Category Archives: Enforcement

CDFW to Sell Hunting and Fishing Licenses, Answer Questions and More at Fred Hall Shows

Top leaders from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will participate in a discussion panel followed by a question and answer session at the Fred Hall Show underway at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach. The 71st annual show opened today and continues through Sunday.

CDFW will also have a strong presence at two additional Fred Hall Shows scheduled this month — March 10-12 at the Kern County Fairgrounds in Bakersfield and March 23-26 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego.

At the Long Beach show, CDFW’s Director Charlton H. Bonham, Deputy Director of Wildlife and Fisheries Stafford Lehr, Deputy Director of Law Enforcement Chief David Bess, Marine Region Manager Craig Shuman, Chief of Wildlife Timothy (T.O.) Smith and Chief of Fisheries Kevin Shaffer will provide an overview of current natural resource and conservation topics and take questions from the public on a variety of issues. The panel discussion is scheduled for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the Mammoth Lakes Seminar Theater. Pete Gray, host of “Let’s Talk Hook Up,” will be the moderator.

CDFW will staff booths and answer questions from the public at all three shows. Licenses, tags and report cards will be available for purchase. The new 2017 CDFW Warden Stamp ($5) will also be available. Stamp sales help fund the CDFW’s K-9 program and support purchases of enforcement equipment.

Attendees can learn how to become a wildlife officer by speaking directly with CDFW officers, including statewide recruiting officer Lt. Chris Stoots, at the law enforcement trailer. The trailer features fish and wildlife mounts and a free laser shot game. Attendees can also learn about historic fish-stocking procedures as a restored 1925 Dodge truck used by CDFW for transporting hatchery fish will be on display, along with a modern fish-transporting truck.

Also featured will be information on CDFW’s Fishing in the City and hatchery programs, and a youth fishing pond stocked with rainbow trout provided by the CDFW Mojave River Hatchery. Those who fish for free at the pond will receive a fishing passport book and official fishing passport stamps. CDFW Fishing in the City staff will teach casting skills to young anglers at a stocked bass tank, and bass-fishing professionals will provide tips and demonstrate their fishing skills.

Admission is $17 for adults, $15 for seniors 62 years and older, or $12 for military with ID (available only at the ticket window). Children under age 15 are free.

For more information on all three shows, please visit

Media Contacts:
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 238-2044
Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982

CDFW Officers Recognized for Outstanding Acts and Achievements

Several wildlife officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division were recently recognized for exceptional performances. Awards were presented in front of their peers during a CDFW luncheon held in January 2017, in conjunction with CDFW’s annual Advanced Officer Training. Many of the awards are issued directly by CDFW, while others are issued through non-government organizations that support the mission and efforts of CDFW and its officers. At the core of each award are the exemplary efforts and commitment these officers have demonstrated, above and beyond the normal course of their duties.

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The honored officers represent Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Inyo, Kings, Los Angeles, Merced, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Shasta and Siskiyou counties.

Awards included the following:

CDFW Exemplary Service Award: Medal of Valor – Warden Michael Dilts (Patrol Vessel Coho, Los Angeles County)

In July 2016, Warden Dilts was patrolling in the Seal Beach area near the San Gabriel River, when he was flagged down by two pedestrians who told him that a vehicle was in the river and the female driver still inside. In the front seat of the partially submerged van, Warden Dilts found a woman who was making no attempt to escape. He immediately radioed for additional officer assistance, removed and secured his heavy duty belt and entered the water. Warden Dilts swam to the sinking van, extricated the driver and pulled her back to shore. Thanks to the quick actions and dedication of Warden Dilts, the driver was rescued and the fully submerged van was recovered from the river.

CDFW Regional Wildlife Officer(s) of the Year

The following officers were selected and awarded recognition for exceptional performances within the six CDFW geographical enforcement districts throughout California, with one being elevated to the status of Statewide Wildlife Officer of the Year:  Headquarters, Warden Lyle Chan (Merced); Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Warden Mike Conely (Fresno); Southern Enforcement District, Warden Michele Budish (Los Angeles); Central Enforcement District, Warden Art Golden (Kings); Northern Enforcement District, Warden Jerry Karnow, Jr. (Nevada County and recently retired);  North Coast Enforcement District and Statewide Wildlife Officer of the Year, who was acknowledged in a separate news release, Warden Nicole Kozicki (Contra Costa County).

CDFW Exemplary Service Award: Lifesaving – Warden Chad Edwards (Siskiyou)

In September 2014, an arsonist ignited a brush fire on the outskirts of the town of Weed. The fire spread into town where it burned more than 150 homes and numerous commercial structures in a matter of hours. Warden Edwards heard the radio traffic regarding the fire and immediately responded to the area. He evacuated homes by transporting people in his patrol truck and flagged down other evacuees with empty seats in their cars to shuttle people out. Working through the chaos of the actively burning areas and aerial retardant dump, Warden Edwards made trip after trip into the burning neighborhoods to rescue stranded families, senior citizens and pets. Warden Edwards acted with bravery above and beyond the call of duty. Amazingly, no lives were lost in this fire, due in part to the actions of Warden Edwards.

CDFW Exemplary Service Award: Lifesaving – Warden Aaron Galwey (Shasta)

In July 2016, Warden Galwey was off-duty, fishing from a boat on the Sacramento River with friends, when he saw a woman struggling in the current and calling for help. The woman was holding onto a branch while trying to keep her head above water, and there was an empty raft mangled in the bushes nearby. As he motored towards the woman and the raft, there was an additional capsized vessel with two men clinging to it who had just attempted a rescue, and another man floating upstream. Warden Galwey maneuvered his vessel alongside the panicked woman and pulled her into the boat, while the man upstream made it to the river’s edge and pulled himself from the water. Warden Galwey attached a line to the capsized boat, pulled the two men and their vessel to safety, then went back to pick up the man from the river’s edge and bring him back to his female companion. All four subjects escaped serious injury, thanks to the decisive and rapid actions of Warden Galwey.

Shikar-Safari Club International (SSCI) Wildlife Officer of the Year – Lt. Bill Dailey (Inyo)

Lt. Dailey exhibits the inherent qualities of a leader by modeling professionalism, developing innovative programs, contributing fresh ideas, maintaining a positive attitude, and demonstrating and encouraging commitment. In 2016, Lt. Dailey worked with his squad to develop innovative, proactive public outreach strategies to better connect with the community they serve, increase his squad’s productivity combatting poaching in their districts and to introduce CDFW’s Hunter Education Program into local public schools.

National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Wildlife Officer of the Year and CDFW Trainer of the Year Award – Warden Adam Kraft (Placer)

Warden Kraft is energetic, enthusiastic and passionate about apprehending poachers. He is known for working extended hours, drafting complex operations and backpacking miles into remote areas to catch violators. In 2016, Warden Kraft led numerous operations resulting in arrests and citations for take out of season, shooting from  vehicles, spotlighting, having a loaded long gun in a vehicle, no license or tag, unlawful possession of wildlife, overlimits of species and delaying an officer/evading arrest. Warden Kraft is dedicated to the Hunter Education Program and regularly participates in training courses. He is a seasoned Field Training Officer, an active instructor at the CDFW law enforcement academy, a firearms and range master and a defensive tactics instructor. He is also an avid outdoorsman and promoter of conservation and the CDFW mission.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), Wildlife Officer of the Year – Warden Brian Gallaher (Modoc)

Warden Gallaher takes a very active role in his community of Alturas. He is skilled at both general public outreach and relationship building, as well as promoting Hunter Education courses. He developed and teaches an archery-focused course for adults and children, which provides a positive learning opportunity and promotes respect for and enjoyment of the outdoors. Warden Gallaher’s notable contribution in 2016 was his successful completion of a significant elk poaching case. Working off of a CalTIP report involving a suspect who allegedly took two bull elk under one legal tag, Warden Gallaher began an investigation which led to a search warrant. Under the warrant, officers discovered electronic and physical evidence including photos, meat and antlers. Warden Gallaher analyzed and compared the evidence to build a strong case. The suspect pled guilty to six poaching charges and was ultimately placed on probation for three years, paid a fine of $4,800, had his hunting license suspended for one year and his gear and elk forfeited.

Media Contact:
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-9982

CDFW Increases Its Booths and Educational Events at Annual Sportsmen’s Show in Sacramento

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has returned with even greater presence to the International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) at Cal Expo in Sacramento, which began yesterday and runs through Sunday, Jan. 22. This is the largest hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation show of its kind in northern California and marks the 30th year of the event in Sacramento.

CDFW has increased its presence at the ISE show in Sacramento, as its fisheries and wildlife branches now have their own booths adjacent to the main CDFW booth located in the Pavilion Building (space 3700). There will also be a booth providing information on invasive species.

The main CDFW booth is selling all licenses, tags, report cards and warden stamps. This provides an enhanced opportunity for department staff to respond to angling and hunting constituents by answering their questions, and discussing programs and available fishing and hunting opportunities throughout the state. At its main booth, CDFW is selling its current warden stamp, with proceeds from the $5 stamp supporting wildlife officers and K-9 teams and helping fund the purchase of law enforcement equipment.

For the fourth year, CDFW’s leaders will hold a panel discussion about various topics of interest to California hunters and anglers. The open-forum panel is scheduled in the California Sportsmen’s Theater in the Pavilion Building on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 1 p.m.  Audience members are encouraged to ask questions of the panel.

Additional CDFW booths and highlights will include:

  • CDFW’s First Trout-Planting Truck — This 1925 Dodge pickup was the first truck used for planting trout. The fish back then were transported in big milk cans! It has been refurbished and will be on display near the Youth Fair Expo Center. The vintage truck still runs and looks as if it just rolled off the showroom floor.
  • Wildlife Officer and Recruitment Trailer with Laser Shot. CDFW’s Law Enforcement trailer will be on display outside the Pavilion Building, featuring a taxidermy display and a free, laser-shot hunting simulator game. Wildlife officers, including statewide recruiting Lieutenant Specialist Chris Stoots, will answer questions about employment opportunities. Large-equipment assets used to study, manage and protect California’s wildlife and fisheries, including boats, traps and more, will also be on display.
  • 2017 Hunting Heritage Youth Essay Contest Winner Honored — Tyler Benedetti, a 17-year-old youth hunter from Morgan Hill, recently earned the top prize, a lifetime hunting license donated by the Wildlife Officer Foundation, for winning the annual “Passing on the Tradition” essay contest. The grand prize will be awarded to Tyler during a ceremony Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Cal Expo’s Adventure Theater.
  • A Youth Fair in the Expo Center will feature information on the California Fishing Passport Program, Fishing in the City Program, Hunter Education, Bear Aware Program, the Nimbus Fish Hatchery Interpretive Services Program and feature a Youth Fishing Pond, with trout provided by CDFW.
  • Outdoor California — Free copies of CDFW’s award-winning magazine will be available (as supplies last) at the main booth. Yearly subscriptions may also be purchased for $15.
  • The Cal Expo State Fairgrounds are located at 1600 Exposition Blvd. in Sacramento.  ISE show hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $17 for adults and youths under age 16 are free. There is a $10 charge to park on the Cal Expo grounds.

For additional information, schedules and to purchase tickets, please visit the ISE webpage at

CDFW Seeks Applicants for Natural Resource Volunteer Program in the Sacramento Area

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is currently seeking applicants for its Natural Resource Volunteer Program (NRVP) in the Sacramento Area.
Motivated individuals with an ability and willingness to convey conservation principles to the public are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be confident and capable of speaking with the public one-on-one and in group settings. They must also be able to work independently and as a team member to complete tasks. Assignments will be in field, office and classroom environments.
“Our volunteers provide invaluable support to numerous CDFW staff, including biologists, wildlife officers and administrative employees,” said CDFW’s NRVP Coordinator Lt. Liz Gregory. “These are non-sworn, volunteer positons, without law enforcement authority, but their contributions to our daily workload are meaningful and help keep our operations running smoothly.”
NRVP positions are unpaid and require a service commitment of 16 hours per month. Duties may include responding to human/wildlife interaction calls, representing CDFW at community outreach events, working on CDFW lands, disseminating useful information to the public, instructing at NRVP academies and other assignments to assist staff as needed.
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and possess a California driver license (a California Department of Motor Vehicle driver’s report is required). The selection process includes an initial screening, application review, oral interview and a background check including a Live Scan fingerprint clearance.
Successful applicants will attend the NRVP training academy and receive 80 hours of conservation training. The initial phase of the academy is scheduled from March 13-24, 2017. The training process will continue with one class day per month from April through September. Volunteers will work with a trained mentor to implement their newly acquired skills during a six-month probationary period.
Applications must be postmarked no later than Feb. 3, 2017.
For additional information and to download an application, please visit
Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Lt. Gregory at (916) 358-2939.
Media Contact:
Lt. Liz Gregory, CDFW Law Enforcement (916) 358-2939

2016 Hunting Heritage Youth Essay Contest Winner to be Honored at ISE

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Wildlife Officer Foundation have announced the winner of the annual “Passing on the Tradition” Hunting Heritage essay contest. Tyler Benedetti, a 17-year-old youth hunter from Morgan Hill, was awarded the top prize, a lifetime hunting license donated by the Wildlife Officer Foundation. Tyler won second place in the 2015 essay contest.

Junior hunting license holders or youths under 16 who earned a hunter education certificate in 2016 were eligible to participate in the contest. Entrants were asked to describe their favorite hunting memory in 500 words or less.

Tyler’s winning essay described his introduction to turkey hunting, first tagging along with his father at age five, and his eventual transition to becoming a hunter himself. In recent years, he wrote, his father would bring a camera, rather than a gun, when they ventured into the field together.

“In hindsight, he was always toting a camera, decoys, blinds and pockets of calls. Every trip he planned was for the kids,” Tyler wrote. “I’ll always be grateful for the unselfish giving of his time, foregoing his own ability to hunt, so that I could develop skills and memories that will last me a lifetime.”

The essays were reviewed and scored by CDFW wildlife officers and other CDFW representatives.

“Tyler’s essay stood out because it tells the story of not only his own development as a hunter, but his father’s as well,” said CDFW Lt. John Nores. “The simple act of trading his own gun for a camera says so much about what’s most important to him. That’s what hunting heritage is all about — passing on the tradition and the love of the sport to the next generation.”

Eleven-year-old twins Dan Elliott and David Elliott of Rancho Cordova tied for second place this year. The third place winner is 14-year-old Blake Iverson of King City. All will receive plaques and other prizes donated by the Wildlife Officers Foundation.

AWARD CEREMONY: The grand prize will be awarded to Tyler during a special ceremony at the International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) show in Sacramento on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 1:30 p.m. in Cal Expo’s Adventure Theater.

For more information on becoming a hunter education instructor to help “Pass on the Tradition,” please visit

Media Contacts:
Lt. John Nores, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (408) 591-5174
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988