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Applications for apprentice hunts due

10/17/15 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering a number of special hunt opportunities for young hunters, women, families and mobility-impaired hunters this fall and winter. All hunt opportunities are now listed on CDFW’s website. Below are the hunts with application due dates in early and mid-November:

A hunter treading throught the water, rifle in hand, as the sun rises over a pond filled with decoys. Photo courtesy of CA DFW
Youth waterfowl hunts provide a great opportunity for youngers and their families to experience the thrill of seeing the sun rise over a pond filled with decoys. Photo courtesy of CA DFW

Tuesday, Nov. 3:
Siskiyou County:
Two junior pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Shasta Valley Wildlife Area. Each hunt (morning and afternoon) will accommodate 25 hunters.

Tehama County: Two junior pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Sacramento River Bend. Each hunt (morning and afternoon) can accommodate 30 hunters.

Sonoma County: Two junior pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area, Ringstrom Bay Unit and Valley of the Moon Trap Club. Each hunt (morning and afternoon) can accommodate 10 hunters. A practice shooting session will be held at the range prior to each hunt and lunch will be provided at noon for both groups (donated by volunteer members of the Valley of the Moon Trap Club).

Yolo County: Two junior pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. Each hunt (morning and afternoon) can accommodate 10 hunters.

Solano County: Two junior pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area. Each hunt (morning and afternoon) can accommodate 40 hunters.

San Joaquin County: Two junior pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held Saturday, Nov. 21 at the White Slough Wildlife Area. Each hunt (morning and afternoon) can accommodate 10 hunters.

Merced County: Four junior pen-raised pheasant hunts will be held Saturday, Nov. 21 and Sunday, Nov. 22 at the O’Neill Forebay Wildlife Area. Each hunt (two each day) will accommodate 25 hunters.

Los Angeles County: One junior pen-raised pheasant hunt will be held Sunday, Nov. 22 at Peace Valley. This hunt can accommodate 12 hunters. Hunters may bring their own dogs (please indicate your intention to do so on the application).

Wednesday, Nov. 4:
Madera County:
An all-day mobility impaired pheasant hunt will be held on Saturday, Nov. 21, on private property near the town of Chowchilla. This hunt can accommodate 25 hunters with impairments that restrict their mobility to the use of a wheelchair. Successful adult applicants typically pay an $18 fee for hunts on private lands; however, the landowner will waive all fees for this hunt.

Wednesday, Nov. 11
Madera County:
Two family pheasant hunts will be held Sunday, Nov. 29 near the city of Raymond on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property adjacent to Hensley Lake. Each hunt (morning and afternoon) can accommodate 25 hunters.

Tulare County: Two family pheasant hunts are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 28. These hunts are sponsored by the White Ranch Land Company in Alpaugh. Each hunt (morning and afternoon) can accommodate 50 hunters.

Please note that many of these opportunities will be held on state wildlife areas or ecological reserves. As of July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when hunting upland game birds on these properties. For more information please see CDFW’s nonlead ammunition page.

CDFW’s Upland Game Bird Special Hunts are intended for beginning hunters or those with limited experience. Apprentice applicants must have successfully completed a hunter education course and possess a valid 2015-2016 California junior hunting license. Adult hunters (18 or older) must also have an upland game bird validation. A non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older is required to accompany all junior hunt participants. A non-hunting chaperone who is 18 years or older may supervise up to two apprentice hunters. Two hunters and a chaperone may submit a single application as one party.

Proper clothing and safety gear, including blaze orange, is required for department-sponsored hunts. All hunts include gun safety review, easy-to-hunt topography, a high ratio of volunteers to hunters, experienced dog handlers and clay shooting for practice.

Hunters can find more information and apply for any of these hunts online at There is no charge to apply. Please note that additional hunts in December and January are listed on the website and are also open for registration. Only the hunts with applications due in the first half of November are listed above.

New hunters can use their Hunter Education Certificate number for priority registration for apprentice hunts. Applicants with priority will be automatically placed in a hunt before the random drawing takes place.

The full upland game bird hunting regulations, a summary for 2015-2016 season, and application information for all of these hunts can be found on CDFW’s website.

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