Tag Archives: deer

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 www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations.

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 www.wildlife.ca.gov/keep-me-wild or www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/mammals/gray-wolf.


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

General Deer Seasons Set to Open in California

As the Sept. 19 and Sept. 26 general deer hunting season openers approach, hunters across the state are gearing up to head out in search of deer in many of the most popular hunting areas. Deer seasons are already underway for archery and in zones A and B4.mule deer

Deer tags are still available for many of the state’s most popular zones. Hunting licenses and tags can be purchased online, at one of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) license sales offices or through one of CDFW’s many license sales agents. For more information on deer hunting zones and seasons, see the 2015 Big Game Hunting Digest. Specific zone maps and information are also available online.

The sale of hunting licenses and tags provides approximately $25 million every year to CDFW to fund research and management of California’s wildlife, including the enforcement of fish and wildlife laws, crucial habitat conservation, post-wildfire forest restoration and wildlife migration and population studies.

“We encourage hunters to have fun and be safe while exploring California’s wild places,” said CDFW Deer Program Coordinator Stuart Itoga. “We appreciate the role hunters play in conservation and management of the state’s wildlife.”

For the 2015 deer season, hunters need to be aware of two new regulations: Mandatory tag reporting and the use of nonlead ammunition on CDFW wildlife areas and ecological reserves.

Starting this year, all deer tag holders must report to CDFW. Hunters that take a deer must report within 30 days of harvest or by Jan. 31, whichever occurs first. Hunters that received a tag but did not harvest a deer or did not hunt must also report by Jan. 31. Harvest reports may be submitted online or by U.S. mail to CDFW Wildlife Branch, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94299-0002. Beginning in 2017, anyone who fails to submit a report for the 2016 season will be charged a $20 non-reporting fee when applying for a 2017 deer tag.

Effective July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when hunting on state wildlife areas and ecological reserves and for all bighorn sheep hunts. Lead ammunition may still be used on Bureau of Land Management (BLM), national forest and private lands.

Statewide, estimated deer population numbers are up slightly from 443,000 last year to 512,000 this year. Last year, approximately 22 percent of the state’s deer hunters harvested a deer.

Scouting an area prior to hunting and getting off the beaten path can be keys to hunter success, especially during this time of historic drought. CDFW recommends that hunters keep current on possible public land closures in zones they plan to hunt.

“California is in the fourth year drought and large wildfires have caused some forest closures,” Itoga said. “We expect wildfires could cause additional closures of public hunting lands this year. On a positive note, some of the areas burned will provide high-quality deer browse as regeneration occurs in future years. Improved nutrition could lead to healthier deer populations and enhanced opportunities for deer hunters in future seasons.”

Regional U.S. Forest Service and BLM offices provide helpful information regarding emergency closures of public hunting areas. Please visit CDFW’s website for zone-specific information and regional contacts.

Knoxville Wildlife Area Reopened

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today that Knoxville Wildlife Area will reopen for public use Sunday, Aug. 9 at 5:00 a.m. Because of successful efforts by fire personnel from multiple agencies on the Rocky Fire, CDFW considers conditions to be safe for public access. The public is reminded that campfires are not allowed on the wildlife area at any time.

Because of the Rocky Fire in neighboring Lake County, Knoxville Wildlife Area was closed to all public use on Aug. 3. The general deer season opener began today, and Knoxville is a popular hunting area.

The public can monitor the status of the Rocky Fire at www.fire.ca.gov/general/firemaps.php.

Media Contacts:
Conrad Jones, Knoxville Wildlife Area, (707) 944-5544
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Knoxville Wildlife Area Closed Due to Rocky Fire

Because of the Rocky Fire in neighboring Lake County, Knoxville Wildlife Area is closed to all public use until further notice to allow safe access for emergency vehicles. The closure affects Knoxville-Berryessa Road north of Pope Canyon Road.

It is unknown when the wildlife area will be safe to reopen.

“We are hopeful that the wildlife area will reopen before the Saturday deer opener, but it’s impossible to say at this time,” said Conrad Jones, a senior environmental scientist at Knoxville. “Safety is our first priority, and we are cooperating with emergency responders who are working hard to get this fire under control.”

Interested members of the public can call (707) 944-5547 for updates on the closure. The message will be revised as more information becomes available.

The public can also monitor the status of the fire at www.fire.ca.gov/general/firemaps.php. Please note that on the webpage, Knoxville-Berryessa Road is referred to as Morgan Valley Road in the road closure section.


Media Contacts:
Conrad Jones, Knoxville Wildlife Area, (707) 944-5544

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

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

CDFW’s Deer Conservation and Management Plan Now Available for Public Review

doe in fieldThe California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed its draft Deer Conservation and Management Plan, which is now available for public comment and review. The plan can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/deer/.

CDFW is proposing to develop 10 large-scale deer conservation units, which will assess how recent landscape and environmental changes have impacted deer population and habitat.

The draft plan also covers five important areas: unit plans, population management, habitat conservation, monitoring and outreach. Each unit will prepare separate plans, which will also be available for public comment and review at a future date.

In addition, movement corridors, winter and summer ranges and holding areas will be mapped and used to develop long-term conservation objectives. Areas needing restoration or rehabilitation will also be prioritized in order of importance to conservation and management objectives.

The deadline for comments is April 30, 2015. Interested parties can submit comments via email at DeerPlan@wildlife.ca.gov, or by regular mail sent to Deer Plan, 1812 Ninth St., Sacramento, CA 95811.


Media Contacts:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

Stuart Itoga, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3652

CDFW to Offer Deer Hunting Clinic in San Bernardino County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Advanced Hunter Education Program, the Hunter Education Instructor Association of Southern California and the California Deer Association will jointly sponsor a deer hunting clinic on Saturday, April 11. The clinic will be held at the Apple Valley Gun Club in Victorville in San Bernardino County.

The clinic is designed for Southern California deer hunters of all skill levels. The clinic will cover deer biology, hunting techniques and regulations, methods for locating deer, locations to hunt, field dressing and care of game.

The clinic is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $45. Youths 17 years and younger are free, but must be accompanied by adult.

Space is limited and participants must register in advance here. After registering, participants will receive an email with a map to the facility and a list of items to bring. CDFW’s Advanced Hunter Education Program will provide all necessary class equipment.

Victorville is located approximately 60 miles north of Los Angeles.

Media Contacts:
Lt. Alan Gregory, CDFW Advanced Hunter Education Program, (209) 329-7426

Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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Persons with disabilities needing reasonable accommodation to participate in public meetings or other CDFW activities are invited to contact the Department’s Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator Melissa Carlin at (916) 651-1214 or Melissa.Carlin@wildlife.ca.gov. Reasonable Accommodation requests for facility and/or meeting accessibility should be received at least 21 days prior to the event. Requests for American Sign Language Interpreters should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the event, and requests for Real-Time Captioning at least four weeks prior to the event. These timeframes are to help ensure that the requested accommodation is met. If a request for an accommodation has been submitted but due to circumstances is no longer needed, please contact the Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator immediately.

Inyo County Man Arrested, Charged with Poaching Deer

Media Contacts:
Lt. Bill Dailey, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (661) 203-6380
Lt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 508-7095

Tracking dog Sieger helped wildlife officers locate a poached trophy deer.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers arrested a poacher today in Inyo County for allegedly illegally killing a trophy 3×3 deer in the G-3 zone. Joseph Eugene Bragdon, 37, of Bishop was taken into custody without incident at his workplace after a $15,000 arrest warrant was issued by the Inyo County District Attorney’s Office.

“We are grateful to the Inyo County DA’s Office for recognizing the importance of resource protection and that wildlife poaching is a serious crime,” said Lt. Bill Dailey of CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division. “Ethical hunters prize the G-3 tag for the incredible landscape and quantity of large deer. With only 35 tags issued every year, hunters can apply for years and never draw this zone.”

CDFW wildlife officers received a tip, through the CalTIP hotline, that on Nov. 1 Bragdon took his juvenile son to Division Creek in the trophy G-3 hunting zone and killed a large mule deer buck using a D-7 deer zone tag. With the assistance of the investigating warden’s tracking dog, Sieger, they located a dead deer with only the antlers and part of the edible meat removed. Most of the animal was left to waste.

Poaching a deer, cutting the head off and wasting edible meat is illegal and an egregious violation of ethical hunting standards. Wildlife officers took DNA samples and seized ballistic evidence.

The G-3 deer season runs only from Dec. 6-21. This area is considered a trophy deer hunt when high country mule deer bucks enter the area to escape the high country winter storms.

In November 2012, Bragdon was convicted of two misdemeanor hunting violations in Nevada, including hunting big game in a closed season and hunting big game without a tag. He was fined and had demerit points added to his Nevada hunting license.

Bragdon faces possible charges for several violations of the Fish and Game Code, including taking a deer without a license, tag or permit, failure to fill out tags, waste of game, failure to have a tag in possession and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. If convicted, Bragdon could face revocation of his hunting license, fines, probation and/or jail time.

CalTIP (Californians Turn In Poachers and Polluters) is a confidential secret witness program that encourages the public to provide CDFW with factual information leading to the arrest of poachers and polluters. Ethical hunters and anglers are the most common contributors to the CalTIP hotline. The toll-free hotline number is (888) 334-2258.

Tracking dog Sieger is a candidate for the next cycle of certification training for CDFW’s exceptional team of Warden K-9s.

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

Caltrans and the Department of Fish and Wildlife Urge Motorists to Be Alert During Watch Out for Wildlife Week

Caltrans and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) remind motorists to remain alert for wildlife near roadways during Watch Out for Wildlife Week (WOW), which runs September 15-21.

“It’s important that motorists, when driving through areas frequented by deer, elk and other animals, be alert to protect themselves as well as California’s wildlife,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.

Defenders of Wildlife (Defenders), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting native species and their natural communities, reports more than 200 people are killed nationally in collisions with deer, elk and other large mammals each year with an estimated 1.5 million animals hit annually.

The Watch Out for Wildlife campaign is supported by Caltrans, CDFW, Defenders and the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis.

“It’s a shame that many animals and people are injured and killed on our roads every year,” said Craig Stowers, CDFW’s Game Program Manager. “Many injuries, deaths and costly vehicle repairs can be avoided if drivers would pay more attention when animals are most active, and be prepared to react safely if an animal moves onto the road.”

Caltrans, CDFW and Defenders offer a few tips for motorists:

  • Be particularly alert when driving in areas frequented by wildlife and give yourself more time to react safely by reducing your speed.
  • 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.
  • Don’t litter. The odors may entice animals to venture near roadways.

Here are a few examples of what Caltrans, CDFW and their partners are doing to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions:

a beautiful golden bob cat walking out from a highway underpass
A bobcat that just crossed safely under State Route 76 in San Diego County. Caltrans photo
two coyotes walk into concrete underpass to reach other side of a highway
Coyotes safely cross under SR 76 in San Diego County. Caltrans photo

Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing, Los Angeles County
Caltrans has applied for $2 million in federal funding for the environmental and engineering design phases of a future wildlife crossing over U.S. Highway 101 at Liberty Canyon Road in Agoura Hills. In the interim, Caltrans is providing wildlife fencing in Liberty Canyon to prevent wildlife mortalities along the freeway until a permanent structure can be built. The highway presents an impassible barrier for wildlife migrating into or out of the Santa Monica Mountains.  A new wildlife crossing promises to provide an improved habitat connection that will sustain and improve the genetic diversity of wildlife in the area.

State Route 76, San Diego County
Five wildlife crossings and directional fencing were installed as part of the SR-76 Melrose to Mission Highway Improvement Project in 2012. A wildlife movement study, including road kill surveys, camera station surveys and tracking transect surveys, is underway to determine the effectiveness of the crossings and fencing. A review of the data collected to date suggests the combination of directional fencing and wildlife crossings may be limiting vehicle-wildlife collisions and allowing for wildlife movement across SR-76. Medium-to-large species using the wildlife crossings include the badger, bobcat, coyote, raccoon, striped skunk, desert cottontail and opossum.

State Route 17, Santa Cruz
Caltrans has built wildlife undercrossings to accommodate wildlife on several highways in the Bay Area and is currently working with the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County to build a new wildlife undercrossing at the Laurel Curve on State Route 17. Since 2007, motorists have hit 14 mountain lions along this section of the highway in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Land Trust is working to raise $5 million to purchase land on either side of the Laurel Curve, which would make it possible for Caltrans to proceed with building the undercrossing.

Central Coast
Caltrans is seeking $1.8 million in federal funding to finance wildlife corridor projects in Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties where local wildlife exists in close proximity to state highways. If the request is approved, Caltrans will obtain an additional $2.5 million in state funding to finance all aspects of the projects. Caltrans assembled an extensive list of stakeholders and partners for this proposal, including the California State Coastal Conservancy, the Nature Conservancy, UC Davis, the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, the Pinnacles National Monument and the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County.

Caltrans has installed new wildlife fencing and electric mats at unfenced intersections along U.S. Highway 101 near San Luis Obispo, which bisects a major wildlife corridor in the Los Padres National Forest.

Media Contacts:
Mark Dinger, Caltrans Public Affairs, 916-657-5060
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, 916-322-2420