Tag Archives: waterfowl

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 Completes 2015 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey

Mallards in flightThe California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) completed its 2015 waterfowl breeding population survey. The CDFW survey, which uses methodology approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), indicates the total number of breeding ducks (all species combined) has declined. Breeding mallards, the most numerous duck species in the state, declined 27 percent from 2014.

The total number of breeding ducks is estimated at 315,580, compared to 448,750 last year. The estimated breeding population of mallards is 173,865, a decrease from 238,670 in 2014. CDFW attributes the decline to very low precipitation and poor habitat conditions. Similar declines in breeding duck population estimates have occurred in the past but recovered after habitat conditions improved.

“Habitat conditions were poor the last three years in both northeastern California and the Central Valley and the production of young ducks was reduced as a result, so a lower breeding population was expected in 2015,” said CDFW’s Waterfowl Program Environmental Scientist Melanie Weaver. “We would expect another low year of duck production from these two important areas in California in 2015. However, habitat conditions in northern breeding areas (Alaska and Canada) are reported to be better than average.”

CDFW has conducted this survey using fixed-wing aircraft since 1948. The population estimates are for the surveyed areas only, which include the majority of the suitable duck nesting habitat in the state. These areas include wetland and agricultural areas in northeastern California, the Central Valley from Red Bluff to Bakersfield, and the Suisun Marsh. The Breeding Population Survey Report is available at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/waterfowl/.

The majority of California’s wintering duck population originates from breeding areas surveyed by the USFWS in Alaska and Canada, and these results should be available in July. CDFW survey information, along with similar data from other Pacific Flyway states, is used by the USFWS and the Pacific 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.

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Media Contacts:
Melanie Weaver, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3717
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW Clarifies Use of “Unplugged” Shotguns

Media Contacts:
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-6692

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988
Ducks and Geese2

CDFW Clarifies Use of “Unplugged” Shotguns

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) seeks to clear up an inadvertently included sentence in the 2014-2015 California Waterfowl Hunting Regulations that led to confusion about the use of an “unplugged” shotgun for late-season waterfowl hunts.

The language in question is included in the synopsis of current federal regulations, located at the back of this year’s California Waterfowl Hunting Regulations booklet. On Page 84, the booklet states that no person shall take migratory game birds:

“… with a shotgun of any description capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler, incapable of removal without disassembling the gun, so its total capacity does not exceed three shells. This restriction does not apply during dates States have selected under the Conservation Order for light geese (i.e. greater and lesser snow and Ross’s geese) or those selected for the control of resident Canada geese. (States insert appropriate dates for light goose only and Canada goose only seasons.)

Please note that the section of the regulations underlined above is incorrect and does not apply anywhere in California. The plugged shotgun requirement remains in effect for all goose hunting seasons in California.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which has primary jurisdiction over management of the nation’s waterfowl, does authorize the use of unplugged shotguns and other techniques in certain parts of the country, in specific circumstances when population reductions are desired. However, federal regulations do not provide for these exceptions in California.

Almost all of California’s wintering goose populations are at the highest levels in decades, resulting in liberal harvest limits and several special late season goose-only hunts around the state. While in the field, hunters can access the regulations via smartphone at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Waterfowl . The incorrect language relative to the unplugged shotguns has been removed in the online version.

CDFW apologizes for the confusion and will remove the inapplicable reference in next year’s regulations booklet.

2014/2015 Waterfowl Hunting Opportunities Available in Alameda County

Media Contacts:
John Krause, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (415) 454-8050

Conrad Jones, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 944-5544
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering fall waterfowl hunting opportunities at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve (ELER) in Hayward. The reserve includes former salt ponds now managed by CDFW as low-salinity waterfowl habitat as well as areas that have been restored to full tidal action. Access to ELER for waterfowl hunting will be open for 100 hunters on a first-come, first-served basis for each hunt only on the dates listed below. There is no fee for these hunts.

Waterfowl hunting at sunrise.
Waterfowl hunting at sunrise.

2014 hunts:

  • Saturday, Nov. 22: Check-in at 5 a.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 6: Check-in at 5 a.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 11: Check-in at 5 a.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 20: Check-in at 5 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 30: Check-in at 5 a.m.

2015 hunts:

  • Saturday, Jan. 3: Check-in at 5:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 8: Check-in at 5:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 15: Check-in at 5:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Jan. 24: Check-in at 5:30 a.m.

All hunters must possess a valid California hunting license, federal and state duck stamps and complete the Harvest Information Program validation. Junior license holders must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older (hunter or non-hunter).

Vehicles may be driven on levees in designated areas to launch boats for waterfowl hunting, or to access approved parking areas. Vehicles are only allowed on the hunt dates specified above. Hunters must check in with CDFW staff and provide their license, stamps and validation as listed above. Hunters will also be required to check out upon leaving and allow inspection of any harvested game to evaluate hunter success and collect harvest data.

Improvements have been made to ELER which will affect hunters in the 2014-15 seasons. These include construction of a boat launch, newly graveled roads, improved pond access and blind refurbishment.

Hunters are responsible for avoiding closed areas. There is a 25-shell limit in the field. A small boat, canoe or other floatation device is highly recommended to access ponds, blinds and navigable sloughs, and for game retrieval. A hunting dog is also recommended for retrieval of birds. Hunters will receive additional information, including area rules and regulations and maps, at the time of check-in.

To access ELER from I-880, exit at Alvarado Blvd., continue west on Alvarado Blvd., turn right onto Union City Blvd., left onto Bettencourt Rd. (sign for Union Sanitary District), left on Whipple Rd., right on Horner St., then right on Veasy St. Enter at the yellow gate to check in.

Formal plans for public access opportunities at ELER in addition to hunting are being developed as part of the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project. Please visit www.southbayrestoration.org for more information.

CDFW Completes 2014 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey

A mallard drake takes flight from calm waters
Mallard drake. Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed its 2014 waterfowl breeding population survey. The resulting data indicate the total number of breeding ducks (all species combined) remains similar to last year. The number of breeding mallards, however, has declined 20 percent compared to 2013.

The total number of breeding ducks is estimated at 448,750 compared to 451,300 last year. This estimate is 23 percent below the long-term average. The estimated breeding population of mallards is 238,700, a decrease from 298,600 in 2013, which is below the long-term average. CDFW attributes the decline to very low precipitation and poor habitat conditions. However, many other species increased in number this year.

“Habitat conditions were poor the last two years in both northeastern California and the Central Valley and the production of young ducks was reduced as a result, so a lower breeding population was expected in 2014,” said CDFW’s Waterfowl Program Biologist Melanie Weaver. “We would expect another low year of duck production from these two important areas in California in 2014. However, habitat conditions in northern breeding areas are reported to be better than average.”

CDFW has conducted this survey using fixed-wing aircraft since 1955. The California Waterfowl Association, under contract with CDFW, assists CDFW by surveying a portion of the transects using a helicopter. The population estimates are for the surveyed areas only, although surveyed areas include the majority of the suitable duck nesting habitat in the state. These areas 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 surveyed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Alaska and Canada, and these results should be available in July. CDFW survey information, along with similar data from other Pacific Flyway states, is used by the USFWS and the Pacific 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.

Media Contacts:
Melanie Weaver, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3717
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Junior Duck Hunts at Grizzly Island Wildlife Area

Media Contacts:
Patrick Graham, DFG Region 3, (707) 425-3828
Janice Mackey, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8908

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is now accepting applications for two special junior duck hunts at Grizzly Island Wildlife Area. On Saturday, Dec. 8 and Wednesday, Dec. 26, spaced blinds on Pond 11 and the Crescent Unit of the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area will be available only to junior hunt participants and will be closed to the general public.

Hunters will be selected by draw and must be in possession of a current junior hunting license. An adult chaperone (18 years of age or older) is required to accompany and supervise each junior hunter. The adult may hunt with the junior hunter if he or she is in possession of the required 2012-2013 California hunting license, as well as State and Federal waterfowl stamps and the free HIP validation. Junior license holders who are age 16 or older must have a Federal waterfowl stamp.

All available blinds can accommodate two persons (the junior hunter and his or her adult chaperone). Hunters may only use non-toxic shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  A minimum of one dozen duck decoys are required at all blind sites and chest waders are recommended.

To apply for a reservation, send a standard postcard (available from your local post office) to:

Grizzly Island Junior Duck Hunt
2548 Grizzly Island Rd.
Suisun City, CA  94585

Please include the name of the junior hunter, his or her mailing address (including zip code), a phone number, the 2012-13 hunting license number, and the name of the adult chaperone. Also please include the desired hunt date. Each hunter may apply only once and for only one date.

Application cards must be received by close of business on Friday, Nov. 30. Junior hunt reservations will be filled by a random drawing conducted on Monday, Dec. 3. There will be 24 reservations issued for each date. All successful applicants will be notified by mail.

Please note that all chaperones who wish to hunt must have either a Type A One Day, Two Day, or Season Pass, and these must be purchased prior to arriving at the check station through either a license Agent or online at www.dfg.ca.gov (allow two weeks’ mailing time if ordering online).

The Grizzly Island Wildlife Area will also accept junior hunters on the day of the hunt on a first-come, first-served basis to use the free roam areas and to fill any no-shows from the reservations. DFG would also like to encourage use of the West Family Unit, which is available only to junior hunters. Hunt days are Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays on a first come, first served basis throughout the open season. The gate will be opened approximately two hours before shoot time. An adult chaperone is required and five double blinds, including one mobility-impaired blind and one three-person blind, are available.

The unit is north of Benicia on Goodyear Road. From Highway 680, take the Marshview Road exit and turn right onto Goodyear Road from the off-ramp. The hunt area will be on the left.

Any questions can be directed to the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area at (707) 425-3828.

DFG to Offer Waterfowl 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

If you want to learn to successfully hunt waterfowl in Southern California, then the Department of Fish and Game has the perfect clinic for you.

DFG’s Advanced Hunter Education Program and the Southern California Hunter Education Instructor Association are jointly sponsoring a waterfowl hunting clinic on September 29 in Riverside County. This clinic, which will be held at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area, is designed to teach hunting techniques specific to waterfowl in Southern California and is appropriate for hunters of all skill levels.

The class will be hosted by experienced California Hunter Education Instructor Gregg Bouslog. Topics to be covered include concepts of decoy placement, blind design, ballistics, calling, duck identification, dog considerations, gear, game care, cooking tips and safety. 

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.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area is located approximately 8 miles east of Riverside.

Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project Under Way With Public Input

Public Invited to Submit Comments on the Scope of Environmental Documents

The California Department of Fish & Game (DFG) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have begun the process of developing environmental reviews for the restoration of the Ballona Wetlands in west Los Angeles County. The documents will review potential designs for the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve and evaluate their likely impacts on wildlife, water pollution, local traffic and other factors.  The public is encouraged to submit suggestions for the environmental review at a scoping meeting planned for August 16, 2012.

The Ballona Wetlands was at one time a large wetland complex that covered more than 2,000 acres along the coast near Los Angeles, from Playa del Rey to Venice. Today, the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve encompasses 600 acres owned by the State of California and offers one of the largest opportunities for repairing lost coastal wetlands in Los Angeles County. The site contains important habitat and is identified as a high priority for restoration in the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Plan and the regional strategy of the Southern California Wetland Recovery Project.

The area is currently off-limits to the public. After restoration, the site will be open to residents and visitors for walking, biking, birdwatching and learning about nature. The project may involve removing the concrete levees on Ballona Creek to restore river and marsh habitat between Marina del Rey and the Westchester Bluffs, west of Lincoln Boulevard.  Due to construction costs logistics and wildlife management needs, the project would take several years to build even after it is approved.

DFG and the Corps will hold a scoping meeting on Thursday, August 16, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the Fiji Gateway entrance to the Ballona Wetlands (13720 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292. The site is across from Fisherman’s Village and the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors).

Members of the public are invited to attend, speak to agency representatives and provide input for the environmental review. The agencies expect to examine the impacts to aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, water quality, land use and planning, noise, public services, recreation, sea-level rise, traffic and others.

Written comments on the scope of environmental review, or additional issues may be submitted at the scoping meeting or sent to the address listed below. Comments will be accepted until September 10, 2012

Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project
C/O Donna McCormick
1 Ada, Suite 100
Irvine, CA  92816 or by email to Donna.McCormick@icfi.com

Additional information on the project and the environmental review process is available on the Ballona Wetlands Restoration website at: www.ballonarestoration.org.

Media Contacts:
David Lawhead, DFG Region 5, (858) 627-3997
Donna McCormick, ICF International, (949) 333-6611
Dr. Daniel P. Swenson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, (213) 452-3414

Registration Opens for DFG’s Annual Pre-Season Waterfowl Hunting Clinic

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

California’s 2012 waterfowl season is quickly approaching, and the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is offering tips to help both new and advanced hunters prepare for a successful harvest.

“The Central Valley has some of the best waterfowl hunting opportunities in the state,” says DFG Lt. Shawn Olague, who teaches the one-day clinic. “This clinic is a great opportunity to acquire new skills, learn more about the terrain and get into the right mindset so you’re prepared in October.”

Hunters of all skill levels will benefit from DFG’s annual waterfowl hunting clinic, which will be held at the Los Banos Wildlife Area on Sept. 8 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The clinic, which is jointly sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Advanced Hunter Education program and the California Waterfowl Association, will teach tried-and-true techniques for successfully hunting waterfowl in the grasslands of California’s Central Valley. Topics to be covered include decoy placement, blind design, waterfowl calling, duck identification, hunting gear, game care, cooking tips and safety.

The cost of the clinic is $45 for adults. Students 16 years and younger are free, but must be accompanied by an adult.

Space is limited and participants must register in advance at www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/advanced. After registering, participants will receive an e-mail with directions to the Wildlife Area and a list of items to bring to the clinic.

In the Central Valley, duck season traditionally begins on the third weekend in October and lasts until the last weekend in January. Prime public lands open to waterfowl hunting include the Los Banos, West Hilmar, North Grass Lands, Volta and Mendota Wildlife Areas and the San Louis National Wildlife Area.

DFG Completes 2012 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey

Contacts:
Melanie Weaver, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3717
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

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The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has completed its 2012 waterfowl breeding population survey. The results show that although the overall number of breeding ducks decreased, the number of mallards – the most abundant duck in the survey – increased 21 percent since last year.

“Surveys indicated an increase in mallard abundance and habitat conditions were good in most of northeastern California and good throughout the Central Valley, so we expect above-average production for all waterfowl species,” said DFG Waterfowl Program Biologist Melanie Weaver.

The total number of ducks (all species combined) decreased from 558,600 last year to 524,500 this year. The decline was attributed to lower numbers of gadwall and cinnamon teal. This estimate is 11 percent below the long-term average. The breeding population of mallards increased from 314,700 in 2011 to 381,900 this year. Mallard numbers are above their long-term average.

DFG biologists and pilots have conducted this annual survey using fixed-wing aircraft since 1955. The survey covers most of the suitable waterfowl nesting habitat in the state, including wetland and agricultural habitats in northeastern California, the Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley, Suisun Marsh, Napa-Sonoma Marshes, the Delta and some foothill areas.

Most of California’s wintering duck population originates from breeding areas surveyed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Alaska and Canada, and the results of those surveys should be available in July. DFG survey information, along with similar data from other Pacific Flyway states, is used by the USFWS when setting hunting season frameworks for regulations in California and other Pacific Flyway states.

The Federal regulation frameworks specify the earliest and latest permissible hunting dates, maximum season lengths and maximum bag limits. Once DFG receives the USFWS estimates and the frameworks for waterfowl hunting regulations from the USFWS, DFG will make a recommendation to the Fish and Game Commission (FGC) regarding this year’s waterfowl hunting regulations. The FGC traditionally sets waterfowl hunting regulations at their August meeting.