Tag Archives: upland game

First Dove Season Opener Approaches

mourning doveThe first of two opening days of California’s dove hunting season is fast approaching. This year’s season for mourning dove, white-winged dove, spotted dove and ringed turtle dove will run from Tuesday, Sept. 1 through Tuesday, Sept. 15 statewide, followed by a second hunt period, Saturday, Nov. 14 through Monday, Dec. 28.

Mourning dove and white-winged dove have a daily bag limit if 15, up to 10 of which may be white-winged dove. The possession limit is triple the daily bag limit. There are no limits on spotted dove and ringed turtle dove. Hunting for Eurasian collared dove is legal year-round and there is no limit.

Please note that as of July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when hunting upland game birds on all CDFW lands. Please plan accordingly. For more information please see the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) nonlead ammunition page.

A dove identification guide can be found on the CDFW website, along with a map of upland game fields in Imperial County, the state’s hub for dove hunting.

Although California is suffering a serious drought, mourning doves are dry environment birds and are capable of exploiting many food types and sources. Most of the state lands that are generally planted with forage crops for doves have not been planted this year in order to conserve water, so doves may be more dispersed and less concentrated in areas that have historically been planted. The lack of water resources has also resulted in a higher-than-normal concentration of many wildlife species together in places where there is water. Both mourning dove and band-tailed pigeon have shown symptoms of avian trichimonas and avian pox in the population this year.

While the final results of the 2015 statewide dove banding effort are not yet available, initial numbers indicate no shortage of mourning doves for the opener. Hunters who encounter a banded bird are asked to report it to the USGS Bird Banding Lab (www.reportband.gov). Banded birds are part of important biological monitoring and reporting completes the process.

“The Imperial Valley dove fields are the best they have ever been and will provide great hunting through both early and late seasons,” said Leon Lesicka of Desert Wildlife Unlimited.

Dove hunting is considered a great starting point for new hunters. There is very little equipment required and just about any place open for hunting will have mourning doves. Minimum requirements are a valid hunting license with an upland game bird stamp (if the hunter is 18 or older) and Harvest Information Program (HIP) validation, good footwear, a shotgun, shotgun shells and plenty of water. Hunters should be careful not to underestimate the amount of fluids needed, especially during the first half of the season.

Most successful dove hunters position themselves in a known flyway for doves. These can be to and from roost sites, water, food sources or gravel. Doves are usually taken by pass shooting these flyways, but hunters may also be successful jump shooting. Dove movement is most frequent in the early mornings and late evenings when they are flying from and to their roost sites (this is when the majority of hunters go into the field). Late morning to early afternoon can be better for jump shooting. Hunters should scout out dove activity in the area a few times just prior to hunting.

Important laws and regulations to consider include the following:

  • Shoot time for doves is one half hour before sunrise to sunset.
  • All hunters — including junior hunters — are required to carry their hunting license with them.
  • Hunters must have written permission from the landowner prior to hunting on private land.
  • Bag limits apply to each hunter and no one can take more than one legal limit.
  • It is illegal to shoot within 150 yards of an occupied dwelling.
  • It is illegal to shoot from or across a public roadway.
  • It is illegal to hunt within 200 yards of an artificial water source for wildlife.

It is the responsibility of every hunter to know and follow all laws.

Safety is the most important part of any hunting adventure. Although wearing hunter orange (blaze) is not required by law, it may be required in specific areas. Wearing a minimum of a hunter orange hat is recommended, especially when sitting or when hunting in deep vegetation. Safety glasses are a simple way to protect the eyes and are available in many shades for hunting in all types of lighting situations.

The weather throughout the state on Sept. 1 is expected to be hot and dry. CDFW urges hunters to drink plenty of fluids, wear sun protection and have a plan in case of an accident.

A summary of the 2015-16 dove hunting regulations can be found on CDFW’s website.

CDFW Offers Upland Game Hunting and Waterfowl Clinics in Solano County

Duck hunting with dogThe California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Advanced Hunter Education program is offering two advanced hunting clinics in Solano County in August.

“These clinics are designed to educate both new and experienced hunters in specific types of hunting and to provide the experience necessary to be an ethical and more successful hunter. You will learn about hunting techniques and how to apply them to become that successful hunter,” said Lt. Alan Gregory, CDFW Advanced Hunter Education Program Coordinator.

Upland Game Hunting Clinic: The Upland Game Hunting Clinic will be held on Saturday, Aug. 15 at the Hastings Island Hunting Preserve in Rio Vista. The clinic will include information about the history of pheasant, quail and chukar hunting in California, bird habitat, food and range, maps, equipment and hunting with or without a dog. There will be dog demonstrations with both pointers and flushers.

Waterfowl Hunting Clinic: The Waterfowl Hunting Clinic will be held on Saturday, Aug. 22 at Grizzly Island near Suisun. Topics will include hunter safety, decoy placement, blind design, ballistics, calling, duck identification and game care, as well as information about hunting on State and Federal Waterfowl Management Areas. The clinic is co-sponsored by the California Waterfowl Association and the Pacific Coast Hunter Education Association.

Registration Information: The cost for each clinic is $45. The clinic hours are: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Space is limited to 25 people, so please register early. To register or get more information, please go to www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/advanced or contact Lt. Alan Gregory at (916) 653-1235.

Although the clinics are sponsored by the Advanced Hunter Education program, participants of all skill levels (from beginner to advanced) are welcome. Clinics focus on the basics of hunting with the goal of developing ethical, conservation-minded, successful hunters.

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Media Contacts:
Lt. Alan Gregory, CDFW Advanced Hunter Education, (916) 653-1235
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988
Kristi Matal, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-9811

CDFW to Offer Upland Game Hunting Clinic in Northern California

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Advanced Hunter Education will offer an upland game hunting clinic on Saturday, Aug. 23 at Hasting Island Hunting Preserve, near Rio Vista.

Designed for hunters of all skill levels, the clinic will be led by an experienced certified California Hunter Education instructor. Topics to be covered will include hunting regulations, where to hunt, hunting alone vs. hunting with others, hunting with or without a dog, proper types of firearms and ammunition for upland game hunting, upland game bird habitat, and hunter responsibilities and ethics. The clinic will include dog handling and game care demonstrations.

The clinic will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $45 for adults. Youths 16 years and younger are free but must be accompanied by an adult.

CDFW’s Advanced Hunter Education Program will provide all necessary class equipment. Space is limited, so participants are asked to preregister online at www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/advanced/index.aspx. After registering, participants will receive an email with a map to the facility and a list of items to bring.

Hastings Island Hunting Preserve is located approximately 8 miles north of Rio Vista.

Media Contacts:
Lt. Dan Lehman, CDFW Advanced Hunter Education Program, (916) 358-4356
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW Offers Apprentice Upland Game Hunt in Eastern Santa Clara County

Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8911
Contact:
Terris Kasteen, Environmental Scientist, (408) 365-1066

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering a draw for an apprentice upland game hunt on the San Antonio Valley Ecological Reserve.

Three hunters with valid junior hunting licenses will be chosen through a lottery and allowed to hunt for one-day on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013. To qualify for a junior hunting license, the hunter must have been under 16 years of age at the beginning of the license year (July 1).

The draw is being held in cooperation with the California Deer Association (CDA). Applications will be accepted until Oct. 11, and successful applicants will be notified by Oct. 18. To apply go to https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/DFGSpecialHunts/Default.aspx.

Participants must attend a mandatory orientation on the morning of the hunt and be in possession of a junior hunting license. An adult chaperone 18 years or older must accompany each hunter but may not hunt.

About San Antonio Valley
Located in eastern Santa Clara County, the pristine 3,000-acre San Antonio Valley Ecological Reserve is home to deer, tule elk, wild pigs and a host of other wildlife species. The area is only open for scheduled events such as this one, and all hunting will be on foot from designated access points.

2013-2014 Waterfowl Hunting Seasons and Upland Game Regulations Changes Adopted

Media Contacts:
Kirsten Macintyre, Education and Outreach Director, (916) 322-8988
Melanie Weaver, Waterfowl Program, (916) 445-3717
Scott Gardner, Upland Game Program, (916) 445-5545

The California Fish and Game Commission adopted the 2013-2014 waterfowl and upland game bird hunting regulations on Aug. 7. Possession limits were increased from double to triple the daily bag limit for waterfowl, band-tailed pigeon, doves, snipe, pheasant, quail, sooty/ruffed grouse and chukar. A new late season hunt for white-fronted geese and white geese was established in the Northeastern Zone, as well as a new early archery season for pheasants statewide.

Additionally, in response to the increasing invasion of Eurasian collared-doves, the Commission authorized year-round hunting in Imperial County (where the species is most abundant), beginning Sept. 1.

Specific changes are as follows:

Ducks Seasons
• The Balance of State and Southern California zones will be open from Oct. 19, 2013 through Jan. 26, 2014. Scaup season will be open from Nov. 2, 2013 through Jan. 26, 2014.

• The Northeastern Zone will be open from Oct. 5, 2013 through Jan. 17, 2014. Scaup season will be open from Oct. 5, 2013 through Dec. 29, 2013.

• The Southern San Joaquin Valley Zone will be open from Oct. 5, 2013 through Oct. 20, 2013 and from Nov. 2, 2013 through Jan. 26, 2014. Scaup season will be open from Nov. 2, 2013 through Jan. 26, 2014.

• The Colorado River Zone will be open from Oct. 18, 2013 through Jan. 26, 2014. Scaup season will be open from Nov. 2, 2013 through Jan. 26, 2014.

Bag Limits
• 7 ducks per day, which includes no more than 2 hen mallards (or Mexican-like ducks in the Colorado River Zone), 2 pintail, 2 canvasback, 2 redheads and 3 scaup (during the 86-day season).

Geese Seasons
• The Balance of State, Southern California and Southern San Joaquin Valley zones will be open from Oct. 19, 2013 through Jan. 26, 2014.
-Early Canada geese season (Balance of State Zone) will be open from Sept. 28, 2013 through Oct. 2, 2013.
-Late white-fronted and white geese season (Balance of State Zone) will be open from Feb. 15, 2014 through Feb. 19, 2014.

• Northeastern Zone dark geese season will be open from Oct. 5, 2013 through Jan. 12, 2014 and white geese season will be open from Nov. 1, 2013 through Jan. 12, 2014.
-Late white geese season will be open from Feb. 7, 2014 through Mar. 10, 2014.
-Late white-fronted geese season will be open from Mar. 6, 2014 through Mar. 10, 2014.

• The Colorado River Zone will be open from Oct. 18, 2013 through Jan. 26, 2014.

Bag Limits
• 10 total geese per day, which may include 10 white geese.
• 6 dark geese, with no more than 2 large Canada geese in the Northeastern Zone; 3 dark geese in the Southern California and Colorado River zones.

Upland Game
• Early archery pheasant season will be open from Oct. 12, 2013 through Nov. 3, 2013. Archery hunting for pheasants is not allowed on Type A and B Wildlife Areas.

• Eurasian collared-dove will be open year-round in Imperial County after Sept. 1. Existing seasons remain in effect for the rest of the state.

• Sage-grouse hunting permits were authorized in North Mono (30) and South Mono (25) zones. No permits were authorized for either Lassen Zone following large-scale habitat loss resulting from the 2012 Rush Fire.

A summary of the regulations can be found online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations. Please note that these regulations have not yet been approved by the Office of Administrative Law, and may be subject to change.

Statewide Dove Hunting Opens Sept. 1

Media Contacts:
Ben Lewis, CDFW Environmental Scientist, (559) 243-4005, ext. 165
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

Special Hunting Opportunities Offered In Central Region

Dove season is approaching and people seeking hunting opportunities may visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Upland Game Bird Program’s web page. It lists numerous statewide hunts, including many opportunities in CDFW’s Central Region.

Dove season is from Sept. 1-15 and Nov. 9 – Dec. 23. Additional information on species and bag limits can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations.

In the Central Region, serving Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Stanislaus, Tulare and Tuolumne counties, there will be five dove hunt sites hosting nine special hunt sessions.

Applications and information are available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/uplandgame/gamebird.

Hunters will be selected by a computerized drawing for one hunt only. Applicants must submit an application with their choice of hunts listed in order of preference. Applications may include up to two hunters applying as a party.

Hunters may apply only once for each hunt, either as an applicant or as a guest. Submitting multiple applications will result in disqualification.

CDFW advises applicants that there are changes for this upcoming season. The North Grasslands Wildlife Area China Island and Salt Slough unit quotas have been reduced to reflect a decrease in food plot acreages.

Additionally, no special draw will occur for the Huron hunt site as a special food plot was not planted.
The purchase of an Upland Game Bird Stamp supports these special hunts and other programs that provide additional upland game bird hunting opportunities. The stamp is required for all upland game bird hunters except apprentice hunters.

CDFW Completes 2013 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey

Media Contacts:
Melanie Weaver, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3717
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed its 2013 waterfowl breeding population survey. The resulting data indicate the overall number of breeding ducks has decreased by 15 percent.

“Habitat conditions are poor in both northeastern California and the Central Valley, so below-average production for all waterfowl species is not a surprise,” said CDFW waterfowl program biologist Melanie Weaver.

Mallards, the most abundant duck in the survey, decreased 23 percent, from 387,100 in 2012 to 298,600 this year.

The total number of ducks of all species decreased from 529,700 last year to 451,300 this year. This estimate is 23 percent below the long-term average.

The decline was attributed to low precipitation, especially in the spring, with some areas only receiving 34 percent of average rainfall since Jan. 1.

CDFW biologists and warden-pilots have conducted this survey using fixed-wing aircraft since 1955. The California Waterfowl Association, under contract with CDFW, assists CDFW by surveying some transects by helicopter.

The population estimates are for surveyed areas only, although those areas include the majority of California’s suitable duck nesting habitat. They include wetland and agricultural areas in northeastern California, the Central Valley from Red Bluff to Bakersfield, and the Suisun Marsh.

The majority of California’s wintering duck population originates from breeding areas in Alaska and Canada that are surveyed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).The results from these surveys should be available in July. CDFW survey information, along with similar data from other Pacific Flyway states, is used by the USFWS and the Flyway Council when setting hunting regulations for the Pacific Flyway states, including California.

The federal regulation frameworks specify the outside dates, maximum season lengths and maximum bag limits. Once CDFW receives the USFWS estimates and the frameworks for waterfowl hunting regulations from the USFWS, CDFW will make a recommendation to the Fish and Game Commission regarding this year’s waterfowl hunting regulations.

DFG to Offer Upland Game Hunting Clinic in Southern California

Media Contacts:
Lt. Dan Lehman, Advanced Hunter Education Program Coordinator, (916) 358-4356
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Education and Outreach, (916) 322-8988

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is offering Southern California upland game hunters an opportunity to sharpen their skills prior to the start of the fall season. A one-day upland game hunting clinic sponsored by DFG’s Advanced Hunter Education Program will be held on September 22 at Peace Valley near Lebec.

Upland game hunters of all skill levels will benefit from this informative class. Species to be discussed include dove, quail, chukar and pheasant. Specific topics include hunting regulations, where to hunt, proper types of firearms and ammunition used for upland game hunting and upland game bird habitat. Instructors will also address hunting alone vs. hunting with others, hunting with or without a dog and hunter responsibilities and ethics. The clinic also features a dog and game care demonstration.

The clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $45. Students 16 years and younger are free, but must be accompanied by adult. Space is limited and participants must register online in advance at www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/advanced. After registering, participants will receive an e-mail with a map to the facility and a list of items to bring. DFG’s Advanced Hunter Education Program will provide all necessary class equipment.

Peace Valley is located along Interstate 5, approximately 30 miles south of Bakersfield and 60 miles north of Los Angeles.

DFG to hold Judging Event for 2012 California Upland Game Bird Stamp Contest

Media Contacts:
Karen Fothergill, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 716-1461
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

The winning entry in California’s 2012 Upland Game Bird Stamp art competition will be selected at a judging event on April 16 in Davis. The public is invited to attend the judging, which will take place in the conference room of the Yolo Wildlife Area Headquarters beginning at 10 a.m.

Eight artists from around the country have entered the competition, which is sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG). Each artist submitted their own original depiction of a Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata). The setting and details were determined by the individual artists, but entries had to include at least one adult Band-tailed Pigeon and if background detail was included in the design it needed to be accurate and representative of the species’ natural habitat in California.

The entries will be judged by a panel of citizens selected for their expertise in the fields of ornithology, conservation, art and printing. Designs will be judged on originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy, and suitability for reproduction as a stamp and a print.

The winning entry will be reproduced on the 2012 California Upland Game Bird Stamp. An upland game bird stamp is required for hunting migratory and resident upland game birds in California. Money generated from stamp sales can only be spent on upland game bird-related conservation projects, the creation of hunting opportunities, and outreach and education.

DFG sells about 200,000 upland game bird stamps annually, including sales to stamp art collectors.

For more information about the California Upland Game Bird Stamp program, please visit the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/upstamp.

DFG to Accept Upland Game Bird Stamp Artwork Contest Entries Until Feb. 29

Media Contacts:
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988
Karen Fothergill, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 716-1461
  
The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has extended the deadline to submit entries for the state’s 2012 upland game bird stamp contest. Artists can submit their contest entries up until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 29.
 
The contest is open to all U.S. residents who are age 18 or older. The species selected to appear on the 2012 upland game bird stamp is the Band-tailed Pigeon (Columba fasciata). The design must include at least one adult Band-tailed Pigeon. Designs will be judged on originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy and suitability for reproduction as a stamp and print.
 
This is the fourth design that will be featured in the “Encore Edition” since returning to the use of original artwork for the stamp’s image in 2009.
 
An upland game bird stamp validation is required for hunting migratory and resident upland game birds in California. The money generated from stamp sales is used to fund upland game bird related conservation projects, education, public hunting opportunities and outreach. Hunters are no longer required to physically attach the stamp to their license, but the stamps are still produced and mailed to purchasers upon request.
 
DFG sells almost 200,000 upland game bird stamps annually, which includes sales to collectors who value them for their artist depiction of upland game birds.
 
The upland game bird stamp 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 public judging event to be held in the spring of 2012. A date has not yet been set for the judging.
 
For contest information and entry forms, please visit the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/upstamp.