Category Archives: Hunting

Waterfowl Hunting Regulation Changes Now in Effect at Liberty Island Ecological Reserve

Media Contacts:
Ryan Carrothers or Jeff Stoddard, CDFW Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, (530) 757-2461
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds hunters that new land regulations have gone into effect at Liberty Island Ecological Reserve.

On Aug. 11, 2014, regulations recently adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission went into effect. These regulations included the designation of the CDFW property located on Liberty Island as an ecological reserve. The new regulations require that all personal equipment and belongings, including waterfowl hunting blinds, be removed from Liberty Island Ecological Reserve daily. These regulations can be found in Title 14, California Code of Regulations, sections 551 (v)(1) and 630 (b)(69).

Liberty Island Ecological Reserve, which is north of Rio Vista in Solano County, will remain open to waterfowl hunting seven days per week during the regular waterfowl season. The placement or construction of any permanent or semi-permanent hunting blinds on the reserve is prohibited. Hunters may continue to use temporary floating blinds as long as they are removed from the island daily.

Many permanent blinds can be found at Lower Sherman Island Wildlife Area, which is about 15 miles to the southwest of Liberty Island in Sacramento County. These blinds are owned by CDFW and are maintained by volunteers and members of the Lower Sherman Island Duck Hunters Association. These blinds are available on a first come, first served basis. No new permanent or semi-permanent blinds may be constructed or placed on the Lower Sherman Island Wildlife Area.

More information regarding public use on wildlife areas and ecological reserves can be found at http://tinyurl.com/nrml65z.

Waterfowl Hunting Regulation Changes Now in Effect at Laguna Wildlife Area

Media Contacts:
Stacy Martinelli, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 944-5537
Conrad Jones, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 944-5544
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds hunters at the Laguna Wildlife Area near Sebastopol in Sonoma County that waterfowl hunting regulation revisions for this area are now in effect.

On April 16, 2014, the Fish and Game Commission adopted changes to regulations regarding public use of CDFW Lands. On Aug. 11, 2014, the new regulations went into effect. The regulations clarify closures and implement shoot day restrictions on waterfowl hunting in the Laguna Wildlife Area. These revisions can be found in Title 14, California Code of Regulations, sections 551(o)(29) and 551(q)(8).

The Laguna Wildlife Area includes the Timber Hill Unit, Blucher Creek Unit, Cooper Road Unit and the Occidental Road Unit. The Timber Hill, Blucher Creek and Cooper Road Units remain closed to all hunting.

The only portion of Laguna Wildlife Area open to hunting is the Occidental Road Unit, where waterfowl hunting is now restricted to Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays during the regular waterfowl hunting season. The only legally authorized access to this Unit is by boat. There is no foot or terrestrial access.

The full commission decision can be found at http://tinyurl.com/llafsl6.

A complete list of hunting opportunities and regulations can be found at https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting

Waterfowl Hunting Seasons Opening Soon, Drought Conditions May Limit Opportunities

Media Contacts:
Brad Burkholder, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-1829
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) would like to remind hunters that California’s waterfowl hunting seasons are just weeks away. Opening and closing dates vary by zone and can be found by following the links below.decoy

Waterfowl Season Dates

Waterfowl Hunting Regulations

In most years, good public hunting access can be found on over two dozen national wildlife refuges and state wildlife areas. This year, the ongoing drought is affecting waterfowl habitat on these areas. The amount of water available to wildlife areas and refuges varies. Some areas will have significantly reduced amounts of water available for habitat management, while others will have normal to near-normal water conditions. Therefore, some wildlife areas and refuges may be closed, may open later in the season or may have a reduced hunter quota.

CDFW is making every effort to only offer reservation applications to areas that will be open for hunting. However, last minute closures may occur due to uncertain water availability and refunds cannot be issued for applications submitted to areas that close due to lack of water. Waterfowl hunters should stay up-to-date on reservation and quota numbers, which are expected to fluctuate frequently by checking online. Hunters can also check the Twitter tag #cawildlifeareaclosures for updates on state-operated wildlife area closures.

Wildlife Area Status Website

In an ongoing effort to expand public access, CDFW recently announced waterfowl hunting opportunities through the Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Program at the Merced Wildlife Management Area in Merced County. The SHARE program has partnered with California Waterfowl to offer additional hunting opportunities, including the recently acquired Goose Lake Wildlife Management Area located approximately eight miles south of Kern National Wildlife Refuge. For a full description of the hunts offered and step-by-step instructions on how to apply, please visit California Waterfowl online.

SHARE Program Hunts

California Waterfowl Hunt Program

A valid California hunting license, appropriate validations and a signed federal waterfowl conservation stamp must be obtained before entering the field. In addition to these items, a wildlife area pass is required to hunt on many state-operated wildlife areas. Licenses, validations and passes are not sold at wildlife areas, so hunters must purchase these items in advance.

Online License Sales

CDFW License Agents

California hunters are required to complete a hunter education training course before purchasing a hunting license for the first time in California. Each year approximately 30,000 students complete this requirement.

Find a Hunter Education Course

Whether you’re hunting geese in the Klamath Basin, calling ducks somewhere in the vast wetlands of the Sacramento Valley or experiencing the large snow goose flights of the Wister Wildlife Area in Southern California, CDFW encourages hunters to get out and enjoy our state’s unmatched waterfowl hunting opportunities. Be safe and have fun.

 

 

Deer Hunters Urged to Check Public Land Closures Caused by Wildfires

Media Contacts:
Lt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement (916) 508-7095
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Communications (916) 651-7824

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) advises deer hunters to check for fire closures before heading into the field for upcoming deer hunts. Drought and extremely dangerous fire conditions have combined in many areas of the state to ignite several large wildfires in many popular deer hunting areas.

Some areas of public land and roads have been closed to protect public safety. Deer hunting season opens in some of these areas over the next few weeks.

The U.S. Forest Service’s most updated closure information can be found at inciweb.nwcg.gov/closures/.

CAL FIRE’s most updated closure information can be found at cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_current.

King Fire closure information for deer zones D3-5 can be found at

www.fs.usda.gov/detail/eldorado/news-events/?cid=STELPRD3817315.

Hunters are urged to check these links frequently in order to obtain the most up-to-date information. Although some hunting areas may be closed, there is still plenty of public land where deer hunters can find hunting opportunities.

Detailed information and maps of California deer zones can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/deer/zonemapsinfo.html .

Deer season opening and closing dates by zone can be found at dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=84116.

Given the exceptionally dry conditions this year, it is even more important that hunters do their part to prevent wildfires. One less spark means one less wildfire. Learn more at www.preventwildfireca.org/OneLessSpark/.

SHARE Program to Offer Fall Hunts for Wild Pig, Waterfowl, Dove and Pheasant

Media Contacts:
Victoria Barr, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Communications, (916) 651-7824

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program is offering wild pig, waterfowl, dove and pheasant hunting opportunities on three different properties.

For the first time, SHARE is holding wild pig hunts at Rush Ranch in southern Solano County. Rush Ranch is a 2,070-acre open space area bordered by the Suisun Marsh near Fairfield. There will be eight hunt periods from November to February with two permits per period which will be good for two hunters each. Hunters will be randomly drawn for each of the eight periods. SHARE hunters will have access to 1,000 acres of the ranch and will be allowed to camp in a designated area for no extra fee. Method of take for these hunts will be restricted to archery, crossbow or shotgun slugs only.

SHARE is offering three semi-guided wild pig hunts in December, January and February on the Tejon Ranch in Kern County. Six permits, good for two hunters each, will be randomly drawn for each period. These 2.5-day group pig hunts include lodging, meals and a guide that will provide advice on techniques and areas of the ranch to focus hunting efforts. Hunters are allowed to take one pig each during this hunt.

SHARE is offering waterfowl, dove and pheasant hunts on the wildlife management area at the Merced Wastewater Treatment Plant. The property is located five miles south of the city of Merced with 300 acres open for hunting. Tucked between sloughs and agricultural fields, the seasonal pond and wetland area provides cover and forage for waterfowl, dove and pheasant.

For more information about each SHARE property, the opportunities available and how to apply for the hunts, please go to www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/share/.

A non-refundable application fee of $11.06 will be charged for each hunt choice. Hunters with a valid California hunting license may apply through the Automated License Data System (ALDS) by visiting www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/ols/.

The SHARE program has partnered with the California Waterfowl Association (CWA) to offer public hunting opportunities on private lands for fall hunts. California Waterfowl’s Hunt Program has expanded and is now offering additional hunting opportunities, including the recently acquired Goose Lake Wildlife Management Area located approximately eight miles south of Kern National Wildlife Refuge. For a full description of the hunts offered through CWA and step-by-step instructions on how to apply, visit CWA online at www.calwaterfowl.org.

These hunting opportunities are made possible by the SHARE Program, which offers incentives to private landowners who allow wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities on their property. Participating landowners receive liability protection and compensation for providing public access to or through their land for wildlife-dependent recreational activities. The goal of the SHARE Program is to provide additional hunting, fishing and other recreational access on private lands in California.

 

CDFW Reminds Hunters to Help Keep Chronic Wasting Disease Out of California

Media Contacts:
Dr. Ben Gonzales, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 358-1464
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is asking hunters to help prevent the introduction of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) into California. CWD is a neurologic disease that is fatal to deer, elk and moose.

Out-of-state big game hunters should review CDFW’s hunting regulations regarding interstate transport of deer and elk before bringing game meat across state lines. www.fgc.ca.gov/public/notices/declaration.aspx.

“If an infected carcass is transported into California and is improperly disposed of in deer or elk habitat, it could result in infection of California cervids,” said CDFW Senior Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Ben Gonzales. “If it enters the state, CWD has the potential to devastate our cervid populations and severely impact deer and elk hunting in California.”

California hunting regulations specifically prohibit importing brain or spinal cord tissue from deer and elk harvested outside of California to minimize the risk of introducing CWD into the state. Hunters are encouraged to only bring back deboned elk or deer meat. Wardens have the authority to inspect harvested game and conduct vehicle stops when successful hunters return to California.

It is unlawful to import, or possess any hunter harvested deer or elk carcass or parts of any cervid carcass imported into the state, except for the following body parts:

  • Portions of meat with no part of the spinal column, brain or head attached (other bones, such as legs and shoulders, may be attached)
  • Hides and capes (no spinal column, brain tissue or head may be attached)
  • Clean skull plates (no brain tissue may be present) with antlers attached
  • Antlers with no meat or tissue attached, except legally harvested and possessed antlers in the velvet stage are allowed, if no meat, brain or other tissue is attached
  • Finished taxidermy mounts with no meat or tissue attached (antlers in the velvet stage are allowed if no meat, brain or other tissue is attached)
  • Upper canine teeth (buglers, whistlers, ivories).

California hunters who have been successful in other states must complete and return a declaration for entry form prior to returning home. The form is available at all CDFW regional offices and online at www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/entry-declaration.aspx. Failure to complete the form could result in a citation.

CWD has been detected in free-ranging cervids in 19 states and two Canadian provinces including Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Saskatchewan and Alberta. There is no evidence the disease affects humans. A map of the areas infected with CWD can be found at www.cwd-info.org/index.php/fuseaction/about.map.

Eastern Sierra Wardens to Conduct Wildlife Checkpoint

Contacts:
Lt. Bill Dailey, CDFW Law Enforcement, (760) 872-7360
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will be conducting a wildlife checkpoint operation to promote safety, education and compliance with laws and regulations.

CDFW wardens will be conducting the inspection on westbound Highway 108, 1.5 miles east of the Inyo/Mono county line on Monday, Sept. 22, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The wildlife checkpoint is being conducted to protect and conserve fish and wildlife, to encourage safety and sportsmanship by promoting voluntary compliance with laws, rules and regulations through education, preventative patrol and enforcement.

CDFW reminds hunters to make sure they are familiar with all game laws before entering the field. View California’s hunting and fishing regulations by visiting https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations.

Deer tags need to be checked carefully as local wardens have been finding hunters with D Zone tags hunting in the premium X Zone areas.

All anglers and hunters will be required to stop and submit to an inspection. CDFW officers will also be providing informative literature about invasive quagga mussels and New Zealand mud snails.

CDFW to Offer Wild Game Cooking Clinic in Southern California

Contact:
Lt. Dan Lehman, CDFW Advanced Hunter Education Program, (916) 358-4356
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Advanced Hunter Education Program and the Hunter Education Instructor Association of Southern California are jointly sponsoring a wild game cooking clinic on Saturday, Nov. 8. The clinic will be held at the Compton Hunting and Fishing Club in Compton.

Designed for hunters of all skill levels, the clinic will be led by experienced certified California hunter education instructors and will focus on how to make the most of what you harvest. The clinic will include demonstrations on game care, butchering and cooking. Several recipes for big game, upland game and waterfowl will be cooked on-site and available for students to sample. A wild game cookbook will also be provided.

The clinic will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The cost is $45 for adults. Youths 16 years and younger are free, but must be accompanied by adult.

CDFW’s Advanced Hunter Education Program will provide all necessary class equipment. Space is limited, so participants are asked to preregister online at www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/advanced. After registering, participants will receive an email with a map to the facility and a list of items to bring.

Fall General Hunting Seasons Opening Soon

Media Contacts:
Craig Stowers, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3553
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Communications, (916) 651-7824

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) would like to remind hunters that California’s fall general big game hunting seasons are right around the corner.

The upcoming California general deer and bear seasons are some of the most popular hunting opportunities in the state. With weather cooling off and leaves starting to turn color, autumn in California is a great time to be in the wilderness. General season opening and closing dates vary by zone and can be found by following the links below.

Californians enjoy some of the widest ranges of habitat and hunting conditions in the nation. Hunters can pursue black bears in the redwood forests of Humboldt County, or mule deer in the high desert of San Bernardino County and everything in between. While California has its fair share of privately-owned land, there are vast swaths of national forest, timber lands, state wildlife areas and other lands accessible to the public that provide excellent hunting opportunities. CDFW also offers hunts on private lands through its SHARE Program and Private Lands Management Program.

In addition to big game, fall upland game seasons include quail, pheasant, wild turkey and grouse. The California Fish and Game Commission also recently adopted regulations opening a year-round hunting season with no bag limit for the invasive Eurasian collared dove. Learn how to identify them here.

California also offers coveted pronghorn antelope, elk and bighorn sheep hunts through a drawing system. Hunting for wild pigs is growing in popularity and can be done year-round.

2014 Deer Seasons

2014 Bear Seasons and Important Hunting Information

2014 Pronghorn Antelope Seasons

2014 Elk Seasons

2014 Bighorn Sheep Seasons

2014 Upland Game Seasons and Limits

A valid California hunting license and appropriate tags for each species pursued must be obtained before entering the field. Buy a hunting license and tags online here or find a CDFW license agent here.

California hunters are required to complete a hunter education training course, pass a comprehensive equivalency test, or provide a valid hunter’s safety certificate before purchasing a hunting license for the first time in California. Each year approximately 30,000 students complete the state’s hunter education course. Find a class here.

Hunters always have the responsibility to be familiar with state game laws before entering the field. Regulations can be found here.

Given the exceptionally dry conditions this year, it is even more important that everyone does their part to prevent wildfires. One less spark means one less wildfire. Learn more here.

CDFW would like to encourage Californians to get out and enjoy our state’s unmatched wild places. Whether just for a day hike on the coast, or a 10-day pack trip to hunt deer in the Trinity Alps, California offers some of the most diverse outdoor experiences anywhere. Be safe and have fun.

Nonprofit Groups Can Raise Funds With California Hunting Tags

Media Contacts:
Regina Abella, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3728
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites nonprofit organizations to help wildlife by auctioning big game hunting license tags for the 2015-16 season.

There will be 12 or 13 of these special fundraising tags reserved for 501(c)(3) nonprofit groups to sell, which will allow the highest bidder to hunt bighorn sheep, deer, elk and pronghorn antelope in California. Nonprofit organizations compete for a chance to auction these special fundraising tags, which hunters can only buy through such auctions.

Organizations that have previously applied or expressed interest in future opportunities to sell these tags have been notified by email. The possibility of winning such a rare prize attracts bidders to the groups’ fundraising events, which helps them raise more money for their organizations.

California Fish and Game Code, section 4334 requires the proceeds from the sale of these few tags to be returned to CDFW to fund programs that benefit bighorn sheep, deer, elk and pronghorn antelope. In last year’s auctions, tags for hunting one bighorn sheep, one pronghorn antelope, two elk and eight deer raised more than $338,000 for the research and management of these wildlife species.

A call for applications and the required application form are available on the CDFW website at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/fundraising/. Applications must be received by 3 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2014. Representatives of nonprofit groups may also request a printed application package by calling the CDFW Wildlife Branch at (916) 445-4034, sending a fax to (916) 445-4048, or by writing to:

Regina Abella
CDFW Wildlife Branch
1812 Ninth St.
Sacramento, CA 95811