Various Days — Guided Wetland Tours, By Reservation, at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). A wildlife naturalist will lead any group, school or organization on a half-mile route through the diverse wetlands of the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. General information includes wildlife identification, behavior patterns and conservation efforts. The experience can be customized to include requested information. The minimum group size is 18 people. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturdays — Swan Tours. CDFW will offer free swan tours near Marysville on Saturdays through January. Co-hosted by local rice farmers, the naturalist-led tours will focus on tundra swans in one of the premier locations for viewing swans in California. Tours will be held on Saturdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m. The driving tours also involve walking a short distance and carpooling is encouraged. Pre-registration is required at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/swan-tours and up to 30 people can register for each tour. For more information, please call (916) 358-2869 or email email@example.com.
Various Days — Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Volunteers lead walks 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. The day use permit fee is $4.12 per person, ages 16 and older (permits may be purchased onsite). Groups of five or more should please notify staff that 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 — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Multiple Hunting Opportunities. Wild pig, waterfowl, turkey, dove and quail hunts are available through the SHARE program. A $10.75 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.
First Through Third Saturdays and Sundays of the Month — Sandhill Crane Wetland Tours at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, 7730 W. Woodbridge Road, Lodi (95242). Online registration has begun for those wishing to participate in guided tours, which run through February. A one-day Lands Pass must be purchased to attend and instructions are available on the same website. Tours fill fast and registration may be done as much as six weeks in advance. To register or for more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/3/crane-tour.
Weekends — Guided Wildlife Tours at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948), 12:30 p.m. The 90-minute walking tour covers slightly more than a half mile through this premier birding spot that highlights migratory waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. Tours are canceled in heavy rain. No reservations are necessary for groups of less than 20 people. This land is part of the CDFW Lands Pass Program and its associated fee-for-use requirement. There is no additional cost for the tour. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 — Nature Bowl Coach Registration Opens. Nature Bowl coaching workshops will be held at various sites for the 34th annual Nature Bowl that is scheduled at various sites in the Sacramento region in 2019. The educational event is for third through sixth graders who form teams of up to nine students with an adult coach. Events are held in April and May. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/nature-bowl.
7-8 — California Department of Fish and Wildlife Volunteer Day, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Friant Interactive Nature Site, 17413 N. Friant Road, Friant (93626). Volunteers will help with trail maintenance, including pulling weeds, raking and pruning. Water, snacks and sunscreen will be provided. Volunteers are encouraged to wear work clothes, closed-toed shoes and a hat. Those under 18 must bring a signed parent permission slip. For more information, please contact Cheryl Moxley at (559) 696-8092 or email@example.com.
8 — Public Planting Day, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Hester Marsh, Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Volunteers can join Elkhorn Slough Reserve’s stewardship team as it places 20,000 salt marsh plants in the soil at a new restoration site. The Hester Marsh restoration project is restoring 60 acres of new salt marsh habitat adjacent to the Elkhorn Slough. The event is free, but registration is required. For more information and to register, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/public-planting-at-hester-marsh/.
12-13 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting, Dec. 12, 9 a.m., and Dec. 13, 8:30 a.m., QLN Conference Center, 1938 Avenida del Oro, Oceanside (92056). For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2018/index.aspx.
14 — Passing On the Tradition Youth Essay Contest Deadline. CDFW and the California Wildlife Officer Foundation are co-sponsoring the annual “Passing on the Tradition” essay contest for young hunters. The grand prize winner will receive a lifetime hunting license, valued at more than $600. This year’s contest invites entrants to share their thoughts about how hunting has positively influenced or affected their life. The contest is open to all junior hunting license holders, as well as youths under 18 who have earned a hunter education certificate. Entrants should submit an essay of 500 words or less. Entries should be submitted via email to Capt. Robert Pelzman at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. Applicants must provide their date of birth and a contact telephone number. For additional information, please contact Capt. Pelzman at (916) 653-9727.
15 — General Season for Band-tailed Pigeons in the Southern Hunt Zone Opens (extending through Dec. 23). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.
24 — Archery Only Pheasant Season Opens (extending through Jan. 20, 2019). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.
24 — Archery Only Pheasant Season Opens. Season extends through Jan. 20, 2019. For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.
30 — Black Bear Season Ends Statewide, or earlier if CDFW determines that 1,700 black bears have been reported taken. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/bear. Successful hunters should have their tag validated and a tooth pulled from the skull of their bear. All hunters are required to submit a report on their bear tag, whether they hunted for bear or not. Tags can be mailed to the address on the tag, or reported online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/customersearch/begin.
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958