Planning ahead to provide ample recreational hunting opportunities on wildlife areas and refuges this fall and winter, actions taken by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are also designed to keep hunters and CDFW staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CDFW has established a page on its website to describe specific procedures to be implemented this year for public and staff health and safety. Wildlife areas and refuges will be open as long as visitors implement these practices.
Changes have been made to in-person lottery and first-come-first-served (FCFS) operations for the 2020-21 waterfowl season, such as adjusted hours and controls to increase physical distancing between hunters and staff. To further reduce the congestion of hunters at check stations during peak use periods and minimize the potential for spread of COVID-19, hunters will be allowed to enter a lottery or FCFS list at only one state wildlife area or federal refuge prior to each shoot day for the 2020-21 waterfowl season. This limitation does not apply to reservation applications through the Automated License Data System.
Sanitation procedures have been put in place, including a requirement for all individuals on the property to wear masks and maintain distance from others while conducting check station business. Non-portable restrooms will be closed to the public (portable restrooms will be provided). Hunters and other visitors to CDFW lands are asked to bring hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies with them, and to carry their trash home for disposal.
Controls for hunter/visitor check-out will be implemented to minimize contact between hunters and staff. In some locations, this could include the installation of drop boxes for collecting permits and harvest report cards. Each hunter should carry and present their own bird strap to facilitate safe check-out procedures.
CDFW is accepting RV camping applications, where applicable, for the 2020-2021 hunt season. Contact wildlife area staff for up-to-date information on the status of RV camping.
For details, additional information and updates, check https://wildlife.ca.gov/Lands/COVID-19 frequently throughout the season.
CDFW may need to update these provisions to ensure consistency with the latest state and local guidelines and directives.