Hunter retrieving a duck

CDFW Implements Wildlife Area and Refuge Check Station Safety Precautions for 2020-2021 Hunting Seasons

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is planning ahead to provide ample recreational hunting opportunities on wildlife areas and refuges this fall and winter, while also keeping hunters and CDFW staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CDFW has established a page on its website to describe specific procedures to be implemented this year for public and staff health and safety. Wildlife areas and refuges will be open as long as visitors implement these practices.

Hunters should be aware of the following:

  • Changes have been made to in-person lottery and first-come-first-served (FCFS) operations for the 2020-21 waterfowl season, such as adjusted hours and controls to increase physical distancing between hunters and staff. To further reduce the congestion of hunters at check stations during peak use periods and minimize the potential for spread of COVID-19, hunters will be allowed to enter a lottery or FCFS list at only one state wildlife area or federal refuge prior to each shoot day for the 2020/21 waterfowl season. This limitation does not apply to reservation applications through the Automated License Data System.
  • Sanitation procedures have been put in place, including a requirement for all individuals on the property to wear masks and maintain distance from others while conducting check station business. Non-portable restrooms will be closed to the public (portable restrooms will be provided). Hunters and other visitors to CDFW lands are asked to bring hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies with them, and to carry their trash home for disposal.
  • Controls for hunter/visitor check-out will be implemented to minimize contact between hunters and staff. In some locations, this could include the installation of drop boxes for collecting permits and harvest report cards. Each hunter should carry and present their own bird strap to facilitate safe check-out procedures.
  • CDFW is accepting RV camping applications, where applicable, for the 2020-2021 hunt season. Please contact wildlife area staff for up-to-date information on the status of RV camping.

For details, additional information and updates, please check https://wildlife.ca.gov/Lands/COVID-19 frequently throughout the season.

CDFW may need to update these provisions to ensure consistency with the latest state and local guidelines and directives.

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

CDFW Extends Land Closures Through Monday, Sept. 21

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has extended closures on 49 properties that lie within or immediately adjacent to U.S. Forest Service (USFS) boundaries through Monday, Sept. 21. The closures were put into place on Saturday, Sept. 12 due to unprecedented and historic fire conditions.

All closures are CDFW wildlife areas or ecological reserves, and they cover many parts of the state. They were closed following the USFS announcement of the temporary closure of all national forests in California.

Fire danger is extreme in California currently. Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to check for closures before leaving on any recreational trip. The following links show up-to-date closures:

CDFW acknowledges that hunting opportunities will be impacted. Tag return and preference point eligibility requirements and additional information may be found on CDFW’s website.

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Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

After Coordination with Local Government, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Delays Trout Season Openers in Three Counties

As requested by county officials, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham delayed the start of the trout opener in Alpine, Inyo and Mono counties. The director made this decision in consultation with California Fish and Game Commission President Eric Sklar.

The trout season was scheduled to open in these three counties this Saturday, April 25. The delay to the opener in these counties expires May 31, 2020.

“After talking with the county representatives, we agreed this was a necessary step toward being responsive to local needs in this public health emergency,” said CDFW Director Bonham. “These counties asked for our help, and we responded.”

Specifically this means all waters in these three counties not currently open to fishing will remain closed to fishing until May 31. After local government coordination in Alpine, Inyo and Mono counties, CDFW is also making minor adjustments to bag and possession limits in waters that are currently open for fishing to protect and conserve the existing fisheries that may be affected by increased angling pressure or harvest. These modifications will also expire May 31. Pursuant to the emergency regulation approved by the Commission, CDFW will provide accurate information for the angling public online or by phone at (916) 445-7600.

Today’s decision does not affect the trout season in any other county.

Early this week, CDFW had discussions with county leadership regarding trout fishing, which typically draws a high tourism influx to these counties. Local officials are concerned that people traveling to these areas to fish would exacerbate the transmission of COVID-19 and put a strain on their healthcare systems. Further, all non-essential businesses in these counties including lodging, dining and camping options are closed in compliance with state and local public health officers’ orders.

On April 15, the California Fish and Game Commission authorized CDFW to temporarily delay, suspend or restrict recreational fishing if the director of CDFW, in consultation with the president of the Commission, finds that such action is necessary to protect against the threat from COVID-19 based on state, federal, local, and tribal public health guidance and public safety needs.

At the request of counties or tribes, CDFW will consider action to address needs regarding fishing seasons amongst the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a county or tribal representative with questions or would like to provide input on potential angling related delays or restrictions, please contact Roger Bloom, Acting Branch Chief, Fisheries Branch, by email at Roger.Bloom@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

mountain lion in tree with backpack

CDFW Confirms Mountain Lion Attack in Southern California

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed testing on the carcass of a mountain lion killed at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Orange County on Jan. 20, and has determined that the animal was the same one that injured a small child earlier that day.

On Monday, Jan. 20, in the late afternoon, officers responded to the park following reports of a three-year-old boy being attacked and injured by a mountain lion. After the animal reportedly grabbed the child by the neck, the boy’s father charged at it while shouting. The lion released the boy and assumed an aggressive posture. The father then threw a backpack at the animal. The lion then climbed a nearby tree, carrying the backpack in its mouth.

Before wildlife officers could reach the park, Orange County sheriff’s personnel and Orange County park rangers located the lion thought responsible for the attack. After consultation with CDFW, a sheriff’s deputy then killed the animal, since it was a clear threat to public safety.

The mountain lion was taken to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento for DNA testing. After comparing DNA on the victim’s clothing to DNA taken from the animal carcass, wildlife forensic specialists confirmed the young 55 pound female lion killed in the park is the same lion that was involved in the attack.

A news conference was held Tuesday afternoon, at which the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orange County Fire Authority, Orange County Parks and CDFW were present. CDFW Captain Patrick Foy praised the father of the young victim for how he responded in protecting his son. The boy was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and was able to return home the same day.

Foy said CDFW estimates there are between four and six thousand mountain lions in California. Typically, lions avoid contact with humans, and attacks on humans are extremely rare. However, when a lion attack is confirmed, public safety becomes the top priority.

“Under some extremely rare and unfortunate circumstances, it sometimes becomes necessary to take a dangerous animal like this,” Foy said.

More than half of California is considered mountain lion habitat. For more information on how to better coexist with mountain lions and other wildlife, please visit keepmewild.org.

Media Contacts: 
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-6692
Tim Daly, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

fire damage at ecological reserve

Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve Closed Due to Fire

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced the immediate closure of the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve in Riverside County as a result of the Tenaja Incident (fire). Although the fire was largely under control as of Friday, Sept. 13, CDFW staff has closed the reserve to public access in order to perform repairs to critical infrastructure and allow firefighters to completely extinguish parts of the property that may still be smoldering.

The 7,500-acre reserve will be closed to all public access and activities, including biking, hiking and equestrian use, until further notice.

 

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Media Contacts:
Richard Kim, CDFW Inland Deserts Region, (760) 922-6783
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988