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

Coyote Incidents in Southern California Prompt Precautionary Reminders

Media Contacts:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
Capt. Rebecca Hartman, Law Enforcement Division, (310) 678-4864

Due to a recent increase in the number of human/coyote incidents in Southern California, residents should be particularly vigilant in watching their children and pets when outdoors.

In the past month, there have been four incidents in Irvine where young children were either bitten or scratched by a coyote, resulting in minor injuries.

“These incidents highlight the importance of communities working together to eliminate sources of food that may attract wildlife to neighborhoods,” said Capt. Rebecca Hartman, of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Law Enforcement Division. “When coyotes are fed, either intentionally or unintentionally by food being left out, they can become a public safety threat.”

CDFW volunteers have been conducting outreach and distributing wildlife information to residents in Irvine and trappers have been deployed to locate and humanely euthanize coyotes in the area where the incidents have occurred.

During the warm summer months, particularly from March through August, coyotes are very active. They are raising their young and are in an almost constant search for food.

Coyotes are highly adaptable and often live in close proximity to populated areas where food and water sources are abundant. They usually fear humans and avoid interactions; however, if they begin to associate humans with food, they lose their natural fear and can become bold and aggressive.

Coyote Safety Tips
• Keep a close eye on small children when outdoors.
• Keep small pets inside particularly at dawn and dusk when coyotes are most active.
• Keep pets on a leash when walking.
• Keep pet food and water dishes inside.
• Secure food and trash at all times and remove all sources of water.
• Pick up fallen fruit and keep compost piles tightly sealed.
• Sweep up fallen birdseed, which can attracts mice and rats, a common food source for coyotes.
• Remove brush, wood piles and debris where coyotes can find cover and where rodents are abundant.
• Install motion-activated lighting or sprinklers.
• If a coyote approaches or acts aggressively, throw rocks, make noise, look big, and pick up small children and pets. Do not turn your back to the animal.
• If a coyote is frequently seen around schoolyards or playgrounds or is acting aggressively, contact your local animal control or CDFW.
• If a coyote attacks, call 911.

There has been only one recorded fatality in California from a coyote attack (a 3-year-old girl in 1981). Coyote attacks are relatively rare and the mere presence of a coyote does not constitute a public safety threat. However, in areas where coyotes are highly visible and active, caution is advised.

For more information on living responsibly with wildlife, visit http://www.keepmewild.com.

Three Prosecutors Awarded 2014 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year

Patrick McGrath, Yuba County DA. (Not pictured: Brad Enos, Yuba County DA, and Kevin Weichbrod, Santa Barbara DA.)
Patrick McGrath, Yuba County DA. (Not pictured: Brad Enos, Yuba County Deputy DA, and Kevin Weichbrod, Santa Barbara Deputy DA.)

The California Fish and Game Commission recently recognized three prosecutors for their exemplary dedication to the prosecution of wildlife crimes. District Attorney Patrick McGrath, Deputy District Attorney Brad Enos, both of Yuba County, and Deputy District Attorney Kevin Weichbrod of Santa Barbara Countywere selected from the ranks of California’s 58 counties to receive this notable distinction.

The 2014 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year Award was presented to these outstanding prosecutors amongst their peers at the California District Attorneys Association annual summer conference today in Napa.

“We do our best to thoughtfully craft regulations to protect California’s fish and wildlife resources and those who violate those regulations are destroying the natural resources that belong to all of us,” said Commission President Jack Baylis. “Successful prosecutions of poaching and pollution cases are directly dependent upon the working relationships between officers and the prosecutors. Thanks to these prosecutors, justice is served to those who violate the law.

The selection process was based upon recommendations from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division, who regularly work with the various District Attorneys’ offices.  All three prosecutors came highly recommended by the respective wildlife officers from their counties. These three prosecutors understand and appreciate natural resource violations. They have shown a willingness to pursue felony charges when appropriate for the most egregious violators. These prosecutors regularly took on time consuming, tough cases and have followed the cases to the full extent, up to and including jury trials. They regularly requested forfeiture of equipment involved in the commission of the poaching crimes, high fine amounts, and revocation of fishing and hunting privileges to help put poachers permanently out of business.

CDFW and the Fish and Game Commission recognize and appreciate the efforts of all 58 counties’ District Attorneys’ offices when it comes to protection of the environment, fish and wildlife. There are many prosecutors within those offices who take poaching crimes seriously. In 2014, McGrath, Enos and Weichbrod were particularly effective.

The Fish and Game Commissioners intend to formalize the process of selecting a Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year, making it an annual award. For more information about the Commission, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/.

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Media Contacts:
Sonke Mastrup, California Fish and Game Commission, (916) 653-4899
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982

 

CDFW Offers Tips to Prevent Backyard Wildlife Conflicts

Media Contact: Carol Singleton, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8962

Ground squirrel
Ground squirrel

Have you ever woken to the sound of a scampering animal in the ceiling above your bed or been startled by a strange scratching noise in your walls? If so, you understand the frustration of having wildlife take up residence in your home. Skunks, squirrels and raccoons are among the common culprits that end up inside people’s homes and businesses. These unwanted visitors can cause extensive property damage and transmit diseases to people and pets.

“The key to keeping wild animals out of your home and off your property is to make your home an unwelcome place for wildlife,” said Carol Singleton, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Keep Me Wild Coordinator. “Start by walking around your home looking for any holes where wildlife may enter or spaces where they may nest. Even the tiniest holes should be fixed, as bats, mice and other small animals can squeeze through cracks as small as ¼ inch.”

Before you begin boarding up areas around your home, make sure that there are no animals or active nests inside. Other wildlife-proofing steps include:

  • Block any access points around your home and outbuildings where wildlife may enter.
  • Block access under stairways and decks and fill any holes around your foundation.
  • Fix tears in window screens and vents and cover any openings under your eaves.
  • Install a chimney cap.
  • Trim trees a minimum of four feet from your roof to avoid jumping animals.
  • Remove woodpiles, debris and low-growing, dense plants such as ivy that provide potential habitat for wildlife.
  • Never leave pet food or water outside.
  • Clean up fallen fruit and bird seed and tightly cover compost piles.
  • Keep barbecue grills clean and never leave food or trash out in the yard.
  • Make sure that garbage cans and recycling bins are secured.

It is unlawful to disturb the nests of songbirds as well as threatened and endangered species, so proceed with caution when you find a nest or burrow. CDFW also discourages the use of poison baits (rodenticide) to control rats, mice and other rodents as this can result in secondary poisoning to pets and other non-target wildlife such as owls, hawks and bobcats. Animals that eat dead or dying rodents that have consumed these baits will also be poisoned.

If you choose to trap nuisance wildlife, it is important to know the rules. You must release the animal immediately or kill it in a humane manner. You may wish to hire a pest control specialist to do this for you. According to the Fish and Game Code, it is illegal to relocate wildlife without a permit to do so.

“People often think the most humane thing to do is to release the animal in a nearby park or woods, but this simply moves the problem to someone else’s backyard,” explained Singleton. “Also, relocating wildlife can lead to the spread of disease, cause conflicts with other wildlife and may result in injury to the person transporting the animal.”

For more information on solving problems with backyard wildlife, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Living-with-Wildlife.

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California Department of Fish and Wildlife News

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