Blue-Colored Fat Linked to Rodenticide Exposure in Hunter-Harvested Wildlife

A flock of geese in the San Francisco Bay Area were likely exposed to an anticoagulant rodenticide, according to findings released in February from a postmortem examination by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Wildlife Health Lab (WHL). 

In Fall 2020, approximately ten Canada Geese shot by hunters in Contra Costa County were found to have blue-colored fat. The WHL conducted an examination on one of the carcasses and detected Diphacinone, an anticoagulant rodenticide, in the goose’s liver. 

“Rodenticide baits like diphacinone often contain a dye which identifies the bait as a poison. We suspect the blue-colored fat was caused by ingestion of a diphacinone bait containing blue dye,” said CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Krysta Rogers, an avian disease specialist. 

Diphacinone is a first-generation anticoagulant rodenticide that typically requires multiple feedings to cause death. It is labeled for use for agriculture, landscape maintenance, and in and around homes and businesses. Canada geese often forage in flocks and readily feed on grasses, sedges and seeds including agricultural grains such as corn, alfalfa and oats. 

CDFW encourages hunters to report any unusual findings in harvested wildlife and not to consume any part of an animal with blue fat or other abnormality. Incidents may be reported to the CDFW’s Wildlife Health Lab at WILab@wildlife.ca.gov or (916) 358-2790. 

Pesticide applicators are urged to use care when using rodenticides so as not to expose wildlife. Prior to application, it is important to ensure non-target wildlife are not using the area where the pesticide is to be applied. 

For more information, please visit the rodenticides page on CDFW’s website. For questions about pesticide use and regulations, or to report misuse, please contact your County Agricultural Commissioner’s office. For Contra Costa County, please call (925) 608-6600.

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Media Contacts
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 825-7120
 

CDFW Seeks Artists to Enter Annual California Duck Stamp Art Contest

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites artists to submit their original artwork to the 2021-2022 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. Submissions will be accepted April 26 through June 4.

The artwork must depict the species selected by the California Fish and Game Commission, which for the 2021-2022 hunting season is the gadwall. These common dabbling ducks are similar in size and shape to a mallard, with both males and females donning somewhat muted coloring. Despite lacking the bright colors typical of other male ducks, male gadwalls exhibit intricate feather patterns with subtle yet striking color variations of brown and gray ending in a black patch at the tail.

The winning artwork will be reproduced on the 2021-2022 California Duck Stamp. The top submissions are traditionally showcased at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s art show in July, but this year’s show status is pending due to COVID-19.

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 for entry 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.

The contest is open to U.S. residents 18 years of age or older as of March 8, 2021. Entrants need not reside in California. All entries must be accompanied by a completed participation agreement and entry form. These forms and the official rules are available online at wildlife.ca.gov/duck-stamp/contest.

Entries will be judged 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, as well as 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 wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps.

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Media Contacts:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 738-9641
Melanie Weaver, CDFW Wildlife Branch

Winning 2020-21 Duck Stamp painting of canvasbacks by Jeffrey Klinefelter.

Veterans and Active Military Waterfowl Hunting Days Offered Excellent Opportunities

Lauryn Ash, 2nd lieutenant with the California Air National Guard, participated in her first duck hunt during the Veterans and Active Military Waterfowl Hunting Days weekend. An 18-year U.S. Air Force Veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, Ash was hosted on her hunt by the Frog Pond Duck Club in Los Banos

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) conducted its first Veterans and Active Military Personnel Waterfowl Hunting Days recently, providing more than 650 veterans and active duty military the opportunity to hunt on state and federal managed public hunting areas. Gray Lodge Wildlife Area near Gridley and the Wister Unit of the Imperial Valley Wildlife Area near the Salton Sea hosted the most hunters over the two days. Gray Lodge hunters averaged 5.1 waterfowl on Saturday while the Wister Unit hunters averaged 3.5. Hunting results for all CDFW managed hunting areas are posted at wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Waterfowl#877772-hunt-results.

“Each of us at CDFW express our appreciation for the work and sacrifice many of our veterans made and continue to make,” said Stafford Lehr, Deputy Director of CDFW’s Wildlife and Fisheries Division. “Opening our wildlife areas and providing veterans and active duty personnel a special waterfowl hunting opportunity was not only a pleasure, but a chance to give something back for their exceptional service to our country.” 

Once the Veterans and Active Military Personnel Waterfowl Hunting Days dates were set, a coordinated effort took place among state and federal agencies, private organizations and duck clubs to provide veterans and military personnel with hunting opportunity. CDFW opened more than a dozen of its most popular waterfowl areas for these special hunt days. California Waterfowl (CWA) opened its Grizzly Island Ranch, Butte Creek Ranch and other properties. CWA reached out to members and cooperating partners to provide places for 60 veterans to hunt.

Duck clubs like The Members Duck Club near the Salton Sea and Mound Farms in the Yolo Bypass welcomed veterans for the Veterans and Active Military Personnel  Waterfowl Hunting Days. Club members accompanied veterans out to the blinds, helped them find their blind in the dark and set out decoys. CWA Volunteer Veterans Hunt Coordinator Mike Peeters said, “There is tremendous community outreach among landowners to connect with veterans, to give back and provide hunting opportunity.”

Only veterans and active military personnel could apply for a hunt reservation through the CDFW waterfowl reservation drawing system for the weekend. This made it possible for many to draw their first reservation of the 2020-21 waterfowl hunting season. A reservation is extremely important to hunters since it guarantees a place to hunt. Drawing a reservation is hard. In 2020-21, a record 1.23 million hunt reservation applications were submitted. At Little Dry Creek Unit within the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area, one of the most sought-after hunting areas, a record 141,160 applications were submitted. Overall, the odds of drawing a reservation for the 2020-21 season on a CDFW managed waterfowl hunting area averaged 4.05 percent.

Veterans and active duty personnel experiencing the hunt came away with several positives. First and foremost, they enjoyed a special weekend of waterfowl hunting. Those new to waterfowl hunting got a chance to experience a hunt with minimal hunter competition. Many also were able to share the experience with friends and family.

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Media Contact: 
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (208) 220-1169

Special Post-Season Waterfowl Hunt Weekend Reserved for Veterans and Active Military Personnel Feb. 13-14

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will reopen and staff nearly two dozen of the state’s most popular waterfowl hunting areas to welcome veterans and active military personnel for a special hunt weekend Feb. 13 and 14.

The first Veterans and Active Military Waterfowl Hunting Days take place the second weekend in February throughout the Balance of the State, Southern San Joaquin Valley, and Southern California waterfowl zones on both private property and public land for eligible hunters.

Species and daily bag limits are the same as the regular season with the following exceptions: Brant are not open to take and geese are not allowed to be taken in the Balance of State Zone on these days.

In addition to a valid California hunting license, California duck validation, federal duck stamp and Harvest Information Program (HIP) validation, any person participating in these hunts must possess and present upon demand verification of eligibility. Acceptable verification includes: a Veteran ID Card, military ID card for active duty personnel, or a state-issued driver license or ID card with veteran designation. Qualifying veterans are those defined in Section 101, Title 38, of the United States Code. Absence of verification may subject the hunter to citation.

Among those public areas reopening for Veterans and Active Military Waterfowl Hunting Days: The Little Dry Creek Unit of the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area, Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, Delevan National Wildlife Refuge, Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Sutter National Wildlife Refuge, Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, Kern National Wildlife Refuge, Los Banos Wildlife Area, Mendota Wildlife Area, Merced National Wildlife Refuge, San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, North Grasslands Wildlife Area, San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Volta Wildlife Area, Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area and Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area.

A wildlife area pass is required to hunt on Type A and Type B state-operated wildlife areas and national wildlife refuges during the hunt weekend. These items are not available for sale at hunter check stations and must be purchased ahead of time. All 2020 Type A and Type B Wildlife Area Season Passes and Type A One and Two-Day Wildlife Area Passes will be accepted during the hunt weekend. A Type A or Type B Season Pass is required to hunt on Type B Wildlife Areas.

As of Feb. 1, overnight camping is once again allowed on state-operated wildlife areas and federal refuges reopening for the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days Feb. 6-7 and the Veterans and Active Military Waterfowl Hunting Days Feb. 13-14. Please check with the individual property for entry procedures, specific details and other regulations.

Waterfowl hunters are strongly encouraged to review the 2020 CDFW Wildlife Area Operational Changes due to COVID-19 webpage prior to visiting any state-operated wildlife area or refuge in order to understand all required health and safety practices in place to help protect visitors and staff. Waterfowl hunters are further advised to check with 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.

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

Photo:
Bill Self of Dublin is an Air Force veteran, retired educator, and lifelong California sportsman. He and his fellow veterans along with active military personnel will enjoy an extra weekend of duck hunting Feb. 13 and 14 during California’s first Veterans and Active Military Waterfowl Hunting Days. Photo courtesy of Edward Lee.

Camping Reopens on CDFW Lands, State-Operated Wildlife Areas and Refuges

With the recent lifting of the Regional Stay-at-Home Order in all parts of the state, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will once again allow overnight camping on department lands, state-operated wildlife areas and federal wildlife refuges where camping is permitted, effective Monday, Feb. 1.

The reopening of camping and the overnight use of camp trailers and motorhomes will accommodate waterfowl hunters participating in the Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days Feb. 6-7 and the Veterans and Active Military Hunt Days Feb. 13-14 at wildlife areas and federal refuges in the Balance of the State, Southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California waterfowl zones.

Non-hunting related dispersed camping on CDFW lands will once again be permitted on those specific properties that allow camping.

The California Department of Public Health Jan. 6 Travel Advisory remains in effect: Californians should avoid non-essential travel to any part of California more than 120 miles from one’s place of residence. Avoiding travel reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Waterfowl hunters are strongly encouraged to review the 2020 CDFW Wildlife Area Operational Changes due to COVID-19 webpage prior to visiting any state-operated wildlife area or refuge in order to understand all required health and safety practices in place to help protect visitors and staff. Waterfowl hunters are further advised to check with 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.

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