This Saturday, Sept. 19 is the general deer season opener in zones B2, B6, C1 and C2. Elk season is already open in Siskiyou County and the northeast zone. For complete hunting regulations including zones and season, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds hunters of an established wolf pack (two adults and five pups) in Siskiyou County. As wolves can travel up to 30 miles per day, these hunting zones in the north state could be within the wolf pack’s range.
Any wild gray wolf in California is state and federally protected. In June 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to list gray wolves as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. The gray wolf is also listed as endangered in California, under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973. Gray wolves in California are therefore protected by the ESA making it illegal to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect wolves, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct in California. Federal penalties include significant fines and one-year imprisonment.
CDFW has important information on distinguishing between coyotes, wolves and dogs on its website. While the recent photographic evidence of wolves indicates they are black in color, there are occasions where hunters have mistaken a wolf for a coyote and killed it. CDFW implores hunters to be aware of the potential presence of wolves in the northern state and take extreme precaution to avoid this scenario.
Concerns about human safety in regard to wolves are largely based on folklore and are unsubstantiated. In recent years there was one human mortality in Canada caused either by wolves or bears and one confirmed human mortality in Alaska by wolves. Based on experience from states where substantial wolf populations now exist, wolves pose little risk to humans. However, CDFW recommends that people never approach a wolf, or otherwise interact with or feed a wolf. Farmers and ranchers can reduce the likelihood of attracting wolves and other predators by removing potential sources of food and other attractants from their land such as discarded animal carcasses, bone piles, etc. More about how to avoid human-wildlife interactions can be found on CDFW’s website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/keep-me-wild orwww.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/mammals/gray-wolf.