Category Archives: waterfowl

Waterfowl Hunting Regulations Set for 2018-19 Season

The California Fish and Game Commission adopted the 2018-19 waterfowl hunting regulations at their regularly scheduled meeting on April 19. The pintail daily bag limit has returned to two, and there have been some changes to accommodate a longer late season for white-fronted geese in the Northeastern Zone. The Commission also created a Special Management Area in the Klamath Basin, which is exempt from this change.

The following is a summary of the regulations:

Duck Seasons

  • Northeastern Zone will be open for ducks from Oct. 6, 2018 through Jan. 18, 2019. Scaup season will be open from Oct. 6, 2018 through Dec. 2, 2019, and from Dec. 22, 2018 through Jan. 18, 2019.
  • Balance of State, Southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California zones will be open from Oct. 20, 2018 through Jan. 27, 2019. Scaup season will be open from Nov. 3, 2018 through Jan. 27, 2019.
  • Colorado River Zone will be open from Oct. 19, 2018 through Jan. 27, 2019. Scaup season will be open from Nov. 3, 2018 through Jan. 27, 2019.

Bag Limits

  • Seven ducks per day, which includes no more than two hen mallards (or Mexican-like ducks in the Colorado River Zone), two pintail, two canvasback, two redheads and three scaup (which may only be taken during the 86-day scaup season).
  • The possession limit for ducks is triple the daily bag limit.

Goose Seasons

  • In the Northeastern Zone, the season will be open for white geese and white-fronted geese from Oct. 6, 2018 through Dec. 2, 2018, and Jan. 5-18, 2019 (except in the new Klamath Basin Special Management Area). The season will be open for large Canada geese from Oct. 6, 2018 through Jan. 13, 2019. In the Klamath Basin Special Management Area, the season will be open for white geese and white-fronted geese from Oct. 6, 2018 through Jan. 18, 2019.
  • Balance of State, Southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California zones will be open from Oct. 20, 2018 through Jan. 27, 2019.
    • Balance of State Zone will also be open for early large Canada geese from Sept. 29, 2018 through Oct. 3, 2018 (except in the North Coast Special Management Area).
    • Balance of State Zone will also be open for late season white-fronted and white geese from Feb. 9-13, 2019.
  • Colorado River Zone will be open from Oct. 19, 2018 through Jan. 27, 2019.

Bag Limits

  • Northeastern Zone, 30 total geese per day, which may include 20 white geese and 10 dark geese, of which only two may be large Canada geese.
  • Balance of State and Southern San Joaquin Valley zones, 30 total geese per day, which may include 20 white geese and 10 dark geese.
  • Southern California Zone, 23 total geese per day, which may include 20 white geese and three dark geese.
  • Colorado River Zone, 24 total geese per day, which may include 20 white geese and four dark geese.
  • The possession limit for geese is triple the daily bag limit.

 

 

 The complete regulations will be posted at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Waterfowl.

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Media Contacts:
Melanie Weaver, CDFW Waterfowl Program, (916) 445-3717

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988                                                                       

 

 

CDFW Invites Artists to Enter Annual California Duck Stamp Art Contest

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is seeking talented waterfowl artists to submit their original artwork to the 2018-2019 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. Submissions will be accepted from May 11 through June 11.

The contest is open to U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older as of March 5, 2018. Entrants need not reside in California.

The winning artwork will be reproduced on the 2018-2019 California Duck Stamp. The top submissions will also be showcased at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s annual art show in July.

The artwork must depict the species selected by the California Fish and Game Commission, which for the 2018-2019 hunting season is the brant, a species of goose.

The design is to be in full color and in the medium (or combination of mediums) of the artist’s choosing, except that no photographic process, digital art, metallic paints or fluorescent paints may be used in the finished design. Photographs, computer-generated art, art produced from a computer printer or other computer/mechanical output device (air brush method excepted) are not eligible and will be disqualified. The design must be the contestant’s original hand-drawn creation. The entry design may not be copied or duplicated from previously published art, including photographs, or from images in any format published on the Internet.

All entries must be accompanied by a completed participation agreement and entry form. These forms and the official rules are available online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/duck-stamp/contest.

Entries will be judged at a public event to be held in June. The judges’ panel, which will consist of experts in the fields of ornithology, conservation, and art and printing, will choose first, second and third-place winners, and an honorable mention.

Since 1971, CDFW’s annual contest has attracted top wildlife artists from around the country. All proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects throughout California. In past years, hunters were required to purchase and affix the stamp to their hunting license. Now California has moved to an automated licensing system and hunters are no longer required to carry the physical stamps in the field (proof of purchase prints directly onto the license). However, CDFW will still produce the stamps, which can be requested by interested individuals at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps.

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

CDFW Offering Holiday Apprentice Youth Waterfowl Hunt at Grizzly Island Wildlife Area in Solano County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering a special apprentice youth waterfowl hunt at the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area in Solano County on Wednesday, Dec. 27 – a rare, midweek hunt for young hunters during their holiday break from school.

The 12 blinds in the Crescent Unit of the wildlife area will be closed and available only to junior hunting license holders (17 and younger) and their adult chaperones. An adult chaperone (18 or older) is required to accompany and supervise junior apprentice hunters. The adult may hunt with the junior hunter and must possess the required 2017-18 California hunting license, the California Duck Validation, Federal Duck Stamp and the free Harvest Information Program (HIP) validation. Junior license holders 16 and older must have a Federal Duck Stamp and the free HIP validation to hunt waterfowl.

All available blinds can accommodate two people – the junior license holder and his or her adult chaperone. Nontoxic shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required for waterfowl hunting. A minimum of 12 duck decoys are required at all blind sites and chest waders are highly recommended.

To receive a reservation, please call the Grizzly Island headquarters at (707) 425-3828. Applicants will need to provide the following information:

  • Junior licensed hunter’s name
  • Junior hunting license number
  • E-mail address
  • Phone number
  • Name of chaperone

Reservations will be issued to applicants who call on a first-come, first-served basis and others will be placed on a waiting list. There will be 12 reservations issued for the Dec. 27 hunt date.

The Grizzly Island Wildlife Area will also accept junior hunters on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the hunt to use the free roam areas and to fill any no-shows from the reservations. As a reminder, all chaperones who wish to hunt must have either a Type A One-Day Pass, Type A Two-Day Pass or Type A Season Pass, and these must be purchased prior to arriving at the check station through either a License Agent or online at www.wildlife.ca.gov (allow two weeks’ mailing time if ordering online).

West Family Unit

CDFW would also like to encourage use of the West Family Unit, which is a spaced blind unit open during the waterfowl season reserved exclusively for junior license holders. Hunt days are Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the open season. An adult chaperone is required. Five double blinds, including one mobility-impaired blind, and one three-person blind are available. The unit is north of Benicia on Goodyear Road. From Highway 680 take the Marshview Road exit and turn right onto Goodyear Road from the off-ramp and the well-marked hunt area will be on the left.

Post-Season Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days

The Grizzly Island Wildlife Area also will be open to junior hunting license holders and their non-hunting adult chaperones on Saturday and Sunday Feb. 3 and 4 during the state’s Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days. Junior hunting license holders can apply for reservations online through CDFW’s Automated License Data System (ALDS). Grizzly Island will also accept junior hunters on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the hunts.

Media Contacts:
Orlando Rocha, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 425-3828
Larry Wyckoff, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 944-5542
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

 

Photo: Brothers Charlie and Clay Brooks show off a heavy strap of mallards taken earlier this season at Grizzly Island. Photo courtesy of Chuck Brooks.

 

Waterfowl Hunting Opportunities Available Soon at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in Alameda County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering waterfowl hunting opportunities at the Eden Landing Ecological Reserve (ELER) in Hayward during the 2017-18 season.

The reserve includes former commercial salt ponds now managed by CDFW as low-salinity water bird habitat and areas restored to full tidal action. Access to ELER for waterfowl hunting will be open for 100 hunters on a first-come, first-served basis for each hunt only on the dates listed below. There is no fee for these hunts.

2017 Hunt Dates (Check-in at 5 a.m. on each of the following dates)

  • Saturday, Nov. 18
  • Tuesday, Nov. 28
  • Thursday, Dec. 7
  • Saturday, Dec. 16
  • Thursday, Dec. 21
  • Saturday, Dec. 30

2018 Hunt Dates (Check-in at 5:30 a.m. on each of the following dates)

  • Saturday, Jan. 6
  • Thursday, Jan. 11
  • Saturday, Jan. 20
  • Thursday, Jan. 25

All adult hunters must possess a valid California Hunting License, federal duck stamp, state duck and HIP validations. Junior hunters must have a junior license and, if 16 or older, must also possess a federal duck stamp. Junior hunters must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older (hunter or non-hunter).

Vehicles may only drive on designated levees, must use approved parking areas and are allowed only on the hunt dates specified above. To participate, hunters must check in with CDFW staff and provide the above licenses, stamps and validations. Hunters will also be required to check out upon leaving and allow inspection of game to evaluate hunter success and collect harvest data.

Improvements have been made to ELER, including a boat launch on Mount Eden Creek allowing access to tidal areas on specified hunt days. Boaters are advised to consult local tide charts before launching and should be aware that extensive mud flats may be exposed and even shallow draft vessels can be subject to hidden underwater hazards during low tides, including rip-rap at the launch.

There is a 25-shell limit in the field. Non-toxic ammunition is required for hunting waterfowl and when hunting on all state wildlife areas and ecological reserves.

A small boat, canoe or other floatation device is highly recommended to access ponds and blinds, navigable sloughs, and for game retrieval. A hunting dog is also recommended for retrieving birds. Be aware that water depths can be shallow and pond bottoms are soft. Hunters may request additional information, including area rules, regulations and maps, at the time of check-in. Hunters are responsible for avoiding closed areas.

To get to ELER from Interstate-880, exit at Alvarado Boulevard, continue west on Alvarado Boulevard, turn right onto Union City Boulevard, left onto Bettencourt Road (sign for Union Sanitary District), left on Whipple Road, right on Horner Street, then right on Veasy Street. Enter at the yellow gate to the check station.

Formal plans for public access opportunities at the reserve in addition to hunting are being developed as part of the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project. More information is available at www.southbayrestoration.org.

 Media Contacts:
John Krause, CDFW Bay Delta Region (415) 454-8050
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

CDFW photo courtesy of Stuart Itoga.

Waterfowl Hunting Seasons Opening Soon

Hunters have a lot to look forward to this fall when the California waterfowl season opens. The season opens Saturday, Oct. 7 in the Northeastern California Zone and on Saturday, Oct. 21 in most other zones.

“Habitat conditions look good in most areas and the majority of waterfowl populations continue to be at all-time highs,” said Melanie Weaver, Waterfowl Program Leader with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

Opening and closing dates vary by zone.  These dates, along with detailed information about daily bag and possession limits, can be found in the 2017-2018 Waterfowl Regulations booklet.  Most season dates and bag limits remain similar to last year with the exception of pintail, which has been reduced to one bird per day.

Quality public hunting access can be found on more than two dozen national wildlife refuges and wildlife areas and ecological reserves managed by CDFW. Please note that nonlead ammunition is required when hunting on CDFW wildlife areas and ecological reserves. For more information please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition webpage.

It is 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 Sutter National Wildlife Refuge, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Delevan National Wildlife Refuge, Little Dry Creek and Howard Slough. Waterfowl hunters should keep informed about current reservation and quota numbers, which can fluctuate. 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 if reservations are not available.  Hunters can follow the Twitter tag #cawildlifeareaclosures for updates on state-operated wildlife area closures.

valid California hunting license, HIP registration, appropriate validations and a signed 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) 322-8988

 

Photo of Edward Lee and his pudelpointer, Elee, courtesy of Edward Lee.