A new California regulation requires hunters to report tags--even if they were unsuccessful or did not hunt. See the announcement here.
This is a great example of how state agencies need to do a better job of explaining regulations--if we need this one at all. The announcement claims how important harvest and effort data are in wildlife managment. While we can see how recording the number of animals taken in a given season is important, what do biologists learn when a given number of hunters fail to harvest game? Or is the whole point just to overburden hunters with more regulations? If there really is a scientific need to know how many hunters did not kill game, how about letting us know what it is?
Reaction from California hunters has been predictably negative. SoCalBowhunter wrote in his blog:
"The bad news is that it makes an already difficult and confusing system even more tiresome. Especially for the unsuccessful hunters. Why should they have to report if they didn't kill anything? To me that makes no sense and there is nothing like rubbing salt in the wound of having to eat tag soup.
"When I lived in NY, we went through similar changes, such as being able to submit our kill info via phone vs. having to mail it it. Calling it in made it very easy, saved some hassle and once it was done the NYSDEC had a digital record of it. I didn't mind doing it because the laws in NYS are much easier to follow and they try to work WITH you and not against you.
"In California I feel there is way too much political/private party influence. Plus, you didn't have to call in if you were unsuccessful.
"The other tough thing about this is that, as far as I can tell, it was just recently announced. No one mentioned this when I bought my tags, which would have been helpful. I wonder how many hunters will completely let this slip because it's so new and they weren't told about it. I hope the CA DFG is forgiving this first year."