November 2020 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

All calendar items are subject to change as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to adhere to all safety protocols including physical distancing, wearing masks and frequent hand washing.

Fire danger is extreme in California currently. Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to check for closures before leaving on any recreational trip.

Various Days — Nimbus Fish Hatchery Free Public Webinars, 9 to 9:45 a.m., Nov. 5, 12, 19 and 25 via Zoom. These free public webinars will be broadcast live from the Nimbus Fish Hatchery for all ages to enjoy from a safe social distance. Because the Visitor Center is currently closed, we are offering everyone the opportunity to connect with wildlife and our hatchery experts. Information on each webinar and a link to register (required) will be posted to our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nimbushatchery. For additional information, please contact stephanie.ambrosia@wildlife.ca.gov  or call (916) 358-2884.

Saturdays — Swan Tours, 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., Yuba County north of Marysville in privately owned rice fields. Led by CDFW naturalists, this is an excursion into a prime Pacific Flyway overwintering grounds. Tours focus on the majestic and ancient tundra swan, but participants are sure to see an assortment of geese, ducks, shorebirds and raptors. Sign up on Eventbrite. Tours have been modified to meet health and safety guidelines. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/swan-tours or email genelle.treaster@wildlife.ca.gov.

1 — First Day of No Depth Limit for Recreational Boat-Based Groundfish Fishing, California-Oregon State Line to Point Arena (through Dec. 31). For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/groundfish-summary.

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

7 — Recreational Dungeness Crab Season Opens Statewide. Health advisory information will be posted at wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/health-advisories. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/invertebrates/crabs.

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

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

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

7 — Weaving Yesterdays: A Live History Series Virtual Event, 1 to 1:30 p.m. Reserve naturalists and historians will host a Facebook Live series exploring the cultural heritage of Elkhorn Slough. At 1 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month, participants will hear the backstory of a new location around the area. Please visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/weaving-yesterdays-a-live-history-series to view the series schedule and find recordings of previous installments. 

7 — Teachers on the Estuary Workshop, 9 to 11:30 a.m., Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). The reserve presents a hands-on estuarine science workshop for middle and high school teachers through a combination of virtual lessons and field work. Teachers will learn from reserve scientists, engage in inquiry-based lessons and take home new hands-on activities. For the full workshop schedule and to register, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/education-program/teacher-development.

8  Last Day of Recreational Ocean Salmon Season from Horse Mountain to Pigeon Point. Recreational ocean salmon fishing closes statewide. For more information, please visit the ocean salmon webpage at wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/salmon or call the CDFW Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (800) 662-9825.

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

10 — California Fish and Game Commission Marine Resources Committee Meeting, 9 a.m. The meeting is to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2020.

14 — Fall Wild Turkey Season Opens Statewide (extends through Dec. 13). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

14 — General Pheasant Season Opens Statewide (extends through Dec. 27). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

14 — Late Season Dove Hunting Opens Statewide (extends through Dec. 28). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

15 — 2021 Sport Fishing Licenses Available. The 2021 sport fishing licenses become available at various sites. For more information or to purchase a license online, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing.

15 — Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery South of the Sonoma-Mendocino County Line (Central Management Area) Scheduled to Open. The opening date may be delayed in some or all of this area due to elevated marine life entanglement risk or human health concerns from domoic acid. Should there be a change to the season opening date due to entanglement risk, information will be made available at wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/whale-safe-fisheries and sent out through the CDFW Whale Safe Fisheries email listserv. More information on domoic acid and the crab fishery can be found at wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/invertebrates/crabs.

16 — California Fish and Game Tribal Committee Meeting, 1:30 p.m. The meeting is to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit fgc.ca.gov.

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

18 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Meeting, 10 a.m., via Microsoft Teams or teleconference. Public comment will be accepted per the agenda. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov.

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

22 — General Deer Season Closes in Zone D16. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

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

###

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

October 2020 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

All calendar items are subject to change as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to adhere to all safety protocols including physical distancing, wearing masks and frequent hand washing.

Fire danger is extreme in California currently. Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to check for closures before leaving on any recreational trip.

Various Days — General Bear Season Opens in Select Deer Zones. General bear season opens concurrently with general deer season in the A, B, C, D, X8, X9a, X9b, X10 and X12 deer hunting zones. The general bear season will remain open until Dec. 27, or until CDFW determines that 1,700 bears have been taken. Tooth collection is not required this year, but all hunters must present their bear head and get their tag validated by CDFW personnel. Current bear hunting regulations, in-season updates and general black bear information can be viewed at wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/bear.

3 — California Spiny Lobster Recreational Fishing Season Opens Statewide, 6 a.m. For more information regarding lobster and lobster management, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/invertebrates/lobster.

3 — General Duck and Goose Season Opens in the Northeastern Waterfowl Zone. For more information about regulations, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.  

3 — Early Canada Goose Season Opens in the Balance of State Waterfowl Zone. For more information about regulations, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl

3 — General Deer Season Opens in Zones D19, X1, X2, X3a, X3b, X4, X5a, X5b, X6a, X6b, X7a and X7b. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

3 — Archery-Only Deer Season Opens in Zone D12. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

3 — Weaving Yesterdays: A Live History Series Virtual Event, 1 to 1:30 p.m. Reserve naturalists and historians will host a Facebook Live series exploring the cultural heritage of Elkhorn Slough. At 1 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month, participants will hear the backstory of a new location around the area. Please visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/weaving-yesterdays-a-live-history-series to view the series schedule and find recordings of previous installments. 

3-4 — Early season Junior Hunt for Quail in the Mojave National Preserve. For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

4 — Last Day of Recreational Ocean Salmon Season from Pigeon Point to the U.S./Mexico Border. All recreational ocean salmon fishing south of Pigeon Point will be closed for the remainder of the year. Recreational ocean salmon fishing remains open between Horse Mountain and Pigeon Point. For more information, please visit the ocean salmon webpage at wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/salmon or call either the CDFW Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (800) 662-9825.

7 — California Spiny Lobster Commercial Fishing Season Opens Statewide. For more information regarding lobster and lobster management, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/invertebrates/lobster.

10 — General Deer Season Opens in Zones D11, D13-15 and D17. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

10 — General Bear Season Opens in the Remaining X Zones. General bear season opens for the remaining deer hunting X zones. The general bear season will remain open until Dec. 27, or until CDFW determines that 1,700 bears have been taken. Tooth collection is not required this year, but all hunters must present their bear head and get their tag validated by CDFW personnel. Current bear hunting regulations, in-season updates and general black bear information can be viewed at wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/bear.  

10 — Early Archery-Only Season for Pheasant Opens (extending through Nov. 1). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

14 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting. The meeting is to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit fgc.ca.gov.

15-30 — iNaturalist Wildlife Scavenger Hunt. Join CDFW’s Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in a biodiversity scavenger hunt in Butte, Yuba or Sutter counties. In celebration of the Virtual Yuba-Sutter Farm Day 2020, this activity offers kids a way to have outdoor fun while learning about the wildlife in their communities. It targets third graders, but all are welcome to join. Participants will follow clues while observing wildlife, capturing images and using iNaturalist to record what they find. Information and guidance will be posted in the iNaturalist “Journal.” Due to the pandemic, this is a self-led activity. Please visit www.inaturalist.org/projects/yuba-sutter-farm-days-2020-gray-lodge-wildllife-area?tab=about for more information and to sign up.

17 — General Deer Season Opens in Zone X9c. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

17 — General Season for All Quail Opens in Zone Q1 and Zone Q3 (extending through Jan. 31, 2021). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

17 — General Season for Chukar Opens Statewide (extending through Jan. 31, 2021). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

17 — General Season for Snipe Opens Statewide (extending through Jan. 31, 2021). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

23 California Wildlife Conservation Board Lower American River Conservancy Program Advisory Committee Meeting, 1 to 3 p.m., via Microsoft Teams Meeting. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov.

23 — General Duck and Goose Season Opens in the Colorado River Waterfowl Zone. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

24 — General Duck and Goose Season Opens in the Balance of State, Southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California Waterfowl Zones. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

24 — General Deer Season Opens in Zone D16. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

###

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

Snow geese at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. CDFW photo/Travis VanZant.

brown bird in flight through trees

CDFW Seeks Artists to Enter California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is conducting its annual art contest to select the design for the state’s 2020-2021 upland game bird stamp. The California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest is open to all U.S. residents ages 18 and older. Entries will be accepted from Nov. 9 through Dec. 4.

This year’s stamp will feature the mourning dove (Zenaida macroura). These popular migratory upland game birds are found throughout California in a variety of habitats. Common in grassland, cropland and open woodland environments, they are often seen foraging on the ground for a wide variety of seeds. The characteristic sound of a mourning dove taking flight is generated by special flight feathers which vibrate rapidly to create a whistling sound, which increases in pitch when a dove is startled by a predator, communicating danger to other birds nearby.

Entries must include at least one mourning dove, preferably in a habitat or setting representative of California. Entries will be judged on originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy and suitability for reproduction as a stamp and print.

The contest will be judged by a panel of experts in the fields of ornithology, conservation, art and printing. The winning artist will be selected during a judging event in December.

An upland game bird validation is required for hunting migratory and resident upland game birds in California. The money generated from stamp sales is dedicated to upland game bird-related conservation projects, education, hunting opportunities and outreach. CDFW sells over 150,000 upland game bird validations annually. Any individual who purchases an upland game bird validation may request their free collectible stamp by visiting wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps. For collectors who do not purchase a hunting license or upland game bird validation, or for hunters who wish to purchase additional collectible stamps, an order form is also available on the website.

For contest information and entry forms, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/upland-game-bird-stamp.

###

Media Contacts:
Matt Meshriy, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 322-6709
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8907

2019 winning entry of a ruffed grouse by Jeffrey Klinefelter

painting of ruffed grouse

Indiana Artist Wins California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest for Third Year in a Row

A painting of a ruffed grouse has been chosen by a panel of judges as the winning entry in the 2019-2020 California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest. The painting was created by Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Ind.

Sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the annual contest determined the official design for this year’s California Upland Game Bird Stamp. Klinefelter also captured the top spots in the 2018-19 and 2017-18 Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contests, as well as the 2009-10 California Duck Stamp Contest.

Artists submitted an original depiction of ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus). These medium-bodied forest dwellers are the only member of the genus Bonasa, and have a range extending across North America. In California, they inhabit riparian and conifer forests in the northwestern portion of the state. Ruffed grouse have intricately barred or variegated plumage in shades of brown and gray, depending on environmental variables, with a conspicuous neck “ruff” and dark tail banding which they use to attract mates. Their most notable courtship ritual, however, is their “drum display” – a low-frequency booming sound created by beating their wings against their bodies.

Contest entries were judged recently by a panel of experts selected for their knowledge in the fields of ornithology, conservation, art and printing. Designs were judged on originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy, and suitability for reproduction as a stamp and print.

The judges praised the composition and fine detail of the painting, specifically noting the accuracy of the feathers. They cited the excellent coloration with “good barring on the belly and speckle on the back” that blends nicely with the autumnal aspen forest in the background. The panel also appreciated the in-flight depiction which allowed a full display of the grouse’s intricate plumage, something Klinefelter found challenging yet rewarding.

“Ruffed grouse are agile fliers and I thought painting them in flight would make a good picture,” he said. “The plumage blends well with the background – they have cryptic coloration.” He went on to say that while he has only seen ruffed grouse in captivity, he enjoyed imagining them in their native California habitat.

Broderick Crawford of Clayton, Ga., placed second. Mark Thone of Shakopee, Minn., placed third. Buck Spencer of Junction City, Ore. received honorable mention.

An upland game bird validation is required for hunting migratory and resident upland game birds in California. The validation replaces the stamp through CDFW’s Automated License Data System, but the stamp is still produced and available to hunters upon request. Monies generated from upland game bird validation sales are dedicated solely to upland game bird-related conservation projects, hunting opportunities, and outreach and education. CDFW annually sells about 170,000 upland game bird validations and distributes approximately 17,000 stamps.

Any individual who purchases an upland game bird validation may request their free collectable stamp by visiting wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps. An order form is also available on the website for collectors who do not purchase a hunting license or upland game bird validation, or for hunters who wish to purchase additional collectible stamps.

Media Contacts:
Matt Meshriy, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 322-6709

Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

quail

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

The 2019-20 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.

September openers include quail (Zone Q1 opens for mountain quail on Sept. 14, and Zone Q2 will be open for all quail on Sept. 28), sooty and ruffed grouse (general season will open in various northern and eastern counties on Sept. 14), white-tailed ptarmigan (which will open Sept. 14) and band-tailed pigeon (the northern hunt zone will open Sept. 21).

Please note that as of July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition is required when taking any wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California. Please plan accordingly. For more information, please see the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) nonlead ammunition page.

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

Quail

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 found in higher elevation habitats. Gambel’s quail are California’s most desert-adapted species and are found in the very arid lands of southeastern California.

The early mountain quail-only season starts on Sept. 14 in Zone Q1 and continues through Oct. 18, covering much of the mountainous region of northern and eastern California. On Sept. 28, the early general quail season opens in Zone Q2 for all quail species in several north coast counties. The remainder of the state will open to quail hunting on Oct. 19 and extend through Jan. 26, 2020. Finally, an additional two-day early hunt season will be open on Oct. 5-6 in Mojave National Preserve for hunters with junior hunting licenses.

CDFW is offering fall hunts for quail (and wild chukar) throughout the state. Special drawings for public land quail and chukar hunts through the Upland Game Wild Bird Hunt Program are available in Kern, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles and San Diego counties, and drawings for hunts on private ranches (offered through the SHARE Program) will be available in Tulare and Santa Barbara counties. Hunters can apply for these opportunities online, at CDFW license sales offices, through retail license agents or by calling (800) 565-1458.

For all quail species, the daily bag limit is 10 and the possession limit is triple the daily bag.

All three native species of quail are characterized by high reproductive potential associated with adequate and well-timed winter and early spring precipitation. Northern California experienced increased precipitation this spring, benefitting quail habitat and productivity. Hunters should experience good populations of quail this fall.

All three species of 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. Quail are more apt to run than flush, making them a more challenging game bird to hunt. Hunting dogs can be useful for locating, flushing and retrieving birds in the field.

Quail can be successfully hunted with legal 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.

Forest Grouse

California has two species of native forest-dwelling grouse: the sooty 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. 14 to Oct. 14 this year. For sooty and ruffed grouse, the daily bag limit is two (both of one species or mixed species) and possession limit is triple the daily bag.

Although they are fairly large birds, grouse camouflage themselves well and generally hold tight to their location even when hunters are nearby. They flush quickly and fly off in a zigzag pattern, requiring a quick and accurate response from a hunter. Dogs are useful companions to help hunters find, flush and retrieve bagged grouse.

Ptarmigan

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 inhabit the high elevation alpine habitats at low densities from Sonora Pass in Tuolumne County to Kings Canyon National Park.

Hunting these birds can be challenging because of the high elevation and steep terrain. Hunting is permitted from Sept. 14-22. The daily bag limit is two per day and the possession limit is two per season. Hunters should prepare for difficult hiking conditions and be familiar with the area before heading out after this game bird.

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 the introduced domestic or rock pigeons that frequent urban areas. Band-tailed pigeons are often found in mountainous terrain throughout the state, using coniferous forests as well as oak woodlands, but populations are migratory and movements can be unpredictable.

The northern California hunt zone season runs from Sept 21-29. The daily bag limit is two and the possession limit is triple the daily bag. The southern hunt zone does not open until December.

CDFW reminds hunters that an upland game bird stamp is required for licensed adult hunters (18 years and older) but not for 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) 801-6257
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988