Category Archives: Public Lands

Pronghorn Season Set to Open in Northeastern California

Sagebrush flats, rolling hills, wide-open skies and crisp mornings characterize California’s general pronghorn antelope season, which opens Saturday, Aug. 24 in northeastern California.

While thousands apply for the opportunity each year, only a small group of Californians will get the chance to escape the late-summer heat gripping most of the state to hunt pronghorn the last week in August in the remote reaches of northeastern California.

Only 245 pronghorn tags are awarded through CDFW’s Big Game Drawing, and the season lasts just nine days, ending Sept. 1 in most of the six pronghorn hunt zones. Archery hunters got a jump on their rifle-toting counterparts with an early season that began Aug. 10 and ended Aug. 18.

While the odds of drawing a California pronghorn tag are long, the hunter success rate is high. Hunters reported taking 201 pronghorn in 2018. Hunter success across the six northeastern hunt zones and season dates in 2018 averaged about 86 percent for rifle hunters and about 48 percent for archery hunters.

The high success rates help explain why more than 18,000 hunters applied for a tag in 2018. Another 8,700-plus hunters applied for a preference point to improve their chances of drawing a pronghorn tag in future years. Only one pronghorn tag is awarded to a nonresident each year.

North America’s fastest land animal, pronghorn can reach speeds exceeding 50 miles per hour. Unlike deer and many other big-game animals, pronghorn prefer wide-open areas with little cover. They are usually found in flat to rolling open country, using their excellent eyesight and speed to maintain a safe distance from any perceived threats.

Once found throughout California’s Central Valley, pronghorn today are most numerous in northeastern California. Through their tags and application fees, hunters are funding important pronghorn research and management that includes a trapping and collaring program underway in Siskiyou County.

Successful hunters are asked to submit two front teeth from their pronghorn for age analysis. Successful tag reporting allows CDFW to better understand and manage pronghorn herds for continued population growth, expansion and hunting opportunity.

Over the decades, CDFW has made efforts to re-establish herds in suitable habitat across the state. Pronghorn today roam the Carrizo Plain grasslands in San Luis Obispo County as a result of the translocation of animals from Lassen County herds in the1980s.

CDFW biologists have seen recent evidence of pronghorn naturally expanding their range as well.

A small herd of pronghorn visits the Bodie Hills area of Mono County, spending much of the year in Nevada. Biologists believe some of these animals have origins back to Yellowstone National Park and translocation efforts decades ago by both Nevada and California wildlife agencies.

A herd that may have originated in Lassen County or perhaps Nevada may be colonizing parts of Sierra and Plumas counties. Research is currently in the planning stages to investigate these potential range expansions.

Media Contacts:
Kristin Denryter, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-9992
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

Special Dove Hunting Opportunities Available for 2019 Season

California’s dove hunting season is rapidly approaching, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications for dove hunts throughout the state on both public land and private ranches.

Hunters are reminded that nonlead ammunition is now required for hunting doves and taking wildlife anywhere in California with a firearm.

The first half of the split dove season will be open statewide from Sept. 1-15, 2019. The second half will be open statewide from Nov. 9 through Dec. 23, 2019.

For mourning dove and white-winged dove, the daily bag limit is 15, up to 10 of which may be white-winged doves. The possession limit is triple the daily bag limit. There is no limit for spotted dove or ringed dove, but the season dates are the same as for mourning dove and white-winged dove. Eurasian collared-dove is the only dove species that can be hunted year-round, with no bag or possession limit.

Several dove hunting opportunities are available by drawing only throughout California for the upcoming dove season as part of CDFW’s Upland Game and SHARE programs.

Special drawings for public land dove hunting opportunities through the Upland Game Bird Hunting program will be available at the following locations:

  • Merced and Stanislaus counties: North Grasslands Wildlife Area (China Island and Salt Slough units), Los Banos Wildlife Area
  • Sacramento County: Cosumnes River Preserve
  • Fresno County: Pilibos Unit of the Mendota Wildlife Area
  • San Diego County: San Felipe Wildlife Area
  • San Luis Obispo County: North Chimineas Ranch, Carrizo Plains Ecological Reserve

Drawings for limited public access to private lands through the SHARE Program will be available at the following locations:

  • Santa Barbara County: Harrington Farms, Jones Ranch and Sleepy Creek Ranch
  • Tulare County: Hart Ranch

Hunters can apply for these opportunities online, at CDFW license sales offices, through retail license agents or by calling (800) 565-1458.

Additional information can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds/hunts and www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Meshriy, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 322-6709
Victoria Barr, CDFW SHARE Program, (916) 445-4034
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

Applications Now Available for Apprentice Deer Hunt in San Luis Obispo County for Junior License Holders

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) is offering a drawing for an apprentice deer hunt for Junior Hunting License holders on the Chimineas Unit of the Carrizo Plains Ecological Reserve in September.

The two-day buck hunt, which is being offered in cooperation with the A-Z Foundation (AZF) and the Chimineas Ranch Foundation (CRF), will be held Sept. 14 and 15 on the 30,000-acre reserve in San Luis Obispo County. Mandatory hunter orientation will take place in the evening on Friday, Sept. 13. Overnight lodging will be available at the main ranch house on the ecological reserve on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Three apprentice Junior Hunting License holders will be chosen by lottery. Selected Junior Hunting License holders must possess an A zone deer tag and must be accompanied by an adult. Participants will receive classroom, range, and field training in gun handling techniques and safety, deer hunting and game care. Hunts will be led by AZF volunteers. AZF and CRF will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday, as well as breakfast and lunch on Sunday.

Junior Hunting License holders may apply online using their GO ID number through the Automated License Data System (ALDS). The hunt application is titled “Carrizo Plain ER – Chimineas Unit Apprentice Deer Hunt.”

The application deadline is Monday, Aug. 19. Successful applicants will be notified by phone and will receive additional information, including maps and special regulations, prior to the hunt.

Media Contacts:
Bob Stafford, CDFW Central Region, (805) 594-6175
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

Volunteers Needed for Maintenance Day at Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area has scheduled a cleanup and hunting blind maintenance day on Saturday, Aug. 17 from 7 a.m. to noon. The wildlife area consists of Little Dry Creek and Llano Seco in Butte County and Howard Slough in Glenn County.

At last year’s event, wildlife area staff and approximately 20 volunteers cleaned out and brushed up hunting blinds and posted field markers in preparation for the upcoming waterfowl season. Activities this year will include cleaning out and brushing up hunting blinds, installing and painting area signage, and improving mobility-impaired hunting blinds. Volunteers should bring gloves, work boots and sunscreen. Water and insect repellent will be provided, as will a barbecue lunch hosted by the California Waterfowl Association.

Volunteers will meet at 7 a.m. at the wildlife area headquarters located at Howard Slough Wildlife Area, 9256 Highway 162, Butte City (95920). For more information, please call (530) 982-2169.

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Media Contacts:
Tim Hermansen, Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area, (530) 982-2169
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW Now Accepting Pre-Applications for Wetlands Restoration Projects for Greenhouse Gas Reductions

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting pre-applications for projects to be funded through its 2019 Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program. The Proposal Solicitation Notice (PSN) and instructions for applying can be found on CDFW’s Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program webpage.

The total available grant funding for approved projects is approximately $12.75 million. Pre-applications are due no later than Aug. 13 at 4 p.m.

The grants have a two-phase application process: a pre-application proposal and a final application proposal. The pre-application focuses on basic eligibility requirements as outlined in the PSN. CDFW will assist applicants in calculating the greenhouse gas benefits of their projects in order to establish eligibility. Approved pre-applicants will then be invited to submit a final application.

Interested applicants are encouraged to participate in one of two Pre-Application Workshops that will be held via Skype on July 10 and July 31, from 1-3 p.m. The workshops will walk applicants through the application process. Details and the Skype link for the workshops can be found on CDFW’s Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Program webpage.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, CDFW Watershed Restoration Grant Branch, (916) 445-1285
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988