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 have provided special wild turkey hunting and dove hunting opportunities on specific parts of the Preserve. To learn more about these limited, organized hunts visit the  Department of Fish & Wildlife website.

New — October Deer Hunts

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is expanding the public hunting opportunities available within the Cosumnes River Preserve in southern Sacramento County to include, for the first time, three deer hunts this October.

While CDFW has provided popular wild turkey hunting and dove hunting opportunities at the preserve over the years, deer hunting has never before been available. CDFW is now accepting applications for a limited number of deer hunting access permits for the CDFW-owned Cosumnes River Ecological Reserve (CRER) within the Cosumnes River Preserve. This is not a special hunt, but rather a drawing to provide limited public access to property that has never before been open for public deer hunting.

Access permits will be issued for three separate, one-week hunt periods in October for parties of one or two hunters (six hunters total for the three hunts). Only archery equipment or shotguns with solid, nonlead slugs may be used. Rifles, pistols and muzzleloaders will not be allowed for any of the hunt periods due to safety concerns.

The specific location of the hunt is the Dillard Unit within the CRER (PDF)(opens in new tab). Hunters must possess a valid California hunting license along with a valid Archery Only deer tag or valid D3-5 deer tag at the time of their hunt. The deer hunting access permits could provide hunting opportunities for some D3-5 tag holders who otherwise have lost public hunting ground as a result of the Caldor Fire, general wildfire conditions and national forest closures. Depending on hunter success, satisfaction, compliance with access rules and the quality of the overall experience, additional deer hunting periods and access permits may be added in 2022 and beyond.

Hunters can download the hunt application online at wildlife.ca.gov/Lands/Places-to-Visit/Cosumnes-River-ER. Hunters can also request an application by calling CDFW’s North Central Region office at at (916) 358-2900 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Applications may be submitted via email to Rylee.Owen@wildlife.ca.gov or mailed to CDFW’s North Central Region office at 1701 Nimbus Road, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.

Only official applications will be accepted and must be received before 3:00 p.m. on October 4, 2021. Reservations will be selected by a computerized drawing. Successful applicants will be notified by email, phone or text message within two working days of the drawing and will receive additional information, including maps and special instructions, prior to the hunt. Drawing 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 license holders who are 12 years of age or older may also apply if accompanied by an adult hunter. Applicants may apply for a seven-day access permit during one hunt period only. An individual’s name may appear in the drawing only once and additional or duplicate applications will be disqualified from the drawing.

CDFW encourages all hunters to get their harvested deer tested for Chronic Wasting Disease. For more information, please visit: wildlife.ca.gov/CWD.

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