Biologists to Collect More Bear Teeth for Study and Data Collection

Media Contacts:
Marc Kenyon, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3515
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916), 322-8911

Bear hunters taking to the field this season, if successful, will need to have their heads more closely examined. Department of Fish and Game (DFG) biologists and wardens will require a tooth to be pulled from the skull of each bear taken during the 2011 black bear hunting season that will begin as early as August 13 in the A Zone.

This is a change from last year, when DFG only required that a tooth be pulled from every other bear harvested during the season. The change stems from a request by the California Fish and Game Commission, which wants to take a closer look at the management of black bear hunting in California. “We currently manage black bear hunting at a statewide level, but we want to be doubly sure that we’re not negatively impacting local bear populations,” said Marc Kenyon, DFG’s Bear Program Coordinator.

The Commission is the deciding body for fishing and hunting regulations. In 2010, a proposal to modify the number of bears legally taken during the hunting season was closely scrutinized by Commission members as well as the public. During the regulation setting process, Commission members and the public voiced a desire to look at regional bear hunt management.

Since 2005, a tooth has been pulled from half of the bears legally taken during each hunting season. Current hunting regulations state that the skull of any bear taken during the hunting season becomes the property of DFG. Those portions not needed for scientific purposes are returned to the hunter.

The teeth provide key insight into the bear population. A premolar is pulled from the bear’s mandible and processed at a Montana laboratory specializing in aging animals. The teeth are cut in half, stained and examined under a microscope. Lab technicians can then count the rings, called cementum annuli, which are deposited annually like tree rings. The number of rings indicate the age of the bear. Reproductive events can also be detected in female teeth.

DFG biologists use this information to monitor the bear population. The age and gender data can be combined to produce a conservative population estimate and establish other parameters. This information is then used to inform the Commission when deciding new hunting regulations.

More tooth data will ultimately allow DFG to monitor bear populations at the local level with better precision.

California’s black bear population is estimated to be higher than 30,000. Current hunting regulations allow up to 1,700 bears to be taken during the hunting season. More information about black bear management in California can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/bear/index.html.

Check Station Operations to Change for 2011-2012 Waterfowl Hunting Season

Media Contacts:
Glenn Underwood, DFG License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-5841
Brad Burkholder, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-1829
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) advises hunters to plan ahead during the upcoming 2011-2012 waterfowl season inCalifornia. Check stations at Type A Wildlife Areas will no longer sell passes or any license items on-site. Hunters will need to make all such purchases in advance.

One-day passes, which were formerly available only at waterfowl check stations, as well as two-day and season passes and stamps, must be purchased from DFG license agents or license sales offices through DFG’s new Automated License Data System (ALDS) prior to the shoot day. Daily hunting permits will not be issued at Type A Wildlife Areas without proof of a pre-paid one-day, two-day or season pass for the 2011-2012 waterfowl check station. Type B Wildlife Areas will still require proof of a season pass for issuance of a daily hunting permit.

Through ALDS, licenses, stamps, permits and passes are printed instantly at DFG license sales offices and approximately 1,500 license agent locations. The first time a customer purchases a license via ALDS their customer information and hunter education certification is stored in the ALDS database, making future transactions quicker and easier.   

Hunters and anglers may now conveniently purchase most license items online at www.dfg.ca.gov/OnlineSales.

 To purchase a hunting license online, proof of completion of a hunter education course must be on file with DFG. If proof of hunter education is not on file, the purchaser must present proof in person at a license agent or DFG license sales office prior to purchasing a hunting license.

The 2011-2012 waterfowl hunting season will open in October. To find a license agent near you, to purchase items online, or for more information on ALDS, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing. For more information on licenses, stamps, reservations and passes for waterfowl hunting, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/waterfowl/.

Wilton Teenager to Compete in National Archery Tournament

Media Contact:
Lesa Johnston, DFG Education and Outreach, (916) 322-8933

A Wilton teen is heading to Kentucky to represent California at the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) tournament on May 13. Sixteen-year-old Jacob Campbell, a junior at Wilton Christian School, earned the honor after finishing first in a statewide “virtual” archery tournament.

“I’m really excited about it,” Jacob said. “I’ve been bow hunting since I was five.”

Thirteen-year-old Esther Jones, an eighth grader at Wilton Christian, was the top-scoring female archer in the virtual California National Archery in the Schools Program (CalNASP) tournament. She also qualified to compete in the national tournament, but will not attend. Both Jacob and Esther received new Genesis bows from NASP.

This was the first year CalNASP held a virtual archery tournament, encouraging schools from across the state to participate and introduce students to the sport. The virtual format enabled schools to hold their own competitions and then record their scores online, allowing students from schools in more rural communities to compete with one another and participate in the program.

Jacob, who volunteers as a teacher’s assistant for the archery program at his school, performed at the top of the class, showing the focus and concentration needed to shoot well. As CalNASP’s first-place winner statewide, Jacob has earned the right to further test his mastery of the sport at the National NASP tournament in Louisville, Kentucky.

Wilton Christian School’s CalNASP program is coached by physical education teacher Terry Jones (Esther’s mother), who attended special training through the CalNASP program in order to implement the program at the school. Fifty-five boys and girls from ages 10 to 18 practice during physical education classes supervised by Jones with the assistance of junior and senior students.

Jones said that the popular archery program opened a world of opportunity for many of the students at Wilton Christian. “I even had students who are no longer in PE wanting to participate and try it,” she said. “This gave some of the students who normally aren’t part of the regular team sports like basketball, volleyball, or soccer the chance to compete and learn this skill.”

Other schools producing high-scoring students included Brookhaven Elementary School in Sonoma County, Weimar Hills Middle School in Placer County and Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Monterey County.

NASP started in 2002 in Kentucky with 21 middle schools and the aid of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Since then it has become a nationwide program, implementing curriculums in more than 9,000 schools across the country and partnering with 47 other state agencies for funding support. California was the 35th state to join NASP and currently has close to 70 schools offering the program in physical education classes. CalNASP is sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Game.

This year’s national contest will be hosted by NASP in partnership with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. It will begin on Friday, May 13, at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville. The event will start at 9 a.m. and will conclude at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 14.

It will be the largest archery contestever held, surpassing the 6,784 attendees who competed in 2010. The first place boy and girl will each receive a Genesis bow and the first, second and third placing teams from each of the divisions represented will receive team trophies

Poachers Sentenced for Trafficking Abalone in Bay Area

Media Contacts:
Patrick Foy, DFG Law Enforcement, (916) 651-2084

An abalone poacher and restaurant owner have both been convicted and fined for engaging in the illegal sale of sport-caught abalone. Two state agencies, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and California State Parks (CSP), worked together with the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office to investigate the case and aggressively prosecute the crimes.

“Illegal commercialization of California’s abalone resources will not be tolerated,” said Tony Warrington, Assistant Chief of the DFG Law Enforcement Division.

In the fall of 2009, CSP rangers began to suspect abalone trafficking after making multiple contacts with diver Michael Sean Miller, 55, of Petaluma, in the area around Fisk Mill. Rangers relayed the information to DFG’s Special Operations Unit, which began to investigate. Wardens soon observed Miller harvesting abalone and transporting them to the rear entrance of Pacific Restaurant, 1045 Terra Nova Blvd. in Pacifica. There, Miller was observed selling the illegally taken abalone to the restaurant’s owner, Pim Lim Szeto, 51 of San Francisco. Wardens arrested both subjects for the illegal sale and purchase of abalone.

The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office began to prosecute the case in October 2009. Szeto was subsequently fined $20,000 and sentenced to 90 days work release time.
His fishing license was revoked for life.

In May 2011, Miller pled guilty to poaching charges. He was fined $15,000 and sentenced to 90 days work release time with three years probation. He was also ordered to forfeit all dive gear and fishing equipment. His fishing licence has been revoked for life and he is prohibited from possessing abalone.

Public Meeting on Salmon and Steelhead to be Held on May 18

two salmon, underwater, close-up
American River Salmon

Media Contacts:
Kim Howlett, DFG Fisheries Branch, (916) 445-3935
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) will hold a meeting of the California Advisory Committee on Salmon and Steelhead in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 18. This meeting, hosted by the Fisheries Restoration Grant Program, is open to the public.

The Committee will discuss the Fisheries Restoration Grants Program, pending legislation regarding salmon and steelhead, AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards, and the status of the species in the Klamath, Shasta and Scott rivers.

An update on the Sacramento River System and Delta will include the Central Valley Steelhead Monitoring and Implementation Plan, the Draft Delta Plan III and the Trinity River watershed.

The public will have an opportunity to speak before the vote on each action item. The chair may limit speaking time.

The meeting will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the DFG Fisheries Conference Room at 830 S St., Sacramento (95811). Street parking is available. People on the north coast may participate by conference call from the DFG Coastal Watershed Planning and Assessment Office at 1455 Sandy Prairie Court, Fortuna (95540).

For more information please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/news/pubnotice/.

Restoring anadromous salmon and steelhead habitat is a commitment this program and partners have embraced. With the populations of some salmon at critically low levels, there are many opportunities for restoration projects that will directly benefit the salmon and steelhead trout in California.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News