Category Archives: Depredation

Why Problem Deer Are Not Relocated

Mule deer (USFWS photo)

Mule deer (USFWS photo)

Question: I live in the Christian Valley area above Auburn. The deer are overpopulated but they are protected in the area. The deer are starving and eat everything in sight. I’ve bought deer-resistant plants and cover them at night, but then they rip off the covering and devour my plants. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars to try to keep plants on my property. I’ve even bought coyote packets to scare them away, but they tear them off and go right by them. I try to chase these deer away but they are so domesticated now that they have charged me and kicked my dog. I need help! How can I get Fish and Wildlife to transfer the deer to a higher location? I love animals but the deer here are destroying all I’ve put out. (Mary N., Auburn)

Answer: Unfortunately, because most of the deer in your area are migratory, moving them up the hill won’t help as they will soon be moving back because of snow and forage availability anyway. More than that though, according to Game Species Conservation Program Manager Craig Stowers, it is the policy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to not move depredating deer. There are several reasons for this:

1)     Several studies (including one of our own) have indicated the survival rates for these animals are extremely low.

2)     The benefits from all wildlife captures must be weighed against the risks of injury/death to the individual animals and personnel involved. Since the survival rates are so low in these instances, the benefits most definitely do not outweigh the risks.

3)     There is a very real potential for introducing new diseases and/or parasites when moving animals from one area to another without health testing, and the only way that can effectively be done is through a quarantine process. Unfortunately, we don’t have the facilities for that and couldn’t take care of the deer long enough for test results to come back.

4)     Physical deterrence is the only proven long-term solution (fencing or some type of barrier). Even if we could move a large number of deer, there are others which would eventually move in to replace them.

As California becomes more urbanized, these types of problems will continue to increase in frequency. Traditional methods of managing wildlife populations are becoming increasingly unavailable to us, primarily because of public safety issues and changing societal values. CDFW has implemented a pilot project in the San Jose area to address a very similar problem and we are hopeful it can turn into something we can use in the future as these problems are only going to continue.


Cotton destruct for crab pots

A sport crab pot with a cotton destruct line that will eventually rot to allow the trap lid to open in the event the trap becomes lost (Photo courtesy of Captain Tom Mattusch of the F/V Huli Cat)

Breakaway lines on crab pots?
Question: Are cotton breakaway lines required on sport Dungeness crab pots? (Clinton M., Petaluma)

Answer: Breakaway lines are not required on sport crab pots, but using cotton twine to secure escape rings and crab pot doors is a very good idea. On lost pots, the cotton eventually rots away and opens the pot so that crabs and other marine life can more easily escape. Without the destruct device (such as rotten cotton or cotton twine), the pot essentially becomes a self-baiting trap). We encourage you to use traps with self-destructing components. Rotten cotton also works well on the elastic or rubber between the band and the hook. When the cotton breaks, the hook falls away and the door opens. The majority of sport crab pots do not have removable escape rings, so cotton between the hook and the elastic is better for the resource.


Duck hunting youth on refuge
Question: I am a minor (17 years old) but possess an adult hunting license. Can I transport a shotgun in my vehicle for duck hunting on one of the California refuges where you only have to be 16 years of age to hunt by yourself? (James M., Modesto)

Answer: Yes, as long as your shotgun is unloaded. Persons 16 or 17 years of age in possession of a valid resident or nonresident hunting license will be issued entry permits and may hunt by themselves, but may not be accompanied by apprentice hunters (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 551(h)).


Second rod stamp required for youth?
Question: My son is 11 years old. When I take him fishing at the lake and he fishes from shore, can he fish with two rods or must he stick with one rod only? (H. Tran)

Answer: Your son can fish with two rods. However, once he turns 16 he will need a fishing license and a second rod stamp in order to fish with two rods.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.

Target Shooting Directly Next to a Wetland

Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (Photo by Robert Sahara)

Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (Photo by Robert Sahara)

Question: I was walking the Yolo Bypass Levee north of I-80 this weekend and saw a group shooting from the levee at some targets that were placed right next to the slough and adjacent wetlands to the east. If waterfowl hunters are required to use nonlead shot to prevent incidental lead poisoning, shouldn’t target shooters firing where their shot will enter the wetland also have to use nonlead shot?

It was also disappointing to see a lot of spent shells, clay target debris and glass left all over the ground. Is there any particular regulation prohibiting this? Thanks, (Beckye S.)

Answer: California Fish and Wildlife laws don’t prohibit the use of lead ammunition for target shooting, but they do prohibit people from depositing garbage, shells, glass, etc. within 150 feet of state waters (Fish and Game Code, section 5652.) If you see this again, please call CalTip at 888-334-2258 and report it.


Legal to drop Dungeness crab traps the day/night before opener?
Question: Is it legal to drop Dungeness crab gear prior to opening day? I’ve heard it’s legal to drop gear the day or night before opening day to let it soak overnight. I looked in the Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet but couldn’t find anything indicating whether this is legal or not. If it is legal, how long before opening day can it be dropped? And how early can it be retrieved? (Fred S.)

Answer: Dungeness crab gear may not be set prior to the recreational fishing season opening date, which this year is Saturday, Nov. 2 at 12:01 a.m. (see California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 29.85(a) and the definition of take in Fish and Game Code section 86.)  Anyone setting gear prior to this date and time may be cited for attempting to take crab out of season.


Looking for a fishing guide
Question: We are planning a trip to Oakland in December. Since I will be in meetings every day, my husband would love to go fishing. How can I find an honest and reputable fishing guide? (Christy L.)

Answer: A list of licensed fishing guides can be found online at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/specialpermits/ (click on “Lists” and then “Fishing Guides (PDF).” Other than this, your best bet is to do a Google search for the different guides around San Francisco Bay, and investigate feedback from customers, which is also likely available online.


Donating game for fundraising dinners?
Question: Can pigs taken by hunters as well as pigs taken under depredation permits be donated for use at a fund-raising dinner? (Mike H.)

Answer: Yes, as long as those donating the animals receive no compensation for their donations and as long as the patrons are not paying for the dinner itself. It is illegal for animals taken under the authority of a hunting license or depredation permit to be bought, sold, traded or bartered.


Chumming
Question: Can you help settle a debate please? Is intentionally chumming or blood baiting from shore or the pier permissible in California ocean waters? What specific regulations or laws apply? (Heather H.)

Answer: Yes, chumming in ocean waters is permitted statewide (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.05).


Fish trapping from a pier
Question: I don’t have a fishing license because I know I am allowed to fish and catch some crab from a public pier. I am wondering though if I am allowed to use a trap to catch fish. The trap would be a mesh cage made of nylon (or another type of durable material). It would have an opening, be attached to a float to keep it about five feet beneath the surface of the water, and have a main line going back up to the pier where I will have the rope tied down to the railing. I am targeting fish, like mackerel. Does this plan all sound alright? (Dave L.)

Answer: No. Taking mackerel or most other finfish in a trap under a sport fishing license is not permitted. Only a handful of baitfishes (shiner surfperch, longjaw mudsuckers, Pacific staghorn sculpin) may be taken by traps that meet certain dimensions in certain areas of the coast. For details, please see Section 28.75 on pg. 46 of the current Ocean Sport Fishing regulations booklet, which is available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations, at local California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) offices or wherever sport fishing licenses are sold.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at Cal.Outdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.

Can Fish Food Attract Bears?

Black bear (Photo: USFWS)

Black bear (Photo: USFWS)

Question: I have a question regarding a fish pond at the house we recently purchased in Tahoe. We aren’t up there all the time so I was thinking about tossing in a time-release fish feeder but do not want to attract bears. It would basically be the flake stuff in a compressed block form. The four goldfish occupying the pond seem to do fine for long periods without food and even survived for several months before we bought the house. They must have been eating bugs, algae or whatever. I’d hate for them to have struggled to survive all that time, and then I come along and think I’m doing a good thing by feeding them, and end up attracting bears.

The house is definitely in bear territory and only a block away from forest area. The fish are located in a pond in the front yard. My question is whether or not a bear is able to smell a time-release Tetramin fish feeder. Is this something to worry about? Any information you can provide would be much appreciated! Thanks. (Liz C., Lake Tahoe)

Answer: Regarding bears’ ability to smell and potentially be attracted to your automatic feeder, according to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Black Bear Program Coordinator Marc Kenyon, the answer is yes. Bears can smell fish food and are attracted to it. What’s worse is if they are attracted to the pond by the smell of the feed, then they may decide to snack on your fish in addition to the fish food.

Kenyon recommends feeding your fish with time-release pellets (feeding blocks). He has done this with his aquarium fish while away on vacation or out in the field, and he claims it worked well for him. These pellets are little disks that you toss into the pond, and over time water dissolves the material that holds it together. This process works slowly, and depending on the size of the pellet, it could last for about a month or two. The benefit to this approach is that because they are submerged, they do not put off any odor into the air, and thus bears won’t be attracted to your pond.


Boat limits with multiple trips
Question: An interesting question came up at the fish cleaning station concerning an actual trip. This was sport fishing, not commercial or commercial passenger. There is one boat that holds three people, including the captain. The scenario is the captain goes out ocean fishing with fisherpersons A and B, and returns with full limits of salmon (6). The captain drops off both people and picks up fisherperson C. Can the boat still fish with two rods under the boat limits rule, or are they limited to one rod as the captain has already caught his fish earlier in the day? The consensus at the table was he would be at risk of a violation. (David G.)

Answer: No. They can both fish until the last fisherman’s bag limit is filled (CCR Title 14, section 27.60(c)). While the skipper can still only take one bag limit per day, under a boat limit, the skipper is not done until the fishing trip is completed when he returns for the day. Boat limits apply to all species except sturgeon.


How to follow the number of tags currently sold?
Question: Is there a way to follow how many bear and deer tags have currently been sold? Can you tell me how many have been sold so far this year? Is there a public record or data somewhere? (Norm G.)

Answer: Yes, the deer tag seasons and tag quotas adopted by the Fish and Game Commission are posted online at: www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/deer/tags/index.html. In addition, a daily list of the current available deer tags is posted at: www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/. There is no bear tag quota, but the season is monitored by the number of bears reported taken. Bear season runs through Dec. 29, or until 1,700 bears are reported taken. If 1,700 bears are harvested before Dec. 29, CDFW will immediately close the season early. For daily updates on the number of reported bear harvested, please visit our website at: www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/bear/harvest.html.


Garden destroyers
Question: I have cottontail rabbits, gophers and rats that are destroying my garden and property. Do I need a license to shoot them on my private property? (Rodger D.)

Answer: Landowners and their tenants are not prohibited from taking cottontail rabbits, gophers or rats that are damaging their crops, gardens or ornamental plants (Fish and Game Code, section 4186 and CCR Title 14, section 472(a)). However, you should check with your local police department or sheriff to determine whether you may discharge a firearm where you live.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at Cal.Outdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.

Please do not reply to this e-mail. DFGNews@wildlife.ca.gov is for outgoing messages only and is not checked for incoming mail. For questions about this News Release, contact the individual(s) listed above. Thank you.

Subscribe to CDFW News via e-mail or RSS feed. Go to http://www.dfg.ca.gov/news.

Like CDFW on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaDFW” http://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaDFW and Twitter @CaliforniaDFW.

How to Control Nuisance Crows?

Question: I live in Redondo Beach and was told by the city to ask you what could be done about an infestation of the nuisance birds that are an absolute plague in our neighborhood. I have small children that are woken up by these vile creatures starting at 3am to around 8am! Please get back to me and let me know what I can and cannot do. (Armando R.)

Answer: There is a provision in the Fish and Game regulations that allows for landowners to destroy (shoot) crows that are damaging farm fields or other crops. However, it seems this is not what you are dealing with, not to mention the fact that firearms cannot be discharged within city limits. If I interpret your question correctly, your principle complaint is the noise level.

There are actually a number of cities that have similar problems with crows and the cities have coordinated with either the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture or the U.S. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to implement abatement measures. Here is a good article written by the Washington Department of Wildlife regarding nuisance crows http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/crows.html. As you will see as you read it, it’s a tough issue because most of the abatement measures work only for short periods of time. If you believe the crows are in such a concentration that they create a public health hazard (droppings), then your city or county health department should be notified.

Bottom line, if the roosting crow population continues to grow, the city may need to get involved by contacting the USDA, Wildlife Services Division.


Pacific angel shark limits?
Question: Yesterday I caught and released a Pacific angel shark. At first I did not know what it was. It looked like a guitar fish but was different. After looking through the regulations, I didn’t see anything about the Pacific angel shark. Is there a bag limit and/or size limit on them? Or are they a protected species? I also caught and released a broadnose sevengill shark. The regulations list a limit of one but no size limit. Does this mean any size can be taken? (Alan V.)

Answer: When a fish species is not mentioned specifically in the Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, section 27.60 applies (found on pg. 32 of the current Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet). The general bag limit instructs fishermen to keep no more than 20 fish per day, of which no more than 10 fish may be of the same species.

Additionally, there are some species for which there is no bag limit (see section 27.60(b) for these species). If no size limit is given for a species, there is none.


Catching turtles at the lake?
Question: I’ve been seeing turtles at this lake we like to fish, and there’s a good chance I could catch one. What are the regulations regarding catching turtles? Can I bring it home as a pet or to eat? (Huu Tran)

Answer: Before attempting to catch one of these turtles, it will be important for you to positively identify what species of turtle it is. Be aware it is illegal to capture western pond turtles, a native California species, but it is legal to catch and collect non-native turtles (painted, slider and softshell turtles) under authority of a sportfishing license. While there are no bag or possession limits for these non-native turtles, there are restrictions on the methods of take that may be used to catch them (CCR Title 14 Sections 2.00 and 5.60). The only way to legally collect western pond turtles would be if you held a scientific collecting permit (CCR Title 14, section 40(a)). However, these permits are issued only to scientists doing bona fide research.


How to find existing hunting license number?
Question: How can my son find his existing hunting license number? He has his certificate but lost his license. Can you let us know what to do? (Carla B.)

Answer: Your son can contact any CDFW office that issues licenses or any outside vendor that sells hunting licenses, and ask them to look it up. He will just need to provide either a driver license number, or if too young to have one, provide the parent’s identification information that the previous license was purchased under.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at Cal.Outdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.

Please do not reply to this e-mail. DFGNews@wildlife.ca.gov is for outgoing messages only and is not checked for incoming mail. For questions about this News Release, contact the individual(s) listed above. Thank you.

Subscribe to CDFW News via e-mail or RSS feed. Go to http://www.dfg.ca.gov/news.

Like CDFW on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaDFW” http://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaDFW and Twitter @CaliforniaDFW.

Any Difference Between Baiting vs. Attractants?

The use of any substance (real or artificial) that is capable of attracting an animal to an area, and when used causes the animal to feed (on the substance), is prohibited. (Photo by Carrie Wilson)

Question: What are the differences between baiting and attractants? I know baiting is illegal but was curious about attractants. What qualifies something as an attractant? Can you please define and differentiate? (Josh L.)

Answer: There is no difference … bait is an attractant and an attractant is bait.

No specific definition is provided in Fish and Game laws for these terms, but the definition of “baited area” in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 257.5 is helpful.

It states in part: “Resident game birds and mammals may not be taken within 400 yards of any baited area. (a) . . . baited area shall mean any area where shelled, shucked or unshucked corn, wheat or other grains, salt, or other feed whatsoever capable of luring, attracting, or enticing such birds or mammals is directly or indirectly placed, exposed, deposited, distributed, or scattered . . . “

Under this regulation, the use of any substance (real or artificial) that is capable of attracting an animal to an area and when used causes the animal to feed (on the substance) is prohibited. Generally, aerosols sprayed into the air are permissible because there is nothing to feed on. But the same products applied to a surface (e.g. tree, brush, rock, etc.) where the animal licks, eats, chews, nibbles, etc. the surface is considered feed and is a violation.

In addition, intentional acts that disrupt any birds’ or mammals’ normal behavior patterns (CCR T14, section 251.1) as well as feeding big game mammals (CCR T14, section 251.3) are prohibited.

For the complete regulations, please go to http://dfg.ca.gov/regulations/ to find the California Mammal Hunting Regulations for 2012-2013.


Casting nets for catching own bait?
Question: I want to use a net to cast and catch my own bait rather than continue to buy bait at the stores. Is it legal to do so? I do most of my fishing in lakes and I see shads and minnows I would like to catch. I can’t seem to find any information on the website that relates to catching your own bait and if you could what are the sizes of the nets that I can use. Any information or alternatives in regard to this would really help. (Khanh Vu)

Answer: Unfortunately, the device you describe (commonly called a throw net, casting net or Hawaiian throw net) is not legal to use in freshwater. Approved baitfish may be taken only by hand, with a dip net, or with traps not over three feet in greatest dimension (CCR Title 14, section 4.05. In addition, possession of these nets in inland waters or within 100 yards of any canal, river, stream, lake or reservoir is a violation of state law (CCR Title 14, section 2.09).


Where does inland end and ocean begin?
Question: I would like to fish with two rods in the Delta but don’t know whether the regulations are in the freshwater books or in the ocean books. Is the Delta part of the ocean regulations or is it considered inland waters? Where does it change from ocean to inland if considered inland? (Brian S., Felton)

Answer: You can legally fish in the waters of the Delta with a second rod stamp. Inland regulations apply from upstream of the Delta to Carquinez Bridge. The definition of inland waters vs ocean waters is, “Inland waters are all the fresh, brackish and inland saline waters of the state, including lagoons and tidewaters upstream from the mouths of coastal rivers and streams. Inland waters exclude the waters of San Francisco and San Pablo bays downstream from the Carquinez Bridge, the tidal portions of rivers and streams flowing into San Francisco and San Pablo bays, and the waters of Elkhorn Slough …” (CCR Title 14, section 1.53).


Hunting with a 30-30 but dispatching with a .22?
Question: If I hunt deer with a 30-30 cal, can I carry a .22 pistol at the same time (not to shoot deer)? And if I wound a deer with the 30-30 cal, can I kill the wounded deer with the .22 cal? (John D., Ramona)

Answer: Yes, it is legal to carry a .22 caliber rimfire pistol while taking deer during an open rifle season. No, you may not kill a wounded deer with any rimfire cartridge (see California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 353). If hunting in Condor Country, remember that your pistol ammunition must also be lead-free.


Non-lead Bullets for Squirrels in Condor Country?
Question: If I am a land owner or a land owner’s agent engaged in squirrel depredation in the condor area, do I have to use non-lead bullets? (John B.)

Answer: Yes, even if you are using rimfire ammunition to shoot nongame mammals, the use of projectiles containing lead is prohibited in the condor range. (California Code of Regulations, Title 14, sections 355 and 475.)

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

Raw or Cooked … It Still Counts Towards Your Limit

Red abalone from California's North Coast (Photo by DFG Marine Biologist Derek Stein)

Question: I often go to Fort Bragg with a group of friends to get abalone. On the first day we all make our dives, and then in the evening we have abalone and a fish fry. The abalone is all sliced, pounded and breaded. Some always remains uncooked or cooked and not eaten. We go diving again the next day and get our limits again, and then head home that day or the next. I know I may only possess three abalone in the shells. However, what about the abalone I have left over, including the abalone that has been sliced, pounded and breaded for food? Will I be in violation for being over my limit? Do I need to keep the old shells and tags? (Terry L., Nipomo)

Answer: The law states: No more than one daily bag limit of each kind of fish, amphibian, reptile, mollusk or crustacean named may be taken or possessed by any one person unless otherwise authorized; regardless of whether they are fresh, frozen, or otherwise preserved (California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 1.17). 

According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Lt. Dennis McKiver, even if you have leftover abalone that is pounded, breaded and cooked, it still remains part of your abalone limit until you either eat it or give it away. If you have a partial abalone left over after your first day’s dinner, you would only be allowed to get two abalone the next day. Otherwise you would be over your possession limit. If you have three tagged abalone in their shells and one partial abalone pounded and breaded and you are headed home, you would not only be in violation of being in possession of an over limit, but you would also be in violation of transporting an abalone that has been removed from the shell.

In the future, make sure you eat all of your prepared abalone or else give it away before you get another full limit or head home.


Can I keep a pet dwarf caiman?
Question: I want to keep a pet dwarf caiman and was wondering how I can get a permit to do so. I know a lot about them and how to handle them properly based on what I’ve learned from other gator experts and gator farm workers. I have done a lot of research myself and know to never release a caiman into the wild. (Ian L.)

Answer: Unfortunately, you cannot keep a pet dwarf caiman. California restricts the importation and possession of many species, including all species in the Order Crocodilia. No restricted species may be imported or possessed for pet purposes. For additional information and a list of restricted species, please go to www.dfg.ca.gov/about/wildlife.html and click on “Restricted Species Laws” (PDF).


Starting a business to trap/eradicate wild feral hogs
Question: I am interested in starting a company to focus on trapping / eradicating wild feral hogs. Does California have a permit program for this venture? If so, how can I get information and an application to allow me to do this? Are there any counties that need this service? (Joseph W., Murrietta)

Answer: According to DFG Statewide Wild Pig Program Coordinator Marc Kenyon, a property owner may apply to the DFG for a permit (depredation permit) to kill wild pigs causing damage to their property. This depredation permit contains a section wherein up to three individuals may be listed to act as an “agent” on behalf of the landowner. These agents may kill the pigs for the landowner in the manner specified on the permit. You, as a sole proprietor of a company, could be listed as an agent on this permit at the time it is issued by DFG, and then you would be able to take the pigs as specified in the permit.

Wild pig populations are mostly concentrated around the central coastal counties, ranging from Mendocino to Ventura counties.


Shooting clay pigeons when doves not in season.
Question: Is it legal to shoot clay pigeons in the same fields that I use for dove hunting when doves are not in season? (Richard X.)

Answer: Fish and Game laws do not generally cover target practice. However, Fish and Game law does prohibit target practice on most state wildlife areas, except in specifically designated areas that are identified as such.

Keep in mind that shooting clay targets produces a lot of litter. Please make sure you have the property owner’s permission before you do it and comply with their requirements regarding cleanup.

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 Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

Can Lizards be Legally Captured and Kept as Pets?

Many lizards and other herps, including this Western Fence Lizard, are legal to take under freshwater fishing regulations, even by 8-year-olds! (Photo by Jeff Cann)

Question:My 8-year-old caught a pair of western fence lizards in the park near our house. He brought them home and they’re doing very well in a terrarium in his room. We did some online research to find out how to care for them, and came across several lively debates on the herp forums as to whether it’s even

(Alex Macintyre with his pet lizard)

legal to keep them as pets. Some believe it’s against the law unless you have a collection permit, while others say it’s only illegal to collect and keep threatened or endangered species. My son would like to keep them, but doesn’t want to break any Fish and Game laws! (Kirsten M., Sacramento)

Answer: Lizards are considered herps, and herps fall under the fishing regulations. Herps may be taken in accordance with section 5.60 in the Freshwater Fishing Regulations. A fishing license is required for those 16 and older. Western fence lizards are legal to take but they cannot be traded, bartered or sold, and the bag limit is 25.

Department of Fish and Game (DFG) fishing regulations authorize capture of certain species of amphibians and reptiles for “sport” (i.e. personal use).  There are over 200 species of amphibians and reptiles in California; 86 species are specifically authorized for take in the fishing regulations (plus all species of rattlesnakes). The link to the sport take regulations can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/


Definition of “Vessel” to transit through MPAs?
Question: With the MPAs now in effect here in Southern California, I would like a better definition of the word “vessel” specifically related to: “Vessels shall be allowed to transit through marine protected areas and marine managed areas with catch onboard. Fishing gear shall not be deployed in the water while transiting through a state marine reserve. Fishing gear, except legal fishing gear used to take species identified as allowed for take in subsection 632(b), shall not be deployed in the water while transiting through a state marine recreational management area, state marine park or state marine conservation area.”

Does a “vessel” always have to have a motor or can it be a non-motorized kayak, canoe, row boat, float tube, etc.? (Chad C., Poway)

Answer: Yes to all of the examples you present. A vessel under the circumstances you’re asking will be defined as any floating platform that a person can fish from. We even see people here in my local area actively fishing from their surfboards. So by doing so, that surfboard is then considered a “vessel” when it is used in this manner as a fishing platform.


Hunting ducks affected by standing corn?
Question: This past duck season, I hunted at a private club with a guide. We did OK but the birds all seemed to want to go to the club next door. The guide told me that was because the neighbor had corn on his property and the ducks went in there to feed. I asked him if that was baiting, which I thought was illegal. The guide said that the corn they had next door was “standing corn” which was not harvested and left to fall on its own. He said as long as the owner didn’t harvest or “manipulate” the corn, that it was not considered baiting. Is this correct? What are the rules on planting corn and leaving it alone for the ducks? (Luke B.)

Answer: Yes, the guide was correct. Baiting of waterfowl fall under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 50, section 20.21(i), available online at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/index.html.


What to do with a pig that’s rooting through our neighborhood?
Question: We live in a residential subdivision in Gualala in Sonoma County and there is a wild male pig rooting around the homes. This pig is making himself at home and rooting up the unfenced ground around our home. Most everyone who lives around here has had this guy at their home. This is a 2- to 5-acre residential zoning so we cannot shoot him, not that we want to. He follows the same evening route just before sunset. I have no objection to Fish and Game setting a trap box here. We don’t venture around our place after sunset. This pig has been sighted in the past two weeks by about six people. We have weekly garbage service which no doubt is an attraction and our homeowners association has notified its membership. (Jeff W., Gualala)

Answer: First of all I suggest you make sure no garbage or artificial food attractants are being left out to draw the animal into your neighborhood. Talk to your neighbors about this and make sure your homeowners association spreads the word, too.

Homeowners associations differ from place to place, but most are within a designated city limit and most cities impose firearm discharge restrictions for the general populous. Thus, this would make shooting the pig unlawful in most situations. As such, hunting and immediate take are not options. Landowners or your housing association can apply to the Department of Fish and Game for a depredation permit and then contact a local pig removal company or a federal trapper through USDA Wildlife Services (who operate in select California Counties) http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/ to trap and remove the pig.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.