Tag Archives: hunting

Federal, State Rules Differ for Junior Hunters

California junior hunters have enjoyed a new benefit that took effect at the beginning of the 2015-16 hunting season. AB 1709, signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown in 2014, amended Fish and Game Code, section 3031, by extending the eligibility period for a junior hunting license by two years. Under the recent change in law, any person who is under 18 years of age on July 1 of the license year qualifies for a junior hunting license, regardless of whether that person applies before or after July 1 of that year. The change allowed for an extension of hunting benefits for junior hunters including reduced fees, exemption from some endorsement requirements and access to special junior hunt opportunities. However, there remain special circumstances and exceptions to the new rule, which are particularly important to understand during waterfowl season.

The change to the age definition affected only California state law, and did not change the federal regulation definition of a youth hunter. Because waterfowl are migratory, the waterfowl hunting regulations fall primarily under the jurisdiction of the federal government. For this reason, waterfowl hunters 16 years of age and older must possess a federal waterfowl endorsement stamp.

In addition, the federal age definition of a youth hunter remains the standard for some special hunt opportunities, particularly those hosted, held or sponsored by federal agencies or on federal lands, and all youth-only waterfowl hunting days. For the upcoming post-season youth hunt weekend and future youth-only waterfowl hunting days, participants must be 15 years of age or younger and must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older.

CDFW is pleased by the new opportunities created for junior hunters with the change to the California state regulations, but reminds the public to be aware of and follow the federal regulations as well.

To read the complete language of AB 1709 and Fish and Game Code, section 3031, please see http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140AB1709.

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Media Contacts:
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW Offers Pig Hunting Opportunities at Grizzly Island Wildlife Area

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will be holding limited-entry, permit-only hunts to control a small population of wild pigs in Solano County. The hunts will be held the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area on the Joice Island Unit, a 2,150-acre wetland area consisting of thick cattails, tules, some brush and standing water.

A total of 24 two-day permits will be issued over the span of eight weekends. The first weekend, March 5-6, is an apprentice hunt for junior license holders only. Junior license holders must be at least 12 years old to participate in this hunt.

The following seven weekends – March 12-13, March 19-20, March 26-27, April 2-3, April 9-10, April 16-17 and April 23-24 – are general hunts, for which both adults and juniors may apply.

Three hunters will be drawn for each weekend. Permit holders may bring one non-hunting partner, and must purchase a California pig tag prior to the hunt. Please note, dogs and bicycles will not be allowed on the property, and hunters may only use shotguns with slugs or archery equipment.

Please note that as of July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when hunting on all state wildlife areas and ecological reserves. Please plan accordingly. For more information please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition webpage.

All applicants must have a valid California hunting or junior hunting license. Applications must be received by close of business on Monday, Feb. 8. The drawing will be held on Feb. 11.

To apply for a permit, please mail a standard-size postcard to:

Grizzly Island Wildlife Area
Joice Island Pig Hunt
2548 Grizzly Island Road
Suisun City, CA  94585

Applicants must include the following information:

  • Hunter’s name (applicants for the apprentice hunt must also include the name of an adult chaperone)
  • Hunting license number
  • Mailing address and phone number
  • Desired hunt date

Each hunter may apply only one time and for only one date. Applications will be accepted for parties of up to two hunters, but the card must contain all information for both hunters. Incomplete cards and multiple entries will not be accepted. Successful applicants will receive their permit, a map and additional information in the mail.

CDFW reserves the right to cancel this hunt and close the area to all public users without prior notification in the event of unforeseen circumstances, dangerous conditions or emergency situations.

For more information, please contact CDFW at (707) 425-3828.

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Media Contacts:
Patrick Graham, CDFW Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, (707) 425-3828

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

CDFW Offers Junior Apprentice Waterfowl Hunt at Grizzly Island Wildlife Area

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering a special junior apprentice duck hunt at Grizzly Island Wildlife Area on Wednesday, Dec. 30. Spaced blinds on Pond 11 and the Crescent Unit of the wildlife area will be closed to the general public and available only to junior apprentice hunt participants and their chaperones.

An adult chaperone (18 years of age or older) is required to accompany and supervise each junior apprentice hunter. The adult may hunt with the junior apprentice hunter and must possess the required 2015-2016 California hunting license, the California Duck Validation, federal waterfowl stamp and the free Harvest Information Program (HIP) validation. Junior license holders between the ages of 16 and 18 must have a Federal Waterfowl Stamp and the free HIP validation to hunt waterfowl.

All available blinds can accommodate two persons. Non-toxic shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required for waterfowl hunting. A minimum of 12 duck decoys are required at all blind sites and chest waders are recommended.

To apply for a reservation, please mail a standard-sized post card to:

Grizzly Island Wildlife Area
Junior Apprentice Duck Hunt
2548 Grizzly Island Road
Suisun, CA 94585

Applicants must include the following information:

• Junior Apprentice hunter’s name
• Junior hunting license number
• Mailing address and phone number
• Name of chaperone

Each hunter may apply only once. Application cards must be received by close of business on Friday, Dec. 18. Junior apprentice hunt reservations will be filled by a random drawing conducted on Monday, Dec. 21. There will be 23 reservations issued for this date. All successful applicants will be notified by mail or email. Grizzly Island Wildlife Area will also accept junior apprentice hunters on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the hunt to use the free roam areas and to fill any no-shows from the reservations. As a reminder, all chaperones who wish to hunt must have either a Type A One-Day, Two-Day or Season Pass, and these must be purchased prior to arriving at the check station through either a license sales agent or a CDFW license sales office, or online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/online-sales (please allow two weeks’ mailing time if ordering online).

CDFW would also like to encourage use of the West Family Unit, which is available only to junior apprentice hunters. Hunt days are Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the open season. The gate will be opened approximately two hours before shoot time. An adult chaperone is required and five double blinds, including one mobility-impaired blind and one three-person blind, are available. The unit is north of Benicia on Goodyear Road; from Highway 680 take the Marshview Road exit and turn right onto Goodyear Road from the off-ramp. The hunt area will be on the left.

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Media Contacts:
Patrick Graham, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 425-3828
Orlando Rocha, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 425-3828
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Applications for December Apprentice Hunts and Workshop Due on Nov. 18

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering a number of special hunt opportunities for young hunters, women, families and mobility-impaired hunters this fall and winter. All hunt opportunities are now listed on CDFW’s website. Below are the December hunts – and one workshop – with application due dates in the latter half of November:

Due by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18:

Merced County: A total of eight pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held over the weekends of Dec. 5-6 and Dec. 12-13. Each day will have a morning and an afternoon hunt that can accommodate 25 hunters each; all afternoon hunts are junior-required.

Fresno County: Two junior-only pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Mendota Wildlife Area. Each hunt (morning and afternoon) can accommodate 25 hunters.

Kern County: Two wild quail and chukar hunts will be held the weekend of Dec. 5-6 at the Canebrake Ecological Reserve. The Saturday hunt is a junior-required hunt, while the Sunday hunt is a general apprentice hunt. Each can accommodate 10 hunters.

Ventura County: An upland game workshop for apprentice hunters will be held on Saturday, Dec. 12 at the Boy Scouts of America Camp Three Falls in Frazier Park. Participants will learn about shotgun safety and range, shotgun cleaning, proper game care cleaning and transportation methods and how to hunt with dogs. This workshop will accommodate 12 hunters.

Los Angeles County: Two family pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held at Peace Valley on Saturday, Dec. 5 (early morning and late morning), and one junior-only hunt will be held on Sunday, Dec. 6. The Saturday family hunts can accommodate 18 hunters each and the Sunday junior hunt can accommodate 12 hunters.

Riverside County: One junior-required pen-raised pheasant hunt will be held over the weekend of Dec. 5-6 at Robinson Farms. This hunt allows junior hunters to hunt on consecutive days (alone on the first day and with up to three guests on the second day). Applications will be drawn to fill the hunt quota of 100 totals for Sunday; junior hunters who are drawn will also be allowed to participate in the Saturday hunt.

Riverside County: One pen-raised pheasant hunt will be held on Sunday, Dec. 13 at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area. This hunt can accommodate 65 hunters.

Imperial County: One family pen-raised pheasant hunt will be held on Saturday, Dec. 12 at the Imperial Wildlife Area. This hunt can accommodate 35 hunters.

Please note that many of these opportunities will be held on  state wildlife areas or ecological reserves. As of July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when hunting on these properties. For more information please see CDFW’s nonlead ammunition page.

CDFW’s Upland Game Bird Special Hunts are intended for beginning hunters or those with limited experience. Apprentice applicants must have successfully completed a hunter education course and possess a valid 2015-2016 California junior hunting license. Adult hunters (18 or older) must also have an upland game bird validation. A non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older is required to accompany all junior hunt participants.

Proper clothing and safety gear, including blaze orange, is required for department-sponsored hunts. All hunts include gun safety review, easy-to-hunt topography, a high ratio of volunteers to hunters, experienced dog handlers and clay shooting for practice.

Hunters can find more information and apply for any of these hunts online at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/DFGSpecialHunts/Default.aspx. There is no charge to apply. Please note that additional hunts in January and February are listed on the website and are also open for registration.

New hunters can use their Hunter Education Certificate number for priority registration for apprentice hunts. Applicants with priority will be automatically placed in a hunt before the random drawing takes place.

The full upland game bird hunting regulations and a summary for 2015-2016 can be found on CDFW’s website.

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Media Contacts:
Linda Sandoval, CDFW Upland Game Program, (916) 445-3452
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

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 have been reduced on some wildlife areas, opportunities are still available on state-managed lands.

The 2015 general pheasant season will open Saturday, Nov. 14 and extend through Sunday, Dec. 27. For 2015, 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 limit.

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 1990’s. Total pheasant harvest on public areas in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys declined from a high of 4,828 roosters in 1998 to 1,120 last year.

“Wild pheasant populations have declined in the Central Valley due to a number of factors – changing agricultural practices and loss of upland habitats combined with increased use of insecticides and predation,” said Scott Gardner, Upland Game Bird Coordinator for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). “There are still enough pheasants to sustain a rooster-only hunting season, but the numbers look nothing like they used to.”

In response to the continued decline, CDFW is entering the third year of working with Pheasants Forever and the United States Geological Survey to implement pheasant population assessments and identify factors limiting their populations to develop potential management actions. Initial findings were presented at a pheasant workshop earlier this year and information on the workshop and ongoing research can be found 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 (Little Dry Creek, Llano Seco and Howard Slough Units) and Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area will be open for pheasant hunting on Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays, and only the first Monday (Nov. 16) during the pheasant season. 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) will be open for pheasant hunting on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays only during the pheasant season. Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge, Freitas Unit will be open for pheasant hunting on the first Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the pheasant season (Nov. 14-16). The Kesterson blind area will be open for pheasant hunting on the first Monday of the pheasant season (Nov. 16).
  • 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-serve 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.

Upland game hunters are reminded that as of July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when hunting on all CDFW wildlife areas and ecological reserves. 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 2015-2016 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 the CDFW office in their region and check the CDFW website.

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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