How to for CA Public hunts?

AzBuckSnort

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I'm looking to get back into the game in California public area hunting. It's been YEARS since the halcyon sweat line days of the late 70's through the late 80's @ Mendota, Volta, Los Banos, and Grey Lodge for me! I understand there is a draw for blinds that is quite different from the olden days cards we used to mail in for a refuge assignment. Can anyone please fill me in on what to do and when to do it so I don't miss any deadlines? My 15 year old son and I failed to draw any big game tags this year so we're going to concentrate on waterfowling. He's been looking at all the old Mendota photos from my albums and I want him to experience the thrills (and the frustrations!) of refuge hunting.
Thanks in advance for any replies!
Jim
 

Jay

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Sporting goods stores and DFG offices have reservation applications that you fill out and mail in. You're allowed one application per person, per hunt day, per area. If you get drawn for a reservation they mail you a little card with your reservation number. Most of the hunting areas accept reservations 2 hours before shoot time in reservation number order. Applications must be in to the DFG about two weeks before the hunt date.

On most areas a reservation is good for 2 adults and 2 juniors or non-shooters per adult.

Check out the "Hunting on State & Federal Lands" booklet on the DFG website for details on specific areas.
 

feelinducky

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You may need to check to see if out of state licenses can apply for the draw.  I see that your from AZ you may want to check the california regs first to see if the application is possible.
 

Speckmisser

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Hey AZBucksnort,

If you're thinking about getting back out to Mendota, you're in luck.  It's probably one of the easiest public areas to get onto via sweatline, and there's still pretty good hunting there (if the weather cooperates this year).  

The only deadline for reservations is that they have to be in 14 days before the hunt date.

Good luck!
 

Another Mike

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Az....


Things have definately changed at Volta and Mendota. Volta is no longer flooded as early in the fall as it was during the 80's. It still has it's "on" days later in the year but it's MUCH more weather dependent for that to happen. The red hot early season hunting is history.....at least until it has early water again. Stay tuned though, it's under some promising new management.
Much of Mendota's open water swamp timothy habitat has changed with the times and most of the area is thicker cover and tules. Best thing to do is there is to scout the refuge.
 

hunthog

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Short and sweet.  You can get a form that will let you apply for every hunt day on evry area for the entire season.  You can purchase a form that will allow you to submit 5 "applications" on one form for your choice of days and areas.  OR you can show up the night before, between 6 and 8 PM and put you name in for the Lotto draw for the next day's hunt.  You can also show up the morning of the hunt and get a number that will let you in in order of the number either when people leave or if both the Reservations and the Lotto numbers don't fill the hunt numbers for that Refuge.

One factor you might consider.  I have submitted about $100 in reservation applications in the last couple of years and been drawn 3 times.  I find the Lotto a better choice because the system allows everyone to apply for every area for every day so the odds really suck.  Only about 50% or less of the reservation holder show up on a given day so the Lotto gives you better odds at getting in than sitting around home waiting to get a reservation.  You could wait all season for one day of hunting.  As I said, the system sucks.

This year I'm out of it....no more Refuges for me.  I bit the bullet and goined a club where I can hunt 7 days a week and not deal with the idiots.

hunthog
 
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