Lots of Free Youth and Special Hunts Available Statewide!

Lots of special hunts are offered free of charge through out the year for apprentice (first-time) hunters, juniors (15 years and under), families, women and those who are mobility-impaired. Don’t miss out! (Photo courtesy of the National Shooting Sports Foundation)

Question: I haven’t hunted for pheasant in years but would like to do so and introduce my daughter to the sport. I’ve heard the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) holds special pheasant hunts for new apprentice and returning hunters and that these hunts are paid for with funds generated by the upland game bird stamps that licensed hunters buy. Can you please provide me some information on this program regarding dates, locations, requirements and how to apply? (James K., Napa)

Answer: DFG holds many special hunts throughout the state specifically for apprentice (first-time) hunters, juniors (15 years and under), families, women and those who are mobility-impaired. These include hunts for wild turkey, quail, chuckar, pheasant and wild pigs. Planted pheasant hunts are for apprentice hunters only. Newly certified Hunter Education (HE) grads are especially encouraged to apply because they will be given priority one time only over others applying through regular drawings. Newly certified hunters just have to type their HE cert number into the application and their names are automatically added to the “first hunt” roster. Those names will be drawn first, and based upon their preferences, selected for hunts not yet filled prior to those applying through the regular drawings. All hunts that do not include planted pheasants are for wild bird hunts and are not part of the priority selection with the HE Cert.

Special hunts are offered throughout the year. To view the schedule and apply:

1)     Go to the DFG hunting page at www.dfg.ca.gov/Hunting/

2)     Click the “Online Application for Special Hunts” link in the top right corner

3)     Create an account (quick and easy!) or log into an existing account

4)     Click the “View Available Hunts” link at the bottom of the next page.

5)     A display of all hunts available around the state will pop up, along with the    dates, requirements, contact numbers and information about each hunt.

6)     Then select the type of hunt you’re interested in.

7)     Applicants will be notified shortly by e-mail of which hunt(s) they were successfully selected for.

If an applicant hasn’t already purchased their license, which is a requirement to apply, it will take 24 hours to be entered into DFG’s licensing system so it can be verified through the drawing application.

These special hunts are some of the best opportunities out there to help encourage and support new hunters, women hunters and those who are mobility-impaired. And they are all funded by hunters for hunters. Don’t miss out!


Are crab snares legal?
Question: I am looking forward to doing some crabbing this year. I have a seven loop crab snare but a bait and tackle shop owner told me it was completely illegal to use. Is this true? If so, why? Also, will I need a fishing license to take crabs? (Jeremy H.)

Answer: Crab loop traps (often sold as “crab snares”) are legal, but no more than six loops are allowed (California Code of Regulations Title 13, section 29.80(d)). Valid sport fishing licenses are required to take crab, unless you are fishing from a public fishing pier (as defined by CCR Title 14, section 1.88).


Two shotguns with separate shells?
Question: I was just reading this weeks’ Q & As (which I really enjoy!) and Terri S. asked whether one could have shotgun shells to hunt wild pigs while hunting turkeys. You stated that, “the hunters may not possess a shotgun slug while turkey hunting.” You also stated that “Shotgun shells may not be used or possessed that contain shot size larger than No. BB, except that shot size larger than No. 2 may not be used or possessed when taking wild turkey.

For clarification could they have two shotguns with separate shells if they were in possession of a pig tag? What is the law on carrying different kinds of firearms when attempting to hunt different kinds of game? (Cristen L.)

Answer: You can carry more than one gun when hunting different types of game. However, you cannot possess certain types of ammunition while hunting certain species. For example, while hunting turkey you may not possess anything larger than #2 shot, and while hunting waterfowl you may not possess lead. In both of these cases, your second gun cannot have anything illegal to possess. So it is legal to carry two guns, but neither gun may have ammunition that is illegal for any species you are hunting.


Military fishing and hunting licenses?
Question: I am in the U.S. Navy stationed at Camp Pendleton and want to hunt and fish while I am here. Do you have special licenses for active duty military? (Timothy T., Camp Pendleton)

Answer: Active duty military may purchase resident fishing and hunting licenses while stationed in California. We do not currently offer special military licenses.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

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