Tag Archives: regulations

Poachers Fined for Illegally Taking Abalone in Southern California

Two Southern California men have been convicted and fined for abalone poaching and other resource crimes, stemming from a September 2015 California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) enforcement case.

CDFW wildlife officers assigned to the patrol boat Thresher discovered the two men poaching abalone at Catalina Island. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office subsequently prosecuted both individuals.

Hee Won Chai, 75, of Los Angeles was charged with taking and possessing six pink abalone. Chai pleaded no contest to all six poaching counts. He was ordered by the court to pay $61,626 in fines and penalties, and $1,000 to the CDFW Preservation Fund. Additionally all of his SCUBA equipment was forfeited by the court and his fishing privileges permanently revoked.

Warden Rob Rojas and Warden Jon Holemo work together to recover a game bag the suspected poachers attempted to discard.

Jin Chai Jeong, 58, of Garden Grove was charged with taking and possessing two pink abalone, three green abalone and four spiny lobsters out of season, as well as attempting to destroy evidence. Jeong pleaded no contest to all of the abalone and lobster charges. He was also ordered by the court to pay $61,626 in fines and penalties and $1,000 to the CDFW Preservation Fund, and his SCUBA gear was forfeited by the court and his fishing privileges permanently revoked.

“An extraordinary amount of time and effort is invested in helping the Southern California abalone populations rebound, including the sacrifice of honest abalone harvesters who cannot currently fish for abalone south of San Francisco,” said CDFW Law Enforcement Asst. Chief Mike Stefanak. “Years ago, abalone poaching laws were significantly strengthened as part of the overall recovery plan to protect California’s abalone populations, but even so, we’ve seen an increase in poaching crimes. Once we find the offenders, we rely on the diligence of the District Attorneys’ offices and the courts to ensure that justice is served. Successful prosecutions such as these will hopefully serve as a deterrent for anyone considering committing these crimes against the environment.”

All of California’s abalone species are struggling, including two that are federally listed as endangered. Disease, predation, slow reproduction and poaching have necessitated a moratorium on abalone harvest south of San Francisco Bay since 1997. Red abalone populations north of San Francisco are the only populations stable enough to support very limited recreational harvest.

Anyone who believes they are witness to unlawful hunting, fishing or pollution is encouraged to call CalTIP, CDFW’s confidential secret witness program, at (888) 334-2258 or send a text to tip411. Both methods allow the public to provide wildlife officers with factual information to assist with investigations. Callers may remain anonymous, if desired, and a reward can result from successful capture and prosecution.


Media Contacts:
Capt. Rebecca Hartman, CDFW Law Enforcement, (310) 678-4864
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 201-2958

Quail, Grouse, Ptarmigan and Band-tailed Pigeon General Seasons to Open Soon

The 2016-17 general upland game bird hunting season will open in mid-September for several species in specific zones around the state, providing hunters with many opportunities to bring home some delicious table fare for the upcoming holiday season.

September openers include quail (Zone Q1 opens for mountain quail from Sept. 10 through Oct. 14, and Zone Q2 will be open for all quail from Sept. 24 through Jan. 29); sooty and ruffed grouse (general season will be open in various northern and eastern counties from Sept. 10 through Oct. 10); white-tailed ptarmigan (general and archery seasons will be open from Sept. 10-18); and band-tailed pigeon (the northern hunt zone only will be open from Sept. 17-25).

Please note that nonlead ammunition is now required when hunting on California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves. As of July 1, 2016, the nonlead shot requirement is extended to include the take game birds with a shotgun elsewhere in California, with the exceptions of dove, quail and snipe, or any game bird taken on a licensed game bird club. Please plan accordingly. For more information please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition page.

Specific information about each game bird species, including zone maps and information about daily bag limits and possession limits for each species can be found on the CDFW Upland Game Bird Hunting webpage. Additional information about each species can be found below.


Quail are some of the state’s most popular native game birds. There are three species of quail found in California: California quail, mountain quail and Gambel’s quail. California quail (the state bird) are common and widespread throughout the state in low to mid-elevation brushy habitats with good cover and abundant food. Mountain quail are also widespread in higher elevation habitats. Gambel’s quail are California’s most desert-adapted species and can be found in the very arid lands of southeastern California.

The early mountain quail season starts on Sept. 10 and continues through Oct. 14 and covers much of the mountainous region of northern and eastern California (the Q1 zone map can be found on the CDFW website). On Sept. 24, the early general quail season opens in Zone Q2 for several coastal counties between Marin and Mendocino counties. The remainder of the state will open to quail hunting on Oct. 15. Finally, an additional two-day early hunt season will be open on Oct. 1-2 in Mojave National Preserve for young hunters with junior hunting licenses.

For all quail species, the daily bag limit is 10 and the possession limit is triple the daily bag. Hunters can still use lead shot for quail until 2019 unless hunting on CDFW Wildlife Areas or Ecological Reserves. Quail currently are exempted from the new nonlead requirement because lighter shot sizes used on these smaller birds is not as widely available as larger shot that has been used for many years on waterfowl.

All three native species of quail are characterized by high reproductive potential that can only be realized through adequate and well-timed winter and early spring precipitation. Despite the ongoing drought, conditions were good for in 2015-16 for quail, resulting in good hatches in most part of the state.

Quail are most active in the early morning and later afternoon and move in large coveys throughout the day. Quail have distinctive calls that can provide clues to the birds’ location. Hunting dogs can be useful for both locating and retrieving birds in the field.

Quail can be successfully hunted with 20, 16 or 12 gauge shotguns. A modified or improved cylinder choke is recommended to avoid damage to the bird. Because of the dense brush habitats where they are usually hunted, downed quail can be hard to find. Despite this challenge, CDFW reminds hunters that wasting game is both unethical and illegal.

CDFW estimates that in the 2014-15 season, approximately 470,000 quail were bagged across all three species by 69,000 hunters over the course of 550,000 hunter-days. Not surprisingly, California quail is the most frequently bagged of the three species. (Data is not yet available for the 2015-16 season.)


California has two species of native forest-dwelling grouse: the sooty (or blue) grouse and the ruffed grouse. Sooty grouse occur in the Sierra Nevada, Cascade and northern Coast ranges while the ruffed grouse is restricted to the northwestern part of the state. The general hunting season for both species extends from Sept. 10 to Oct. 10 this year. For sooty and ruffed grouse, the daily bag limit is two (all of one species or mixed) and possession limit is triple the daily bag. A third species, the greater sage-grouse, can be hunted by permit only.

Although they are fairly large birds, grouse camouflage themselves very well and will flush quickly when frightened, flying in a zigzag pattern away from the hunter. Dogs are useful companions to help hunters find and retrieve bagged grouse. A light gun is helpful because a fast swing is often necessary. Nonlead shot is required for all grouse statewide.


The white-tailed ptarmigan is a non-native grouse that was introduced by CDFW to the Sierra Nevada in the early 1970s. This is the smallest species of ptarmigan and the only one found in California. They live in high elevation alpine habitats at low densities from the area around Sonora Pass in Tuolumne County to the area surrounding Kings Canyon National Park.

Hunting these birds can be challenging because of the high elevation, steep terrain. Hunting is permitted from Sept. 10-18. The daily bag limit is two per day and the possession limit is two per season. Many hunters prefer using a 20-gauge shotgun and a hunting dog to pursue ptarmigan. Nonlead shot is required for ptarmigan.

Band-tailed Pigeon

The band-tailed pigeon is California’s only native pigeon and is a close relative of the extinct passenger pigeon. They look similar to domestic (feral) pigeons that are common in urban areas. Band-tailed pigeons are found in mountainous terrain throughout the state, using coniferous forests as well as oak woodlands.

The band-tailed pigeon is locally abundant at times but populations are migratory and movements can be unpredictable. The federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) estimates that in 2014, 10,700 pigeons were harvested in California, comprising nearly 90 percent of the total Pacific Flyway harvest.

The northern California hunt zone season runs from Sept 17-25. The daily bag limit is two and the possession limit is triple the daily bag. The southern hunt zone does not open until December.

Nonlead shot is required for band-tailed pigeons statewide.

CDFW reminds hunters that an upland game bird stamp is required for licensed adult hunters (18 years and older) but not hunters with a valid junior hunting license. A HIP validation is also required to hunt band-tailed pigeons.


Media Contacts:
Scott Gardner, CDFW Upland Game Program, (916) 445-5545

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

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

California Ivory Ban Now in Effect

Signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. last October, a new law banning the sale of nearly all ivory in the state of California is effective as of July 1, 2016. The ban, which can be found in California Fish and Game Code, section 2022, encompasses teeth and tusks of elephant, hippopotamus, mammoth, mastodon, walrus, warthog, whale and narwhal, as well as rhinoceros horn, regardless of whether it is raw, worked or powdered, or from a store or a private collection. Under the law, advertising the sale of any items containing ivory is also strictly prohibited.

“The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) continues its active role with our federal partners to end wildlife trafficking, which poses a critical threat to conservation throughout the world,” said David Bess, Chief of CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division. “This law provides another tool to aid in this effort.”
Under the new law, raw ivory and most crafted items that include ivory may no longer be purchased, sold or possessed with the intent to sell, with limited exceptions, including the following:
  • Ivory or rhino horn that is part of a bona fide antique (with historical documentation showing the antique is at least 100 years old) provided the item is less than 5 percent ivory or rhino horn by volume;
  • Ivory or rhino horn that is part of a musical instrument (with documentation of pre-1975 construction) provided the instrument contains less than 20 percent ivory or rhino horn by volume; and
  • Activities expressly authorized by federal law, or federal exemptions or permits.
California has a long history in the legal and illegal trafficking market of ivory within the United States. Although the sale of ivory and elephant parts has been illegal in California since 1977, the new law closed a loophole that allowed the continued sale of ivory that was imported into the state before 1977.
The sale of ivory, rhino horn or products that contain ivory will be a misdemeanor, punishable by fines up to $50,000 and one year of incarceration.
Media Contacts:
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Map-based Sport Fishing Regulations Offers Ease of Use for Anglers

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has launched a beta release of an online location-based Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations tool to help anglers identify those regulations that relate to the area they plan to fish. The new tool provides an easy way for anglers to find the sections of the regulations that are relevant to them.

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The new fishing regulations tool can be found at https://map.dfg.ca.gov/sportfishingregs/. It is designed to work on a smart phone, tablet or desktop computer.

When accessed from a smart phone or a tablet with GPS, the map-based tool will automatically present the angler with the sport fishing regulations that apply to their current location based on the GPS in the device. When accessed from a tablet without GPS or from a desktop computer, the user can click anywhere on the map to discover the regulations for that area.

The new tool includes the Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, found on our Regulations webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations.

The regulations are also now available in the existing Fishing Guide, available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/guide.

“This is a big step forward in making the complex fishing regulations more accessible to the angling community,” said CDFW Acting Fisheries Branch Chief Roger Bloom. “As we continue to simplify our fishing regulations, they will be kept up-to-date within this new tool.”

This is a beta release that CDFW staff will be actively working to improve. CDFW welcomes comments or suggestions for improvement. Please send feedback to fishingguide@wildlife.ca.gov.

Media Contacts:
Roger Bloom, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 445-3777
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944