girl wearing Hunter Education sweatshirt studying mobile device

California Temporarily Authorizes Completion of Hunter Education Courses Online

In response to the delay of in-person California hunter education classes due to COVID-19, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is temporarily allowing new hunters to complete their education requirements entirely online.

Prior to COVID-19, California offered a traditional in-person course or a hybrid online/in-person class with a certified Hunter Education Instructor (HEI). Because all classroom instruction opportunities have been suspended, California will temporarily waive the in-person requirement, allowing students to complete the full course of instruction online.

“Online-only certification is a temporary solution to allow Californians the ability to fulfill their hunter education requirements and obtain a hunting license during these unique times,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “We don’t want anyone to miss out on the chance to earn their certification before the fall hunting seasons, so we believe this is a reasonable solution, given the circumstances.”

When deemed safe to do so, CDFW intends to return to the prior system, including a minimum level of in-person instruction with a certified HEI. “We value our 1,000 extremely dedicated volunteer instructors enormously, and we’re anxious to see them back in front of students as soon as possible,” Bess added.

Effective immediately, prospective hunters may earn their hunter education certification online. More information is available at  https://wildlife.ca.gov/hunter-education. The cost for the course is $24.95. Successful prospective hunters who complete and pass the online course will be able to immediately print a paper Hunter Education Completion Certificate, which will qualify them to purchase a hunting license.  Their CDFW online license profile will automatically be updated with their Hunter Education Certification within two days.

Prospective hunters are advised that the deadline to apply for California’s Big Game draw is June 2, 2020. CDFW advises new hunters to set a goal of completing the online certification by May 31, to allow time for the automatic update of their CDFW license profile. CDFW license profiles can also be updated by presenting the paper certificate to a CDFW License Agent.

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Youth Art Contest Celebrates Habitat Heroes

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pleased to announce the seventh annual California Invasive Species Youth Art Contest. This year’s theme, “Be a Habitat Hero,” encourages students to think about what they can do in their own communities to protect against the spread of invasive species.

“Everyone can be a habitat hero by taking small steps to stop invasive species. Helpful steps include choosing native plants for landscaping, not releasing unwanted pets into the wild, reporting invasive species findings and taking precautions to clean, drain and dry gear after recreating in waterbodies,” said Elizabeth Brusati, an environmental scientist with CDFW’s Invasive Species Program.

The contest is offered by CDFW’s Invasive Species Program as part of California Invasive Species Action Week, June 6-14.

There are three age divisions for youths in grades 2-4, 5-8 and 9-12. All types of media are welcome and encouraged, including (but not limited to) drawings, paintings, animations, comic strips, videos and public service announcements. Entries should reflect the 2020 theme: “Be a Habitat Hero.”

The top three winners in each division will receive awards and have their entries displayed on CDFW’s Invasive Species Action Week web page.

The deadline for art contest entries is May 1. Completed entries and entry forms should be sent to:

CDFW Invasive Species Program
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

The entry form and entries may also be emailed to invasives@wildlife.ca.gov.

The goal of California Invasive Species Action Week is to increase public awareness of invasive species issues and encourage public participation in the fight against California’s invasive species and their impacts on our natural resources.

Action Week activities will include presentations on aquatic and terrestrial invasives, guided outings to observe and assess infested areas, invasive species removal efforts, habitat restoration projects and the announcement of the winners of the youth contest. Opportunities for youths and adults to participate or volunteer will be available across the state through participating agencies, organizations and volunteer groups, with information and details to be provided on the Action Week web page.

Visit CDFW online for details about the 2020 contest and information on how to participate in Action Week.

The mission of CDFW’s Invasive Species Program is to reduce the impacts of invasive species on the wildlands and waterways of California. The program is involved in efforts to prevent the introduction of these species into the state, detect and respond to introductions when they occur and prevent the spread of those species that have established.

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Media Contacts:
Elizabeth Brusati, CDFW Invasive Species Program, (916) 376-8657
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

Vintage fish planting truck at Long Beach Fred Hall Show

CDFW to Sell Licenses and Warden Stamps, Meet with Public at Long Beach Fred Hall Show

Long Beach-area residents can purchase their 2020 fishing and hunting licenses, validations and report cards directly from California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) staff at the 74th annual Long Beach Fred Hall Show scheduled March 4-8 at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center.

CDFW leaders will participate in a discussion panel followed by a question and answer session. Participants will include Marine Region Manager Dr. Craig Shuman, Assistant Chief of the Marine Enforcement District Mike Stefanak and Inland Desert Region Fisheries Supervisor Russell Black, who will provide an overview of current natural resource and conservation topics and take questions from the public on a variety of issues. The panel discussion is scheduled Friday, March 6, at 3 p.m. in the Mammoth Lakes Seminar Theater. Wayne Kotow, Executive Director for the Coastal Conservation Association of California, will be the moderator.

In addition to the licensing and informational booth where attendees can speak directly to CDFW biologists, wildlife officers and licensing staff, attendees can also learn about a career in CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division by speaking with a wildlife officer at the law enforcement trailer. The trailer features fish and wildlife mounts and a free laser-shot activity. The 2020 Warden Stamp will also be available for purchase. Stamp sales help fund CDFW’s K-9 program and support purchases of enforcement equipment.

Staff from CDFW’s hatchery program will be available as well to talk about fish-rearing and stocking procedures, and a restored 1925 Dodge hatchery truck will be on display along with a modern fish-transporting truck. CDFW’s Fishing in the City program will be on hand to teach kids proper casting and fishing techniques, and kids can use these new skills to catch a fish at the free youth fishing pond stocked with rainbow trout provided by CDFW.

The show will be open from 1 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, Thursday, March 5 and Friday, March 6. On Saturday, March 7, the show runs from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Sunday, March 8, the show is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Admission to the Long Beach Fred Hall Show is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors 62 and older, and $15 for military with ID (available only at the ticket window). Children 15 and under enter for free with a paid adult.

CDFW will also have staff at two other sport shows scheduled in March — the Central Valley Sportsmen’s Boat & RV Show March 13-15 at the Kern County Fairgrounds in Bakersfield, and the Del Mar Fred Hall Show March 26-29 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds (San Diego County).

For more information, please visit www.fredhall.com.

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

Four California Organizations Among 2020 George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar Education Fund Grantees

vamos a pescar logoFour California non-profit organizations have been awarded funds to provide fishing programs for Hispanic youth and families.

A total of $33,383 was awarded by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) through the George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar Education Fund to support projects in California. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will match the grant funds through the Sport Fish Restoration Program, effectively bringing the total amount of funding to $66,767.

To be eligible for funding, proposals were required to encourage family participation (both genders and multiple generations), appeal to participants who live in metropolitan communities, be ethnically inclusive (open to families of all races and ethnicities), and provide hands-on experiences and conservation activities.

Latinos are California’s largest ethnic population, with almost 15 million people of Hispanic heritage. Yet only a fraction of California’s anglers are Hispanic. CDFW and RBFF are finding new ways to educate and engage Hispanic communities in fishing and boating activities. These grants were made available for programs that support this cause.

Projects approved for funding include:

  • Daniel Hernandez Youth Foundation. The foundation will partner with local and state organizations, cities, and communities in the Los Angeles area to provide undeserved and minority youth with opportunities to learn the fundamentals of fishing, emphasizing good sportsmanship, conservation education, marine sciences, safety, community outreach, family togetherness and fun.
  • Outdoor Outreach. In partnership with Latino Outdoors and Encuentros Leadership, Outdoor Outreach will provide multi-generational fishing and kayaking outings, reaching Latino/Hispanic youth and family members in San Diego. The program will connect families to recurring positive experiences and bonding opportunities through fishing and kayaking, and inspire the next generation of conservation leaders through cultural connection to the environment.
  • Sycamore Junior High School (Anaheim Union High School District Foundation). Students at Sycamore Junior High School will explore fish biology, learn about fish ecosystems, and how to become active stewards of their local resources and habitats. They will also work hands-on with a variety of fishing gear, learning knot tying and rigging for a variety of fishing situations. Students will then go deep sea fishing in the local waters of Southern California.
  • Reel Guppy Outdoors. By offering family-oriented fishing activities in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, Reel Guppy Outdoors will instill an appreciation for California’s natural resources by developing teamwork, confidence, self-motivation, an understanding of ecosystems and responsible angling for sustainable fisheries.

Grant funding was made available through the George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar Education Fund, which supports RBFF’s Hispanic initiative, Vamos A Pescar™. The Education Fund allows state agencies to provide sub-grants to local 501(c)(3) organizations with project ideas that support efforts to keep future generations educated about the joys of fishing and boating, and the importance of conservation. With the help of donations from companies and organizations, the Education Fund has continued to grow and expand nationally.

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Media Contacts:
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW to Sell Hunting and Fishing Licenses, Answer Questions from the Public and More at Annual Sportsmen’s Show

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is returning to the International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) at Cal Expo in Sacramento Jan. 16-19. This is the largest hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation show of its kind in northern California.

Wildlife officers, fisheries and wildlife scientists, hunter education instructors, license agents, and other CDFW staff will be available during the show to answer questions and provide information regarding fishing and hunting opportunities throughout the state. CDFW’s license sales booth will be located in the Pavilion Building (adjoining spaces 3700 and 3822) and licenses, tags, report cards and warden stamps will be available for purchase. Customers may pay by credit card or check.

A new addition to ISE this year is the Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation (R3) experience, an interactive journey through the show to encourage the public to learn more about hunting, fishing and the shooting sports. Participants will be led to R3 stakeholder booths by map to take part in various hunting, fishing and shooting sport activities at each stop. This pilot effort is led by CDFW’s R3 team and will be housed in the main CDFW booth, where participants will end their R3 journey, take a quick survey and receive an outreach bag.

Additional CDFW booths and highlights include:

  • Hunter Education Program — Located in the Youth Fair Expo Center, wildlife officers and hunter education instructors will be available to answer questions and provide information about basic, advanced and bowhunter education. Interactive training materials, including a free laser-shot hunting simulator, will also be available.
  • K-9 Teams — CDFW K-9 wardens and their wildlife officer handlers will be available for questions and interactions. Look for them at CDFW booths.
  • Wildlife Officer Recruitment — CDFW’s Law Enforcement trailer will be on display outside of the Pavilion Building, featuring a display of taxidermy and a free enclosed laser-shot hunting simulator. Wildlife officers will be on hand to answer questions about employment opportunities.
  • CDFW Youth Fair Exhibit — Explore the salmon life cycle and try your luck on the Salmon Survival Spin. Play a round of salmon bingo, learn to cast or view the Mobile Fish Exhibit.
  • Keep Me Wild Booth — Information about black bears will be available at the Youth Fair. Youths can make a bear track and help a black bear find the way to its cave. CDFW also has information about how to vacation safely in bear country.
  • Online Harvest Reporting — Tag holders can view their online profile and complete all tags that require reporting. The tag holder will receive a report confirmation number that should be written in the space provided on the report card. The harvest report card will not have to be mailed in physically. CDFW encourages all tag holders to use this online service to meet their harvest reporting requirements.
  • Outdoor California — Free copies of CDFW’s award-winning magazine will be available (as supplies last) at the main booth.
  • Youth Essay Contest — CDFW and the California Wildlife Officer Foundation will be awarding this year’s contest winner, 16-year-old Blake Iverson of King City, a lifetime hunting license with a bird hunting privilege package for his outstanding essay emphasizing the theme, “What can CDFW do to get more people involved in hunting? And what can you do, personally, to get more people involved in hunting?” Iverson and the second- and third-place contest winners will be honored on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 11:30 a.m. at the Western Bass Aquarium Demo Tank in the Pavilion Building. Stop by to congratulate them and get information on how to become the next youth contest winner.
  • What to Do if You Encounter Them — CDFW staff will provide advice in two hour-long discussions about how to coexist safely with bears. The talks will be held at the Outdoor Product Showcase Theater in Building A on Thursday, Jan. 16 and Sunday, Jan. 19 at 2:30 p.m.

The Cal Expo State Fairgrounds are located at 1600 Exposition Blvd. in Sacramento. ISE show hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $16 for adults (tickets may be purchased in advance online). Youths age 15 and under are free. There is a $10 charge to park on the grounds.

For additional information and schedules, and to purchase tickets, please visit www.sportsexpos.com/attend/sacramento.