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

Media Contacts:
Dr. Pam Swift, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 358-1462
Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) reminds out-of-state hunters to take appropriate precautions to prevent the introduction of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) into California. CWD is a neurological disease that does not affect humans, but is fatal to deer, elk and moose. Prior to leaving the state, big game hunters are asked to review DFG’s short online video that shows how to properly process deer or elk before bringing it across state lines. The video can be viewed on DFG’s website at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/deer/cwd/. (Please note that the video is graphic in nature.)
 
“There is real concern that a CWD-infected carcass will be transported into California and improperly disposed of in deer or elk habitat, resulting in infection in California cervids,” says DFG Senior Wildlife Veterinarian, Dr. Pamela Swift. “CWD has the potential to devastate our deer and elk populations if it enters the state.”
 
California hunting regulations specifically prohibit importing brain or spinal cord tissue from deer and elk harvested out of state to minimize the risk of introducing CWD into the state. Hunters are encouraged to bone out their deer or elk harvested out of state and only bring in deboned meat. In addition, it is recommended that some parts are properly disposed of and not consumed, including eyes, lymph nodes, tonsils and spleen from these animals.
 
Wardens have the authority to inspect harvested game and conduct vehicle stops when successful hunters return to California.
 
“Taking the time to learn about safe harvesting practices and current state laws is the ethical responsibility of every hunter,” said DFG Assistant Chief Paul Hamdorf. ”DFG makes every effort to educate the public about the dangers of diseases like this one, because just one mistake on the part of an uninformed hunter could potentially harm populations.”
 
CWD regulations passed in 2002 were updated in 2008 to help protect the state’s deer and elk herds. Summaries of the regulations are printed in the 2010-2011 Mammal Hunting Regulations (www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/mammalregs.aspx) and the 2011 California Hunting Digest Big Game issue (www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/digest/), and are codified in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 712.
 
The regulations state that only the following hunter-harvested deer and elk parts are allowed into California:
 
• 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 and ivories)
 
California hunters who have been successful out of state must also complete and return the “Declaration for Entry into California of Game, Fish, Birds or Animals” form prior to returning home. The form is available both at DFG regional offices and online at www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/docs/declaration_form.pdf. Failure to complete the forms could result in a citation, fines or a misdemeanor conviction.
 
California hunters should also be aware that other states have regulations in place to prevent the spread of CWD. Hunters should always review regulations specific to any state where they hunt, to be sure they are in compliance with local laws.
 
CWD has been detected in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. It has also been detected in the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. To date, there is no cure for the disease, which remains resilient and has a long incubation period.

Nonprofit Groups Raise Funds With California Hunting Tags

Media Contact:
Victoria Barr, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034

Application deadline is October 5 at 3 p.m.

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) invites nonprofit organizations to help wildlife by auctioning big game hunting license tags for the 2012-13 season. These tags will allow the highest bidder to hunt bighorn sheep, deer, elk and pronghorn antelope in California. There are only 13 of these special fund-raising tags reserved for 501(c)(3) nonprofit groups to sell and they’re sure to draw many participants to any fund-raising event.

Nonprofit organizations compete for a chance to auction these special fund-raising tags, which hunters can only buy through such auctions. The possibility of winning such a rare prize attracts bidders to the groups’ fund-raising events, which helps them raise more money for their organizations.

A call for applications and all required application forms are on the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/fundraising/index.html. Applications must be submitted by 3 p.m. October 5, 2011.

Fish and Game Code section 4334 requires the proceeds from the sale of these few tags to be returned to DFG to fund programs that benefit bighorn sheep, deer, elk and pronghorn antelope. In last year’s auctions, tags for hunting three bighorn sheep, two pronghorn antelope, two elk and eight deer raised more than $402,000 for the research and management of these native wildlife species.

Organizations that have previously applied or expressed interest in future opportunities to sell these tags have been notified by e-mail.

Representatives of nonprofit groups without Internet access may request a printed application package by calling the DFG Wildlife Branch at (916) 445-4034, sending a FAX to (916) 445-4048, or writing to:

Ms. Victoria Barr
DFG Wildlife Branch
1812 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA  95811

Special Wyoming Hunt Tag to be Sold as Fundraiser for Children of DFG Biologists

Media Contacts:
Stan Atwood, California Mule Deer Foundation, (408) 395-5503
Dwight Ortmann, California Mule Deer Foundation, (650) 556-5882
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

A special big game hunting opportunity in Wyoming will be auctioned at a March 26 fundraiser sponsored by the Mule Deer Foundation Central Coast Chapter. The Wyoming Commissioner’s tag will allow the winning bidder to choose an elk, deer or antelope hunt during any open 2011 season in Wyoming.  The tag is valid anyplace in Wyoming, except the closed sections 75, 77 and 79.

The tag was donated by a Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioner to the California Waterfowl Association, which decided to auction it to raise funds to benefit the children of the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) biologists killed in a January 2010 helicopter crash.

The auction will be held at the Mule Deer Foundation’s annual fundraising night, to be held from 3 to 10 p.m. March 26 at the San Jose Airport Garden Hotel. Tickets to the dinner may be purchased online at the website, www.muledeer-ccc.org.

Attendance at the dinner is not necessary to bid on the Wyoming tag or other auction prizes. Telephone bids will be accepted, but bidders must register in advance by filling out the forms available on the website. Forms must be completed and faxed to the Mule Deer Foundation by March 24. For more information, see the website or call Stan Atwood at (408) 395-5503.

The Six Children’s Fund was established to benefit the young children of Clu Cotter and Kevin O’Connor, two biologists who were among four killed in a helicopter crash while conducting a routine deer study in Madera County. All proceeds from this auction are earmarked for this fund. Other supporters of the auction include DFG, the California Fish and Game Commission, the California Waterfowl Association, Safari Club International’s San Francisco Bay Area and Golden Gate chapters, and the California Wild Sheep Foundation.

The Central Coast Chapter of the Mule Deer Foundation is a 501(c)(3)nonprofit organization. Donations in excess of the fair market value of products and services received are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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