fishing/hunting). It is legal to fish or hunt from a boat in the river, a state navigable waterway, but only during the proper seasons and with the proper licenses.

Organized Hunts

For several years the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has provided special hunts- learn more about these at the  Department of Fish & Wildlife website.

Turkey Hunts

Turkey Hunt Application

Deer Hunts

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications for deer hunting opportunities at the Cosumnes River Ecological Reserve in Sacramento County for the 2023 A Zone and D-5 Zone general seasons.

CDFW initiated a limited deer hunting program within the ecological reserve in 2021 by offering three deer hunting access permits to property not typically open to deer hunting. The program proved safe and popular with hunters, and CDFW has doubled the number of deer hunting access permits.

Permits will be issued for six separate, one-week hunting periods – two permits for the A Zone and four for the D-5 Zone general seasons that fall within the reserve’s boundaries. Each permit will accommodate up to two hunters. Only archery equipment or shotguns with nonlead slugs may be used. Rifles, pistols or muzzleloaders will not be allowed due to safety concerns. Harvest is limited to one legal buck per hunter per access period.

The A Zone hunts take place in September within the reserve’s Arno Unit west of Highway 99. The D-5 Zone hunts are offered in late September and throughout October within the reserve’s Dillard Unit east of Highway 99.

Hunters can download the A Zone or D-5 Zone application online at the Cosumnes River Ecological Reserve web page. Hunters can also request an access permit application by calling CDFW’s Rancho Cordova office at (916) 358-2900 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on weekdays. Applications may be submitted via email to or mailed to CDFW’s Rancho Cordova office at 1701 Nimbus Road, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.

Permits will be awarded by a computerized drawing. Successful applicants will be notified by email or phone call/text message within two working days of the drawing, and will receive additional information, including maps and special instructions, prior to the hunt. Results will not be given over the phone.

Up to two people may apply for the hunt as one party by including all required information on the application form. Junior hunting license holders who are 12 years of age or older may also apply if accompanied by an adult hunter. Applicants may apply for one access permit on one area only. An individual’s name may appear in the drawing only once and additional or duplicate applications will be disqualified from the drawing.

Media Contacts:
Eric Kleinfelter, CDFW North Central Region, (209) 401-8806
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 215-3858