Category Archives: Hunting

Spring Turkey Season to Open March 26

Media Contacts:
Scott Gardner, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 801-6257
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988
California’s 2011 spring turkey season will open statewide on March 26. The general season will extend through May 1. In addition, archers may hunt turkeys through May 15, and holders of junior hunting licenses are permitted to hunt with shotguns through May 15.In December 2008, the Fish and Game Commission adopted regulations allowing special hunt dates for youth hunters before and after the general season. In addition to the general season, youth hunters who have a valid junior hunting license may hunt this year on March 19-20 and May 2-15. Please note that the season remains closed to all hunters – both youth and adult – between March 21 and the official opening day, March 26. 

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 the general, archery and apprentice junior seasons combined.Wild turkeys are a very popular game bird in California. The statewide population is estimated at 240,000 birds. In 2008 (the most recent year of compiled information), DFG’s game take hunter survey estimated that 24,068 hunters bagged 20,553 turkeys during the spring season. An additional 5,724 were taken during the fall season. In 2008, 10 counties accounted for 55.5 percent of the statewide spring harvest: El Dorado, Mendocino, Placer, Sonoma, Shasta, Yuba, Butte, San Diego, Napa and Lake. 

For places to hunt turkeys, DFG recommends that hunters refer to the “Guide to Hunting Wild Turkeys in California” on DFG’s website at DFG also offers several special hunts for turkeys that are open to a limited number of hunters. Information and applications can be found in the California Hunting Digest at

Hunters are encouraged to check DFG’s special hunts website for more information at

Apply Now for North Central Region Spring Turkey Hunts

Media Contacts:
Sara Holm, DFG Wildlife Branch, (530) 346-6305
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420
Public Contact:
DFG North Central Region Hunter Line, 916-358-2939

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is now accepting applications for spring wild turkey hunts in the North Central Region, and deadlines are approaching. These hunts are being offered at Spenceville, Oroville, Daugherty Hill and Gray Lodge wildlife areas. A special hunt opportunity is also available at the Cosumnes River Preserve, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management.

DFG will accept applications through April 5, but hunters should check the rolling deadlines for each available hunt. All applications must be received by 5 p.m. on the Tuesday at least two weeks before the hunt date. The application and details are on the DFG website at, where hunters can create a DFG web account to be used for all online special hunt applications.

Drawings will be held immediately following the application deadlines. Results will be available online and successful applicants will receive maps and specific hunt information and/or permits in the mail. Any vacancies after the drawing will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

The 2011 spring turkey hunting regulations summary is on the DFG website at

Drawings Planned for 2011 Lake Sonoma Spring Turkey Hunts

Stacy Martinelli, DFG Bay Delta Region, (707) 944-5537
Eric Larson, DFG Bay Delta Region, (707) 944-5528
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

The permit drawing application deadline is approaching for two spring turkey hunts planned for the Lake Sonoma Turkey Hunt Program. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is providing this special hunting opportunity in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG). The hunts will be held on USACE property surrounding Lake Sonoma in Sonoma County.California Wild Turkey

The hunts include an Apprentice Spring Turkey Hunt and a General Spring Turkey Hunt. The Apprentice Spring Turkey Hunt is scheduled for March 26-27 and the General Spring Turkey Hunt is scheduled for April 2-3. DFG will accept online applications for both hunts through March 7.

A total of 15 apprentice hunters will be drawn for the Apprentice Spring Turkey Hunt and 15 general public hunters will be drawn for the General Spring Turkey Hunt. Each successfully drawn applicant may be accompanied by one other hunter. Please note that both hunters in the hunt party must be listed on the hunt application.

Apprentice hunters must possess a valid California junior hunting license. Apprentice hunt parties may also include either another licensed apprentice hunter or a licensed adult hunter as the second party member. Two apprentice hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult. For the General Hunt each hunt party may consist of up to two licensed hunters.

The application, along with further details, can be found on the DFG Web site at

The Lake Sonoma Turkey Hunt Program consists of non-fee, limited-permit hunts that are open only to successful applicants on specific dates during the appropriate spring and fall turkey hunt seasons. The Lake Sonoma turkey hunt area is not open to the public for turkey hunting except for these special hunting opportunities.

The 2011 spring turkey hunting regulations summary can be found at

Applications Now Being Accepted for Special Turkey Hunts at Lake Mendocino

Media Contacts:
Scott Koller, DFG Northern Region, (707) 456-0329
Wayne Shull, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, (707) 467-4239

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is accepting applications for spring wild turkey hunts, including several for youth hunters and mobility impaired hunters. Three such weekends of hunting are being offered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) at Lake Mendocino, in cooperation with DFG’s Northern Region and Game Bird Heritage Program. Several hunting opportunities are designed for a hunter to share his or her hunting experience with a guest.

Adult hunters must have a valid 2010-2011 California hunting license and a valid Upland Game Bird Stamp. Youth hunt applicants must be age 16 years or younger as of July 1 and have a valid junior hunting license, and must be accompanied in the field by a non-hunting adult 18 years or older. The applicant’s license number must be written on the application.

At this time, applications for the mobility impaired hunts cannot be submitted online.

Applicants can download the form at, complete, print, and fax it to (916) 445-4048 or mail it to:

Department of Fish and Game

GBH Special Hunts

1812 Ninth St.

Sacramento, CA 95811-7012

For other hunts, applicants can complete the registration process online at

All applications must be received by 5 p.m. on the date of the corresponding hunt deadline, as indicated below.

Junior mobility impaired/disabled only weekend hunt:

March 19-20, individual hunter, mailed application due by March 1.

Mobility impaired/disabled only weekend hunts:

March 26-27, individual hunter, mailed application due by March 8.

April 9-10, individual hunter, mailed application due by March 22.

Junior Spring weekend hunts:

March 19-20, junior hunter plus one junior guest, application due March 1.

April 23-24, junior hunter plus one junior guest, application due April 5.

May 7-8, individual junior hunter, application due April 19.

May 14-15, individual junior hunter, application due April 19.

General Spring weekend hunts:

April 2-3, hunter plus one guest, application due March 15.

April 16-17, hunter plus one guest, application due March 22.

April 30-May 1, hunter plus one guest, application due April 5.

All random drawings will take place immediately following the deadline. Successful applicants will be notified by mail approximately one week after the drawing.

Successful applicants must RSVP to the Lake Mendocino USACE Office at least eight days prior to their drawn hunt date, and must check in at the USACE Park Office, 1160 Lake Mendocino Dr., Ukiah, 95482-9404, either the day prior to the event (between 7:45 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.) or the day of the event (between 7:45 and 9 a.m. only).

Additional information about the check-in process, park rules, parking, boat launching, accessing the designated hunt area and maps of Lake Mendocino Park are available at, or you may call the USACE Park Office at (707) 467-4239.

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days a Hit on DFG Wildlife Areas

Shaun Oldenburger, Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3763
Harry Morse, Office of Communications, (916) 322-8962

Young hunters from San Diego to Eureka took to the marsh the weekend of Feb. 5-6 for Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days. The hunt affords a special opportunity for young people to enjoy a hunt, learn more about the sport and be mentored by non-hunting adults. Youth hunters must be 15 years of age or younger, have completed the state hunter education course, possess a valid hunting license and be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older.

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days are scheduled for two days prior to the start of the waterfowl season in the Northeastern California waterfowl hunting zone and two days after the closure of the general waterfowl hunting season in the remainder of the state. Regulations for Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days are established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Code of Federal Regulations. All states conducting Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days must conform to these regulations.

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days offer a unique experience for young hunters to enjoy a quality hunting experience with a family member or hunting mentor as set forth under federal law. The memories may last a lifetime for many youths, and may be their introduction to a lifelong favorite pastime or the continuance of a family tradition.

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The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) manages wildlife areas and hunting programs throughout the state, many of which participate in Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days. Special youth programs and events are held in conjunction with the hunting days to educate and mentor youths about hunting safety, waterfowl identification, hunting regulations and wildlife conservation.

At San Jacinto Wildlife Area in Southern California, 66 youth hunters gathered for the hunt along with their mentors. Youths hunted in both assigned hunting blinds and free-roam areas. They averaged two ducks per hunter on Saturday. DFG partnered with private individuals, conservation groups like the California Waterfowl Association and corporations such as Bass Pro to host the event and a lunch for youth hunters and their mentors.

Emily Thomas, 14, of San Jacinto, was hunting with her father in a blind at and had decoys set up well before the sunrise the first morning. She bagged two ducks — a northern shoveler and a green-winged teal — and missed several other opportunities to bag a bird.

“The best thing about this hunt is hunting with my dad,” said Emily.  “We practice at the trap range on Thursday nights because ducks are hard to hit.”

On another pond a quarter mile away Diego Herrera, 11, of Norwalk, was trying to get his first duck. He had several shots but did not connect. His mother Brandi, an avid duck hunter, handled their two-year-old lab and called ducks.

“Diego started out tagging along hunting with us as soon as he could walk. Normally his dad takes him duck hunting but this was a special day for us to share,” said Brandi.

Additional special youth programs were available at a number of wildlife areas. Programs ranged from waterfowl identification and hunting ethics to lunches with free drawings for gifts provide by donors.

One of the best duck-per-hunter averages from state wildlife areas came from Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, where on Saturday hunters averaged 5.5 waterfowl each. Merced National Wildlife Area averaged 4.9 birds per youth hunter on Saturday. At Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, hunters averaged 3.7 on Saturday and 4.2 on Sunday. At Mendota, the Saturday average was 3.3 and at Los Banos the average was 2.6. At Imperial Wildlife Area on the Wister Unity hunters averaged two birds each. Also on Saturday, the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuges reported averages of 6.8 at Delevan, 4.1 at Sacramento and 4.9 at Colusa.