Category Archives: Hunting

2018 Essay Contest Invites Young Hunters to Opine on Hunting Benefits

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and California Wildlife Officer Foundation are again co-sponsoring the annual “Passing on the Tradition” essay contest for young hunters. The grand prize winner will receive a lifetime hunting license, valued at more than $600.

This year’s contest invites entrants to share their thoughts about how hunting has positively influenced or affected their life.

“Today’s youth hunters are the conservationists of the future,” said CDFW Hunter Education Program Administrator Capt. Robert Pelzman. “We are looking forward to hearing about the lessons they’ve learned in the field that have made the strongest impressions upon them, and in what ways hunting has benefited them.”

The contest is open to all junior hunting license holders, as well as youths under 18 who have earned a hunter education certificate. Entrants should submit an essay of 500 words or less.

The California Wildlife Officer Foundation will recognize one grand prize winner with a lifetime California hunting license. Second and third place winners will also be selected and prize packages will be awarded.

Entries should be submitted via email to Capt. Robert Pelzman at robert.pelzman@wildlife.ca.gov no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. Applicants must provide their date of birth and a contact telephone number.

Essays will be reviewed and scored by CDFW wildlife officers and other CDFW representatives. The winners will be notified by telephone.

For additional information, please contact Capt. Pelzman at (916) 653-9727.

AWARD CEREMONY: The grand prize will be awarded during a special ceremony at the International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) in Sacramento, January 17-20, 2019.

To find a hunter education course or information about becoming a Hunter Education Instructor, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunter-education.

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Media Contacts:
Capt. Robert Pelzman, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 653-9727
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

Wild Pheasant, Fall Turkey, Second Dove Seasons Set to Open Nov. 10

California’s fall hunting season hits full stride Saturday, Nov. 10 with openers for wild pheasant, fall turkey and the second dove season.

Combined with hunting seasons already open for quail, chukar, snipe, waterfowl, tree squirrel and rabbits, California hunters have plenty of options to pursue some spectacular game species and equally stellar table fare. Few states can match the sheer variety of hunting opportunities available to California hunters in the fall.

Both a valid hunting license and upland game bird stamp/validation are needed to hunt pheasant, turkey and dove. An upland stamp/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.

Ring-necked Pheasant

Since 2012, CDFW has funded scientific research into California’s wild pheasant decline using money from the purchase of upland game bird stamps/validations. The latest findings point to a combination of factors that include changing agricultural crops, upland habitat loss, predation, competition from other species, warming temperatures and pesticides as contributing to the pheasant decline in recent years.

Still, the wild pheasant opener on the second weekend of November remains a popular tradition for many families and an important economic event for some rural communities.

The good news is that some of the best remaining wild pheasant habitat in California is found on state wildlife areas and federal wildlife refuges open to public hunting. Bagging a wild rooster pheasant requires dedication, knowledge and skill, but the end reward makes unmatched table fare.

Several CDFW Type A wildlife areas are especially popular with wild pheasant hunters, including Upper Butte Basin, Gray Lodge, Grizzly Island, Yolo Bypass, Los Banos and North Grasslands.

These areas are all open to pheasant hunting on their normal Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday waterfowl hunt days. The Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area and the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area will remain open the first Monday of the pheasant season – Nov. 12 – to provide additional hunter opportunities.

Type A wildlife areas in the San Joaquin Valley – Los Banos, Mendota, North Grasslands and the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge – will be open for pheasant hunting on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays only during the pheasant season.

Three popular northern California federal refuges – Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, Delevan National Wildlife Refuge and Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge – and one San Joaquin Valley federal refuge – Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge – will be open to pheasant hunting the first Monday of the season in addition to their normal Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday shoot days.

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

Please check with the individual property for specific details and regulations on each area.

The 2018 general pheasant season runs from Saturday, Nov. 10 through Sunday, Dec. 23. 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.

Nonlead ammunition is required when hunting pheasants anywhere in the state, except on licensed game bird clubs.

Fall Turkey

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. 10 through Sunday, Dec. 9, 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.

Three subspecies of wild turkeys can be found in California – Rio Grande, Merriam’s and eastern – with Rio Grande being the most widespread. Wild turkeys inhabit most counties in California. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Nonlead ammunition is required when hunting turkeys anywhere in the state unless the turkey is taken on the grounds of a licensed game bird club.

Second Dove Season

California’s second dove season runs from Saturday, Nov. 10 through Monday, Dec. 24. Although lacking the fanfare and tradition surrounding the Sept. 1 opener, the second 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.

Lead ammunition is permitted for hunting doves in 2018. Nonlead ammunition, however, is required when hunting on all CDFW lands. For more information please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition page.

In addition to public hunting opportunities available at CDFW 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.

Media Contacts:
Scott Gardner, CDFW Upland Game Program, (916) 801-6257
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

CDFW Offering 60 Apprentice Pheasant Hunts Across the State

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is hosting 60 special pheasant hunts this fall and winter to serve new hunters, youth hunters, women hunters, mobility-impaired hunters, families and others with limited experience or opportunity to hunt.

The hunts take place from November through February in almost every part of the state from Siskiyou and Plumas counties in the north to San Diego and Imperial counties in the south. CDFW’s Central Region is hosting 30 of the 60 hunts in Fresno, Kern, Madera, Merced and San Luis Obispo counties.

Six hunts are planned in Los Angeles County, two in Riverside County, two in Napa County, two in Solano County, and two in Yolo County, among other locations. Applications and information are available online at CDFW’s Apprentice Hunts webpage.

Hunters may apply only once for each hunt – either as an applicant or as a guest. Submitting multiple applications will disqualify applicants from the drawing. There is no fee to apply or participate in these hunts. Trained hunting dogs and their handlers are provided on some – but not all – hunts. Participants are allowed to bring their own hunting dogs on some hunts or hunt without a dog.

These special apprentice pheasant hunts are offered in partnership with many volunteer organizations and funded by the sale of the upland game bird stamp/validation required of upland game bird hunters 18 and older.

Additional upland bird hunting opportunities are available at CDFW’s Upland Game Wild Bird Hunts webpage and through CDFW’s SHARE program, which provides public hunting access to private or landlocked properties. Other upland game bird hunting opportunities are available on CDFW wildlife areas without reservations.

Media Contacts:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
Linda Sandoval, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3452

Conditions at Imperial Wildlife Area, Wister Unit, May Impact Hunting Opportunities for Waterfowl Opener

Due to recent natural events, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Imperial Wildlife Area, Wister Unit, has recently experienced water-delivery delays that have resulted in the wildlife area receiving less than the amount of water needed to fully flood the waterfowl area.

This may result in fewer hunt sites than normal being available for the waterfowl opener scheduled Saturday, Oct. 20. CDFW estimates 10 to 20 blinds out of 100 blinds onsite may be unavailable.

An active mud pot, a natural geothermal event, recently caused water-delivery delays and then recent severe thunderstorms affected the wildlife area in Imperial County and surrounding areas, causing widespread flooding and closures to Highway 111 and other surrounding areas. The flooding damaged Imperial Irrigation District water-delivery canals and ditches, as well as some roads at the wildlife area. CDFW has been informed that the District has started repairs to its system but there is no timeline on when the work will be completed.

The Wister Unit will likely be less than completely flooded on the waterfowl opener. For more information on conditions, please contact Rick Francis at (760) 359-0577.

Media Contacts:
Scott Sewell, CDFW Inland Desert Region, (760) 359-0577
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

SHARE Program to Offer Wild Pig, Bear, Turkey, Quail and Dove Hunts this Fall

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program will provide public access for wild pig, bear, turkey, quail and dove hunts on a property in Tulare County this fall and spring.

This is the first year that SHARE has offered opportunities at Hart Ranch, which includes 975 acres of rolling oak woodland 15 miles northeast of Porterville. The hunts will take place October 2018 through April 2019.

Hunters with a valid California hunting license may apply for these hunts through the Automated License Data System. An $11.62 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each hunt choice. Application deadlines are 17 days before each hunt.

To apply for these hunts, visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales, log in to your account and select “Purchase Licenses.” Then select “2018 – Hunting, 2018 – SHARE Hunts Multi Choice Application” and select specific hunt periods.

The SHARE program offers private landowners liability protection and compensation for providing public access to or through their land for wildlife-dependent recreational activities. The goal of the program is to provide additional hunting, fishing and other recreational access on private lands in California. For more information about SHARE opportunities, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

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Media Contacts:
Victoria Barr, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034

Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824