|Time is now to make applications for the premium hunt areas
The Sportsman’s Report
If you are a hunter of deer or other big game animal, it is time to plan and make your application for a premium hunt area.
Chances are better this year that you may be successful regardless of how many points you’ve accumulated now that the DFG (Dept. of Fish and Game) has expanded the number of random drawings for applications to premium zones.
To get the all important points, you must apply for the drawing before the cutoff date in early June. If you do not plan to hunt a premium zone this year, you should still apply for the drawing. Every year that you are unsuccessful earns you one point to your total, and eventually you will get that special zone you’ve been dreaming about. If you are planning to apply as a party (more than one hunter in your group, up to six) the same holds true. One downside of a party application is the computer will average your individual points, almost assuring a reduced spot in line for premium tags. This process is covered in their website at www.wildlife.ca.gov.
If you have a new hunter, a well-behaved child for instance, or you want a hunter safety refresher course, it is a requirement to attend a hunter safety course through an authorized administrator. There are many classes on the schedule, some right here close by. To get a list of hunter education instructors, places, dates and fees go to www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered and scroll down to the listings. In the name of safety for you and your young hunter, this class might save a limb or life.
Application fees have become a serious consideration. The basic license fee is $46.44 and the first deer tag fee is $23, and a ‘second deer tag’ is available at an additional fee. The processing fee is $4. For the drawing, you will need your current license fee paid and to purchase your first deer tag to send in to Sacramento.
There are now fees for most any animal hiding in the weeds, so be sure to read the regulations thoroughly. One friend explained to the game warden that he was not hunting but just riding along. Of course, he had a rifle. The officer wrote the ticket and told him to explain it to the judge. The rules are very clear about what constitutes hunting, so he paid the fine.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.