The California Fish and Game Commission plans to meet from Feb. 8-9 and plans to introduce new hunting regulation proposals, including for elk and waterfowl. Here’s a link at the agenda. And some of the items to be discussed are available in more detail. Here’s some of what the elk hunt regulations are being analyzed:
Notice of Proposed Changes in Regulations – Elk Hunting
Current regulations in Section 364 provide definitions, hunting zone descriptions, season opening and closing dates, methods of take (e.g., general methods, archery only, muzzleloader only), tag designations (e.g., bull, spike bull, antlerless, and either-sex), tag quotas (total number of hunting tags to be made available), and bag and possession limits for elk hunting. Section 364.1 provides season opening and closing dates, methods of take, tag designations, tag quotas, and bag and possession limits for elk hunting administered through the SHARE hunt program. Individuals are awarded an elk hunting tag through the Department’s Big Game Drawing or SHARE hunt program drawing.
Harvest of an elk is authorized for an individual awarded a tag for a respective hunt zone or SHARE property and season. Tag quotas are established based on a variety of factors including population density and abundance, age and sex composition, elk distribution, and human-elk conflict levels, among other population objectives, factors, and considerations. The Department has identified the following areas where increased public elk hunting opportunities are feasible and support achievement of population objectives:
Tejon Rocky Mountain Elk Management Unit. Currently there is no hunt zone established which authorizes public elk harvest in the Tejon Rocky Mountain Elk Management Unit
Bear Valley and Cache Creek Tule Elk Hunt Zones. Current (2022) public tag quota for these zones are 1 antlerless tag and 2 bull tags (Bear Valley), and 1 apprentice bull tag, 2 antlerless tags, and 2 bull tags (Cache Creek).
Siskiyou Roosevelt Elk Hunt Zone. Current (2022) public tag quota for the Siskiyou Hunt Zone is 20 antlerless tags and 20 bull tags. The bull and antlerless hunt periods are concurrent.
Northwestern Roosevelt Elk Hunt Zone. Current (2022) public tag quota for the Northwestern Hunt Zone is 15 antlerless tags, 3 bull tags, and 3 either- sex tags.
La Panza Tule Elk Hunt Zone and Central Coast Tule Elk Management Unit. Current (2022) public tag quotas for the La Panza Hunt Zone is 1 apprentice antlerless tag, 11 antlerless tags across two hunt periods (5 and 6 tags, respectively), and 12 bull tags across two hunt periods (6 and 6, respectively). There is currently no authorized public elk harvest in the Central Coast Tule Elk Management Unit.
The proposed regulatory changes will:
Siskiyou Roosevelt Elk Hunt Zone. Set public tag quota for the Siskiyou Hunt Zone to 20 bull tags and 30 antlerless tags. Shift the bull season from September to October.
Northwestern Roosevelt Elk Hunt Zone. Set public tag quota for the Northwestern Hunt Zone to 25 bull tags, 15 antlerless tags, and 3 either-sex tags.
Bear Valley and Cache Creek Tule Elk Hunt Zones. Modify adjacent Hunt Zone boundaries to bound demographically and genetically interacting populations.
The goals and benefits of the regulations are to help achieve management objectives related to current environmental, biological, and social conditions related to relevant elk populations.
And here are some the waterfowl regs to be discussed:
Notice of Proposed Changes in Regulations
Current regulations in Section 502, Title 14, California Code of Regulations (CCR), provide definitions, hunting zone descriptions, season opening and closing dates, and daily bag and possession limits for hunting of waterfowl. The proposed Frameworks for the 2023-24 season were approved by the four regional Flyway councils in August and at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service’s) Regulations Committee meeting in October. The Frameworks allow for a liberal duck season which includes: a 107-day season; a 7 daily duck limit including 7 mallards but only 2 hen mallards, 1 pintail, 2 canvasback, 2 redheads, and 2 scaup (during an 86-day season); and closing no later than January 31. The duck daily bag limits and season length, as well as the season lengths for geese, are provided as ranges below, to allow the Commission flexibility in determining the final regulations.
A range of season length and bag limit (zero bag limit represents a closed season) are also provided for black brant. The range is necessary, as the black brant Framework cannot be determined until the Pacific Flyway Winter Brant Survey is conducted in January 2023. The black brant regulatory package is determined by the most current Winter Brant Survey, rather than the prior year survey. The proposed season length and bag limit will be updated per the Black Brant Harvest Strategy pending results of the January 2023 survey. See the Summary of Proposed Waterfowl Hunting Regulations for 2023-24 table, below.
Lastly, Federal regulations provide that California’s hunting regulations shall conform to those of Arizona in the Colorado River Zone and those of Oregon in the North Coast Special Management Area.
The Department recommended changes to Section 502 are:
- 1) Increase the duck season length to 103 days in subsection 502(d)(2)(B) for the Southern San Joaquin Valley Zone, in subsection 502(d)(3)(B) for the Southern California Zone, and in subsection 502(d)(5)(B) for the Balance of State Zone.
- 2) Increase the goose season length to 103 days in subsection 502(d)(2)(B) for the Southern San Joaquin Valley Zone and in subsection 502(d)(3)(B) for the Southern California Zone.
- 3) Combine the Youth and Veterans and Active Military Personnel waterfowl hunting days in subsections 502(e)(1)(B) and 502(f)(1)(B) for the Northeastern California, Southern San Joaquin Valley, Southern California and Balance of State zones.
- 4) Allow up to two days of falconry-only season in subsection 502(g)(1)(B) for the Northeastern California, Southern San Joaquin Valley, Southern California and Balance of State zones.
Minor editorial changes are also proposed to clarify and simplify the regulations and to comply with existing federal Frameworks.