Big Game Drawing Deadline Approaches

A buck (male deer) in California foothills

A California buck

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding hunters that the deadline to apply for the 2014 Big Game Drawing is just weeks away. Sales transactions must be completed before midnight on June 2, 2014. Applications for elk, antelope, bighorn sheep, premium deer tags and fundraising drawing tags may be submitted at any CDFW license agent, CDFW license sales office, by telephone sales or online.

All hunt tags for premium deer, elk, antelope and bighorn sheep are awarded through CDFW’s Big Game Drawing. Successful applicants will receive a receipt to show their hunt choices have been entered in the drawing. CDFW expects the drawing results to be available online in mid-June. Hunters may also contact a CDFW license sales office to check the results.

The following resources are available to assist hunters:

  • Proposed seasons, tag drawing application instructions and drawing statistics can be found in the 2014 California Big Game Hunting Digest. The book is available at www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/digest/.
  • To find a license agent near you or to purchase items online, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/ols.
  • To submit drawing applications by telephone, please contact the license sales line at (800) 565-1458.

Fund-raising Drawing Opportunities

CDFW’s random drawing fund-raising program includes tags for deer, elk and pronghorn antelope. This year the program will not include a bighorn sheep tag drawing. The drawings for deer, elk and antelope are open to any resident or nonresident 12 years of age or older as of July 1, 2014. The cost to enter the drawings is $5.97 per entry, per hunt. Applicants do not need a valid hunting license to apply, and may apply for the drawings as many times as they wish by June 2, 2014. Winners will be required to purchase an annual hunting license. However, the tag will be issued at no additional cost.

Open Zone Deer Tag

An Open Zone deer tag allows the hunter to hunt during the authorized season dates of any hunt, using the specific method and meeting any special conditions of the tag for that hunt.

Multiple Zone Elk Tag

The fund-raising random drawing elk tag allows the hunter to hunt in any of the following zones: Northwestern, Northeastern, Marble Mountains, Siskiyou and La Panza. Hunters may use any legal method of take. All three subspecies of elk may be hunted, although only one elk may be harvested. The hunt dates open one week prior to the earliest season in that zone and run through the end of the regular season.

Northeastern California Pronghorn Antelope Tag

The fund-raising random drawing antelope tag allows the hunter to hunt in any of the Northeastern antelope zones (Mount Dome, Clear Lake, Likely Tables, Lassen, Big Valley and Surprise Valley) with any legal method. The hunt dates are from Aug. 2 to Sept. 21, 2014.

Media Contacts:
Lai Saechao, CDFW License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-7416
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

DFG Partners with California Waterfowl Association to Offer SHARE Hunts

Through a unique partnership with landowners, The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is opening up additional hunting opportunities on private lands previously closed to the public.

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DFG and the California Waterfowl Association (CWA) are offering hunting opportunities through the Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program.

DFG was awarded a grant through the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) in 2011. The grant is designed to assist states and tribal governments by encouraging owners and operators of privately held farm, ranch, and forest land to make that land available for public access to hunting.

Beginning this month DFG and CWA will institute a three-year effort allowing hunters of all ages the ability to hunt on lands otherwise unavailable for public use. These opportunities are offered through CWA’s Hunt Program and will increase land owner participation in offering public hunter access.

Through the partnership 70 individual landowners who collectively own more than 50,000 acres have allowed access to their respective properties for hunting opportunities. More than 400 hunters will be able to hunt on lands for waterfowl, pheasant, dove, turkey, and wild pigs. In addition to providing hunts to the general hunting public, the program will host specialty hunts that cater to all hunters. Hunt locations range from the Klamath Basin to southern California.

Please visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/share or http://www.calwaterfowl.org for more information.

Contacts:
Victoria Barr, DFG Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement Program Coordinator (916) 445-4034
Jeff Smith, California Waterfowl Association Hunt Program Coordinator, (530) 305-9234
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

Two Menlo Park Men Arrested for Spotlighting Deer

Media Contact:
Patrick Foy, DFG Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-2084

California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) wardens have arrested two Menlo Park men on poaching charges for shooting a deer after temporarily blinding it with a light.

In the early morning hours of Sep. 16, Warden-Pilot Gavin Woelfel was flying a DFG aircraft looking for poachers with a night vision device. He noticed two men driving slowly down a remote US Forest Service (USFS) road in the darkness while shining a light out the windows of their truck. They appeared to be spotlighting, which is when poachers shine a light into deers eyes at night. The bright light causes the deer to freeze, making it an easy shot.

From his airplane, Warden Woelfel watched two men exit the vehicle and one fire his rifle at an object off the side of the road. The man then walked off the road and fired his rifle a second time before returning to his vehicle and driving off.

Warden Woelfel monitored the vehicle as it drove back to the Dry Oak Campground in the Mendocino National Forest. Wardens Michael Pascoe, Patrick Freeling and Timothy Little, along with USFS Law Enforcement Officer Christopher Magallon, were called to the scene. When they arrived at 3:25 a.m., they located the suspects pickup and made contact with its occupants, including driver Cecundino Angel, 50, his son, Rogelio Angel Quevedo, 21, and another juvenile son. The cab of the pickup was found to contain two rifles, one pistol and a large flashlight.

Meanwhile, DFG Lt. Loren Freeman responded to the site of the shooting, where he located a freshly killed doe.

Both of the older suspects ultimately admitted to spotlighting deer and Angel admitted to killing the doe. One of the rifles in Angel’s possession was found to be stolen out of Washington.

Angel was arrested and booked into Mendocino County jail on charges of possession of a stolen firearm, spotlighting, shooting big game at night and waste of game. USFS Officer Magallon also issued Angel a citation for littering, an unsafe campfire and other assorted federal violations.

The older son, Quevedo, was cited for spotlighting and shooting big game at night.

DFG Offers First SHARE Program Deer Hunt in Merced County

Contacts:
Cristen Langner, Merced Unit Biologist, 209-723-3170
Victoria Barr, SHARE Program Coordinator, 916-445-4034

Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, DFG Communication, 916-322-8908

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is announcing a deer hunt with the Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program in Merced County.

Located along the Merced River near Snelling, the Little Hills Ranch will be available for D-6 deer hunts on the following dates:

  • August 24-26 and September 7-9 – Archery only
  • September 14-16 and October 19-21 – General methods of take

During these hunt periods, hunters will be able to fill a wild pig tag in addition to their deer tag.

To apply for these hunts please go to: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/ols/

Hunters with valid D6 tags may apply through the Automated License Data System (ALDS) starting July 26. A $10.00 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each hunt choice. Applicants may apply for multiple hunt periods but will only be drawn for one period per property.

Each access pass is good for one party of two people and can be either two hunters or one hunter and a non-hunting companion.  Pig hunting is allowed during each period but hunters taking pigs during the “archery only” periods are restricted to using archery equipment.

The SHARE program is designed to provide the public with access to private or landlocked public lands. Participating landowners are compensated for providing access to or through their land for hunting, fishing, or other recreational uses of wildlife. Application fees will be used to help expand the SHARE program.

For more information about the Little Hills Ranch hunts or the SHARE program please go to: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/share/

DFG Offers Apprentice Deer Hunt on Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve

Contacts:
Robert Stafford, DFG Associate Wildlife Biologist, (805) 528-8670
Rocky Thompson, DFG Senior Wildlife Biologist, (805) 594-6175

Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8908

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is offering a drawing for an apprentice deer hunt on the Chimineas Unit of the Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve.

Three hunters between ages 12 and 15 will be chosen through a lottery and allowed to hunt on the weekend of September 15 and 16. In addition, the selected participants may also show up on Friday, September 14 for a barbecue and hunter education refresher course that will cover gun safety, deer hunting and game care.

The drawing is being held in cooperation with the California Deer Association (CDA).

To apply, applicants must submit a postcard with the hunter’s name, address, telephone number and 2012-2013 Junior Hunting License number to:

Chimineas Apprentice Deer Hunt
Department of Fish and Game
3196 South Higuera Street, Suite A
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Applications must be received in the office by 5 p.m. on July 27. Late or incomplete applications will not be entered in the lottery. Successful applicants will be notified by phone and will receive additional information, including maps and special regulations prior to the hunt.

Selected hunters must be accompanied by an adult and possess a valid Junior Hunting License and zone A tag. Hunts will be led by CDA volunteers. Overnight lodging is available at the main ranch house on the ecological reserve. CDA will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday, as well as breakfast and lunch on Sunday.

About the Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve

The Chimineas Unit of the Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve is located in southeastern San Luis Obispo County. It is a 30,000-acre property owned by DFG that provides habitat for deer, tule elk, pronghorn antelope and a host of other species.

Hunting Licenses, Big Game Drawing Applications Now Available

Media Contacts:
Maria Melchiorre, DFG License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-6881
Brad Burkholder, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-1829
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

Hunters can now purchase 2012-2013 hunting licenses and apply for the Big Game Drawing online, the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) announced. Transactions can be conducted at any DFG license sales office, license agent or online.

All premium deer hunt tags, and elk, antelope and bighorn sheep tags are awarded through the DFG Big Game Drawing. To qualify for the Big Game Drawing, the sales transaction must be completed before midnight on June 2, 2012. When the transaction is complete, the customer will receive a receipt to show their hunt choices have been entered in the drawing. Mail-in applications will not be accepted. Beginning June 22, hunters can contact a DFG license sales office or look online to check the results.

To find a license agent near you or to purchase items online, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing. To learn more about the Big Game Drawing application process, please view the 2012 California Hunting Digest (2012 Big Game) at www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/digest/.

Additional Drawing Opportunities

DFG has expanded the random draw fund-raising program initiated in 2011 through its Automated License Data System. Last year, chances for a deer tag and an elk tag were offered to the public and those two opportunities alone generated more than $130,000 for conservation.

For 2012, there are four tags available through fund-raising random drawings. In addition to the deer tag and elk tag offered last year, a pronghorn antelope tag and a bighorn sheep tag are available. The drawings for deer, elk and antelope are open to anyone 12 years of age or older as of July 1, 2012. The sheep drawing is open to anyone 16 years of age or older as of July 1, 2012. The cost to enter the drawings is $5.66 per entry, per hunt. Applicants do not need a valid hunting license to apply, and may apply for the drawings as many times as they wish by June 2, 2012. Winners will be required to purchase an annual hunting license. However, the tag will be issued at no additional cost.

Kelso/Old Dad Mountains Bighorn Sheep Tag

DFG has added one Kelso/Old Dad Mountains Bighorn Sheep tag to the Fund-raising Random Drawing. The Fund-raising Random Drawing sheep tag allows the hunter to hunt in the Kelso/Old Dad Mountains zone with any legal method. The hunt dates are from Nov. 3, 2012 to Feb. 3, 2013.

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 to the recipient of the tag for the Kelso Peak/Old Dad Mountains zone.

Northeastern California Pronghorn Antelope Tag

DFG has added one Northeastern California Pronghorn antelope tag to the Fund-raising Random Drawing. The Fund-raising Random Drawing antelope tag allows the hunter to hunt in any of the Northeastern antelope zones (Mount Dome, Clear Lake, Likely Tables, Lassen, Big Valley and Surprise Valley) with any legal method. The hunt dates are July 28 through Sept. 16, 2012.

Open Zone Deer Tag

An Open Zone deer tag allows the hunter to hunt during the authorized season dates of any hunt, using the specific method and meeting any special conditions of the tag for that hunt.

Owens Valley Elk Tag

The Fund-raising Random Drawing tule elk tag allows the hunter to hunt in any of the Owens Valley zones (Bishop, Tinemaha Mountain, Tinemaha, West Tinemaha, Independence, Whitney and Lone Pine) with any legal method. The hunt dates are from July 28 to Aug. 26, 2012.

Applications for Deer and Pig Hunting Open up in Western Merced County

Media Contact: Loni Hext, DFG’s Los Banos Wildlife Area, (209) 826-0463

Opening weekend requires tags, access permit and reservations

Applications are being accepted for a limited number of deer and pig hunt access permits on opening weekend, August 11-12, of the Zone A season. Specific locations for this huntn include Upper and Lower Cottonwood Creek and the San Luis Reservoir wildlife area.

Interested parties will need to fill out an application for an access permit which can be obtained by calling the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Los Banos office at (209) 826-0463 between 8 – 4:30 p.m. or online at www.dfg.ca.gov/lands/wa/region4/cottonwoodcreek.html. The application can be submitted via e-mail to lhext@dfg.ca.gov or mailed to DFG’s Los Banos office at 18110 W. Henry Miller Ave. Los Banos, CA 93635.

Applications must be received before 4:30 p.m. on July 5.  The drawing will be held July 6 at 11 a.m. at the Los Banos office and is open to the public. Successful applicants will be notified by mail within five working days of the lottery. Applicants may not apply for both days or for multiple areas.

Reservations are required for access to the wildlife areas and only 45 permits will be issued for each day. Reservations will be selected via a computerized drawing. Applicants will be allowed to apply for a one-day hunt on one area only and successful candidates will receive special permits in the mail stating what area and day they may hunt.

Junior license holders must apply with an adult hunter. Up to three persons may apply as one party by including all the required information on the 2012 Zone A application form. Only official applications will be accepted. An individual’s name may appear in the drawing only once and multiple applications received will be rejected.

Convicted Deer Poachers Face Heavy Fines, Penalties

Media Contacts:
Patrick Foy, DFG Law Enforcement, (916) 651-2084
Michael Pizzuti, El Dorado Deputy District Attorney, (530) 621-6472

Three Stockton men face prison and jail terms, heavy fines, a forfeited vehicle and destroyed firearms for conspiring to kill and sell deer for profit.

In June 2011, after a three week investigation, wardens with the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) arrested Thongseuth Khounchanh, 58; Ti Sila, 51; and Bounleuna Sysenglath, 59; all from Stockton, as they returned from an all-night poaching trip in El Dorado County. El Dorado County Deputy District Attorney Michael Pizzuti prosecuted the case and presented the court with evidence regarding the egregious nature of their poaching crimes, along with the extensive costs associated with the investigation.

The investigation was prompted by an anonymous tip received in May 2011, when a caller to the DFG CalTIP line reported suspected deer poaching activity associated with Khounchanh, Sila and Sysenglath. Wardens conducted an extensive investigation that showed the suspects making multiple poaching trips per week, including killing everything from bucks to pregnant does. The poachers sold the deer meat as fast as they could get it to an established network of buyers.

On Feb. 22, 2012, visiting Placer County Judge Hon. Angus Saint-Evans found one defendant guilty of poaching-related felonies and two of poaching-related misdemeanors.

  •  Thongseuth Khounchanh was convicted of felony conspiracy to possess deer for sale, in addition to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 16 months in state prison and was ordered by the court to forfeit his vehicle.
  • Ti Sila and Bounleuna Sysenglath were each convicted of three misdemeanor deer poaching-related offenses and were sentenced to 120 days in county jail, fines and penalties totaling $13,500 and three years formal supervised probation.

 All weapons used in the poaching crimes were forfeited and will be destroyed.

“It took intensive effort from wardens to stop this poaching operation,” said Assistant Chief Tony Warrington of DFG’s Law Enforcement Division. “Wardens from all over the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley, including wardens from our Special Operations Unit, Delta-Bay Enhanced Enforcement Program, warden-pilots from the air services unit and the keen noses of our warden K-9s, collaborated to put this case together.”

To recoup costs from the intensive investigation, Judge Saint-Evans ordered restitution from the three defendants in the amount of $100,270.04.

Selling any deer meat in California, whether it was taken legally under a recreational hunting license or killed illegally, is a crime. DFG encourages all Californians to report wildlife crimes to Californians Turn In Poachers and Polluters by calling the CalTIP hotline at 1-888-334-2258 (DFG-CALTIP).

Local, State Agencies Collaborate to Rescue and Release Trapped Buck

Media Contact: Patrick Foy, DFG Law Enforcement, (916) 651-2084

Collaborative Deer Rescue Effort

A male deer was rescued today from an irrigation canal in north Sacramento,thanks to the help of state and local rescue personnel. The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) collaborated with the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District (SacMetro Fire) and the Office of Emergency Services (OES) to save the frightened buck from its unusual predicament.

The buck was trapped in a rain-swollen irrigation canal adjacent to Sunrise Boulevard. He was first spotted by a concerned citizen who called 911. Upon arrival, DFG wardens saw the panicked deer fighting for its life and immediately improvised a rescue plan.

Using a motor boat, a rope and the strength of 10 men and women, the deer was successfully lassoed and pulled to safety on the opposite side of the canal, where a state licensed veterinarian was on hand to inspect and treat it. Though it was exhausted, cold and wet, and had suffered scrapes on its hooves in its effort to escape, the deer was in otherwise good condition, said DFG Warden Patrick Foy.

“I am very pleased and impressed with my fellow first responders at SacMetro Fire and OES,” Foy said. “Our collaborative efforts were well-thought out and rescue personnel safety was an important consideration. Although deer are very good swimmers and can survive for a period of time in the water, it was evident that this strong male buck was exhausting himself and we had a short window of time for rescue.”

After the rescue, the buck was transported and released in the north Sunrise area far from the canal.

DFG Wardens Seeking Tips in Shasta County Deer Poaching Investigation

Media Contacts:
John Sutterfield, DFG Law Enforcement, (530) 941-8346
Aaron Burger, DFG Law Enforcement, (530) 510-1861
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is seeking assistance from the public regarding recent deer poaching in the Cassel area in Shasta County.

On Dec. 10, the remains of a buck were discovered by wardens in the Cassel area. On Jan. 20, a second illegally killed buck was discovered in the same area. Both of these animals were taken outside of the legal hunting season. It is unknown if the cases are related.

Local wardens are asking for the public to come forward with any information regarding the illegal take of these animals. If you have any information regarding the above incidents, please contact CalTIP (Californians Turn in Poachers and Polluters) at 1-888-DFG-CALTIP (888-334-2258).

DFG is responsible for monitoring and setting animal seasons and bag limits in an effort to ensure that California’s diverse wildlife populations thrive.

“When a small handful of individuals take those resources with no regard for the law, they are not only showing contempt for the wildlife, but are also stealing opportunities from the rest of the public who would have a chance to legally harvest the animals,” said DFG Warden John Sutterfield, who patrols in and around Cassel.

CalTIP may offer a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of the individuals responsible for these crimes. Callers to the hotline may also choose to remain anonymous.

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