Big Game Fund-Raising Opportunities Expected to Generate Over $300,000 for Wildlife Conservation in 2012

Media Contacts:
Brad Burkholder, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-1829
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is pleased to announce the awarding of annual fund-raising hunt tag opportunities for big game in 2012.

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In cooperation with several hunting-oriented conservation organizations, DFG will offer 13 big game fund-raising license tags for eight mule or black-tailed deer, two desert bighorn sheep, one Grizzly Island tule elk, one multiple zone elk and one pronghorn antelope. Following a competitive bidding process, DFG proposes to award agreements for the auction or sale of the 13 tags to the following organizations: Wild Sheep Foundation (National and California Chapter), Safari Club International (Orange County and San Francisco Bay Area chapters), The Mule Deer Foundation (National, Central Coast, and Shasta-Lassen chapters), and the California Deer Association (North Valley, Chico, Redding, Salinas Valley, Gridley and Mount Saint Helena chapters).

These conservation organizations submitted a bid package describing their intent to auction off a particular tag at their annual fund-raising dinners/conventions during late winter/early spring. Auction of these tags typically generates more than $300,000 per year for DFG to put back into conservation and management actions that include surveys, habitat improvement, applied research and translocation of animals to historical ranges where they may currently be absent. Such translocation efforts in California have been a great success for tule elk, desert bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope.

“California’s hunting organizations continue to demonstrate they are at the forefront in support of wildlife conservation through their support for these auction tags and for the purchase of licenses and tags by their members, as well as all hunters,” said DFG Director Charlton H. Bonham.

In addition to the auction tags, DFG is expanding the random drawing program initiated earlier this year through the Automated License Data System (ALDS), when chances for a deer tag and an elk tag opportunity were offered to the public for $5.40 each. The drawings for those two opportunities alone generated more than $130,000 for conservation in 2011.

“In our continued support of hunting and quest to increase hunting and fishing opportunity in California, I’m pleased that our hunters can purchase multiple chances through our ALDS application process for a special hunt tag next year,” said Bonham. ”And I am particularly excited that this year we will include a once-in-a-lifetime desert bighorn sheep tag as well as a coveted northeastern California pronghorn antelope tag.”

As an added bonus for the hunter who draws the sheep tag from that random drawing,  a private entity, San Gorgonio Wilderness Outfitters, has offered free guide services for the hunt in the Kelso Peak/Old Dad Mountains zone to the recipient.

“This is a wonderful offer and commitment by the San Gorgonio folks and demonstrates the great support of one another within the hunting community,” said Bonham.

Availability of all fund-raising tags remains contingent upon the approval of annual hunting regulations by the Fish and Game Commission.