Report from California
September brought the opening of dove season and the traditional procession of fall hunting seasons. The dove opener was unusually active, given the cold stormy weather experienced throughout Central California. A total of 146 citations were issued and more than 5,000 hunter contacts were initiated by enforcement personnel region wide.
The Lake Isabella squad set up a check point in the Piute Mountains on the squirrel season opener as a part of a special detail. It soon became apparent that large numbers of squirrel hunters throughout the state had also chosen the Piutes to hunt squirrels. Over 50 hunting groups were reported to be hunting in one meadow alone. Twelve citations were written by wardens during this detail. Warden Crooker found one vehicle leaving the mountain after midnight with nine squirrels and one bandtail pigeon hidden in the engine compartment.
While investigating a reported hunter casualty, Lieutenant Castillo received information that a group of five hunters had taken more than 60 doves earlier in the day. They were contacted by Lieutenant Castillo in the late afternoon of the same day and found to be in possession of additional limits of doves. A subsequent investigation resulted in the hunters being cited for possessing overlimits of doves.
Posing as a hunter in plainclothes, Warden Dailey talked to four dove hunters who were hunting outside the fence line of the Tejon Ranch in Kern County. During their discussion, the hunters advised Warden Dailey that it was illegal to hunt on the Tejon Ranch without permission and that if the game warden caught them they would be cited for trespassing. Later that day, Warden Dailey observed these same hunters hunting behind the posted fence on ranch property. He also noted that they would run out to legal ground whenever they heard a vehicle approach. All were cited for hunter trepass.
Wardens H. Spada and Grove investigated a subject involved in hunting on the Cottonwood Wildlife Area without deer tags. The subject had a photograph of himself and a forkhorn buck from earlier in the season and said that the deer was taken by his friend. The subject could not remember his friend's name or address. The deer in the photograph was untagged. This violation is still under investigation and could result in additional charges being filed.
A local foothill resident was arrested during the D7 deer opener for cutting Lieutenant Davenport's vehicle tire with a knife while his friend was being cited. The man was cited for that violation and was also booked into the Fresno County Jail by the California Highway Patrol for driving under the influence of alcohol.
During the opening weekend of the D6 deer season, Wardens Olague and Miller were involved in spike deer case. After receiving information from a hunter about a spike buck that had been shot and left, they located and staked out the carcass with Warden Nicholas. After a while the suspects returned, partially butchered the animal and left. The wardens stopped them down the road and concluded the investigation. The suspects were cited for unlawful take and possession of a spike buck, waste of game and failure to tag deer as required.
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