With most of the regular hunting seasons over for the year, it's time to take a look at the newest updates from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
These are really beneficial in helping make decisions as to where or when you decide to take to the field. So it's time to get serious about the 2018 hunting season.
HUNTING LICENSES AND BIG GAME DRAWING APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE NOW: Hunters may now purchase a 2018-19 hunting license and apply for the 2018 big game drawing. The deadline to apply for the drawing is June 2. Applicants must complete the sale transaction before 11:59:59 p.m.
B ZONE IS A RESTRICTED DEER TAG FOR 2018: B zone is classified as a Restricted deer tag for the upcoming hunting season. The 2017 B zone tag quota filled on July 17. Any time a deer tag quota fills on or before the first business day after Aug. 1, the tag is classified as a restricted deer tag the following hunting season. Hunters may obtain one restricted deer tag as their first deer tag at any time. Hunters who want to obtain a B zone tag (or any restricted deer tag), but also want to apply in the big game drawing should apply as usual and list the restricted deer tag as their second or third choice in the drawing.
RANDOM DRAWING FOR DREAM HUNTS: Fundraising random drawing applications are available for some of the most sought-after hunts in California.
Hunters may apply as many times as they wish for California's most coveted tags. These tags generate dedicated funding for wildlife management programs that benefit big game species. In 2017, fundraising random drawing tags generated more than $340,000 for big game management in California.
FUND-RAISING RANDOM DRAWING TAGS BASICS: According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, any resident or nonresident who will be age 12 or older as of July 1 may apply for the elk, pronghorn antelope and deer fund raising tags. Any resident or nonresident who will be age 16 or older as of July 1 may apply for the bighorn sheep fund-raising tag for $6.22 per application. There is no limit on the number of applications you can submit. They do not use or affect your preference points. A hunting license is not required to apply, but must be purchased if drawn. Applicants may apply online, at any CDFW license sales office or license agent through June 2. Tags are awarded by random drawing which is run within 10 business days of the deadline to apply. Winners are awarded a tag at no additional cost and are notified by phone or by mail.
NON-LEAD AMMUNITION: Non-lead ammunition is now required for all hunting on CDFW wildlife areas and ecological reserves and when taking upland game birds with a shotgun, except for dove, quail, snipe and any game birds taken in licensed game bird clubs. In addition, non-lead shot is required when using a shotgun to take resident small game mammals, furbearing mammals, non-game mammals, non-game birds and any wildlife under the authority of a CDFW depredation permit. Although full implementation of the non-lead ammunition requirement for big game hunting does not go into effect until July 1, 2019, CDFW urges California hunters to start acquiring and practicing with non-lead ammo well before then. As a hunter, you provide an important dedicated source of funding for management and protection of the state's wildlife habitat. Purchasing a hunting license and tags also supports California's longstanding hunting heritage for current and future generations.
Ken Barnes is a record setting shooter and longtime outdoorsman from Kern County. Email him at email@example.com with comments or column ideas.