Tag Archives: Duck Hunting

Why No Season Limits on Number of Waterfowl?

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area (Photo by Carrie Wilson)

Question: Why is there no season limit on the number of geese or ducks a hunter can legally take and possess? I hunted ducks with my uncle last year who is retired. He had bought into a private hunting blind and has access from his home to three nearby state or national refuges. Last year his season take on ducks was in excess of 190, and for geese it was 54. He hunted on refuges nine times in addition to his private hunting blind. On refuges, he stood in the “sweat line” to be admitted later in the day. It seems to me that hunters who can afford the $2000 price tag to hunt private property and who live close enough to the refuges to register in the “sweat lines” are taking an inordinate number of ducks and geese. I’m sure any consideration to impose a take limit would have a severe effect on farmers leasing out their properties, but the opportunities to hunt ducks and geese are being limited to the fortunate few who have the big money to pay for hunting access.

Also, why not impose a limit on the number of times a hunter can gain access on a seasonal basis to all refuges? I submitted 38 lottery reservation cards last year but was not picked once. I would have tried the sweat lines, but to drive 228 miles to take a chance on being admitted, in front of locals who live nearby, are greater odds than being picked in the lottery. (Joe A.)

Answer: Waterfowl are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which is administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) waterfowl biologist Shaun Oldenburger, restrictions on waterfowl hunting regulations (also called federal frameworks) are established by the FWS. Laws have been established for the possession of migratory birds during the hunting season. Although there are no season-long limits, there are possession limits. For both ducks and geese, the legal possession limit for an individual is twice the daily bag limit. For example, in California’s Balance of the State Zone, a daily bag limit consists of seven ducks and eight geese, and a maximum of 14 ducks and 16 geese (twice the daily bag limits) are allowed in possession at one time.

Regulations allow for the gifting of birds to other individuals. However, at no time during the hunting season may any individual possess more than the maximum number of birds (as mentioned in the example). In itself, this regulation limits the number of birds a person can legally harvest during the waterfowl hunting season.

The odds of drawing a reservation for any of the Type A wildlife areas are highly variable throughout the state depending on demand, location, timing of season, the particular hunt day (e.g. Saturday vs. Wednesday), and other factors. While reservations are the best way to ensure access for the morning hunt, it is not the only means to get access to waterfowl hunting areas. Many wildlife areas throughout the state do not completely fill (unless it’s opening weekend or when storm fronts are moving in), so depending on the area, walk-ons may be available. While reservations are highly sought after, if a hunter is willing to modify his or her approach and try some afternoons, some great opportunities may be available on our public areas if you can’t get a reservation.

For more information regarding waterfowl hunting opportunities on public hunting lands, please contact a DFG regional office (www.dfg.ca.gov/regions/), State Wildlife Area (www.dfg.ca.gov/lands/wa/index.html) or National Wildlife Refuge (www.fws.gov/refuges/).


Number of crab traps allowed?
Question: What is the limit on numbers of crab traps/rings that can be used by one person on a pier or dock? (Scott T.)

Answer: On public piers, no person shall use more than two rods and lines, two hand lines or two nets, traps or other appliances used to take crabs (CCR Title 14, section 28.65(b).


Rules on shed antler collection?
Question: What are the rules on shed antler collection in wildlife areas, refuges, parks, BLM and Forest Service properties? What are DFG’s policies on these different properties? (Kevin T., Shasta)

Answer: Generally, the Fish and Game Code and its implementing regulations do not prohibit the collection of shed antlers. However, there are restrictions as to where you can collect them. While it’s ok to collect them on private property or BLM and Forest Service lands, in many cases it is against the law or the rules to collect them from other public lands, such as wildlife areas, wildlife refuges, state and national parks, etc. Most of these areas do not allow any collecting of anything by the public without scientific collection permits.

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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.

Hunting from a Boat along the San Joaquin Delta

Pintail (Photo courtesy of USFWS)

Question: I was recently told that I can hunt anywhere along the San Joaquin Delta for waterfowl as long as the boat is not moving and I don’t use a motor to retrieve the ducks and geese. I am wondering if this is true or are there only specific areas where waterfowl hunting is allowed? (Ryan S.)

Answer: Many areas of the San Joaquin Delta are open to waterfowl hunting from a boat, but general laws do apply so you could not hunt or shoot a firearm within 150 yards of an occupied dwelling, cannot hunt on private property or within prohibited areas such as municipalities. It is important to research your specific hunting area and know legal access points. No person shall pursue, drive, herd or take any bird or mammal from any type of motor-driven air or land vehicles, motorboat, airboat, sailboat or snowmobile (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 251). Exceptions are also listed, including 1) When the motor of such motorboat, airboat, or sailboat has been shut off and/or the sails furled and its progress therefrom has ceased, and it is drifting, beached, moored, resting at anchor, or is being propelled by paddle, oar or pole. Although you cannot shoot a bird while your boat is under power, you can use your motor to retrieve dead waterfowl.


New Lobster Report Card For Every Trip?
Question: I have a question regarding lobster report cards. I was wondering if I have to buy a new one every time I go out. The lady at the sporting goods store said I had to. This doesn’t seem right because the limit is seven lobsters and there are about 100 spaces to fill out. Please let me know as I don’t want to keep buying these every time if I don’t really have to. (Ryan T.)

Answer: No, you do not need to buy a new report card each time you go on a lobster trip. Here are some basic tips for filling out your card properly:

Prior to beginning lobster fishing activity, you must record the month, day, location and gear code on the first available line on the report card. When you move to another location, switch gear or finish fishing for the day, you must immediately record on the card the number of lobster kept for that location using a particular gear type. New lines must be used when changing locations, days or gear types.

Enter only one gear type per line. Even if multiple gear types are deployed simultaneously, each gear type must be entered on its own line with the catch correctly split between the gear types. Only a handful of cards are returned to DFG each year with every single line filled in – using new lines for each instance of changing gear, location, etc. will NOT cause you to have to buy a new card!

Make sure to write the correct information in each field (for example, don’t enter the location code where the number of lobster is supposed to be). Use the location code number – do not write in the name of the location.

Fill in all of the fields. For example, if two locations are fished on the same day, fill in the date for both locations. If no lobsters are taken, fill in “0”.
An additional lobster report card may be purchased in the event an individual fills in all lines and returns the card.

All lobster report cards need to be returned, even if no lobster were taken. In the event a card was bought but not used, you should write, “did not lobster fish” across the card, and turn it in.

DFG will accept late cards but the data is important for monitoring the fishery, so returning it by the deadline helps greatly.

One last thing, don’t forget to use indelible ink.


Carrying a sidearm while upland and small game hunting?
Question: I am a person who does everything by the book and I have a question regarding sidearms while hunting. Is it legal to carry a sidearm for protection while upland game bird and/or small game hunting or is it considered a method of take and illegal? If it is legal, does the lead-free ammunition restriction apply when in the condor range? (Bao N.)

Answer: Yes, it is legal to carry a sidearm for protection while upland game bird and/or small game hunting as long as you don’t use it to take the game. If hunting in condor country, the ammunition for your sidearm must be lead-free.

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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.

Transporting Multiple Waterfowl Limits Legally

Snow geese (USFWS photo)

Question: I had a good waterfowl season and gave many ducks to friends who wanted to try duck. I also shared some duck jerky with them and they loved it!  Now they all want some jerky or sausage, too! I called the butcher and found out they require 25 lbs of meat to make a batch of sausage. I weighed my possession limit and it doesn’t come close enough to make the weight. How do I legally bring enough ducks to the processor without putting myself into an overlimit in possession situation? (Gino B.)

Answer: Most hunters are aware they cannot take or possess more than a daily bag of ducks in one calendar day, and they know they cannot possess more than a legal possession limit (double the daily bag limit) of ducks at any time… unless the birds are tagged.

In addition, all waterfowl must retain the head or one attached fully feathered wing between the place where taken and the hunter’s personal abode (where he/she lives when not hunting) or the personal abode of a person receiving the birds as a gift, or a Migratory Bird Preservation Facility.

According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Northern Enforcement District Chief Mike Carion, any person is allowed to have a possession limit of birds as long as they were taken legally by a licensed hunter. In addition, if you live at home with a significant other and three children (for example), you can possess five possession limits of waterfowl in that home.

When the possession is freshly killed birds in the field, the birds must be tagged. If the possession is at home, the birds do not need to be tagged.

Tags must contain the following information:

  • Name of hunter
  • Address of hunter
  • Date of take
  • Number and species of birds
  • Hunting license number
  • Signature of the hunter who took the birds

Now it gets tricky!

Once you take the birds to your personal abode (home), you no longer have to tag them, and you may remove the head and wings. However, you are still required to stay within possession limits.

So, now your question is what happens once you are home (or after you’ve delivered your birds to someone as a gift) and you decide to have the ducks made into sausage? How can you provide the processor the 25 pounds of meat required to make the sausage?

Remember, once you are no longer home and are now transporting the birds of someone else (gifted above), the birds must be tagged!

Therefore, the legal way for you to transport the required 25 pounds of duck meat (by combining your birds with the birds belonging to other people) to the local meat processor is to make sure all birds are tagged as mentioned above. When turning the tagged birds over to the meat processor, you must also provide him a list of names of the people each possession limit belongs to.


How many hooks for sand dabs and how many for halibut?
Question: How many hooks can be used when fishing for sand dabs? I was planning on using a Sabiki rig. How many hooks can I have on such a rig? Also, how many hooks can I have on my line while fishing for halibut? Is there a limit to the number in either of these situations? (Chris Jones)

Answer:  There are no hook restrictions unless rockfish or salmon are onboard. If either species is onboard, then only two hooks may be used.


Hunting with an electronic distress caller?
Question: Is it legal to use an electronic distress caller to hunt deer? I can’t seem to find it in the regulations. (Louie L.)

Answer: It is not legal to use 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 any animal except coyotes, bobcats, American crows and starlings (Fish and Game Code, section 3012 and CCR Title 14, section 475(b), or the California Mammal Hunting Regulations at http://dfg.ca.gov/regulations/).

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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.

Why Are Refuge Reservations So Hard to Draw?

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area (Photo by Carrie Wilson)

Question: How are waterfowl reservations picked and how are they kept random? There seems to be something wrong with the system because it doesn’t seem to be randomly selecting people. Several of my neighbors and I have put in for the season draw for multiple refuges for the last few years without much success. One person has not been drawn in the past two years. Some people may get drawn only once while other people are getting drawn quite a bit. Can you please shed some light on this for us? (Rod H., Norco)

Answer: Unfortunately, the competition for waterfowl reservations is enormous! More than 750,000 hunt choices have been submitted for the 2011/2012 season so far. Some areas are extremely difficult to draw.

According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) License Program Analyst Glenn Underwood, reservations are issued by random drawings. Each drawing is independent and does not affect the outcome of any other drawing. The likelihood of being drawn does not increase when you were not drawn for a previous hunt. Odds are determined solely by the number of applicants who apply for an area on that date.

In a series of random drawings, some people are likely to be drawn more than once, and some may not be drawn at all. The results should look somewhat like half of a bell curve.

Here’s an example: For a drawing for the San Jacinto Wildlife Area Jan. 18 hunt, we received 27,310 submitted hunt choices for 1,300 reservations issued. Of these:

  • 2,827 hunters received no reservations
  • 746 hunters received one reservation
  • 206 hunters received two reservations
  • 42 hunters received three reservations
  • 4 hunters received four reservations

Keep in mind that some hunters may apply for only one hunt day and others have applied for every hunt day.

We realize how important receiving a reservation is to each hunter and want hunters to know how difficult it is to draw a reservation. For this reason, Underwood publishes the drawing statistics online and mails them to hunters each year with the Waterfowl Season Update. He also posts the drawing results online for the convenience of hunters. While posting the results online occasionally inspires a phone call to Underwood from a frustrated hunter who sees another who has been drawn more frequently, Underwood is happy to provide this service and welcomes the opportunity to discuss the results with hunters.

Beginning with the 2011 season, reservation drawings are performed through the Automated License Data System (ALDS) and drawing results are still posted online, though are only viewable by the individual after logging in to ALDS.  However, Underwood says he is still happy to provide statistics to those who are interested.

The computerized drawing systems used for big game tags and waterfowl reservations have pre-draw and post-draw audit logs that record all the steps in the drawing and awarding of tags and reservations. We could not influence the drawing if we wanted to. If you would like to see how a reservation drawing is performed, please contact Glenn Underwood at GUnderwood@dfg.ca.gov and he will be happy to give you a quick demonstration using an actual drawing. Fair warning: the computerized drawing process is quite boring.

Hopefully, your luck will turn around soon, but if it doesn’t, don’t let that stop you.  You can still hunt using the local lottery or first-come, first-served line.


Trading fish parts
Question: I want the spinal cord from a legally caught white sturgeon that was taken from a pier by a sport fisherman. I also want to smoke a good portion of the meat in exchange for some of the smoked fish. Is it legal for my friend to give me the spinal cord? Is it legal to smoke the fish in exchange for a portion of the fish? (Catharine S., Oakland)

Answer: There is no law prohibiting your friend from giving you the spinal cord or any other part of a legally possessed fish, so long as all other laws are followed.  However, fish caught under the authority of a sport fishing license cannot be bought, sold, traded or bartered in any manner (Fish and Game Code, sections 7121 and 75). This includes any type of trade or barter of even parts with the expectation of receiving something in return.


Javelin hunting
Question: I just tried javelin throwing for the first time and it sparked an idea that I could hunt with this for big game mammals. But I can’t find it specified anywhere in the mammal hunting regulations booklet. Does this mean that since it isn’t mentioned it’s illegal to use to take down an animal? (Brent L.)

Answer: You are correct. Hunting by spear or javelin is not a legal method of take.

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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.

 

Why Shot Shell Limits in Refuges and Wildlife Areas?

Northern California Patrol Chief Mike Carion enjoying a beautiful day of hunting on a Sacramento Valley refuge (DFG photo)

Question: During the four duck limit era, the 25 shot shell limit in refuges and wildlife areas made sense. However, now that the limit is seven ducks, and in some cases the goose count can be six, why aren’t we allowed to carry more shells into the field? Inevitably, that limitation leads to one of us doing the “walk of shame” back to the truck to retrieve another 25 shells for a full day of hunting in a blind. That is not the most fun task given some of the walks at refuges like Little Dry Creek can be more than a mile in one direction. (Russ L.)

Answer: This is a rule that applies to many National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) and Wildlife Areas (WA) in the state. It was put into place to increase effective shooting by waterfowl hunters on public hunting areas, thus ensuring a more enjoyable hunting experience for all hunters on the area. By limiting the amount of ammo a hunter can carry into the field, the goal is to reduce possible unsportsmanlike behavior (e.g. excessive and/or less discriminating shooting) which will improve the hunting experience.

According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Waterfowl Biologist Shaun Oldenburger, Los Banos WA established the first shotgun waterfowl shell restrictions in 1977 with a limit of 50 shells per day. In 1978, this regulation was expanded to Kern NWR (25 shells) and in 1979 expanded to nearly all San Joaquin Valley NWRs and WAs (25 shells). Grizzly Island was included in 1980. By 1985, shell restrictions expanded to all Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley NWRs and WAs, and in 1986 San Jacinto was included.

In 1979, when the 25 shotgun shell restrictions were first established in the San Joaquin Valley, the waterfowl season length was 93 days with a seven bird bag. By 1988, waterfowl populations had declined and so the season was reduced to 59 days and four duck bag limits. Still, the primary purpose of the 25 shotgun shell restrictions is to increase both the hunting experience and improve overall shot selection by waterfowl hunters. Daily bag limits will not dictate these restrictions, since removing them may increase the unsportsmanlike behaviors that caused their introduction to begin with.

Fortunately, waterfowl populations in California are currently healthy and so a more liberal bag limit is now in place. Hopefully, with this combination of healthy waterfowl populations and the 25 shotgun shell restrictions in place within the NWRs and WAs throughout the state, hunters are enjoying their hunting experiences now and will continue to do so well into the future!


Scuba to catch Dungeness crabs?
Question: Is it legal to use SCUBA equipment to catch Dungeness crabs? (David B.)

Answer: SCUBA divers may take Dungeness crab using only their hands. No hooked device may be possessed while taking Dungeness crab while diving (California Code of Regulations, section 29.80(g)).


Archery hunting within the city limits?
Question: I hunt using archery and am wondering if it is legal to hunt within city limits, with permission, on a golf course for excess turkey and deer. If so, could you please send me a permission to hunt form that I could use to ask private property owners to sign? (Rev. Mark H.)

Answer: As long as the season is open and you have permission from the property owner, Fish and Game law does not prohibit you from hunting within city limits or on golf courses. According to DFG retired captain Phil Nelms though, many local jurisdictions have enacted ordinances in the interest of public safety that may restrict your ability to hunt in these public areas. Please check with the City Police or County Sheriff to see what, if any, such ordinances may exist in your area. Keep in mind too that any type of firearm or other deadly weapon (archery) may not be discharged within 150 yards of an occupied dwelling (Fish and Game Code, section 3004).

Permission to hunt on private property must consist of a one-on-one agreement between the property owner and the hunter. A sample signatory form can be found on DFG’s website at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/pdffiles/FG994.pdf.


Where to find fishing regulations?
Question: I don’t live near any DFG offices and would like to know how I can obtain a copy of the Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet. (Rob B.)

Answer: Regulations are available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/sportfishing_regs2011.asp and from DFG license offices and businesses that sell fishing licenses. To find a distributor in your area, go to www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales/OutletSearch/FindOutlet and enter just your city and zip code. You will then be provided with a list of locations in your area that distribute regulation booklets.

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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.


Noise Suppressors for Target Shooting or Hunting?

Whether hunting or target shooting, noise suppressors are not legal to use or even possess (Photo: National Shooting Sports Foundation)

Question:Is it legal to use noise suppressors (mistakenly called silencers) on rifles and handguns? I know that porting, venting, flash collars and muzzle brakes are OK to use at target ranges and while legally hunting in California. Can a noise suppressor that is attached to the front end of the barrel, or that slides over the front end of the barrel, be lawfully used at a target range or while legally hunting anywhere in California? (Tony N., Sr.)

Answer: No, stay completely away from silencers. It is a felony for any person, firm or corporation within the state to possess a silencer (California Penal Code, section 12520). Upon conviction, punishment includes imprisonment in the state prison or a fine not to exceed $10,000, or both. A silencer is defined as “… any device or attachment of any kind designed, used or intended for use in silencing, diminishing or muffling the report of a firearm.” This definition and law also applies to any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a silencer (California Penal Code, section 12500).


Beer on a boat?
Question: Why do most, if not all, boats for hire ban taking beer or liquor aboard? I have worked as a deckhand and fully understand the safety concerns, as well as what large amounts of space coolers full of beer for up to 70 people on a half-day trip might take up. What I am wondering though is whether there are any U.S. Coast Guard or Department of Fish and Game (DFG) laws against it that I can quote for people who ask. Many of the anglers I’ve spoken with over the years get angry because they think the boat is just trying to make a buck. (Rob M.)

Answer: There is no Fish and Game law prohibiting alcohol aboard a boat. However, there is a Harbors and Navigation Code law (section 655) that prohibits a person from operating a vessel while intoxicated, similar to the prohibitions for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.


Lead in possession on a duck hunting refuge?
Question: Some say if you are duck hunting on a refuge and you have some lead quail loads in the truck (because you’re going quail hunting on the way home in the afternoon), a game warden could ticket you for having lead shot in possession. Other friends say that as long as the lead shot is secured in the truck and not in your actual possession while hunting, then you’re not in violation. It seems to me this situation would be like the 25 shell limit in the field. As far as I know you can have additional shells in your truck as long as you only have 25 or less in your possession while hunting. If you run out then you can return to the truck for more. Who’s right? (Eric M.)

Answer: You are. As long as the lead stays in your truck, you should have no problem.


What to do when an abalone’s shell breaks?
Question: Earlier this season I was diving a low tide looking for big abs. I happened to find a nine-incher. He was really clamped down and a lot stronger than the clickers I’m used to. In the process of popping him off, the shell broke into pieces. Since I did not know the legality of keeping an ab with a broken shell, I had to leave it there. It haunts me every day. Did I do the right thing? (Jesse L.)

Answer: First of all (as you probably now know), before trying to pop any abalone off their substrate, be sure to first insert the abalone iron correctly under the animal to be sure you have the appropriate leverage to pop the animal off without injuring it. If the animal is clamped down too tightly to where you can’t get the ab iron under the animal correctly without harming the animal, then you should leave it alone and come back later once the animal has relaxed and you can remove it properly. A better idea would be to pursue another abalone that is not locked down to the rocks.

Regarding your situation, you did the right thing as the law requires that abalone are in a whole condition and attached to the shell.  It is impossible to measure an abalone with a fractured shell and often the abalone is no longer attached to the shell once you fracture it.  Next time try to leave a clamped down abalone alone and choose another that may be more easily harvested.

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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.