Category Archives: Hunting

Spanish-Language Hunter Education Course Offered in Santa Clara County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is teaming up with Reed’s Indoor Range in Santa Clara to offer a Spanish-language Hunter Education Course later this month.

To obtain a hunting license in California, new hunters must pass a Hunter Education Course. CDFW’s Hunter Education Program and Reed’s Indoor Range will offer a two-day course in Spanish on the weekend of Feb. 24-25 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. The cost is $20 per person. All course materials, including the written final exam, will be offered in Spanish. Advance registration is required at Reed’s Indoor Range, 1100 Duane Ave., Santa Clara, 95054.

“A California hunting license is a passport to outdoor adventure, good times with friends and family, healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle,” said Lt. Bart Bundesen, CDFW’s Hunter Education Coordinator for the North Coast. “At the same time, a California hunting license carries a lot of responsibility with regard to safety, ethics, values and a commitment to protecting the state’s wildlife and natural resources. The department embraces diversity. That’s why it’s so important to provide this training to our Spanish-speaking constituents.”

For more information, please contact Fred Elizondo at Reed’s Indoor Range at (408) 970-9870 or by e-mail at fred.elizondo@gmail.com.

Media Contacts:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
Lt. Bart Bundesen, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (415) 892-0073

Applications Now Available for 2018 Joice Island Pig Hunts

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering wild pig hunting opportunities in March and April at the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area in Solano County.

CDFW will be holding the limited-entry, permit-only hunts to control a small population of wild pigs on the Joice Island Unit of the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area. Joice Island is a 2,150-acre wetland area consisting of thick cattails, tules, brush and standing water.

Three hunters will be drawn for eight consecutive weekends for a total of 24 hunters. The first hunt weekend, March 3-4, will be reserved for apprentice hunters holding junior licenses, ages 12 to 17. The following seven weekends – March 10-11, March 17-18, March 24-25, March 31-April 1, April 7-8, April 14-15 and April 21-22 – will be open to both adult license holders and junior license holders. There is no charge to apply.

To apply for both the apprentice and general hunts, please visit CDFW’s Apprentice Hunts webpage and either log in or create a new account. Once you navigate the drop-down menus, apply for the weekend of your choice. Applications must be submitted by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14. Permits with maps and additional information will be emailed to successful applicants.

Permit holders may bring one non-hunting partner. Junior license holders receiving a permit must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older. Hunters may only use shotguns with nonlead slugs or archery equipment. Dogs and bicycles will not be allowed.

CDFW reserves the right to cancel any of these hunts and close the area to the public without prior notification in the event of unforeseen circumstances or emergencies.

For more information, please contact CDFW at (707) 425-3828.

Media Contacts:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
Orlando Rocha, CDFW Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, (707) 425-3828
Larry Wyckoff, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 944-5542

Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days to be Held Feb. 3-4

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days will be held the weekend of Feb. 3-4, providing young licensed hunters an extra weekend to hunt after the regular season ends. Each year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) opens many of its wildlife areas for these youth hunt days, as allowed under federal regulations.

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The majority of state areas will be open throughout all California Waterfowl Hunting Zones with the exception of the Northeastern Waterfowl Zone, which held a youth hunt days prior to the start of the regular waterfowl season. In the Central Valley, Yolo, Little Dry Creek and Gray Lodge wildlife areas in addition to Delevan, Colusa and Sacramento national wildlife refuges are scheduled to be open for both hunt days while Sutter National Wildlife Refuge is open only on Sunday. The Howard Slough and Llano Seco units of Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area and Joice Island will be closed.

While many areas will have openings for hunters to sign in and immediately go out and hunt, some areas are filled by reservation. Each of these hunt areas are part of the CDFW reservation system which takes applications 17 days in advance and issues reservations by random drawing. Gray Lodge, Yolo, Grizzly Island and Mendota did not fill by reservation and spaces will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition, youth hunters can take advantage of spaces made available at other wildlife areas when reservation holders do not show up.

Federal regulations require that hunters must be 17 years of age or younger and accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older to participate. All youth hunters must have a valid junior hunting license and Harvest Information Program Stamp. A Federal Duck Stamp is required for hunters 16 years of age and older. The daily bag and possession limits apply along with all other waterfowl regulations for the 2017-18 waterfowl season. The regulations can be found online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

“This is a great opportunity for young hunters to have the fields and marshes to themselves, learn skills and techniques from their mentors and share a wonderful experience,” said Melanie Weaver, an environmental scientist with the CDFW Waterfowl Program.

The upcoming Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days will be the last youth opportunity for the 2017-18 season. The Northeastern California Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt days were held Sept. 23-24, and Sacramento and Delevan national wildlife refuges have held special junior hunts throughout the season where all blinds were reserved for young hunters.

While the time period for making reservations is over for this season, CDFW encourages youth hunters to utilize the reservations system for the 2018-19 season. Reservations are available for many state-operated wildlife areas and are issued by random drawings. You can apply for waterfowl reservation drawings through the Online License Service, at any CDFW License Agent or CDFW License Sales Office. The fee is $1.34 per hunt choice. The deadline to apply is 17 days before each hunt.

Media Contacts:
Melanie Weaver, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3717
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

CDFW to Sell Hunting and Fishing Licenses, Answer Questions and More at Sportsmen’s Show

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is returning to the International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) at Cal Expo in Sacramento from Jan. 18-21. This is the largest hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation show of its kind in northern California.

Wildlife officers, fisheries and wildlife scientists, hunter education instructors, license agents and many other CDFW staff will be available during the show to answer questions and provide information regarding fishing and hunting opportunities throughout the state. CDFW’s license sales booth will be located in the Pavilion Building (space 3700) and licenses, tags, report cards and warden stamps will be available for purchase. Customers may pay by credit card or check, but not cash.

For the fifth year, CDFW’s top leadership – including Fisheries and Wildlife Division Deputy Director Stafford Lehr, Fisheries Branch Chief Kevin Shaffer, Wildlife Branch Chief Kari Lewis and Chief of Law Enforcement David Bess – will hold a panel discussion about topics of interest to California’s hunters and anglers. The open-forum panel will be held in the California Sportsmen’s Theater in the Pavilion Building at noon on Saturday, Jan 20. Members of the audience are encouraged to ask questions of the panel.

Right afterward, the panel participants will head over to the west side of Building A’s Adventure Theater on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. to hold another question and answer session with hunting attendees. This will take place on stage directly after the youth essay contest winner is awarded (see below for more information).

“Every year, I look forward to this opportunity to interact with hunters and anglers face to face and talk to them about the topics of particular interest and concern to them,” Lehr said. “We always welcome questions from those who share our passion for wildlife conservation.”

Additional CDFW booths and highlights include:

  • Online Harvest Reporting — Tag holders can log onto their online profile to view and complete all tags that require reporting. The tag holder will receive a report confirmation number that should be written in the space provided on the report card. The harvest report card will not have to be mailed in physically. CDFW encourages all tag holders to use this online service to meet their harvest reporting requirements.
  • Wildlife Officer Recruitment — CDFW’s Law Enforcement trailer will be on display outside of the Pavilion Building, featuring an impressive display of taxidermy and a free enclosed laser-shot hunting simulator game. Wildlife officers, including statewide recruiting Lieutenant Specialist Chris Stoots, will be on hand to answer questions about employment opportunities.
  • Meet Your K-9 Team — CDFW K9 wardens and their handlers will be available for a meet-and-greet in the Sporting Dog Pavilion on Saturday from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  •  Youth Fishing — Bring your child to the Youth Fair Expo Center to fish for beautiful rainbow trout supplied by CDFW. Each child who participates will go home with a California Fishing Passport book, an official stamp and a fish identification book containing pictures and information about 150 different species of California fish!
  • Learn How to be “Bear Aware” — CDFW staff will demonstrate how to keep a campsite safe from unwanted ursine visitors.
  • 2018 Warden Stamps — At the main booth, CDFW will be offering and promoting this year’s stamp, which features the silhouette of a K-9 warden. Proceeds from the $5 stamp support wildlife officers and K-9 teams and help fund the purchase of necessary law enforcement equipment.
  • 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.
  • Youth Essay Contest — CDFW and the Wildlife Officer Foundation will be awarding this year’s contest winner, 11-year-old Landon Sabol of Morgan Hill, a lifetime hunting license for his outstanding essay emphasizing the theme of “Passing on the Tradition.” Sabol and the second- and third-place contest winners will be honored on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the west side of Building A’s Adventure Theater. Stop by to congratulate them and get information on how to become the next youth contest winner.

The Cal Expo State Fairgrounds are located at 1600 Exposition Blvd. in Sacramento. ISE show hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $16 for adults (door sales are cash only, although tickets may be purchased in advance online). Youths age 15 and under are free. There is a $10 charge to park on the grounds.

For additional information, schedules and to purchase tickets, please visit the ISE webpage at www.sportsexpos.com/attend/sacramento/.

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Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 201-2958
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-6692

Massive Poached Sacramento County Deer Leads to Trophy Penalty Enhancement

A Sacramento County man entered a no contest plea Tuesday to charges of poaching a huge blacktail deer in Sacramento County. John Frederick Kautz, 51, of Lodi, was charged with possession of an illegally poached deer and falsification of deer tag reporting information, both misdemeanors, following a three-month investigation.

Poached deer with trophy-sized antlers. December 2017.
Poached deer with trophy-sized antlers. December 2017.

Kautz illegally killed the trophy-sized buck on private property in Wilton in December 2016, two months after the deer season closed in the area. The deer had an antler spread of 31 inches with four antler points on one side and five on the other, which is an unusually large size for this part of California.

Kautz transported the illegally killed deer across state lines to Nevada to have the deer head mounted by a taxidermist. Kautz was also working through the process of scoring the trophy class buck to have it entered into the Safari Club International hunting record book. The deer’s trophy-sized antlers would have been surely accepted if the animal had been legally taken. However, the poaching conviction for the buck makes it ineligible for that recognition.

Working on a tip provided in September 2017, Wildlife Officers Sean Pirtle and Anthony Marrone spent an exhaustive three months on the investigation, collecting evidence that would prove the year-old incident was an act of poaching. Through extensive interviews, multiple search warrants and forensic analysis of computer records, and with the help of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Computer Crimes Unit, they slowly pieced together the puzzle. Then, collaborating with Nevada game wardens who conducted multiple follow-up interviews outside of California, they worked together in an attempt to track down the actual deer that had been mounted by the Nevada taxidermist.

All California wildlife officers are federally deputized to investigate fish and wildlife crimes anywhere in the United States. The wildlife officers submitted the case to the Sacramento County District Attorney’s office for prosecution.

On Dec. 19, Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney David Brown announced a plea bargain resulting in a conviction of two poaching related misdemeanors. Kautz was sentenced to two days in county jail, placed on three years probation with a search and seizure clause, ordered to surrender the mounted deer head and was prohibited by the court from hunting or accompanying anyone else who is hunting during his probation. The fine was set at $5,000 pursuant to a new legislation and regulation package which took effect on July 1, 2017, increasing penalties associated with poaching “trophy class” or very large wild game animals.

The vast majority of hunters are ethical and abide by hunting laws and regulations, including the individual who provided this tip that helped lead to Kautz’s conviction.

“We would like to thank our wildlife law enforcement partners in Nevada and the CHP, and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s office for their assistance in this investigation and the subsequent prosecution, and the hunter who gave us the original tip,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Law Enforcement Division Chief.

“We are also pleased how the newly effective legislation and regulations package helped increase the penalties in this case to hopefully deter others from the same poaching behavior. A case like this is exactly why this package was enacted.”

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