From Outdoor California, November - December 1999
Original Article with Photos (PDF)
In 1970, the Department of Fish and Game turned 100 years old. At that time, a history of significant
events over that 100 years was published. A frequently requested item, the history was updated in
1980, and now we have another 20 years to add. We look forward to seeing where fish and wildlife
activities lead us in the next millennium. —Editor, Outdoor California Magazine
- 1849. California Territorial Legislature adopts common law of England as the rule in all state courts.
Before this, Spanish and then Mexican laws applied. Most significant legal incident was the Mexican
government decree in 1830 that California “mountain men” were illegally hunting and fishing.
Captain John Sutter, among others, had been responsible for enforcing Mexican fish and game laws.
- 1851. State of California enacts first law specifically dealing with fish and game matters. This concerned
the right to take oysters and the protection of property rights of persons planting oysters. 1852.
First California game law is enacted for 12 counties. It protected elk, antelope, deer, quail, mallard,
and wood ducks for six months of each year. Also passed was the first law protecting salmon runs. Enforcement
was the responsibility of local authorities.
- 1854. Game laws are extended to all counties in the state.
- 1860. The beginning of statewide control. First license act provides that no Chinese or Mongolian
could take fish in state waters without a four-dollar monthly license. Collectors of fees were appointed
by the governor.
- 1861. Closed seasons for trout are established.
- 1869. Lake Merritt (City of Oakland) is made the first state game refuge, believed to be the first
in the country.
- 1870. The Board of Fish Commissioners, forerunner of the Fish and Game Commission, is established “to
provide for the restoration and preservation”
of fish in California waters. This was the first wildlife conservation agency in the country, even
predating the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. Ca1ifornia’s three “fish commissioners,”
appointed by the Governor, received no compensation, but the Legislature appropriated $5,000 to the
board for the first two years’ operations. This same year the first fish ladder is built on a
tributary of the Truckee River, and a state hatching house is established at the University of California
- 1871. First importation of fish-1,500 young shad. Two full-time deputies (wardens) are appointed,
one to patrol San Francisco Bay and the other the Lake Tahoe area.
- 1872. The Legislature passes an act enabling the commission to require fishways or “in-lieu” hatcheries
where dams or other obstacles impede or prevent fish passage.
- 1878. The authority of the Fish Commission is expanded to include game as well as fish.
- 1879. Striped bass are introduced from New Jersey and planted at Carquinez Strait. 1883. Commissioners
establish a Bureau of Patrol and Law Enforcement. Jack London switches sides from oyster pirate to
Commission deputy. His forays form the basis for his novel, Tales of the Fish Patrol.
- 1885. First compilation of California fish and game laws is published. The first fish and game marine
patrol is instituted with the placing in operation of the 46-foot patrol boat Governor Stoneman.
- 1887. Market fishing boats and crews are licensed.
- 1889. The commission is authorized to import game birds.
- 1893. The commission engages its first attorney.
- 1901. After the turn of the century, the administration of fish and game laws was strengthened and
expanded. The deputy force reaches 50 men, and the first bag limits are set-deer, three bucks; ducks
and doves, 50; quail, 25. Night hunting is outlawed.
- 1907. First hunting licenses are issued at $1 for everyone hunting certain game birds and animals.
Money from the license sale and from fines was credited to the Fish and Game Preservation Fund. The
deputy (warden) force expands to 73.
- 1908. One of the first expenditures from the Preservation Fund is for the establishment of a game
farm at Hayward.
- 1909. Name is changed from the Board of Fish Commissioners to the Fish and Game Commission, which
reflects the growing importance of game conservation. The complex fish and game administration of today
dates from these years when the commission was given more authority to expand and to undertake new
responsibilities. This year marks the last legislative appropriation for fish and game administration.
Commercial licenses for fishermen are inaugurated (commercial fishing boats had been licensed in 1887).
- 1913. The first general angling license ($1) is required for all persons over 18. A law is adopted
prohibiting the taking of the endangered sea otter. The first field study of duck disease (botulism)
- 1914. The Commission creates the Bureau of Education, Publicity and Research because of the need for
development in these areas. Publication of a quarterly journal, California Fish and Game, starts.
- 1915. California is divided into districts, with each commissioner responsible for the administration
of one district. The Department of Commercial Fisheries is instituted, separating commercial from sport
- 1922. The last grizzly bear is reported shot in Tulare County.
- 1926. The Commission decides that it should separate itself from the administrative and executive
work of each district and work as a unit in fixing broad general policies. This reorganization sets
up three major departments-fish culture, commercial fisheries, and patrol-and seven lesser bureaus–finance
and accounts, education and research, publicity, pollution, screens and ladders, game forms, statistics,
and game problems.
- 1927. Administrative functions of the original commission are assumed by the newly established Division
of Fish and Game, set up within the Department of Natural Resources. As compared with other divisions
within the department, Fish and Game was unique in that it was administered by a body (the Fish and
Game Commission) not under the direct control of the Department of Natural Resources. The first deer
tag is issued ($1). Warden Mrs. Walter B. Seller* of Fairfax is last woman to carry DFG badge until
- 1933. A separate Fish and Game Code is enacted by the Legislature, deleting fish and game from the
State Penal Code.
- 1937. The Fish and Game Commission is increased from three to five members. Congress passes the Pittman-Robertson
Act to accelerate the restoration of wildlife resources. Revenues collected through taxes on sporting
arms and ammunition are to be apportioned to the various states. (This remains an important source
of revenue for the DFG’s Wildlife Management programs.)
- 1939. California becomes the first state to employ full-time wildlife disease investigation personnel.
- 1940. A constitutional amendment provides for six-year staggered terms for the commissioners and makes
their appointments by the governor subject to confirmation by the Senate. These changes lessened Commission
control by any one governor. The first California Pittman-Robertson project is initiated to increase
the sage grouse population by improving habitat, and the state wildlife food habits laboratory is established.
- 1945. The Legislature, through a constitutional amendment, delegates to the Fish and Game Commission
the responsibility for making regulations for sport fishing and hunting. The State Water Resources
Act declares the preservation and development of fish and wildlife resources a beneficial use of water.
- 1947. The Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) is established to administer the capital acquisition and
development program for conservation and recreational uses-of fish and wildlife resources. A Marine
Research Committee is established by the Legislature to aid research in the development of California’s
marine commercial fisheries.
- 1948. California’s first antlerless deer hunt is held on Santa Catalina Island. This year also
marks the first aerial planting of trout.
- 1949. Legislation is passed establishing the first pheasant cooperative hunting areas. The Dickey
Water Pollution Act provides for a state system for control of water pollution and maintenance of water
quality, an act of major significance in protection of fish and wildlife resources as well as public
- 1950. The Dingell-Johnson Act for fish restoration and management is passed by Congress as a counterpart
to the Pittman- Robertson Act. The D-J program is financed by taxes on sport fishing tackle.
- 1951. The Reorganization Act of this year elevates the Division of Fish and Game to Department of
Fish and Game (DFG). Seth Gordon appointed DFG director.
- 1952. The DFG organizational structure is revamped, creating a line-and-staff system with five regional
offices (Redding, Sacramento, San Francisco, Fresno and Los Angeles). At the same time, the Bureaus
of Game Conservation, Inland Fisheries, Patrol, and Marine Research become full branches.
- 1953. DFG headquarters move from San Francisco to Sacramento. DFG employs its first regional managers.
Under contract with the Department of Water Resources, DFG establishes the position of Water Projects
Coordinator to implement provisions of the State Water Resources Act. Outdoor California is first published.
- 1954. The Legislature establishes a Hunter Safety Training Program, requiring persons under 16 to
obtain a certificate of competence with firearms (four hours instruction) before issuance of a hunting
- 1955. The Legislature approves a recurring annual appropriation of $750,000 from horse racing revenues
to support WCB programs and DFG contracts with the University of California to study wildlife-pesticide
- 1957. The first permanent personnel to study pesticides are appointed by DFG. The Marine Resources
Region is created with headquarters at Terminal Island, San Pedro.
- 1958. The scope and importance of the DFG’s water project activities increases as a result of
changes in federal legislation. The Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act requires full consideration
of fish and wildlife resources and coordination of federal project planning with state agencies. The
DFG establishes pollution bioanalyst positions, now classified as water quality biologists.
- 1959. The Water Projects Branch is established within DFG to handle matters related to the impact
of water quality and land or water developments on fish and wildlife resources. William E. Warne appointed
- 1960. The first “production model” artificial reef is completed in Santa Monica Bay for
public fishing as a WCB project. Walter T. Shannon appointed DFG director.
- 1961. The DFG becomes a component of the new Resources Agency of California. The Delta Fish and Wildlife
study is established because insufficient information is available to ensure the protection of fish
and wildlife in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This is a cooperative study between the Department
of Water Resources (financing) and the DFG (management). The Davis-Dolwig Act declares that the preservation
and enhancement of fish and wildlife resources are purposes of the State Water Project and further
provides for the DFG’s participation in the planning of the project’s fish, wildlife, and
- 1962. The first cooperative plans with military bases in California are signed (at Beale Air Force
Base and China Lake Naval Weapons Center) to provide for management of the wildlife resources and for
public participation in the use of fish and game resources.
- 1964. The WCB receives $5,000,000 under the Recreational Bond Act approved by California voters. The
Legislature approves a DFG water quality laboratory to cope with water problems having an impact on
fish and wildlife resources.
- 1965. The California Fish and Wildlife Plan, started in 1964, is completed on schedule. This was the
first statewide master plan for fish and wildlife in the United States. Congress passes the Land and
Water Conservation Fund Act. Revenues collected through taxes on motorboat fuels, federal recreation
user fees, and sale of surplus federal property are apportioned to the states for recreation. The WCB
is a major participant in this program and is able to acquire substantial acreage of prime wildlife
habitat for preservation and public use. Land and water funds allocated to the board are also used
to augment WCB funds on a matching basis for development of hunting and fishing access projects, fishing
- 1966. The San Francisco Bay Study Program is instituted to protect the fish and wildlife resources
of the bay. The anchovy reduction fishery gets underway, and a tagging program is initiated to increase
understanding of anchovy movements, behavior, and population dynamics.
- 1967. The Legislature removes the bounty on mountain lions, a significant step toward wise management
of this species. The DFG dedicates the new Fish and Wildlife Water Pollution Control Laboratory near
Nimbus Dam on the American River.
- 1968. The Commission authorizes the DFG to proceed with plans for a warm water hatchery capable of
producing 500,000 catfish annually. The Legislature passes the Protected Waterways Act, which declares
it is state policy to “conserve Waterways possessed of extraordinary scenic, fishery, wildlife
and outdoor recreation values,” and names the DFG to direct the study.
- 1969. The DFG reorganizes the Marine Resources Region as a separate function in DFG to carry out management
and protection jobs on the ocean. DFG establishes an Anadromous Fisheries Branch to deal with salmon,
steelhead, striped bass, shad, and sturgeon. The Marine Advisory Committee is established. The mountain
lion is designated as a game animal by the Legislature. G. Raymond Arnett appointed DFG director.
- 1970. This year marks the 100th anniversary of fish and wildlife conservation in California. The Water
Projects Branch is retitled Environmental Services Branch and given additional responsibilities in
environmental monitoring for both land and water projects. The Endangered Species Act requires the
DFG to inventory California’s threatened fish and wildlife, develop criteria for rare and endangered
species and report biennially to the governor and Legislature on the status of these animals. The Mad
River (steelhead and salmon) Hatchery in Humboldt County is completed; the Imperial Valley Warm Water
(channel catfish) Hatchery is accepted; and the Kern River Hatchery expansion is completed.
- 1971. Ten California bighorn sheep are transplanted successfully from British Columbia to the Lava
Beds National Monument in Siskiyou County. The bighorn had disappeared from the area 61 years before.
The Fish and Game Commission declares 43 animals to be endangered or rare. Initial results of a mountain
lion study indicated there were at least three times as many in the state as previously believed. This
year marks the first full year of operation of the DFG’s Marine Culture Laboratory at Granite
Canyon, Monterey County. Excellent results are achieved in rearing the spot prawn and spawning red
- 1972. The $2.5 million Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District fish screen is completed. It is estimated
the screen will save at least 10 million salmon and steelhead fingerlings yearly. The Commission designated
345 miles of waters in 17 streams as the nucleus of the new Wild Trout Program. DFG counts 1,060 sea
otters, the highest number since the annual census was first undertaken. A record 62,038 persons received
hunter safety and wildlife conservation instruction.
- 1973. A significant milestone in the DFG’s efforts to open municipal water storage reservoirs
occurs when the East Bay Municipal Water District’s San Pablo Reservoir, Contra Costa County,
is planted with catchable trout and catfish and opened to public fishing. The 563-acre Bolsa Chica
Ecological Reserve, Orange County, is turned over to the DFG. This will be the first re-establishment
of a former tidal marsh in the state. The reserve fish and game warden program was terminated on August
- 1974. The Legislature enacts the Suisun Marsh Preservation Act which provides a buffer zone around
the state’s last great remaining marsh within which industrial and urban development are banned.
And, 527 acres of critical coastal estuarine habitat on Upper Newport Bay are acquired from the Irvine
Company, and 932 acres of San Francisco Bay marshland are also acquired. Pyramid and Perris reservoirs
of the State Water Project open to fishing with the Perris opening drawing 10,000 anglers. The DFG
moves 18 Tule elk from the San Diego Wild Animal Park into an 800-acre pen on the San Luis National
Wildlife Refuge, the first relocation of Tule elk onto this historic range.
- 1975. A Citizens Nongame Advisory Committee is appointed to define objectives for the DFG’s
nongame programs, review and recommend projects and suggest means of financing programs. DFG presents
a deer management plan designed to reverse the 10-year-long decline in deer numbers, improve habitat,
maintain a suitable balance between animals and habitat and provide for diversified recreational use
of the resource on a herd-by-herd basis. Recent amendments to the Forest Practices Rules gives the
DFG, for the first time, a meaningful role in reviewing proposed timber harvesting operations on private
lands. The DFG estimates it will review from 2,000 to 4,000 such plans each year. The DFG purchases
4,742 acres of land in the Santa Rosa Mountains, Riverside County, for bighorn sheep habitat. E.C.
Fullerton appointed DFG director.
- 1976. A census of sea otters produces an estimated population of 1,770 to 1,800 otters. (In the early
1930s, a few sea otters were reported off the California coast, and in 1938 over 100 were sighted).
The U.S.S. Palawan is towed from Suisun Bay (in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta) to Los Angeles harbor
for stripping prior to sinking in Santa Monica Bay as the first Liberty ship artificial reef in California.
- 1977. The second year of the worst recorded drought in California history had a profound effect on
DFG’s activities. As streams began drying up in late summer, the DFG moves to rescue several
threatened fish populations. Trout hatcheries continue to meet production schedules but adjustments
are made in the trout planting program. The DFG, the Department of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service
provide supplemental water supplies in Modoc and Lassen counties. The then U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
and Department of Water Resources ease the potentially disastrous effects of excessive water temperatures
on early spawning king salmon in the Sacramento, Feather and Trinity rivers with emergency water releases.
A system of water control structures is installed to deliver water to managed marshlands in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta. As fears for fish and wildlife mount, the DFG develops a dry year contingency plan which
outlines measures that can be taken to alleviate the drought impact on these resources. With the enactment
of the Suisun Marsh Preservation Act of 1977, the state is armed with authority to protect 89,000 acres
of tidal marsh, managed wetlands and adjacent grasslands, including an additional 22,500 acres of significant
- 1978. Major state legislation authorizes changes in management of more than 100 deer herds and mandates
how fish and game license and business revenues, general fund and special fund monies will be spent,
establishing a formula for changing license fee levels. To help offset the detrimental effects of the
two-year drought, nearly two million yearling king salmon are released in the Upper Sacramento River.
The DFG’s new deer hunt plan, several years in the making, launches with mixed reaction from
hunters. With the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the DFG initiates a three-year abalone enhancement
program designed to study means to rebuilding stocks. This is the year of the Klamath River controversy.
A moratorium on salmon fishing in the river and restrictions on other fishing in the drainage, instituted
August 26 and lifted six weeks later, results in problems for the DFG in law enforcement and public
information. Wardens are cross-deputized for enforcing federal rules regarding Native American fishing,
work diligently to halt the sale of illegally caught salmon and to seize illegal fish, arrest poachers
and move against markets purchasing the fish.
- 1979. Warden Jean K. Jones of Concord is shot while on patrol in the Delta and dies a few hours later,
the first death of a warden on patrol in 32 years. State and federal officers seize a total of 50 tons
of illegally caught Klamath River salmon, and during a single three-week period confiscated 16 tons
of poached salmon. The DFG graduates its one millionth hunter safety training course student. The nongame
wildlife program, whose share of the DFG budget reaches 15 percent, focuses on the bobcat, marten,
muskrat, gray fox, raccoon, great gray owl and prairie falcon. Surveys continued in the native plant
program and by year’s end, 124 plants had been listed as either rare or endangered. Citizens’ contributions
to the Nongame Wildlife Program for 1979 totaled $20,000, some $2,000 more than in 1978. The first
woman to become a fish and game warden since the late 1920s is appointed.
- 1980. Warm Springs Fish Hatchery in Sonoma County begins operations. This hatchery, built by the U.S.
Corps of Engineers, mitigates the effects of the Warm Springs Dam. Expectations are to ultimately produce
one million king salmon, 3,000,000 silver salmon, and 110,000 steelhead smolts each year. More than
1,000 acres of wetlands around San Francisco Bay are transferred to DFG management, mostly as wildlife
habitat mitigation settlement. Anglers in Hot Creek, Mono County, report excellent fishing for several
days after a major earthquake in May damaged the Hot Creek Hatchery allowing a substantial number of
trout to escape to Hot Creek. Most of the hatchery’s prized stock of Hot Creek strain of brood
stock are saved. A helicopter is used to herd elk for the first time in California into an enclosure,
minimizing the use of tranquilizing darts. Siskiyou County, for the first time in Northern California,
adopts minimum parcel size restrictions on winter deer range as part of its general plan. DFG personnel
provide winter range maps and recommendations for minimum parcel sizes ranging from 10 to 80 acres
depending on deer distribution and densities.
- 1981. Californians Turn in Poachers (CalTIP), the DFG’s secret witness program to help stop
poaching, is adopted.
- 1982. First use of Environmental License Plate Funds for the Endangered Bird and Mammal Program.
- 1983. The Central Valley’s Hatchery increases capacity to 300,000 yearling striped bass annually,
making the facility the nation’s largest producer of yearling striped bass. The Commission sets
hunter quotas and ceilings for all deer hunting zones except Zones A and B. Don Carper appointed DFG
- 1984. Conservation Education implements Project Wild, the DFG’s wildlife education program.
Project Wild consists of no cost instructional workshops for educators working with students in grades
K-12. Hunter Education program is now in its 30th year. The first $1,000 CalTIP reward is authorized.
Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Bond Act (Proposition 19) approved by the voters and will provide the
bulk of funding for the WCB. Jack C. Parnell appointed DFG director.
- 1985. A $1,225,000 goal set for second year of state income tax checkoff program for rare and endangered
- 1986. A fish and game check station is operated in conjunction with the Truckee Agricultural Inspection
Facility. Nineteen wildlife officers from California, Colorado, Utah and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service conduct a continuous check of fish and wildlife being imported into California from August
17 through 19. They inspect 6,931 pounds of fish and game being transported into California, resulting
in 64 arrests for illegal possession of fish and wildlife. First report of northern pike in California
in Frenchman Reservoir in Plumas County.
- 1987. Automated commercial fish tax compliance system is established to identify licensees who appear
to have underpaid taxes due, based upon reported landings of fish. One-day sport fishing license established
and gains popularity with the fishing public. For the first time in its history, DFG initiates a computerized,
random number public drawing for special hunting tags. This included the first drawing for bighorn
sheep in 100 years. Reintroduction of pronghorn to historic range is initiated by the release of 78
animals on two ranches in San Luis Obispo County. Non-native white bass eradicated from Lake Kaweah
(Tulare County) at a cost of $7.5 million. The existence of northern pike in Plumas County’s
Frenchman Reservoir is documented. Pete Bontadelli appointed DFG director.
- 1988. Non-consumers (non-hunters, non-anglers) will pay their way. The Los Angeles Times describes
it as “A Golden Idea for a Golden State.”
The “California Wildlands Program” is overwhelmingly backed by the Legislature and signed
into law October 15. This law requires non-consumptive users to pay for access to DFG Wildlife Areas.
Birdwatchers make up 15 percent, the largest segment of non-consumptive users of wildlife. The public
drawing for all limited quota big game tags changed from a manual to an automated computerized process.
Enactment of Wildlife and Natural Area Conservation Program leads to development of the Natural Diversity
Database and the significant natural area program.
- 1989. Hunter Education Program expands to provide specialized training for persons with disabilities
after development of the program by a volunteer instructor. Enforcement personnel implement a public
highway check point program after review and approval of the DFG’s written checkpoint policy
and procedures by the Attorney General’s Office. The majority of those stopped expressed support
and many say DFG should have started this program long ago. Graduation on June 16 of the first class
of warden cadets from the new DFG Resource Academy. DFG confirms northern pike in Frenchman’s
- 1990 The California aquaculture industry leads world-wide and makes history with the first spawning
of a domesticated female white sturgeon.
- 1991 The Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) formally opens on January 1. DFG’s
responsibilities in matters related to oil spill prevention and response in marine waters greatly expand.
Essentially all 3 million yearling striped bass produced from wild broodstock by private aquaculturalists
for the mitigation and restoration program are stocked into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Lahontan
cutthroat trout are reintroduced into the headwaters of the Upper Truckee River after eradication of
nonnative fish species. Formerly abundant in the Lake Tahoe Basin, the last run of native cutthroat
was observed in 1939. More waters in the Little Kern River drainage are chemically treated and restocked
with native Little Kern golden trout. Frenchman Reservoir is chemically treated to eradicate northern
pike. On July 14, several Southern Pacific train cars derail while crossing the Sacramento River on
the Cantara Loop bridge near Dunsmuir. A tank car containing metam-sodium solution falls into the river
spilling at least 19,000 gallons of the chemical. The severe toxicity of metam-sodium kills nearly
all plant and animal life between the Cantara Loop and Shasta Lake, 42 miles downstream. Toxic gasses
also harm vegetation and aquatic life more than two miles upstream from the spill site.
- 1992. In January, two captive-bred California condors are released into the wild coastal canyons of
Ventura County, the first condors to soar in the wild since 1987. The Commission reaffirms its commitment
to seek greater recreational opportunities for the hunting and fishing public. For the first time,
the DFG and a timber company join as partners in restoring watershed and fisheries resources on private
land. Pacific Lumber Company agreed to provide DFG access to drainages on thousands of acres of private
timber lands and to help pay for fish habitat improvements. Northern pike are found in streams near
Frenchman Reservoir and the streams are chemically treated, killing approximately 3,000 pike. On July
1, one child from Inyo County and one from Mono County, help plant brown trout fingerlings in the Owens
River Gorge, dewatered for 40 years for generation of hydroelectric power. Boyd Gibbons appointed DFG
- 1993. In the summer of 1993, CalTIPS’s phone-in hotline begins staffing 24 hours a day.
- 1994. California Fish and Game, the DFG’s quarterly, peer-reviewed scientific journal, entered
its 80th year of publication. The DFG legal team extracts a final settlement of $38 million from the
Southern Pacific Railroad for the July 1991 metam-sodium spill into the Upper Sacramento River near
Dunsmuir. DFG biologists begin using Global Positioning System (GPS) for computer mapping of habitat
and wildlife distribution. Documentation of northern pike in Lake Davis, Plumas County occurs. The
DFG has its first documented fatal mountain lion attack; in April an adult female mountain lion attacked
and killed a female runner in the Auburn State Recreation Area. DNA sampling conclusively prove the
lion tracked and killed is responsible for the attack. A second fatal incident occurs in December.
A male mountain lion attacks a female birdwatcher while she was on a hike in Cuyamaca Ranch State Park.
- 1995. Two-rod fishing for those who purchased the new stamp becomes legal on January 1. The new law
authorizes anglers to buy a two-rod stamp so they can use two rods simultaneously while fishing on
inland lakes and reservoirs. Chuck Raysbrook appointed Interim DFG director.
- 1996. A mountain lion is shot and killed by a game warden shortly after daybreak January 16, as the
animal charges another warden at the same location on the trail where an equestrian reported encountering
the animal in the afternoon of January 15. Both wardens and a tracker had been investigating the earlier
incident when the lion appeared. A three-year study of wild pig tag returns finds that wild pigs are
second only to deer in popularity with California big game hunters. Wild pigs are now being harvested
in 45 of the state’s 58 counties. The top five counties are Monterey, Sonoma, Santa Clara, Mendocino
and San Luis Obispo. An eight-year-old boy camping at Singing Pines Camp on the east side of the Angeles
National Forest is mauled by a bear the morning of July 10. After emergency treatment, he is taken
to a Los Angeles hospital where he was listed in stable condition. The bear is tracked by DFG wardens
aided by a professional tracker. After confirmation that the bear matched the evidence profile, it
is killed with a single rifle shot. DFG officers and a professional tracker with dogs tracked and killed
a mountain lion September 16 in the Auburn State Recreation Area after the lion is determined to be
a public threat. Evidence at the scene supports a male cyclist’s account of being pursued by
a mountain lion the morning of the 15. Jacqueline E. Schaefer first female appointed DFG director.
- 1997. WCB celebrates its 50th anniversary. Lake Davis in Plumas County is chemically treated in an
attempt to eradicate northern pike.
- 1998. The DFG Wildlife Forensics Laboratory (WFL) reaches a pinnacle with their DNA Test Development
Project. The WFL is at this time considered the best in the world at using DNA testing for identification
and sex determination of individual mule deer from blood stains, tissue samples and hair samples. The
WFL data base library consists of nearly 5,000 individual California deer tissue samples from throughout
the state. The Legislature passes the Marine Live Management Act, authorizing the Fish and Game Commission
to set commercial fishing regulations and to require the DFG to develop a comprehensive plan for the
management of marine life resources. During the DFG’s massive re-organization, the state budget
was also re-organized to match DFG's funding with its six major programs: Biodiversity Conservation,
Hunting, Fishing and Public Use, Management of Department Lands and Facilities, Conservation Education
and Enforcement, Spill Prevention and Response, and Administration.
- 1999. Northern pike again found in Lake Davis, Plumas County. Legislation substantially increases
the fine from $1,000 to $50,000 for any person responsible for placing non-indigenous aquatic nuisance
species into California waters. Robert Hight appointed DFG director.
* Etiquette in the early part of the 20th century required women be listed with their husband’s
rather than own name. Attempts to recover Mrs. Seller’s name were unsuccessful.
Retired Captain Jim Zobel contributed to the compilation of the history.