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California evaluating hunting on state game refuges

From the California Department of Fish and Game

-- The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has been directed by the state Legislature to review and evaluate the existing State Game Refuge system.

Refuges are areas of land on which hunting is not permitted at any time unless specifically authorized by the Commission.

Refuges under consideration for a change in status are described in the California Fish and Game Code, sections 10820 to 10842, excluding §10840 (Sea Otter Range).

To see them online, visit  and click on the first result, FISH AND GAME CODE SECTION 10820-10844.

Citizens who would like to provide input on the State Game Refuges, can do so by taking a  short survey online. Written comments can be sent by email to

All comments must be sent by Dec. 1.

DFG must provide a summary of public comment to the Legislature by Jan. 1.

In 2008, the DFG proposed a legislative change to eliminate the State Game Refuge status of some areas. The proposed change in status would open these lands to public and private use, consistent with adjacent properties, and consistent with other refuges managed by the state and federal government. The Legislature directed the Department to seek public input on this topic.

State Game Refuges were established in the 1910s intending to enhance deer populations in certain parts of California because of a lack of protections afforded deer from hunting. These small islands of property are no hunting areas, although other recreational and commercial land use activities are not restricted and the lands are not managed to benefit wildlife. They are not lands owned or administered by the DFG.

DFG biologists and other experts have acknowledged for the last several decades that the State Game Refuges have been an ineffective tool in achieving deer herd management goals and that modern regulatory mechanisms and protections are adequate.

The information is provided in accordance with SB1166 (2008) to inform and educate the public and solicit public comments regarding the State Game Refuges can be found here.

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