Category Archives: Hunting

CDFW Accepting Applications for Pig and Deer 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 hunt access permits on opening weekend, Aug.13-14, 2016 in Zone A for the general season.

The locations for this hunt include Upper and Lower Cottonwood Creek and the San Luis Reservoir wildlife areas.

Interested hunters may apply for an access permit by calling (209) 826-0463 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or visiting CDFW online at For more information on the San Luis Reservoir Wildlife Area, please visit

Applications may be submitted via email to  or mailed to CDFW’s Los Banos Wildlife Area office at 18110 W. Henry Miller Ave., Los Banos, CA 93635.

Applications must be received before 4:30 p.m. on July 5. The drawing, which is open to the public, will be held July 6 at 11 a.m. at the Los Banos office. Successful applicants will be notified by mail within five working days after the lottery. Applicants may not apply for both days or for multiple areas.

Reservations are required for access to the wildlife areas and only 30 permits will be issued for each day. Reservations will be selected by a computerized drawing. Applicants are allowed to apply for a one-day hunt on one area only and successful candidates will receive special permits in the mail stating what area and day they may hunt.

Junior license holders must apply with an adult hunter. Up to three persons may apply as one party by including the required information on the 2016 Zone A application form. Only official applications will be accepted.  An individual’s name may appear only once in the drawing and multiple applications will be rejected.

Media Contacts:
Roger Wilbur, CDFW Los Banos Wildlife Area, (209) 826-0463
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958


Big Game Drawing Deadline Approaches

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications for the 2016 Big Game Drawing. Applications for elk, antelope, bighorn sheep, premium deer tags and fundraising drawing tags may be submitted anywhere California fishing or hunting licenses are sold. Applications must be submitted before midnight on June 2, 2016.

The following resources are available to assist hunters in applying for the big game drawing:

  • The 2016 California Big Game Hunting Digest includes proposed seasons, application instructions and drawing statistics. The digest is available online at
  • Big Game Tag Quotas can be found on the species webpages located at
  • Online Licenses Sales and Service,, enables hunters to purchase licenses, apply for the big game drawing, review existing applications and preference points or find a local license agent.
  • Telephone License Sales transactions, including purchasing all licenses and submitting drawing applications, can be conducted by calling (800) 565-1458.

Junior Hunters
Any hunter who is under 18 years of age on July 1 of the license year qualifies for a junior hunting license. Junior hunters who are 12 years of age or older on July 1 may apply for apprentice deer, elk and antelope hunts. Hunters must be at least 16 years of age on July 1 to apply for bighorn sheep tags.

Fundraising Random Drawing Opportunities
Any person who will be 12 years of age or older on July 1 may apply for fundraising random drawing tags, except that applicants for bighorn sheep tags must be 16 years of age on July 1. Applicants may apply as many times as they wish. The application fee is $5.97 per entry and deadline to apply is midnight on June 2, 2016. Applicants do not need a valid hunting license to apply, but a hunting license must be purchased prior to issuing the tag. Fundraising tags will be issued at no additional cost. For 2016, four fundraising random drawing tags will be available:

  • Open Zone Deer Tag allows the hunter to hunt during the authorized season dates of any hunt, using the specific method and meeting any special conditions of the tag for that hunt.
  • Grizzly Island Bull Elk Tag is valid in the Grizzly Island hunt zone, with any legal method of take. The hunt dates are from Aug. 6, 2016 to Sept. 4, 2016.
  • Northeastern California Pronghorn Antelope Tag allows the hunter to hunt in any of the Northeastern antelope zones (Mount Dome, Clear Lake, Likely Tables, Lassen, Big Valley and Surprise Valley) with any legal method. The hunt dates are from July 30, 2016 to Sept. 18, 2016.
  • Old Dad and Kelso Peak Bighorn Sheep Tag is valid only in the Old Dad and Kelso Peak hunt zone. If drawn, the hunter must attend a mandatory orientation to receive the tag. The hunt dates are from Nov. 5, 2016 to Feb. 5, 2017.

New for 2016 – Harvest Reporting Now Mandatory for Deer Hunters
Any person who is issued a deer tag must submit a harvest report for that tag, even if they did not hunt, or if they did not harvest a deer. Deer hunters who fail to submit a harvest report for any 2016 deer tag by January 31, 2017, will be assessed a $21.60 non-reporting fee when purchasing a deer tag drawing application or deer tag in the 2017 license year.

Hunters have two methods to submit their harvest reports.

  • Submit a report for each deer tag you are issued at When you have successfully submitted your report online, you will receive a confirmation number. You must write the confirmation number on the harvest report card and retain the harvest report card until March 1, 2017. Tags reported online must be surrendered to the CDFW upon demand.
  • By mail. Any person who does not report a deer tag online must return the report card portion of each deer tag by Jan. 31, 2017 to CDFW – Wildlife Branch, PO Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94299-0002.

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Media Contacts:
Kim Shepherd, CDFW License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-6886
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

SHARE Wild Pig Hunts Offered in Southern California

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications for upcoming wild pig hunts. The hunts will be held on Tejon Ranch and Baeke Ranch in Southern California. The hunts are offered through CDFW’s Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program.

Tejon Ranch, in Kern County is offering semi-guided wild pig hunts on June 27-29 and October 24-26. Located 60 miles north of Los Angeles and 30 miles south of Bakersfield, hunters will have access to approximately 100,000 acres of the ranch for these hunts. Five SHARE Access Permits (good for two hunters each) will be randomly drawn for each hunt period. Tejon Ranch’s semi-guided pig hunt is a two-and-a-half day group hunt that includes two nights lodging, meals and a guide who will direct hunters and provide tips on how to have a successful hunt. Hunters are limited to one pig tag each during this hunt.

For the first time, Baeke Ranch in Santa Barbara County will offer two wild pig hunts on June 24-26 and July 15-17. Overlooking the Santa Ynez Valley just northwest of Solvang, Baeke Ranch is located in Ballard Canyon Ranches, locally known as “Hog Valley.” The property is approximately 20 acres surrounded by open space and is a maze of game trails consisting of chaparral scrub and coyote brush with oak and pine cover. One SHARE Access Permit (good for two hunters) will be randomly drawn for each period.

Hunters with a valid California hunting license may apply online through CDFW’s website. A $10.25 non-refundable application fee (plus any applicable license agent handling fees) will be charged for each hunt choice. Applicants may apply for multiple hunt periods but only once per period. To apply for these hunts, please see

SHARE offers incentives to private landowners who allow wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities on their property. Participating landowners receive liability protection and may receive compensation for providing public access to or through their land for wildlife-dependent recreational activities. The goal of SHARE is to provide additional hunting, fishing and other recreational access on private lands in California. For more information about these hunts or SHARE, please see

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Media Contacts:
Victoria Barr, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 564-4170

Spring Turkey Season Opener Approaches

California’s 2016 general spring wild turkey hunting season will open statewide on March 26 and extend through May 1, with an extended archery season May 2 through May 15.

Hunters who have a current junior hunting license may also hunt the weekend before the opener, March 19-20, and after the general season, May 2 through May 15, using shotguns or any other legal method of take.

Shooting hours for wild turkeys are from 30 minutes before sunrise to 5 p.m. Both a hunting license and upland game bird validation are required, although a validation is not required for hunters with junior licenses. The bag limit is one bearded turkey per day and no more than a total of three turkeys during all seasons combined (general, archery and junior).

Hunters strive to be stealthy and frequently wear head-to-toe camouflage due to the keen eyesight and good hearing possessed by wild turkeys. In the springtime, the birds exhibit mating behavior and are more active than in the fall hunting season, making them susceptible to a strategic call made by a hunter.

“Spring is the most popular season for wild turkeys in California, in part because of the opportunity to call in a strutting gobbler,” said Scott Gardner, coordinator of CDFW’s Upland Game Program. “Hunters use calls and decoys, imitating female wild turkeys to call in the males.”

The statewide wild turkey population is estimated at 240,000. CDFW estimates that approximately 36,000 hunters bag about 28,000 turkeys during the spring season each year statewide. Wild turkeys are found in most counties in California, with the top 10 for spring harvest being Shasta, Butte, Placer, El Dorado, Tehama, Sonoma, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada and Lake counties.

Rio Grande turkeys are the most widespread subspecies of wild turkey in California, occupying much of the mixed oak and pine woodlands of the Coast Ranges, Central Valley, Sierra Nevada and Cascade foothills. Merriam’s turkeys are found in habitats dominated by pines in northeastern California, but are also found in the Transverse Range in Kern County. The eastern subspecies can be found in isolated pockets along the northern coast and eastern/Rio Grande hybrids inhabit areas along the south coast.

Many populations range on private land, but turkeys can also be found on public lands administered by CDFW, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.  A list of state wildlife areas and ecological reserves can be found on the CDFW website. Upland game hunters are reminded that as of July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when hunting on these properties. For more information please visit CDFW’s nonlead ammunition page.

For more general information, hunters can visit the Upland Game Bird Hunting webpage.

Scott Gardner, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 801-6257
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

Hunter Education Certification Course to be Offered in Bishop

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering a hunter education certification class on Saturday, March 26 in Bishop. Outdoor enthusiasts wishing to obtain a hunting license for the 2016-2017 season may take an online course, followed by this certification class. This will be the only certification class offered by CDFW Law Enforcement staff in Inyo County this spring.

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Before taking the certification class, students must have already taken a basic hunter education course online. The online study portion of the course can be completed at their own pace. After completing the online course and receiving a passing test score, a fee may be charged for a completion voucher. Applicants will need to bring this voucher in order to take this follow-up class. To register and take the online portion of the course, please go to for acceptable class options.

Once the online course has been completed, students must take a four-hour follow-up cl ass with a certified hunter education instructor. This follow-up class consists of two hours of review, one hour of gun handling and one hour for the final hunter education test. Students must pre-register for the follow up class prior to March 19. You may do so for this class at   Please call Warden Shane Dishion at (760) 920-7593 for more information.

The March 26 class will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bishop Fire Training Center, 960 Poleta Road, Bishop (93514).

CDFW’s basic hunter education classes are offered throughout the state by more than 1,000 certified volunteer instructors, all dedicated to keeping hunting safe, ethical and available to all Californians. A complete list of hunter education classes statewide may be found at

Media Contact:
Shane Dishion, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (760) 920-7593
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944