Two deer fawns

Disease Outbreak Strikes California Deer Herds

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has confirmed outbreaks of adenovirus hemorrhagic disease in deer in several northern California counties, and is asking California residents to help curb the spread by not feeding wild animals, and reporting potential cases to the department.

“Providing attractants for deer – food, salt licks or even water – is against the law for good reason,” said Dr. Brandon Munk, senior wildlife veterinarian with CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory. “Because these artificial attractants can congregate animals and promote the spread of disease, it’s particularly imperative to leave wildlife alone during an outbreak. There is no cure or vaccine for this disease, so our best management strategies right now are to track it carefully, and to take preventative measures to limit the spread.”

Beginning in May, CDFW began receiving increased reports of mortality in deer, both free-ranging and at fawn rehabilitation facilities. With the assistance of wildlife rehabilitation facilities and the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory, CDFW confirmed cervid adenovirus 1 (CdAdV-1) as the cause of hemorrhagic disease outbreaks in Napa, Santa Clara, Sonoma, Tehama and Yolo counties.

The disease is typically fatal to deer and can be spread by animals in close contact with each other. The virus is not known to affect people, pets or domestic livestock.

CdAdV-1 was the cause of a 1993-1994 outbreak of hemorrhagic disease in black tailed deer and mule deer that spanned at least 18 California counties. Since then, CdAdV-1 has been identified as the cause of sporadic, often widespread, outbreaks of hemorrhagic disease in California and other western states. Deer fawns are at greatest risk, with high rates of mortality following infection. Yearlings and adult deer are more resistant but mortalities in these age groups occur as well. Outbreaks can be widespread and have significant impact on affected deer populations.

Affected deer are often found dead without any obvious symptoms. They may be found near water. Sick animals may have excessive salivation (drooling or foaming at the mouth), diarrhea, regurgitation or seizures.

In addition to removing food and other attractants, Californians can help wildlife veterinarians track and study the disease by reporting sightings of sick or dead deer. Anyone who observes a deer exhibiting symptoms, or encountering a deer that has died from unknown causes, can submit the information to CDFW through the department’s online mortality reporting system.


Media Contacts:
Dr. Brandon Munk, CDFW Wildlife Investigations Laboratory, (916) 261-2124

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

August 2020 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

All calendar items are subject to change as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Various Days — Yolo Basin Virtual Bat Fly Out Viewings, 8 p.m. Join the Yolo Basin Foundation on Aug. 5, 7, 11 and 13 on Facebook Live to watch 250,000+ bats as they leave their daytime roost under the Yolo Causeway at sunset to search for food. Registration is not required for these free events. To join, please visit

1 — Archery-Only and Falconry-Only Tree Squirrel Season Opens (extending through Sept. 11). For archery-only and falconry-only tree squirrel seasons, limits and zone maps, please visit

1 — Surfperch Season Opens in San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. For current ocean recreational fishing regulations, please visit

3 — Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program Public Hearing and Close of Public Comment Period. CDFW is proposing amendments in response to comments on the regulations originally released for public comment on May 15. CDFW will hold a public hearing on the proposed amendments at 10 a.m. and the public comment period will close at 11:59 p.m. Comments should address the proposed amendments, not elements of the original regulation package. Rulemaking documents and information on submitting public comments can be found at Public hearing details will be posted at

5 & 11 — Virtual Bat Chats, 6 p.m. The Yolo Basin Foundation is holding two virtual Bat Chats via Zoom. These 45-minute presentations will share unique insights about bats found in the area and provide an opportunity for participants to ask questions about these amazing and essential animals. Participants will also get a close-up, live view of three bat species native to California. Registration is $15 and each event is limited to 20 registered devices. To view the schedule and register online, please visit

8 — General Deer Hunting Season Opens. California’s 2020 general deer season will open in Zone A on Saturday, Aug. 8, and in Zone B-4 on Saturday, Aug. 22. The opener for zones B1-B3, B5, B6, C1-C4, D6 and D7 is Saturday, Sept. 19. More information about general deer season opener dates, end dates and additional hunts is available at Please remember to report your deer tags! All deer tags you purchase, whether you hunt or not, must be reported. Successful hunters must report their tags within 30 days of their successful hunt or by Jan. 31, 2021, whichever is first. Hunters who are unsuccessful or who do not hunt are required to report by Jan. 31, 2021. Hunters are reminded that as of July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition is required when taking any wildlife for any purpose in California.

8 — First General Season for Black Bears Opens in Deer Hunting Zone A. General black bear season will open concurrently with the general deer hunting season in deer zones A, B, C, D, X8, X9A, X9B, X10 and X12 and extend through Dec. 27. Please note these deer zones have varying opening season dates. 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 or call toll-free (888) 277-6398. Please visit for a description of the current mammal hunting regulations.

9  Last Day of Recreational Ocean Salmon Season from the Oregon/California State Line to Horse Mountain. Recreational ocean salmon fishing closes in the area between the Oregon/California state line and Horse Mountain after Aug. 9. Recreational ocean salmon fishing remains open to the south, between Horse Mountain and the U.S./Mexico border. For more information, please visit the ocean salmon webpage at or call either the CDFW Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (800) 662-9825.

11 — CDFW-OSPR California Oil Spill Study and Evaluation Program (COSSEP) Monthly Seminar Series, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The seminar this month is entitled “Evaluation of Subchronic and Developmental Toxicity of the Dispersant Corexit 9500.” CDFW-OSPR scientist, Ellen Faurot-Daniels will present research regarding injury assessment of shorelines. Online attendance is free. Attendees can join via Microsoft Teams Meeting or by phone at (916) 535-0984, conference ID 859 512 379#. For more information or to receive a calendar reminder, please email Bryand Duke at

15 — Spiny Lobster Report Cards Go on Sale. Sport lobster fishermen and fisherwomen can purchase a Spiny Lobster Report Card for the 2020-2021 lobster season on CDFW’s Online License Sales site at or, if open for business, at CDFW license counters, sporting goods stores and tackle shops. Please note that CDFW license counters are currently closed indefinitely due to COVID-19 concerns. Before heading to a CDFW facility, please contact the regional headquarters office to determine if that facility has reopened.   

15 — Falconry-Only Pheasant, Quail, Chukar, Ptarmigan and Sooty (Blue)/Ruffed Grouse Seasons Open (extending through Feb. 28, 2021). For zone maps and other upland game season information, please visit

15 — Archery-Only Quail, Chukar and Sooty (Blue)/Ruffed Grouse Seasons Open (extending through Sept. 4). For zone maps and other upland game season information, please visit

15 — Archery Season for Black Bears Opens. Bear may be taken with bow and arrow beginning Aug. 15 in those areas defined in 365(a) as the Northern California, Central California, Southern Sierra, Southern California and Southeastern Sierra areas and shall close on 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 or call toll-free (888) 277-6398. Please visit for a description of the current mammal hunting regulations and American black bear hunt zone boundary descriptions. The bag and possession limit for either archery or general season is one adult bear per hunting license year. Cubs and females accompanied by cubs may not be taken.

18 — California Fish and Game Commission Tribal Committee Meeting. The meeting is to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit

19-20 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting. The meeting is to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit

26 California Wildlife Conservation Board Meeting, 10 a.m., via Microsoft Teams Meeting or teleconference. Public comment will be accepted per the agenda. For more information, please visit


Media Contact:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 817-0434

CDFW Accepting Applications for Deer and Pig Hunting in Western Merced County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications for a limited number of deer and pig hunting permits for opening weekend of the A Zone general season, Aug. 8–9, 2020. This is not a special hunt, but rather a drawing to control the number of hunters on popular public land during opening weekend.

Locations for this hunt include Upper and Lower Cottonwood Creek and the San Luis Reservoir wildlife areas. Reservations are required to access the wildlife areas during opening weekend and only 30 permits will be issued for each day, Saturday, Aug. 8 and Sunday, Aug. 9. Hunters can download the application online at Hunters can also request an access permit application by calling CDFW’s Los Banos office at (209) 826-0463 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Applications may be submitted via email to or mailed to CDFW’s Los Banos office at 18110 W. Henry Miller Avenue, Los Banos, CA 93635.

Only official applications will be accepted and must be received before 4 p.m. on July 3. Reservations will be selected by a computerized drawing at 11 a.m. on July 6. The drawing will be open to the public. Successful applicants will be notified by mail within five working days of the drawing. Results will not be given over the phone.

Up to three people may apply for the hunt as one party by including all required information on the 2020 Zone A application form. Junior license holders who are 12 years of age or older may also apply if accompanied by an adult hunter.

Applicants may apply for a one-day hunt on one area only. An individual’s name may appear in the drawing only once and additional or duplicate applications will be disqualified from the drawing.

All hunters are required to use non-lead ammunition when hunting with a firearm anywhere in California.


Media Contacts:
Ryan Jones, CDFW Los Banos Wildlife Area, (209) 826-0463
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

CDFW Accepting Applications for Special Draw Deer Hunt on the Knoxville Wildlife Area in Napa County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications for a limited, lottery draw deer hunt scheduled for 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 was created to limit the number of hunters on the wildlife area during opening week and to improve the hunting experience.

“This will be the second year of our special draw for the opening week of deer season. We essentially close the wildlife area to other uses and allow drawn hunters to have the whole area to themselves,” said Stacy Martinelli, wildlife biologist for Napa and Sonoma counties.

Only 120 hunt permits will be issued for the special lottery draw. The hunt permit is valid for the single hunt period, August 8-14, 2020. 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

Applications are being accepted until June 20, 2020.

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

Hunters must possess a valid 2020-21 California hunting license prior to applying for the lottery draw.

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 Contact:
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 825-7120

2020-21 Hunting Licenses and Big Game Drawing Applications Now Available

California hunters can now purchase hunting licenses for the 2020-21 season, as well as apply for the Big Game Drawing online. Californians have many options to harvest wild protein, and at this time, the current COVID-19 pandemic is not expected to lead to the closure or delay of any hunting seasons. 2020 California Big Game Hunting Digest cover

The deadline to apply for the Big Game Drawing is June 2, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. The 2020 California Big Game Hunting Digest, which includes information about hunts, tag quotas, season dates and the Big Game Drawing, can be downloaded online at Printed copies will be mailed to all those who applied to last year’s Big Game Drawing. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) website is the most reliable source for the Big Game Digest.

New this year, per Fish and Game Code, section 3031, a resident or nonresident must be under 16 years of age on July 1, 2020 in order to be eligible for a 2020-21 Junior Hunting License. The previous law, which allowed youth up to 18 years old to purchase a Junior Hunting License, has sunset.

“Now more than ever, we understand the public’s need to enjoy the benefits of nature. Spending time in the outdoors is beneficial to our overall health and wellness, but it’s everyone’s responsibility to practice physical distancing,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “This means avoiding crowded trails, parking lots and campgrounds. If you find that your favorite hunting spot is crowded, do not risk your health and the health of others. Please remember all seasons, limits, license, private property restrictions, and other laws and regulations still apply. Be smart and stay safe.”

CDFW also wants to remind hunters of the change that went into effect on July 1, 2019 requiring nonlead ammunition when taking any wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California. Nonlead ammunition is now required for all hunting in California.

Due to changes in the penal code regarding the purchase or transfer of ammunition, CDFW recommends purchasing ammunition well in advance of hunting and practicing with it in order to ensure firearms are sighted-in appropriately before heading into the field.


Media Contact:
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714