Hunters now need to file deer tag reports online

By: George deVilbiss/Special to Gold Country News Service
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Most hunters, after they bag a deer, take the animal to a butcher shop to be cut and wrapped.

One of the first things the butcher shop would ask for is a filled-out tag and your hunting license. The shop would then validate the deer tag. One part of the tag would be reattached to the antlers or ear. The other half would also be validated, and the shop would ensure the tag would make its way to the Department of Fish and Game office.

Today, most butcher shops have changed the handling of deer tags due to the DFG’s report handling.

When I took my deer into the shop this year, they validated one part of the tag and reattached it to the horn. They handed the other part back to me and told me, “You need to make the report yourself, now.”

Huh? I looked more closely at the tag and sure enough, the tag steers you to the DFG Web site at That’s the same site where you apply for hunting and fishing licenses, stamps and tags.

On the menu of items, click “Harvest Reporting.” Fill out the appropriate tag with the information that’s on the deer tag. Once everything is filled out, you’ll be assigned a report number. Record that number on the tag and retain it for month or so. Even if you weren’t successful hunting, you still need to make the report.

The process was simple and took a couple of minutes.

Report cards must be submitted no later than Jan. 31. The DFG has issued an “or else” for not submitting the report: “Any person who fails to return his or her report card to the Department by January 31 may be restricted from obtaining the same report card in a subsequent license year or may be subject to an additional fee for the issuance of the same card in a subsequent license year.”

So, get it done now while you’re thinking about it.


Fishing licenses available for 2013


All fishing licenses expire Dec. 31, regardless of when they were purchased. I’ve long been an advocate of purchasing next year’s license as a stocking stuffer. It’s something I’ve done in our household for many years. The new license takes effect Jan. 1.

The 2013 license is available on the DFG’s Web site at And, as would be expected, the cost is a little higher, supposedly based on the consumer index.

The sport fishing license will cost $45.93. Add a two-rod stamp for $14.04. A required Steelhead Report Card will add another $7.05 to the total.

At those costs, instead of being a stocking stuffer, you may want to put it in a box and wrap it.


Current fishing


Lake Amador: What a trout derby it’s going to be, running from now until the end of March, and it’s when a lake-record trout is expected to tilt the scale. It’s hard to think of leaving the lightweight trout gear at home and taking striper gear, but that’s what it might take.

Lake Amador raises its breed of Donaldson cutthroat-rainbow hybrids. They’re going to put some of the larger brood stock fish into the lake, and one or more could approach 20 pounds. Can you imagine trying to haul in a 20-pounder with four-pound test line?

They’re planting 600-1,000 pounds of trout every weekday. Shore catching around the dam-spillway, docks and coves is proving successful.

San Pablo Bay: Red Rock is on the other side, just west of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and there has been a surprising late-season halibut bite. The live anchovy receivers are shut down until spring, but some bait shops, like the one at nearby Loch Lomond, carry halibut candy called shiners. In San Pablo Bay, there has been a decent-enough-to-go bite on stripers and sturgeon. You don’t need a live bait well for shiners with constantly rotating water, as you would with anchovy. Just take a minnow bucket.

Jenkinson Lake: The fishery has been enhanced by the DFG’s planting more than 2,500 pounds of trout. This time of year, you don’t really need a boat to be successful. One of the better spots is parking near the second dam, walk out the cove arm and fish from shore. You can do well on rainbows and small mackinaw.

Lake Oroville: There are many bare walls lining the bank with the lake only one-half of capacity. The bass bite can be good, but what size bass do you want to hook? You can get into smaller bass to nearly two pounds by fishing shallow. The bigger bass, maybe in the two- to three-pound class, are as deep as 30 feet biting jigs and Senkos.

New Melones: This is a popular winter trout fishery where generally big trout are nailed. Right now, trollers are finding ’bows in the creek arms. Trout are in the process of moving to shallower water, but take downriggers to be on the safe side. Locate the fish on the scope, set your lines accordingly, and you’ll get bit. Most shad-appearing lures work well, but nothing beats a threaded crawler behind a dodger.

Bass are moving to shallower water, too, and can be found anywhere from near the surface to 35 feet. Jigging and drop-shotting work well, especially in a crawdad pattern.

Bay Area: Berkeley is one of the closest ports to visit for a trip. Boats aren’t spending any time inside the bay. Rather, it’s a run outside the gate with rock cod and crab being the main fare. And all the boats are being highly rewarded. Even James Smith, skipper of the California Dawn, is still operating out of Berkeley rather than moving his winter operation to Martinez in Suisun Bay. There are big rock cod getting hooked, a good count of ling cod and full limits of crab for everybody on board.

Contact George deVilbiss at