Popular Natural Resource Volunteer Program Now Recruiting in Bay Area

Media Contacts:
Lt. Joshua Nicholas, DFG Bay-Delta Region, (707) 944-5562
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is now recruiting applicants for its Natural Resource Volunteer Program (NRVP) in the San Francisco Bay Area. The newly established Bay Area program will initially be accepting 30 volunteers.  

Originally established in 2002 as a senior volunteer program inSouthern California, the NRVP currently includes more than 100 volunteers of all ages in Orange County, Los Angeles,S acramento and Redding. The NRVP trains volunteers to provide conservation and enforcement education to the public, along with providing critical biological, enforcement and administrative staff support to DFG. Volunteers assist with a variety of tasks such as responding to human-wildlife incident calls, instructing at NRVP academies, representing DFG at community education and outreach events, patrolling DFG lands, ecological reserves, coastal and inland fishing areas, and disseminating information to the public.

Volunteers have no law enforcement authority but are trained to be educational ambassadors for the department and often play a vital role in assisting wardens and biologists with mission-critical work. Last month alone, volunteers in the Sacramento area contributed 160 hours to assist DFG employees in rescuing sturgeon, salmon, steelhead and striped bass that were stranded by receding floodwaters in Yolo and Sutter counties. 

Bay Area program applicants will go through a selection process which includes initial screening, an interview and a background check. Selected individuals will attend an 80-hour NRVP Conservation Academy beginning June 22 in Cotati to prepare them for a monthly service commitment of at least 24 hours. After completing the academy, volunteers work with a trained volunteer mentor during a six-month probationary period.

Applicants should be teachable, accountable, have basic computer and writing skills, a desire to work in a team environment and a willingness to talk about conservation principles to the public in the field and in a classroom setting.

Further information and the application are available at www.dfg.ca.gov/volunteer/NRVP/. Applications should be sent to the DFG Bay Delta Region Office, 7329 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558 no later than May 27, 2011. Please contact Lt. Josh Nicholas at (707) 944-5562 with any questions.

Special Permits for Deer and Pig Hunting Required in Western Merced County

Media Contacts
Loni Hext, Los Banos Wildlife Area, (209) 826-0463
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

Applications are now being accepted for a limited number of deer and pig hunt permits valid for western Merced County. The number of deer hunters will be limited on properties managed by the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) in the area on opening weekend of the Zone A deer season. The affected areas are the Upper Cottonwood Creek, Lower Cottonwood Creek and the San Luis Reservoir wildlife areas. Only 55 permits will be issued for each day.

Reservations are required for Aug.13-14, the first two days of the general Zone A deer season. Reservations will be selected via a computerized drawing. Persons applying to hunt opening weekend at these areas will be allowed to apply for a one-day hunt on one area only. Successful applicants will receive special permits in the mail stating what area and which day the hunter may hunt.

The area will be closed to all persons not holding the special permit except that each permit holder may be accompanied by one observer. The observer may not possess a weapon.

This year the 2011 Zone A Deer/Pig Application Form is required to apply for these hunts. The primary hunter (party leader) will provide their name, mailing address, phone numbers, 2011-12 hunting license number or “Get Outdoors” identification number (GO ID), and which area and hunt day they prefer. Applicants may not apply for both days or for multiple areas. Junior license holders must apply with an adult hunter. Up to three persons may apply as one party by including all the required information on the 2011 Zone A Deer/Pig Application Form. Only official applications will be accepted.  An individual’s name may appear in the drawing only once and multiple applications received will be rejected.

The application form can be submitted online to LHEXT@dfg.ca.gov or mailed to toDFG’s Los Banos office at 18110 W. Henry Miller Ave., Los Banos, CA 93635. Application forms must be received before4:30 p.m. on July 5. The drawing will be held July 6 at11 a.m. at the Los Banos office and is open to the public. Only successful applicants will be notified by mail within five working days of the lottery.

The 2011 Zone A Deer/Pig Application Form may be obtained by calling DFG’s Los Banos office at (209) 826-0463 between 8 a.m.and 4:30 p.m. and is also available online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/lands/wa/region4/cottonwoodcreek.html .

A valid 2011-2012 hunting license is required of all persons applying for the drawing. Individuals who want to hunt deer are required to possess a valid Zone A deer tag. Those who are drawn and also want to hunt wild pig are required to have a valid wild pig tag. Those wishing to hunt both deer and wild pig are required to have both tags. Pig hunters will be restricted to one wild pig during the hunt period.

2011 Duck Stamp to be Chosen in Public Judging Event at State Capitol

Media Contact: Shannon Roberts, DFG Communications, (916) 323-1478

The winning design for California’s 2011 Duck Stamp will be selected at a judging event on May 19 on the West Steps of the Capitol. Sixteen talented artists from around the country submitted their original art for consideration for the stamp. In past years, California waterfowl hunters were required to purchase the stamp and affix it to their licenses. This year, the implementation of a new licensing system means that hunters no longer need to carry a physical state duck stamp in the field, but the stamps will still be produced and will be sent to licensed duck hunters, upon request, after July 1.

The contest, sponsored by the Department of Fish and Game (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.

This year’s contest rules did not require submissions to feature both a male and female Goldeneye within the painting, but allowed entries to feature the species in an array of groupings at the artist’s discretion.

The contest entries will be on display under tents in front of the State Capitol, beginning at 11 a.m. The judging will run from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The judges’ panel, which will consist of experts in the fields of ornithology, conservation, art and printing, will choose first-, second- and third-place winners, along with an honorable mention. All winners will be on display at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s annual show in Sacramento at the Double Tree Hotel in July.

All proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects throughout California.

For more information about the California Duck Stamp program, please visit the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/about/duckstamp.

DFG Offers Tips on Staying Safe in Bear Country

Media Contacts:
Marc Kenyon, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3515
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) reminds campers, anglers and hikers enjoying the outdoors to take precautions to limit black bear encounters. A key element to safe camping and recreating in bear country is to limit food odors that attract bears.

“Bears are constantly in search of easily obtainable food sources,” said Marc Kenyon, DFG statewide bear program coordinator. “A bear’s fate is almost always sealed once it associates human activity with potential food. It’s always unfortunate when a bear has to be killed because people either haven’t learned how to appropriately store food and trash, or simply don’t care.”

California’s growing black bear population is now estimated at more than 40,000. Black bears are located in most of the state where suitable habitat exists and bear/human encounters are not isolated to wilderness settings. For example, last year black bears stirred up trouble in one of California’s premier tourist destinations, as DFG staff logged more than 5,200 hours handling black bear nuisance issues in the Lake Tahoe region alone.

DFG wardens and biologists also responded to numerous wildlife feeding issues across the state, and bears obtaining human food is cited in the majority of public safety incidents involving bears. Access to human food or garbage, whether it is overflowing from a campground or residential dumpster or in the form of snacks in a tent, is the primary culprit in attracting bears. When wild animals are allowed to feed on human food and garbage, they lose their natural ways – often resulting in death for the animal.

Feeding wildlife or allowing wildlife access to human food provides false food sources, habituates animals to humans and can change animal behavior from foraging for food in the wild to relying on human food sources in or near urban areas, which can lead to bears breaking into cars or houses to seek out food.

DFG’s Keep Me Wild campaign was developed in part to address the increasing number of conflicts between black bears and people. The campaign provides important tips for living and recreating safely in bear habitat, and advice on what to do if you encounter one of these wild animals. Please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/keepmewild/bear.html for more information.

Bear Country Precautions:

  • Keep a close watch on children and teach them what to do if they encounter a bear.
  • While hiking, make noise to avoid a surprise encounter with a bear.
  • Never keep food in your tent.
  • Store food and toiletries in bear-proof containers or in an airtight container in the trunk of your vehicle.
  • Keep a clean camp by cleaning up and storing food and garbage immediately after meals.
  • Use bear-proof garbage cans whenever possible or store your garbage in a secure location with your food.
  • Don’t bury or burn excess food; bears will still be attracted to the residual smell.
  • Garbage should be packed out of camp if no trash receptacles are available.
  • Never approach a bear or pick up a bear cub.
  • Do not attempt to attract a bear to your location; observe the animal and take pictures from afar.
  • If you encounter a bear, do not run; instead, face the animal, make noise and try to appear as large as possible.
  • If attacked, fight back.
  • If a bear harms a person in any way, immediately call 911.

Hunting Licenses, Big Game Drawing Applications Now Available

Media Contacts: 
Maria Melchiorre, DFG License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-6881
Dan Yparraguirre, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3685
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

Hunters can now purchase 2011 hunting licenses and apply for the Big Game Drawing online, the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) announced. DFG’s new Automated License Data System (ALDS) means that the application process for both will be simplified and streamlined.

“ALDS offers tremendous improvements that hunters have been anticipating for many years,” said DFG License and Revenue Branch Chief James Fong. “Hunting licenses are available from more locations than ever before and for those applying for the annual Big Game Drawing, there is no longer a need to fill out multiple forms and manually mail them to a single DFG office.”

Customers applying for a license for the first time via ALDS may initially experience a slow license sales transaction. In subsequent years, the process will be faster, as the customer’s information will be retained in the system. Under ALDS, purchasers of a hunting or fishing license are issued a “Get Outdoors” identification number (GO ID) that is printed on all license documents. The GO ID is used to retrieve a customer’s information each time they purchase a license or apply for drawings in the future.  

In addition to purchasing a license, hunters can now apply for the Big Game Drawing at any DFG license sales office, license agent or online. When the transaction is complete, the customer will receive a receipt to show their hunt choices have been entered in the drawing.

 To qualify for the Big Game Drawing, an application must be submitted and the sales transaction completed before midnight on June 2, 2011. All premium deer hunt tags, and elk, antelope and bighorn sheep tags are awarded through the DFG Big Game Drawing. Mail-in applications are no longer accepted.

 The implementation of ALDS also means:

  • Hunters can obtain deer and bear tags at the time of purchase from a local license agent.
  • Hunters who purchase licenses and big game tags online will receive them in the mail within 15 days.
  • State Duck and Upland Game Bird stamps are validations in ALDS and printed on the hunting license. Hunters must have the validation in their possession while engaged in this activity. DFG will continue to print and offer the physical stamp which can be mailed, upon request online, to the purchasers after July 1 each year.
  • Customers must provide legal identification and a telephone number when they make their first purchase through ALDS. Customers can still purchase licenses for other people if they provide the other person’s hunting license from the previous year and driver license number. 
  • DFG will no longer accept a Hunting License Declaration as evidence of meeting a hunter education requirement. Hunters must have a prior year’s California hunting license or a hunter education certificate to purchase a new hunting license. 

To find a license agent near you, to purchase items online or for more information on ALDS, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing. To learn more about the Big Game Drawing application process, please view the 2011 California Hunting Digest (2011 Big Game) at www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/digest/.

Additional Drawing Opportunities 

Two new fundraising random drawings, for a deer tag and an elk tag, will also be held this year. The drawings are open to anyone 12 years of age or older, for $5.40 per chance, per tag. Applicants do not need a valid hunting license to apply, and may apply for the drawings as many times as they wish.

Proceeds from all fundraising tags are deposited into the newly established Big Game Management Account, which is used to benefit antelope, elk, deer, wild pigs, bear and sheep populations. An advisory committee reviews and provides comments to DFG on all proposed projects funded from the account. Recent activities funded by revenue from the fundraising tags have included helicopter surveys, other deer and bighorn sheep studies, and improving both hunting access and water source improvements for sheep and deer.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News