CDFW Accepting Applications for Pig and Deer Hunting in Western Merced County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications for a limited number of deer and pig hunt access permits on opening weekend, Aug.13-14, 2016 in Zone A for the general season.

The locations for this hunt include Upper and Lower Cottonwood Creek and the San Luis Reservoir wildlife areas.

Interested hunters may apply for an access permit by calling (209) 826-0463 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or visiting CDFW online at For more information on the San Luis Reservoir Wildlife Area, please visit

Applications may be submitted via email to  or mailed to CDFW’s Los Banos Wildlife Area office at 18110 W. Henry Miller Ave., Los Banos, CA 93635.

Applications must be received before 4:30 p.m. on July 5. The drawing, which is open to the public, will be held July 6 at 11 a.m. at the Los Banos office. Successful applicants will be notified by mail within five working days after the lottery. Applicants may not apply for both days or for multiple areas.

Reservations are required for access to the wildlife areas and only 30 permits will be issued for each day. Reservations will be selected by a computerized drawing. Applicants are allowed to apply for a one-day hunt on one area only and successful candidates will receive special permits in the mail stating what area and day they may hunt.

Junior license holders must apply with an adult hunter. Up to three persons may apply as one party by including the required information on the 2016 Zone A application form. Only official applications will be accepted.  An individual’s name may appear only once in the drawing and multiple applications will be rejected.

Media Contacts:
Roger Wilbur, CDFW Los Banos Wildlife Area, (209) 826-0463
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958


Big Game Drawing Deadline Approaches

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications for the 2016 Big Game Drawing. Applications for elk, antelope, bighorn sheep, premium deer tags and fundraising drawing tags may be submitted anywhere California fishing or hunting licenses are sold. Applications must be submitted before midnight on June 2, 2016.

The following resources are available to assist hunters in applying for the big game drawing:

  • The 2016 California Big Game Hunting Digest includes proposed seasons, application instructions and drawing statistics. The digest is available online at
  • Big Game Tag Quotas can be found on the species webpages located at
  • Online Licenses Sales and Service,, enables hunters to purchase licenses, apply for the big game drawing, review existing applications and preference points or find a local license agent.
  • Telephone License Sales transactions, including purchasing all licenses and submitting drawing applications, can be conducted by calling (800) 565-1458.

Junior Hunters
Any hunter who is under 18 years of age on July 1 of the license year qualifies for a junior hunting license. Junior hunters who are 12 years of age or older on July 1 may apply for apprentice deer, elk and antelope hunts. Hunters must be at least 16 years of age on July 1 to apply for bighorn sheep tags.

Fundraising Random Drawing Opportunities
Any person who will be 12 years of age or older on July 1 may apply for fundraising random drawing tags, except that applicants for bighorn sheep tags must be 16 years of age on July 1. Applicants may apply as many times as they wish. The application fee is $5.97 per entry and deadline to apply is midnight on June 2, 2016. Applicants do not need a valid hunting license to apply, but a hunting license must be purchased prior to issuing the tag. Fundraising tags will be issued at no additional cost. For 2016, four fundraising random drawing tags will be available:

  • Open Zone Deer Tag allows the hunter to hunt during the authorized season dates of any hunt, using the specific method and meeting any special conditions of the tag for that hunt.
  • Grizzly Island Bull Elk Tag is valid in the Grizzly Island hunt zone, with any legal method of take. The hunt dates are from Aug. 6, 2016 to Sept. 4, 2016.
  • Northeastern California Pronghorn Antelope Tag allows the hunter to hunt in any of the Northeastern antelope zones (Mount Dome, Clear Lake, Likely Tables, Lassen, Big Valley and Surprise Valley) with any legal method. The hunt dates are from July 30, 2016 to Sept. 18, 2016.
  • Old Dad and Kelso Peak Bighorn Sheep Tag is valid only in the Old Dad and Kelso Peak hunt zone. If drawn, the hunter must attend a mandatory orientation to receive the tag. The hunt dates are from Nov. 5, 2016 to Feb. 5, 2017.

New for 2016 – Harvest Reporting Now Mandatory for Deer Hunters
Any person who is issued a deer tag must submit a harvest report for that tag, even if they did not hunt, or if they did not harvest a deer. Deer hunters who fail to submit a harvest report for any 2016 deer tag by January 31, 2017, will be assessed a $21.60 non-reporting fee when purchasing a deer tag drawing application or deer tag in the 2017 license year.

Hunters have two methods to submit their harvest reports.

  • Submit a report for each deer tag you are issued at When you have successfully submitted your report online, you will receive a confirmation number. You must write the confirmation number on the harvest report card and retain the harvest report card until March 1, 2017. Tags reported online must be surrendered to the CDFW upon demand.
  • By mail. Any person who does not report a deer tag online must return the report card portion of each deer tag by Jan. 31, 2017 to CDFW – Wildlife Branch, PO Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94299-0002.

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Media Contacts:
Kim Shepherd, CDFW License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-6886
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Fishing, Hunting Report Card Data for Many Species Due Jan. 31

Media Contacts:
Glenn Underwood, CDFW License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-5841
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds anglers, divers and hunters that Jan. 31, 2016 is the due date for turning in steelhead, sturgeon, abalone and north coast salmon report card data, as well as unfulfilled deer tag report cards (a new requirement for this year).

Information collected from sport fishing report cards provides CDFW biologists with important data necessary to monitor and manage California’s diverse recreational fisheries, including preparing recommendations for sport fishing seasons and limits that allow for sustainable levels of take. This science-based management helps to ensure healthy populations of fish for future generations.

Any person who fails to return or report a salmon, steelhead, sturgeon or abalone report card to the department by the deadline may be restricted from obtaining the same card in a subsequent license year or may be subject to an additional fee for the issuance of the same card in a subsequent license year.

There are two ways to meet the mandatory angler reporting requirement. Online reporting ( is easy, fast and free. Online reporting includes instant confirmation that the report has been received and accepted. Please note that license sales agents cannot accept report cards. More information about report cards is available at

Sport fishing report cards may also be returned by mail to the addresses listed below:

North Coast Salmon Report Cards CDFW – Klamath River Project 5341 Ericson Way Arcata, CA 95521-9269

Abalone Report Cards CDFW – Abalone Report Card 32330 N. Harbor Drive Fort Bragg, CA 95437-5554

Steelhead Report Cards CDFW – Steelhead Report Card P.O. Box 944209 Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

Sturgeon Report Cards CDFW – Sturgeon Report Card P.O. Box 944209 Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

Anglers and divers are required to report even if the report card was lost or they did not fish. Cards should be reviewed carefully for accuracy before submission.

Also, every purchaser of a deer tag must now report their harvest, even if they were unsuccessful or did not hunt. CDFW uses this data to understand harvest rates and to build population estimates and future hunt quota recommendations for the state’s deer herds. For successful hunters, the report must be made within 30 days of harvesting a deer or by Jan. 31, whichever date is first. Unsuccessful hunters or those who did not hunt must report no harvest or did not hunt, respectively, by Jan. 31. Starting with the upcoming 2016 deer season, tag holders who do not report will be charged a non-reporting fee of $20, which will be added to hunting license purchases beginning with the 2017 season. Harvest reports can be submitted online at or by mail to the address printed on the tag.

CDFW Using Helicopters to Survey Wildlife in Modoc, Lassen Counties

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has begun conducting a series of deer surveys in northern California this week using a helicopter. The survey work began Monday, Jan. 25 in Modoc County. Unless delayed by weather, surveys for deer will end this week in Modoc County and will resume in late February in Lassen County.

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The survey range includes areas used by deer in winter, between Fort Bidwell and Eagleville on the east side of the Warner Mountains, and on the west side of the Warner Mountains in the vicinity of Goose Lake and the Likely Tables.

“To accurately count deer, we need to fly fairly close to the ground, just above the tree line,” said CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Richard Callas. “Our flight crew will avoid flying near homes and will avoid disturbing livestock such as horses.”

A locally owned and piloted helicopter will be used for the deer surveys. CDFW biologists will be on board to count the number of deer seen as the helicopter flies along a series of predetermined flight paths.

Survey data collected by biologists is vital to CDFW’s efforts to manage and conserve the state’s wildlife populations. The Modoc and Lassen surveys are part of a larger CDFW effort to estimate population sizes of deer herds throughout northern California.

General Deer Season Opens Saturday in B2, B6, C1 and C2

CDFW Reminds Hunters of Wolf Pack in Siskiyou County

This Saturday, Sept. 19 is the general deer season opener in zones B2, B6, C1 and C2. Elk season is already open in Siskiyou County and the northeast zone. For complete hunting regulations including zones and season, please visit

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds hunters of an established wolf pack (two adults and five pups) in Siskiyou County. As wolves can travel up to 30 miles per day, these hunting zones in the north state could be within the wolf pack’s range.

Any wild gray wolf in California is state and federally protected. In June 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to list gray wolves as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. The gray wolf is also listed as endangered in California, under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973. Gray wolves in California are therefore protected by the ESA making it illegal to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect wolves, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct in California. Federal penalties include significant fines and one-year imprisonment.

CDFW has important information on distinguishing between coyotes, wolves and dogs on its website. While the recent photographic evidence of wolves indicates they are black in color, there are occasions where hunters have mistaken a wolf for a coyote and killed it. CDFW implores hunters to be aware of the potential presence of wolves in the northern state and take extreme precaution to avoid this scenario.

Concerns about human safety in regard to wolves are largely based on folklore and are unsubstantiated. In recent years there was one human mortality in Canada caused either by wolves or bears and one confirmed human mortality in Alaska by wolves. Based on experience from states where substantial wolf populations now exist, wolves pose little risk to humans. However, CDFW recommends that people never approach a wolf, or otherwise interact with or feed a wolf. Farmers and ranchers can reduce the likelihood of attracting wolves and other predators by removing potential sources of food and other attractants from their land such as discarded animal carcasses, bone piles, etc. More about how to avoid human-wildlife interactions can be found on CDFW’s website at or


Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937