CDFW To Hold Public Workshop on Lead Bullet Ban Implementation

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold a public workshop Saturday, July 19 to discuss the implementation of the lead bullet ban. The workshop will be held at the Community Room at City Hall, 777 Cypress Ave. in Redding from 7-8:30p.m.

A CDFW representative will detail a proposed implementation plan, the PowerPoint is available on the CDFW website. Following the short presentation, interested parties can make comments and provide input that will help shape CDFW’s final recommendation to the Fish and Game Commission, which CDFW anticipates presenting at the Commission’s meeting in Sacramento in September.

Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 711 requiring that the Commission adopt a regulation to ban lead ammunition in the state no later than July 1, 2015, with full implementation of the ban to occur no later than July 1, 2019. Governor Brown has directed CDFW and the Commission to work with all interested parties in order to produce a regulation that is least disruptive to the hunting community.

In order to determine what is least disruptive to hunters, CDFW has been reaching out to interested parties this year in a number of ways, including question and answer sessions at sportsmen’s shows, meetings with hunting organizations and now a series of public workshops throughout the state. A public workshop was held in Ventura in April and in Eureka in June. After Redding, planning is underway for workshops later this year in Rancho Cordova (Sacramento area), San Diego, Fresno and Riverside/San Bernardino. In addition, individuals and organizations may email comments to wildlifemgmt@wildlife.ca.gov (please use “Nonlead implementation” in the subject line) or mail hard copy correspondence to:

CDFW, Wildlife Branch
Attn: Nonlead implementation
1812 9th Street
Sacramento, CA 95811

Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
Mishele Echelberger, CDFW Northern Region, (530) 225-2313

Sacramento Man Pleads Guilty to Commercial Bobcat Poaching

A Sacramento County man recently pled guilty to multiple criminal charges and was fined for unlawfully trapping dozens of bobcat and fox for commercial purposes in northern California.

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Tracy Lee Shultz, 57, from Courtland was fined $5,000 and forfeited 60 poached bobcat and fox pelts worth almost $15,000 on the commercial market. Schultz ultimately pled guilty to several violations of the Fish and Game Code, including taking bobcat outside of the established season, unlawful capture and confinement of a live mammal, possession of unlawfully taken pelts, knowingly filing false information to obtain bobcat tags and unlawfully taking wildlife for profit or personal gain. He is also prohibited from hunting, fishing, trapping or accompanying anyone on such a trip during his one-year probation.

In November 2012, Lassen County CDFW Warden Nick Buckler received an anonymous tip from a hunter that commercial bobcat traps were being set before the season opened. Warden Buckler started his investigation, during which he spent nearly every day and night of the 70-day season living out in the sage, bitterbrush, and rim-rock of remote Lassen County observing and documenting the trapper.

“Sometimes the smallest bit of information can lead to a large scale investigation,” said Buckler. “I feel lucky to live and work in a county that cares so much about its fish, wildlife and habitats. The illegal commercialization of wildlife is second only to the illegal trade in drugs and guns for worldwide revenue. There will always be people willing to break laws and exploit wildlife to make money.”

Warden Buckler spent three months observing Schultz, documenting his movements, and locating and monitoring his traps in order to obtain sufficient evidence. At one point during the season, Schultz returned to his Sacramento County home for a week leaving a spotted skunk trapped in freezing temperatures. After Sacramento County game wardens relayed that Schultz remained at home for several days, Warden Buckler released the trapped animal unharmed.

On Jan. 31, 2013, two teams of wildlife officers served search warrants on locations in Sacramento and Modoc counties. The two teams seized a large volume of evidence from Schultz, including his ATV, trailer, trapping journal, trapping, skinning and storage equipment, nearly 50 large commercial live traps, and 60 illegally taken bobcat and gray fox pelts.

Trapping bobcat for commercial purposes is legal in California with a season that starts on Nov. 24 of each year. Trappers licensed through CDFW are required to check their traps and remove all captured animals at least once daily. Schultz had about 50 tagged live traps set throughout more than 900 square miles of remote Lassen and Modoc counties. This extensive trapping area made it impossible for Shultz to check each trap daily, and allowed him to trap more area, spend less gas and cheat other trappers who followed the law.

Pursuant to state law, all the furs were sold to a licensed fur dealer and the $14,835 check was held in an account while the case was underway. As part of the conviction, the Lassen County Superior Court judge ordered the money paid to the Lassen County Fish and Game Commission, where it will be used to promote and support lawful hunting and fishing, as well as fund wildlife habitat improvement and restoration in the county.

Many times cases such as this could not be made without the assistance of sportsmen and sportswomen who help wildlife officers by reporting poaching and pollution. It often takes the help of concerned citizens in conjunction with the county district attorney’s office to reach successful outcomes.

“Now more than ever wardens need the assistance of the public to protect our valuable natural resources,” Buckler said. “Hunters, anglers, trappers and citizens can be our eyes and ears on the ground. License plates, descriptions and accurate locations are the best information the public can provide.”

CDFW officers patrol more than 220,000 square miles of ocean and 159,000 square miles of land in California, while the number of wardens has increased in the last few years, California still has the lowest number of wildlife officers per capita in the United States.

If you witness a wildlife crime, you are encouraged to call the 24-hour toll free CalTIP hotline at (888) 334-2258. All calls can be kept anonymous.

Media Contact:
Nick Buckler, CDFW Law Enforcement, (530) 440-6381
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW to Offer Upland Game Hunting Clinic in Northern California

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Advanced Hunter Education will offer an upland game hunting clinic on Saturday, Aug. 23 at Hasting Island Hunting Preserve, near Rio Vista.

Designed for hunters of all skill levels, the clinic will be led by an experienced certified California Hunter Education instructor. Topics to be covered will include hunting regulations, where to hunt, hunting alone vs. hunting with others, hunting with or without a dog, proper types of firearms and ammunition for upland game hunting, upland game bird habitat, and hunter responsibilities and ethics. The clinic will include dog handling and game care demonstrations.

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 an 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/index.aspx. After registering, participants will receive an email with a map to the facility and a list of items to bring.

Hastings Island Hunting Preserve is located approximately 8 miles north of Rio Vista.

Media Contacts:
Lt. Dan Lehman, CDFW Advanced Hunter Education Program, (916) 358-4356
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW to Offer Waterfowl Hunting Clinic in Northern California

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Advanced Hunter Education Program and the California Waterfowl Association will jointly sponsor a waterfowl hunting clinic on Saturday, Aug. 16 at Grizzly Ranch, near Suisun.

Designed for hunters of all skill levels, the clinic will be led by an experienced certified California Hunter Education instructor. Topics to be covered will include decoy placement, blind design, waterfowl calling, duck identification, appropriate waterfowl hunting gear, hunter safety, game care and cooking tips. Information will also be provided on hunting state wildlife areas and federal refuges.

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 an 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/waterfowl_grizzly.aspx. After registering, participants will receive an email with a map to the facility and a list of items to bring.

Grizzly Ranch is located approximately 9 miles south of Suisun City.

Media Contacts:
Lt. Dan Lehman, CDFW Advanced Hunter Education Program, (916) 358-4356
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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

CDFW To Hold Public Workshop on Lead Bullet Ban Implementation

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold a public workshop to discuss the implementation of the lead bullet ban. The workshop will be held at 911 San Pedro Street in Ventura on Tuesday, April 15 from 7-8:30p.m.

A CDFW representative will detail a proposed plan for implementation, the PowerPoint for which can be viewed on the CDFW website. Following the short presentation, interested parties can make comments and provide input. That input may help shape CDFW’s final recommendation to the Fish and Game Commission, which CDFW anticipates presenting to the Commission at the Wildlife Resources Committee meeting in Sacramento in September.

Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 711 requiring that a regulation to ban lead ammunition in the state be established by the Commission no later than July 1, 2015, with full implementation to be effective no later than July 1, 2019. Governor Brown has directed CDFW and the Commission to work with all interested parties in order to produce a regulation that is least disruptive.

In order to determine what is least disruptive to hunters, CDFW has been reaching out to interested parties this year in a number of ways, including question and answer sessions at sportsmen’s shows, internal meetings with hunting organizations and now a series of public workshops throughout the state. After Ventura, planning is underway for workshops later this year in Eureka, Sacramento and San Diego.

Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW Hunter Education Courses Offered for Eastern Sierra Youths

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering a series of hunter certification classes in Inyo and Mono counties for teenagers who would like to learn to hunt. Students who successfully complete a class will earn a lifetime hunter education certificate, necessary for purchasing a hunting license.

“Last year we brought the hunter education to several schools in the Eastern Sierra and every one of them asked us to come back this year,” said Lt. Bill Daily, CDFW supervising warden for the area. “It’s very encouraging to see how many of the students took an interest in not only the hunting but the conservation as well.”

The courses will be offered at no charge for seventh and eighth graders in Bishop, Big Pine, Round Valley, Mammoth Lakes and Coleville schools. Parental or guardian approval is required for all students.

In addition to serving as a prerequisite to purchasing a hunting license, hunter education programs are a valuable education tool for beginning hunters to learn about firearm and hunting safety. The hunter education program produces responsible, knowledgeable and involved citizens – young men and women who understand the importance of complying with hunting laws, behaving ethically and wildlife conservation.

The one- or two-hour daily classes are taught by CDFW officers during the regular school day or immediately afterward. Classes will be offered at the following locations:

  • Jan. 6-17 at Mammoth Lakes Middle School
  • Jan. 21-Feb. 2 at Big Pine Middle School
  • Jan. 27-Feb. 7 at Bishop Middle School
  • Feb. 4-21 at Round Valley Middle School
  • Feb. 24-March 7 at Coleville Middle School

Youth interested in attending the classes must attend seventh or eighth grades at a participating school. Parents may register their child through the school administration office.

Media Contacts:
Bill Dailey, CDFW Law Enforcement, (661) 203-6380
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Deadline Approaching for Hunter Education Course in Eastern Sierra

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is now registering participants for the last hunter certification classes of the season in Inyo and Mono counties. The class is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Bishop Civic Center’s Counsel. The deadline to register is Jan. 11.

The class is for those who have already completed the online portion of the mandatory hunter education course to receive a hunting license. Inyo and Mono county residents who want to obtain their hunting license may complete the basic study portion online at their own pace, followed up by the four-hour certification class with wildlife officers. To register for the online portion of the course, please go to www.huntercourse.com/usa/california/.

After completing the online course and receiving a passing test score, a $24.95 fee will be charged for a completion voucher. Applicants will need to bring this document to the final certification class in order to receive a hunter education certificate. The four-hour follow-up class consists of two hours of review, one hour of gun handling techniques and one hour for the hunter education test.

Applicants must pre-register for the follow-up class. Registration closes one week prior to the class. To register, please contact Warden Shane Dishion at (760) 920-7593.

A complete list of hunter education classes statewide may be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/classes-home-study.aspx.

Media Contacts:
Shane Dishion, CDFW Law Enforcement, (760) 920-7593
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW Offers Reduced-Fee Licenses and Special Opportunities for Veterans

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds veterans that service-related injuries need not keep them from enjoying wildlife and the great outdoors. America’s disabled veterans get a break on the price of sport fishing and hunting licenses and are provided some special opportunities.

CDFW offers reduced-fee hunting and fishing licenses to both resident and nonresident disabled veterans. Any honorably discharged, disabled veteran with a 50 percent or greater service-connected disability who wants to hunt birds or mammals, or fish in California is eligible. The 2014 Sport Fishing License (Reduced – Disabled Veteran) and Disabled Veteran Hunting License cost only $6.95 when purchased at CDFW license counters.

Special hunting blinds have been constructed to be accessible to people with mobility impairments at some state wildlife areas and ecological reserves, and at some National Wildlife Refuges.

CDFW also works with military installations on wildlife management and provides tags for those installations to issue to military personnel for deer and Tule elk hunting opportunities.

Certification from the United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs and proof of completion of a hunter education course is required at the time of application. The first license must be purchased from a CDFW License Sales Office. Subsequent licenses may be purchased from any license agent or online, and at that time, a copy of a previous year’s California Disabled Veteran’s Hunting License will serve as identification.

CDFW offices are located in Eureka, Fresno, Los Alamitos, Monterey, Napa, Rancho Cordova, Redding, Sacramento, San Diego and Stockton. Hours, addresses and phone numbers can be found on the CDFW website. Subsequent licenses may be purchased from any license agent or online.

Fish and Game Code, section 7150, authorizes CDFW to issue Reduced-Fee Sport Fishing Licenses to anglers who meet specific criteria. Additional validations or cards are required for certain species and areas and must be purchased at the regular fee.

All California sport fishing licenses are valid Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 each year, and make excellent holiday gifts for veterans. The 2014 reduced-fee fishing license applications are on CDFW’s website at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/sportfishingfreereduced.html. Reduced-fee hunting license applications are at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/hunting/reducedfee.html (hunting licenses are valid July 1 through June 30).

Fishing and hunting regulations and more information about licenses are available on the CDFW website at www.wildlife.ca.gov.

Media Contact:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

 

Fish and Wildlife Officers File Charges Against Suspected Bear Poachers in Nevada County

Following a five month investigation, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers have formally asked the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office to file felony and misdemeanor charges against suspected bear poachers Jason Scott Wilkison, 43, of Grass Valley and Chris Art Nunley, 54, of North San Juan for crimes related to alleged bear poaching in April 2013.

Both men have been charged with the unlawful possession of bear. Additional charges of unlawfully killing a bear were filed against Wilkison. Both individuals also face felony charges involving the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

Lead investigator, Warden Jerry Karnow, launched the investigation when he received reports of a bear that had been unlawfully shot after being lured with bait to a residence located near Grizzly Flats in Nevada County. Wildlife officers, assisted by Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies, served a series of search warrants where bear remains were found in a shallow grave near Wilkison’s residence. Additional bear remains were located at Nunley’s residence.

The CDFW Forensic Laboratory was involved in an analysis of the blood and bear remains, which CDFW believes will support the case. The recovery of firearms, ammunition and evidence throughout the investigation indicate Wilkison and Nunley, who are convicted felons, unlawfully possessed firearms and ammunition.

Media Contact:
Mark Michilizzi, CDFW Enforcement, (916) 651-2084
Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-6692

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