Fishing Licenses
Do I understand it’s possible to renew my fishing license automatically?
A: Yes, that’s possible through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife auto-renewal program, which allows customers to authorize CDFW to automatically charge their credit card for annual sport fishing licenses, report cards and validations prior to their expiration dates.

An angler wearing a tan fishing vest and black shirt fishes in a river in Mono County.
Angler fishes in a river in Mono County. Credit: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

This convenient option means anglers no longer need to worry about lapses in licensure occurring during transitions to new license years.

Because auto-renewal is a pilot program, it’s limited to sport fishing items. Hunting licenses, commercial fishing licenses, falconry licenses etc., are not yet included.

All the information you’ll need on this option is available under the auto-renewal section of the Online License Sales Frequently Asked Questions web page.

Water for Wildlife
With the drought being over, is it less urgent or necessary to provide water guzzlers to desert bighorn sheep?
A: Even though California experienced substantial rainfall and runoff in 2023, southern California’s Sonoran Desert still received below-average precipitation.

For more than 40 years, CDFW and volunteer groups like the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep and Desert Wildlife Unlimited, have assisted desert-roaming wildlife with ensuring water is available to desert wildlife by maintaining wildlife water developments (WWDs), also known as guzzlers.

These large tanks are designed to refill on their own with rainfall that’s collected and then stored for drinking during hot and dry summer months.

Because desert water supplies are always a challenge, CDFW and its partners work with land management agencies to explore improvements to the WWD system. Those improvements would increase the capacity and collection efficiency of the tanks and rain collection system.

While bighorn sheep are the largest consumers of desert water systems, golden eagles, badgers, bobcats, and mountain lions also benefit.

Dozens of WWDs are in use in both the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, as natural water sources have become increasingly unreliable due to drought and climate change.

Call Before Consuming Tags
I harvested an animal with a tag on its ear that reads “call before consuming.” What should I do?
A: Those tags are placed on deer, bear, pronghorn, elk, and bighorn sheep that have been treated with a drug by CDFW and have the potential to be harvested.

Drugs may leave residues in the animal’s system that make it unsafe for human consumption for a given period of time. Eventually, the drugs are metabolized by the animal. The time between use of a drug and when it is no longer in the animal’s system is called the withdrawal period.

If hunters harvest an animal with a “call before consuming” tag, they should call the phone number listed, 916-358-2790, prior to consuming any part of a carcass to confirm it was outside of the withdrawal period.

CDFW avoids using drugs in game species close to the hunt season, but occasionally the need for chemical immobilization during this time does occur.

Calling the CDFW number also helps us better understand the fate of an animal that may be part of a study.

Bullfrog Hunting
Can bullfrogs be taken with an air rifle? The California Code of Regulations specifies no firearm can be used to take any aquatic creatures but doesn’t specifically spell out air rifles.
A: The take of bullfrogs is regulated in two primary sections of the California Code of Regulations (CCR).

To begin by answering your question directly, regulations do not authorize take of bullfrogs or any other amphibian by air rifle.

CCR, section 5.05(e)(1) defines methods of take for amphibians: Amphibians may be taken only by hand, hand-held dip net or hook and line, except bullfrogs may also be taken by lights, spears, gigs, grabs, paddles, bow and arrow or fishing tackle.

FYI, pursuant to CCR Section 5.05(b)(23) and Section 5.05(d), there is no limit on the take of American bullfrogs (Lithobates berlandieri), and they may be taken at any time, day or night.