Big Game Draw Change
On December 20, 2002, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted a new system to award the coveted premium deer, elk, antelope and sheep tags. The new system will go into effect in June 2003. Both the Department of Fish and Game and the Fish and Game Commission have spent many hours discussing the different options available for awarding tags and meeting with hunters to hear their opinions regarding them.

This is the biggest change to affect California deer hunters since zones and a drawing system were first established. Last year the Commission directed the DFG to start collecting points during last year's drawing in anticipation of a change.

In this hunter's opinion, the implementation of a Modified-Preference Point drawing system is the best option as it will reward hunters who continue to try for a tag, while not locking out junior hunters and new hunters who move to California.

While no system will make everyone happy — you just can't when there are fewer tags than the number of hunters who want them — this system will at least give unlucky hunters in the draw some hope for the future.

According to the Fish and Game, hunters will not see an increase in their tag application fees as a result of the new system this year. But with the state budget crisis, hang on to your wallet because you probably can expect to see a jump in the application fees in 2004.

For a summary of the new system, click on the link below.

Summary of the New System

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