Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

Mountain Lion Sighting In Palm Springs

PHOTO BY CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

PHOTO BY CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

 

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife issued this alert about an encounter with a mountain lion around Palm Springs, which has been commonplace throughout the state. Another sighting has taken place in Rocklin, a Sacramento suburb. And in Hillsborough, an affluent community located on the San Francisco Bay Area Peninsula near San Mateo, a dead deer showed evidence suggesting it was possibly killed by a mountain lion.  Here’s the CDFW report on the Palm Springs mountain lion.

 

Mountain Lion Startles Palm Springs Worker, CDFW Reminds Hikers to be Aware

APRIL 7, 2014

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is advising hikers and residents along the foothills and mountains of Palm Springs to be cautious after a golf course worker’s recent encounter with an aggressive mountain lion.

On the evening of Friday, March 28, 2014 a mountain lion charged a worker from behind as he was closing a gate. The worker was able to seek refuge by positioning himself behind a large iron gate.  The lion was eventually deterred when the man raised his arms over his head and yelled at it.

CDFW biologists were notified of the incident several days later and investigated, but were unable to find signs of the lion at the scene. This incident is considered a threatening encounter, but because it does not rise to the level of public safety, no further action will be taken by CDFW. Under state law and CDFW policy, lions can be taken if they become an imminent threat to public safety.

Mountain lions are wide-ranging animals that can wander over areas as large as 200 square miles. Lions are widely spread out in the Coachella Valley and CDFW reminds walkers and hikers to be aware of their surroundings and use caution in light of this recent incident.

It is rare, but not unheard of, for mountain lions to threaten people. On average fewer than 10 public safety incidents involving mountain lions occur in California annually.  In the event of an encounter with an aggressive mountain lion, CDFW recommends that you do what you can to appear larger. For example, open your jacket or raise arms over your head. If attacked, FIGHT BACK!  People have successfully repelled lion attacks using caps, sticks and canteens or whatever else they had on hand.

Since 1986, there have been 14 verified mountain lion attacks on people in California, including six fatalities. The last fatality was in January 2004 in Orange County.

Problem mountain lions – those that threaten people, kill livestock or are a nuisance — cannot be relocated. Relocation is illegal in California and is biologically unsound.  Studies have shown that relocated mountain lions have poor rates of survival and rarely stay at release sites, and their undesirable behaviors are unaffected by the relocation.

 

Great White Shark Status To Be Reviewed

Sorry for another shark tidbit, but this is from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: 

Department of Fish and Wildlife Releases White Shark Status Review under the California Endangered Species Act

APRIL 4, 2014

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released a full status review of the Northeast Pacific population of white shark under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).

The review document is available at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/news/pubnotice.

In completing the review, CDFW determined that the best scientific information available indicates the petitioned action is not warranted and recommends the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) not list the Northeast Pacific population of white shark as threatened or endangered under CESA.

At a future meeting, the Commission will make a final decision on whether or not to list the Northeast Pacific population of white shark as a threatened or endangered species under CESA.

Please check the Commission website at http://www.fgc.ca.gov for more information.

 

$61.3 Million Grant For NWR Includes Land In California

California’s proposed Tulare Basin Wildlife Management Area is among several spots nationally the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approved of $61.3 million worth of support toward these areas deemed in need to “protect, restore and enhance.”

The Tulare Basin is located in California’s fertile San Joaquin Valley. It straddles the Tulare and Kern County lines west of Highway 99, east of Interstate 5 with Delano and Wasco the closest communities. Here’s what the United States Fish and Wildlife Service wrote about the area’s impact if turned into a NWR when it was listed as a possible protected area:

 

With the protection of this habitat, the
Service would also be contributing to
protection and recovery of migratory
waterfowl populations, shorebirds,
landbirds and neotropical migratory
birds of North America’s Pacific Flyway,
and federally listed threatened and
endangered species. ..

All 22,000 acres
could be protected via conservation
easements if landowners choose to
participate. It is the Service’s policy to
acquire easements, lands, or interests in
lands from willing sellers.

Here’s the complete Fish and Wildlife Service press release (with the Tulare Basin blurb in bold):

WASHINGTON — The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission today approved $61.3 million in funding to protect, restore and enhance more than 205,000 acres of wetlands and associated uplands in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“Conservation of our nation’s wetlands is critical to protecting our wildlife, watersheds, coastal communities and important economic activities,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, chair of the commission. “Wetlands not only are home to hundreds of species of migratory birds, but they also provide us with clean water, act as buffers against storms, support our vibrant coastal fishing industries, and provide unique opportunities for outdoor recreation.”

The commission approved $54.7 million in grants through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act to protect, restore and enhance 200,069 acres of habitat for migratory birds in the United States, Mexico and Canada, leveraging an additional $92.6 million in matching funds.

The commission also approved nearly $6.6 million for fee and easement land acquisitions of 5,072 acres on five national wildlife refuges. The funds were raised largely through the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as “Duck Stamps.”

“These grants are critical to maintaining the health and vitality of America’s wetlands and the abundance and variety of wildlife they support,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “Wetlands are particularly crucial to migratory birds all along their flyways. These grants will enable our partners in Canada, Mexico and the United States to protect and improve the quality of these habitats.”

The five commission-approved refuge projects are:

•       Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Chambers County, Texas. Boundary addition and price approval for a high-priority 1,227-acre tract for $1,718,200.

•       San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge, Brazoria County, Texas. Boundary addition and price approval for 30 acres for $138,500.

•       Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Liberty County, Texas. Boundary addition and price approval for 234 acres for $162,399.

•       Tulare Basin Wildlife Management Area, Kern and Tulare counties, California. Acquisition of 305 acres in easement for $782,000.

•       Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge, Union and Morehouse parishes, Louisiana. Boundary addition of 18,711 acres and acquisition of 3,276 acres for $3,830,013.  Additionally, the commission gave the green light for the potential future boundary expansion that would add 15,435 acres to that Refuge’s acquisition boundary.

Examples of projects funded through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act include:

•       In North Dakota, the Chase Lake Area Wetland project will restore and enhance 43,785 acres to improve habitat for migratory waterfowl. Through this project, partners will protect wetland-associated uplands to provide essential nesting habitat for waterfowl and other species, and minimize the influx of sediments and pesticides into these wetland basins.

•       In Hawaii, the Upper Laupahoehoe Nui Watershed Reserve project will enhance 2,000 acres of wetlands for endangered seabird populations by removing invasive plants to promote the growth and establishment of native plant communities.

•       In the Canadian Prairie/Parkland and Western Boreal Forest, which support 72 percent of North America’s breeding ducks, Ducks Unlimited Canada will protect 9,918 acres through land purchases and enhance an additional 3,438 acres by building wetlands infrastructure and converting vegetative cover.

•       In Tamaulipas, Mexico, the Enhancement of Wetland Habitat for Migratory Waterfowl on the Coastal Plain project will establish a hydraulic system to restore 1,609 acres of freshwater wetlands and work with landowners to protect these restored acres through conservation agreements.

The commission is chaired by the Secretary of the Interior. Its  members include U.S. Senators Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Mark Pryor of Arkansas; U.S. Representatives John Dingell of Michigan and Robert Wittman of Virginia; and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy.

For every dollar spent on Federal Duck Stamps, 98 cents go directly to acquire vital habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The commission oversees the use of Federal Duck Stamp funds for the purchase and lease of wetland habitats for national wildlife refuges. To date, close to 6 million acres of wetlands have been purchased using more than $800 million in Duck Stamp revenue.

The North American Wetlands Conservation Act is the only federal grants program dedicated to the conservation of wetland habitats for migratory birds. Since 1990, approximately 5,000 partners in more than 2,000 projects have received more than $1.2 billion in grants. The grants have leveraged another $2.6 billion in matching funds to help improve more than 27 million acres of habitat.

More information about the grant projects announced today is available at: http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NAWCA/index.shtm

Ocean Salmon Opener On April 5

Marine sports salmon fishing

(CDFW PHOTO)

 

Apologies for not blogging this out sooner. But we’ll have an update on early Chinook fishing off the California coast for our May issue. But here’s the release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

The California Fish and Game Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announce the recreational salmon season will open in ocean waters on Saturday, April 5, 2014, from Horse Mountain (40° 05’ 00” N. latitude) south to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Federal fishery biologists estimate roughly 934,000 fall-run Chinook salmon will be in California coastal waters through the summer. Though lower than last year’s estimate, there are still plenty of fish to allow for significant angling opportunities for salmon enthusiasts in all areas off California.

The daily bag limit will remain at two Chinook salmon but the Commission recently took action to change the salmon possession limit. Two daily bag limits are now allowed in possession when on land; however, when on a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit.

The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length between Horse Mountain and Point Arena (38° 57’ 30” N. latitude). For areas south of Point Arena, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length. For anglers fishing north of Point Conception (34° 27’ 00” N. latitude), no more than two single-point, single-shank barbless hooks shall be used and no more than one rod per angler when fishing for salmon or fishing from a boat with salmon on board. In addition, barbless circle hooks are required when fishing with bait by any means other than trolling. The retention of coho salmon is prohibited in all ocean fisheries. For complete ocean salmon regulations in effect during April, please visit CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/oceansalmon.asp or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429.

Final 2014 ocean salmon regulations will be decided next month by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) during their April 4-10 meeting in Vancouver, Wash. and by the Commission at their April 16-17 meeting in Ventura. Final sport regulations will be published in the CDFW 2014 Supplemental Fishing Regulations booklet available in May at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations.

Three alternatives are being considered for California’s recreational ocean salmon seasons that will begin on or after May 1. The public is encouraged to comment on any of the proposed alternatives, which can be found at the PFMC website at www.pcouncil.org.

Bear Released Near Lebec (Kern County)

From the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: 

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has successfully returned a yearling black bear back to the Los Padres National Forest near Lebec.

The male cub was found in distress near the town of Lebec in August 2013. A wildlife officer safely captured the cub and it was transported by CDFW staff to the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care facility for rehabilitation.

Lebec bear release
“People frequently encounter young wild animals such as bears and assume they need assistance or have been orphaned,” said CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Marc Kenyon. “In most cases, they should be left alone. Any intervention with young wildlife should be left to CDFW staff or permitted wildlife rehabilitators. This is the best way to ensure that wildlife stays in the wild.”

 

To be eligible for rehabilitation, a cub must still be dependent upon its mother and not habituated to humans. CDFW works with rehabilitation centers like the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Center. The non-profit center relies completely on donations for their services. At the facility, cubs learn how forage for natural bear food such as berries, acorns, fish, grubs and insects. Human contact is kept to a minimum or is non-existent. By the time the yearling bears leave, each has quadrupled its size or more, to 50-80 pounds, depending upon body type.

“More than ever, it’s important for residents living in bear country to be diligent about keeping potential food sources away from them and living responsibly in bear country,”
said CDFW Environmental Scientist Victoria Monroe. “With responsible residents, this yearling cub will have a greater chance of survival as a healthy, wild black bear.”

Upon release, each cub is given a final health checkup that includes taking hair and blood samples.

In most circumstances, CDFW recommends that people leave wildlife alone, including removing attractants from their properties. If this is not an option, contact CDFW for guidance. For more information and how to live responsibly in bear habitat, please visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/keepmewild/bear.html.

 

 

 

Releasing a 14-foot shark

hammerhead2.jpeg

Screen Grab Photo courtesy of Viktor Hluben

Regular readers to our magazine and blog may recall our February issue of California Sportsman, when Southern California “sharker” Jeff Fangman told his extraordinary tale of an incidental hook  and release of a great white shark.

Some insane brave anglers in an undisclosed location off the Florida coast also had the rush of unintentionally landing a giant predator: in this case what was estimated as a 14-foot hammerhead shark, which isn’t described as a maneater, though sharks of this size should probably never be taken lightly.

Watch the video of this encounter and ask yourself if you’d be as brazen as these guys hooting and hollering while this giant, unpredictable and sharp teeth-filled beast was, I have to think, getting more and more impatient while these seemingly tasty strangers were posing for photos, shooting video and then without much hesitation sliding it into deep enough water for a quick release.

Bravo for their quick work to get the fascinating fish back in the water relatively quickly. But given how close the lucky angler, Viktor Hluben, and friends were within chomping distance of that shark’s mouth. Somewhere around Oceanside, Jeff Fangman is sending a thumb’s up your way, folks!

 

 

Lake Isabella Fishing Derby: Pride Of The Valley

By Chris Cocoles

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, but I consider myself to be an adopted stepson of the San Joaquin Valley. I’m a Fresno State Bulldog (BA in journalism, Class of 1994) who, spanning college and my first job after graduation, spent almost eight years living in Fresno. Now that I’ve lived around both San Francisco and Los Angeles, I realize how much different life in the Valley was compared to the NorCal and SoCal experiences I’ve had. When I first got to Fresno, I was told the city was a Midwest town trapped in California. And maybe years ago the Valley went all Wizard of Oz on everyone and was Dorthy-ed in a twister, leaving behind  acres of farmland and Main Streets in Wisconsin, Indiana or Iowa; the whole region was lifted west into the land of fish tacos, Kardashians and Mark Zuckerberg.

I’m getting off track here. But I think about Valley pride all the time, and that was reminded to me when I chatted with George Stahl of the Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce about next month’s Lake Isabella Fish Derby. This is a huge event for the area, located about an hour east of Bakersfield. And I could tell in Stahl’s voice how much it means to the folks there that so many anglers in California will flock from near and far to try their luck with $100,000 worth of tagged fish and additional prizes, including a most valuable rainbow worth  a cool $25,000.

There were whispers the drought conditions affecting Isabella, as it has so many lakes in the state, but after weighing both sides of the issue, the chamber of commerce decided the lake was in better shape than many other lakes of similar size. And the event just means too much to the town of Lake Isabella and surrounding businesses to cancel the derby. I agree. You can’t control the lack of rain. It’s not like proceeding forward is akin to leaving a faucet running.

“We’re not talking about irrigating land or anything like that,” Stahl said. ”

The footprint from Sacramento to Bakersfield takes a lot of abuse from the Bay Area and Los Angeles folks, whether it’s the unemployment rate, the air quality (although downtown L.A. doesn’t have much of an argument there) or the blistering hot summers or fog-shrouded winters (hello, San Francisco!).  Being a passionate fan of Fresno State’s sports teams, if I had a nickel for every opposing fan of our biggest rivals like San Diego State, San Jose State, Nevada and Hawaii who referred to us at Fresneck State…

So when Stahl told me this week for a preview story of the derby running in April’s California Sportsman, I couldn’t help but nod my head and think about the Central Valley as a whole:

“People are just used to seeing something one way. And when they don’t see it that way anymore, they have a tendency to think something devastating is happening,” Stahl said. “I’m not trying to put down the drought. But at the same time, we use what we have available to us.”

Kudos to the Kern Valley River Chamber of Commerce for going ahead with its big event.

Note: The derby takes place April 12, 13 and 14. Online registration is currently available at the derby’s website: isabellafishingderby.com. Further information is available by calling 760-379-5236.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sacramento River Fly Fishing Heating Up

Kirk Portocarrero of Sac River Guide Charters provided this update:

Spring officially begins in March, and we have no shortage of great fishing opportunities.  Right now is a great time to take advantage of the awesome fly fishing on the Sac River.

Sacramento River Fly Fishing 

 

Fly fishing on the Sac River is fantastic. Most days are mild, with afternoons warming up nicely to around 75 and a great bug hatch happening now.
March, April, and May are prime fly fishing months, producing some of the largest trout during this time. We are fishing every day, hope you will join us.

1-800-670-4448

Sac River Fly Fishing

Lower Sacramento River Fly Fishing- Redding. CA

Gun Shop Owner Takes On ATF

Our Western Shooting and Northwest Sportsman correspondent, Dave Workman, tackles an issue involving a San Diego-area gun shop obtaining a temporary restraining order against Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Here’s some of Workman’s column:

The shop, Ares Armor, is seeking a preliminary injunction against the agency and has also filed a complaint for deprivation of civil rights, naming ATF Director B. Todd Jones as a defendant.

District Court Judge Janis L. Sammartino issued the order allowing ATF to oppose the Ares motion by today, and is then allowing Ares to respond by next Monday at 9 a.m. The judge also set a 1:30 p.m. preliminary injunction hearing next Thursday.

At issue, according to Fox 5 News, are allegations that Ares has sold thousands of “80 percent” lower receivers with which people may build their own AR-type rifles. As noted by the news agency, “It is legal to build a rifle from scratch without serial numbers only if the base is manufactured to ATF specifications.” The ATF wants the names of those clients and Ares does not want to give them those names.