Tag Archives: bear

2015 Big Game Digest Now Available Online

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has posted the 2015 Big Game Digest to its website. The 64-page document can be downloaded online for free at www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/digest/.

2015 California Big Game Hunting DigestThe popular guide includes season, quota and harvest information for deer, elk, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep, as well as tag drawing information, bear and wild pig hunting information and big game hunting regulations for the 2015-16 seasons.

Printed copies of the Big Game Digest will automatically be mailed in late April to hunters who purchased a big game tag or applied for the Big Game Drawing in California in 2014.

“As printing costs continue to rise, more funding for big game conservation will be available if the department reduces printing and mailing costs,” said Dan Yparraguirre, CDFW’s Deputy Director of Wildlife and Fisheries. “Making the Big Game Digest available online also means that hunters can access this information sooner.”

Hunting licenses, tags and drawing applications will be available on April 15. Purchases may be made through the Online License Service, at any CDFW License Sales Office or License Agent, or by telephone at (800) 565-1458. The deadline to apply for the Big Game Drawing is midnight on June 2.


Media Contact:
Stuart Itoga, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3642
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Caltrans, Fish and Wildlife to Drivers: Watch out for Wildlife

Caltrans and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) are cautioning motorists of an unusually high number of collisions between drivers and wildlife on mountain highways this autumn. The increase has been particularly notable on Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 50 in Placer and El Dorado counties.

“There were an unprecedented 23 incidents involving large animals on Highway 50 and I-80 in just six days from Nov. 14-19,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “Drivers need to use caution and watch out for wildlife as they travel through the Sierras and other rural areas.”

“Motorists need to be on the lookout for animals on or near roadways, particularly deer and bears,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “It’s not only dangerous for the animals, but drivers and their passengers can be injured or killed if they hit – or swerve to miss – an animal.”

Caltrans and CDFW offer a few tips for motorists:

Be particularly alert when driving in areas frequented by wildlife and give yourself more time than usual to react safely by reducing your speed.

  • “Sweep” the roadway from side to side with your eyes as you drive. This increases your chance of seeing anything that might become a hazard.
  • Pay particular attention when driving during morning and evening, as wildlife are most active during these times.
  • If you see an animal cross the road, know that another may be following it.
  • Don’t litter. Odors from all kinds of products may entice animals to venture near roadways.

There are probably several factors behind the animals’ increased movements near highways. One is the deer rut, or mating season, and bucks are always more active this time of year. Recent wildfires in the mountains and foothills also destroyed a considerable amount of vegetation, forcing wildlife to travel farther than usual to forage. The drought has stressed existing vegetation, likely reducing its normal nutritional value and forcing animals to eat more than usual. Bears are getting ready for hibernation and are foraging far and wide to get enough nutrition to make it through the winter.

“Wildlife corridors” constructed under some highways have helped reduce wildlife-related incidents. Caltrans recently completed construction of a wildlife crossing on State Highway 89 in Sierra County and has two others planned for construction next season. The district also built a wildlife crossing on Highway 50 and has a project programmed for next season to study wildlife activity near state highways.

In addition, Caltrans has wildlife warning signs posted in key areas along its state highway system and will be installing more with help from CDFW and other partner agencies. Caltrans will also be using its electronic message boards to alert motorists of increased wildlife activity.

Caltrans District 3 is responsible for maintaining and operating 4,385 lane miles in 11 Sacramento Valley and Northern Sierra counties. CDFW’s North Central Region is responsible for managing California’s diverse fish, wildlife and plant resources across 17 counties.

Please visit the Living with Wildlife web page at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Living-with-Wildlife for more information and to report a wildlife incident or dead or injured wildlife.

Media Contacts:
Steve Nelson, Caltrans, (530) 741-4566

Dana Michaels, CDFW, (916) 322-2420

Bear Poachers Receive Stiff Sentences in El Dorado Court

Media Contact:
Lt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Enforcement, (916) 651-6692

Two northern California men have been sentenced to fines and jail time for unlawfully killing bears and selling their gall bladders and other parts for profit. Peter George Vitali, 56, of Pioneer and Arthur Martin Blake, 59, of River Pines, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of illegally taking wildlife for profit in an El Dorado County courtroom last month.

The court ordered Vitali to pay a $12,500 fine and Blake to pay a $5,000 fine. Both men will be required to serve 30 days in jail and were sentenced to an additional 36 month probationary period.

“This case is an example of the challenges our officers face,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Lt. Stacey LaFave. “Heavy fines and jail time send a strong message to poachers who unlawfully take and profit from California’s natural resources.”

Vitali and Blake were arrested by CDFW wildlife officers in April 2013, after they were found to be in possession of 20 large bear claws and three bear gall bladders in the El Dorado National Forest.

Evidence developed during the investigation suggested the suspects recently killed three bears, likely a sow and two cubs. The claws, liver and gall bladder had been removed from the sow and only the liver and gall bladder were removed from the younger two bears.

California Fish and Game laws forbid the sale, purchase or possession for sale of any bear part, including claws and gall bladders. The bile contained inside bear gall bladders is believed by some to have medicinal properties and is sold on the black market. Under California law, possession of more than one bear gall bladder is prima facie evidence that the bear gall bladders are possessed for sale.

Ojai Woman Sustains Minor Injuries from Bear Attack

An Ojai woman sustained minor injuries to her arm and back after being attacked by a bear while walking her dogs at about 7 a.m. Friday.

Department of Fish and Game (DFG) wardens confirmed the attack at approximately 3:30 p.m. today and were on scene and continuing the investigation.

The victim, a 50-year-old woman, was walking her three dogs on a road just north of the Ojai city limit adjacent to national forest when she apparently surprised a California black bear described as cinnamon brown and approximately 250 pounds with a cub described as 45 to 50 pounds.

The bears ran across the road ahead of her but the sow returned and swiped at the woman’s wrist, causing an approximately one- to two-inch laceration. The bear began to leave, then returned and charged the female who turned her back to the bear. The bear knocked her down an embankment causing several six-inch abrasions which appeared to be claw marks.

The bear followed her down the hill and sniffed at the victim who sat still with her head in her lap. She stated the she could feel the bear’s breath on her neck. The bear left after about 10 seconds.

The woman got herself up the embankment and called law enforcement. She did not seek medical treatment and has asked to remain anonymous.

DFG will attempt to capture the bear. Some trails in the area may be closed to hikers.

There is no indication that this is the mother of the bear cub that was found and rescued in Ojai on Friday and transported to a wildlife care center over the weekend.

Since 1980, there have been about 15 confirmed bear attacks in California. The most recent was in the fall of 2010 at the Fallen Leaf Lake Campground near Lake Tahoe.

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Media Contact:        
Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944

DFG and Partners Save Bear Cub Orphaned in Ojai

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and two wildlife organizations worked together over the weekend to save the life of a bear cub near Ojai.

DFG wardens received a call from the Ojai Raptor Center in Ventura County about a young bear cub that had been brought to their facility. The cub was brought to the Ojai Raptor Center by an employee of a nearby ranch who had seen the cub without its mother for three days and thought it had been orphaned or abandoned.

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Upon arrival the warden and wildlife rehabilitation personnel examined the cub and determined it to be a female, approximately 3-months-old and weighing just 10 pounds. The cub was alert and otherwise healthy.

The warden inspected the area where the bear cub had been seen over the past several days and did see large bear tracks but did not find any evidence (scat, rooting damage, bed/denning behavior, etc.) of a female sow in the area.

Based on the evidence DFG concluded the bear cub was abandoned or orphaned by its mother and due to its small size would not survive in the wild without her.

The cub was taken to The California Wildlife Center in Calabasas, another DFG-permitted wildlife rehabilitation facility, where it was evaluated by a wildlife veterinarian. With concurrence of DFG wildlife veterinarians the bear cub was approved as an excellent candidate for rehabilitation and release. The bear cub was held at the California Wildlife Center for the weekend and on Monday morning the cub was transported by DFG natural resource volunteers to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, where it will be cared for over the winter before release back into the wild.

As the state agency responsible for the care and management of wildlife, DFG’s preference is to keep animals in the wild whenever possible. In special circumstances the department has partners that provide support and services to help injured, orphaned or abandoned wildlife return to their natural habitat.

Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944
Cindy Reyes, Executive Director, California Wildlife Center, (818) 222-2658