Local Students Win Annual Nature Bowl Competition

Media Contacts:
Bruce Forman, DFG Interpretive Services, (916) 358-2353 or (916) 591-1161
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

Four schools in the greater Sacramento area took top honors in the 27th annual Nature Bowl competition organized by the Department of Fish and Game (DFG). The winning students will help DFG wildlife professionals stock trout at Jenkinson Lake near Pollock Pines on June 2.

Man wearing DFG uniform, speaking on stage
DFG NatureBowl Coordinator BruceForman

The Nature Bowl is a regional, cooperative team competition focusing on activities and questions regarding environmental science and natural resource conservation topics that correlate to California Education Standards for Science. The annual spring event serves students from schools in eight counties.

“It’s a window to conservation for more than 500 youth,” said Bruce Forman, Interpretive Services Supervisor and coordinator of the Nature Bowl. “The competit

ion helps children learn more about their environment, and encourages their involvement in conservation efforts in their communities. DFG sponsors the trout plant for the winners of this competition as a reward for a job well done. It’s a fun way to end the school year and have a bonus field trip.”

This year’s event was held in March and April, with the winning teams named on May 21. Students forming 82 teams from seven counties competed in Butte, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter and Yolo counties. The top-scoring teams in the third and fourth grade division were:

Two children sit on grass and work with small projects
Two young competitors in the 2011 Nature Bowl
  • First Place – Lake Forest Elementary, El Dorado Hills
  • Second Place – Korematsu Elementary, Davis
  • Third Place – Latrobe Elementary, Shingle Springs
  • Fourth Place – Deterding Elementary, Carmichael

Winners in the fifth and sixth grade division were:

  • First Place – Lake Forest School, El Dorado Hills
  • Second Place – Deterding Elementary, Carmichael
  • Third Place – Korematsu Elementary, Davis
  • Fourth Place – Latrobe Elementary, Shingle Springs

The Nature Bowl competition is made possible by DFG’s co-sponsors: the American River Natural History Association, American River Conservancy, California Waterfowl Association, Placer Nature Center, Save our Sandhill Cranes, Yolo Basin Foundation and California State University, Sacramento.

Oregon Wildlife Artist Wins 2011 California Duck Stamp Contest

Media Contacts:
Shannon Roberts, DFG Communications, (916) 323-1478
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

A painting of a male and female Barrow’s Goldeneye in a marine setting has been chosen by a panel of judges as the winning entry in the 2011 California Duck Stamp Contest. The painting by Shari Erickson of Beaver Creek, Ore., beat out 15 other entries to become the official design for the 2011-2012 stamp.

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“I absolutely love Barrow’s Goldeneye. They’re my favorite bird to paint, which is really what provoked me to enter this duck stamp contest,” Erickson said. A nature and wildlife artist since 1985, Erickson has been entering duck stamp contests since 2009. This is her first win.

Artists from around the country submitted entries for this year’s contest, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Game. Robert Steiner of San Francisco took second place and Douglas Snyder of Chicago, Ill., took third. Honorable mentions were given to Tom Crain of Branson, Mo., and Clark Sullivan of Swartz Creek, Mich.

The judges noted that while all of the top entries were of extraordinary quality, the detailed and accurate marine habitat depicted in Erickson’s painting definitely gave it an “edge” over the competition.

All five paintings will be displayed at this year’s Pacific Flyway Decoy Association show in Sacramento, July 15-17.

Until implementation of the automated licensing system this year, waterfowl hunters were required to affix the annual state duck stamp to their licenses. The stamps will now be mailed, upon request, to license-holders at the end of the hunting season.

All proceeds generated by stamp sales are earmarked for waterfowl habitat conservation projects.

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.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News