California Furlough Days May Affect Hunters Who Wait Until Last Minute

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Bear hunters planning to scour the deer A zone for bear on the first day of the season must plan ahead this year. Because of state furloughs on the second, third and fourth Fridays of the month, 2010 season bear tags must be purchased before 5 p.m. on Aug. 12 in order to hunt on the Aug. 14 A-zone general bear season opener. Hunters who wait to buy their tags until the day before the opener will find that Department of Fish and Game (DFG) offices are closed, and tags will be unavailable until the offices reopen for business on Monday morning.

The 2010 statewide archery bear season starts Aug. 21 and will run for three weeks, closing Sept. 12. The Friday before the archery opening day is also a furlough day.

The general season for black bears opens concurrently with the general deer hunting seasons in deer zones A, B, C, D, X8, X9A, X9B, X10 and X12. In the remaining deer X zones, the general bear season will open Oct. 9. All of the general bear seasons will end Dec. 26.

DFG will close the bear season earlier if 1,700 bears have been reported taken statewide. For daily updates on the reported bear harvest, call toll-free (888) 277-6398, or visit the bear management website at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/bear/harvest.html.

Bear tags can only be purchased in person at DFG's regional offices and the DFG License and Revenue Branch in Sacramento (all of which will be closed on furlough days), or through the mail. Offices are otherwise open during normal business hours, Monday through Friday.

California residents must have both a resident hunting license and a valid bear tag in order to hunt bear in any zone. A resident hunting license currently costs $41.50. A bear tag costs $40.70 for residents and $245.75 for non-residents. A list of DFG license sales offices can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/officelocation.html.