Category Archives: waterfowl

California Waterfowl Hunting Seasons Opening Soon

California’s 2018-2019 waterfowl hunting season is fast approaching, with one special early opportunity for young hunters in California’s Northeastern Zone. The weekend of Sept. 22-23 is designated as Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days in this zone only. Additional youth waterfowl hunting opportunities will follow in the other zones around the state on Feb. 2-3, 2019.

The majority of hunters will take to the blinds Oct. 20 in most zones. Specific opening and closing dates vary by zone. Detailed information about daily bag and possession limits can be found on the Fish and Game Commission website.  Most season dates and bag limits remain similar to last year with the exception of pintail, which has increased to two birds per day. In addition, the Klamath Basin Special Management Area was created to maintain all goose hunting days during the general season while the Northeastern Zone has an extended late season for white and white-fronted geese.

Quality public hunting access can be found on more than two dozen national wildlife refuges and wildlife areas and ecological reserves managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Please note that nonlead ammunition is now required when hunting all species on CDFW wildlife areas and ecological reserves. For more information, please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition webpage.

It is also common for waterfowl hunting areas to close periodically throughout the season due to safety concerns caused by flooding. Areas that most commonly experience flood closures include Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Delevan National Wildlife Refuge, Little Dry Creek and Howard Slough. Hunt dates and applications for Sutter National Wildlife Refuge have not yet been finalized due to uncertainty of water availability. Please call (530) 934-2801 for up-to-date information. Hunters should keep informed about current reservation and quota numbers, which are expected to fluctuate frequently. Reservations for state-operated wildlife areas that are closed due to flooding will not be accepted at other hunting areas, and refunds will not be issued for applications submitted to areas that are closed or where reservations are not available.

Hunters can follow the Twitter tag #cawildlifeareaclosures for updates on state-operated wildlife area closures.

A valid California hunting license, appropriate validations and a signed federal waterfowl conservation stamp or an electronic federal waterfowl conservation stamp must be obtained before entering the field. In addition, a wildlife area pass is required to hunt on many state-operated wildlife areas. Licenses, validations and passes are not sold at wildlife areas, so hunters must purchase these items in advance.

California hunters are required to complete a hunter education training course before purchasing a hunting license for the first time in California. Approximately 30,000 students complete this requirement annually.

Media Contacts:
Melanie Weaver, CDFW Waterfowl Program, (916) 445-3717
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

Registration Now Open for Waterfowl Hunting Clinic in Merced County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Advanced Hunter Education Program is offering a Waterfowl Hunting Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018 at the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge in Los Banos. The clinic hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and there is no cost to attend.

Hunters of all skill levels, from beginner to advanced, will take something away from this clinic. Topics that will be covered include hunter safety, duck calling, decoy placement, blind design, ballistics, game care, regulations, and hunting opportunities available at state and federal waterfowl management areas.

The clinic’s lead instructor will be Lt. Shawn Olague of CDFW’s Hunter Education Program. Olague is a veteran wildlife officer and lifelong waterfowl hunter with years of experience hunting in the grasslands area around Los Banos.

Participants can register for the clinic online or contact Lt. Alan Gregory at alan.gregory@wildlife.ca.gov for more information.

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Media Contacts:
Lt. Alan Gregory
, CDFW Law Enforcement, (209) 274-9923

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

CDFW to Host Public Outreach Meeting on Grasslands Wildlife Areas

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will host a public outreach meeting on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Los Banos regarding Central Region Type A wildlife areas. CDFW will take comments and recommendations and provide updates on habitat conditions, availability of water for wetlands and possible impacts to hunter access on these public lands.

CDFW will be joined by representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Waterfowl Association, Ducks Unlimited and the Grassland Water District.

State wildlife areas to be discussed include Mendota, Los Banos, Volta and North Grasslands, including the Salt Slough, China Island, Gadwall and Mud Slough units. Federal refuge personnel will be available to address the Merced National Wildlife Refuge, including the Lone Tree Unit and the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, including the Kesterson, Blue Goose, East and West Bear Creek, and Freitas units. The Grassland Water District will make a short presentation on refuge water supply.

The meeting will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at the Grassland Environmental Education Center located at 18110 W. Henry Miller Road in Los Banos. Please email sean.allen@wildlife.ca.gov if you are planning to attend so enough seating and refreshments can be arranged.

CDFW annually provides an opportunity for licensed hunters to comment and make recommendations on public hunting programs, including anticipated habitat conditions in the hunting areas on wildlife areas through public meetings and other outreach.

CDFW’s Central Region encompasses 12 counties in Central California and is one of seven CDFW regions in the state.

Media Contacts:
Sean Allen, CDFW Central Region, (209) 826-0463
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

 

CDFW photo by Stuart Itoga.

Minnesota Artist Wins 2018-19 California Duck Stamp Art Contest

A painting by Mark Thone of Shakopee, Minn., has been chosen as the winner of the 2018-19 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. The painting, which depicts five black brant, a species of goose, in flight over an estuary containing eel grass, will be the official design for the 2018-19 stamp.

“It is interesting that a guy from the Midwest has such an interest in black brant, but they are so unique, and they were the subject of one of my first duck stamp contest entries in another state,” said Thone, a professional artist. “With this painting I wanted to show them in an estuary in a typical California setting that reflects their connection to eel grass, which they eat.”

2018-19 Duck Stamp second place with ribbon

Following the contest held Tuesday in Davis, the judges praised the anatomical accuracy of Thone’s painting, with one also noting that the birds “filled the frame” of the painting in a fashion that will highlight the species on the stamp.

Artists from around the country submitted entries for the contest, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Erik Fleet of Julian placed second, Roberta “Roby” Baer of Redding placed third and Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Ind. received honorable mention.

2018-19 duck stamp contest third place with ribbone

The top four paintings will be displayed at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s 48th Annual Classic Wildlife Art Festival, which is scheduled July 21-22 in Sacramento.

Since 1971, the California Duck Stamp Program’s annual contest has attracted top wildlife artists from around the country. The contest is traditionally open to artists from all 50 states in order to ensure a wide pool of submissions. All proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects throughout California.

2018 Duck Stamp honorable mention with ribbon

In the past, hunters were required to purchase and affix the stamp to their hunting licenses. Today, hunters are no longer required to carry the stamps because California’s modern licensing system prints proof of additional fees paid directly onto the license. However, CDFW still produces the stamps, which can be requested on CDFW’s website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps.

The species for the 2019-20 California Duck Stamp Art Contest will be the northern pintail.

Media Contacts:
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958
Melanie Weaver, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3717

CDFW to Hold Public Outreach Meeting on Grizzly Island, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Areas

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold an outreach meeting on Wednesday, June 6 in Davis regarding Bay Delta Region Type A wildlife areas. CDFW will take comments and recommendations and provide updates on habitat conditions, availability of water for wetlands and possible impacts to hunter access on these public lands.

The meeting will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area’s conference room, which is located at 45211 County Road 32B in Davis. State wildlife areas to be discussed are the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area and the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area Complex.

CDFW’s Bay Delta Region includes 12 counties in northern California and is one of seven CDFW regions in the state.

CDFW annually provides an opportunity for licensed hunters to comment and make recommendations on public hunting programs, including anticipated habitat conditions in the hunting areas on wildlife areas through public meetings and other outreach.

Media Contacts:
Joe Hobbs, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, (530) 757-2431
Larry Wyckoff, Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, (707) 944-5542
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

 

CDFW photo courtesy of Stuart Itoga.