No Refund for Deer Tags Due to Fire Closure in California

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The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) reminds hunters there are no refund or exchanges for premium deer tags where areas are closed due to fires. The general deer season in the A zone - in all or part of 29 counties that stretch from Mendocino to Los Angeles - opens beginning Saturday, Aug. 12.

"Each year some of California's hunters face the possibility of the state's devastating fire season impacting their planned hunting trips," said Craig Stowers, DFG's Deer Program Coordinator. "However, DFG does not control that element of the deer hunting experience. Hunters should consider shifting their focus to another site within the zone they have selected. Funds raised from the sale of hunting tags are used to conduct surveys and research, perform habitat maintenance and improvement projects that meet the requirements necessary to conduct all hunting seasons."

DFG deer officials anticipate additional restrictions on U.S. Forest Service lands located within deer zones D11, D13, D14, and D15 as the deer hunting season progresses. A map of zones can be found at

The Forest Service has implemented fire restrictions on the Los Padres and Mendocino national forests. The fires have caused public access restrictions to many of these areas and may affect deer hunters. Additional and Area-specific Archery Hunts within these zones may also be impacted.

DFG prints the following on each deer tag, "No refunds or exchange for premium tags. No refund or exchange for emergency closures due to fire, weather or other conditions." DFG also prints the refund policy on page 8 of the 2006 Big Game Book.

Refunds for unused deer tags (for zones A, B, C, D, AO#1, and AO#2), bear, antelope, elk, and bighorn sheep tags may only be requested prior to the opening of the earliest season for which the tag is valid. Deer tags for X zones, Additional Hunts, and Area-specific Archery Hunt tags are non-refundable and non-exchangeable. Zones A, B, C, D, and archery-only tags may be exchanged if the following conditions are met: 1) the earliest season for the tag being exchanged has not yet opened; 2) tags are still available for the zone or hunt requested; and, 3) payment of a nonrefundable $6.50 exchange tag-processing fee.

DFG recommends that hunters seriously consider the consequences of requesting refunds. Moisture conditions could change at any time, allowing the reopening of the forests in time for a portion of the season to occur.

For further information regarding the status of the fire restrictions, contact the Forest Service direct at the following numbers:

- Los Padres National Forest: (805) 968-6640
- Mendocino National Forest: (530) 934-1266