Thursday, 13 June 2024

California Outdoors: Fallen CDFW officers, fishing tournaments, raccoon visits

California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers at the Peace Officer’s Memorial. Courtesy photo.

How many wildlife officers or wardens have died in the line of duty?

Q: The annual Peace Officer’s Memorial ceremony is happening soon. How many wildlife officers or wardens have died in the line of duty?

A: While the memorial contains more than 1,600 names of California officers who died in the line of duty, 16 of those names belong to wildlife officers. The first death (Bert Blanchard) came in 1913 in Contra Costa County. The most recent were two officers who died in 1984. They were Lt. Robert Flynt, killed in a vehicle accident in El Centro, and Lt. Roy Reed, killed in an accident while pursuing another vehicle near Bakersfield. Two officers died in the same 1916 investigation of fishing violations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Raymond Heacock and Richard Squires.

The California Peace Officers’ Memorial Monument is located in Sacramento on State Capitol grounds. Ceremonies to honor fallen officers happen each year in the first week of May. President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day in 1962. Ceremonies have taken place in Sacramento since 1977.

This year’s remembrance takes place over two days with a candlelight vigil happening Sunday, May 5, starting at 8:30 pm. The enrollment ceremony (to unveil the names of 2023 fallen officers) happens the next morning, May 6, beginning at 10:30. The enrollment ceremony is a ticketed event for designated family members and guests. Additional seating is provided so all may view the ceremony on an adjacent large-screen television.

Fishing tournaments

Q: A friend was telling me about fishing tournaments in California. How can I get involved?

A: Hundreds of fishing tournaments and contests are scheduled in California for the rest of 2024. You can search the type of contest, location, date and sponsor name at Fishing Contests. Please make sure to be in touch with the sponsor organization to register, since CDFW does not host these events.

Most of the contests target black bass, but some involve other species such as trout, kokanee and striped bass. Contests take place all year, but most occur in the spring, summer and fall. Diamond Valley Lake (Riverside County), Clear Lake (Lake County) and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are among the most popular locations for anglers to compete against each other. Fishing is mostly from motorized boats, but there is a growing popularity for the shore-based and kayak contests.

“Many people enjoy fishing for the chance to be alone in nature. It’s their time away from the busy parts of our lives,” said Senior Environmental Scientist Supervisor Flower Moye. “Fishing contests can give people that same feeling, but also provide a space for camaraderie and healthy competition. They offer folks another way to enjoy the sport. In fact, some people get into fishing because of the tournament scene.”

Since 1975, CDFW has required tournament organizers to have permits for their events. The regulation enables the department to ensure responsible use of resources. CDFW does not make money from the contests. Usual fishing regulations apply meaning winners are determined not by the number of fish caught, but by the weight or length.

A full explanation of CDFW contests, tournaments and derbies is available at Fishing Contests, Tournaments and Derbies.

Raccoon visits

Q: With so much discussion about human-wildlife conflicts, can something be done about nuisance raccoons in my neighborhood?

A: Raccoons are found throughout most of the state (except alpine and desert regions) and are lured by the same attractants that bring other wildlife to our communities: pet food and trash. Their diverse diet also includes fruit, nuts, birds, eggs and small mammals.

But raccoons also present a potential health issue for humans because of their droppings. Raccoons are known to carry a number of internal parasites, including Baylisascaris procynois, a roundworm found in racoons. Infection spread can happen to both humans and pets when contact is made with raccoon feces.

Raccoons often leave their droppings in the same spot, often called raccoon latrines. Cleaning a latrine should be done carefully, while wearing disposable rubber gloves and rubber boots. Gently shovel or scoop the droppings into a heavy-duty garbage bag, then clean and disinfect the clothing and tools thoroughly.

As with other wildlife, humans can play a big role in preventing conflict. Remove access to any sources of food, including garbage and pet food. Clear brush, cover sandboxes, remove any fruit on the ground from fruit trees, and cut back branches that hang over a roof. Also, be sure your pets are properly vaccinated to mitigate this threat.

Extensive information on the behavior of raccoons and the risk they prevent is at Human-Wildlife Conflicts: Raccoons.

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13Jun
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