Deer hunters holding tags for the popular zone X9c, which includes much of Inyo County, will find they don't have the run of the land they once did because of the Desert Protection Act of 1994.
The federal measure extended Death Valley National Monument boundaries into traditional hunting areas. Hunting is illegal on all federal park lands.
Popular hunting areas now closed include Hunter Mountain, the Last Chance Range, much of the Panamint Range and the eastern portion of the Inyo Mountains.
More bad news for X9c hunters: The Desert Protection Act also created 69 U.S. Bureau of Land Management wilderness areas where hunters can enter only by foot or horseback. Nine of these areas, comprising 507,070 acres, are located within the zone. Only the White Mountains northeast of Bishop, and the western Inyo Mountains support deer habitat legally accessible by vehicle.
There are 850 tag holders for the zone, which opens for the general season Oct. 21.
Quail season also begins Oct. 21 and biologists say populations of valley, mountain and Gambel's quail have either stabilized or increased in many areas popular among hunters.
The birds, however, will be aided by dense desert vegetation--courtesy of the big winter of 1994-95--and by the same strict access rules deer hunters will face.
A large portion of Kern County's upland game habitat is affected by the Desert Protection Act and it is up to hunters to know the rules beforehand. The Bureau of Land Management in Bakersfield and the U.S. Forest Service office in Kernville can be of assistance.
Kevin Brennan, an Idylwild biologist, said that in the popular Garner Valley, he counted "more than triple the number of birds" compared to last year.
The southern base of the Santa Rosa Mountains in Riverside County, and the Lucerne Valley, along California 247 from Yucca Valley to California 18, should also be productive areas.
Chukar season also opens Oct. 21, and the birds are expected to be plentiful in the foothill canyons northeast of Big Bear Lake near California 18.
Prospective hunters can get required safety certificates by attending a one-day, 10-hour class Saturday at Mike Raahauge's Shooting Enterprise in Norco. Cost is $35. Details: (800) 773-4868.
With all the fuss over the tuna, the presence of another popular game fish is practically going unnoticed.
White sea bass, the big croakers that surface from time to time to gorge on squid, have been on the rampage since Friday at the northern Channel Islands, notably Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz.
Reached aboard the Oxnard-based Pacific Dawn late Tuesday afternoon, skipper John Shull said his customers had bagged 22 sea bass weighing 12-25 pounds, "and a big old . . . 46-pound yellowtail."
The annual Marina del Rey Halibut Derby will be held Saturday and Sunday in Santa Monica Bay. Some of the proceeds will benefit the Nearshore Marine Fish Research Program at Cal State Northridge. Grand prizes are trips for two to Alaska and Baja. Cost is $65 for derby and banquet, $40 for derby only. Details: (818) 717-4037. . . . The annual RV Manufacturers' Show begins a 10-day run Friday at Fairplex Park in Pomona.