As hunting season approaches, local Forest Service officials are reminding hunters of safety tips. 

At this time, all public land in the Mendocino National Forest is open to hunting, with the exception of the Sheet Iron Mountain State Game Refuge, located north of the Snow Mountain Wilderness, according to Forest Service officials. 

The State Refuge is closed to hunting and several trails and campgrounds also remain closed. New closures can occur at any time if there are wildfires or other hazards and Forest Service officials recommend that hunters check the forest’s website for alerts or warnings about closures.

“Fire danger remains high on Mendocino National Forest, and fire restrictions are in effect,” said Forest Service officials. “Fire restrictions include prohibitions on campfires or stove fires outside of designated fire-safe recreation sites or wilderness areas. Smoking outside of buildings or enclosed vehicles, welding, the use of explosives, or the operation of a motor vehicle off national Forest System roads is also prohibited.” 

Forest visitors may use firearms at this time if they carry and use them in a safe manner, and if the users comply with state and county laws, according to officials. 

Forest visitors are advised to not use use trees, signs, cans, or glass objects for targets, never discharge a firearm from a road, across a road, across a body of water, or within 150 yards of a campground or private residence and always exercise proper caution when handling firearms: keep in mind that other visitors, crews, private landowners, or others could be nearby, even if they aren’t visible.

It is also advised that hunters should take safety precautions before heading to their destination by checking the weather forecast; assessing current weather conditions in the forest; letting someone know where you are going and when you should be back; be aware of the hazards of recreating in a burned forest; set up your camp away from dead trees or hanging limbs and practice “Leave No Trace” and carry out all trash.

Hunting is permitted during hunting seasons designated by the California State Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and licenses are available online, at any CDFW License Sales Office or License Agent.Information about the 2022 California Deer Hunt Zones is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov. The Mendocino National Forest falls within parts of the A1, B1, B2, B3 and B5 deer zones. 

For more information, email sm.fs.mendopao@usda.gov.

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