Hunters, recreational users urged to stay out of forest

The U.S. Forest Service announced the temporary closure of all national forests in California due to unprecedented and historic fire conditions Wednesday, Sept. 9. These properties are closed to the public, effective immediately, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is urging hunters to keep their distance.

“We know that hunting opportunities will be impacted throughout the state, but no hunting opportunity is worth a human life,” said Chief David Bess, Deputy Director and CDFW Law Enforcement Division Chief.

California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 708(2)(b) prohibits CDFW from refunding deer tag application fees, but refunds may be issued for select elk, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep tags. Additionally, some premium deer, elk, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep tags may be returned to CDFW with a request to have preference points reinstated and one preference point awarded for the species for the current hunt year. Tag return and preference point eligibility requirements and additional information may be found on CDFW’s website.

CDFW will continue to monitor and close areas as needed. National forests and evacuation zones will remain closed until authorities allow them to re-open. Because the situation is rapidly changing, CDFW strongly encourages hunters to use the following links to research closures and open areas prior to leaving for any hunt:

  • CDFW Land Closure List.
  • CDFW Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves.
  • U. S. Forest Service Lands.
  • Bureau of Land Management Lands.