California Fish and Game Code
The Legislature declares that bighorn sheep are an important wildlife resource of the state to be managed and maintained at sound biological levels. Therefore, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the state to encourage the preservation, restoration, utilization, and management of California's bighorn sheep population.
The management shall be in accordance with the policy set forth in Section 1801.
The department shall determine the status and the trend of bighorn sheep populations by management units. A plan shall be developed for each of the management units. The plan for each management unit shall include all of the following:
(a) Data on the numbers, age, sex ratios, and distribution of bighorn sheep within the management unit.
(b) A survey of range conditions and a report on the competition that may exist as a result of human, livestock, wild burro, or any other mammal encroachment.
(c) An assessment of the need to relocate or reestablish bighorn populations.
(d) A statement on the prevalence of disease or parasites within the population.
(e) Recommendations for achieving the policy objective of Section 4900.
(a) The commission may adopt all regulations necessary to provide for biologically sound management of Nelson bighorn sheep (subspecies Ovis canadensis nelsoni).
(b) After the plans developed by the department pursuant to Section 4901 for the management units have been submitted, the commission may authorize sport hunting of mature Nelson bighorn rams.
Prior to authorizing the sport hunting, the commission shall take into account the Nelson bighorn sheep population statewide, including the population in the management units designated for hunting.
Notwithstanding Section 219, the commission shall not, however, adopt regulations authorizing the sport hunting in a single year of more than 15 percent of the mature Nelson bighorn rams in a single management unit, based on the department's annual estimate of the population in each management unit.
(c) The fee for a license tag to take a Nelson bighorn ram may be determined by the commission, but shall not exceed five hundred dollars ($500).
(d) The commission shall annually direct the department to authorize not more than three of the license tags available for issuance that year to take Nelson bighorn rams for the purpose of raising funds for programs and projects to benefit bighorn sheep. These license tags may be sold to residents or nonresidents of the State of California at auction or by other method and shall not be subject to the fee limitation prescribed in subdivision (c). Commencing with tags sold for the 1993 hunting season, if more than one tag is authorized, the department shall designate a nonprofit organization organized pursuant to the laws of this state, or the California chapter of a nonprofit organization organized pursuant to the laws of another state, as the seller not less than one of these tags. The number of tags authorized for the purpose of raising funds pursuant to this subdivision, if more than one, shall not exceed 15 percent of the total number of tags authorized pursuant to subdivision (b).
(e) No license tag issued pursuant to this section shall be valid unless and until the licensee has successfully completed a prehunt hunter familiarization and orientation and has demonstrated to the department that he or she is familiar with the requisite equipment for participating in the hunting of bighorn rams, as determined by the commission. The orientation shall be conducted by the department at convenient locations and times preceding each season, as determined by the commission.
Revenue from the fees authorized by this chapter shall be deposited in the Fish and Game Preservation Fund and shall be expended solely for purposes of the bighorn sheep program. Notwithstanding Sections 711 and 13004, this revenue, upon appropriation by the Legislature, shall be available for expenditure by the department solely for programs and projects to benefit bighorn sheep and for the direct costs and administrative overhead incurred solely in carrying out the department's bighorn sheep activities. Administrative overhead shall be limited to the reasonable costs associated with the direct administration of the program. These funds shall be used to augment, and not to replace, moneys appropriated from existing funds available to the department for the preservation, restoration, utilization, and management of bighorn sheep. The department shall maintain internal accountability necessary to ensure that all restrictions on the expenditure of these funds are met.
(a) The department shall biennially report the following to the Legislature:
(1) The management units for which plans have been developed pursuant to Section 4901.
(2) A summary of the data from the annual count conducted by the department for the purposes of subdivision (b) of Section 4902.
(3) The number of license tags issued in the preceding season, and the number of mature Nelson bighorn rams taken under valid license tags in the preceding season.
(4) Any instance known to the department of the unlawful or unlicensed taking of a bighorn sheep in this state and the disposition of any prosecution therefor.
(5) The number of bighorn sheep relocated during the previous year, the area where reintroduced, a statement on the success of the reintroduction, and a brief description of any reintroduction planned for the following year.
(b) The report which is due in 1991 shall be presented to the Legislature on or before July 1, 1991, and shall consist of a compilation of the results of the ongoing study conducted pursuant to this section each year since the enactment of this chapter and an assessment of the environmental impact of the hunting of Nelson bighorn sheep on the herds.