Category Archives: big game

SHARE Program Offers Elk Opportunities for Adult and Junior Hunters

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will be offering 47 elk hunting opportunities through the Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program this fall. Applications for SHARE elk hunts will be available for purchase as of Sunday, June 16.

New additions to the program include 24 elk tags, 16 hunts and three properties. A total of 72 elk tags will be available during 47 hunts, with six of those tags going to junior hunters.

SHARE elk hunts will occur at various times between Aug. 15 and Dec. 24, 2019 on 31 select properties in Colusa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Shasta and Siskiyou counties. Specific details for all 47 elk hunts can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share#elk. Applications will be accepted through Wednesday, July 24.

All elk tags will be distributed through a random draw process. While hunters may take only one elk per year in California, hunters may apply for more than one SHARE hunt. These hunts offer additional opportunities to apply for an elk tag if you were unsuccessful in the elk tag opportunities provided through the general Big Game Drawing. SHARE hunt applications can be purchased by anyone 12 years of age or older, with a valid 2019 California Hunting License from any CDFW license office or online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales.

An $11.88 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each hunt application. Applicants may look up their draw results and download their hunt packets on July 29 by entering their customer information on CDFW’s website at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales.

The SHARE program was created to provide additional hunting, fishing and other recreational access on private lands in California by offering incentives to private landowners. Participating landowners receive liability protection and compensation for providing public access to or through their land for wildlife-dependent recreational activities.

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Media Contacts:
Victoria Barr, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034

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

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its May 22 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $15 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 21 approved projects will benefit fish and wildlife — including some endangered species — while others will provide public 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.

Funding for these projects comes from a combination of sources including the Habitat Conservation Fund and bond measures approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources.

Funded projects include:

A $400,000 grant to Pacific Forest Trust for a cooperative project with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mitsubishi Foundation, New Belgium Brewing Company, Flora L. Thornton Foundation, and Mary A. Crocker Trust to plan for climate resilience in key Sacramento River watersheds spanning eight northern California counties.

A $197,000 grant to the California Audubon Society for a cooperative project with Point Blue Conservation Science and the Grassland Water District to develop regional water budget models that display future Central Valley wetland water needs under climate change scenarios in Butte, Merced, Tulare and Kern counties.

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A $176,000 grant to the Sacramento Valley Conservancy for a cooperative project with the Sacramento County Department of Water Resources and Recreational Equipment, Inc. to expand public access, improve a parking lot, install educational signs and implement water-efficient landscaping on 11 acres of the State Lands Commission’s Camp Pollock property on the American River.

A $430,100 grant to Trout Unlimited for a cooperative project with the U.S. Forest Service and University of California, Merced for planning and environmental compliance to restore nine montane meadows totaling approximately 75 acres of the Sierra National Forest in Madera and Fresno counties.

A $1 million grant to the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts for a cooperative project with the California Department of Conservation, California Department of Water Resources, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Point Blue Conservation Science, the Smith River Alliance and 10 Resource Conservation Districts. The project will provide technical assistance creating conservation carbon farm plans and developing conservation practice designs that will provide wildlife-enhancing, climate-beneficial management options for producers on working landscapes in nine California counties.

A $1.4 million grant to Ducks Unlimited, Inc. for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to restore wetland fields along the auto tour route within CDFW’s Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in Butte County.

A $4 million grant for the acquisition of approximately 1,781 acres of land by CDFW for a cooperative project with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, American River Conservancy, and California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) for the protection and preservation of riparian and oak woodland habitat, and deer and mountain lion habitat, and to provide for potential future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities in El Dorado County.

A $3.2 million grant to the Escondido Creek Conservancy for a cooperative project with CNRA to acquire approximately 282 acres of land for the protection of oak woodlands, grasslands, plants and chaparral that support a variety of wildlife including deer and mountain lion. This purchase will also increase the protection of regional wildlife habitat corridors and provide potential future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities in an unincorporated area in north San Diego County.

For more information about the WCB please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

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

 

 

CDFW Accepting Applications for Opening Week Deer Hunt at the Knoxville Wildlife Area

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications for a limited, lottery draw deer hunt for the opening week of the A Zone general deer season on the Knoxville Wildlife Area in Napa County.

The 21,000-acre Knoxville Wildlife Area is located approximately 1.5 miles north of Lake Berryessa. This special lottery draw deer hunt is to limit the number of hunters on a popular public hunting area during the opening week of the season and improve the quality of the experience.

Only 120 hunt permits will be issued for this special lottery draw deer hunt. The hunt permit is valid for the single hunt period, Aug. 10-16, 2019. The Knoxville Wildlife Area will be closed to all other users during the hunt period.

For more information and to apply for the lottery draw, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/3/hunts/knoxville-deer-draw.

Applications will be accepted through June 20, 2019.

Successful applicants will be selected through a random computerized draw and will be notified by e-mail four to six weeks before the hunt period. Up to four hunters may apply as one party by including all the required information on the online application. Multiple applications from any hunter will result in disqualification from the drawing. Substitutions of hunt party members will not be permitted.

When applying for the lottery draw, hunters must possess a valid 2019-20 California hunting license.

Deer hunt preference points will not be considered for this lottery draw – nor will preference points be affected if drawn for this special hunt.

Media Contacts:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
Stacy Martinelli, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 576-2868

Survey Shows Severe Decline in Mount San Gorgonio Desert Bighorn Sheep Population

Aerial and ground surveys of Southern California’s Mount San Gorgonio desert bighorn sheep population conducted during early March have confirmed a severe decline in numbers. Biologists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and partner agencies counted 60 animals, approximately one-third the number counted in the last helicopter survey conducted in March 2016.

Watch video of biologists preparing for the survey at: https://youtu.be/ecdag5Y6d1g

This reduction appears to be consistent with an outbreak of respiratory disease that CDFW has been investigating since December.

“Die-offs of bighorn sheep of this type and magnitude that have occurred in the past have almost always been triggered by contact with domestic sheep or goats,” CDFW Wildlife Biologist Dr. Jeff Villepique said.

In December 2018, multiple reports of dead or dying bighorn sheep in Whitewater Canyon and the Mission Creek drainages were confirmed by biologists working for CDFW. Tissue samples from carcasses were sent to pathologists at the California Animal Health and Food Safety laboratories. The investigation is ongoing, with 21 bighorn carcasses identified thus far.

Administering medical treatment to sick bighorn is not feasible due to many factors, including the remote location, the difficulty of capturing animals and inability to capture and treat the entire herd.

Southern California is home to approximately 4,800 bighorn sheep in 64 herd units. To date, there have been no reports of sheep in nearby herds being affected by the disease.

CDFW is one of several entities involved in managing bighorn sheep in California, and participates in the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Wild Sheep Working Group. The Group has declared respiratory disease to be “the biggest impediment to restoring and sustaining bighorn sheep populations.”

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Media Contacts:
Dr. Jeff Villepique, CDFW Inland Deserts Region, (909) 584-9012
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (208) 220-1169

 

CDFW Magnifies Efforts to Recruit Hunters and Anglers

In an effort to get more Californians involved in fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is partnering with the recreational fishing and hunting communities, state and federal agencies, and others to address barriers and opportunities to hunting and fishing in the state.

“Our goal is to support and encourage people to get outdoors and enjoy California’s wild places,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “The fishing and hunting opportunities in this state are unparalleled, they belong to all Californians and should be utilized by all of us. This effort is to make sure Californians know that.”

CDFW has formed an executive-level task force, hired a full-time coordinator to head-up the effort, hired a research scientist, and finalized a statewide recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) action plan. A staff-level working group is working to increase hunting and fishing participation by collaborating with diverse stakeholders to transform barriers to participation into opportunities. Some of the barriers CDFW will look at initially are access and opportunity challenges, public perception of fishing and hunting, and license structure and pricing. The effort will also focus on encouraging more adults to take up hunting and fishing for the first time.

Research shows spending time outdoors improves physical, mental and social well-being. Many hunters and anglers say the reason they participate in these activities is to enjoy the quality time with family and friends and to bring home great memories and healthy food.

California is home to some of the nation’s most diverse hunting and fishing opportunities, but participation in these activities has declined significantly since the 1970s and 1980s. Hunters and anglers play a crucial role in managing natural resources by regulating wildlife populations to maintain ecological and biological diversity, participating in wildlife surveys for scientific data collection, and reporting wildlife crimes. Hunters and anglers also help sustain a multi-billion-dollar outdoor recreation industry and provide the primary funding source for state-level fish and wildlife conservation in California. The decline in participation poses an ever-increasing threat to wildlife conservation, the state’s long-standing hunting and fishing heritage, and Californians’ connection to the outdoors in general.

“The fishing and hunting community has rallied around CDFW, and we are now poised to tackle the challenges before us,” Bonham said.

To get involved or learn more about the state’s R3 efforts, please contact Jennifer.Benedet@wildlife.ca.gov.

Media Contacts:
Jen Benedet, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 903-9270
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824