Hunting licenses available for deer, pigs in western Merced County

Applications for hunting deer and pigs in western Merced County are being accepted by the California Department of Fish and Game.

The number of permits for deer is limited to 55 a day for the areas of Upper Cottonwood Creek, Lower Cottonwood Creek and the San Luis Reservoir wildlife areas.

Reservations are required for Aug. 13-14, the first two days of the general Zone A deer season. Reservations will be selected via a random drawing. People applying to hunt on opening weekend will be allowed to hunt for one day, in one area only. Successful applicants will receive special permits in the mail identifying the area and the day they can hunt.

The area will be closed to all people not holding the special permit, but each permit holder may be accompanied by an observer without a weapon.

The 2011 Zone A Deer/Pig application form is required for a permit. The primary hunter must provide their name, mailing address, phone numbers, 2011-12 hunting license number and the areas where they prefer to hunt. Junior license holders must apply with an adult hunter. Up to three people may apply as one party.

Applications may be submitted by e-mail to LHEXT@dfg.ca.gov or by postal service to DFG's Los Banos office at 18110 W. Henry Miller Ave., Los Banos, CA 93635. Applications must be received before 4:30 p.m. on July 5. The drawing will be held July 6 at 11 a.m. at the Los Banos office and is open to the public. Successful applicants will be notified by mail within five working days of the drawing.

The application form may be obtained by calling DFG's Los Banos office at (209) 826-0463 between 8 a.m.and 4:30 p.m. and is also available online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/lands/wa/region4/cottonwoodcreek.html. Pig hunters will be restricted to one wild pig during the hunt period.