Tag Archives: deer hunting

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.)

#  #  #

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.

#  #  #

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.

# # #

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.

# # #

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.

Fishing the “Alabama Rig” in California?

To legally use the Alabama Rig in California inland waters, the rig must be attached to one rod with one line and no more than three of the attached lures containing hooks.

Question: A recent innovation on the pro bass-fishing trail is something called the “Alabama Rig”, which is similar to what is called an “Umbrella Rig” by saltwater anglers. The Alabama Rig consists of five or six lures [usually plastic grubs or small swimbaits] radiating from a central attachment point by wires, imitating a school of baitfish. It looks very similar to a “mobile” that you might suspend above a baby’s crib. Since all the lures have hooks in them, would this rig be legal for inland/freshwater fishing in California for bass or other species?” (Steve C., Chico)

Answer:With the amount of money available through tournament fishing these days, anglers are constantly looking for the next big thing to help them catch more and bigger bass. We have received a lot of questions recently regarding the “Alabama Rig” and whether they are legal to use in California. Unfortunately, regulations in California differ from those in Alabama and this type of fishing tackle is not legal

According to competitive bass angler and Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Game Warden Tim Little, the traditional “Alabama Rig” is not legal to use because it contains five separate lures each with a hook. California law allows for a maximum of three lures to be used on an individual line (whether the lure has a single hook as shown in your photograph or uses three hooks as allowed by law.)

In California, “all fish may be taken only by angling with one closely attended rod and line or one hand line with not more than three hooks nor more than three artificial lures (each lure may have three hooks attached) thereto” (California Code of Regulations, section 2.00).

To legally use the Alabama Rig in California inland waters, the rig must be attached to one rod with one line and no more than three of the attached lures containing hooks. Those lures containing hooks may have no more than three hooks attached to each lure. The other two could have hookless teasers. Some people locally have even developed a modified three wire rig (now called a Cali-rig), which is legal.

What to do with prohibited aquarium sharks?
Question: I live in Southern California and maintain private fish tanks for my clients. I have a client that has a 5,000 gallon shark tank with a black tip reef shark. After hearing about other Requiem Sharks being seized (CCR Title 14, section 671 (c)(6)(A)), my client would like to know what he can do to have permits or if this shark has been grandfathered in as he bought the shark in 2008 with verifying receipts. Please let me know what we can do regarding this matter. (Ryan C.)

Answer: Unfortunately, permits are not available to possess species listed in CCR Title 14, section 671 (Importation, Transportation and Possession of Live Restricted Animals) for hobby (pet) purposes. To stay within the law, the only options are: (1) transfer the animal to another appropriately permitted facility, (2) transfer the animal out of the state, or (3) humanely destroy it (CCR Title 14, section 671.5).

Handgun with a flashlight/laser-lite combo?
Question: If I am hunting for big game with a rifle, is it legal to also carry a handgun equipped with a flashlight/laser-lite combo? The handgun would only be a sidearm for safety. (Yia L.)

Answer: Yes, it is legal as long as the handgun is not used to assist in the taking of big game.

Can a rifle hunter and an archery-only hunter hunt together?
Question: If I’m out hunting during general deer rifle season with a partner, and I have a regular deer tag and he has an archery-only (AO) tag, does that mean we cannot hunt together because I would be hunting with a rifle? It seems like technically we wouldn’t be breaking the law but I’m not sure how a warden in the field would interpret this. (Roger A.)

Answer: The restriction only applies to archers who are taking deer during the archery season and in areas where the AO tag can legally be used. As long as your individual method of take (firearm or archery) matches the tag you carry, you can legally hunt together. However, if you choose to hunt in close proximity to your friend and are contacted by a game warden, you can expect that you will be asked several questions to ensure that the special privileges granted to AO tag holders is not being compromised.

#  #  #

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.

Shooting or Hunting from a Bicycle?

Shooting or taking game from a bicycle is not specifically prohibited by Fish and Game laws. However, shooting a firearm from, upon or across a public road is prohibited (Photo by Robert Clark and Bowhunting.net)

Question: I will soon be taking off to the mountains from the valley floor to do some mountain quail and tree squirrel hunting. In past years, after arriving at hunting camp, most of my hunting was done on foot and so I couldn’t cover much ground in a day. Last year I took my grandson with me to start teaching him a little about gun safety, hunting and camping in the wild. After walking for a while he got tired though and wanted to rest. We were walking along a logging road and he told me that he wished he had his bicycle with him. This got me to thinking that with a bike I could cover much more area, be basically silent, use no fossil fuel and get some much needed exercise to boot. So, for my hunting trip this year I purchased a mountain bicycle and got it geared up with saddle bags and a handle bar gun rack for my shotgun.

Now I’m all ready to go but can’t find any hunting laws, rules or regulations concerning guns and bicycles on logging roads. Here are my questions:

  • Can I legally shoot from my bicycle while stopped with my feet on the ground or do I have to completely dismount the bicycle to shoot?
  • Can I have a shotgun shell in the chamber while on my bicycle (like while walking) or must I have the chamber empty and action open like when in a motor vehicle?
  • Can I carry a holstered six shot, black powder pistol with five rounds capped on my bicycle or do all the nipples have to be uncapped as in a motor vehicle?

I don’t want to do anything illegal or get into any trouble, so I would appreciate any help with these questions. (K. Broberg)

Answer: Shooting or taking game from a bicycle, whether on it or straddling it, is not specifically prohibited in California Fish and Game laws. However, section 374(c) of the Penal Code prohibits shooting a firearm from or upon a public road. A logging road is not a highway but it may be a public road depending on multiple factors, including who owns and/or maintains the road. But, in any case it is advisable to always be off any road before shooting even if it is not expressly prohibited by law.

Loaded rifles or shotguns are prohibited in any vehicle or conveyance “while standing on … any way open to the public” (Fish and Game Code, section 2006). In your case the bicycle is a conveyance and the logging road is a way open to the public — assuming it is open to travel by everyone and not just to those having specific permission from the owner. Bicycles may NOT be used in designated Wilderness Areas.

Department of Fish and Game (DFG) law does not prohibit carrying a holstered six shot, even in a motor vehicle. The loaded-gun law applies only to rifles and shotguns. There are other law enforcement agencies that do have strict laws against carrying loaded guns in vehicles though.

Raiding derelict lobster traps
Question: I recently came across a video on YouTube of some guys pulling lobster from a lost derelict lobster trap. While it’s crystal clear that pulling lobster from actively fishing traps is stealing, what is DFG’s stand on taking lobsters from a derelict trap if it’s lost its identifying marker buoy? (Andrew)

Answer: It does not matter if it’s a derelict trap without an identifying buoy still attached, it’s still illegal to take lobster from a trap. Traps are not an allowable method of take for lobsters (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.80(a)) and it is illegal to move or disturb any trap belonging to another without written permission in possession from the owner of the trap (CCR Title 14, section 29.80(a)(3)).

Non-hunting friend carries firearm for hunter
Question: I know the regs say that only hunters with the proper license and tag can carry a firearm during rifle deer season. What if there are two individuals, only one of whom is licensed and hunting deer, and that person successfully shoots a deer. Then while hauling the deer out of the back country, can the non-hunter carry his friend’s firearm as long as it is unloaded and the bolt is removed? (Kevin U.)

Answer: Yes, this would be legal as long as the non-hunting friend carrying the firearm is not a felon or otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms.

Selling deer skin
Question: Is it legal to sell a deer skin?

Answer: Yes. While most wildlife cannot be sold, deer hides and antlers that have been cut into blocks can be sold. Whole antlers may not be sold.

#  #  #

 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.


Halibut Fishing Alternatives

DFG Associate Marine Biologist with a California halibut (Photo by Travis Tanaka)

Question:  I fish out of Morro Bay for halibut but there’s no live bait available this year. Because of that, I’d like to try ball bouncing for halibut and am thinking about trolling a Rapalla fishing lure as bait. I have two Rapalla lures with three galvanized treble hooks attached to them. I know the limit is only two hooks for most ocean fishes. Can I use these lures as they are designed or do I have to cut a set of hooks off them to be legal? (Chris Jones)

Answer: There are no hook restrictions for halibut, so the lure you have described would be legal to use. However, according to our halibut program expert, Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Associate Marine Biologist Travis Tanaka, you should remove one of the treble hooks. There are two reasons for this. First, a hooked fish would be safer to handle because you wouldn’t have the additional hooks (not hooked in the fish) possibly hooking your clothing or skin. Second, short fish would be easier to release because again you wouldn’t have to worry about the additional hooks catching where you don’t want them to.
Tanaka says many anglers will also use a rig similar to that used for salmon, basically a hoochie/flasher trolled on the bottom. He’s also caught halibut drifting frozen anchovies.

We recommend a soft, knotless landing net. Sublegal-sized halibut landed with this type of net don’t fin split (damage their fins) and they will have a greater chance of survival when you release.

Booking a hunting trip?
Question: Can you direct me to a legitimate site to book a hunting trip? How can we hunt on government land? What are the costs? (Cheri Wengronowitz)

Answer: DFG makes no recommendations in support of any particular guide or hunting service. Hence, your best bet is to contact other hunters to ask about their experiences in order to help you decide which guide service to go with.

According to DFG’s Bear, Mountain Lion and Wild Pig Programs Statewide Coordinator Marc Kenyon, you can hunt on certain government-owned (public) lands in California. Public lands in California are primarily owned, operated and maintained by DFG, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Department of Defense or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Each of these agencies has developed rules and regulations for the lands they administer. They provide details of which lands are open to public access for outdoor recreational activities (including hunting), and the time of year they are open. Some of these lands are open year-round with no access fees, but some lands are open only certain times of the year with an access fee. Moreover, some public lands are entirely closed to all public use, mostly for protection of certain plant and animal species.

Generally speaking, most big game mammal hunting occurs on DFG, BLM, Military or Forest Service lands. Small mammal and varmint hunting occurs on BLM and Forest Service lands. Waterfowl and upland game bird hunting occurs on DFG and USFWS lands.

For the regulations governing the use of DFG lands, please go to http://www.dfg.ca.gov/lands. Please contact the other land management agencies for rules or regulations concerning their lands.

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

Answer:  In ocean waters it would be legal to gaff a legal size salmon pursuant to the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 28.65(d), but you must still have a landing net that is at least 18 inches in diameter on board to land any undersize fish. In inland waters, CCR Title 14, section 2.06 makes it illegal to use or possess a gaff throughout California with one exception, which is a section of the Sacramento River below the Deschutes Road Bridge where gaffs three feet or less in length may be used to land legal sized fish. This exception only applies to anglers fishing from a boat.

# # #

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.