Yes, it is that time of year again to get your applications in for premium zone deer hunts, elk, pronghorn and Bighorn Sheep hunts. If you have not received the 2015 Big Game Hunting booklet, rush out to a Dept of Fish & Wildlife office or one of the many places that sell licenses and see if you can get your hands on a copy. Do not despair, the current digest can also be found online here along with past digests which may help in the decision making process as to which hunt to apply for. To expedite your application and save a trip to your local gun store, hardware store or DF&W office, you can apply on-line here.
You must have proof of hunter education on file to purchase hunting items online. If you do not have proof of hunter education on file, you must provide proof of hunter education to a license agent or a CDFW license sales office. Once your proof of hunter education and Go ID is updated in the ALDS system you will be able to purchase hunting licenses/tags online now and in the future. Complete instructions on how to apply online can be found in the digest here on page 21.
Harvest Reporting – It will now be mandatory to report both used and unused deer tags. In the past it has been entirely voluntary as to whether a hunter reported if they did not hunt, or failed to get a deer, this has changed with the 2015 season. There are two way to send a report, first on-line here or by mail to CDFW – Wildlife Branch, PO Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94299-0002. Successful hunters must report within 30 days of harvest, while unsuccessful hunters must be sure to report by Jan 31, because if you miss the deadline for the on-line acceptance then you will have to mail the tag to the CDFW.
Be aware that while there are no penalties at the moment, hunters who do not report for each 2016 tag they purchased, will be required to pay an additional $20 upon application for a 2017 deer tag, so best get into the habit of submitting reports on-line.
Some other considerations for this season:
- D6 becomes a premium Deer hunt (quota filled through big game drawing)
- A22 becomes a premium Deer hunt
- A19 becomes a restricted Deer hunt
- D7 becomes a restricted Deer hunt
- D16 becomes a restricted Deer hunt
Drought – Increased wildlife/human interaction has been reported that may be due to drought conditions forcing wild animals to search father than normal for food. Black bear and mountain lion are considered the species of greatest concern for human interaction. Be sure to use precautions around camp sites when storing food, and realize that bear can and will rip open doors on vehicles to get to food inside see proof here
Non-Lead – Remember there are new non-lead restrictions for hunting as in the proposals which can be found here under meeting documents or here under “Alerts”, with the major issues this year being:
1. Non-lead ammunition will be required for all hunting on CDFW property
2. Big Horn Sheep hunters will be required to use non-lead ammunition.
Don’t forget to support the California Wildlife Officers by buying a 2015 Warden Stamp ($5) which helps provide equipment and training as well as fund the K-9 program. You can buy a Warden stamp here.
So, get your applications in ASAP, and good hunting!