The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced some additional policy changes in response to the epidemic. CDFW is closing “high use areas” locally this means the Putah Creek facility. They advise you to contact the regional headquarters office for up to the minute changes. Sonoma County is in Region 3, The Bay and Delta region, headquartered in Fairfield, 2825 Cordelia Road (707) 428-2002 or visit the main web site @ https://wildlife.ca.gov/ from which you can select a link to regional headquarters and the email and contact information. These latest closures include visitor centers and all fish hatcheries to all visitors until further notice.
Another link on their main page is to the online license site, CDFW has closed all licensing counters. They figured Wal-Mart is not doing enough to protect their sportsmen. I have never signed up to buy a license online so I filled out the registration forms and found some old data they saved clear back to my days at Healdsburg High School, that was back when dirt was young. If you have never filled in forms for the state government you are in for a real treat! The forms can be so counter-intuitive that you feel you followed poor Alice down the rabbit hole. Besides the patience of Job you need a minimum lead time of two weeks for your license and tags to be received by mail, right now the only way to get your tags. It is possible to buy your deer and pig tags at the same time online, this will help if your intention to file for a premium deer hunt application. The premium hunt lottery is important to building your place in line, each year you are not drawn you get a cumulative point, which improves your chances in the next annual drawing.
California’s recreational ocean salmon fishery will be delayed statewide through the month of April, despite plans made earlier this year for the fishery to open in some locations as early as Saturday, April 4. The delay is the result of an in-season action taken Tuesday by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), on advice from the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (PFMC) salmon industry advisors and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). The April delay is a response to physical distancing requirements and widespread closures of launch ramp facilities, charter boat operations and restrictions to harbor and marina access due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Delaying the opener of the fishery will reduce impacts to stocks of concern and provide more fishing opportunity later in the summer months than would otherwise be possible.
We may be looking at camping season delays, which would cut to the bone for the annual grandpa grand-daughters annual camping trip to Casini Ranch in Duncan Mills. Some rodents, raccoons and little critters who crawl, walk or fly into your campsite to steal your stuff, may be looking at a lean summer season this year. Maybe we could organize an opossum relief effort. Sacks of hot dog buns, bread and graham crackers, Hershey bars and marshmallows left in vacant campsites might help.
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.