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3 Invasive Species to California and Its Rules for Hunting Them

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By    |   Saturday, 16 May 2015 01:31 PM

Invasive species are those that are native to other geographic regions, existing and thriving in an ecosystem unable to stabilize them, thus creating an unhealthy imbalance. It's often to the advantage of the species in question, pushing out the native counterparts in a bid for available resources like food and water.

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In California, there is a statewide year-round season on certain invasive species. While some species, like raccoons or American crows, are native to the region and ecosystem and simply prove nuisance, they are not invasive. Managing those populations is also accomplished in part by labeling them nongame, with a year-round season.

The presence of invasive species upsets the precarious balance of ecosystems and jeopardizes the viability of native species. It's an issue that has no immediate resolution, and hunting as a form of population control is a crucial facet of wildlife conservation and management. It also gives hunters viable targets throughout the year, for those who enjoy hunting outside of game season restrictions.

1. Pigs

Wild pigs, native to Eurasia and northern Africa, are the largest invasive presence in California. Their presence is chronicled, according to the CDFW, as arriving along with Spanish and Russian settlers back in the 1700s. In addition to a year-round sport season that permits hunting limited only by the tags a hunter possesses, the Department of Fish and Wildlife makes available Depredation and Immediate Take permits. These permits give landowners and livestock owners the ability to eradicate invasive and destructive, potentially or actively, animals from their property.

2. Sheep and Goats


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Aoudad, also known as Barbary sheep are native of north Africa. Mouflon are a breed of wild sheep native to the Middle East. Tahr are goat species native to Asia. Along with feral goats, these animals may be taken all year. The rationale for this is greater than the invasive nature of their presence, and is influenced strongly by the problematic nature of their presence in relation to the Sierra Nevada population of Bighorn, which is an endangered species. The California herds of Bighorn were almost decimated by diseases in the 1800s. The culprits were transmitted to them by domesticated herds of sheep and goats. For this reason, feral goats run the risk of transferring diseases that demonstrate no adverse effects to their individual health. The potential for crossbreeding with sheep strains, domesticated or wild, is also an issue in terms of genetic dilution. For these reasons, the CDFW allows year-round hunting of these breeds. No tags are required, and no bag limits exist.

3. Songbirds


English sparrows were introduced into Brooklyn, New York, in 1851. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, it took them less than 50 years to spread all the way to the Rockies. Along with European starlings, which were introduced in the 1900s, they're available for taking all year without bag limits.

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Invasive species are those that are native to other geographic regions, existing and thriving in an ecosystem unable to stabilize them, thus creating an unhealthy imbalance. In California, there is a statewide year-round season on certain invasive species.
hunting, california, species, rules
509
2015-31-16
Saturday, 16 May 2015 01:31 PM
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