Wanted: Hunter Education Instructors for 2012

Media Contact:   
Janice Mackey, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8908
Roy Griffith, DFG Hunter Education Program Administrator, (916) 358-2946 

 Volunteers with a passion for safety, ethics and sportsmanship need apply

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is currently seeking qualified hunter education volunteer instructors for its 2012 statewide education courses. 

Outdoor classroom setting for hunter education class
Students learning the basics of hunting safety and ethics

“There’s a long legacy of hunting in this great state,” said DFG Director Charlton H. Bonham. “At the department, we’re going to continue to seek ways to manage our resources for hunting and fishing as well as improve access and opportunity. But we need help in cultivating the next generation of sportsmen and sportswomen who will step in our shoes once we have gone. We thank those that already volunteer to teach our hunter education courses, and we’re looking to recruit even more.”

In 2009, approximately 30,000 students completed the state’s 10-hour minimum hunter education course. The courses are offered throughout the state, on weekends and weekday evenings. The courses are taught by veteran hunters who volunteer their time to help ensure that the newest generation of hunters has a thorough understanding of safety, ethics and conservation.

“The backbone of California’s hunter education training effort rests on the volunteer instructors, who give their time, passion and energy to the program,” said Captain Roy Griffith,DFG’s Hunter Education Program Administrator. “These dedicated individuals have passed on a tradition and trained well over one million outdoor enthusiasts since the start of the program. As a result, they have increased safety and conservation within the community.”

To become a hunter education instructor, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Successfully complete the hunter education course prior to submitting an application
  • Have not have been convicted of any felony
  • Completed a course of study prior to taking a supervised examination covering the basic topics of hunter education

The testing process to become a certified instructor takes about two hours and applicants must score a minimum of 80 percent. After passing the exam, the volunteer will take an oath and work with an experienced instructor before leading their own class.

To retain current Hunter Education Instruction (HEI) certification, an instructor must teach one class per year and attend one conference. More information on the requirements can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered.

Big Game Fund-Raising Opportunities Expected to Generate Over $300,000 for Wildlife Conservation in 2012

Media Contacts:
Brad Burkholder, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-1829
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is pleased to announce the awarding of annual fund-raising hunt tag opportunities for big game in 2012.

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In cooperation with several hunting-oriented conservation organizations, DFG will offer 13 big game fund-raising license tags for eight mule or black-tailed deer, two desert bighorn sheep, one Grizzly Island tule elk, one multiple zone elk and one pronghorn antelope. Following a competitive bidding process, DFG proposes to award agreements for the auction or sale of the 13 tags to the following organizations: Wild Sheep Foundation (National and California Chapter), Safari Club International (Orange County and San Francisco Bay Area chapters), The Mule Deer Foundation (National, Central Coast, and Shasta-Lassen chapters), and the California Deer Association (North Valley, Chico, Redding, Salinas Valley, Gridley and Mount Saint Helena chapters).

These conservation organizations submitted a bid package describing their intent to auction off a particular tag at their annual fund-raising dinners/conventions during late winter/early spring. Auction of these tags typically generates more than $300,000 per year for DFG to put back into conservation and management actions that include surveys, habitat improvement, applied research and translocation of animals to historical ranges where they may currently be absent. Such translocation efforts in California have been a great success for tule elk, desert bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope.

“California’s hunting organizations continue to demonstrate they are at the forefront in support of wildlife conservation through their support for these auction tags and for the purchase of licenses and tags by their members, as well as all hunters,” said DFG Director Charlton H. Bonham.

In addition to the auction tags, DFG is expanding the random drawing program initiated earlier this year through the Automated License Data System (ALDS), when chances for a deer tag and an elk tag opportunity were offered to the public for $5.40 each. The drawings for those two opportunities alone generated more than $130,000 for conservation in 2011.

“In our continued support of hunting and quest to increase hunting and fishing opportunity in California, I’m pleased that our hunters can purchase multiple chances through our ALDS application process for a special hunt tag next year,” said Bonham. ”And I am particularly excited that this year we will include a once-in-a-lifetime desert bighorn sheep tag as well as a coveted northeastern California pronghorn antelope tag.”

As an added bonus for the hunter who draws the sheep tag from that random drawing,  a private entity, San Gorgonio Wilderness Outfitters, has offered free guide services for the hunt in the Kelso Peak/Old Dad Mountains zone to the recipient.

“This is a wonderful offer and commitment by the San Gorgonio folks and demonstrates the great support of one another within the hunting community,” said Bonham.

Availability of all fund-raising tags remains contingent upon the approval of annual hunting regulations by the Fish and Game Commission.

Draft Planning Agreement Available for Public Comment

Media Contacts:
Jeb Bjerke, Environmental Scientist, (916) 358-2956
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

a flock of bank swallows in top branches of a green tree
Bank swallows in area of concern. DFG photo by Jeb Bjerke.

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has made a proposed planning agreement available to the public for review and comment. This agreement highlights and solidifies the cooperative partnerships that DFG has developed with Yuba and Sutter counties, the cities of Yuba City, Live Oak and Wheatland, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a natural community conservation plan (NCCP) covering parts of Yuba and Sutter counties.

Pursuant to Fish and Game Code section 2810(d), the draft planning agreement will be available for public review and comment until Dec. 13, 2011.

The primary objective the NCCP is to conserve natural communities at the ecosystem level while accommodating compatible land use and economic activities. NCCP planning takes a broad-based ecosystem approach to planning for the protection and perpetuation of biological diversity, and seeks to anticipate and prevent controversies and streamline endangered species permitting by focusing on the long-term stability of wildlife and plant communities and by including key interests in the process. As a part of the NCCP implementation process, habitat reserves will be established for giant garter snake, Swainson’s hawk and other covered species.

The NCCP will also be prepared as a habitat conservation plan (HCP) under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The proposed planning agreement is available on the DFG website at http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=39871. The public may review and comment on the proposed planning agreement before DFG approves it. Comments must be received by Dec. 13, 2011, and may be e-mailed to at jbjerke@dfg.ca.gov.

Comments may also be mailed or hand delivered to:
Jeb Bjerke, Environmental Scientist
Department of Fish and Game
1701 Nimbus Road
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

Wild Turkey Successfully Released Back Into the Wild

Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, DFGCommunications, (916) 322-8908
Patrick Foy,DFGLaw Enforcement, (916) 508-7095

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and UC Davis worked together to capture, treat and release a wild turkey that captured residents’ imagination this week.

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Two DFGemployees, Warden Patrick Foy andDFGWildlife Veterinarian Ben Gonzales captured an elusive wild turkey that was shot with an arrow and had been living in theDavisarea with arrow protruding from its body. Early Friday morning, after several unsuccessful capture attempts, Foy and Gonzales used a netgun to secure the frightened animal and transported it to the animal emergency room at UC Davis’ veterinary care facility.

“This turkey was very lucky, we had some of the best veterinary care in the world available just across the freeway,” said Warden Foy. “It was a real animal ‘ER’.”

At UC Davis, the two-year-old male turkey was evaluated by a team of veterinarians specializing in avian species and surgery. Dr. Michelle Hawkins, associate professor of veterinary medicine determined that the arrow had penetrated the soft tissue of the turkey’s tail but had missed the bird’s vital organs.

“He will fly again,” said Dr. Hawkins. “The arrow was removed from the turkey and antibiotics were administered. When the turkey awoke, it was evident he was ready to go home.”

Friday morning DFGemployees and the Davissurgical team were on hand as the bird was released to its home habitat. Video is available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/californiadfg/,

Wild turkey season is open through the Nov. 27, however the turkey was shot before the season had opened and was wounded with a target arrow instead of a hunting arrow, both illegal actions.

Weighing up to20 pounds, the wild turkey was once under consideration to be the national bird for theUnited States. While these wild game birds seem harmless, they often become pests, destroying flower and vegetable gardens, leaving their droppings on patios and decks, and roosting on cars.

Environmental Documents for SHARE Program Released for Public Comment

Media Contacts:
Victoria Barr, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

The public is invited to comment on environmental documents regarding the Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program. The Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) SHARE program provides monetary incentives to private landowners to allow public access for a variety of outdoor recreation activities including hunting and fishing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Services Agency’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) has awarded DFG a grant in excess of $500,000 to operate the program. Grant funds will be used to expand the SHARE program by enrolling new properties and promoting the program statewide.

Public comments are needed on a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) regarding the operation of the SHARE program. Both the PEA and FONSI are posted on DFG’s website at www.dfg.ca.gov/news/pubnotice. Comments will be accepted until December 14, 2011 and should be submitted by e-mail to vbarr@dfg.ca.gov or in writing to:

Victoria Barr, SHARE Program Coordinator
California Department of Fish and Game
1812 Ninth St.
Sacramento, CA 95811