Tag Archives: Diving

Abalone Diving with Spare Air for Safety?

Abalone may be taken only by freediving without the assistance of SCUBA or surface-supplied air (Photo courtesy of Ken Bailey)

Question: While abalone diving, I would like to keep a very small, emergency supply of air on my person as a safety precaution. The device would be shrink-wrapped to indicate evidence of use. The idea being that if the seal is intact, there would be no evidence of “use” and I would be in compliance with the law. The product I’m asking about can be seen at http://www.spareairxtreme.com/.

Would I be in violation of any of the regulations if I were to wear such a device while taking abalone, assuming I did not use the device and had sufficient evidence to prove such a claim? (Aaron L.)

Answer: The law prohibits the “use of SCUBA gear or surface-supplied air to take abalone” (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.15(e)). According to DFG Lt. Dennis McKiver, this includes having it in your possession, even if you are not actually breathing off of it. The law also states that abalone may not be taken or possessed aboard any boat, vessel, or floating device in the water containing SCUBA or surface-supplied air. Since you are not allowed to have SCUBA gear in your possession on a boat while taking abalone (even if the SCUBA gear is not being used), to be consistent with the law, this “spare air” product would also not be allowed as the same principles apply.


Turkey hunting and pig hunting at the same time?
Question: Spring turkey season is one of my favorite times of the year and I’m heading out for a gobbler next weekend. I do a lot of my hunting in prime hog country and like to combine my options when I’m there. I usually hunt with a bow but am considering carrying my .44 revolver for hogs, and a shotgun for turkeys. Could this cause a conflict if I’m stopped because the .44 is not legal for turkey hunting? If all lead-restrictions are observed, would it be legal to carry the handgun while turkey hunting with a shotgun? What about carrying the handgun and the bow at the same time? (Phillip L.)

Answer: There are no restrictions against carrying a shotgun for turkeys and a handgun for pigs at the same time. And since you’re not hunting during the deer archery only season, should you decide to bow hunt for turkeys, there are also no restrictions against carrying both a bow and a firearm on the same trip.


Hunting license needed to shoot gophers on private land?
Question:Do I need a hunting license to shoot gophers on private land? (Anonymous)

Answer: Yes. Gophers are nongame mammals and may be taken by licensed hunters. In addition, gophers that are damaging growing crops or other property may be taken without a hunting license by the owner or the owner’s agent.


Shooting from a reservoir too close to our homes
Question:We live near a reservoir where people do a lot of duck hunting on. Our houses sit right above the reservoir and they sometimes get hit with duck shot. Does the 150 yard distance apply on reservoirs the same as it does on land? And can we post signs along the reservoir to warn people about no shooting? (Curtis B., Redding)

Answer: Yes, the same prohibition against shooting within 150 yards from an occupied dwelling exists for people shooting from the water the same as when on land (Fish and Game Code, section 3004). And yes, you can post your property to warn unaware hunters/shooters.


Hunting Wild Ox or Buffalo?
Question:I am a lifetime hunting license holder with the additional big game package. Last time I hiked in the Cleveland National Forest, I saw a wild ox (my son said it was a buffalo, but it had smooth skin without fur and thin long pointed horns). Could you tell me if I can take it? It is not listed anywhere on your website for a tag requirement. (Allen H.)

Answer: It is not uncommon for domestic livestock to be found on Forest Service lands. In fact, many ranchers have long-term contracts with the Forest Service allowing that use. In addition, National Forest property is commonly adjacent to private ranches and the livestock frequently stray onto the public land.

According to ret. DFG Capt. Phil Nelms though, a truly feral cow or similar domestic stock (except a burro) is considered to be a nongame mammal in the Fish and Game regulations and can be taken. A hunting license is required but there are no prescribed seasons or bag limits.

Beware though … if you kill one of these animals and it is not feral, you could be prosecuted for a felony. Stick to deer!!

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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.

When is a duck not a duck anymore?

Mallard drake (Photo ODFW)

Question: During waterfowl season, I would like to hold onto as many birds as I can so that I can mount those birds that are in the best shape. But at what point does a duck go from being a duck in my possession to a carcass for mounting? Does a skinned-out bird count as one duck toward that season’s bag limit? Do birds in the freezer from last year count toward this season’s bag limit? Do mounted birds count toward my possession limit? I would like to know what the regulations are and abide by them. (Brian Porter)

Answer: According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Assistant Chief Mike Carion, generally, Fish and Game laws and regulations prohibit a person from having more than the bag or possession limit prescribed for each species. You may not keep game for longer than 10 days following the season, unless you have a valid hunting license (or a copy) for that species that was issued to you or to the person who donated the birds to you. The license must have been issued for the current or immediate past license year. Possession limits apply to each person in the household whether they were the taker of the game or not. As long as you do not possess more than the legal possession limit for each person living at the residence, you will still be in compliance with the laws.

If you plan on mounting birds for another person, you will be required to obtain a Federal Taxidermy Permit (Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 50, section 21.24) and will be required to tag all birds belonging to someone else (specific requirements can be found in CFR Title 50, section 20.36). In addition, you must keep accurate records of who you obtained the birds from, date taken, species and who you deliver the bird to. (Fish and Game Code, section 3087 and California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 14, section 695).

As far as at what point a duck is no longer a duck and instead a carcass for mounting, under DFG laws, “bird” means any wild bird or part thereof. A feather, bone, webfoot, etc. from a wild duck is always a bird. Once you remove, consume or otherwise use the edible portions of the bird, the bird would no longer count toward your possession limit for the season. As long as you have the edible portions of the bird, it would still count toward your possession limit.

Once you skin out a duck and remove all of the edible portions, the edible portion remains part of your possession limit while the remainder of the carcass can be kept for taxidermy without counting toward your possession limit.

Keep in mind that birds still in the freezer from last year DO count toward this season’s possession limit, but mounted birds that were legally taken and preserved by taxidermy are not counted in either the bag or possession limits.

For more information, please see Fish and Game Code, sections 22, 2001 and 3080, available online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/.


Legal method to take rock scallops?
Question:What is the legal method of take for rock scallops and are there any size limitations? Am I allowed to SCUBA dive for rock scallops? (Lee C.)

Answer: You may use SCUBA to take rock scallops. The daily bag and possession limit is 10 rock scallops per person and there are no size limits. They may be taken by hand or by using dive knives or abalone irons. The regulations that discuss legal methods for taking rock scallops are located in your current 2010-2011 Ocean Sport Fishing regulations booklet in section 29.05(d) (page 52) and section 29.60(b) (page 55).


Can filling guzzlers be considered baiting?
Question:I have a question concerning water for guzzlers. I’ve always assumed it was okay to add water to dry or nearly dry guzzlers, but an incident occurred to a friend of mine in early summer that has me wondering. He was adding 50 gallons to a dry guzzler when a hiker came up to him and told him what he was doing was illegal, mentioning that he could be cited for baiting wildlife. I find that hard to believe, but figured we better check it out with DFG. Are there any laws against adding water to dry or nearly dry guzzlers? (Gerald O.)

Answer: There are no fish and game laws specifically prohibiting adding water to a guzzler or other area where wildlife may gather to drink. In fact, there is a very active volunteer effort addressing this in Southern California. There are some restrictions, though, so please check CCR Title 14, section 730 to ensure that your activities are legal.

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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.

Hazing turkey vultures from rooftop roosts

Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) are scavengers that feed almost exclusively on carrion. They are widespread throughout North America (Photo by Nick Todd)

Question: I have 15-20 turkey vultures that have been roosting on my roof. They are congregating and making a mess on my roof and in my yard with their droppings and molted feathers. My house is two stories and the roof is tile so access is difficult. How can I get rid of them? (Lawrence)

Answer: You have different persuasion options available for moving these birds from your roof to a more appropriate roost site. According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Raptor Biologist Carie Battistone, these may include repetitive loud noises, motion sensor sprinklers and the use of an effigy (usually a taxidermic preparation or an artificial likeness of a deceased vulture). Since your roof is steep and hard to access, you will have to use caution when placing anything on the roof. If all else fails, you may want to call Wildlife Services (federal wildlife trappers) to ask for advice or possibly for someone to come out to help you.

Below are several links to articles on deterring vultures from roost sites:

Website for Wildlife Services: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/

Guidelines for Using Effigies to Disperse Nuisance Vulture Roosts: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/nwrc/research/invasive_wildlife/content/VultureEffigy%20Guidelines-revisedMar2010.pdf

Managing Depredation and Nuisance Problems Caused by Vultures: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ws/researchreports/report05.pdf


High-grading abalone is illegal and may kill those returned
Question:
A game warden on the north coast told me recently that abalone high-grading is as much of a problem as poaching, and that it’s often the legal abalone harvesters who are doing it without even realizing they’re doing something wrong. Now we all know the regs say you can take three, so as long as any smaller abs are returned to rocky crevices before leaving the water, and the diver ends up with the three best abalone they can find, what does it really matter? (Rini R., Fort Bragg)

Answer: High-grading for abalone is when legal-sized abalone are extracted from their crevices or detached from their substrate but then later returned in favor of larger animals. This is not legal or sporting and the law prohibits this largely due to concerns for the health of the animals. Abalone are hemophiliacs and can be difficult to dislodge from their protective crevices or substrate. Any cuts or damage they may sustain while being detached by the ab iron can cause them bleed to death. For this reason, all legal-sized abalone detached are required to be retained by the person who detaches it, up to the three per bag limit. In addition, no undersize abalone may be retained in any person’s possession or under his control. Undersize abalone must be replaced immediately to the same surface of the rock from which detached (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.15[d]).

In addition, according to DFG Lt. Dennis McKiver, no person shall take more than 24 abalone during a calendar year (CCR Title 14, section 29.15[c]). If the diver takes three legal-sized abalone and puts them back, those abalone still count toward both the diver’s daily and yearly limit. This means that divers must still record those abalone on their report card so as to not exceed their yearly limit.

If a game warden sees someone take an abalone that is obviously larger than seven inches and the person puts the abalone back, this person has just violated CCR Title 14, section 29.15(d). If that person then doesn’t record the abalone, he is guilty of failing to complete the Abalone Report Card as required. Game wardens on the north coast have written several citations for this, usually to trophy hunters looking for that elusive 10-inch abalone. The wardens try to convince people hunting for trophy abalone to measure them before removing them from rocks.


Shooting doves with a .22?
Question:
I have heard from a few friends that a rimfire rifle (.22 lr or mag.) can be used to take doves or Eurasian collared doves since they’re considered small game. Is that correct? If not, what type of firearm is appropriate? (Anonymous)

Answer: Rifles may not be used for the take of doves. Mourning dove and white-wing dove are migratory game and their take is regulated by CCR Title 14, section 507. Only shotguns, muzzleloading shotguns and dogs may be used to take migratory game birds. Eurasian collared doves, spotted doves and ringed turtle doves are non migratory and are therefore covered by CCR T14, section 311, which allows take by pellet rifle, archery and crossbow.


Do river guide boats need to be licensed?
Question:
I would like to know if guided drift boats need a California hull sticker. Drift boat guides say they don’t have a motor and so they don’t need one. I would say 95 percent of guide boats on the Trinity River in California don’t have the sticker. What does the law say? (Joe B.)

Answer: The guides are correct. If the boat is without a motor, no CF number is needed.

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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.

Taking extra game to give away?

DFG photo by Derek Stein

 

Question: If I go diving with a friend in Sea Ranch (Sonoma County) and my wife stays home in San Francisco, can I dive one day and gift those abalone to my wife even though she is not with me at the moment? Then the following day, can I dive again, take an additional limit for myself, and then drive home alone with six abalone in my car? I would make sure the abalone remained in their shells and I would carry a letter stating three of the abalone are gifts for my wife. Does she have to be with me in order for me to gift the abalone to her? (Chuck V.)

Answer: This scenario would not be legal. Regardless of your intent, if you have six abalone in your possession, you will be in violation of an overlimit and could be cited and have all of your abalone confiscated. Only three abalone may be possessed at any time by an individual, period (California Code of Regulations, section 29.15[c]).

In order for you to legally gift abalone to someone else, that person must be with you to receive and personally take possession of the abalone. Just carrying a note stating that you intend to gift three of the six abalone in your possession to your wife will not suffice because you are still in possession of an overlimit, and are thus in violation of the law.

Even though regulations allow for gifting abalone to other people, remember that bag and possession limits are set up as fishery management tools to help control excessive take of abalone. Even with the current limits and regulations, there is concern that some heavily used fishing sites are showing signs of reduced abalone populations. Careful management of this fishery is required to help assure California’s abalone stocks remain healthy and sustainable for continued future harvest through the coming years. Each diver and shore picker should be aware and mindful of this and help whenever they can.


Are Native Americans exempt from California fishing laws?
Question: On the Klamath River, is it legal for an Indian guide with paying clients on his boat to use more than one rod per passenger and barbed hooks when this is illegal on this river? (Kathleen C.)

Answer: Generally, there are no exceptions for Native Americans in the fishing regulations; however, on some rivers where Tribal Rights have been granted to the native people while on the tribal lands, they may be exempt from California fishing laws. When such exemptions are in place it only applies to Native Americans on the Tribal Roll of the Tribe with the rights. In your example, the paying clients are not exempt unless they are Native Americans on the Tribal Roll of the Tribe with the exemption.


Wild bird feeding
Question: We feed birds in our yard year round, but this year we are delighted to have a family of wild quail who have taken up residence in our yard in San Ramon. Our problem is there are also two pairs of raucous big birds that look like and act like blue jays, and they have taken over our yard.

Their call is so unpleasant and they are aggressive and chase away other smaller birds. They are eating the food we’re trying to preserve for the quail and other smaller birds, such as finches. Can those large blue-jay-like birds be trapped or contained some how? They are so bold they attack neighborhood dogs and cats by pecking at their heads. Help, please! (Dione Z.)

Answer: Sorry to hear about the problem you’re having. Unfortunately, the jays are protected under the Migratory Bird Act and so cannot be trapped, contained or hurt. Your best bet is to try to change your feeding methods somehow to exclude the Jays. This may be difficult but it’s really your only alternative.


Deer hunting from my porch?
Question: I have a house on five acres near Winters in northern California and have some really nice bucks on my land. Everyday they come within a few feet of my house and graze on my garden and plants. If I purchase an A Zone tag this year, can I legally shoot a deer on my land from my house or porch? My house is situated more than 200 yards from any other property or house and it is outside of the city limits. Thanks. (Brian T.)

Answer: Yes. The safety zone law prohibits shooting within 150 yards of any occupied dwelling without the permission of the occupant. As long as it is otherwise legal to discharge a firearm in this area (e.g. not in the city limits), then go for it!

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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.

Humanely Wrangling Halibut

Ken Oda with a nice California halibut (DFG photo by Travis Tanaka)

Question: I’d like to try spearfishing for halibut. If I do find a nice one, can you tell me the best way to quickly kill the fish when I get to it in order to minimize any pain? There must be some spot on the fish where by using a knife, I can quickly kill it with the least suffering. (Justin M, San Diego)

Answer: A well-placed shot with a spear will immobilize a halibut fairly quickly and is probably the most efficient means of killing the fish. According to Department of Fish and Game Associate Marine Biologist Ed Roberts, most spear fishermen do not need to dispatch their fish after retrieving them as the actual shot usually does so. To minimize the struggle and ethically kill your halibut, direct your shots to the spine or brain. On those occasions when you may need to dispatch a halibut or other “round” fish (as opposed to a “flat” fish), bring it to the boat and strike the fish on the top of the head, in between the eyes, with a blunt instrument like a “fish billy” rather than with a knife. Trying to do so with a knife on a small boat can be dangerous.

If you are a novice, it is probably not a good idea to attempt to struggle with and subdue a large, wounded halibut underwater with one hand while holding a sharp knife in the other. If you are determined to try to kill the fish as quickly as possible while underwater, you might consider tearing out a gill arch with your hands, or severing it with a knife. Be careful doing this, however, because halibut do have sharp gill rakers and teeth that can cause injury to unprotected fingers. Blood vessels in the arches carry copious amounts of blood to and from the gills, so severing these vessels would cause the fish to bleed to death in short order.

Is putting that much blood in the water a good idea? I’ll leave that up to you, but remember that the sound waves created by the struggling, wounded fish may attract the attention of other large predatory fish. Remember too that many of these predators have highly developed sensory systems, and these sensations will probably travel farther and quicker through the water than will the blood.


What to do with Eurasian collared doves?
Question:
I understand the Eurasian collared dove is an invasive species and there is no limit on them during dove season. I recently noticed a pair of them nesting by my house. Should I destroy them or let them be? (Gene E., Winton, California)

Answer: Though Eurasian collard doves are invasive, you should let them be. During the hunting season there is no bag limit on them, but that is the only period of time when they can be legally taken. In addition, section 3503 of the Fish and Game Code states it is unlawful to needlessly destroy the nest or eggs of any bird.


Okay to fish the bays with two poles?
Question:
Can I fish two poles in Tomales Bay or fish any bay as long as I have the second rod stamp? (Rick)

Answer: In San Francisco and San Pablo bays you can only use one fishing line with no more than three separate hooks or lures. When fishing from a boat, fishing is restricted to daylight hours only (one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset). While fishing from public piers inside San Francisco and San Pablo bays you cannot use more than two rods and lines, two hand lines, or two nets, traps or other appliances used to take crabs.

In ocean waters other than San Francisco and San Pablo bays, you may use as many poles as you can attend to for many species, but single pole restrictions apply to some species such as salmon and rockfish. The second pole stamp only applies when fishing in fresh water.


To keep the beard, or not?
Question:
A turkey hunting friend who lives in Vallejo but has a getaway home above Placerville shot his first turkey last weekend. We know that leaving the beard on to identify the gender is the law, but how about removing the beard at the Placerville location? Is it legal to remove the beard where he cleaned the bird, or did it need to be left intact until he got home to Vallejo? I have a feeling the latter, but need clarification. (Bill A., San Pablo)

Answer: During the spring hunting season, the beard must be left on to establish that the turkey is legal. It should be maintained on the bird for identification purposes during transportation to its final destination or until it is prepared for immediate consumption.  During the fall season, either sex may be taken so the beard is not required.

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Can we team dive for lobsters?

Lobster diving is not a team sport (DFG photo courtesy of Derek Stein)

Question: I’ve got a question regarding situations when buddies are diving together for lobsters. Each diver has a license, bag and measuring device but one is experienced and the other is a rookie. The skilled diver gets his limit and finds out the other diver isn’t getting anything. The skilled diver then continues diving with the intention of helping out his buddy, but because they are separated, he puts the overlimit of bugs in his own bag, with the intention to transfer the extras to his buddy while still in the water. In other words, the bugs will be placed in another bag “during the hunt” for when they regroup. Is it legal for one diver to get a second limit of lobsters for his buddy who is having trouble getting his limit? (Jim C., Redondo Beach)

Answer: No. Each diver may only take and possess their own limit (currently seven lobsters), and may not take additional lobsters on any day after taking a limit. Diving is not a team sport in this sense. Once the diver takes game in excess of the legal daily bag limit and they are under his control, he is in possession of an overlimit.

Teaching a new diver to take bugs requires patience and sacrifice. It may take a while for a new diver to learn and get the hang of it, but other divers can’t help to fill his bag in the meantime. The same goes for all other species of fish and game, except for the few species and circumstances where “boat limits” apply (California Code of Regulations, section 27.60(c)).


Can I hunt with an air rifle and lead pellets in condor country?
Question: I would like to hunt for some critters within the condor area with my .22 cal air rifle and plan to use lead pellets. I have been told that air rifles are not considered firearms and therefore do not fall under the lead ban. Is it true? If not, which law/policy states this information? (Steve Z.)

Answer: Pellet rifles are not considered a firearm, so neither pellet rifles nor their projectiles would be included in the ban. For more questions on non-lead area regulations, please visit the  DFG Web site


Can I fillet fish caught in Mexican waters?
Question: What are the regulations governing the filleting of fish caught in Mexican waters, and where can I find those regulations? (Harold Y.)

Answer: As per Mexican law, fish caught under a Mexican sportfishing license may not be filleted aboard the vessel from which it was caught. According to Department of Fish and Game Lt. Eric Kord, this leaves you the options of traveling out 200 miles to international waters to fillet your fish, or returning to the United States to fillet your fish. Once back in the U.S., if your port of return is in California, then state law would apply to any filleted fish that is possessed on a vessel or brought ashore (CCR Title 14, section 27.65). Any filleted fish on your vessel must meet all size limits, be species authorized for filleting and retain any identification requirements (e.g., skin patch or all skin still attached).

If you choose to fillet your fish in Mexico illegally and transport the fillets back to California, that would be a violation of the federal Lacey Act, which is subject to much steeper fines and penalties (via a formal complaint from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries agent).

To look up the Mexican laws that apply, please visit Mexico’s National Aquaculture and Fishing Commission (CONAPESCA) Web site.


Hunting with non-valid tags in possession?
Question: Last fall while hunting with a guide in D6 zone for deer and bear, I shot a nice 300-pound black bear. While getting my bear tag from my backpack, one of the guides saw that I had both my D5 and D6 deer tags as well as my bear tag. He told me that it was illegal to be hunting in one zone (D6), while having a different zone tag (D5) in my possession. Is this true? If I have a legal tag for the zone in which I’m hunting, I can’t see any reason why it would be illegal to have a legal tag with me for another zone. I always keep all of my tags together in my backpack and I’m sure most all hunters do, too. Would you please see if this is a judgment call on the part of the game warden or if there actually is a law that says it’s illegal? (Bill K., Placerville)

Answer: Regulations require only that hunters must have in their possession a current tag valid for the species and the zone in which they are hunting. Possession of another tag issued to the same hunter but valid for another zone or species is not prohibited (CCR Title 14, sections 708, 360 and 361).

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. She cannot personally answer everyone’s questions but will select a few to answer in this column each week. Contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

Shipping Abalone Out of State

 

Red abalone can be shipped out of state only certain conditions. (© Derek Stein)

Red abalone may be shipped to people out of state, but only certain conditions. (© Derek Stein)

Question: I read your answer to a recent question regarding whether trout can be shipped across state lines, and you said the answer was no. Are there similar restrictions on shipping abalone to friends in other states? Thanks. (Kelly K.)

Answer: The possession limit for abalone is three, so you may not ship more than three abalone at any time. Neither the shipper nor the recipient may possess more than the legal limit at any given time. You also may not offer for transportation by common carrier more than one bag limit at a time, and the common carrier transporting the abalone may not legally receive for transportation more than the bag limit during any interval of time (CCR Title 14, Section 29.15).

The abalone must be shipped whole, in the shell, with the tags still attached. Abalone can only be legally removed from the shell once they are being prepared for immediate consumption. Abalone may not be shipped by parcel post.

Keep in mind that to send or give abalone to an out-of-state person, you must also abide by the importation laws of the state where the abalone will be going.  Different states may have different importation regulations that prohibit or restrict such shipments. Check with the authorities of the state where you’d like to ship for their requirements before trying to do so.


Bow Fishing in Local Lakes?
Question:
I bought all the bow fishing tackle to start bow fishing and went out to a local lake where I have seen a lot of carp. When I was putting my boat in, a park ranger stopped me and said bow fishing was illegal in our county. Is this correct? I did not see anything in the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) regulations book pertaining to this. (Shawn C.)

Answer: While DFG does not prohibit bow fishing in certain waters, some local jurisdictions do not allow it because the gear can be considered a weapon, raising public safety concerns. Local regulations may also prohibit bow fishing from public piers in the ocean. Bow and arrow fishing tackle is also authorized only for certain species and in certain areas of DFG regulations (CCR Title 14, Section 2.25).


Loaded Guns on Private Property Behind Locked Gates?
Question:
When hunting on private property that is located behind locked gates from the nearest public road, can hunters be cited for having a loaded rifle (unexpended cartridge in chamber) in a vehicle? While I always remove the cartridge from the chamber of my rifle when I get in my vehicle for safety reasons, I thought from a legal perspective a loaded gun in a vehicle was unlawful only when “on or along a highway, or other way open to the public” as specified in Section 2006 of the California Fish and Game Code. I don’t plan to change my habits of unloading a cartridge from the chamber when I get into a vehicle, but want to make sure I am reading the code properly. Thanks. (Christian K.)

Answer: You can legally have a loaded gun in a vehicle as long as you are on private property behind locked gates with no public access. For obvious reasons, though, this practice is strongly discouraged due to safety concerns. Many hunter accidents have occurred due to loaded firearms in vehicles. And remember, despite the provision here allowing for a loaded gun, you are still not allowed to take an animal by discharging the firearm from a vehicle — even if you are on private property.


Deer Hunting with a Dog?
Question:
I know it’s not legal to use a dog during the archery seasons for deer and bear, but what about taking my dog out after archery deer season is closed? I have a lab that is a little gun shy and isn’t much into hunting, but I do like to take him with me into the outdoors. He isn’t a deer hunter of any sort and more than likely will hinder my ability to get one, but I’d still like to take him deer hunting with me. May I legally take him along as a companion? Thanks. (Andrew H.)

Answer: You are correct that you may not have a dog in the field with you during archery season for deer and bear, but after the season closes you may take him with you. According to retired DFG Capt. Phil Nelms, the use of dogs for the pursuit or take of mammals or for dog training purposes is prohibited from the first Saturday in April through the day preceding the opening of the general deer season in many dog control zones throughout the state. During the general deer season, one dog per hunter is allowed in the field. (CCR T14, Section 265).

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