Deadline Approaching for CDFW Eastern Sierra Hunter Education Course

Media Contacts:
Warden Shane Dishion, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (760) 920-7593
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering Inyo and Mono county residents the last chance for this year to complete a hunter certification class. The follow up class will be held Thursday, Aug. 13 from 5-9 p.m. at the Bishop Fire Center on East Line Street in Bishop.

Successful completion of this class will allow residents to purchase a hunting license if they have already completed the online portion of the mandatory hunter education training.

To register for the online portion of the training, please go to www.huntercourse.com/usa/california. The online training can be completed at the student’s own pace, on their own time. 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 final hunter education certificate.

After completing the online training, students should pre-register for the follow-up class. The four-hour class consists of two hours of review, one hour of gun- handling techniques and one hour for the hunter education test. Those interested in taking the class in Bishop should reserve a seat by calling CDFW Warden Shane Dishion at (760) 920-7593.

The Aug. 13 class will be the only follow-up course offered in this area for this year’s hunting season. Registration closes Aug. 7.

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

In a continued effort to reduce firearm accidents, the State of California requires all first-time resident hunters, regardless of age, to complete hunter education training or pass a comprehensive equivalency test before purchasing a hunting license. CDFW conducts training throughout the state. Each year approximately 30,000 students complete the required training to earn their Hunter Education Certificate.

Changes to Recreational Tuna Regulations Now in Effect

The California Fish and Game Commission recently adopted changes to recreational tuna regulations. The new regulations are effective as of today, July 30, 2015.

An Atlantic bluefin tuna strikes. Credit: Gilbert Van Ryckevorsel/TAG A Giant
An Atlantic bluefin tuna strikes. Credit: Gilbert Van Ryckevorsel/TAG A Giant

The changes include a statewide two-fish recreational daily bag limit for Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis), which applies to all bluefin tuna possessed in California waters, regardless of where they were taken. Additionally, there are new requirements for filleting sport-caught tuna on vessels south of Point Conception.

Changes to fillet rules for all tuna species south of Point Conception were needed to allow for identification of species by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) law enforcement. The regulations now require all filleted tuna to have the skin intact and be cut into six pieces as follows:

  • Four loins (two upper and two lower)
  • Belly fillet including the pelvic fins and urogenital vent
  • Collar with pectoral fins attached

Each fish must be placed in its own bag and clearly labeled with the species name. Tunas may also be kept whole, or in a manner that retains these identifying characteristics.

The new regulations address concerns over the population decline of Pacific bluefin tuna. Based on an international stock assessment, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries declared Pacific bluefin tuna overfished because the spawning biomass is at an historic low. An international rebuilding effort is underway, which requires reducing fishing impacts across the north Pacific. The goal of the effort is to bring the stock back to healthy levels and ensure sustainability of future harvests.

“The two-fish limit strikes a balance,” said Marci Yaremko, CDFW’s program manager for tuna and the department’s representative to the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC). “From the fishermen’s perspective, the loss of opportunity going from a 10-fish daily bag limit to a two-fish limit is severe. Yet from a conservation perspective, given the dire status of the stock, allowing two fish per day is expected to generate a 30 percent reduction in the catch, which some view as not enough.”

The new bag limit and fillet requirements were developed through the combined efforts of agencies, scientists, conservation interests, the sport fishing industry and the public.

“We appreciate the hard work that NOAA and CDFW have put into working with the community on the bag limit and fillet regulations,” said Ken Franke, president of the Sportfishing Association of California. “This is the end result of a complicated and collaborative process that will protect the resource while also ensuring recreational access is maintained.”

Pacific bluefin tuna migrate great distances across the north Pacific throughout their life cycle and are managed under an international treaty with member countries from across the Pacific region. In the United States, federal and state fishery managers implemented catch reductions in accordance with recommendations made by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), with the intention of reducing Pacific bluefin tuna catch by 20 to 45 percent across the north Pacific.

CDFW participated in the development of the policy recommendations as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the IATTC, as well as the development of the new domestic measures for both sport and commercial bluefin tuna fishing through its representatives to the PFMC and the Commission.

For more information about Pacific bluefin tuna recreational fishing regulations, please visit the CDFW Marine Region website at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/cpshms/tunas.asp.

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Media Contacts:
Mandy Lewis, CDFW Marine Region, (562) 342-7169

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

August 2015 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

Media Contact: Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

DATE — EVENT

Weekends — Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve. Volunteer-led walks are scheduled every Saturday and Sunday, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Binoculars and bird books are available for the public to borrow at no cost. The visitor center and main overlook are fully accessible. Day use fee is $4.12 per person, ages 16 and older. Groups of five or more need to let staff know they are coming and groups of 10 or more can request a separate tour. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit/elkhorn-slough-er.

Various Days, June to September — Bat Talk and Walk at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, 45211 County Road 32B, Davis (95618). Following a 45-minute indoor presentation on bat natural history and viewing live bats, participants will carpool to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area to watch one of the largest colonies of Mexican free-tailed bats in California as it emerges to hunt insects at sunset. The event lasts about three hours. There is a small amount of walking and those in wheelchairs or unable to walk may view the bats from a vehicle. Reservations are required and private tours are also available. The fee for adults is $12, and youths 16 and under are free. For more information, please visit www.yolobasin.org, email cquirk@yolobasin.org or call (530) 902-1918. 

1 — Archery-Only and Falconry-Only Tree Squirrel Season Opens (extending through Sept. 11). For archery-only and falconry-only tree squirrel season and zone descriptions, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/mammalregs.aspx#307.

1 — Recreational Pacific Halibut Season Opens for all Boat-based Anglers in California on Aug. 1. For more information, please call the National Marine Fisheries Service hotline at (800) 662-9825 or visit the Pacific halibut webpage at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/pacifichalibut.asp.

4-5 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting, River Lodge Conference Center, 1800 Riverwalk Drive, Fortuna (95540). The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 4 and at 8 a.m. on Aug. 5. For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2015/index.aspx.

6 — San Diego Area Contingency Plan (ACP) Meeting, 10 a.m., U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego Training Room, 2710 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego (92101). Topics will include the web posting of the 2014 ACP revision, recent Sensitive Site Strategy deployments, recent pollution response cases including the Refugio oil spill incident and other business as needed. The public is encouraged to submit their ideas for improving the Area Plan. For more information, please contact Kris Wiese at (760) 681-6473 or by email at kris.wiese@wildlife.ca.gov.

8 — The First General Season for Black Bears Opens in Deer Hunting Zone A on August 8. General black bear season will open with the general deer hunting season in deer zones A, B, C, D, X8, X9A, X9B, X10 and X12 and extend through Dec. 27, 2015. Please note that deer zones A, B, C, D, X8, X9A, X9B, X10 and X12 have different deer season opening dates depending upon the deer zone. General season for black bears opens in deer hunting zones X-1 through X-7b on Oct. 10, and extends through Dec. 27. CDFW shall close the season earlier if 1,700 bears have been reported taken. For daily updates on reported bear harvest, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/bear or call toll-free at (888) 277-6398. Please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/mammalregs.aspx for the current mammal hunting regulations.

14 — California Wildlife Officer Academy Graduation Ceremony, Paradise Performing Arts Center, 777 Nunneley Road, Paradise (95969), 10 a.m. For more information, please contact Lt. Barry Ceccon at (530) 893-7627.

15 — Falconry-Only Pheasant, Quail and Chukar Seasons Open Statewide (extending through Feb. 29, 2016) and Falconry-Only Sooty (Blue) Grouse, Ruffed Grouse and Ptarmigan Seasons Open (extending through Feb. 29, 2016). For sooty (blue) grouse, ruffed grouse and ptarmigan zone maps and other upland game season information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

15 — Archery-Only Quail and Chukar Seasons Open Statewide (extending through Sept. 4) and Archery-Only Sooty (Blue)/Ruffed Grouse Seasons Open (extending through Sept. 4). For sooty (blue) grouse, ruffed grouse and ptarmigan zone maps and other upland game season information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

15 — The Archery Season for Black Bears Opens in Each of the Five American black bear hunt zones: Northern California, Central California, Southeastern Sierra, Southern Sierra and Southern California, and will extend through Sept. 6. CDFW shall close the season earlier if 1,700 bears have been reported taken. For daily updates on reported bear harvest, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/bear or call toll-free at (888) 277-6398. Please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/mammalregs.aspx for the current mammal hunting regulations and American black bear hunt zone boundary descriptions. The bag and possession limit for either the archery or general season is one adult bear per hunting license year. Cubs and females accompanied by cubs may not be taken. 

16 — Recreational Pacific Halibut Season is Closed for All Boat-based Anglers in California Beginning on Aug. 16. The fishery is expected to reopen on Sept. 1. For additional information on the season status, please call the National Marine Fisheries Service hotline at (800) 662-9825 or visit the Pacific halibut webpage at: www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/pacifichalibut.asp.

CDFW Completes Deer Capture Project in Truckee Area

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

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The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has successfully completed a deer capture project involving the Loyalton-Truckee mule deer herd.

This purpose of the capture and study is to help researchers better understand deer migration patterns and reduce the high number of automobile/deer collisions on a busy 25-mile stretch of Highway 89.

Using tranquilizer darts, CDFW wildlife biologists captured 13 does and fitted them with global positioning satellite (GPS) collars. Blood and hair samples were taken, length and weight measurements were recorded and general health inspections were conducted on each animal.

This project was made possible through collaboration between CDFW and the California Deer Association (CDA).

“We are proud to partner with the department and others to ensure important wildlife studies and habitat conservation work continues,” said CDA Chief Executive Officer Roman Porter. “In addition to the grants awarded by CDA’s generous members, fees from hunting licenses and tags also help fund these important efforts to ensure healthy deer herds for years to come.”

The GPS collars will record the location and send the information to researchers through a satellite. This will allow scientists to track the deer as they move from summer to winter ranges throughout the year often crossing Highway 89. Caltrans carcass data have confirmed that more than 1,000 deer have been killed along this busy road in the last 30 years.

“The tracking collars will show us exactly when, where and how the deer move throughout the landscape,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Sara Holm. “This type of information helps us make decisions on what type of crossing structures will make the most difference in saving the lives of both wildlife and people.”

California’s scenic Highway 89 runs through the lush meadows and dense pine trees of the Tahoe National Forest. Its western edge borders the Sagehen Creek Field Station and also happens to bisect the migration route of the Loyalton-Truckee mule deer herd. An estimated 4,000 to 6,000 cars travel Highway 89 each day, making the trip extremely perilous for humans and wildlife alike.

The Loyalton-Truckee mule deer are a migratory herd inside the Tahoe National Forest. The herd occupies the premium deer zones X7a/b. They have been studied for more than a decade for various reasons including health and migration patterns. It is estimated that more than 2,000 deer occupy this area.

CDFW Opens Chimineas Unit of Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve for Apprentice Deer Hunters

Media Contacts:
Robert Stafford, CDFW Central Region, (805) 528-8670
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering a draw for an apprentice deer hunt on the Chimineas Unit of the Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve. The two-day hunt, which is being offered in cooperation with the California Deer Association (CDA), will be held Sept. 12-13 on the 30,000-acre reserve in San Luis Obispo County.

Mandatory hunter orientation will be held in the evening on Sept. 11. Overnight lodging will be available at the main ranch house on the ecological reserve on both Sept. 11 and 12.

Three apprentice hunters will be chosen by lottery. Selected apprentice hunters must be accompanied by an adult. Participants will receive classroom, range and field training in gun handling techniques and safety, deer hunting and game care. Hunts will be led by CDA volunteers. CDA will also provide breakfast, lunch and dinner on Sept. 12, as well as breakfast and lunch on Sept. 13.

Applicants must submit a postcard with the hunter’s name, address, telephone number and 2015-2016 junior hunting license number to: Chimineas Apprentice Deer Hunt, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, 3196 South Higuera Street, Suite A, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401. Only one postcard may be submitted for each applicant.

Applications must be received in the office by 5 p.m. on Aug. 7. Late or incomplete applications will not be entered in the drawing. Successful applicants will be notified by phone and will receive additional information, including maps and special regulations, prior to the hunt.

Dove Hunting Opportunities Offered in Southern California

Media Contact:
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications for three wild dove hunts in San Diego County this fall.

The first opportunity is slated for Saturday, Sept. 12, from 5:30 a.m. to noon at Oak Grove, a sub-unit of San Felipe Wildlife Area in San Diego County. This hunt will take place on CDFW property located off Highway 79, 1.5 miles south of the Cleveland National Forest Oak Grove Campground.

The second and third hunts will be at Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve on Sunday, Sept. 13 and Saturday, Nov. 14 from sunrise to sunset. These hunts will take place on CDFW property located off Highway 94 (Campo Road), between the towns of Jamul and Dulzura.

Applicants are reminded that effective July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when hunting on all CDFW lands.

The deadline to apply for all hunts is 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12. Each hunt will accommodate up to 24 hunters and applications may include up to four hunters. Hunting dogs are allowed but must remain in the immediate control of the hunter at all times. No dogs will be provided for these hunts.

Applications are available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/uplandgame/. To apply, click on the game bird special hunts program.

For more information about the application process or the hunt itself, please call  (562) 254-8969.

CDFW, Partner Agencies Conclude Operation Yurok in Humboldt County

Marijuana Eradication Effort Focused on Misuse of Water and Habitat

Officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently participated in a large-scale, multi-agency operation to address the devastating effects of illegal marijuana cultivation on fish, wildlife and the environment in northern California’s watersheds. The four-day mission concluded Thursday, July 16.

Operation Yurok, July 2015
Operation Yurok, July 2015
Operation Yurok, July 2015
Operation Yurok, July 2015

Allied law enforcement agencies including the State Water Resources Control Board, Yurok Tribal Police, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and federal law enforcement teamed with CDFW wildlife officers to serve dozens of search warrants, investigate pollution and water diversion crimes, and eradicate numerous marijuana plants as part of the joint effort dubbed “Operation Yurok.”

More than 100 environmental violations of the Fish and Game Code were discovered and eight suspects were arrested. Charges are pending for additional suspects.

“This operation was about more than just the criminality of marijuana cultivation,” said Lieutenant DeWayne Little of CDFW’s Watershed Enforcement Team (WET). “At its roots, it was about protection of the environment.” Created by CDFW in the last year, WET is comprised of both law enforcement officers and biologists, whose primary mission is to take an all-encompassing approach to investigating and protecting waterways from diversion, obstructions, alteration, pollution and litter.

During this period of unprecedented drought, water conservation is gravely important. An average mature marijuana plant consumes an estimated six to 12 gallons of water per day.

“Operation Yurok” teams eradicated more than 29,000 thirsty marijuana plants from the area, which equates to hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per day that will no longer be diverted and prevented from feeding the nearby Klamath River.

The Klamath River is considered by the locals to be the lifeline for many people. Water flows from the river must be great enough to sustain local drinking water needs and support successful salmon runs, which equate to a food source for the local Yurok tribe. Yurok Tribal members and other locals have expressed great concern about illegal marijuana grows in the area, due to the Klamath River’s historic low levels.

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Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982

Visitors Reminded To Observe Property Rules at State Ecological Reserves

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

Visitors to state ecological reserves should be aware of the property rules and report illegal activities to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

The primary purpose of ecological reserves is to protect sensitive species and habitats. Many properties contain unique native plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. Users must stay in designated areas, observe usage rules posted at each site and respect the property.

Activities will vary from property to property and it is the visitor’s responsibility to know what is permissible. Those who witness vandalism such as vegetation removal, dumping of trash and other questionable activities that are detrimental to the habitat can anonymously report it to (888) 334-CalTIP (2258).

“Many wildlife areas or ecological reserves not only provide public enjoyment and education regarding natural resources, but also protect habitat for a variety of threatened and endangered plant and wildlife species,” said CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Julie Horenstein. “In many cases, unique reserve habitats support rare species. We owe it to future generations to protect these properties.”

According to state law (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 630,), CDFW is obligated to protect and maintain designated ecological reserves, which includes enforcing the rules. Failure to comply could result in a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

Reserves open to the public have hours from sunrise to sunset. On all state properties, it is illegal to feed wildlife, operate motorized vehicles outside of designated areas, disturb bird nests, release any fish or animal, start any fire or light fireworks or other explosive or incendiary devices, disturb habitat, alter the landscape or remove vegetation. Starting July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required on all CDFW lands where regulated hunting is allowed. Additional information on the use of ecological reserves is included in the booklet titled, Waterfowl, Upland Game and Department Lands Public Use  See page 68 for a complete description.

Lastly, when visiting California’s ecological reserves, remember to pack out what you pack in and leave behind the treasures you find for others to discover. This will ensure the ecological reserves will continue to protect sensitive species and habitats and be there for future generations to enjoy.

For more information on CDFW’s ecological reserves, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit.

CDFW Offers Upland Game Hunting and Waterfowl Clinics in Solano County

Duck hunting with dogThe California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Advanced Hunter Education program is offering two advanced hunting clinics in Solano County in August.

“These clinics are designed to educate both new and experienced hunters in specific types of hunting and to provide the experience necessary to be an ethical and more successful hunter. You will learn about hunting techniques and how to apply them to become that successful hunter,” said Lt. Alan Gregory, CDFW Advanced Hunter Education Program Coordinator.

Upland Game Hunting Clinic: The Upland Game Hunting Clinic will be held on Saturday, Aug. 15 at the Hastings Island Hunting Preserve in Rio Vista. The clinic will include information about the history of pheasant, quail and chukar hunting in California, bird habitat, food and range, maps, equipment and hunting with or without a dog. There will be dog demonstrations with both pointers and flushers.

Waterfowl Hunting Clinic: The Waterfowl Hunting Clinic will be held on Saturday, Aug. 22 at Grizzly Island near Suisun. Topics will include hunter safety, decoy placement, blind design, ballistics, calling, duck identification and game care, as well as information about hunting on State and Federal Waterfowl Management Areas. The clinic is co-sponsored by the California Waterfowl Association and the Pacific Coast Hunter Education Association.

Registration Information: The cost for each clinic is $45. The clinic hours are: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Space is limited to 25 people, so please register early. To register or get more information, please go to www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/advanced or contact Lt. Alan Gregory at (916) 653-1235.

Although the clinics are sponsored by the Advanced Hunter Education program, participants of all skill levels (from beginner to advanced) are welcome. Clinics focus on the basics of hunting with the goal of developing ethical, conservation-minded, successful hunters.

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Media Contacts:
Lt. Alan Gregory, CDFW Advanced Hunter Education, (916) 653-1235
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988
Kristi Matal, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-9811

SHARE Program Offers Big Game and Upland Game Hunts in Santa Barbara County

Jones Ranch
Jones Ranch

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program is offering hunting opportunities on two ranches in Santa Barbara County.

For the third year, Jones Ranch and Sleepy Creek Ranch will be offering fall hunts for deer, bear, turkey, quail and dove. These remote ranches in West Cuyama Valley encompass 1,000 acres between them, and will offer separate hunting opportunities. The terrain offers miles of trails through oak savannah, riparian, juniper-sage woodland, and chaparral habitats. The ranches are adjacent to both Bureau of Land Management land and the Los Padres National Forest, providing additional hunting opportunities.

Hunters with a valid California hunting license may apply online. A $11.37 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each hunt choice. Successful applicants for each property will be allowed to bring a hunting partner or a non-hunting partner, depending on the hunt. To apply for these hunts please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Online-Sales.

The SHARE Program 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.

For more information about these and other SHARE hunting opportunities please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/SHARE.

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

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News

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