Tag Archives: deer hunting

Lobster Fishing Changes Coming?

DFG Marine Biologist Travis Buck holds a California spiny lobster caught in a traditional hoop net (DFG photo)

CDFG Marine Biologist Travis Buck holds a California spiny lobster caught in a traditional hoop net (CDFG photo)

Question: Why do lobster report cards run calendar year (Jan. to Dec) instead of from the beginning of the season to the end (Oct. to March)? It seems it would be less labor-intensive and more accurate to receive landing data once a year rather than twice a year, and you wouldn’t be charging fishermen double to be able to fish the full season. (Jack)

Answer: Lobster report cards run calendar year because they have been linked to fishing licenses, which have always run calendar year. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is not “charging double” because a report card purchased in early January can be used for the last 2-1/2 months of one lobster season, and the first three months of the next lobster season.

However, your question is timely. The Fish and Game Commission is considering changing lobster report cards to run through the season beginning in October with the 2013-2014 lobster season. This is possible with the recent implementation of the Automated License Data System (ALDS). Under the proposal, the new deadline for the return of seasonal lobster report cards would be April 30. Anyone who fails to return or is late returning their report card by the deadline will be charged a $20 non-return fee when purchasing a lobster report card for the following season. Details and full language of the regulation change proposal are posted at:  www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/2013/. If you’d like to provide comments to the Fish and Game Commission, the deadline is March 5 and you can do so by e-mail at www.fgc.ca.gov/contact/.

One of the main reasons for the institution of a report card was to determine the number of sport fishermen who target lobster and the number of lobsters that are being taken. Nearly 30,000 lobster report cards were sold each year from 2008-2011, and more than 37,000 cards were sold in 2012. By contrast, there are  about 150 active commercial lobster fishermen. CDFW is mandated by state law to manage the lobster resource, which includes both the commercial and recreational lobster fisheries.

The CDFW is currently developing a Lobster Fishery Management Plan (FMP).  Details at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/lobsterfmp/.

For lobster report card data summaries, visit www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/lobsterfmp/lit.asp.

Alabama rig revisited
Question: I work for a Southern California county lake and saw a new rig that is being sold in stores known as the “Alabama Rig.” It consists of a set-up where you can clip 3-5 lures onto a swivel-type attachment to make it appear like a school of bait fish. I try to stay current with the state freshwater regulations so I can keep fishermen informed as well. I remember seeing in the current state freshwater regulations that there is a maximum two hook set-up per line. Are these “rigs” legal to use? I would greatly appreciate your answer. (Matt T.)

Answer: Yes, an Alabama rig may be used, but only when modified to use no more than three hooks. When the Alabama rig is configured to comply with California law, many call it a California Rig. See a previous entry on Alabama rigs from this column at http://californiaoutdoors.wordpress.com/2011/12/page/2/.

Is it legal to hunt with my .223 caliber AR 15?
Question: Unless laws change by the time the season opens, will I be able to hunt deer in California with a .223 caliber AR 15? (John C.)

Answer: Fish and Game hunting laws authorize using any firearm rifle using centerfire cartridges for taking deer, as long as the firearm is otherwise legal to possess in California. Although the caliber is legal, the .223 round is considered by most big game hunters to be too small for the take of deer.

Selling antique deer heads and a deer antler chandelier?
Question: I’m an antique dealer in Riverside County and have an old deer head and a deer antler chandelier. Is it permissible to sell these items in my shop? (Sharon C.)

Answer: Yes and no. If those birds or mammals are found in the wild in California, the sale or purchase of those animals, and/or their parts, is prohibited (Fish and Game Code, section 3039). If the items you have are made from species of deer NOT found in California (e.g. white-tailed deer, caribou, reindeer, etc.), then you may sell them. Only black-tail and mule deer occur naturally in California. However, shed antlers or antlers taken from domestically-reared animals that have been manufactured into products or handcraft items, or that have been cut into blocks or units which are to be handcrafted, may be purchased or 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.

Shipping Venison to the Troops Overseas?

Mule deer (by David Hannigan, CNDR)

Mule deer (by David Hannigan, CNDR)

Question: We are interested in shipping sealed venison packages to the troops overseas. Are there any California laws that prohibit this? The sealed venison will consist of packages of 50 to 100 pounds. If you could please advise us of any regulations or guidelines related to the shipping of sealed game to troops overseas, it would be greatly appreciated. (Anonymous)

Answer: There are no laws that prohibit the shipping of venison from California as long as the animals were lawfully taken in accordance with California Fish and Game laws, including seasons, limits, and gender restrictions. In addition, any  package being shipped by common carrier must bear the name and address of the shipper and/or the consignee, and an accurate description of the numbers and kinds of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles or amphibians contained in the package clearly and conspicuously marked on the outside (Fish and Game Code, section 2348.) Federal laws have similar marking requirements. For details, go to www.fws.gov.

However, whether or not the military will accept sealed venison from a private citizen is another issue. Contact them directly for details.

Feeding park squirrels?
Question: I have been warned three times this year by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy that the next time I am caught feeding squirrels at the local park, I will get a ticket. The deputy stated they enforce state regulations. However, I fed them foods that are safe; food from pet stores such as pigeon feed and raw unshelled peanuts.  There are no signs posted in the park where I visit but I was told it’s still a violation.

There are really no food sources for these animals at the park and I don’t want to see malnourished animals. Please let me know the specific law covering this subject since I have not been able to find it online. I will abide by whatever the law says. This may seem to be an unimportant matter, but to me as a senior, it becomes a quality of life issue. Thank you. (Tamara M.)

Answer: The deputy is correct. By feeding wildlife, you are likely disrupting the animals’ normal behavior patterns in violation of California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 251.1. Some local ordinances also prohibit feeding wildlife.

It’s important not to feed wildlife because feeding brings animals into close proximity with each other, which puts them at greater risk of exposure to diseases and the droppings of the other animals, especially from large populations of birds in a relatively small area. If the animals expect the food, they will stay in the area and may create a public health and water quality issue. Also, even the healthiest pet food and seeds they get from people could never duplicate the diet they would get eating the food found in their natural environment. If the natural food supply in an area decreases, that is a signal to the animals to move to a different area.

See additional information regarding feeding wildlife online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/LivingWithWildlife/.

What’s legal as live bait?
Question: I fish the ocean waters off Mendocino and Humboldt counties from a sport boat and target lingcod and other groundfish. My question is can I use live sanddabs and small black and blue rockfish to catch lingcod? (Jason S.)

Answer: Yes, you can catch these species to then use for bait in ocean waters as long as they are all taken and possessed legally. All seasons, bag and size limits apply, even if rendered to be bait to use for lingcod and other large fish species. They also must be counted toward your bag limit.

Why the new sturgeon regulations?
Question: What’s so special about sturgeon that the new regulations and measures are required? (Jeff D., Modesto)

Answer: Green sturgeon is a threatened species and white sturgeon has long been a substantial management concern. To protect sturgeon populations and the vibrant white sturgeon fishery, the Department and Commission have emphasized sturgeon enforcement, research, fishing regulations, passage improvements (e.g. at bypass weirs on the Sacramento River) and outreach.  The State legislature is also aware of the sturgeon issue, and in 2007 implemented a law (AB 1187; DeSaulnier). This law made it easier for CDFW wildlife officers to charge poachers with illegal commercialization of sturgeon and the law drastically increased the fines for illegal commercialization of sturgeon.

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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.

Prohibited from Retrieving Deer from Private Property

Mule deer (Photo courtesy of UDWR)

Question: I recently shot a doe with my A31 tag in Los Angeles County (Archery Only-Either Sex). It appeared to be a lethal shot from 22 yards with decent shot placement. I tracked the blood to a privately owned ranch 100 yards away. I stopped tracking it when it appeared she went onto the ranch property. I then approached the ranch manager to get permission to continue tracking my deer. The owner initially agreed but after one of her coworkers talked to her, she retracted her permission (approximately 10 minutes from the time we spoke in her office). She requested that we leave her property at once as she didn’t want people to think they approved of hunting. I didn’t have enough time to locate my deer and left broken-hearted.

I don’t like seeing animals die or suffer for no reason. I would never have shot if I would have known I couldn’t recover her. I believe I did everything legal and correct but it shouldn’t be right that a deer goes to waste because of the bias of a property manager.

Is there anything I could have done to recover my deer? Do I have any rights or is there anyone I could have contacted? I’m still sick over the situation. (Luke G., Loma Linda)

Answer: It’s unfortunate that this happened. Although the law prevents one from wasting the deer, the law does not permit the trespass to retrieve it. Perhaps, if you’d contacted the local game warden, they may have been able to contact the ranch manager or owner for some possible assistance to prevent the deer from going to waste.

According to Department of Fish and Game Lt. Todd Tognazzini, when archery hunting it is recommended to hunt farther from private property boundaries to avoid this type of problem as deer taken with archery usually travel farther after a lethal wound than those shot with a rifle. Tognazzini says he has never been refused when a fresh and legitimate blood trail is found leaving public land onto private property.

Live Mouth Bass for sale?
Question: I recently noticed an advertisement in the seafood section of our local Los Angeles Hong Kong supermarket newspaper where they are selling “Live Mouth Bass.” Is there really such a fish? The picture looks like they are largemouth bass. I didn’t think our precious game fish could be sold for food. If these are largemouth bass, is it legal to sell them in the market? (Doc H., Walnut)

Answer: I am not aware of a species called “live mouth bass.”  It is not legal to sell largemouth bass caught in the wild or under the authority of a sport fishing license. Often times the Asian markets have aquariums where they display live fish for sale. Largemouth bass can be sold if acquired from a private aquaculture facility with appropriate sales receipts.

Remote controlled boat
Question: I have a remote controlled boat approximately 36 inches long with a remote GPS and fish-finder system located on the boat. On the back of the boat there is a small box containing a baited hook. The hook is connected to a line with an attached weight. Once the boat is located in the area I’ve chosen, the line can be remotely deployed. The line (which can be as much as 2,000 ft. long) is also connected to the fishing pole I hold onshore. Once the line has been deployed, the boat is returned to shore. With a California fishing license, can I use this at lakes or at the beach? (Ron C.)

Answer: Yes, as long as the rod is hand-held or closely attended and the fish voluntarily takes the bait or lure. For a description of “angling” and the legal methods authorized for taking fish, please review sections 1.05 and 2.00 in the Freshwater Fishing Regulations booklet available wherever fishing licenses are sold or online at http://dfg.ca.gov/regulations/. Angling under this definition is not required in ocean waters.

Hunting predators when a bear responds to the calls
Question: If I am out hunting predators using a call, and it is during bear season, and I have a bear tag … if a bear comes in on the call, can I kill the bear?

Answer:Yes, unless they are electronic calls. It is unlawful to use any recorded or electrically amplified bird or mammal calls or sounds, or recorded or electrically amplified imitations of bird or mammal calls or sounds …to take game birds/mammals (Fish and Game Code, section 3012).

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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.

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.

Catching and Selling California’s Wild Snakes

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (USFWS photo)

Question: My 11-year-old son is interested in catching snakes to make some money for the summer. Are there any requirements? I am wondering about the regulations, permits and licenses needed to catch or sell wild snakes in California. I have read and believe I understand all of the regulations pertaining to this but I want to be sure.  Please verify:

I must have a standard resident fishing license and can catch them by hand or with a snake hook, snake tongs or a lizard noose. I am allowed four gopher snakes (Pituophis melanoleucus) and four common kingsnakes (Lampropeltis getula). In most other cases, I am permitted to catch and possess two snakes of other species unless otherwise posted.

I understand that I can catch these at any time, day or night, and at any time of year. I also understand that I can kill rattlesnakes at any time of year, with or without a license, in any manner.

I also understand that if I purchase a Native Reptile Captive Propagation Permit I would be authorized to, for commercial purposes or non-commercial purposes, sell, possess, transport, import, export or propagate native reptiles.

If my son or I caught a gopher snake by hand in a national forest, could I legally hold it for three days in a home terrarium and then sell it to a pet store? Is there anything wrong with this? Are there other permits or licenses not mentioned but that I am responsible for?

Where can I find the details and what all is entailed in purchasing a Native Reptile Captive Propagation Permit?  How do I know I am obeying all the rules? (Brett)

Answer: No reptiles taken under the authority of a sport fishing license may be sold. Only the offspring of rosy boas, California king snakes and gopher snakes can be sold under a Native Reptile Captive Propagation permit.

A person with a Biological Supply House permit may collect a variety of species, but can only sell to science or educational institutions.

According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Capt. Phil Nelms, any person under the age of 16 may take and possess their own limit of the reptiles and amphibian species listed in the Fresh Water Sport Fishing Regulations, but they may not sell them. They are not required to obtain a Sport Fishing License.

Reptiles taken from the wild and held or hatched in captivity may not be returned to the wild.

For more information regarding the requirements, fees and application process for obtaining a Native Reptile Captive Propagation Permit, please go to www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/specialpermits/.

Throw nets
Question: I cannot find anything in the ocean regulations pertaining to net casting. Is it legal to use a net to catch bait fish between Morro Bay and Pismo Beach? (Dewey S.)

Answer: Throw nets may be used in that area, but only for herring, Pacific staghorn sculpin, shiner surfperch, surf smelt, topsmelt, anchovies, shrimp or squid. The regulation says throw nets may be used only north of Point Conception for those species (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 28.80).

Game Feeders
Question: Can game feeders be used on private property if pulled down prior to hunting or the beginning of hunting season? (D. Corvello)

Answer: No. Feeding wildlife with a game feeder in California is illegal for several reasons.  First, game feeders usually broadcast grain on a timer system and are primarily designed for big game. The feeding of big game is specifically prohibited by regulation (CCR Title 14, section 251.3). Second, feeding wild animals in a manner that changes their behavior is considered harassment (CCR Title 14, section 251.1). Finally, there are strict rules regarding bait, the definition of a baited area and the restrictions that apply to the take of wildlife related to a feeder (CCR Title 14, section 257.5).

Shotgun plugs for target and skeet shooting?
Question: I have a question concerning target and skeet shooting. If I am out shooting on private property (not hunting), am I required to leave the plug in my shotgun? I bought a Mossberg 12-gauge eight-shot shotgun and it was not plugged. (Louie G.)

Answer: California Fish and Game laws restrict the capacity of shotguns when used to take birds and mammals. Fish and Game laws do not restrict the possession and use of firearms for any other purpose.

If the firearm you purchased is otherwise legal under California and U.S. law, then you may use it for target shooting.

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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.

Collecting Antlers from Carcasses

(UDWR photo)

Question:I was hiking on public land and came across a dead elk carcass that had been there a while and still had a huge rack attached to the skull. I know it’s legal to pick up shed antlers, but what about if they are still attached to the skull of an old elk carcass? Would it be legal for me to take the antlers? (Matt, Hollister)

Answer:  There is no provision in the Fish and Game Code prohibiting someone from picking up a set of antlers attached to a skull and carcass found on public land. However, this would likely appear suspicious to a game warden. Anyone who chooses to do so should be aware that pursuant to Fish and Game Code, section 2000, possession of any part of a fish or mammal in or on the fields, forests or waters of this state while returning therefrom with fishing or hunting equipment is prima facie evidence the possessor took that fish or mammal.

Please note that there are exceptions for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuges and National Parks though. On these lands it is illegal to collect antlers or to take any animal or it’s parts unless they are taken legally while hunting or with a special use permit.

Winches for pulling sport traps and hoop nets
Question: Can sport fishermen who are fishing crab traps and/or hoop nets use winches to assist in pulling the gear?

Answer: There are no regulations prohibiting the use of manual winches by sportfishers to assist in pulling crab traps or hoop nets. Use of power-driven winches is prohibited north of Point Arguello, but there is an exception for handling crab traps or nets (see CCR Title 14, section 28.70.)

Junior hunter deer tag
Question: If my junior hunter is only 11 years old right now but his birthday is before opening day of the junior deer tag, may he apply for it now even though he is 11? He will be 12 on the day of the hunt? (Shawn R.)

Answer: Your son must be the required age (12) by July 1 to apply for an apprentice (junior) deer tag. He will, however, be eligible to hunt in the junior hunt as a 16 year old because he will only be 15 on July 1 during his last year of eligibility.

Gaffing salmon
Question: Is it legal to gaff a keeper salmon in the ocean instead of using a net?

Answer: Anglers fishing from boats are required to carry landing nets that are a minimum of 18 inches in diameter. It would be best to always land fish with minimum size limits or special regulations with a landing net to avoid killing the fish in case it must be released. Anglers can be cited for violating CCR Title 14, section 28.65(d) if they gaff an undersized salmon.

Selling an ocelot coat?
Question: I live in Santa Barbara and am the not-so-proud owner of a Brazilian ocelot coat that I inherited about 11 years ago from my mother’s estate. She purchased it in New York from Christie Bros. Fur Company in August 1973, just before the Endangered Species Act (ESA) became law in December 1973. I do have the receipt for it.

I don’t want the coat and have contacted U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. I was advised to contact the California department for local ruling on such issue. According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, because it was purchased by my mother before the ESA, and then inherited by me at her death, I would be able to sell it within state lines. Does it mean I could also donate it to a local nonprofit organization and take a tax deduction? I would greatly benefit from either the income from the sale or the tax deduction if I could donate it.

My first thought was to donate it to the Oregon Zoo in Portland, which I understand is the foremost center promoting the care and birth of Brazilian ocelots in captivity. I read somewhere that sometimes the fur from the same species is used to promote newborn kittens’ comfort. Would that be an out-of-state transaction, should they be interested? Are there any other options? (Maura Lundy)

Answer: No Fish and Game Code provisions are applicable. The California Penal Code does prohibit importing and selling the pieces or parts of ocelots (and other species), or even possessing them with the intent to sell (CPC, section 653(o)). But the law does not prohibit donating the item.

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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 Ducks See Color?

Because waterfowl have a high number of cones — which dictate color vision in humans — they have color vision where colors are more vivid than what humans have the ability to see (Wood duck photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Question: Can ducks see color? I know deer see different shades of gray, but what about ducks and geese? (David V.)

Answer: Well, this actually is a fairly entertaining question since waterfowl are much different than many other animals — especially us!

According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) waterfowl biologist Shaun Oldenburger, waterfowl can control the curvature of both the lens and cornea (mammals, including humans, only control the lens). This is basically how birds can see extremely well while flying and while in the act of diving/feeding. In addition, their eyes act independently and they use one at a time to allow for depth-perception since nearly all waterfowl have monocular, not binocular, vision (they can’t stare forward at objects).

Another unique thing about waterfowl is they can see in almost all directions. A few ducks are the exception to the rule, but usually the eye placement allows them to view in many different directions at the same time. Secondly, waterfowl have a very high number of cones (which dictates color vision in humans) which allows them to see sharp images and have color vision where colors are more vivid than humans’ ability. The breadth of color vision is much wider than our own since UV light can be observed by waterfowl (UV light is absorbed by lenses in humans). This allows waterfowl to fly at night or feed in the dark or at low light conditions.

Are pier anglers considered shore-based anglers?
Question: I know that rockfish, lingcod and all groundfish are open year round to shore-based anglers. Does that include pier anglers? Seems to me that piers are shore-based, but thought I’d best check to be sure since I don’t see it spelled out in the regs. (David B.)

Answer: Yes, pier anglers are considered shore-based anglers.

Hunting deer after dropping their antlers?
Question: I have a question about a deer being legal to take after it drops its antlers. I hunt during the late archery deer season and was hunting one buck for about a month. By the end of the A-22 archery season, the buck had dropped both antlers. The regs read as follows:

§351. Forked-Horn Buck, Antlerless and Either-Sex Deer Defined.

  • (a) Forked-Horn Buck Defined. For the purpose of these regulations a forked-horn buck is defined as a male deer having a branched antler on either side with the branch in the upper two-thirds of the antler. Eyeguards or other bony projections on the lower one-third of the antler shall not be considered as points or branches.
  • (b) Antlerless Deer Defined. For the purpose of these regulations, antlerless deer are defined as female deer, fawns of either sex other than spotted fawns, and male deer with an unbranched antler on one or both sides which is not more than three inches in length.
  • (c) Either-Sex Deer Defined. For the purpose of these regulations, either-sex deer are defined as antlerless deer as described in section 351 (b), or legal bucks that have two or more points in the upper two-thirds of either antler. Spike bucks may not be taken.

The way I read the regs, it would be illegal to shoot a buck after it dropped its antlers. Can you clarify this for me please? (Jim P.)

Answer: Yes, you are correct. That deer got lucky this year!

Lifetime licenses?
Question: Why did California stop sending lifetime licenses out? At the time of purchase there were no restrictions implying I had to remain a resident of California and I had no intentions of moving. Circumstances changed though and now I live out of state. Does this negate the lifetime license privileges that I’ve already paid for? (Aron H., Homer, Alaska)

Answer:  No, your lifetime license status has not changed because you moved out of state. According to DFG Sport Fishing/Waterfowl/Upland Game Program Analyst Glenn Underwood, a change in lifetime license issuance procedures was made when we launched the Automated License Data System in 2010.  Lifetime license customers must now verify that their personal information is correct and request their license annually.

There are three ways to claim your license:

1. Pick up your license at any license agent. A list of license agents is available at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/OutletSearch/FindOutlet.

2. Order it online at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing. Log in and complete your transaction as though you are making a purchase. There will be no charge for your lifetime license.

3. Call (800) 565-1458 and your license will be mailed to you.

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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.