The state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife will offer special programs throughout the month of December, along with regularly scheduled tours of certain wildlife areas. Following is a listing of activities coming up and open to the public during December.
3 — Recreational Dungeness Crab Regulations Scoping Webinar, 6 p.m. An informational webinar regarding potential regulation changes for the recreational Dungeness crab fishery to improve accountability and reduce marine life entanglement risk. Potential measures include pot limits, catch reporting, surface gear restrictions, service interval requirements, marking requirements and changes to in-season management. Additional details will be made available on CDFW’s Whale Safe Fisheries webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/whale-safe-fisheries. For more information, and to be added to the interested parties list, contact email@example.com.
5 — Volunteer Information Night, 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville. Learn about volunteer opportunities in research, education and stewardship at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve. The Reserve’s Volunteer Coordinator will share background on the volunteer program and highlight the numerous ways to get involved. The event is free and drop-ins are welcome. For more information, visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/volunteer-information-night-2.
7 — Public Planting Day, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Hester Marsh, Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Volunteers can join Elkhorn Slough Reserve’s stewardship team as it places 20,000 salt marsh plants in the soil at a new restoration site. The Hester Marsh restoration project is restoring 60 acres of new salt marsh habitat adjacent to the Elkhorn Slough. The event is free, but registration is required. For more information and to register, visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/public-planting-day.
9 — CDFW Conservation Lecture Series, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., “Integrating the California Biodiversity Initiative into California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Efforts.” CDFW’s Dr. Kim Tenggardjaja, Dr. Melanie Gogol-Prokurat and Martha Volkoff will provide an overview of the California Biodiversity Initiative and the history of its development, detailing current efforts to implement the Initiative at CDFW. Attendance is free. To register or learn more, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/lectures.
13 — Passing on the Tradition Youth Essay Contest Deadline. CDFW and the California Wildlife Officer Foundation are co-sponsoring the annual “Passing on the Tradition” essay contest for young hunters. The grand prize winner will receive a lifetime hunting license with a bird hunting privilege package valued at up to $1,250. This year’s contest challenges kids to answer the questions, “What can CDFW do to get more people involved in hunting? And what can you do, personally, to get more people involved in hunting?” The contest is open to all junior hunting license holders, as well as youths under 18 who have earned a hunter education certificate. Essays should be no more than 500 words, double spaced. Entries should be submitted via email to Capt. Robert Pelzman at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. Applicants must provide their date of birth, place of residence, contact telephone number and email address.
23 — Archery Only Pheasant Season Opens (extending through Jan. 19, 2020). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.
29 — Black Bear Season Ends Statewide (or earlier if CDFW determines that 1,700 black bears have been reported taken). For more information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/bear. Successful hunters should have their tag validated and a tooth pulled from the skull of their bear. All hunters are required to submit a report on their bear tag, whether they hunted for bear or not. Tags can be mailed to the address on the tag, or reported online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/customersearch/begin.
Saturdays — Swan Tours. CDFW will offer free swan tours near Marysville on Saturdays through January. Co-hosted by local rice farmers, the naturalist-led tours will focus on tundra swans in one of the premier locations for viewing swans in California. Tours will be held on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The driving tours also involve walking a short distance and carpooling is encouraged. Pre-registration is required at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/swan-tours and up to 30 people can register for each tour. For more information, call (916) 358-2869 or email email@example.com.
Various Days — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Multiple Hunting Opportunities. Wild pig, waterfowl, turkey, dove and quail hunts are available through the SHARE program. An $11.88 non-refundable application fee is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.
First through Third Saturdays and Sundays of the Month — Sandhill Crane Wetland Tours at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, 7730 W. Woodbridge Road, Lodi. Online registration is available for those wishing to participate in guided tours, which run through February. A one-day Lands Pass must be purchased in advance (instructions are on the registration website). Tours fill quickly and registration may be done as much as six weeks in advance. To register or for more information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/3/crane-tour.
Various Days — Guided Wetland Tours by Reservation at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley. A wildlife naturalist will lead any group, school or organization on a half-mile route through the diverse wetlands of the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. General information includes wildlife identification, behavior patterns and conservation efforts. The experience can be customized to include requested information. The minimum group size is 15 people. For more information, call (530) 846-7505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Various Days — Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville. Volunteers lead walks every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Binoculars and bird books are available for the public to borrow at no cost. The visitor center and main overlook are fully accessible. The day use permit fee is $4.12 per person, ages 16 and older (permits may be purchased onsite). Groups of five or more should notify staff that they are coming and groups of 10 or more can request a separate tour. For more information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit/elkhorn-slough-er.
Weekends — Guided Wildlife Tours at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 12:30 p.m., 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley. The 90-minute walking tour covers slightly more than a half mile through this premier birding spot that highlights migratory waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. Tours are canceled in heavy rain. No reservations are necessary for groups of less than 20 people. This land is part of the CDFW Lands Pass Program and its associated fee-for-use requirement (wildlife.ca.gov/lands-pass). There is no additional cost for the tour. For more information, call (530) 846-7505 or email email@example.com.