CDFW Warns of Continued Fraudulent License Sales Operations

If you are in the market for a California fishing or hunting license (or any related products, such as hunting tags), please ensure that you are making your purchase from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) or an approved vendor.

Several unauthorized online websites are continuing to improperly charge customers extra fees for online fishing and hunting license purchases, and may be collecting sensitive personal information as part of their unauthorized transactions.

California hunting and fishing licenses may properly be purchased in only one of four ways:

Because CDFW’s license sales offices and some independent license sales agent offices have been temporarily closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19, there has been a surge in online sales over the summer months. Unscrupulous website operators and scammers are taking advantage of increased virtual traffic, and the public should take extra precautions to ensure they do not fall victim to a scam.

Since June 2019, six websites offering unauthorized license sales have been taken down at CDFW’s behest, and an additional two websites are in the process of being disabled.

The ALDS, which is CDFW’s exclusive means of online license sales, was launched in 2011. ALDS can be accessed via CDFW’s website or by clicking the link that is frequently provided in official communications from the department. When making an online purchase, please check the URL of the site you are visiting to ensure you are on the official CDFW website (wildlife.ca.gov) or the ALDS website (www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales). These are the only CDFW-affiliated links for hunting and fishing license sales.

Unofficial websites may attempt to represent CDFW and/or contain information about hunting and fishing licenses, and Internet search engines may not always list the official CDFW website as the top result.

Please be cautious when providing personal information to any website. While authorized purchases made through independent license sales agents and ALDS are subject to an additional 5 percent handling fee, the fraudulent sales websites offer products for sale with “shipping and handling fees” that are much higher than 5 percent of the base purchase price. To date, it appears that the fraudulent activity has been limited to charging customers unauthorized fees. Licenses that have been mailed to customers after unauthorized transactions may be valid; however, CDFW cannot guarantee that this is or will be true in all cases.

If you believe you may have been defrauded by an unauthorized website or would like to check the validity of a previous purchase, please provide us with information about your experience at ReportFraud@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
Stephen Adams, CDFW Information Systems Branch, (916) 323-1456
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

2020-21 Hunting Licenses and Big Game Drawing Applications Now Available

California hunters can now purchase hunting licenses for the 2020-21 season, as well as apply for the Big Game Drawing online. Californians have many options to harvest wild protein, and at this time, the current COVID-19 pandemic is not expected to lead to the closure or delay of any hunting seasons. 2020 California Big Game Hunting Digest cover

The deadline to apply for the Big Game Drawing is June 2, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. The 2020 California Big Game Hunting Digest, which includes information about hunts, tag quotas, season dates and the Big Game Drawing, can be downloaded online at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=178428&inline. Printed copies will be mailed to all those who applied to last year’s Big Game Drawing. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) website is the most reliable source for the Big Game Digest.

New this year, per Fish and Game Code, section 3031, a resident or nonresident must be under 16 years of age on July 1, 2020 in order to be eligible for a 2020-21 Junior Hunting License. The previous law, which allowed youth up to 18 years old to purchase a Junior Hunting License, has sunset.

“Now more than ever, we understand the public’s need to enjoy the benefits of nature. Spending time in the outdoors is beneficial to our overall health and wellness, but it’s everyone’s responsibility to practice physical distancing,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “This means avoiding crowded trails, parking lots and campgrounds. If you find that your favorite hunting spot is crowded, do not risk your health and the health of others. Please remember all seasons, limits, license, private property restrictions, and other laws and regulations still apply. Be smart and stay safe.”

CDFW also wants to remind hunters of the change that went into effect on July 1, 2019 requiring nonlead ammunition when taking any wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California. Nonlead ammunition is now required for all hunting in California.

Due to changes in the penal code regarding the purchase or transfer of ammunition, CDFW recommends purchasing ammunition well in advance of hunting and practicing with it in order to ensure firearms are sighted-in appropriately before heading into the field.

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Media Contact:
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

Give the Gift of the Outdoors for Father’s Day

Looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift this year? How about giving the gift of the outdoors? A California hunting or fishing license is a great way to show appreciation for dad or grandpa and make wonderful memories for many months to come.

As the third largest state in the nation, California provides many opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the state’s famed wilderness. Half of the land is publicly owned, giving hunters and anglers access to millions of acres of public land. With more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,172 lakes and reservoirs, and 1,100 miles of coastline that is home to hundreds of native fish and shellfish species, possibilities abound for outdoor adventure!

“The gift of fishing and hunting licenses provides endless opportunities to enjoy California’s unmatched wild places with family and friends,” said Charlton H. Bonham, director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

Hunting and fishing licenses can be purchased at more than 1,400 license agents throughout the state as well as CDFW license sales offices. Licenses can also be purchased and printed online via CDFW’s website. If purchasing a fishing license as a gift and the purchaser does not have all of the licensee’s information, a gift license voucher will be issued. This voucher can then be redeemed at any license agent location, but it cannot be redeemed online. Hunting license gift vouchers are not available. To purchase a license online or find a local sales agent or CDFW sales office, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing.

A 2018-19 California resident hunting license costs $48.34 and is valid from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019. A 2018 California resident sportfishing license is $48.34 and is valid Jan. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2018. Lifetime fishing licenses are also available.

Dad can also enjoy the outdoors without leaving the comfort of home with a subscription to Outdoor California magazine. This bi-monthly magazine offers stunning photography and insightful articles about the state’s native wildlife and habitat, and chronicles the ongoing battle against fish and wildlife crimes. A subscription costs $15 for six issues. Those wishing to subscribe can fill out the form, print and mail with a check to the address listed on the form, or subscribe online via CDFW’s licensing sales website.

An honorary donation to support California’s wildlife officers in their fight to protect California’s natural resources would also make a great Father’s Day gift. Consider purchasing a 2018 California Warden Stamp. The funds raised go toward the purchase of new equipment, specialized training and enforcement programs. The stamps can be purchased online.

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