Closures Affect California
Deer Hunters
The U.S. Forest Service has temporarily closed to the public the Cleveland National Forest due to extreme fire conditions, which will further affect hunters. The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has announced that closure of this area will affect deer hunters with zones D15 and D16 deer tags. The Angeles and San Bernardino forests, impacting deer zones D11, D13, D14, and D19, were temporarily closed for the same reason prior to the Cleveland's closure.

Closure of the Cleveland National Forest, in conjunction with the other closures, effectively prohibits access to the majority of public land available for deer hunting in Southern California. DFG offered tag exchanges through October 15, 2002 to allow tagholders in zones under fire restrictions access to other zones. However, many of the zones which were available at that time are now under the same fire restrictions. Because more zones are impacted by additional fire closures, DFG is extending the deadline for customers to exchange tags impacted by the closures for zones that are still available for a $6.25 processing fee through October 25. Tag exchanges may be processed at any DFG license sales office.

Because of the large area affected, DFG will also offer deer tag refunds at the close of the season provided that fire restrictions have not been lifted in time to allow at least the last nine days of the season to occur for the particular hunt zone. The procedures for requesting a refund will be released on November 18 and will be posted on the DFG website at The public can also address questions regarding this issue to the DFG's License and Revenue Branch at (916) 227-2245.

The Department of Fish and Game is recommending that hunters seriously consider any refund request. Moisture conditions could change at any time, allowing the reopening of the forests in time for a portion of the season to occur. Additionally, funding for deer management activities which result in the establishment and implementation of future deer seasons and quotas may be negatively impacted.

Hunters with tags for seasons which open later in zones M6, M7, J11, J13, and J14 are encouraged to keep their tags in anticipation of weather which could lead to the lifting of the fire restrictions currently in place. If fire closures remain in place during the course of those seasons, refunds will be offered at the close of those seasons.

For further information regarding the status of the fire restrictions please contact the Forest Service direct at the following numbers:

Angeles National Forest: (626) 574-1613
Cleveland National Forest: (919) 674-2901
Los Padres National Forest: (805) 968-6640
San Bernardino National Forest: (909) 383-558

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