Deer season has opened and an estimated 489,000 deer in the state will provide plenty of opportunities for hunters.
"Although we had a dry year, we have not seen indications of major population declines or increases in any of our zones," said Craig Stowers, Department of Fish and Game deer program coordinator. "This year's forecast looks normal in terms of deer numbers, but I want to caution hunters to carefully watch their zones for fires, which can interrupt their hunting plans. Detailed fire information is located on several web sites including those maintained by Cal Fire, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. "
In 2011, 149,600 hunters purchased 175,276 tags across the state.
Hunters should visit the Department of Fish and Game's Deer Program website at dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/deer for more specific information, including opening dates in specific zones, current regulations, maps and other information.
All California hunters are required to pass a hunter safety course prior to purchasing a hunting license. The safe hunting practices stressed in these courses have made hunting one of the safest of outdoor activities in California, according to statistics collected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
DFG also reminds those returning from out of state with harvested deer or elk that California's maintains strict regulations to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.