Pheasant, Wild Turkey, Second Dove Seasons Set to Open Nov. 9

The holidays begin early for many California hunters with the Saturday, Nov. 9 openers for pheasant, wild turkey and the second dove season.

Ring-necked Pheasant

The pheasant opener on the second Saturday of November remains a strong tradition for many families. The flush of a wild, cackling, rooster pheasant is one of nature’s most thrilling moments.

The good news is that some of the best pheasant habitat in California is found on state wildlife areas and federal wildlife refuges open to public hunting.

Several CDFW Type A wildlife areas are especially popular with wild pheasant hunters, including Upper Butte Basin, Yolo Bypass, Los Banos, North Grasslands, Grizzly Island and Gray Lodge. These areas are all open to pheasant hunting on their normal Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday waterfowl shoot days during the pheasant season.

In addition, all three units of the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area – Little Dry Creek, Howard Slough and Llano Seco – along with Gray Lodge Wildlife Area will be open to a special pheasant hunt the first Monday of the pheasant season – Veterans Day, Nov. 11 – to provide additional hunting opportunities.

Type A wildlife areas in the San Joaquin Valley – Los Banos, Mendota and North Grasslands – will be open for pheasant hunting only on waterfowl hunt days during the pheasant season.

Several federal wildlife refuges are also popular destinations for pheasant hunters, including the Sutter, Colusa, Delevan and Sacramento national wildlife refuges. These refuges are open to pheasant hunting on their normal Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday waterfowl hunt days during pheasant season. Additionally, Colusa, Delevan and Sacramento national wildlife refuges will be open to a special pheasant hunt in their spaced waterfowl blind and assigned pond areas the first Monday of pheasant season.

The San Luis National Wildlife Refuge in Merced County will open a portion of its Freitas Unit to pheasant hunting on opening weekend only, Nov. 9 and 10. The spaced blind area within the Kesterson Unit will open for a special one-day wild pheasant hunt on Monday, Nov. 11. Pheasant hunting is permitted in the free roam area of the San Luis Unit on the regular Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday waterfowl shoot days during the duration of the wild pheasant season.

At the Kern National Wildlife Refuge, hunting is not permitted on Sundays. Pheasant hunting at this refuge is available on the free roam waterfowl hunt areas on Saturdays and Wednesdays beginning Nov. 9 and continuing through the duration of pheasant season.

The Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge and the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern California are home to some of the most robust wild pheasant populations in the state. They are open daily for pheasant hunting throughout the season.

The 2019 general pheasant season runs from Saturday, Nov. 9 through Sunday, Dec. 22. 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. Shooting hours are from 8 a.m. to sunset.

Wild Turkey (Fall Season)

The chance to provide a wild turkey for Thanksgiving dinner is strong motivation for many fall turkey hunters. The fall season runs from Saturday, Nov. 9 through Sunday, Dec. 8, and – unlike in the spring season – both males and females may be taken. The daily bag limit is one turkey of either sex with a season and possession limit of two birds.

For the first time, fall turkey hunting will be available to the public at several northern California national wildlife refuges.

Turkey hunters have several new opportunities in 2019 as the Sutter, Sacramento, Delevan and Colusa national wildlife refuges will open to fall turkey hunting for the first time. Turkey hunting will be permitted in the waterfowl free roam and pheasant hunting areas only at the refuges during their normal Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday waterfowl shoot days during the turkey season.

Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Second Dove Season

California’s second dove season runs from Saturday, Nov. 9 through Monday, Dec. 23. The second dove season offers cooler weather, fewer crowds and the chance for a mixed bag of species – quail and rabbit, for example – that often share the same habitat.

Limits remain the same as the early season: Mourning dove and white-winged dove have a daily bag limit of 15, up to 10 of which may be white-winged dove. The possession limit is triple the daily bag limit. There are no limits on spotted dove and ringed turtle dove. Hunting for Eurasian collared dove is legal year-round and there is no limit. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

In addition to public hunting opportunities available at state wildlife areas and federal wildlife refuges, CDFW offers special hunts at the Upland Game Wild Bird Hunts page and through the SHARE program, which provides public hunting access to private land or other landlocked properties. New hunters should visit CDFW’s Apprentice Hunts webpage for additional pheasant hunting opportunities.

Additional Requirements

Both a valid hunting license and upland game bird validation are needed to hunt pheasant, turkey and dove. An upland game bird validation is not required for junior license holders, but all hunters are required to have a Harvest Information Program (HIP) validation when hunting migratory game birds such as mourning dove and snipe. A wildlife area hunting pass is required for adults to hunt on a Type A state-operated wildlife area and national wildlife refuge. Please check with the individual property for specific details and regulations on each area.

Please note that nonlead shot is now required when taking any wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California. Hunters need to plan accordingly. For more information, please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition webpage.

 

US Navy veteran angler on the Trinity River

CDFW Offers Special Opportunities and Reduced-Fee Licenses for Disabled Veterans and Recovering Service Members

Service-related injuries need not keep veterans from enjoying wildlife and the great outdoors. America’s disabled and recovering veterans get a break on the price of sport fishing and hunting licenses and are provided some special opportunities in California.

Reduced-fee sport fishing and hunting licenses are available to both resident and nonresident disabled veterans. Any honorably discharged, disabled veteran with a 50 percent or greater service-connected disability who wants to hunt or fish in California is eligible. The 2019 Disabled Veteran Sport Fishing License and Disabled Veteran Hunting License cost only $7.47 when purchased at CDFW license counters, or $7.82 when purchased from an authorized license agent.

Hunters and anglers may apply for reduced-fee disabled veteran licenses by mail or in person at any CDFW license sales office, or submit the required documentation to the CDFW License and Revenue Branch to prequalify for disabled veteran licenses. After an applicant receives notification from CDFW that their customer record has been updated, they will be able to purchase low-cost disabled veteran sport fishing and hunting license anywhere licenses are sold.

Reduced-fee hunting and fishing licenses are available at the same prices for recovering service members, defined as a member of the National Guard, or a Reserve, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy and is in an outpatient status while recovering from a serious injury or illness related to the member’s military service.

Details on how to apply for these licenses can be found on CDFW’s website.

Special hunting blinds have been constructed to be accessible to individuals with mobility impairments at some state wildlife areas and national wildlife refuges. More information, including a list of areas with waterfowl hunting opportunities for mobility impaired hunters is available on the CDFW’s website.

CDFW will attempt to accommodate any qualified hunter with a disability, but they must have drawn a tag or reservation for that hunt. Hunters with a disability who are drawn for a hunt should contact the hunt coordinator directly so that CDFW staff can accommodate them for that hunt or find them another opportunity. If you have additional questions or requests regarding accessibility, please contact CDFW’s EEO Office at (916) 651-9315 or (916) 653-9089.

CDFW also works with military installations on wildlife management and provides tags for those installations to issue to military personnel for deer and tule elk hunting opportunities.

Reduced-fee sport fishing license applications for 2020 will be available on Nov. 15. California sport fishing licenses are valid Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 each year, and make excellent holiday gifts for veterans. Hunting licenses are valid July 1 through June 30. Additional validations tags, and cards are required for certain species and areas and must be purchased at the regular fee.

Fishing and hunting regulations and more information about licenses are available on the CDFW website.

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Media Contact:
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

2019 Youth Essay Contest Offers Chance to Earn Lifetime Hunting License

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the California Wildlife Officers Foundation are again co-sponsoring the annual “Passing on the Tradition” essay contest for young hunters.

The California Wildlife Officers Foundation will recognize one grand-prize winner with a lifetime California hunting license with a bird hunting privilege package valued at up to $1,250. Second and third place winners will also be selected and prize packages will be awarded.

This year’s contest challenges kids to answer the questions, “What can CDFW do to get more people involved in hunting? And what can you do, personally, to get more people involved in hunting?”

CDFW is actively expanding its efforts to recruit, retain and reactivate anglers and hunters in California. These efforts – known as the “R3 program” – are currently a high priority of the department, and the Hunter Education Program in particular. “It will be interesting to read about the R3 ideas these young hunters present in their essays,” said CDFW Hunter Education Program Administrator Capt. Robert Pelzman.

The essay contest is open to all junior hunting license holders, as well as youths under 18 who have earned a hunter education certificate. Essays should be no more than 500 words, double spaced.

Entries should be submitted via email to Capt. Pelzman at robert.pelzman@wildlife.ca.gov by 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13. Along with their essay, entrants must also provide their date of birth, place of residence and a contact telephone number and email address.

Essays will be reviewed and scored by CDFW wildlife officers and other CDFW representatives. The winners will be notified by telephone on or near Dec. 24.

AWARDS CEREMONY: The grand prize will be awarded during a special ceremony at the International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) show scheduled in Sacramento on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, at 11:30 a.m. Contest winners must be present and accompanied by a parent or guardian.

For information on becoming a Hunter Education Instructor to help “Pass on the Tradition” to others, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunter-education.

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Media Contacts:
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-6692

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

 

November 2019 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

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 catered to include requested information. The minimum group size is 18 people. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

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. An $11.88 non-refundable application fee 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 October 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, 12:30 p.m., 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). 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 associated fee-for-use requirement. There is no additional cost for the tour. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

1 — Last Day of Recreational Crab Trap Ban in Ocean Waters, Statewide. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine/calendar.

1 — First Day of No Depth Limit for Recreational Boat-Based Groundfish Fishing, California-Oregon Stateline to Point Arena. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine/calendar.

2 — First Day of Recreational Dungeness Crab Season, Statewide. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine/calendar.

2 — Scaup Season Opens in the Colorado River Zone (extends through Jan. 26). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

2 — General Deer Season Opens in Zone D12. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

3 — General Deer Season Closes in Zones D3–D7, D17, D19. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

4Nimbus Hatchery Fish Ladder Opens, 10:30 a.m., Nimbus Hatchery, 2001 Nimbus Road, Rancho Cordova (95670). The opening of the fish ladder signals the start of the spawning season for Chinook salmon on the American River.  Throughout the fall, the public can view the ladder and the spawning operations at the Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center. The hatchery is open daily, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on weekends, free of charge. For more information, please contact Laura Drath at (916) 358-2884 or laura.drath@wildlife.ca.gov or visit www.facebook.com/NimbusHatchery.

4 — CDFW Conservation Lecture Series, 1 to 3 p.m., “CNDDB Looks at 40: The Past, Present, and Future of the California Natural Diversity Database Program,” presented by Misty Nelson, CDFW. CNDDB Lead Scientist Misty Nelson will present an overview of the rich history of the California Natural Diversity Database program, highlighting milestones and accomplishments from the past 40 years. She will also examine some of the challenges associated with managing data for the most biodiverse state in the U.S. and will discuss upcoming changes and opportunities to keep the program relevant and regarded for decades to come. Attendance is free. To register or learn more, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/lectures.

5 — California Fish and Game Commission Marine Resources Committee Meeting, time to be determined, Natural Resources Building, 12th Floor Conference Room, Room 1206, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2019.

6Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE) Classroom Aquarium Education Program (CAEP) Teacher Training, 4 to 8 p.m., Humboldt County Office of Education ANNEX Boardroom, 901 Myrtle Ave., Eureka (95501). Any teacher who wants to participate in CAEP and/or is co-teaching with another and will be sharing the CAEP experience must attend this training. If you have participated before, but it has been more than three years, and/or you did not participate in the training held in 2017, you will need to attend this training. A light dinner will be served. For more information, please contact Beth Chaton at (707) 445-7179 or at bchaton@HCOE.org. Register at https://my.hcoe.net/event/classroom-aquarium-education-program

6 — Canada Goose Season Opens in the North Coast Special Management Area (extends through Jan. 31). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

7 — Scaup Season Opens in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, Southern California and Balance of State Zones (extends through Jan. 31). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

7 — White Goose Season Opens in the Imperial County Special Management Area (extends through Jan. 31). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

8 — Brant Season Opens in the Northern Brant Special Management Area (extends through Dec. 14). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

9 — Elkhorn Slough Reserve Aquatic Wild workshop, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). A one-day workshop for K-6th grade teachers which dives into the Aquatic Wild curriculum through hands-on activities. Aquatic Wild Curriculum supports the State Science Standards, emphasizes outdoor learning and connects to other academic disciplines. To register, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/new-aquatic-wild-teacher-workshop.

9 — Stanislaus River Salmon Festival, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Knights Ferry Recreation Area, 17968 Covered Bridge Rd., Knights Ferry (95361). Free, family-friendly festival with hands on activities for kids. Come out and see the Stanislaus River Salmon and meet people working to make the river a better place for fish. For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/srsfest or call (209) 403-1046.

9 — Brant Season Opens in the Balance of State Brant Special Management Area (extends through Dec. 15). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

9 — Pheasant, Fall Wild Turkey and Late Season Dove OpenersGeneral Pheasant Season Opens Statewide and Extends through Dec. 22; Fall Wild Turkey Season Opens Statewide and Extends Through Dec. 8; and Late Season Dove Hunting Opens Statewide and Extends Through Dec. 23.  For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

10 — General Deer Season Closes in Zones D11, D13–D15, X9c. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

12Free Online Cannabis Permitting Workshop, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CDFW, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the State Water Resources Control Board are hosting a free online commercial cannabis cultivation permitting workshop. The workshop is ideal for new and existing commercial cannabis cultivation. The online workshop is limited to 200 participants, so early registration is recommended. For registration details, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/cannabis/events.

15 — First Day of Commercial Dungeness Crab Season, South of Sonoma-Mendocino County Line (scheduled). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine/calendar.

15 — 2020 Sport Fishing Licenses Available. The 2020 sport fishing licenses become available at various sites. For more information or to purchase a license online, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing.

19 — Conservation and Mitigation Banking Program Stakeholder Meeting for Southern California, 1 to 4 p.m., USFWS Conference Room, 2177 Salk Ave., Carlsbad (92008). A public meeting providing an opportunity for attendees to discuss their experience using the current Bank Enabling Instrument and Conservation Easement templates, and to discuss other bank topics in a forum with the agencies’ banking staff and decision makers. For more information contact mitbank@wildlife.ca.gov, or visit www.spd.usace.army.mil/missions/regulatory/public-notices-and-references/article/1955249/public-meetings-to-discuss-mitigation-banking-templates.

21 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Meeting, 10 a.m., Natural Resources Building, First Floor Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). The public is welcome. For more information, please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

24 — General Deer Season Closes in Zones D12, D16. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

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Media Contact:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8907

CDFW Offering Waterfowl Hunts at East Bay Ecological Reserve

One hundred hunters can soon participate in no-fee waterfowl hunts amid restored salt ponds at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve (ELER) in Hayward. Access to ELER will be open to 100 hunters on a first-come, first-served basis on the following dates:

2019 hunts:

  • Saturday, Nov. 23: Check-in at 5 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 3: Check-in at 5 a.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 7:Check-in at 5 a.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 12: Check-in at 5 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 17: Check-in at 5 a.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 21: Check-in at 5 a.m.

2020 hunts:

  • Saturday, Jan. 4: Check-in at 5:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 9: Check-in at 5:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Jan. 18: Check-in at 5:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 23: Check-in at 5:30 a.m.

“Eden Landing waterfowl hunts are unique in that there are no fees charged and hunting is offered on some Tuesdays and Thursdays when many public waterfowl hunting areas are closed,” said ELER Manager John Krause. ”These hunts produced a three-bird average last season, with northern shoveler and American wigeon being the most commonly taken.”

Improvements have been made to ELER including a boat launch on Mount Eden Creek allowing access to tidal areas. Boaters are advised to consult local tide charts before launching as mud flats can subject vessels to hidden underwater hazards during low tides.

There is a 25-shell limit in the field and nonlead ammunition is required when taking wildlife anywhere in California. A small boat, canoe or other floatation device is highly recommended to access ponds and blinds. A hunting dog is recommended for retrieving birds. Hunters are responsible for avoiding closed areas.

To access ELER from Interstate 880: Exit at Alvarado Boulevard; continue west and turn right on Union City Boulevard; left on Bettencourt Road (look for Union Sanitary District sign); left on Whipple Road, right on Horner Street; right on Veasy Street. Enter at the yellow gate and proceed to the check station.

Adult hunters must have a valid California Hunting License, federal duck stamp, state duck stamp and Harvest Information Program validations. Junior hunters must have a junior license and, if 16 or older, also possess a federal duck stamp. Junior hunters must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older (hunter or non-hunter).

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. More information is available at www.southbayrestoration.org.

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Media Contacts:

Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

John Krause, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (415) 454-8050