Category Archives: Youth

Federal, State Rules Differ for Junior Hunters

California junior hunters have enjoyed a new benefit that took effect at the beginning of the 2015-16 hunting season. AB 1709, signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown in 2014, amended Fish and Game Code, section 3031, by extending the eligibility period for a junior hunting license by two years. Under the recent change in law, any person who is under 18 years of age on July 1 of the license year qualifies for a junior hunting license, regardless of whether that person applies before or after July 1 of that year. The change allowed for an extension of hunting benefits for junior hunters including reduced fees, exemption from some endorsement requirements and access to special junior hunt opportunities. However, there remain special circumstances and exceptions to the new rule, which are particularly important to understand during waterfowl season.

The change to the age definition affected only California state law, and did not change the federal regulation definition of a youth hunter. Because waterfowl are migratory, the waterfowl hunting regulations fall primarily under the jurisdiction of the federal government. For this reason, waterfowl hunters 16 years of age and older must possess a federal waterfowl endorsement stamp.

In addition, the federal age definition of a youth hunter remains the standard for some special hunt opportunities, particularly those hosted, held or sponsored by federal agencies or on federal lands, and all youth-only waterfowl hunting days. For the upcoming post-season youth hunt weekend and future youth-only waterfowl hunting days, participants must be 15 years of age or younger and must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older.

CDFW is pleased by the new opportunities created for junior hunters with the change to the California state regulations, but reminds the public to be aware of and follow the federal regulations as well.

To read the complete language of AB 1709 and Fish and Game Code, section 3031, please see http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140AB1709.

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Media Contacts:
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW Offers Junior Apprentice Waterfowl Hunt at Grizzly Island Wildlife Area

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering a special junior apprentice duck hunt at Grizzly Island Wildlife Area on Wednesday, Dec. 30. Spaced blinds on Pond 11 and the Crescent Unit of the wildlife area will be closed to the general public and available only to junior apprentice hunt participants and their chaperones.

An adult chaperone (18 years of age or older) is required to accompany and supervise each junior apprentice hunter. The adult may hunt with the junior apprentice hunter and must possess the required 2015-2016 California hunting license, the California Duck Validation, federal waterfowl stamp and the free Harvest Information Program (HIP) validation. Junior license holders between the ages of 16 and 18 must have a Federal Waterfowl Stamp and the free HIP validation to hunt waterfowl.

All available blinds can accommodate two persons. Non-toxic 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 recommended.

To apply for a reservation, please mail a standard-sized post card to:

Grizzly Island Wildlife Area
Junior Apprentice Duck Hunt
2548 Grizzly Island Road
Suisun, CA 94585

Applicants must include the following information:

• Junior Apprentice hunter’s name
• Junior hunting license number
• Mailing address and phone number
• Name of chaperone

Each hunter may apply only once. Application cards must be received by close of business on Friday, Dec. 18. Junior apprentice hunt reservations will be filled by a random drawing conducted on Monday, Dec. 21. There will be 23 reservations issued for this date. All successful applicants will be notified by mail or email. Grizzly Island Wildlife Area will also accept junior apprentice 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, Two-Day or Season Pass, and these must be purchased prior to arriving at the check station through either a license sales agent or a CDFW license sales office, or online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/online-sales (please allow two weeks’ mailing time if ordering online).

CDFW would also like to encourage use of the West Family Unit, which is available only to junior apprentice hunters. Hunt days are Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the open season. The gate will be opened approximately two hours before shoot time. An adult chaperone is required and 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. The hunt area will be on the left.

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Media Contacts:
Patrick Graham, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 425-3828
Orlando Rocha, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 425-3828
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Applications for Upcoming Game Bird Apprentice Hunts Due in October

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering a number of special hunt opportunities for young hunters, women, families and mobility-impaired hunters this fall and winter. All hunt opportunities are now listed on CDFW’s website. Below are the hunts with October application due dates:

Wednesday, Oct. 14:

  • Lassen County: A women’s pen-raised pheasant hunt will be held Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Ash Creek Wildlife Area. This is an afternoon hunt that can accommodate 30 hunters, with a maximum hunting party size of two.
  • Sutter County: Four pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held on Oct. 31, Nov. 1, Nov. 7 and Nov. 8 (one hunt each morning) at the Nelson Slough Unit of the Feather River Wildlife Area. These are combined women’s and junior’s apprentice opportunities. Each hunt can accommodate 25 hunters. (Note: The deadline for juniors to apply for the Nov. 7-8 hunts is Oct. 21.)

Wednesday, Oct. 21:

  • Shasta County: Four junior pheasant pen-raised hunts will be held the weekend of Nov. 7-8 (one morning and afternoon hunt each day) at the Mouth of Cottonwood Creek Wildlife Area. Each hunt can accommodate 15 hunters.
  • Lassen County: Two junior pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held Saturday, Nov. 7 and Sunday, Nov. 8 at the Ash Creek Wildlife Area. Each is a morning hunt that can accommodate 25 hunters, with a maximum hunting party size of two.
  • Plumas County: Two junior pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held on Saturday, Nov. 7 in the Sierra Valley at the Green Gulch Ranch. Each hunt (morning and afternoon) can accommodate 20 hunters. Dogs will be provided.
  • Fresno County: Two junior pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held on Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Mendota Wildlife Area. Each hunt (morning and afternoon) can accommodate 25 hunters, with a maximum hunting party size of two.
  • Riverside County: One junior pen-raised pheasant hunt will be held Sunday, Nov. 15 at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area. This is a morning hunt that can accommodate 65 hunters.
  • Imperial County: One junior pen-raised pheasant hunt will be held Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Imperial Wildlife Area. This is a morning hunt that can accommodate 25 hunters. Dogs will be provided, or hunters may bring their own.

Wednesday, Oct. 28:

  • Tehama County: Two junior pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held on Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Sacramento River Bend, south of Redding. This land is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Each hunt (morning and afternoon) can accommodate 30 hunters.
  • Butte County: A family pheasant hunt will be held Sunday, Nov. 15 at the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area, Little Dry Creek Unit. This is a morning wild bird hunt that can accommodate 30 hunters.
  • Madera County: Several pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held on Saturday, Nov. 21 and Sunday, Nov. 22 near Chowchilla. The Saturday hunt is open to mobility-impaired hunters and two hunts on Sunday (morning and afternoon) are open to families. These hunts can accommodate a total of 75 hunters.
  • Kern County: Two family pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held Saturday, Nov. 14, and two women’s/juniors’ pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held Sunday, Nov. 15 on private land near the city of Bakersfield. The Saturday family hunts (morning and afternoon) can accommodate 100 hunters total, and the Sunday women’s/junior hunts (morning and afternoon) can accommodate 50 hunters total. Please note that successful adult applicants will be charged an $18 fee the day of the hunt (there is no fee for juniors).
  • Los Angeles County: Two family pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held on Saturday, Nov. 21 at Peace Valley. Each hunt (early morning and mid-morning) can accommodate 18 hunters, with a maximum party size of four. Hunting dogs will be provided, or hunters may bring their own.

Please note that many of these opportunities will be held on state wildlife areas or ecological reserves. As of July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when hunting upland game birds on these properties. For more information please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition page.

CDFW’s Upland Game Bird Special Hunts are intended for beginning hunters or those with limited experience. All hunts include gun safety review, easy-to-hunt topography, a high ratio of volunteers to hunters, experienced dog handlers and clay shooting for practice.

Hunters can find more information and apply for any of these hunts online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting. There is no charge to apply. Please note that additional hunts in November, December and January are listed on the website and are also open for registration. Only the hunts with applications due in October are listed above.

New hunters can use their Hunter Education Certificate number for priority registration for apprentice hunts. Applicants with priority will be automatically placed in a hunt before the random drawing takes place.

Hunters must carry a current California hunting license. Adult hunters (18 or older) must also have an upland game bird validation. Proper clothing and safety gear, including blaze orange, is required for department-sponsored hunts.

The full upland game bird hunting regulations and a summary for 2015-2016 can be found on CDFW’s website.

Hunting and Fishing Licenses Make Fine Father’s Day Gifts

Father and son with fishIf you’re looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift this year, consider giving the gift of California’s outdoors. Giving a hunting or fishing license is a wonderful way to show your appreciation of Dad or Grandpa and to make wonderful memories for many months to come.

California is the third-largest state in the nation and about half of its land is publicly owned. That translates into millions of acres of public property accessible to hunters. Fishing opportunities abound in the more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,172 lakes and reservoirs and 80 major rivers in California. The state also features more than 1,100 miles of coastline that is home to hundreds of native fish and shellfish species.

“The gift of fishing and hunting licenses provides endless opportunities to enjoy California’s unmatched wild places with family and friends,” said Charlton H. Bonham, director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

Hunting and fishing licenses are both available for purchase from more than 1,400 license agents throughout the state. Licenses can also be purchased online and printed via CDFW’s website. If a fishing license purchaser does not have all of the licensee’s personal data, a sport fishing gift license voucher will be issued. Hunting license gift vouchers are not available. The fishing license voucher can be redeemed at any license agent location but cannot be redeemed online. To purchase a license online, find a local sales agent or a CDFW sales office, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing.

A 2015-2016 California resident hunting license costs $47.01 and is valid from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. A 2015 California resident sport fishing license is $47.01 and is valid Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2015.

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Media Contact:
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Communications, (916) 651-7824

Student Archers in CDFW State Competition Hit the Mark

The California National Archery in the Schools Program (CalNASP), hosted by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), has concluded its fifth annual Virtual State Archery Tournament. Young archers from around the state wrapped up the season with some impressive scores.

Genesis compound bows
Genesis bows. Photo by Greg Workman.

“We would like to congratulate all of the students who participated in this year’s Virtual State Archery Tournament, particularly the top boy and girl shooter,” said Lesa Johnston, CalNASP Coordinator. “This year’s results were proof of how hard these young people have worked throughout the school year.”

Wyatt Vaineharrison, a ninth grader at Gracious Trail Academy in San Diego County, came in as the top male shooter and top overall shooter in the state competition. He earned a score of 296 points out of a possible 300, which is the highest score of any student in the history of the state tournament. Wyatt received an honorable mention in last year’s tournament. He is also a dedicated Eagle Scout and loves wildlife and spending time outdoors.

Melissa Osorio, a tenth grader from Kearny High School in San Diego County, is the top female shooter. She earned a score of 286 out of a possible 300 and ranked second as overall shooter in the tournament. Melissa competed last year, but has pushed her scores up by 30 points, taking the number one spot over all the other girls in the tournament. When Melissa is not practicing archery, she enjoys spending time with her friends, playing tennis or taking in a movie.

Both shooters will receive a new Genesis Special Edition compound bow donated by the manufacturer.

The Virtual State Archery Tournament is designed to give students the opportunity to challenge their mastery of the sport in a supportive environment in which they can compete with other students statewide without traveling. Students compete at their own school, either in a gymnasium or an outdoor range, and their scores are posted in a national database that ranks not only the state scores, but national scores as well.

Honorable mentions to other students throughout the state go out to Skyler Rosenberg, who won third place overall state shooter and rank one in the Boys’ Middle School Division, Manly Arvizo , who tied at third place for overall state shooter and rank two in the Boys’ High School Division, Aislynn Haywood, second overall girl shooter and rank two in the Girls’ High School Division, and Elissa Spaeth, third place overall girl shooter and rank three in the Girls’ High School Division. Both boys attend Bullis Charter School in San Diego County, while the girls attend Sultana High School in Hesperia.

Archery is a sport that can be enjoyed by students of all abilities and sizes – it can be enjoyed outdoors and encourages students to lead a more active lifestyle. For more information about the CalNASP, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/calnasp.

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Media Contact:
Lesa Johnston, CalNASP Coordinator, (916) 322-8933