|The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is now accepting applications for the annual sage grouse hunts scheduled for portions of Lassen, Mono and Inyo counties. The final upland game bird hunting regulations will not be adopted by the Fish and Game Commission until August 4, 2000. However, the proposed 2000 sage grouse hunting season is scheduled for Sept. 9 and 10. In Lassen County, the proposed bag limit is two sage grouse per season. In the Mono and Inyo areas, the proposed bag limit is one grouse per season.
In order to hunt sage grouse, hunters must be drawn for a sage grouse hunting permit. The permits are issued by a random drawing at the DFG's License and Revenue Branch (LRB). Hunters may apply for only one of the four sage grouse hunting zones (East Lassen, Central Lassen, North Mono and South Mono-Inyo). In addition, all sage grouse hunters are required to have an upland game bird stamp.
Sage grouse permit applications must be received at the LRB by 5 p.m., August 14, 2000. Hunters may apply for a sage grouse permit by sending a postcard with the required information to: Department of Fish and Game, Sage Grouse Permit Drawing, 3211 S Street, Sacramento, CA, 95816. Hunters who wish to apply for a sage grouse permit online should visit the LRB home page at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/ and click on the "Sage Grouse Permit Drawing Application" link.
All applications must include the hunter's name, 2000/2001 California hunting license number, residence address and the hunt zone choice. Incomplete applications and those with invalid hunting license numbers will be disqualified.
Hunters may apply in parties of up to four, but each hunter needs to list his or her name, mailing address, and 2000/2001 hunting license number on the application. Each hunter may submit only one application for one hunt
Falconers may also apply for sage grouse permits but must write "Falconry Only" on their applications. The proposed falconry-only season for all four hunting areas is Nov. 4, 2000 through Jan. 2, 2001.
The following sage grouse permit quotas have been proposed for the 2000 season:
The conservative sage grouse permit quotas are based on spring lek (male display areas) counts and will be finalized by the Fish and Game Commission on Aug. 4, 2000. Each year lek counts are conducted in the spring at active leks in each of the hunting areas. Following these counts, permit quotas are recommended by DFG biologists. Upland game staff input count data into a population model for each hunting area and determine allowable harvest estimates. Region and headquarters staff discuss recommendations, review past harvest data, and determine specific permit numbers. Trends in peak lek counts have been stable since 1987, when California established a hunter permit system.
Hunters wanting more information about the sage grouse permit drawings can contact the DFG at (916) 227-2244.
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