State’s Up­land Game Bird Hunt­ing Sea­sons Fast Ap­proach­ing

The Oakdale Leader - - NEWS -

The 2018-19 gen­eral up­land game bird hunt­ing sea­son will open in mid-Septem­ber for sev­eral species in spe­cific zones around the state, pro­vid­ing hunters with many op­por­tu­ni­ties to bring home some de­li­cious ta­ble fare for the up­com­ing hol­i­day sea­son.

Septem­ber open­ers in­clude quail (Zone Q1 opens for moun­tain quail on Sept. 8, and Zone Q2 will be open for all quail on Sept. 29) sooty and ruffed grouse (gen­eral sea­son will open in var­i­ous north­ern and eastern coun­ties on Sept. 8); white-tailed ptarmi­gan (which will open Sept. 8); and band-tailed pi­geon (the north­ern hunt zone will open Sept. 15).

Hunters should note that non­lead am­mu­ni­tion is now re­quired when hunt­ing on Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Wildlife Ar­eas and Eco­log­i­cal Re­serves. As of July 1, 2016, the non­lead shot re­quire­ment is ex­tended to in­clude the take of up­land game birds with a shot­gun statewide, with the ex­cep­tions of dove, quail and snipe, or any up­land game bird taken on a li­censed game bird club. For more in­for­ma­tion, see the CDFW non­lead am­mu­ni­tion page.

Zone maps and in­for­ma­tion about daily bag lim­its and pos­ses­sion lim­its for each game bird species can be found on the CDFW Up­land Game Bird Hunt­ing web­page.

Quail are some of the state’s most pop­u­lar na­tive game birds. There are three species of quail found in Cal­i­for­nia: Cal­i­for­nia quail, moun­tain quail and Gam­bel’s quail. Cal­i­for­nia quail (the state bird) are com­mon and widespread through­out the state in low to midel­e­va­tion brushy habi­tats with good cover and abun­dant food. Moun­tain quail are found in higher el­e­va­tion habi­tats. Gam­bel’s quail are Cal­i­for­nia’s most desert-adapted species and are found in the very arid lands of south­east­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

For all quail species, the daily bag limit is 10 and the pos­ses­sion limit is triple the daily bag. Hunters can still use lead shot for quail un­til July 1, 2019 un­less hunt­ing on CDFW Wildlife Ar­eas or Eco­log­i­cal Re­serves.

All three species of quail are most ac­tive in the early morn­ing and later af­ter­noon and move in large coveys through­out the day. Quail have dis­tinc­tive calls that can pro­vide clues to the birds’ lo­ca­tion. Quail are more apt to run than flush, mak­ing them a more chal­leng­ing game bird to hunt. Hunt­ing dogs can be use­ful for lo­cat­ing, flush­ing and re­triev­ing birds in the field.

Cal­i­for­nia has two species of na­tive forest­d­welling grouse: the sooty grouse and the ruffed grouse. Sooty grouse oc­cur in the Sierra Ne­vada, Cas­cade and north­ern coast ranges while the ruffed grouse is re­stricted to the north­west­ern part of the state. The gen­eral hunt­ing sea­son for both species ex­tends from Sept. 8 to Oct. 8 this year. For sooty and ruffed grouse, the daily bag limit is two (both of one species or mixed species) and pos­ses­sion limit is triple the daily bag.

Although they are fairly large birds, grouse cam­ou­flage them­selves well and gen­er­ally hold tight to their lo­ca­tion even when hunters are nearby. They flush quickly and fly off in a zigzag pat­tern, re­quir­ing a quick and ac­cu­rate re­sponse from a hunter. Dogs are use­ful com­pan­ions to help hunters find, flush and re­trieve bagged grouse. Non­lead shot is re­quired for all grouse statewide. The white-tailed ptarmi­gan is a non-na­tive grouse that was in­tro­duced by CDFW to the Sierra Ne­vada in the early 1970s. This is the small­est species of ptarmi­gan and the only one found in Cal­i­for­nia. They in­habit the high el­e­va­tion alpine habi­tats at low den­si­ties from Sonora Pass in Tuolumne County to Kings Canyon Na­tional Park.

Hunt­ing th­ese birds can be chal­leng­ing be­cause of the high el­e­va­tion and steep ter­rain. Hunt­ing is per­mit­ted from Sept. 8-16. The daily bag limit is two per day and the pos­ses­sion limit is two per sea­son. Hunters should pre­pare for dif­fi­cult hik­ing con­di­tions and be fa­mil­iar with the area be­fore head­ing out after this game bird. Non­lead shot is re­quired for hunt­ing ptarmi­gan.

The band-tailed pi­geon is Cal­i­for­nia’s only na­tive pi­geon and is a close rel­a­tive of the ex­tinct pas­sen­ger pi­geon. They look sim­i­lar to the in­tro­duced do­mes­tic or rock pi­geons that fre­quent ur­ban ar­eas. Band-tailed pi­geons are of­ten found in moun­tain­ous ter­rain through­out the state, us­ing conif­er­ous forests as well as oak wood­lands, but pop­u­la­tions are mi­gra­tory and move­ments can be un­pre­dictable. The north­ern Cal­i­for­nia hunt zone sea­son runs from Sept 15-23. The daily bag limit is two and the pos­ses­sion limit is triple the daily bag.

CDFW re­minds hunters that an up­land game bird stamp is re­quired for li­censed adult hunters (18 years and older) but not for hunters with a valid ju­nior hunt­ing li­cense. A HIP val­i­da­tion is also re­quired to hunt band-tailed pi­geons.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.