Category Archives: Hunting

DFG Receives Federal Grant to Support SHARE Program

Media Contacts:
Mark Hennelly, COHA (916) 643-4607
Jordan Traverso, DFG Communications, (916) 654-9937

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) secured a $500,000 federal grant to support the creation of additional public hunting and fishing opportunities. The grant, through California’s Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Program, will allow public access for wildlife-dependent recreation on private lands.

“This significant grant funding is the shot in the arm that the SHARE Program needs to finally expand beyond a mere pilot or regional program,” stated Mark Hennelly, Vice President of the California Outdoor Heritage Alliance (COHA). “Many new and exciting hunting opportunities will be made available to the public as a direct result of the department’s successful efforts to secure federal funds.

DFG will use the federal funds, which were originally authorized through the “Open Fields” provision of the 2008 Farm Bill, to compensate participating landowners and nonprofit organizations helping to administer the SHARE hunts. Hunters participating in SHARE will still remain a key funding source for the SHARE Program, along with hunting licenses, stamp and tag funds.

“DFG should be praised and congratulated for their efforts in securing these funds, which will increase public hunting opportunities on private lands in California,” stated John Carlson Jr., President of California Waterfowl. “In most instances, the properties enrolled in the SHARE Program have never been available for public use. Now, private land in Californiawill be made available for current and future generations.”

The SHARE Program was created by California Waterfowl-sponsored state legislation in 2003 to encourage private landowners to voluntarily open their properties to hunting, fishing and other wildlife-dependent recreation. The bill was authored by then Assembly Member Tom Harman. Due to limited funding, for the last several years, the SHARE Program has relied heavily on the assistance of nonprofit conservation groups like California Waterfowl and COHA, and has focused mostly on waterfowl and upland game bird hunts in select areas of the state. However, DFG has recently been able to secure several wild pig and elk hunts.

Programs similar to SHARE have opened up millions of acres of land to public access across at least 18 other states. These programs have been well received by both hunters and landowners alike, and have fostered improved relations between sportsmen and the agricultural and ranching communities.

“We are excited for this opportunity to expand the SHARE program,” said John McCamman, Director of DFG. “This funding will allow us to create public access to additional lands for wildlife-dependent recreational activities.”

With the new funding, the SHARE Program is expected to expand over time into a statewide program with a wide variety of game bird and big game hunting opportunities. In particular, the program should provide improved hunter access to wild pig and wild turkey populations, two species for which there are currently only limited public hunting opportunities available.

California Waterfowl is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to conserve California’s waterfowl, wetland, and our hunting heritage. For more information, visit

The California Outdoor Heritage Alliance(COHA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting hunting and promoting wildlife conservation. For more information, visit

The Mission of the Department of Fish and Game is to manage California‘s diverse fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public.

DFG Online Licensing Increases Big Game Draw Applications

Media Contacts:
Joe Hobbs, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-9992
Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944

California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) licensing automation made it easier for big game hunters to apply for prized tags this year. The new Automated License Data System (ALDS) is credited for a surge in the number of applicants for the highly anticipated Big Game Draw. Total applications were up 10 percent on average for antelope, deer and sheep, with elk applications up 13 percent over last year.

Only a limited number of tags are issued annually for each species. In previous years, hunters had to drop off their applications at DFG offices, sometimes having to brave long lines of last-minute applicants. This year, walk-in traffic was light as most hunters purchased their applications on the Internet or at a license agent.

New this year was the opportunity for hunters to purchase as many chances as they liked (at $5.40 each) to win a rare Owens Valley elk tag and an open zone deer tag.

The Owens Valley elk tag raised $60,120 and the open zone deer tag raised $77,585. The money raised by these tags goes into the newly implemented Big Game Management Account (BGMA).

Senate Bill 1058 (Harman) made specific and important changes to existing law regarding revenues from the sale of antelope, elk, deer, wild pig, bear and sheep tags, including any fund-raising tags. Revenue from these sales must be deposited into the BGMA to provide separate accountability for the receipt and expenditure of these funds. The law stipulates the permitted uses for these funds, including acquiring land, completing projects, implementing programs to benefit antelope, elk, deer, wild pigs, bear and sheep, and expanding public hunting opportunities and related public outreach.

 Typically these two tags would be auctioned off by nonprofit organizations, which generate approximately $25,000.

 Applications for the 2011 Big Game Draw closed June 2, 2011.

DFG 2011 Game Bird Heritage Dove Hunts Offered in San Diego County

Media Contacts:
Nicholas Bechtel, DFG Game Bird Heritage Program, (805) 965-3059
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Game Bird Heritage program is offering five dove hunting opportunities at Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve in 2011. Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve is located in San Diego County.

On Sept. 3, two hunts are scheduled, one at 6 a.m. and the other at 3 p.m. On Sept. 4, there is a single hunt at 6 a.m. On Nov. 20, there is one hunt scheduled at 6 a.m.and another hunt at 3 p.m.These hunts can accommodate 20 hunters apiece. For additional information, please contact Nicholas Bechtel at (805) 965-3059.

Applications are available online at The deadline to apply is Aug. 2, 2011 at 5 p. m. If you have questions regarding the application process, please call the DFG Upland Game Bird Program at (916) 445-3418.


DFG to Offer a One-day Wild Pig Hunting Clinic in July

Media Contacts:
Dan Lehman, DFG Hunter Education Program, (916) 358-4356

Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

The California Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Advanced Hunter Education Program is hosting a wild pig hunting clinic in July in KernCounty.  Co-sponsored by the Pacific Coast Hunter Education Association and Tejon Ranch, the clinic will be held July 30 at Tejon Ranch.

The clinic will cover pig biology, hunting gear, techniques, methods for locating wild pigs, field dressing, game care demonstration and public lands available for hunting pigs. The clinic is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.The cost is $45 and space is limited. Youths 16 years and younger are free but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

DFG’s Advanced Hunter Education Program will provide all necessary class equipment. Meals are not included but a $10 barbecue lunch can be purchased from the Pacific Coast Hunter Education Association on the day of the clinic.

Registration forms are available online at After registering, participants will receive an e-mail with a map to the facility and a list of items to bring.

Tejon Ranch is located approximately 30 miles south of Bakersfield and 60 miles north of Los Angeles. Camping accommodations are available on the property.

DFG Completes 2011 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey

Media Contacts:         
Shaun Oldenburger, DFG Wildlife Division, (916) 445-3763
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has completed its 2011 waterfowl breeding population survey. The resulting data show that the overall number of breeding ducks has increased slightly, however, the number of mallards — the most abundant duck in the survey — decreased 14 percent from last year.

“Although surveys indicated a decrease in mallard abundance, habitat conditions were excellent in most of northeastern California and good throughout the Central Valley, so we expect above-average production for all waterfowl species,” said DFG’s Waterfowl Program Biologist Shaun Oldenburger.

The total number of ducks (all species combined) increased from 541,300 last year to 558,600 this year. This estimate is six percent below the long-term average. The breeding population of mallards decreased from 367,900 in 2010 to 314,700 this year. Mallard numbers are below their long-term average.

“Harvest estimates and age-ratios are not available for 2010-11 hunting season at this time,” Oldenburger added. As soon as this information is available, the proportion of hatch-year birds in the 2010-11 harvest may assist in explaining the decline from 2010 to 2011.” 

DFG biologists and pilots have conducted this annual survey using fixed-wing aircraft since 1955. The survey covers the majority of the suitable waterfowl nesting habitat in the state, including wetland and agricultural habitats in northeastern California, the SacramentoValley, San JoaquinValley, Suisun Marsh, Napa-Sonoma, Delta and some Foothill areas.

The majority of California’s wintering duck population originates from breeding areas surveyed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Alaska and Canada, and these results should be available in July. DFG survey information, along with similar data from other Pacific Flyway states, is used by the USFWS and the Flyway Council when setting hunting regulations for the Pacific Flyway states, including California.

The Federal regulation frameworks specify the outside dates, maximum season lengths and maximum bag limits. Once DFG receives the USFWS estimates and the frameworks for waterfowl hunting regulations from the USFWS, DFG will make a recommendation to the Fish and Game Commission regarding this year’s waterfowl hunting regulations.