Early Deer and Bear Hunting Seasons Open This Summer

Media Contacts:
Marc Kenyon, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3515
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

California’s deer and bear seasons are only months away. Archery deer season starts in the A Zone on July 9 with archery bear seasons commencing Aug. 20. The A Zone general deer season spans Aug. 13 to Sept. 25 with a 65,000 tag quota and an estimated 26 percent hunter success rate. Most of the A Zone land is under private ownership but access is available on Bureau of Land Management and National Forest lands.

Californians enjoy some of the earliest seasons in the nation and the widest range of seasons and hunting conditions from pursuing black bear in the redwood forests of Humboldt County to desert mule deer in the high desert of San Bernardino County. The Coastal A Zone deer and bear seasons are traditionally the first seasons to open for deer and bear in late summer.

Deer and bear hunting seasons with opening dates in July and August are:

Deer

Zone                             Archery                                       General Season Dates
A                                    July 9 – 31                                    Aug. 13 – Sept. 25
B1, B2, B3, B5            Aug. 20 – Sept. 11                      Sept. 17 – Oct. 23
B4                                  July 23 – Aug. 14                      Aug. 27 – Oct. 2
B6                                  Aug. 20 – Sept. 11                      Sept. 17 – Oct. 16
D3-10                           Aug. 20 – Sept.11                      Varies; see regulations book
C1                                  Aug. 20 – Sept. 4                        Sept. 17 – Oct. 16
C2, C3                          Aug. 20 – Sept. 11                      Sept. 17 – Oct. 23
C4                                  Aug. 20 – Sept. 4                       Sept. 17 – Oct. 2
X Zones                       Aug. 20 – Sept. (various)      Draw Zones, see regs

Bear

Archery bear season opens Aug. 20, 2011 and runs through Sept. 11, 2011.

General bear season opens concurrently with general deer season in the A, B, C, D, X8, X9A, X9B, X10 and X12 deer hunting zones. Please refer to the 2011 California Mammal Hunting Regulations for opening dates. In the remaining deer hunting X zones, bear season begins Oct. 8, 2011.

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) shall close the season earlier if 1,700 bears have been reported taken. For daily updates on reported bear harvest, call toll-free (888) 277-6398 or visit www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/bear/harvest.html.

Note: A recent DFG news release incorrectly stated that opening day of bear season is July 9. However, the earliest bear season does not open until Aug. 13 in the A Zone, and is even later in other parts of the state.

DFG Recommends Caution Around Coyotes

Media Contacts:
Kevin Brennan, DFG Inland Deserts Region, (951) 659-2468
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

Wild Coyote

If you’re in the outdoors anywhere in California this spring, you might cross paths with one of the state’s most common predators – the coyote. Clever, nimble and quick, the coyote may at first glance appear to be more of a nuisance than a direct threat. But don’t let your guard down, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) warns.

Coyotes – especially those who live in urban settings and have grown accustomed to humans – can become emboldened to the point where they become a public safety threat.

“Once coyotes become habituated to people, they begin to exhibit increased levels of aggression, which can lead to biting incidents,” explained Kevin Brennan, a DFG biologist who works out of Idyllwild (Riverside County). Brennan has responded to hundreds of coyote incidents and is familiar with the inevitably unhappy result when coyotes become accustomed to humans.

The coyote (Canis latrans) is a member of the dog family and is native to California. It closely resembles a small German shepherd with the exception of the long snout and bushy, black-tipped tail. Because they are tolerant of human activities and rapidly adjust to changes in their environment, the highly adaptable coyote populates virtually the entire state.

Brennan notes that coyotes are actually the most populous in suburban neighborhoods, in part because there are so many food sources available to them in addition to their usual diet of rabbits, mice, birds and other small animals, young deer and sheep. Those additional food sources include left-out pet food and left-out pets, as well as unsecured garbage in neighborhoods and the rodents such garbage attracts. When coyotes are allowed access to human food and garbage, either deliberately or inadvertently, they can lose their fear of people and become a real danger.

The key to minimizing coyote-human contact is based on educating the public about coyote behavior and taking sensible precautions, Brennan said.

“Never allow coyotes to become accustomed to your surroundings, because familiarity can lead to contempt,” Brennan said.

While DFG does not collect statistics on coyote attacks, Brennan said, “There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t receive calls concerning nuisance coyotes.”

To avoid problems with coyotes, people should follow these guidelines:

  • Never feed or attempt to tame coyotes. The result may be deadly conflicts or serious injuries to pets, livestock and even small children.
  • Do not leave small children or pets outside unattended.
  • Be aware that coyotes are more active in the spring, when feeding and protecting their young.
  • If followed by a coyote, make loud noises. If this fails, throw rocks in the animal’s direction.
  • Put garbage in tightly closed containers that cannot be tipped over.

Most coyote sightings should be reported to local animal control districts. However, if a coyote acts aggressively or attacks people, call 911. For more information, visit www.dfg.ca.gov/keepmewild/.

North Coast Salmon Season Opener Shows Promise

Media Contacts:
Jennifer Simon, DFG Marine Region, (707) 546-2878
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

Department of Fish and Game (DFG) biologists are expecting a promising north coast salmon fishing season through Labor Day, Sept. 5. The sport season opened Saturday in the Klamath Management Zone, which stretches from the Oregon border to Horse Mountain, located just north of Shelter Cove.

The return of a healthy sport fishing season is excellent news for anglers and businesses in the region. For the last three years, salmon fishing has been relatively nonexistent on the north coast due to fishery restrictions designed to protect California salmon stocks and a lack of local salmon in nearshore areas.

Early in the season, fishing success and opportunity is very weather-dependent. Fair weather on Saturday afforded anglers with the opportunity to pursue salmon from Crescent City to Fields Landing with “hit-or-miss” catches reported. On Sunday, the weather turned stormy and those few salmon anglers who ventured out on the rough seas returned early from their trip without much luck. Field samplers with DFG’s California Recreational Fisheries Survey Program contacted approximately 200 anglers fishing from private skiffs and commercial passenger fishing vessels and checked almost 100 chinook salmon landed during the opening weekend. Heads were collected from all adipose fin-clipped salmon because the missing fin indicates that the salmon snout was implanted with a microscopic coded wire tag that reveals the hatchery of origin and other information important to California salmon management. 

“This is a promising start to the salmon season,” said Ed Roberts, DFG associate marine biologist. “Weather hampered anglers on Sunday, but on Saturday most boats landed a few legal fish and also released some undersized fish.”

Anglers reported that cold water conditions and scattered bait made locating schools of salmon difficult. Increasing winds on Sunday severely limited effort and success. As the season proceeds, waters are expected to warm and anglers will be better able to locate schools of bait and salmon. Spring weather is notoriously difficult to predict while summer days normally bring calmer seas.

Wardens checking anglers found good overall compliance with salmon regulations.   The most common violation continues to be the use of barbed hooks while fishing for salmon. Anglers north of Point Conception are reminded that they are required to use only barbless hooks while fishing for salmon and that once a salmon is onboard their boat or other floating device, all anglers must use barbless hooks, even if they switch to bottom fishing.

Duck Stamp Art Contest Location Change

Media Contact:
Shannon Roberts (916) 799-8417

The location of the 2011 Duck Stamp Art Contest has been changed to the South Steps of the California State Capitol. (It was previously scheduled to be held on the West Steps). The judging will still take place on Thursday, May 19, 2011, beginning at 11:30 a.m. The public is welcome to attend.

Since 1971 the California Duck Stamp Program’s yearly 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 prior to hunting for waterfowl. This year, California has moved to an automated licensing system, and hunters are no longer required to carry the physical stamps in the field as proof of purchase prints directly onto the license.

However, the Department of Fish and Game (DFG)  will still produce the stamps, which will be mailed to hunters upon request at the end of the season.

Sixteen talented artists from around the country submitted their original art for consideration for the 2011 stamp. The contest, sponsored by DFG was open to all artists. Entrants were required to paint, draw or sketch the duck species chosen by the California Fish and Game Commission, which this year, was the Barrow’s Goldeneye.

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.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News