Tag Archives: hunting

CDFW to Hold Public Outreach Meeting for Northern California Wildlife Areas

elkGriz81609 232The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold a public outreach meeting regarding Yolo, Grizzly Island and Napa-Sonoma wildlife areas. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 23 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area’s conference room located at 45211 County Road 32B, Davis, California.

CDFW will take public comments and recommendations and provide updates on habitat conditions, availability of water for wetlands and possible impacts to hunter access on public lands.

These wildlife areas are located in CDFW’s Bay Delta Region, which includes 12 counties in Northern California and is one of seven CDFW regions in the state.

CDFW annually provides an opportunity for licensed hunters to comment and make recommendations on public hunting programs, including anticipated habitat conditions in the hunting areas on wildlife areas through public meetings and other outreach.

Media Contacts:

Larry Wyckoff, Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, (707) 944-5542

Jeff Stoddard, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, (530) 757-2431

Steve Gonzalez, CDFW Communications, (916) 327-9948

Big Game Grants Program Awards $1.1 Million for Wildlife

Hunters’ Dollars to Fund Big Game Conservation and Management Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has awarded $1.1 million in grants for big game conservation projects in Fiscal Year 2016-2017.

The Big Game Grant Program (BGGP), which allocates funds generated by big-game hunters through the purchase of tags for sheep, bear, deer, pronghorn antelope and wild pig, identified 15 proposals for projects that will benefit big-game populations and the habitats upon which they depend.

“This year we are funding some exceptional studies that will broaden our knowledge and understanding of the unique needs of elk and sheep,” said Craig Stowers, CDFW’s Big Game Program Manager. “Other projects will help restore crucial habitat for deer and other wildlife, and provide water sources necessary for their survival. All of these proposals have been identified as an appropriate use of hunter dollars. Their funding goes directly to benefit and sustain the wildlife populations they hunt.”

The projects are selected and budget approved by a public advisory committee. Funded proposals must reflect the grantees’ dedication to big game conservation and management and meet a series of criteria, including increased hunting opportunity. Awards approved for 2016-2017 include:

  • Three grants totaling $277,000 to Oregon State University and the California chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation for several studies on the effects of pneumonia and respiratory disease in Desert Bighorn Sheep.
  • A $29,000 grant to the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep to develop water sources for wildlife on isolated parcels of land in the Mojave Desert.
  • A $205,000 grant to Humboldt State University to study Roosevelt elk populations in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.
  • Four grants totaling $127,000 to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to study elk populations in Modoc and Siskiyou counties.
  • A $27,000 grant to the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep to refill dried-up water guzzlers for wildlife in rural areas.
  • Two grants totaling $160,000 to the Mendocino County Blacktail Association to remove fir trees and improve forage and cover for deer in Mendocino, Glenn and Humboldt counties.
  • A $54,000 grant to CalFauna to conduct a prescribed burn in the Stanislaus National Forest and to document revegetation that will benefit wildlife.
  • An $81,000 grant to the Mule Deer Foundation to restore riparian meadows near Little Rattlesnake Creek in the Stanislaus National Forest.
  • A $150,000 grant to the California Deer Association to reconstruct and maintain watering devices for wildlife in the northern part of the state.

Grant monies awarded to the California chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation will allow the continuation of an ongoing study of the spread and consequences of respiratory disease for bighorn sheep in the eastern Mojave Desert. In addition to conserving and enhancing wild sheep populations, the nonprofit is committed to educating the public about sustainable use and the conservation benefits of hunting.

“We could not have funded this three-year sheep study without the support from the Big Game Management Account,” said Kyle Meintzer, an avid outdoorsman and bow hunter who serves on the Board of Directors for the Wild Sheep Foundation. “The BGGP shows the importance and value of hunters and the dollars their licenses and tags provide for wildlife management and conservation.”

The Big Game Management Account and BGGP were created by the California Legislature in 2010 (currently Fish and Game Code, section 3953). Since the inception of the BGGP, more than $5 million has gone to such projects. More information about the BGGP can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/grants/big-game.

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Media Contacts:
Craig Stowers, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3553
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8911

Think Ahead: Find a Reputable, Licensed Guide to Help Ensure a Safe, Fun and Successful Hunting Season

Now is a great time for hunters to start pre-planning for the 2016-2017 season. If this is the year that you’d like to hunt an unfamiliar area or learn more about an outdoor pursuit you’ve never tried, you may want to consider hiring a professional guide.

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Hiring a licensed guide can greatly increase the chances of hunter success.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is responsible for licensing hunting and inland/freshwater fishing guides in the state.

As defined by the Fish and Game Code, a “guide” means any person who is engaged in the business of packing or guiding, or who, for compensation, assists another person in taking or attempting to take any bird, mammal, fish, amphibian or reptile. “Guide” also includes any person who, for profit, transports other persons, their equipment, or both to or from hunting or fishing areas.

A good guide can greatly increase the chances of success for a hunter who is stalking a new species or unfamiliar with an area. Your guide isn’t just a mentor, but also a navigator, driver, shooting coach, tracker, and maybe even butcher and cook.

“Hiring a guide can be a worthwhile investment of both time and money,” said Lt. Alan Gregory, CDFW’s Advanced Hunter Education director. “You have to approach it as though you’re hiring a contractor to work on your house. Do your due diligence well before the season starts. Research the options that are available to you and get three bids before any money changes hands.”


Finding a Guide

Spending time in the woods during the preseason is a trait of consistently successful hunters. Licensed guides spend their time scouting during the preseason so they can provide information on recent game sightings, travel patterns and feeding routines. That knowledge can be worth its weight in gold.

A California guide license is “one size fits all,” in that it covers both hunting and freshwater fishing, so it might seem a little daunting to find a true expert in the hunt you want. However, it’s definitely possible if you do a little homework in the months before your hunt.

  • Look through the searchable CDFW licensed guide database to identify a few possibilities. Each guide can be found by name, permit number, services offered, species and counties of operation.
  • Look up guide websites (if they have them) and check out online hunting forums and message boards to read testimonials and reviews.
  • Ask around at sporting goods stores. Some may keep a list of guides, and employees or other hunters in the store may be able to give personal references.
  • Interview several guides over the phone. Request references. Ask how many years they’ve been in business, what their success rate is and whether they are bonded, licensed and insured.
  • Ask about cancellation policies. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and to know if you’ll be expected to pay should something unexpected happen.
  • Budget! Prices vary depending on species, length of trip, whether processing is included, etc. Remember to factor in travel, food and lodging costs for the trip. Be sure you understand the package offered, and what’s included vs. what is not.

Tipping is also the standard for good service, and positive feedback in the form of a good review, in writing, is always appreciated.


Becoming a Guide

Experienced hunters who enjoy mentoring others in the field may find that becoming a professional guide is the perfect way to turn a hobby into a career.

In order to become a licensed hunting guide in California, you have to submit an application and pay a fee. The cost of a resident guide license is $215.73 annually (Feb. 1 through Jan. 31 of the following year). A nonresident guide license is $495.75. Employees of a guide who assist in the service and who meet certain criteria are charged $47.38 for a license.

Guides must not have any CDFW violations in the two years preceding their application. A prospective guide with CDFW-related violations may have his or her application denied and licensed guides with violations may have their licenses revoked.

A guide must also purchase and maintain a “performance bond.” The bond is to protect the clients and assure that any deposit a guide receives from a client to reserve a future trip will be returned to the client if the guide cancels and tries to keep the deposit.

For more information on acquiring a guide license, please go to www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing and see Fish and Game Code, sections 2535-2546 and California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 745.

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Media Contacts:
Lt. Alan Gregory, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (209) 274-9923

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

SHARE Program Offers Elk Hunts in Northern California, Including New Properties

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program is now taking applications for 37 elk hunting opportunities. The hunts will take place Aug. 15 through Dec. 13, 2016 on 21 properties in Colusa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and Siskiyou counties. Applications will be on sale from Friday, June 17 through Monday, July 25.

Fifteen of the 21 properties are new additions to the SHARE program, which partners with private landowners to provide additional hunting, fishing and recreational opportunities for the public. Participating landowners receive liability protection and compensation for providing public access to or through their land for wildlife-dependent recreational activities. More information about the SHARE program, including specifics for the upcoming  elk hunts, can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

All elk tags will be distributed through a random draw process. These hunts are in addition to those issued through the big game drawing and no preference points will be considered or used. Applications can be purchased by anyone with a valid California hunting license from any CDFW license office or online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales.

An $11.37 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each hunt application. Successful applicants will be notified on July 29.

Elk hunters are reminded it is legal to take only one elk in California per year.

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Media Contacts:
Victoria Barr, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034

Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824

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 wildlife.ca.gov/publications/hunting-digest.
  • Big Game Tag Quotas can be found on the species webpages located at wildlife.ca.gov/hunting.
  • Online Licenses Sales and Service, www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales, 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 wildlife.ca.gov/tagreporting. 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