Tag Archives: Ducks

CDFW Seeks Artists to Enter California Duck Stamp Art Contest

Artists are invited to submit their original artwork to the 2016-2017 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will accept submissions May 13 through June 13.

The contest is open to U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older as of March 14, 2016. Entrants need not reside in California.

The winning artwork will be reproduced on the 2016-2017 California Duck Stamp. The top submissions will also be showcased at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s art show in July.

The artwork must depict the species selected by the California Fish and Game Commission, which for the 2016-2017 hunting season is the lesser snow goose.

The design is to be in full color and in the medium (or combination of mediums) of the artist’s choosing, except that no photographic process, digital art, metallic paints or fluorescent paints may be used in the finished design. Photographs, computer-generated art, art produced from a computer printer or other computer/mechanical output device (air brush method excepted) are not eligible to be entered into the contest and will be disqualified. The design must be the contestant’s original hand-drawn creation. The entry design may not be copied or duplicated from previously published art, including photographs, or from images in any format published on the Internet.

All entries must be accompanied by a completed participation agreement and entry form. These forms and the official rules are available online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/duck-stamp/contest.

Entries will be judged at a public event to be held in June. The judges’ panel, which will consist of experts in the fields of ornithology, conservation, and art and printing, will choose first, second and third-place winners, and an honorable mention.

Since 1971, CDFW’s annual contest has attracted top wildlife artists from around the country. All proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects throughout California. In past years, hunters were required to purchase and affix the stamp to their hunting license. Now California has moved to an automated licensing system and hunters are no longer required to carry the physical stamps in the field (proof of purchase prints directly onto the license). However, CDFW will still produce the stamps, which can be requested online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps.

Media Contacts:
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958
Melanie Weaver, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3717

 

 

Waterfowl Hunting Seasons Opening Soon — Drought Conditions May Limit Opportunities

As California’s 2015-2016 waterfowl hunting season approaches, hunters may find that wildlife areas may have limited space, particularly early in the season.

Mallard drake about to land at a grassy refuge
Mallard drake comes in for a landing at Colusa National Wildlife Refuge. Mike Peters photo

Most years, quality public hunting access can be found on more than two dozen national wildlife refuges and wildlife areas managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). With the ongoing drought, some areas will have significantly reduced amounts of water available while others will have normal to near normal water conditions.
Some wildlife areas and refuges may be closed, while others may open later in the season or have a reduced hunter quota. State-operated waterfowl hunting areas that will be affected for the opener include Sutter National Wildlife Refuge and Kern National Wildlife Refuge, both of which will likely open late in the season.

Opening and closing dates vary by zone. This information is included in the 2015-2016 Waterfowl Regulations booklet.
Please note that as of July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when hunting upland game birds on all state wildlife areas and ecological reserves. Please plan accordingly. For more information please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition webpage.

CDFW is striving to only offer reservation applications for areas that will be open for hunting. However, last-minute closures may occur due to uncertain water availability and refunds cannot be issued for applications submitted to areas that close due to a lack of water.

Waterfowl hunters should keep informed about current reservation and quota numbers, which are expected to fluctuate frequently. Hunters can also follow the Twitter tag #cawildlifeareaclosures for updates on state-operated wildlife area closures.

In an ongoing effort to expand public access, CDFW is offering waterfowl hunting opportunities through the Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement Program (SHARE) at the Merced Wildlife Management Area in Merced County. For a description of the hunts offered and application instructions, please visit CDFW’s SHARE webpage.

A valid California hunting license, appropriate validations and a signed federal waterfowl conservation stamp must be obtained before entering the field. In addition, a wildlife area pass is required to hunt on many state-operated wildlife areas. Licenses, validations and passes are not sold at wildlife areas, so hunters must purchase these items in advance.

California hunters are required to complete a hunter education training course before purchasing a hunting license for the first time in California. Approximately 30,000 students complete this requirement annually.

CDFW Completes 2015 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey

Mallards in flightThe California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) completed its 2015 waterfowl breeding population survey. The CDFW survey, which uses methodology approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), indicates the total number of breeding ducks (all species combined) has declined. Breeding mallards, the most numerous duck species in the state, declined 27 percent from 2014.

The total number of breeding ducks is estimated at 315,580, compared to 448,750 last year. The estimated breeding population of mallards is 173,865, a decrease from 238,670 in 2014. CDFW attributes the decline to very low precipitation and poor habitat conditions. Similar declines in breeding duck population estimates have occurred in the past but recovered after habitat conditions improved.

“Habitat conditions were poor the last three years in both northeastern California and the Central Valley and the production of young ducks was reduced as a result, so a lower breeding population was expected in 2015,” said CDFW’s Waterfowl Program Environmental Scientist Melanie Weaver. “We would expect another low year of duck production from these two important areas in California in 2015. However, habitat conditions in northern breeding areas (Alaska and Canada) are reported to be better than average.”

CDFW has conducted this survey using fixed-wing aircraft since 1948. The population estimates are for the surveyed areas only, which include the majority of the suitable duck nesting habitat in the state. These areas include wetland and agricultural areas in northeastern California, the Central Valley from Red Bluff to Bakersfield, and the Suisun Marsh. The Breeding Population Survey Report is available at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/waterfowl/.

The majority of California’s wintering duck population originates from breeding areas surveyed by the USFWS in Alaska and Canada, and these results should be available in July. CDFW survey information, along with similar data from other Pacific Flyway states, is used by the USFWS and the Pacific Flyway Council when setting hunting regulations for the Pacific Flyway states, including California.

The federal regulation frameworks specify the outside dates, maximum season lengths and maximum bag limits. Once CDFW receives the USFWS estimates and the frameworks for waterfowl hunting regulations from the USFWS, CDFW will make a recommendation to the Fish and Game Commission regarding this year’s waterfowl hunting regulations.

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Media Contacts:
Melanie Weaver, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3717
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988