Category Archives: Hunting

Biologists to Collect More Bear Teeth for Study and Data Collection

Media Contacts:
Marc Kenyon, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3515
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916), 322-8911

Bear hunters taking to the field this season, if successful, will need to have their heads more closely examined. Department of Fish and Game (DFG) biologists and wardens will require a tooth to be pulled from the skull of each bear taken during the 2011 black bear hunting season that will begin as early as August 13 in the A Zone.

This is a change from last year, when DFG only required that a tooth be pulled from every other bear harvested during the season. The change stems from a request by the California Fish and Game Commission, which wants to take a closer look at the management of black bear hunting in California. “We currently manage black bear hunting at a statewide level, but we want to be doubly sure that we’re not negatively impacting local bear populations,” said Marc Kenyon, DFG’s Bear Program Coordinator.

The Commission is the deciding body for fishing and hunting regulations. In 2010, a proposal to modify the number of bears legally taken during the hunting season was closely scrutinized by Commission members as well as the public. During the regulation setting process, Commission members and the public voiced a desire to look at regional bear hunt management.

Since 2005, a tooth has been pulled from half of the bears legally taken during each hunting season. Current hunting regulations state that the skull of any bear taken during the hunting season becomes the property of DFG. Those portions not needed for scientific purposes are returned to the hunter.

The teeth provide key insight into the bear population. A premolar is pulled from the bear’s mandible and processed at a Montana laboratory specializing in aging animals. The teeth are cut in half, stained and examined under a microscope. Lab technicians can then count the rings, called cementum annuli, which are deposited annually like tree rings. The number of rings indicate the age of the bear. Reproductive events can also be detected in female teeth.

DFG biologists use this information to monitor the bear population. The age and gender data can be combined to produce a conservative population estimate and establish other parameters. This information is then used to inform the Commission when deciding new hunting regulations.

More tooth data will ultimately allow DFG to monitor bear populations at the local level with better precision.

California’s black bear population is estimated to be higher than 30,000. Current hunting regulations allow up to 1,700 bears to be taken during the hunting season. More information about black bear management in California can be found at

Check Station Operations to Change for 2011-2012 Waterfowl Hunting Season

Media Contacts:
Glenn Underwood, DFG License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-5841
Brad Burkholder, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-1829
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) advises hunters to plan ahead during the upcoming 2011-2012 waterfowl season inCalifornia. Check stations at Type A Wildlife Areas will no longer sell passes or any license items on-site. Hunters will need to make all such purchases in advance.

One-day passes, which were formerly available only at waterfowl check stations, as well as two-day and season passes and stamps, must be purchased from DFG license agents or license sales offices through DFG’s new Automated License Data System (ALDS) prior to the shoot day. Daily hunting permits will not be issued at Type A Wildlife Areas without proof of a pre-paid one-day, two-day or season pass for the 2011-2012 waterfowl check station. Type B Wildlife Areas will still require proof of a season pass for issuance of a daily hunting permit.

Through ALDS, licenses, stamps, permits and passes are printed instantly at DFG license sales offices and approximately 1,500 license agent locations. The first time a customer purchases a license via ALDS their customer information and hunter education certification is stored in the ALDS database, making future transactions quicker and easier.   

Hunters and anglers may now conveniently purchase most license items online at

 To purchase a hunting license online, proof of completion of a hunter education course must be on file with DFG. If proof of hunter education is not on file, the purchaser must present proof in person at a license agent or DFG license sales office prior to purchasing a hunting license.

The 2011-2012 waterfowl hunting season will open in October. To find a license agent near you, to purchase items online, or for more information on ALDS, please visit For more information on licenses, stamps, reservations and passes for waterfowl hunting, please visit

Special Permits for Deer and Pig Hunting Required in Western Merced County

Media Contacts
Loni Hext, Los Banos Wildlife Area, (209) 826-0463
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

Applications are now being accepted for a limited number of deer and pig hunt permits valid for western Merced County. The number of deer hunters will be limited on properties managed by the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) in the area on opening weekend of the Zone A deer season. The affected areas are the Upper Cottonwood Creek, Lower Cottonwood Creek and the San Luis Reservoir wildlife areas. Only 55 permits will be issued for each day.

Reservations are required for Aug.13-14, the first two days of the general Zone A deer season. Reservations will be selected via a computerized drawing. Persons applying to hunt opening weekend at these areas will be allowed to apply for a one-day hunt on one area only. Successful applicants will receive special permits in the mail stating what area and which day the hunter may hunt.

The area will be closed to all persons not holding the special permit except that each permit holder may be accompanied by one observer. The observer may not possess a weapon.

This year the 2011 Zone A Deer/Pig Application Form is required to apply for these hunts. The primary hunter (party leader) will provide their name, mailing address, phone numbers, 2011-12 hunting license number or “Get Outdoors” identification number (GO ID), and which area and hunt day they prefer. Applicants may not apply for both days or for multiple areas. Junior license holders must apply with an adult hunter. Up to three persons may apply as one party by including all the required information on the 2011 Zone A Deer/Pig Application Form. Only official applications will be accepted.  An individual’s name may appear in the drawing only once and multiple applications received will be rejected.

The application form can be submitted online to or mailed to toDFG’s Los Banos office at 18110 W. Henry Miller Ave., Los Banos, CA 93635. Application forms must be received before4:30 p.m. on July 5. The drawing will be held July 6 at11 a.m. at the Los Banos office and is open to the public. Only successful applicants will be notified by mail within five working days of the lottery.

The 2011 Zone A Deer/Pig Application Form may be obtained by calling DFG’s Los Banos office at (209) 826-0463 between 8 a.m.and 4:30 p.m. and is also available online at .

A valid 2011-2012 hunting license is required of all persons applying for the drawing. Individuals who want to hunt deer are required to possess a valid Zone A deer tag. Those who are drawn and also want to hunt wild pig are required to have a valid wild pig tag. Those wishing to hunt both deer and wild pig are required to have both tags. Pig hunters will be restricted to one wild pig during the hunt period.

Hunting Licenses, Big Game Drawing Applications Now Available

Media Contacts: 
Maria Melchiorre, DFG License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-6881
Dan Yparraguirre, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3685
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

Hunters can now purchase 2011 hunting licenses and apply for the Big Game Drawing online, the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) announced. DFG’s new Automated License Data System (ALDS) means that the application process for both will be simplified and streamlined.

“ALDS offers tremendous improvements that hunters have been anticipating for many years,” said DFG License and Revenue Branch Chief James Fong. “Hunting licenses are available from more locations than ever before and for those applying for the annual Big Game Drawing, there is no longer a need to fill out multiple forms and manually mail them to a single DFG office.”

Customers applying for a license for the first time via ALDS may initially experience a slow license sales transaction. In subsequent years, the process will be faster, as the customer’s information will be retained in the system. Under ALDS, purchasers of a hunting or fishing license are issued a “Get Outdoors” identification number (GO ID) that is printed on all license documents. The GO ID is used to retrieve a customer’s information each time they purchase a license or apply for drawings in the future.  

In addition to purchasing a license, hunters can now apply for the Big Game Drawing at any DFG license sales office, license agent or online. When the transaction is complete, the customer will receive a receipt to show their hunt choices have been entered in the drawing.

 To qualify for the Big Game Drawing, an application must be submitted and the sales transaction completed before midnight on June 2, 2011. All premium deer hunt tags, and elk, antelope and bighorn sheep tags are awarded through the DFG Big Game Drawing. Mail-in applications are no longer accepted.

 The implementation of ALDS also means:

  • Hunters can obtain deer and bear tags at the time of purchase from a local license agent.
  • Hunters who purchase licenses and big game tags online will receive them in the mail within 15 days.
  • State Duck and Upland Game Bird stamps are validations in ALDS and printed on the hunting license. Hunters must have the validation in their possession while engaged in this activity. DFG will continue to print and offer the physical stamp which can be mailed, upon request online, to the purchasers after July 1 each year.
  • Customers must provide legal identification and a telephone number when they make their first purchase through ALDS. Customers can still purchase licenses for other people if they provide the other person’s hunting license from the previous year and driver license number. 
  • DFG will no longer accept a Hunting License Declaration as evidence of meeting a hunter education requirement. Hunters must have a prior year’s California hunting license or a hunter education certificate to purchase a new hunting license. 

To find a license agent near you, to purchase items online or for more information on ALDS, please visit To learn more about the Big Game Drawing application process, please view the 2011 California Hunting Digest (2011 Big Game) at

Additional Drawing Opportunities 

Two new fundraising random drawings, for a deer tag and an elk tag, will also be held this year. The drawings are open to anyone 12 years of age or older, for $5.40 per chance, per tag. Applicants do not need a valid hunting license to apply, and may apply for the drawings as many times as they wish.

Proceeds from all fundraising tags are deposited into the newly established Big Game Management Account, which is used to benefit antelope, elk, deer, wild pigs, bear and sheep populations. An advisory committee reviews and provides comments to DFG on all proposed projects funded from the account. Recent activities funded by revenue from the fundraising tags have included helicopter surveys, other deer and bighorn sheep studies, and improving both hunting access and water source improvements for sheep and deer.

Northern California Hunting Guide Loses License

Media Contact:
Lt. Rick Banko, DFG Enforcement Division, (707) 825-4861
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

A Department of Fish and Game (DFG) investigation led the Humboldt County District Attorney’s office to file 17 charges against a bear hunter and licensed guide. In an April 12 plea agreement, Edgar Ray Roden, 56, of McKinleyville, pleaded guilty to four Fish and Game Code violations.

In June 2009 DFG wardens caught Roden running his hounds in a dog control zone in Northern Humboldt County that was closed at the time. They later served a search warrant at his residence. The subsequent investigation uncovered 17 violations of California’s wildlife laws. Charges ranged from illegal take and possession of black bear to illegal possession of mountain lion hides that were made into rugs. Licensed hunting guides are subject to the same laws – and the same penalties for violating them – as all other hunters.

“People who offer guide services to hunters in California know the difference between legal hunting and poaching,” said Warden Jackie Krug, lead investigator in the case. “We count on them to help educate hunters, and expect them to know, respect and obey the laws and regulations.”

Roden pleaded guilty to taking two bears over the legal limit, using hounds to pursue/take mammals in a closed zone, falsifying his guide license application by failing to disclose a prior spotlighting conviction, and failing to keep and submit guide log records as required.

The court sentenced Roden to three years of probation and fined him $3,140. He was also ordered to forfeit his 2011 hunting license and hunting privileges for all species, beginning the opening day of bear season and ending the closing day of bear season. In addition, he will not be permitted to apply for or receive a guide license for three years from the date of sentencing.

The DFG Law Enforcement Division reminds Californians that environmental laws exist to ensure proper wildlife management and species survival. Poaching – illegally harming or killing fish or wildlife – is an insult to the vast majority of hunters and anglers who obey the rules. Californians can help protect their wildlife and habitat by reporting poachers and polluters to DFG by calling the toll-free CalTIP hotline: 1-888-334-2258 (888-DFG-CALTIP). For more information, please visit the CalTIP webpage at