|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 Fish and Game Commission will adopt the final upland game bird hunting regulations at its meeting in San Luis Obispo on August 2. Under proposed regulations, the 2002 sage grouse hunting season will be September 14 and 15. Proposed regulations for the upcoming upland game bird hunting seasons are on DFG's website at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/fg_comm/proposedregs02.htm.
In Lassen County, the proposed bag limit is two sage grouse per season. In Mono and Inyo counties, the proposed bag limit is one grouse per season. There is abundant public land available for hunting. Much of sage grouse territory is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Land Management. Hunters should bring plenty of water and be prepared for rugged terrain with hot, dry conditions.
In order to hunt sage grouse, hunters must receive a permit through a random drawing at DFG's License and Revenue Branch. Hunters may apply for one of four sage grouse hunting zones: East Lassen, Central Lassen, North Mono and South Mono-Inyo. In addition, all sage grouse hunters are required to carry an upland game bird stamp.
Sage grouse permit applications must be received at the License and Revenue Branch by 5 p.m., August 12. Hunters may apply for a sage grouse permit by sending a postcard with the hunter's name, 2002/2003 California hunting license number, mailing address and the hunt zone choice to: Department of Fish and Game, Sage Grouse Permit Drawing, 3211 S St., Sacramento, CA 95816.
To apply for a sage grouse permit online, visit the DFG's website at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing and click on the "Sage Grouse Permit Drawing Application" link. Applications may be disqualified if they are incomplete or have invalid hunting license numbers.
Hunters may apply in parties of up to four, but each hunter's name, mailing address, and 2002/2003 hunting license number is required on the application. Each hunter may submit only one application for one hunt area.
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 November 2nd through December 31st.
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 during its August 2nd meeting. Trends in peak lek counts since 1987 when California established a hunter permit system generally have remained stable.
Hunters wanting more information about the sage grouse permit drawings may contact Glenn Underwood at (916) 227-2268 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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