California’s Spring Wild Turkey Season Fast-Approaching

California’s general spring turkey season opens statewide March 27 and runs through May 2 with additional hunting dates for young hunters and archery hunters.

Among the many opportunities to bag a wild turkey this spring:

  • Those possessing a valid junior hunting license get the first chance at a spring turkey. A youth-only weekend hunt takes place March 20-21, a week before the general season opens. A post-season youth hunt begins Monday May 3 and runs through Sunday May 16. Shotguns are permitted for all youth seasons.
  • A special, archery-only hunting season begins Monday, May 3 and runs through Sunday, May 16.
  • CDFW’s SHARE Program, which offers public hunting opportunities on private properties, is offering drawings for spring turkey hunts on two private ranches in Tulare County, the 722-acre River Ridge Ranch and the 975-acre Hart Ranch, including one post-season hunt Sunday, May 16 at the River Ridge Ranch for adult archery hunters or junior hunting license holders with a shotgun. Applications for these special hunts must be made through CDFW’s online sales site. There is a $12.42 application fee for each hunt with most of the money raised returned to participating landowners. For more details on these hunts, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/SHARE.
  • CDFW will host nearly 100 special turkey hunts on public lands throughout the state this season. The hunts were available through an online lottery process that has now closed.

With stable to growing populations of wild turkeys in many parts of the state, the spring turkey season has become one of the more anticipated events on the hunting calendar.

Shooting hours for spring turkeys are from one half-hour before sunrise to 5 p.m. Both a hunting license and upland game bird stamp validation are required to hunt wild turkeys, although an upland validation is not required for junior hunting license holders.

Hunters are limited to one bearded turkey per day with a spring season limit of three birds.

Nonlead shot is required when taking wildlife with a firearm anywhere in the state. Turkeys also can be legally hunted with air rifles and lead pellets of at least 0.177 caliber. Crossbows may be used for the general turkey season but not during the archery season.

Turkey hunters are strongly encouraged to review the 2020 CDFW Wildlife Area Operational Changes Due to COVID-19 web page prior to visiting any state-operated wildlife area in order to understand all required health and safety practices in place to help protect visitors and staff. Turkey hunters are further advised to check with the local management of the individual property they are planning to hunt for specific entry procedures, details and other regulations.

Below are general COVID-19 safety guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus in the outdoors:

  • Stay Local: Stay close to home during this pandemic period. If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please remain at home and plan your trip for another time.
  • Plan Ahead: The ongoing pandemic response continues to be dynamic. Prior to leaving home, check to ensure your destination is open, if parking is available and what visitor guidelines may be in effect.
  • Stay Safer at Six Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Those camping together should only include people within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties.
  • Keep Clean: Be prepared as not all services may be available. Restrooms may be unavailable or closed. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash.
  • Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

February 2021 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

All calendar items are subject to change as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to adhere to all safety protocols including physical distancing, wearing masks and frequent hand washing.

Wildlife areas, ecological reserves and other properties may be closed due to wildfire damage. Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to check for closures before leaving on any recreational trip.

Various Days — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Multiple Hunting Opportunities. Wild pig and turkey hunts are available through the SHARE program. A $12.14 non-refundable application fee is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

Various Days — White Goose Late Season Opens in the Imperial County Special Management Area. Season is open Feb. 1-5, 8-12 and 15-21. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

1 — Deadline to Report on Bear Tag. All bear tag holders are required to report on their tag regardless of whether or not they were successful, unsuccessful or hunted bear. The deadline for reporting on a bear hunt tag is Feb. 1. After the Feb. 1 deadline, the online reporting system will lock hunters out from reporting. Hunters who miss the online reporting window can and should still mail in their tags to the address on the tag. All bear tags postmarked after Feb. 1 will be considered late. Tags can be reported online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/customersearch/begin.

1 — Falconry Only Season Opens for Rabbits and Varying Hares (extending through March 21). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/small-game.

1 — 2021 Commercial Fishing Licenses and Permits Available for Purchase. The 2021 commercial fishing licenses and permits are valid from April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/commercial.

6 — White and White-fronted Goose Late Season Opens in the Northeastern Zone. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl

6-7 — Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, Colorado River and Balance of State Zones. Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days are intended to provide a safe learning environment for youth who are interested in hunting and to encourage youths and adults to experience the outdoors together. Each year, many wildlife areas and national wildlife refuges open for youth hunt days. Federal regulations require that hunters must be 17 years of age or younger and accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older to participate. All hunters must have a valid license and stamps as required by state and federal law. The daily bag and possession limits apply along with all other waterfowl regulations for the 2020-21 waterfowl season. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl

10 California Fish and Game Commission Meeting. The meeting is to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2021.

11 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Lower American River Conservancy Program Advisory Committee Meeting, 9 to 11 a.m., via Microsoft Teams Meeting. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov.

13 — I Heart Estuaries: Virtual Tidal Trivia Night, 5:30 p.m. Test your knowledge of mud, marsh and migratory birds, and hear a few fun stories from the wetlands in between. This virtual event is family-friendly and questions will involve a variety of nature-themed topics. The event is free, but registration is required. To register, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/i-heart-estuaries-tidal-trivia-night-2021.

13-14 — Veterans and Active Military Personnel Waterfowl Hunting Days in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, Southern California and Balance of State Zones. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl

20 — White and White-fronted Goose Late Season Opens in the Balance of State Zone. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

20 — Canada Goose Late Season Opens in the North Coast Special Management Area. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

25 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Meeting, 10 a.m., via Microsoft Teams or teleconference. Members of the public are invited to participate. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov.

25 — CDFW’s Annual Salmon Information Meeting, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., webinar only. The public is invited to attend CDFW’s annual meeting on the status of California Chinook salmon populations and the outlook for 2021 ocean salmon fisheries. A review of last year’s salmon fisheries and spawning escapement will be presented, along with the outlook for this year’s sport and commercial ocean salmon fisheries. The meeting marks the beginning of a two-month long public process used to establish annual sport and commercial ocean salmon seasons. A list of additional meetings and other opportunities for public comment, as well as meeting materials and the link for the webinar, will be available at wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/salmon/preseason as they become available. For more information, please contact Ian Pritchard at (707) 576-2891 or ian.pritchard@wildlife.ca.gov.

26 — Proposition 1 Grant Program Cutting the Green Tape Workshop, 9 a.m. CDFW will host an online stakeholder workshop to provide an overview of its planned Summer 2021 Proposition 1 Grant round focused on watersheds included in CDFW’s North Coast Salmon Project. This focused solicitation will also pilot a series of efforts under CDFW’s Cutting the Green Tape initiative to increase the pace and scale of restoration. No registration is required. For more information on accessing the workshop, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/grants. Information about CDFW’s North Coast Salmon Project can be found at wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/fishes/coho-salmon/north-coast-salmon-project.

###

Media Contact:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 738-9641

December 2020 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

All calendar items are subject to change as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to adhere to all safety protocols including physical distancing, wearing masks and frequent hand washing.

Wildlife areas, ecological reserves and other properties may be closed due to wildfire damage. Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to check for closures before leaving on any recreational trip.

Various Days — Nimbus Fish Hatchery Free Public Webinars, 9 to 9:45 a.m., Dec. 3, 10 and 17 via Zoom. These free public webinars will be broadcast live from Nimbus Hatchery staff for all ages to enjoy. Because the Visitor Center is currently closed, we are offering everyone the opportunity to connect with wildlife and our hatchery experts. Information on each webinar and a link to register (required) will be posted to our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nimbushatchery. For additional information, please contact stephanie.ambrosia@wildlife.ca.gov or call (916) 358-2884.

Various Days — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Hunting Opportunities. There are still opportunities available for pig, waterfowl and upland game hunting through February. An $11.25 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

Saturdays — Swan Tours, 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., Yuba County north of Marysville in privately owned rice fields. Led by CDFW naturalists, this is an excursion into a prime Pacific Flyway overwintering grounds. Tours focus on the majestic and ancient tundra swan, but participants are sure to see an assortment of geese, ducks, shorebirds and raptors. Sign up on Eventbrite. Tours have been modified to meet health and safety guidelines. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/swan-tours or email genelle.treaster@wildlife.ca.gov.

5 — Weaving Yesterdays: A Live History Series Virtual Event, 1 to 1:30 p.m. Reserve naturalists and historians will host a Facebook Live series exploring the cultural heritage of Elkhorn Slough. At 1 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month, participants will hear the backstory of a new location around the area. Please visit facebook.com/events/916213552118672 to view the series and find recordings of previous installments.

8 California Wildlife Conservation Board Special Meeting, 10 a.m., via Microsoft Teams or teleconference. Public comment will be accepted per the agenda. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov.

9-10 California Fish and Game Commission Meeting, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Dec. 9 and 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 10. The meeting is to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit fgc.ca.gov.

10 — Woven in Time: The Cultural Heritage and Historical Ecology of Elkhorn Slough Virtual Event, 5:30 to 7 p.m. Explore the Elkhorn Slough’s rich history with Stewardship Coordinator Andrea Woolfolk. After the lecture, celebrate with us at a live virtual ribbon cutting for a new historical ecology exhibit. For more information and to view live, please visit facebook.com/events/2519752044989001.

11 — Lower American River Conservancy Program Virtual American River Parkway Tour, 1 to 3 p.m. This virtual tour of the American River Parkway will explore current conditions of the Parkway and highlight current and potential natural and community investment sites. Information will be available at wcb.ca.gov/programs/lower-american-river.

13 — The Ups and Downs of King Tides Virtual Event, 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Witness the highest and lowest tides of the year virtually and find out how scientists use the king tides phenomenon to model sea level rise impacts on California’s coast. This two-part presentation will feature Elkhorn Slough Reserve naturalists speaking from the reserve at the highest tide of the year (8:30 a.m.) and the lowest (4 p.m.). For more information and to view live, please visit facebook.com/events/657171038289554.

16 — Earliest Possible Date for Opening of Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery North of the Sonoma-Mendocino County Line (Northern Management Area). After a delay from Dec. 1 due to crab quality, Dec. 16 is the earliest possible date the season could open. However, the opening date may be further delayed in some or all of this area due to elevated marine life entanglement risk or poor meat quality. Should there be additional changes to the season opening date due to entanglement risk, information will be made available at wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/whale-safe-fisheries and sent out through the CDFW Whale Safe Fisheries email listserv. More information on the crab fishery and season updates due to crab quality can be found at wildlife.ca.gov/crab.

19 — General Season for Band-tailed Pigeons in the Southern Hunt Zone Opens (extending through Dec. 27). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

27 — Black Bear Season Ends Statewide (or earlier if CDFW determines that 1,700 black bears have been reported taken). For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/bear. Successful hunters must have their tag validated. All hunters are required to submit a report on their bear tag, whether they hunted for bear or not. Tags can be mailed to the address on the tag or reported online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/customersearch/begin.

28 — Archery Only Pheasant Season Opens (extending through Jan. 24, 2021). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

31 — Recreational Groundfish Fishery for Boat-based Anglers Closes. Species include rockfish, cabezon, kelp and rock greenlings, lingcod, leopard shark, soupfin shark and spiny dogfish, and other federally managed groundfish. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/groundfish-summary.

###

Media Contact:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8907

Pheasant, Fall Turkey, Second Dove Seasons Open Saturday, Nov. 14

Every year, the second Saturday of November poses something of an omnivore’s dilemma for California hunters. That’s when the state’s wild pheasant, fall turkey and second dove seasons open, presenting California game bird hunters with lots of options in the state’s forests, uplands and wetlands.

Pheasant, fall turkey and the second dove seasons open Saturday, Nov. 14. Combined with seasons already open for ducks, geese, quail, snipe, chukar, rabbits and squirrels, California hunters can find themselves with more opportunities than time afield.

This is also the time of year to transform holiday meals from the mundane to the memorable. Dove popper appetizers, a side dish of wild pheasant or a main course of wild turkey are guaranteed to enliven any holiday gathering while showcasing and sharing California’s wild bounty.

Pheasant

Land use changes and intensifying agricultural practices have not been kind to California’s wild pheasants, which prefer grasslands and rural farmland habitat.

The good news is that some of the best pheasant habitat and wild pheasant hunting in California is now found on state wildlife areas and federal wildlife refuges open to the public – from Tule Lake and Lower Klamath national wildlife refuges in northeastern California to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex down to the San Luis and Kern national wildlife refuges in the southern San Joaquin Valley.

Several CDFW Type A wildlife areas are especially popular with wild pheasant hunters, including Yolo Bypass, Upper Butte Basin, Los Banos, North Grasslands, Grizzly Island and Gray Lodge. These state areas are open to pheasant hunting on their normal Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday shoot days during the pheasant season.

Additionally the Colusa, Delevan and Sacramento national wildlife refuges along with the Kesterson Unit within the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge will open for a special, one-day pheasant hunt on Monday, Nov. 16.

The 2020 general pheasant season runs from Saturday, Nov. 14 through Sunday, Dec, 27. 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.

Wild Turkey (Fall Season)

California’s wild turkey population continues to thrive and even expand its range after one of the state’s longest droughts. For wild turkey hunters, the fall season presents an additional opportunity by allowing the take of both males and females, unlike the spring season when only bearded turkeys may be taken.

The fall turkey season runs from Saturday, Nov, 14 through Sunday, Dec, 13. The daily bag limit is one turkey of either sex with a fall season and possession limit of two birds. Turkey hunting is permitted at many state wildlife areas and federal wildlife refuges where other hunting is allowed. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. For the Type A Wildlife Areas that allow turkey hunting, shoot days are limited to the normal Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday during the fall turkey season.

Second Dove Season

California’s second dove season runs from Saturday, Nov, 14 through Monday, Dec, 28. The second dove 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.

Type A Wildlife Areas that allow dove hunting will be open the normal shoot days which are Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday during the second dove season. Remember to check the area regulations to see if any additional upland species might also be open. In addition to public hunting opportunities available at 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. Beginning hunters should visit CDFW’s Apprentice Hunts page for additional pheasant hunting opportunities.

Additional Requirements

Both a valid hunting license and upland game bird validation are needed to hunt pheasant, turkey and dove. An upland game bird 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 such as mourning dove and snipe. A wildlife area hunting pass is required for adults to hunt on a Type A and Type B state-operated wildlife areas and national wildlife refuge. Please check with the individual property for specific details and regulations on each area.

Please note that nonlead shot is required when taking any wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California. Hunters need to plan accordingly. For more information, please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition page.

###

Media Contact:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 215-3858

July 2020 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

All calendar items are subject to change as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Various Days — Sign Up for Environmental Response to Oil Spills (EROS) Course. This free three-day course will be held October 13-15, 2020 at the Granite Bay Activity Center in Granite Bay. It is provided to new oil spill responders and consists of demonstrations, lectures by experienced response personnel, case studies and interactive field trips. Applications are due Aug. 1. For more information and to register, please contact Lea Gibson at (916) 215-5581 or lea.gibson@wildlife.ca.gov. Please include your name, contact information and oil spill response role.

1 — Recreational Chinook Salmon Season to Open on Portions of Klamath and Trinity Rivers. Emergency fishing regulations for the spring Chinook salmon fishery in the Klamath River Basin have been extended. The spring Chinook salmon fishery on the lower Klamath River (downstream of the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec) and Trinity River (upstream of the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River) will open July 1 and run through Aug. 14 on the Klamath River and through Aug. 31 on the Trinity River. The daily bag limit has been set to one Chinook salmon (no size restrictions), and the possession limit set at two Chinook salmon. Please see the 2020-2021 California Freshwater Sportfishing Regulations and 2020-2021 California Supplement Sport Fishing Regulations for more information.

1 — General Season for Rabbits and Varying Hare Opens Statewide (Extending through Jan. 31, 2021). For more information on small game seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/small-game.

1 — Dungeness Crab Sport Fishing Season Closed in the San Francisco and Central Management Areas (South of Mendocino County). For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/crabs.

4 — Free Fishing Day. One of two Free Fishing Days being offered by CDFW in 2020 is scheduled July 4 (the other is Sept. 5). While all fishing regulations – such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures – remain in effect, anyone can fish without purchasing a fishing license on Free Fishing Days. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/free-fishing-days.

4 — Weaving Yesterday’s History Series Virtual Event, 1 to 1:30 p.m. Reserve naturalists and historians will host a Facebook Live series exploring the cultural heritage of Elkhorn Slough. Held on the first Saturday of every month, each event features the backstory on a different location around the slough. Please visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/weaving-yesterdays-a-live-history-series to view the series’ schedule and find recordings of previous installments.

9 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Stream Flow Enhancement Program Proposal Solicitation Notice Opens. Program priorities include enhancing flow in streams that support anadromous fish, supporting special status species and providing resilience to climate change. Please visit wcb.ca.gov/programs/stream-flow-enhancement for more information.

16 — Recreational Chinook Salmon Season to Open in Central Valley. The season will open on portions of the American, Feather, Mokelumne and Sacramento rivers. For full information on open waters and limits, please see the 2020-2021 California Freshwater Sportfishing Regulations and 2020-2021 California Supplement Sport Fishing Regulations. The season will open on the Sacramento River from the Deschutes Road bridge to the Red Bluff Diversion Dam on Aug. 1.

24 — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Elk Hunting Opportunities. An $11.50 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

29 — California Fish and Game Commission Marine Resources Committee Meeting, time to be determined. This meeting was originally planned to take place in San Clemente but is expected to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit fgc.ca.gov.

30 — Last Day of Dungeness Crab Sport Fishing Season in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/crabs.

31 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Lower American River Conservancy Program 2020 Proposal Solicitation Notice Closes, 5 p.m. Please visit wcb.ca.gov/programs/lower-american-river for more information.

###

Media Contact:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 817-0434