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Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area - Butte & Glenn Counties
The symbols above are activities permitted on this Wildlife Area. Click for more info.
Location: Butte and Glenn Counties. Wildlife area headquarters is located approximately 11 miles west of Highway 99 on Highway 162.
Phone Number: (530) 982-2169
Please Note: During heavy rains local roads may be closed due to flooding. Check road conditions before proceeding to Wildlife Area as check stations at Little Dry Creek Unit, Llano Seco Unit and Howard Slough Unit may be closed.
- Closed to all non-hunting uses from two weeks before to one week after waterfowl season
- Public entry is allowed only from sunrise to sunset, except by written permission
- Horses are prohibited
- Dogs are allowed for hunting only
- Boats are not allowed
Access: Type A daily, two-day, or type A season pass required. The check station does NOT sell any daily, two-day or season passes. All passes must be purchased in advance where hunting licenses are sold. There is no fee for junior hunting license holders or non-shooters.
- Llano Seco Unit: from Highway 99 north of Gridley, take Highway 162 west approximately 13 miles to Z Road. Go north on Z Road approximately 7 miles. When Z road crosses into Butte County Z Road becomes Seven Mile Lane. The check station is located approximately 100 yards north of the intersection of Seven Lane and Nelson Road.
- Howard Slough Unit: straddles Highway 162. The check station is one mile north of Highway 162 on ZZ Road.
- Little Dry Creek Unit: located between the Biggs-Afton Road and the Gridley-Colusa Highway. Access to the check station is off the Colusa-Gridley Highway approximately 11 miles west of Gridley.
Outdoor California Article: "Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area - A Worthy Excursion" (PDF) or Text Only by Steve Cordes © 2001
Reservations: Available during the waterfowl and pheasant season for all three units of Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area.
Holidays: The Wildlife Area is open New Year's Day and closed on Christmas when that day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Wednesday.
Description: The Upper Butte Wildlife Area currently consists of three units, the 1,521 acre Llano Seco Unit, the 4,010 acre Howard Slough Unit, and the 3,762 acre Little Dry Creek Unit. The Wildlife Area is located within the Butte Basin, a low-lying area extending from the Sacramento River south and east to the Butte Creek drainage and southward to include the Butte Sink. Historically this basin consisted of a braided network of sloughs, channels, and oxbows resulting from the meanderings of the Sacramento River and Butte Creek, and comprised a significant portion of the wetland habitat available for wintering migratory birds. Today it is still considered one of the finest wetland habitat complexes in North America. The Wildlife Area was created to protect and/or restore some of these historical wetlands.
Recreational Use: Type A Wildlife Area
- Fishing is allowed. Open daily sunrise to sunset. Area is closed 2 weeks before waterfowl season starts and reopens one week after waterfowl season ends.
- Camping is allowed in the check station parking lots only. Trailers are only allowed at check station parking lots during the waterfowl season.
- Bird watching and sight seeing hours are sunrise to sunset. Parking is permitted only at designated parking lots. Please observe all road closed signs, drive slowly, and with caution. Download the Bird Checklist.
Hunting Upper Butte Basin Units
At least one hunting blind for the mobility impaired is available on each unit. These blinds are filled in the following order: reservation, lottery participants, first-come, first-served. A Department of Motor Vehicles ID card is required to use the blind. Only hunters with proper permits will be allowed in this area. A mobility impaired hunter may be accompanied by 2 adults or 2 juniors with no more than 3 people per blind. Individuals must hunt from the blind leaving only to retrieve and pick up downed birds. Hunting parties can be up to three people in assigned fields or spaced blinds.
Daily Hunter Capacity
- Howard Slough Unit: up to 81 adults, with refills.
- Llano Seco Unit: total of 78 hunters, with refills.
- Little Dry Creek Unit: up to 96 adults, with refills in free roam only.
Authorized game species
Deer, rabbits, waterfowl, coots, moorhens, snipe, dove, fall turkeys* and pheasants.
- Waterfowl, coots, moorhens and snipe: Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday during open season during waterfowl season.
- Pheasant and fall turkeys: Beginning in 2012, Pheasant and Fall Turkey* will be open the first Monday of the season, and on waterfowl shoot days until the end of pheasant season or fall turkey season.
- Doves: the first 15 days of September and on waterfowl or pheasant shoot days during the late dove season.
- Rabbit: Daily during the September dove season, and during the late dove season on waterfowl or pheasant hunt days only.
- Deer: Junior deer hunt at the Little Dry Creek Unit by special drawing only.
*Fall Turkey is open annually at the regional manager's discretion. Please check with wildlife area staff prior to fall turkey season.
Shooting Hours: Shooting hours for waterfowl and doves are from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. Pheasant and rabbit shooting hours are 8 a.m. to sunset.
Method of Take Restrictions: Steel shot required for waterfowl, coot and moorhen hunting. No shot shells larger than 12 gauge and no shot larger than T permitted. Hunters are limited to 25 shot shells while in the field. Lead shot is allowed for pheasants, dove, snipe and rabbits only.
*Special Closure: Dove hunting on the Little Dry Creek Unit is only allowed east of Little Dry Creek.*
Procedure for Obtaining a Permit to Hunt
Reservations are available for all three units of UBBWA. In order to apply for a reservation you must purchase a reservation application form wherever hunting licenses are sold. The application must be filled out and submitted to Sacramento17 days before the selected hunt date. Successful applicants will be notified via mail prior to the date for which they were drawn.
Lotteries are held at all three units of UBBWA. The lottery for both Howard Slough and Little Dry Creek units is held the night before each hunt date. All hunters wanting to participate in the lottery must be present when the lottery card is filled out, and they must have their hunting licenses with them. Up to three hunter names may appear on a lottery card, and an individual's name may only appear on one card per day. Numbers are issued between 6pm and 8pm, and a computer is used to randomly determine the order applicants are placed on the list. The process at Llano Seco unit is the same, however number are issued beginning at 4am on the hunt day, and the order is compiled at 4:30am.
First-come, first-served (sweat line) lists are established the morning of each hunt day. Hunters that do not have a reservation, and do not participate in the lottery, can ask to be placed on this list.
Each area fills the quota in this order: reservations, lottery, then first-come, first-served. If a lottery number is called and the hunter(s) fail to show at the check station window they will be removed from the list. If they show after their number has been called, and still wish to hunt, they will be placed at the bottom of the first-com, first-served list.
Check Station Hours
Check station personnel will open the check station at 4am each waterfowl hunt day and close at 3pm.
Howard Slough and Little Dry Creek
Check station personnel will open the station the night before each hunt to conduct the lottery. The check station will be closed after the lottery, until the next morning when staff will re-open two hours before shoot time.
- All hunters must carry their hunting license and daily permit in the field. Permits must be returned to the check station and hunting results reported before leaving area.
- Dogs are allowed for hunting only. Keep dogs on a leash at parking lots.
- Horses are prohibited.
- Camping in check station parking lot only during waterfowl season.
- Trailers are only allowed at check station parking lots during waterfowl season.
- No high shooting or skyscraping - give decoy hunters a wide berth.
- Unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated.
- Violators may be ejected from area.
- Bicycles are not allowed during waterfowl season.
- Please do not pick birds in field or parking lots.
Management Plan: Notice of Availability and Intent to Consider an Initial Study/NegativeDeclaration for the Draft Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area Land Management Plan, (UBBWA) Butte and Glenn Counties, California.
PLEASE NOTE: Area regulations are subject to change. Special restrictions on recreational uses, hunt days and methods of take are listed in the current year's issue of Hunting and Other Public Uses on State and Federal Areas, available at CDFW offices and places where licenses are sold.