With many programs to offer, the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife has posted its December calendar. As a reminder, some wildlife areas, ecological reserves and other properties may be closed due to wildfires or wildfire damage. Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to check for closures before leaving on any recreational trip.
Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Hunting Opportunities. There are still opportunities available for pig, waterfowl and upland game hunting through May. An $11.75 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.
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 catered to include requested information. Each tour is limited to 30 people. This land is part of the CDFW Lands Pass Program and associated fee-for-use requirement. There is no additional cost for the tour. Current COVID-19 guidelines will be followed. Come prepared and be respectful of other visitors. For more information, call (530) 846-7505 or email Lori.Dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.
Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville. Volunteers lead walks highlighting the natural history of the Elkhorn Slough every Saturday and Sunday. Tours fill on a first-come, first-served basis the day of the tour. Groups of six or more should call ahead at (831) 728-2822 to reserve a tour. For more information, visit www.elkhornslough.org/esnerr/tours.
Guided Wildlife Tours at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 12:30 p.m., 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley. This hour-and-a-half tour will stroll a third of a mile to an elevated viewing deck where participants will have a bird’s-eye view of wildlife. Visitors often encounter hawks, herons, turtles, cormorants, swallows and much more. This is one of the premier birding spots in northern California, as migratory ducks and geese usually take the spotlight. Tours are canceled in heavy rain. This land is part of the CDFW Lands Pass Program and associated fee-for-use requirement. There is no additional cost for the tour. To sign up, visit the Eventbrite registration page. To purchase a Lands Pass, visit wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/lands-pass. There is a limit of 25 people per tour. COVID-19 guidelines will be followed. Come prepared and be respectful of other visitors. Tours will not be held on Christmas Day. For more information, call (530) 846-7505 or email Lori.Dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.
Saturday, Dec. 10 — Tour of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, 9 a.m. to noon, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, 45211 County Road 32 B, Davis. December is a wonderful month to come out to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. Join Yolo Basin Foundation’s docent on a fantastic tour that is appropriate for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts and birders. View seasonal and permanent wetlands, native grasslands and young riparian forests. Look for migrating and resident waterfowl, geese, swans, raptors and wading birds. Registration is required to attend. For more information and to register, visit www.yolobasin.org/wetlands-tours.
Tuesday, Dec. 13 — California Fish and Game Commission Tribal Committee Meeting, 1 p.m., Handlery Hotel San Diego, Presidio Ballroom, 950 Hotel Circle North, San Diego. The meeting will also be held via webinar/teleconference. For more information, visit fgc.ca.gov.
Wednesday-Thursday, Dec. 14-15 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting, starting at 10 a.m. on Dec. 14 and 9 a.m. on Dec. 15, Handlery Hotel San Diego, Presidio Ballroom, 950 Hotel Circle North, San Diego. The meeting will also be held via webinar/teleconference. For more information, visit fgc.ca.gov.
Saturday, Dec. 17 — Garden Days at Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 10 a.m. to noon, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville. Learn about native plant gardening and help the reserve maintain its new demonstration gardens. Participants will spend time exploring topics in native plant gardening and then spend time working in the gardens. Work changes with the season and may involve weeding, planting or collecting native seeds. All ages and abilities are welcome, but those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more details and to register, visit www.elkhornslough.org/calendar.
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Pop-up Information Booth, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Parking Lot A, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, 45211 County Road 32 B, Davis. Every third Saturday of the month, Yolo Basin Foundation will have a pop-up information booth in Parking Lot A of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. For new visitors to the area or those with questions, it is a great time to visit since volunteers will provide maps of the auto tour route and hiking trails, provide information about what to keep an eye out for and answer questions as visitors set out to explore local wildlife. Come visit the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area during this time of magical migrations as waterfowl, geese, swans and more are making their way south along the Pacific Flyway. For more information about the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, visit www.yolobasin.org/yolobypasswildlifearea.
General Season for Band-tailed Pigeons in the Southern Hunt Zone opens (extending through Dec. 25). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.
Friday, Dec. 23 — King Tide Tour at Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville. Explore the year’s highest tides at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve. Join naturalists on a guided hike to witness the “King Tide” phenomenon and learn about efforts to mitigate sea level rise impacts in coastal communities. The tour is open to all ages, but attendees must register in advance. For more details and to register, visit www.elkhornslough.org/calendar.
Sunday, Dec. 25 — Black Bear Season Ends Statewide (or earlier if CDFW determines that 1,700 black bears have been reported taken). All hunters must get their tag validated and present the bear head for tooth extraction by CDFW personnel. Current bear hunting regulations, in-season updates and general black bear information can be viewed at wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/bear.
Monday, Dec. 26 — Archery Only Pheasant Season Opens (extending through Jan. 22, 2023). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.
All calendar items are subject to change as a result of the changing conditions and guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic.