Tag Archives: fishing

Collecting Roadkill Raptors

American Kestrel (USFWS photo)

American Kestrel (USFWS photo)

Question: What are the rules concerning the use of birds of prey, such as owls, which have been killed by vehicles? I have found several in the local area which seemed to be dead along the side of the road but without evidence of damage to the body. My guess based on where they fell is they are “indirect roadkills.” If I wanted to save these animals for taxidermy or another use, would I need some kind of documentation? If so, what sort of permit would I need? It would be simple to document the finds I have made photographically at the site, but preserving them for inspection later by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) would be harder. Thanks for your help with this. (Ken Z., Visalia)

Answer: Under both state and federal law, it is not legal to collect or possess any species of bird that is protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This would include all raptors that have been killed by vehicles. There are permits available, under very specific circumstances that allow scientific or educational facilities to salvage these birds. Organizations that believe they may qualify for these permits would be required to obtain both a federal Salvage Permit and state Scientific Collecting Permit. More information on these permits can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/nongame/research_permit/ and www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-10a.pdf.

Another very valuable thing the average citizen can do when they see a potential road kill is to “document the find” in one of the databases such as www.wildlifecrossing.net/california/. If it is near a State Highway, the Department of Transportation keeps records specifically for planning and coordination purposes.


Fishing license and second rod stamp
Question: I have a California sport fishing license but did not pay for the second rod stamp. When I am out ocean fishing on my boat, am I only allowed one rod? I thought since it was the ocean I can have two rods out, even if I did not pay for a second rod stamp. (Anonymous)

Answer: The second rod stamp is only required when fishing in freshwater with two poles. In the ocean, any number of poles and lines generally can be used, with some exceptions. For example, fishing for lingcod, rockfish, greenlings or cabezon is limited to one line with no more than two hooks. Also, when fishing in San Francisco Bay or when fishing for salmon north of Pt. Conception, only one rod/line may be used per person.

Other exceptions exist, such as when pier fishing – only two methods may be used. There are only a few exceptions like these, but I’d recommend reviewing the Gear Restrictions section of the Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet and any regulations for the species you’re pursuing to ensure you’re following the law.


Legal to collect moon jellyfish for personal use?
Question: I am interested in collecting some moon jellyfish just for my personal use but want to be sure it’s legal. They would not be sold or traded. If legal, can I collect them under a basic fishing license or would I be required to have a marine collector’s permit? (Tucker M.)

Answer: Moon jellyfish occurring outside the tide pool zone (1,000 ft. seaward from mean high tide) may be legally taken with a fishing license and the bag limit is 35 (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.05 & 29.05(a)).


Crab pot dimensions?
Question: My son wants to build his own crab pot. I think it’s a great project but I can’t find any official size regulations. He already has line, buoys and bait containers. I found a web page that described a circular pot as measuring 42 inches in diameter, 14 inches deep and weighing 90 pounds. Are those the required dimensions? Can they be bigger/smaller? Any help is appreciated. (Anonymous)

Answer: As long as the trap has “at least two rigid circular openings of not less than four and one-quarter inches inside diameter so constructed that the lowest portion of each opening is no lower than five inches from the top of the trap” (CCR, Title 14, section 29.80 (c)), your son is free to construct a pot using any dimensions!

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

Drifting for Waterfowl

(Photo courtesy of David A. Jones, Ducks Unlimited)

(Photo courtesy of David A. Jones, Ducks Unlimited)

Question: Is it legal to drift down or anchor a boat in a river to hunt for waterfowl? The river is in the “Balance of the State” zone and is surrounded by unincorporated privately owned farmland, with the occasional house or barn visible from the water. I know you cannot discharge a firearm within 150 yards of a dwelling or near a public road, and I know that all motors must be out of the water. Would drifting be considered forward motion? (Anonymous)

Answer: Drifting is not considered “under power.” What you describe would be legal as long as you access the river from a legal access point, and once you’re hunting, your motion is not due to momentum provided by the motor before it was turned off. You must also take into account the retrieval of the birds you take. Should you take a bird that lands on private property that you do not have the authority to access, you run the risk of a hunting trespass for retrieval, or waste of game if you do not retrieve it. Also, you need to remember not to discharge a firearm within 150 yards of an occupied dwelling, and these may be difficult to see from the river. Finally, there may be other state or local ordinances and regulations (such as no shooting zones) or other restrictions that may prevent you from hunting the section of water you want to hunt.


Returning female Dungeness crabs
Question: I was surprised to discover the current regulations do not say female Dungeness crabs must be thrown back. Has there been a change in the long standing regulation that required this? Is it now legal to keep the female Dungeness crab, providing all other stipulations are met (size, season, limit, zone)? (Kurt H.)

Answer: Yes! Sport fisherman may keep the female Dungeness crab – commercial fishermen must throw them back. Since the females are often much smaller and less meaty than the males and lack the large claws, many fishermen toss them back so they can reproduce more young for future generations. The larger females that meet the minimum size requirements also carry the most eggs and produce the most offspring, so it’s beneficial for the population to let the females go. However, there is no law that compels you to do so.


How to legally display mountain lions?
Question:I read where Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed into law a bill allowing the mounting and display of these animals in California. Does that mean that mountain lions taken in other states can be brought into California for mounting and display? (Peter B., Los Angeles)

Answer: No, it is still illegal to import mountain lions. Fish and Game Code section 4800, which was enacted via an initiative measure in 1990, provides that mountain lions are specially protected mammals that cannot be taken or possessed except under limited circumstances related to public safety or protection of property. SB 769, which amended the law in 2011, now allows for the possession of a mountain lion carcass, but only if all of the following requirements are met:

1) The lion was legally taken in California;

2) The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has specifically authorized the possession for the purposes of SB 769; and

3) The carcass is prepared for display, exhibition, or storage, for a bona fide scientific or educational purpose, at a non-profit museum or government-owned facility generally open to the public or at an educational institution, including a public or private postsecondary institution.

Only mountain lions taken for depredation or public safety reasons in accordance with the Fish and Game Code will fall within the SB 769 exception allowing possession of displayed mountain lions.


Yo-yo fishing
Question: I know jug fishing, yo-yo fishing and the use of trotlines with 20+ hooks per line are the norm in the South. I am interested in yo-yo fishing in California for catfish and possibly trying a two-jug trotline with 10 to 12 hooks on the line to catch catfish. My question is: In California, are private (non-commercial) fishermen limited to just one line with three hooks max? In reading the regs, it seems that an extra pole endorsement is just that, for an extra pole, not an extra line. (Mark H., San Bruno)

In regard to yo-yo fishing and trotline fishing, here is an article from 2007 Outdoor Life:http://www.outdoorlife.com/articles/fishing/2007/09/tackle-free-fishing

Answer: You must closely attend your lines at all times and you are limited to two lines with a maximum of three hooks on each line with a two-pole stamp. Otherwise, you must use a single line with three hooks maximum when fishing bait, or three lures per line which could each have three hooks. It is illegal to allow lines to simply fish themselves while attached to a float. For a similar previous question and answer, please go to: http://californiaoutdoors.wordpress.com/2008/11/.

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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.

Night Diving for Scallops?

Scallops (photo by DFG Marine Biologist Derek Stein)

Question:Is it legal to dive for scallops at night? I have found in the regulations where it says that clams may not be taken at night but I cannot find regulations that apply to scallops. Can you help? (George B., Newport Beach)

Answer: Yes, you may dive for scallops at night. The restriction on digging for clams at night does not apply in this situation. The regulations you are looking for are covered under the General Invertebrate provisions in the California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 29.05, which states in part, “Except as otherwise provided in this article there are no closed hours for any invertebrate.”


Declarations
Question: I am a license agent and last year just two days before the waterfowl season opened, a longtime customer of 25 years came into my store to purchase his license. He had experienced a fire in his home the previous summer and had lost some possessions, including his hunting license evidence. I explained that DFG doesn’t accept declarations any more, and I couldn’t sell him a license. I know he had taken the hunter safety course in the past, and hunted since he was a teenager. What would have been the best course of action for the hunter and a license agent in this situation? What can other longtime experienced hunters do if they find themselves in a similar unfortunate situation? When will DFG accept declarations again? (Kevin Jeffs, Jeffs Sporting Goods, San Gabriel)

Answer: It is unlikely that declarations will be accepted again. However, according to DFG Sport Fishing/Waterfowl/Upland Game Program Analyst Glenn Underwood, there may be something we can do for hunters in this situation. If he applied for waterfowl or big game drawings in the past, we may have his information in our drawing database. The hunter should contact DFG’s License and Revenue Branch at (916) 928-5805 and explain what happened. If they can find proof that he had a hunting license in the past, they can update his hunter education status in the database and he will be able to again purchase a hunting license.


Full-size Cheetah / Leopard taxidermy
Question: My uncle recently passed away and left me in charge of his estate. One of the items he left is a full size Cheetah/ Leopard taxidermy. Is it legal for me to sell it? If not what do you recommend that I do with it? (Michael C., Modesto)

Answer: You are allowed to give it away but you are not allowed to sell or trade it (California Penal Code, section 653o). You might want to contact a museum, service club or local school to see if they may have a use for it.


Using live minnows from a bait shop?
Question: When fishing in a reservoir, can I use live minnows purchased from a bait shop? (Roger L.)

Answer: While moving live fish and/or placing live fish into a different body of water from where they originated is usually illegal in California (CCR, Title 14, section 1.63 and FGC section 6400), there is an exception. Depending upon which district you are fishing, certain species are allowed to be purchased and used as bait, while other species may only be allowed as bait if captured on the specific water you are fishing. Live bait regulations are found starting with Title 14 Section 4.00 of the California Code of Regulations. You should review sections 4.10-4.30 for specific information regarding the species that may be used in your district.


Fishing multiple rods from shore outside San Francisco Bay?
Question: I know that you can use as many rods and hooks as you want outside the Golden Gate, but can I use multiple rods to catch striped bass and halibut from the shore? I already know that only one rod can be used for salmon, rockfish and lingcod. I have heard if you have a striped bass or a halibut in possession, then only one rod can be used. Is this true? (Eddie H.)

Answer: Outside of the Golden Gate, if you are fishing from shore for halibut and striped bass, you can use as many rods and hooks as you want. If you were to catch a species like salmon or rockfish, however, you would have to release it, as only one line may be used for these species.

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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.

Dog Training with Farm-raised Game Birds?

To train dogs with farm-raised pheasants and chukars, birds must be purchased from a licensed, domesticated game bird breeder and dogs are allowed to take birds only on the day released (Photo by John Pomerroy of Rick Copeland and Craig Hanson).

Question: I have a 16-month-old Brittany pup that I’m training for upland game. I would like to continue to train him until it starts to get too hot. I want to buy chukars and pheasants from a breeder, then release and take them on private property. What steps do I need to do to stay legal?  (Paul)

Answer: There is no longer a dog training permit requirement. Dog training is authorized so long as no wild birds are captured, injured or killed (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 677). Since you won’t be doing this as part of an organized field trial or hunt test, you are not required to notify Department of Fish and Game (DFG). However, you must mark your birds to distinguish them from other game birds and tag them with a DFG-issued game bird seal. Your dog will only be allowed to take birds on the day they are released and you are required to have a hunting license and buy the birds from a licensed, domesticated game breeder. In addition, the carcass of each pheasant and chukar must be tagged with the game bird seal prior to transport. To avoid any confusion, you should retain your receipts or other paperwork showing you purchased the birds from a domestic game breeder.


Crabbing in Humboldt Bay or the mouth of the Eel River
Question: Is it true that traps cannot be used in Humboldt Bay or the mouth of the Eel River? Both areas are popular for crabbing and I’ve never heard of anybody getting cited for using traps or rings. Thanks. (Bryan S.)

Answer: Crab traps are allowed in Humboldt Bay and in other areas of the Ocean and San Francisco Bay District, but not in inland waters. The definition of the Ocean and San Francisco Bay District includes “the waters of open or enclosed bays continuous to the ocean” (CCR Title 14, section 27.00). The mouth of the Eel River is another story though because it falls under inland waters regulations. The definition of inland waters includes “all the fresh, brackish and inland saline waters of the state, including lagoons and tidewaters upstream from the mouths of coastal rivers and streams” (CCR Title 14, section 1.53). While Dungeness crabs may not be taken by traps in inland waters, they can be taken by hand or by hoop nets in Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and Sonoma counties (CCR Title 15, sections 7.50(a)(2) and 8.00)). Fishing is closed for crabs and other saltwater invertebrates during low-flow river and stream closures though.


Multiple limits on the same stringer
Question: My question is about the bag limit and possession limit of fish. Can one person carry more than just their own fish? Other friends say it is fine as long as the licensed people are accounted for, even if they are on the same line. If we have a bag limit of five fish and possession limit of 10, would sharing a stringer with a friend count toward my bag and/or possession limit? Would a stringer of fish in the water be different from having a bucket or cooler of fish instead? Other friends have said the fish must be in a cooler or the car for it to not count toward your bag limit but it will still count towards your possession limit. (Toua X.)

Answer: Every angler is responsible for their own fish. So long as all anglers remain together, there is no law that requires catch to be separated. However, if one of your friends leaves the area, make sure they take their catch with them. You should also know who caught which fish. If you are not able to remember, you should separate your catch. [Note: Starting this year, people who take abalone may not comingle their catch until their abalone have been tagged.]


How many shells for predator hunting?
Question: I have heard you can carry five shells in a shotgun when hunting for predators but I couldn’t find anything in the regulations to confirm this. Is it true? (Joe H.)

Answer: The maximum number of shells allowed in a shotgun under California Fish and Game Code laws is six (FGC, section 2010).

However, Fish and Game regulations limit the number of shells to a total of three (one in the chamber and two in the magazine) when hunting migratory game birds (waterfowl, pigeons, doves, etc.), resident small game (quail, rabbits, pheasants, chukar, grouse, tree squirrels) and big game (deer, bear and wild pigs only) (CCR Title 14, sections 311, 353 and 507).

The three-shell restriction does not apply when taking nongame mammals such as coyotes, bobcat, ground squirrels, skunks, gray fox, raccoon, etc. (CCR Title 14, sections 465 and 475 and the Mammal Hunting regulations.) To view the complete seasonal hunting regulations, please check out www.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.

What’s New for Abalone This Year?

Red abalone (Photo by DFG Marine Biologist Derek Stein)

Question: What are the new abalone regulations that will go into effect this year?

Answer: When the abalone harvest season opens on April 1, the following  new abalone regulations are going into effect:

1) The Fort Ross area will be closed for the first two month so abalone in this area may be taken only during the months of June, August, September, October and November (CCR Title 14, section 29.15(b)(1)). A map showing the abalone closure area around Fort Ross can be found at http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=42101&inline=true

2) Individuals taking abalone shall maintain separate possession of their abalone. Abalone may not be commingled in a float tube, dive board, dive bag, or any other container or device, until properly tagged. Only after abalones are properly tagged (as described in CCR Title 14, section 29.16 (b)), may they be commingled with other abalone taken by another person (CCR Title 14, section 29.15(g)(1)).


Becoming a federal trapper?
Question: I have a friend who lost some livestock to either coyotes or a mountain lion. He wants to protect the rest of his animals and was advised to contact the local government trapper. How can a person become a licensed trapper authorized to track down and remove these problem predatory animals?

Answer: Contact the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The mission of this agency is to provide federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist. For more information, please go to www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/.


Why are there restrictions on black powder revolvers?
Question: Why is a black powder revolver, which develops more energy than some centerfire pistols, not legal for hunting? (Keith P.)

Answer: There is ever-increasing technology that provides for methods of take not currently authorized by the Fish and Game Commission (FGC). As new methods of take are developed, proposals to the FGC can be made for possible additions to the current legal methods authorized by the regulations. Until then, they may not be used.


Disposing of fish guts?
Question: What is the law on how to properly dispose of fish guts? If fishing from the shore in San Diego County, may I clean my catch and toss the remaining fish parts back into the ocean? Will the game warden be able to take a correct measurement with the head of the fish removed? (Larry W.)

Answer: Fish and Game laws do not prohibit you from returning the fish waste back to the ocean, although local ordinances may. Check with local police or harbor patrol officers for certainty. Once ashore, there is no requirement to keep fish in a whole condition. However, you must retain enough of the fish in order to accurately measure it. Generally, removing the guts is not an issue in determining size.


How to replace a lost license?
Question: With the old hunting and fishing licenses, I received a copy to be sent in for a replacement if I lost my license. With the new license, what do I do if it gets lost or damaged? (Brian)

Answer:  DFG’s new automated licensing system stores all sales transactions in a database. Simply visit a license agent or DFG office, provide your identification and indicate that you need to replace a lost or destroyed license. The system will verify your initial purchase and issue you a duplicate license. The new system will also be able to replace any additional validations you had to purchase. A duplicate license and replacement fee will be charged.

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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.

 

Is it Legal to Keep My Limit Plus My Friend’s Fish?

(U.S.F.W.S. photo)

Question: My buddies and I fish for rockfish out of Pillar Point Harbor and are very careful about following the rules. We usually return with legal limits. However, on occasion one or more of my fishing friends decides not to take their entire catch home. When that happens I might leave the marina parking lot with my 10 fish as well as additional fish caught by other licensed fishers. I’m thinking that since we caught them legally and returned to the dock legally, we are ok. Am I right? (Bill L., Half Moon Bay)

Answer: No. You cannot ever be in possession of more than the possession limit, even if the extra fish came from another angler who caught them legally. Your buddy may only give away fish to someone who does not already have a limit in their possession. If you have your limit and then take additional fish from another angler, you may be cited for having an overlimit regardless of who gave them to you.


Processing game meat
Question: A friend shot a wild pig and while skinning it he saw worms in the armpits and groin area. He cut out and discarded the surrounding meat, processed and ate the rest. Is this a seasonal problem? Was this meat safe to eat? If one gets an infected pig, how should one dispose of the bad meat or entire carcass? Bury it (how deep)? Burn it? Toss into the trash can within tightly sealed plastic bags? (Ray, Arbuckle)

Answer: Adult Trichinella worms are found primarily in the gut of the host, whereas larval, or immature, worms tend to be present throughout the rest of the body. According to U.C. Davis graduate student Jamie Sherman and DFG Senior Wildlife Veterinarian Ben Gonzales, only adult Trichinella worms are visible to the human eye, and are described as “white flakes” along the intestines. Larvae within the muscles are only visible under a microscope. Therefore, it is unlikely the worms seen in your friend’s pig carcass were Trichinella.

Other parasitic worms can infect wild pigs though, such as the pork tapeworm Taenia solis, which can appear in the meat as “measly pork”, much as you describe. Ingestion of raw or undercooked infected pork results in tapeworm infection in the human gut (taeniasis). These tapeworms produce larvae which can be shed in the feces of the human host, and once ingested by other human or animal hosts, the larvae penetrate the gut and migrate to sites such as the muscles, eyes or nervous system and can cause serious disease (cysticercosis).

Your friend took the right steps to protect himself if he cooked the meat adequately. Removing the measly areas for appearance and then cooking the rest of the meat to an internal temperature using a meat thermometer to 160O F will eliminate the risk of infection from the pork tapeworm as well as from Trichinella. By cooking the meat thoroughly to 160O F and by following safe meat handling practices such as washing hands and disinfecting utensils and cutting boards thoroughly after handling raw meat, you can prevent parasitic and bacterial infections derived from consuming wild game or domestically raised meat.

Trichinella and other parasitic worms are not a seasonal problem, but a lifelong disease. Once an animal is infected, larval worms can remain in the muscle tissue for the lifetime of the host. Humans then get sick when they consume raw or undercooked meat containing the larvae.

Regarding various recommendations for proper carcass disposal:

1) Burial: There is no specific depth requirement for the disposal of carcasses via burial. The goal of burying a carcass is to prevent other scavengers from consuming the potentially infective meat. Therefore, they should not be able to dig it up. Burying the carcass a few feet under the ground should be sufficient. It is also important to make sure your burial site is not within 100 feet of any water source, in order to prevent contamination.

2) Burning: This is an effective tool for destroying pathogens and reducing the volume of solid waste. However, since the act of burning can increase the risk of wildfires and can create potent fumes, it is important to make sure to follow safe fire practices.

3) Trash: Disposing of carcasses in the trash is discouraged because once the carcass reaches the landfill it has the potential to be scavenged by other animals (e.g. rats, raccoons or even other wild pigs). Determined scavengers can easily break open plastic bags. There are, however, some landfills that are specially permitted to safely dispose of carcasses. Local county health department officials can help identify these landfills.

The Centers for Disease Control has excellent online articles on trichinellosis at www.cdc.gov/parasites/trichinellosis/, taeniasis at www.cdc.gov/parasites/taeniasis/ and cysticercosis at www.cdc.gov/parasites/cysticercosis/index.html.

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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.