Tag Archives: waterfowl

CDFW Offers Junior Apprentice Waterfowl Hunt at Grizzly Island Wildlife Area

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering a special junior apprentice duck hunt at Grizzly Island Wildlife Area on Wednesday, Dec. 30. Spaced blinds on Pond 11 and the Crescent Unit of the wildlife area will be closed to the general public and available only to junior apprentice hunt participants and their chaperones.

An adult chaperone (18 years of age or older) is required to accompany and supervise each junior apprentice hunter. The adult may hunt with the junior apprentice hunter and must possess the required 2015-2016 California hunting license, the California Duck Validation, federal waterfowl stamp and the free Harvest Information Program (HIP) validation. Junior license holders between the ages of 16 and 18 must have a Federal Waterfowl Stamp and the free HIP validation to hunt waterfowl.

All available blinds can accommodate two persons. Non-toxic shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required for waterfowl hunting. A minimum of 12 duck decoys are required at all blind sites and chest waders are recommended.

To apply for a reservation, please mail a standard-sized post card to:

Grizzly Island Wildlife Area
Junior Apprentice Duck Hunt
2548 Grizzly Island Road
Suisun, CA 94585

Applicants must include the following information:

• Junior Apprentice hunter’s name
• Junior hunting license number
• Mailing address and phone number
• Name of chaperone

Each hunter may apply only once. Application cards must be received by close of business on Friday, Dec. 18. Junior apprentice hunt reservations will be filled by a random drawing conducted on Monday, Dec. 21. There will be 23 reservations issued for this date. All successful applicants will be notified by mail or email. Grizzly Island Wildlife Area will also accept junior apprentice hunters on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the hunt to use the free roam areas and to fill any no-shows from the reservations. As a reminder, 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 sales agent or a CDFW license sales office, or online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/online-sales (please allow two weeks’ mailing time if ordering online).

CDFW would also like to encourage use of the West Family Unit, which is available only to junior apprentice 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.


Media Contacts:
Patrick Graham, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 425-3828
Orlando Rocha, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 425-3828
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Waterfowl Hunting Opportunities Coming Up at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering 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 and areas restored to full tidal action. For the 2015-2016 hunting season, hunters will be also able to enjoy recent improvements at ELER, including a new boat launch into Mt. Eden Creek that allows access into tidal areas on specified hunt days.

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.

2015 hunts (check-in at 5 a.m. on each of the following dates):
• Saturday, Nov. 21
• Tuesday, Dec. 1
• Saturday, Dec. 5
• Thursday, Dec. 10
• Tuesday, Dec. 15
• Saturday, Dec. 19

2016 hunts (check-in at 5:30 a.m. on each of the following dates):
• Saturday, Jan. 2
• Thursday, Jan. 7
• Thursday, Jan. 14
• Saturday, Jan. 23

All hunters must check in with CDFW staff on the morning of the hunt with a valid California Hunting License, federal duck stamp and state duck and Harvest Information Program (HIP) validations. Hunters will also be required to check out upon leaving and allow inspection of game to evaluate hunter success and collect harvest data.

Junior hunters must be accompanied by an adult hunter or non-hunter 18 years or older. Vehicles are only allowed on the hunt dates specified above; drivers must stay on designated levees and use approved parking areas. Hunters are advised to use caution and should be aware of soft mud, swift currents, tidal fluctuations and unmarked hazards.

There is a 25-shell limit in the field, and hunters must use nonlead ammunition. (As of July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when hunting on all state wildlife areas and ecological reserves. For more information, please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition page.)

A small boat, canoe or other flotation device is highly recommended to access ponds and blinds, navigable sloughs and for game retrieval. Boaters are advised to consult local tide charts before launching and should be aware that extensive mud flats may be exposed and even shallow draft vessels can be subject to hidden underwater hazards during low tides.

A hunting dog is also recommended for retrieval of birds. Hunters will receive additional information, including area rules and regulations and maps, upon check-in.

To access ELER from I-880, exit at Alvarado Boulevard and continue west. Turn right onto Union City Boulevard, left onto Bettencourt Road (at the sign for the Union Sanitary District), left on Whipple Road, right on Horner Street, then right on Veasy Street. Please enter at the yellow gate to check in. Hunters are responsible for avoiding closed areas.

Formal plans for public access opportunities at the reserve in addition to hunting are being developed as part of the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project (www.southbayrestoration.org).


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

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.


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.


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.