The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has posted the 2015 Big Game Digest to its website. The 64-page document can be downloaded online for free at www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/digest/.
The popular guide includes season, quota and harvest information for deer, elk, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep, as well as tag drawing information, bear and wild pig hunting information and big game hunting regulations for the 2015-16 seasons.
Printed copies of the Big Game Digest will automatically be mailed in late April to hunters who purchased a big game tag or applied for the Big Game Drawing in California in 2014.
“As printing costs continue to rise, more funding for big game conservation will be available if the department reduces printing and mailing costs,” said Dan Yparraguirre, CDFW’s Deputy Director of Wildlife and Fisheries. “Making the Big Game Digest available online also means that hunters can access this information sooner.”
California’s 2015 general spring wild turkey hunting season opens statewide on March 28 and extends through May 3, with the archery season extending through May 17.
Hunters who have a current junior hunting license may also hunt the weekend before the opener, (March 21 and 22), and the two weeks after the general season (through May 17), using shotguns or any other legal method of take.
Please note that the season is closed to all hunters from March 23 to March 27.
Shooting hours for spring turkeys are from one-half hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. Both a hunting license and upland game bird stamp are required to hunt turkeys, although an upland stamp 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 (general, archery and junior) combined.
The statewide population of wild turkeys is estimated at 240,000 birds. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) estimates about 36,000 hunters bag about 28,000 turkeys in 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.
For places to hunt turkeys and additional tips and information, hunters should refer to the “Guide to Hunting Wild Turkeys in California” on CDFW’s upland game hunting webpage at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/uplandgame/.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) law enforcement officers from Inyo and Mono counties will be teaching a basic hunter education class for people who would like to complete the requirements to purchase a first-time hunting license. The class will be held on Tuesday, March 13, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Bishop Fire Training Center, 960 Poleta Road in Bishop.
Successful completion of an online study course, available at www.huntercourse.com/usa/california/, is a prerequisite for the four-hour class. The online course can be completed at any time before March 13. Upon completion, the online program will generate a printable voucher that must be presented at the March 13 course. The online course may take up to six hours to complete, but does not need to be finished in one sitting. A fee of $24.95 will be charged only when a student successfully answers a series of multiple-choice questions and prints the voucher.
The four-hour follow-up class on March 13 will consist of two hours of review, one hour of gun-handling practice and one hour to take the final hunter education test. Those interested in taking the class in Bishop should reserve a seat by calling CDFW Warden Shane Dishion at (760) 920-7593.
In a continued effort to reduce firearm accidents, the State of California requires all first-time resident hunters, regardless of age, to complete hunter education training or pass a comprehensive equivalency test before purchasing a hunting license. CDFW conducts training throughout the state. Each year approximately 30,000 students complete the required training to earn their Hunter Education Certificate.
Warden Shane Dishion, CDFW Law Enforcement, (760) 920-7593 Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958
Media Contacts: Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-6692 Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988
CDFW Clarifies Use of “Unplugged” Shotguns
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) seeks to clear up an inadvertently included sentence in the 2014-2015 California Waterfowl Hunting Regulations that led to confusion about the use of an “unplugged” shotgun for late-season waterfowl hunts.
The language in question is included in the synopsis of current federal regulations, located at the back of this year’s California Waterfowl Hunting Regulations booklet. On Page 84, the booklet states that no person shall take migratory game birds:
“… with a shotgun of any description capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler, incapable of removal without disassembling the gun, so its total capacity does not exceed three shells. This restriction does not apply during dates States have selected under the Conservation Order for light geese (i.e. greater and lesser snow and Ross’s geese) or those selected for the control of resident Canada geese. (States insert appropriate dates for light goose only and Canada goose only seasons.)”
Please note that the section of the regulations underlined above is incorrect and does not apply anywhere in California. The plugged shotgun requirement remains in effect for all goose hunting seasons in California.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which has primary jurisdiction over management of the nation’s waterfowl, does authorize the use of unplugged shotguns and other techniques in certain parts of the country, in specific circumstances when population reductions are desired. However, federal regulations do not provide for these exceptions in California.
Almost all of California’s wintering goose populations are at the highest levels in decades, resulting in liberal harvest limits and several special late season goose-only hunts around the state. While in the field, hunters can access the regulations via smartphone at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Waterfowl . The incorrect language relative to the unplugged shotguns has been removed in the online version.
CDFW apologizes for the confusion and will remove the inapplicable reference in next year’s regulations booklet.
Sara Holm, CDFW Wildlife Program, (530) 346-6305
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
North Central Region Hunter Info. Line, (916) 358-2839
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is now accepting applications for spring turkey hunts in northern California.
Several opportunities will be offered at the following locations: Daugherty Hill Wildlife Area, Spenceville Wildlife Area, Oroville Wildlife Area, Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, Cosumnes River Preserve, Bureau of Land Management’s Kanaka Valley and two units of the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area.
To apply, applicants must create an account and submit an application for their choice of hunts. Hunters will need to provide a name, mailing address, valid email address, phone number and 2015 hunting license GO ID. Applications and more information are available online (http://goo.gl/8Kex6n).
You may apply only once for each hunt, either as an applicant or as a guest. Submitting multiple applications will result in disqualification.
Hunters will be selected by a computerized drawing for only one hunt and only successful applicants will be notified.
Special hunts are provided in cooperation with many volunteer organizations. All upland game bird hunters, except those with junior hunting licenses, must purchase an Upland Game Bird Stamp, which supports these special hunts and other hunting programs.
Victoria Barr, CDFW SHARE Program, (916) 445-4034
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering spring turkey hunts in Yolo and Santa Barbara counties through the Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Program.
A total of 12 SHARE Access Permits will be provided to turkey hunters through a random drawing for eight two-day hunts. Each permit is valid for two hunters.
In northern California, hunters will have an opportunity to access 4,000 acres of rolling blue oak woodlands on Bobcat Ranch located in Yolo County’s Vaca Mountain foothills.
In Southern California, Sleepy Creek and Jones ranches, both located in the West Cuyama Valley in Santa Barbara County, occupy a combined 1,000 acres of oak savannah, juniper sage woodland, chaparral and riparian habitats. Adjoining these ranches are approximately 250 acres of Bureau of Land Management property and the Los Padres National Forest, which provide additional opportunities. Separate applications need to be submitted for each location.
Hunters with a valid California hunting license may apply online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/ols/. A $10.25 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each hunt choice. Successful applicants for each property will be allowed to bring a hunting partner or a non-hunting partner.
These opportunities are made possible by the SHARE Program, which offers incentives to private landowners who allow wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities on their property. Participating landowners receive liability protection and compensation for providing public access to or through their land. The goal of the SHARE Program is to provide additional hunting, fishing and other recreational access on private lands in California. For more information about the SHARE Program, please visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/share/.
If you’re heading to the International Sportsmen’s Expo at the Cal Expo State Fairgrounds this coming weekend (Jan. 8-11), be sure to stop by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) booth, space 3700 in the Pavilion Building. Wardens, biologists, license agents and many other CDFW staff will be on hand throughout the event to address questions and provide information. Many items will also be available for purchase, including fishing and hunting licenses, warden stamps, permits and tags.
For the second year, CDFW’s top leadership will participate in a panel discussion about topics of interest to California hunters and anglers. The discussion will be held Saturday, Jan. 10 from 1-2 p.m. in the California Sportsmen’s Theater in the Pavilion Building. This will be an open forum where members of the audience may ask questions of the panel.
“As public servants, it is part of our job to remain open and available for input on issues, including contentious ones,” said Charlton H. Bonham, CDFW’s Director. “It is particularly important that we listen to input from our traditional hunting and fishing constituents. This show gives us an opportunity to do just that.”
CDFW will also have other displays throughout the fairgrounds, including the Heritage Wild Trout booth, space 2218 in the Fly Fishing Building, and an invasive species booth, space 3244 in the Pavilion Building. Game warden recruitment is always a large component of CDFW’s participation in the show. Again this year, a game warden trailer with a free laser shot game will be on display outside of the Pavilion Building, and wildlife officers will be available to answer questions about employment with CDFW.
Other CDFW-sponsored highlights at the ISE include:
Youth fishing – Bring your child to the Youth Fair Expo Center to fish for beautiful rainbow trout. Each person who does so will go home with an official 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.
2015 Warden Stamps – At the main booth, CDFW will be offering and promoting this year’s stamp, which features a black bear. Stamps sell for $5. Proceeds support game wardens and K-9 units 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 be purchased for $15.
New This Year … CDFW’s First Trout Planting Truck – This beautiful 1925 Dodge truck was the first used for planting trout. The fish were transported in big milk cans. It has been completely refurbished and will be on display for the first time at this Sacramento show, near the Youth Fair Expo Center. It still runs and it looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor.
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 $15 for adults (door sales are cash only, although tickets may be purchased in advance online). Youth under age 16 are free. There is a $10 charge to park on the grounds.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced that additional waterfowl hunting opportunities will soon be available at Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area. The Llano Seco Unit of the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area will open for waterfowl hunting on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. Additionally, special hunting blinds for hunters who possess a junior hunting license will open at Howard Slough Unit of Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014.
Entry to the wildlife area is granted first to hunters with reservations, then through a lottery held at the wildlife area, and finally by first-come, first-served list. Applications for reservation drawings are currently available for many hunts on both of these units. For information on how to apply for reservations, visit the CDFW’s website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Waterfowl.
The Llano Seco Unit has been closed to waterfowl hunting due to lack of water, but has recently received enough water to provide habitat for waterfowl and hunting opportunities for hunters. The area will have nine assigned fields (or ponds), five general blinds and one mobility impaired hunting blind. The free-roam section of the Llano Seco Unit remains closed to all entry due to a wildfire that destroyed the cover. Approximately 10 reservations will be drawn for each hunt day at the Llano Seco Unit. Hunters without a reservation can enter the lottery draw on the morning of the hunt. The Llano Seco Unit check station opens at 4 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays. The lottery draw takes place at 4:30 a.m.
In addition, special hunting opportunities will be available for junior hunters at the Howard Slough Unit beginning on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014 when the Zone 7 Blinds are scheduled to open to hunters who possess a junior hunting license. Six blinds are available to provide access for junior hunters in flooded rice habitat. These blinds are available only on Wednesday and Saturday hunt days from legal shoot time until noon. Permits must be returned to the check station by 1 pm. Junior hunters must be accompanied by an adult hunter; only one adult may hunt from the blind. An adult hunter may bring up to two junior hunters. The limit is three persons per blind. The Zone 7 hunting blinds are filled first by reservations, then by lottery, and then by first-come, first served list. Hunters without reservations can enter the lottery at the check station on the night before the hunt, from 6 to 8 p.m.
A valid California hunting license, California duck validation, Harvest Information Program validation and a signed federal duck stamp must be obtained before entering the field. Adult hunters must also buy a Type A wildlife area pass. Junior license holders do not need a Type A wildlife area pass or California duck stamp; however, junior license holders who have turned 16 must have a federal duck stamp. Licenses, validations and passes are not sold at wildlife areas. Hunters must purchase these items in advance from a CDFW license agent, a CDFW license sales office or online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Online-Sales.
For more information on these hunting opportunities, please visit CDFW’s website at www.wildlife.ca.gov, or call the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area at (530) 982-2169.
Media Contacts: Glenn Underwood, CDFW License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-5841
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
Media Contacts: Lt. Bill Dailey, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (661) 203-6380 Lt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 508-7095
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers arrested a poacher today in Inyo County for allegedly illegally killing a trophy 3×3 deer in the G-3 zone. Joseph Eugene Bragdon, 37, of Bishop was taken into custody without incident at his workplace after a $15,000 arrest warrant was issued by the Inyo County District Attorney’s Office.
“We are grateful to the Inyo County DA’s Office for recognizing the importance of resource protection and that wildlife poaching is a serious crime,” said Lt. Bill Dailey of CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division. “Ethical hunters prize the G-3 tag for the incredible landscape and quantity of large deer. With only 35 tags issued every year, hunters can apply for years and never draw this zone.”
CDFW wildlife officers received a tip, through the CalTIP hotline, that on Nov. 1 Bragdon took his juvenile son to Division Creek in the trophy G-3 hunting zone and killed a large mule deer buck using a D-7 deer zone tag. With the assistance of the investigating warden’s tracking dog, Sieger, they located a dead deer with only the antlers and part of the edible meat removed. Most of the animal was left to waste.
Poaching a deer, cutting the head off and wasting edible meat is illegal and an egregious violation of ethical hunting standards. Wildlife officers took DNA samples and seized ballistic evidence.
The G-3 deer season runs only from Dec. 6-21. This area is considered a trophy deer hunt when high country mule deer bucks enter the area to escape the high country winter storms.
In November 2012, Bragdon was convicted of two misdemeanor hunting violations in Nevada, including hunting big game in a closed season and hunting big game without a tag. He was fined and had demerit points added to his Nevada hunting license.
Bragdon faces possible charges for several violations of the Fish and Game Code, including taking a deer without a license, tag or permit, failure to fill out tags, waste of game, failure to have a tag in possession and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. If convicted, Bragdon could face revocation of his hunting license, fines, probation and/or jail time.
CalTIP (Californians Turn In Poachers and Polluters) is a confidential secret witness program that encourages the public to provide CDFW with factual information leading to the arrest of poachers and polluters. Ethical hunters and anglers are the most common contributors to the CalTIP hotline. The toll-free hotline number is (888) 334-2258.
Tracking dog Sieger is a candidate for the next cycle of certification training for CDFW’s exceptional team of Warden K-9s.
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
Nick Bechtel, CDFW South Coast Region Upland Game Program, (805)962-4698
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering four special pheasant hunts in Los Angeles County in January.
The program consists of two types of hunts: Family apprentice hunts that can accommodate 18 hunters each, and junior hunts that can accommodate 12 hunters each.
Two family apprentice hunts have been added for Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, and a family apprentice hunt and a junior apprentice hunt are scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. The deadline to apply is Dec. 17.
The hunts will take place at Peace Valley in Los Angeles County, which is located at Interstate 5 and state Highway 138, 8 miles south of Gorman. This hunt is on state property that is managed by the California Department of Water Resources.
All applicants must have a valid 2014-15 California hunting license. Adult participants in the family hunts must also have an upland game stamp (junior license holders under the age of 16 do not need an upland game stamp.) For more information and to apply, please visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/DFGSpecialHunts/Default.aspx.