US Navy veteran angler on the Trinity River

CDFW Offers Special Opportunities and Reduced-Fee Licenses for Disabled Veterans and Recovering Service Members

Service-related injuries need not keep veterans from enjoying wildlife and the great outdoors. America’s disabled and recovering veterans get a break on the price of sport fishing and hunting licenses and are provided some special opportunities in California.

Reduced-fee sport fishing and hunting licenses are available to both resident and nonresident disabled veterans. Any honorably discharged, disabled veteran with a 50 percent or greater service-connected disability who wants to hunt or fish in California is eligible. The 2019 Disabled Veteran Sport Fishing License and Disabled Veteran Hunting License cost only $7.47 when purchased at CDFW license counters, or $7.82 when purchased from an authorized license agent.

Hunters and anglers may apply for reduced-fee disabled veteran licenses by mail or in person at any CDFW license sales office, or submit the required documentation to the CDFW License and Revenue Branch to prequalify for disabled veteran licenses. After an applicant receives notification from CDFW that their customer record has been updated, they will be able to purchase low-cost disabled veteran sport fishing and hunting license anywhere licenses are sold.

Reduced-fee hunting and fishing licenses are available at the same prices for recovering service members, defined as a member of the National Guard, or a Reserve, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy and is in an outpatient status while recovering from a serious injury or illness related to the member’s military service.

Details on how to apply for these licenses can be found on CDFW’s website.

Special hunting blinds have been constructed to be accessible to individuals with mobility impairments at some state wildlife areas and national wildlife refuges. More information, including a list of areas with waterfowl hunting opportunities for mobility impaired hunters is available on the CDFW’s website.

CDFW will attempt to accommodate any qualified hunter with a disability, but they must have drawn a tag or reservation for that hunt. Hunters with a disability who are drawn for a hunt should contact the hunt coordinator directly so that CDFW staff can accommodate them for that hunt or find them another opportunity. If you have additional questions or requests regarding accessibility, please contact CDFW’s EEO Office at (916) 651-9315 or (916) 653-9089.

CDFW also works with military installations on wildlife management and provides tags for those installations to issue to military personnel for deer and tule elk hunting opportunities.

Reduced-fee sport fishing license applications for 2020 will be available on Nov. 15. California sport fishing licenses are valid Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 each year, and make excellent holiday gifts for veterans. Hunting licenses are valid July 1 through June 30. Additional validations tags, and cards are required for certain species and areas and must be purchased at the regular fee.

Fishing and hunting regulations and more information about licenses are available on the CDFW website.

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Media Contact:
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

November 2019 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

Various Days — Guided Wetland Tours by Reservation at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). A wildlife naturalist will lead any group, school or organization on a half-mile route through the diverse wetlands of the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. General information includes wildlife identification, behavior patterns and conservation efforts. The experience can be catered to include requested information. The minimum group size is 18 people. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

Various Days — Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Volunteers lead walks every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Binoculars and bird books are available for the public to borrow at no cost. The visitor center and main overlook are fully accessible. The day use permit fee is $4.12 per person, ages 16 and older (permits may be purchased onsite). Groups of five or more should please notify staff that they are coming and groups of 10 or more can request a separate tour. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit/elkhorn-slough-er.

Various Days — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Multiple Hunting Opportunities. Wild pig, waterfowl, turkey, dove and quail hunts are available through the SHARE program. An $11.88 non-refundable application fee is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

First Through Third Saturdays and Sundays of the Month — Sandhill Crane Wetland Tours at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, 7730 W. Woodbridge Road, Lodi (95242). Online registration has begun for those wishing to participate in guided tours, which run October through February. A one-day Lands Pass must be purchased to attend and instructions are available on the same website. Tours fill fast and registration may be done as much as six weeks in advance. To register or for more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/3/crane-tour.

Weekends — Guided Wildlife Tours at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 12:30 p.m., 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). The 90-minute walking tour covers slightly more than a half mile through this premier birding spot that highlights migratory waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. Tours are canceled in heavy rain. No reservations are necessary for groups of less than 20 people. This land is part of the CDFW Lands Pass Program and associated fee-for-use requirement. There is no additional cost for the tour. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

1 — Last Day of Recreational Crab Trap Ban in Ocean Waters, Statewide. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine/calendar.

1 — First Day of No Depth Limit for Recreational Boat-Based Groundfish Fishing, California-Oregon Stateline to Point Arena. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine/calendar.

2 — First Day of Recreational Dungeness Crab Season, Statewide. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine/calendar.

2 — Scaup Season Opens in the Colorado River Zone (extends through Jan. 26). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

2 — General Deer Season Opens in Zone D12. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

3 — General Deer Season Closes in Zones D3–D7, D17, D19. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

4Nimbus Hatchery Fish Ladder Opens, 10:30 a.m., Nimbus Hatchery, 2001 Nimbus Road, Rancho Cordova (95670). The opening of the fish ladder signals the start of the spawning season for Chinook salmon on the American River.  Throughout the fall, the public can view the ladder and the spawning operations at the Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center. The hatchery is open daily, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on weekends, free of charge. For more information, please contact Laura Drath at (916) 358-2884 or laura.drath@wildlife.ca.gov or visit www.facebook.com/NimbusHatchery.

4 — CDFW Conservation Lecture Series, 1 to 3 p.m., “CNDDB Looks at 40: The Past, Present, and Future of the California Natural Diversity Database Program,” presented by Misty Nelson, CDFW. CNDDB Lead Scientist Misty Nelson will present an overview of the rich history of the California Natural Diversity Database program, highlighting milestones and accomplishments from the past 40 years. She will also examine some of the challenges associated with managing data for the most biodiverse state in the U.S. and will discuss upcoming changes and opportunities to keep the program relevant and regarded for decades to come. Attendance is free. To register or learn more, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/lectures.

5 — California Fish and Game Commission Marine Resources Committee Meeting, time to be determined, Natural Resources Building, 12th Floor Conference Room, Room 1206, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2019.

6Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE) Classroom Aquarium Education Program (CAEP) Teacher Training, 4 to 8 p.m., Humboldt County Office of Education ANNEX Boardroom, 901 Myrtle Ave., Eureka (95501). Any teacher who wants to participate in CAEP and/or is co-teaching with another and will be sharing the CAEP experience must attend this training. If you have participated before, but it has been more than three years, and/or you did not participate in the training held in 2017, you will need to attend this training. A light dinner will be served. For more information, please contact Beth Chaton at (707) 445-7179 or at bchaton@HCOE.org. Register at https://my.hcoe.net/event/classroom-aquarium-education-program

6 — Canada Goose Season Opens in the North Coast Special Management Area (extends through Jan. 31). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

7 — Scaup Season Opens in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, Southern California and Balance of State Zones (extends through Jan. 31). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

7 — White Goose Season Opens in the Imperial County Special Management Area (extends through Jan. 31). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

8 — Brant Season Opens in the Northern Brant Special Management Area (extends through Dec. 14). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

9 — Elkhorn Slough Reserve Aquatic Wild workshop, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). A one-day workshop for K-6th grade teachers which dives into the Aquatic Wild curriculum through hands-on activities. Aquatic Wild Curriculum supports the State Science Standards, emphasizes outdoor learning and connects to other academic disciplines. To register, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/new-aquatic-wild-teacher-workshop.

9 — Stanislaus River Salmon Festival, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Knights Ferry Recreation Area, 17968 Covered Bridge Rd., Knights Ferry (95361). Free, family-friendly festival with hands on activities for kids. Come out and see the Stanislaus River Salmon and meet people working to make the river a better place for fish. For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/srsfest or call (209) 403-1046.

9 — Brant Season Opens in the Balance of State Brant Special Management Area (extends through Dec. 15). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

9 — Pheasant, Fall Wild Turkey and Late Season Dove OpenersGeneral Pheasant Season Opens Statewide and Extends through Dec. 22; Fall Wild Turkey Season Opens Statewide and Extends Through Dec. 8; and Late Season Dove Hunting Opens Statewide and Extends Through Dec. 23.  For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

10 — General Deer Season Closes in Zones D11, D13–D15, X9c. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

12Free Online Cannabis Permitting Workshop, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CDFW, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the State Water Resources Control Board are hosting a free online commercial cannabis cultivation permitting workshop. The workshop is ideal for new and existing commercial cannabis cultivation. The online workshop is limited to 200 participants, so early registration is recommended. For registration details, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/cannabis/events.

15 — First Day of Commercial Dungeness Crab Season, South of Sonoma-Mendocino County Line (scheduled). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine/calendar.

15 — 2020 Sport Fishing Licenses Available. The 2020 sport fishing licenses become available at various sites. For more information or to purchase a license online, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing.

19 — Conservation and Mitigation Banking Program Stakeholder Meeting for Southern California, 1 to 4 p.m., USFWS Conference Room, 2177 Salk Ave., Carlsbad (92008). A public meeting providing an opportunity for attendees to discuss their experience using the current Bank Enabling Instrument and Conservation Easement templates, and to discuss other bank topics in a forum with the agencies’ banking staff and decision makers. For more information contact mitbank@wildlife.ca.gov, or visit www.spd.usace.army.mil/missions/regulatory/public-notices-and-references/article/1955249/public-meetings-to-discuss-mitigation-banking-templates.

21 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Meeting, 10 a.m., Natural Resources Building, First Floor Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). The public is welcome. For more information, please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

24 — General Deer Season Closes in Zones D12, D16. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

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Media Contact:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8907

CDFW Celebrates Contributions of California’s Hunters and Anglers on National Hunting and Fishing Day

National Hunting and Fishing Day will be celebrated on Saturday, Sept. 28. In conjunction with this annual observance, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds Californians of the plentiful opportunities to enjoy hunting and fishing in the state and commends them for their commitment to conservation.

President Richard Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day in 1972. It is annually held on the fourth Saturday in September to promote outdoor sports and conservation. Shortly after this proclamation was signed, participation in hunting and fishing started to steadily decline in California and nationwide. Because of the important financial and volunteer contributions that hunters and anglers make to conservation and wildlife management activities, the decline in participation poses an ever-increasing threat to our natural resources. As a result, CDFW is leading the effort in California to increase participation through its involvement with the nationwide campaign to recruit, retain and reactivate (R3) hunters and anglers. The California R3 effort is engaging diverse hunting and fishing stakeholder groups to turn barriers to hunting and fishing into opportunities for participation.

California is the third-largest state in the nation and approximately half of its land is publicly owned. That translates into millions of acres of huntable public property on which CDFW offers varied hunting opportunities.

In 2018, 269,277 licensed hunters contributed approximately $26.2 million toward wildlife management and conservation activities in the state. Wildlife management and conservation activities have resulted in many success stories for various species around the state, including the Tule elk, wild turkeys, Desert Bighorn Sheep, Aleutian Canada Goose, numerous ducks, among others, over the years in California.

Fishing opportunities also abound in the more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,172 lakes and reservoirs and 80 major rivers in California. The state features more than 1,100 miles of coastline that is home to hundreds of fish and shellfish species.

CDFW offers two “free fishing” days each year in the state, and this year prospective anglers received those opportunities on July 6 and Aug. 31. Fish production is also an important CDFW activity which in 2018 produced millions of pounds of trout for recreational angling.

Last year, CDFW issued 1.77 million fishing licenses and those licenses (including report cards and validations) generated $66.9 million in funding for fisheries management and protection.

Fisheries management and conservation activities have also resulted in numerous success stories over the years in California for various species around the state, including wild trout, landlocked salmon, Largemouth Bass and the Alabama Spotted Bass.

These management activities are funded by hunting and fishing dollars. In order to help increase the number of success stories and contribute to these important conservation and wildlife management activities, consider helping by signing up to take a hunter education course, visit the CDFW website to learn more about participating in fishing and hunting opportunities, or reach out to your local CDFW office or the statewide R3 coordinator to seek guidance on getting started.

Many hunting and fishing seasons are currently open and provide opportunity to acquire lean, antibiotic-free protein sources such as wild trout and other fish, deer, bear, dove, tree squirrel, rabbit and other upland game.

For more information on hunting and fishing opportunities in the Golden State, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov. For information on hunter education, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunter-education. For information on how to purchase a hunting or fishing license, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/online-sales. For more information on National Hunting and Fishing Day, please visit www.nhfday.org.

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Media Contact:
Jen Benedet, CDFW Hunter and Angler R3 Program, (916) 903-9270

 

CDFW Expands Statewide Sampling for Chronic Wasting Disease

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is increasing the scope of its monitoring and testing efforts for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in California’s deer and elk herds.

“While California has never had a report of CWD, increased testing is needed to establish with a high degree of certainty that there are no deer with CWD in California,” said CDFW Wildlife Veterinarian Brandon Munk. “Keeping this disease out of our state is a top priority, both for wildlife managers and for hunters.”

CWD is always fatal to deer and elk, and is an ongoing concern for hunters and managers throughout the country. Once CWD enters a herd, it is nearly impossible to eradicate. Although there are no known cases of CWD being transferred to humans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends not consuming meat or organs from any animal that tests positive for CWD.

CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory has set an ambitious goal to test 600 deer statewide during this year’s hunting seasons and increasing that number to 2,000 statewide in the upcoming years.

Continued hunter cooperation will be key to achieving the CWD deer testing goals. CDFW will set up check stations during the various deer seasons, and hunters will be asked to bring their deer in for the quick removal of a lymph node for testing. CWD testing of hunter-taken deer is voluntary, and no meat is taken.

Information about specific locations and times of operation of CWD check stations in each of the state’s deer zones and control hunt areas will appear on CDFW’s website. Hunters can also contact regional CDFW offices to get check station schedules. Some offices may also offer onsite deer testing.

Some professional meat processors and butchers throughout the state are also partnering with CDFW to take samples from deer at the hunter’s request. Hunters who may be unable to visit a check station or CDFW regional office for sampling are encouraged to ask their butcher ahead of time if sampling is available at the time of processing.

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Media Contacts:
Brandon Munk, CDFW Wildlife Investigations Lab, (916) 358-1194
Nathan Graveline, CDFW Big Game Program, (916) 445-3652
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

tree squirrel

General Tree Squirrel Season to Open Sept. 14

California’s 2019-2020 general tree squirrel season will be open from Saturday, Sept. 14 through Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. Tree squirrels may be taken only in the open zone during the open season, from between one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset. A map of the state’s tree squirrel hunt zones can be found on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) website, along with the full tree squirrel regulations.

Four types of tree squirrels are game species in California. The Western gray squirrel and the Douglas squirrel are both native to California while the Eastern fox squirrel and the Eastern gray squirrel are introduced and not native to the state. These tree squirrels can be hunted in the open zone during the open season under authority of a hunting license in California. No other validations are required.

A fifth species of tree squirrel, the Northern Flying Squirrel, is not a game species and may not be taken. Flying squirrels are small, native tree squirrels that are seldom encountered due to their nocturnal nature and preference for mature forest habitats with complex canopy structure.

Tree squirrel population levels fluctuate from year to year based on prevailing weather conditions and the annual production of nuts, acorns and seeds for forage.

California received above-average rainfall during 2018-19, with a particularly wet spring season. “With a return to favorable weather patterns, and good acorn production, there should be ample opportunities to hunt tree squirrels this year,” said Matt Meshriy, an environmental scientist with CDFW’s Upland Game Program.

In recent years, approximately 10,000 to 15,000 hunters have reported hunting tree squirrels annually and their combined statewide bag has ranged from 50,000 to 75,000.

National forests provide some of the best opportunity to hunt tree squirrels in California. Bureau of Land Management lands and CDFW wildlife areas may also provide opportunity for squirrel hunting. Please note that nonlead shot is now required when taking any wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California. Please plan accordingly. For more information please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition page.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Meshriy, CDFW Upland Game Program, (916) 322-6709
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988