CDFW’s Advanced Hunter Education Program Releases 2016 Clinic Schedule

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released its schedule of Advanced Hunter Education classes for 2016.

Several new offerings have been added, including Hunter Marksmanship, Hunt Planning and Basic Game Processing.

Other popular clinics are still on the roster, including Wilderness First Aid, Wild Pig Hunting, Deer Hunting, Turkey Hunting, Land Navigation, Waterfowl Hunting, Upland Game Hunting and Game Cooking.

“If you are new to hunting or just want to explore a skill you haven’t tried before, these clinics may be for you,” said Lt. Alan Gregory of the CDFW Advanced Hunter Education program. “Even though they’re sponsored by the Advanced Hunter Education program, these clinics offer something for students of all ages and skill levels, from beginner to experienced.”

The clinics are held at various locations throughout the state. Preregistration is necessary and enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis. Students under 18 are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.

To register or to learn more, please visit or contact Lt. Gregory at (209) 274-9923.


Media Contacts:
Lt. Alan Gregory, CDFW Advanced Hunter Education Program, (209) 274-9923
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Nov. 19 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $11.5 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 12 funded projects will benefit fish and wildlife – including some endangered species – while others will provide the public with access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, landowners and the local community. The state funds for all these projects come from initiatives approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Some of the funded projects include:


  • An $846,200 grant to the Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority, to acquire in fee approximately 2,838 acres of land in the City of Hemet in western Riverside County. The sources of these funds are a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition grant to the WCB and a WCB grant to the Authority.


  • A $1.8 million grant to the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District for a cooperative project with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the California Natural Resources Agency, to acquire in fee approximately 326 acres of wildlife habitat, including large areas of riparian and aquatic habitat, grasslands and oak woodlands near Simi Valley in Ventura County.


  • A $730,000 grant to the Inyo and Mono Counties Agricultural Commissioner’s Office for a cooperative project with U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), to control invasive perennial pepperweed on approximately 14 acres. This will enhance native habitat on approximately 10,000 acres of publicly owned land that is jointly managed by BLM, DWP and CDFW, north of Bishop, in Inyo and Mono counties.


For more information about the WCB please visit

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Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, WCB Executive Director, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 322-2420

Statewide Ban on Bobcat Trapping to Take Effect Friday

Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds bobcat trappers that beginning Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, recreational and commercial bobcat trapping will no longer be allowed in California.

At a meeting in Fortuna, Calif. on Aug. 5, 2015, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted regulations to ban bobcat trapping statewide. On Nov. 13, 2015, the Office of Administrative Law approved those regulations to be effective Nov. 20.

As a result of the new regulations, related to hunting and trapping of bobcat (Section 478 of Title 14, California Code of Regulations): It shall be unlawful to trap any bobcat, or attempt to do so, or to sell or export any bobcat or part of any bobcat taken in the State of California.

Any holder of a trapping license who traps a bobcat shall immediately release the bobcat to the wild unharmed. Also beginning Friday, Nov. 20, CDFW will no longer mark bobcat pelts for personal use or issue shipping tags for commercial sale of bobcat pelts taken in California.



CDFW to Host Public Meetings Regarding Groundfish Management for 2017-2018

Media Contacts:
Caroline McKnight, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-7192
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191

Vermilion rockfish (CDFW photo by Athena Maguire).
Vermilion rockfish (CDFW photo by Athena Maguire).

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold five public workshops to discuss groundfish management in California. Attendees will hear an overview of recent groundfish management and science developments and then participate in focused stakeholder discussions on potential changes to recreational and commercial fishery management measures for 2017 and 2018. Several new groundfish stock assessments conducted in 2015 show some previously overfished stocks have been restored, possibly allowing for increased fishing opportunities.

The meetings are scheduled from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the following dates/locations:

  • Eureka: Dec. 2, 2015
    Eureka Public Marina, Wharfinger Building, Bay Room
    1 Marina Way, Eureka, CA 95501
  • Fort Bragg: Dec. 3, 2015
    California Fish and Wildlife Office
    32330 North Harbor Drive, Fort Bragg, CA 95437
  • Sausalito: Dec. 9, 2015
    Bay Model Visitor Center
    2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965
  • Monterey: Jan. 6, 2016
    California Fish and Wildlife Office
    20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100, Monterey, CA 93940
  • Los Alamitos: Jan. 7, 2016
    California Fish and Wildlife Office
    4665 Lampson Avenue, Suite C, Los Alamitos, CA 90720

Staff will interact with participants about their preferences for various management measures, including season dates, potential changes to Rockfish Conservation Areas and bag limits – including the possibility of retaining canary rockfish. CDFW is also seeking input on strategies to best minimize interactions with cowcod and yelloweye rockfish, which remain overfished. The public is encouraged to provide input to managers and representatives based on their own personal experience that will assist in the development of groundfish management.

Groundfish fishing regulations are developed through a collaborative regulatory process involving the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), the National Marine Fisheries Service, CDFW, other West Coast states, and the California Fish and Game Commission.

Please visit the CDFW website for more details regarding these scheduled public meetings and groundfish management at

Please visit the PFMC website for more information about the federal regulatory process at

CDFW Seeks Public Comment on Supplemental Wildlife Plans

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) seeks public comment on its nine draft companion plans, which will supplement the recently revised 2015 State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). The public review period will run from Nov. 16, 2015, through Jan. 15, 2016. In addition, CDFW will hold a public meeting to present the plans and answer questions on Nov. 30, 2015, from 1-3 p.m. in the Natural Resources Building auditorium, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento.

The companion plans focus on specific over-arching issues that have a significant impact on the state’s fish and wildlife resources. The plan categories are agriculture, consumptive and recreational users, energy development, forests and rangeland, land-use planning, transportation planning, tribal lands, water management and marine resources.

CDFW created these supplemental plans to provide more specificity and flexibility to the overall SWAP. Because these documents focus on a single issue, they can be easily adapted as new information is obtained and new management strategies developed.

The goal of the SWAP is to examine the health of the state’s fish and wildlife resources and to prescribe actions to conserve these resources before they become endangered and more costly to protect. The plan also promotes wildlife conservation while furthering responsible development and addressing the needs of a growing human population. As mandated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), CDFW revises the SWAP every 10 years. This process was completed in October 2015 and the plan is currently under review by USFWS.

The draft companion plans and comment form are available online at Comments may also be emailed to or mailed to California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Attn: SWAP, 1416 Ninth Street, Suite 1221, Sacramento, CA 95814.


Media Contacts:
Armand Gonzales, SWAP Project Lead, (916) 616-0691
Carol Singleton, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8962

Applications for December Apprentice Hunts and Workshop Due on Nov. 18

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering a number of special hunt opportunities for young hunters, women, families and mobility-impaired hunters this fall and winter. All hunt opportunities are now listed on CDFW’s website. Below are the December hunts – and one workshop – with application due dates in the latter half of November:

Due by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18:

Merced County: A total of eight pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held over the weekends of Dec. 5-6 and Dec. 12-13. Each day will have a morning and an afternoon hunt that can accommodate 25 hunters each; all afternoon hunts are junior-required.

Fresno County: Two junior-only pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Mendota Wildlife Area. Each hunt (morning and afternoon) can accommodate 25 hunters.

Kern County: Two wild quail and chukar hunts will be held the weekend of Dec. 5-6 at the Canebrake Ecological Reserve. The Saturday hunt is a junior-required hunt, while the Sunday hunt is a general apprentice hunt. Each can accommodate 10 hunters.

Ventura County: An upland game workshop for apprentice hunters will be held on Saturday, Dec. 12 at the Boy Scouts of America Camp Three Falls in Frazier Park. Participants will learn about shotgun safety and range, shotgun cleaning, proper game care cleaning and transportation methods and how to hunt with dogs. This workshop will accommodate 12 hunters.

Los Angeles County: Two family pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held at Peace Valley on Saturday, Dec. 5 (early morning and late morning), and one junior-only hunt will be held on Sunday, Dec. 6. The Saturday family hunts can accommodate 18 hunters each and the Sunday junior hunt can accommodate 12 hunters.

Riverside County: One junior-required pen-raised pheasant hunt will be held over the weekend of Dec. 5-6 at Robinson Farms. This hunt allows junior hunters to hunt on consecutive days (alone on the first day and with up to three guests on the second day). Applications will be drawn to fill the hunt quota of 100 totals for Sunday; junior hunters who are drawn will also be allowed to participate in the Saturday hunt.

Riverside County: One pen-raised pheasant hunt will be held on Sunday, Dec. 13 at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area. This hunt can accommodate 65 hunters.

Imperial County: One family pen-raised pheasant hunt will be held on Saturday, Dec. 12 at the Imperial Wildlife Area. This hunt can accommodate 35 hunters.

Please note that many of these opportunities will be held on  state wildlife areas or ecological reserves. As of July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when hunting on these properties. For more information please see CDFW’s nonlead ammunition page.

CDFW’s Upland Game Bird Special Hunts are intended for beginning hunters or those with limited experience. Apprentice applicants must have successfully completed a hunter education course and possess a valid 2015-2016 California junior hunting license. Adult hunters (18 or older) must also have an upland game bird validation. A non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older is required to accompany all junior hunt participants.

Proper clothing and safety gear, including blaze orange, is required for department-sponsored hunts. All hunts include gun safety review, easy-to-hunt topography, a high ratio of volunteers to hunters, experienced dog handlers and clay shooting for practice.

Hunters can find more information and apply for any of these hunts online at There is no charge to apply. Please note that additional hunts in January and February are listed on the website and are also open for registration.

New hunters can use their Hunter Education Certificate number for priority registration for apprentice hunts. Applicants with priority will be automatically placed in a hunt before the random drawing takes place.

The full upland game bird hunting regulations and a summary for 2015-2016 can be found on CDFW’s website.

Media Contacts:
Linda Sandoval, CDFW Upland Game Program, (916) 445-3452
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Fall Turkey Season Opener Approaches

Upland game hunters statewide are gearing up for the opportunity to bag their Thanksgiving dinner, as California’s 2015 general fall wild turkey hunting season opens statewide on Saturday, Nov. 14. The season extends through Sunday, Dec. 13, with a bag limit of one turkey (either sex) per day and no more than two per season.

“Wild turkey is very healthy alternative to store bought turkey, as it’s low in fat and has no additives. You can’t get much more natural than that,” said Scott Gardner, manager of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Upland Game Program. “It’s harder to hunt it than buy one in a store, but any hunter will tell you it’s worth the extra effort.”

Wild turkeys are found in most counties in California, with the top five for fall harvest being Placer, El Dorado, Shasta, Sonoma and Tehama. Both a hunting license and upland game bird stamp are required to hunt turkeys, although an upland stamp is not required for hunters with junior licenses.

Rio Grande turkeys are the most widespread wild turkey subspecies in California, occupying much of the mixed oak and pine woodlands of the coast ranges, Central Valley, Sierra Nevada and Cascade foothills. Merriam’s turkeys can be found in habitats dominated by pines in northeastern California, but can also be found in the Transverse Range in Kern County. The eastern subspecies can be found in isolated pockets along the northern coast and eastern/Rio Grande hybrids from the Midwest inhabit areas along the south coast.

Today the statewide population of wild turkeys is estimated at about 250,000 birds. The fall season is open statewide for wild turkeys and CDFW estimates that about 20,000 hunters bagged about 10,000 turkeys last fall.

Many populations range on private land, but turkeys can be found on public lands administered by CDFW, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. A list of state wildlife areas and ecological reserves can be found on the CDFW website. Upland game hunters are reminded that as of July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when hunting on these properties. For more information please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition page.

For places to hunt turkeys and additional tips and information, hunters should refer to the “Guide to Hunting Wild Turkeys in California” on CDFW’s upland game hunting webpage.


Media Contacts:
Matt Meshriy, CDFW Upland Game Program, (916) 322-6709
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988
Scott Gardner, CDFW Upland Game Program, (916) 801-6257

Anglers Encouraged to Return Sturgeon Tags for Recognition and Monetary Reward

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed its annual sturgeon tagging program, catching and releasing nearly 400 sturgeon in Bay Area waters.  Many of the tags are eligible for a reward if returned to CDFW by anglers.

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The tagging operation is used to help manage California’s green and white sturgeon populations. Information received from anglers about tagged sturgeon complements the details submitted on sturgeon fishing report cards as well as data from party boats, creel surveys, surveys for juvenile sturgeon and various special studies.

CDFW offers monetary rewards for the return of certain marked tags. The tags are smaller than a dime and located behind the rear dorsal fin. Anglers who return a tag will also receive a certificate of appreciation from CDFW. Additional information and the form for returning tags can be found on the CDFW website.

“Protecting the white sturgeon fishery and the sturgeon populations requires research, collaboration, adaptive management and enforcement,” said CDFW Program Manager Marty Gingras. “Angler participation is a vital component of the information-gathering process – we rely on them to help us complete the loop.”

Working in Suisun and San Pablo bays from August through October, crews collected information on 18 green sturgeon, tagged 190 white sturgeon, and collected information on 169 white sturgeon that were either too small or too large to tag. In an ongoing collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and a new collaboration with San Francisco Estuary Institute, USFWS staff was also on board CDFW boats to collect various tissues as part of an age-and-growth study and a study monitoring selenium concentrations in white sturgeon.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin river system is the southernmost spawning grounds for both white sturgeon and green sturgeon.  Sturgeon in California can live more than 100 years and weigh over 500 pounds, but anglers most often catch sturgeon 3-4 feet in length.  The sturgeon fishery in California was once closed for decades due to overfishing. Today, commercial harvest of white sturgeon is not allowed, and recreational harvest of white sturgeon is regulated by size limit, daily bag limit and annual bag limit. Green sturgeon is a threatened species and neither commercial nor recreational harvest of those fish is allowed.

Serialized tags are provided with each sturgeon fishing report card to help enforce the bag limits. To enable law enforcement to cross-reference the tag with a particular card, anglers must permanently fix a tag to each kept white sturgeon until the fish is processed for consumption.

Anglers are required to return their 2015 sturgeon fishing report cards by Jan. 31, 2016.

Media Contact:
Marty Gingras, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (209) 234-3486
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

General Pheasant Hunting Opener Nears

The second weekend of November brings a popular tradition for many families in California – the opening of pheasant season. Although the overall wild pheasant population has been decreasing in recent years and the number of shoot days have been reduced on some wildlife areas, opportunities are still available on state-managed lands.

The 2015 general pheasant season will open Saturday, Nov. 14 and extend through Sunday, Dec. 27. For 2015, the daily bag limit is two males per day for the first two days of the season, and three males per day thereafter. The possession limit is triple the daily bag limit.

Native to Asia, the ring-necked pheasant was introduced to California as a game bird species in the late 1800s. Though they flourished in California for decades, numbers have been dropping since the most recent high in the late 1990’s. Total pheasant harvest on public areas in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys declined from a high of 4,828 roosters in 1998 to 1,120 last year.

“Wild pheasant populations have declined in the Central Valley due to a number of factors – changing agricultural practices and loss of upland habitats combined with increased use of insecticides and predation,” said Scott Gardner, Upland Game Bird Coordinator for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). “There are still enough pheasants to sustain a rooster-only hunting season, but the numbers look nothing like they used to.”

In response to the continued decline, CDFW is entering the third year of working with Pheasants Forever and the United States Geological Survey to implement pheasant population assessments and identify factors limiting their populations to develop potential management actions. Initial findings were presented at a pheasant workshop earlier this year and information on the workshop and ongoing research can be found on CDFW’s website at

In 2010, CDFW reduced the number of days that certain wildlife areas will be open for pheasant hunting due to a decline in the number of hunters targeting pheasant and the cost to operate check stations during the first week of the season. For the upcoming season, hunters should be aware of the following restrictions on wildlife areas:

  • Type A wildlife areas in the Sacramento Valley (Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Delevan National Wildlife Refuge, Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, and Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area (Little Dry Creek, Llano Seco and Howard Slough Units) and Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area will be open for pheasant hunting on Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays, and only the first Monday (Nov. 16) during the pheasant season. Grizzly Island Wildlife Area will also be open for pheasant hunting on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays only during the pheasant season.
  • Type A wildlife areas in the San Joaquin Valley (Los Banos Wildlife Area, Mendota Wildlife Area, North Grasslands Wildlife Area, Volta Wildlife Area and San Luis National Wildlife Refuge) will be open for pheasant hunting on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays only during the pheasant season. Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge, Freitas Unit will be open for pheasant hunting on the first Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the pheasant season (Nov. 14-16). The Kesterson blind area will be open for pheasant hunting on the first Monday of the pheasant season (Nov. 16).
  • In the event some units experience closures for waterfowl hunting as a result of the drought, the goal will be to open for pheasant hunting on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays during the general pheasant season. Permits for entry will be issued at the check station through a morning lottery. Specific information will be available from affected wildlife area offices. Additional entry will be available through first-come, first-serve lists at the check station.
  • The Wister Unit of Imperial Wildlife Area in Imperial County and San Jacinto Wildlife Area in Riverside County will continue to be closed to pheasant hunting this year.
  • Type C wildlife areas will remain open as normal.

Upland game hunters are reminded that as of July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when hunting on all CDFW wildlife areas and ecological reserves. For more information please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition page .

All hunters must carry a current California hunting license in their possession. Adult hunters (18 or older) must also have an upland game bird validation. The full upland game bird hunting regulations and a summary as well as the lands regulations for 2015-2016 can be found on CDFW’s website.

The modifications of the shoot days on Type A wildlife areas are pursuant to the California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 550(i)(1).

For more information on specific hunting opportunities, hunters should contact the CDFW office in their region and check the CDFW website.


Media Contacts:
Scott Gardner, CDFW Upland Game Program, (916) 445-5545
Brad Burkholder, CDFW Lands Program, (916) 445-1829
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Waterfowl Hunting Opportunities Coming Up at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering waterfowl hunting opportunities at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve (ELER) in Hayward. The reserve includes former salt ponds now managed by CDFW as low-salinity waterfowl habitat and areas restored to full tidal action. For the 2015-2016 hunting season, hunters will be also able to enjoy recent improvements at ELER, including a new boat launch into Mt. Eden Creek that allows access into tidal areas on specified hunt days.

Access to ELER for waterfowl hunting will be open for 100 hunters on a first-come, first-served basis for each hunt only on the dates listed below. There is no fee for these hunts.

2015 hunts (check-in at 5 a.m. on each of the following dates):
• Saturday, Nov. 21
• Tuesday, Dec. 1
• Saturday, Dec. 5
• Thursday, Dec. 10
• Tuesday, Dec. 15
• Saturday, Dec. 19

2016 hunts (check-in at 5:30 a.m. on each of the following dates):
• Saturday, Jan. 2
• Thursday, Jan. 7
• Thursday, Jan. 14
• Saturday, Jan. 23

All hunters must check in with CDFW staff on the morning of the hunt with a valid California Hunting License, federal duck stamp and state duck and Harvest Information Program (HIP) validations. Hunters will also be required to check out upon leaving and allow inspection of game to evaluate hunter success and collect harvest data.

Junior hunters must be accompanied by an adult hunter or non-hunter 18 years or older. Vehicles are only allowed on the hunt dates specified above; drivers must stay on designated levees and use approved parking areas. Hunters are advised to use caution and should be aware of soft mud, swift currents, tidal fluctuations and unmarked hazards.

There is a 25-shell limit in the field, and hunters must use nonlead ammunition. (As of July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when hunting on all state wildlife areas and ecological reserves. For more information, please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition page.)

A small boat, canoe or other flotation device is highly recommended to access ponds and blinds, navigable sloughs and for game retrieval. Boaters are advised to consult local tide charts before launching and should be aware that extensive mud flats may be exposed and even shallow draft vessels can be subject to hidden underwater hazards during low tides.

A hunting dog is also recommended for retrieval of birds. Hunters will receive additional information, including area rules and regulations and maps, upon check-in.

To access ELER from I-880, exit at Alvarado Boulevard and continue west. Turn right onto Union City Boulevard, left onto Bettencourt Road (at the sign for the Union Sanitary District), left on Whipple Road, right on Horner Street, then right on Veasy Street. Please enter at the yellow gate to check in. Hunters are responsible for avoiding closed areas.

Formal plans for public access opportunities at the reserve in addition to hunting are being developed as part of the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project (


Media Contacts:
John Krause, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (415) 454-8050
Conrad Jones, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 944-5544
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News


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