Tag Archives: hunting

Fall Turkey Season Opener Approaches

Upland game hunters statewide are gearing up for the opportunity to bag their Thanksgiving dinner, as California’s 2016 general fall wild turkey hunting season opens statewide on Saturday, Nov. 12. The season extends through Sunday, Dec. 11, with a bag limit of one turkey (either sex) per day and no more than two per season.

“Turkey populations are doing very well in many areas of the state despite recent drought years,” said Scott Gardner, manager of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Upland Game Program. “Not only are they plentiful, but they’re also a very healthy alternative to store-bought turkey. Wild turkey meat is low in fat and has no additives. You can’t get much healthier than that.”

Wild turkeys are found in most counties in California, with the top five for fall harvest being Placer, El Dorado, Shasta, Sonoma and Tehama. Both a hunting license and upland game bird stamp are required to hunt turkeys, although an upland stamp is not required for hunters with junior licenses.

Rio Grande turkeys are the most widespread wild turkey subspecies in California, occupying much of the mixed oak and pine woodlands of the coast ranges, Central Valley, Sierra Nevada and Cascade foothills. Merriam’s turkeys can be found in habitats dominated by pines in northeastern California. The eastern subspecies can be found in isolated pockets along the northern coast and eastern/Rio Grande hybrids from the Midwest inhabit areas along the south coast.

Today, California’s wild turkey population is estimated at about 250,000 birds. CDFW estimates that about 10,000 turkeys are harvested by about 20,000 hunters in the fall.

As of July 1, 2016, nonlead shot is required for wild turkeys statewide, unless taken on the grounds of a licensed game bird club. For more information, please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition page.

Many populations range on private land, but turkeys can be found on public lands administered by CDFW, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. A list of state wildlife areas and ecological reserves can be found on the CDFW website.

For places to hunt turkeys and additional tips and information, hunters should refer to the “Guide to Hunting Wild Turkeys in California” on CDFW’s upland game hunting webpage.

# # #

Media Contacts:
Scott Gardner, CDFW Upland Game Program, (916) 801-6257
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

2016 General Pheasant Hunting Opener Nears

The second weekend of November brings a popular tradition for many families in California – the opening of pheasant season. Although the overall wild pheasant population has been decreasing in recent years and the number of shoot days has been reduced on some wildlife areas, opportunities are still available on state-managed lands.

The 2016 general pheasant season will open Saturday, Nov. 12 and extend through Sunday, Dec. 25. The daily bag limit is two males per day for the first two days of the season, and three males per day thereafter. The possession limit is triple the daily bag. Shooting hours are from 8 a.m. to sunset.

Native to Asia, the ring-necked pheasant was introduced to California as a game bird species in the late 1800s. Though they flourished in California for decades, numbers have been dropping since the most recent high in the late 1990s. Total pheasant harvest on public areas in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys declined from a high of 4,828 roosters in 1998 to 629 last year.

In an effort to address the continued decline, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) continues efforts to restore and enhance upland habitat on public areas. This is in addition to the ongoing collaborative research with Pheasants Forever and the United States Geological Survey to improve our understanding of factors limiting their populations. A recent article about declines in the Central Valley and more information about ongoing research is available on CDFW’s website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/birds/pheasant.

In 2010, CDFW reduced the number of days that certain wildlife areas will be open for pheasant hunting due to a decline in the number of hunters targeting pheasant and the cost to operate check stations during the first week of the season. For the upcoming season, hunters should be aware of the following restrictions on wildlife areas:

  • Type A wildlife areas in the Sacramento Valley (Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Delevan National Wildlife Refuge, Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, Gray Lodge Wildlife Area and Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area’s Little Dry Creek, Llano Seco and Howard Slough Units) will be open for pheasant hunting on Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays and only the first Monday (Nov. 14) during the pheasant season. Sutter National Wildlife Refuge, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area and Grizzly Island Wildlife Area will also be open for pheasant hunting on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays only during the pheasant season.
  • Type A wildlife areas in the San Joaquin Valley (Los Banos Wildlife Area, Mendota Wildlife Area, North Grasslands Wildlife Area, Volta Wildlife Area and San Luis National Wildlife Refuge free roam area) will be open for pheasant hunting on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays only during the pheasant season. The San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Kesterson Unit blind area will be open the first Monday (Nov. 14) and a special zone of the Freitas Unit will be open only on the first Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Nov. 12-14) of the pheasant season.
  • In the event some units experience closures for waterfowl hunting as a result of the drought, the goal will be to open for pheasant hunting on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays during the general pheasant season. Permits for entry will be issued at the check station through a morning lottery. Specific information will be available from affected wildlife area offices. Additional entry will be available through first-come, first-served lists at the check station.
  • The Wister Unit of Imperial Wildlife Area in Imperial County and San Jacinto Wildlife Area in Riverside County will continue to be closed to pheasant hunting this year.
  • Type C wildlife areas will remain open as normal.

Nonlead ammunition is now required when hunting pheasants anywhere in the state, except Licensed Game Bird Clubs. For more information please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition page.

All hunters must carry a current California hunting license in their possession. Adult hunters (18 or older) must also have an upland game bird validation. The full upland game bird hunting regulations and a summary as well as the lands regulations for 2016-2017 can be found on CDFW’s website.

The modifications of the shoot days on Type A wildlife areas are pursuant to the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 550(i)(1).

For more information on specific hunting opportunities, hunters should contact their regional CDFW office and check the CDFW website.

###

Media Contacts:
Scott Gardner, CDFW Upland Game Program, (916) 445-5545
Brad Burkholder, CDFW Lands Program, (916) 445-1829
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Fall Apprentice Pheasant Hunts Announced

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications for apprentice pheasant hunts in 17 counties throughout the state.

The hunts, which will be held on various dates throughout November and December, are specially designed to provide an educational and memorable experience for new hunters, youth hunters, women hunters, mobility-impaired hunters and families.

These CDFW-sponsored opportunities are available at the following locations:

  • Fresno County (Mendota Wildlife Area)
  • Imperial County (Imperial Wildlife Area)
  • Kern County (Bakersfield and Stockdale Ranch)
  • Los Angeles County (Peace Valley)
  • Madera County (Chowchilla and Hensley Lake)
  • Merced County (O’Neill Forebay Wildlife Area and Merced)
  • Napa County (Napa-Sonoma Wildlife Area)
  • Plumas County (Green Gulch Ranch)
  • Riverside County (Robinson Farms and San Jacinto Wildlife Area)
  • San Bernardino County (Camp Cady Wildlife Area)
  • San Diego County (Oak Grove)
  • San Joaquin County (White Slough Wildlife Area)
  • San Luis Obispo County (Santa Margarita and Ray Azbill)
  • Siskiyou County (Shasta Valley Wildlife Area)
  • Solano County (Grizzly Island Wildlife Area)
  • Tehama County (Sacramento River Bend Area)
  • Yolo County (Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area)

More details – including hunt dates, types of hunts offered and how many hunters each event will accommodate – can be found online at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/dfgspecialhunts/default.aspx.

These apprentice hunts are provided by CDFW’s Upland Game Bird Special Hunt Program, in cooperation with many volunteer organizations. They provide a high-quality, educational experience that builds upon the lessons taught in hunter education classes.

They also provide additional public hunting opportunities for upland game birds on both public and private lands.

Applicants are reminded that nonlead ammunition is required for hunting pheasant in California, unless the hunt is taking place at a licensed game bird club. Before venturing out to hunt, please review the new nonlead requirements at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/nonlead-ammunition.

For more information about the application process, please call (916) 445-3452.

# # #

Media Contact:
Karen Fothergill, CDFW Upland Game Program, (916) 716-1461

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Wildfire Awareness Still Necessary as Additional Deer Seasons Open Sept. 24

California’s 2016 deer season continues with the opening of the D3-D5, D8-D10, X8 and X10 Zones on Sept. 24. Drought and dangerous fire conditions persist in many areas of the state, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) urges hunters to be mindful of wildfires and forest closures that could affect the area where they plan to hunt. CDFW does not refund tag fees due to wildfire closures.

CDFW does not close or open areas due to fires, but leaves that authority to incident commanders with CAL FIRE and the U.S. Forest Service.

Current information on forest closures can be found at the following links:

Hunters are encouraged to check these links frequently in order to obtain the most up-to-date information.

# # #

Media Contacts:
Stuart Itoga, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3652
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days Approach for the 2016-2017 Season

As in years past, California’s young hunters will have one weekend to hunt in the Northeastern Zone before the general waterfowl seasons open around the state. The Youth Waterfowl Days in the Northeastern Zone for the 2016-2017 season fall on Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sunday, Sept. 25.

Beginning with the 2016-2017 waterfowl season, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raised the age to participate in Youth Waterfowl Days to include licensed youth hunters who are 17 years of age or younger at the time of the hunt. All youth hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult who is 18 years of age or older.

In the Southern San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, Colorado River and Balance of the State zones, Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days will be Feb. 4 and Feb. 5, 2017.

Youth Waterfowl Days are allowed on state wildlife areas, federal refuges and private lands. Federal refuges and state wildlife areas in the Northeastern Zone (with the exception of Willow Creek) will be open for youth hunting on those days. Hunters and chaperones should contact specific areas for details on hunt opportunities.

Youth Waterfowl Days are held in addition to the regular waterfowl seasons and must be held outside any regular duck season, regardless of location. Federal regulations require any waterfowl hunter that is 16 years of age or older to possess a federal duck stamp.

The complete regulations can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

###

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