Tag Archives: hunter education

Donating Fish to Charity for a Tax Deduction?

(CDFW file photo)

(CDFW file photo)

Question: In a recent column you said it is legal to donate excess fish from a multi-day fishing trip to a church or non-profit shelter as long as no compensation is received. What about a tax deduction? This way the guys with too many fish donate to the churches, the churches feed the hungry and the fisherman gets a deduction and doesn’t have to worry about dead fish to clean. Everyone wins! What do you think? (Dick L.)

Answer: Sorry, but while this might sound like a great idea, donated fish cannot be claimed as a tax deduction because you cannot assign a value to sport-caught fish. The best thing for anglers to do is to catch and keep only what they know they will actually use so that they don’t end up with excess fish to clean and donate.


Night fishing
Question: We love to fish for crappie and are wondering if it is legal to fish for them at night. I am not aware of any California lakes that allow night fishing using lights off of your boat. Is this legal, and if so, what bodies of water allow this type of fishing? Thanks for all of your weekly information (W. Yamamoto).

Answer: Night fishing for crappie is permitted by the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFW) as long as the lake where you plan to fish permits fishing at night (CCR Title 14, section 2.15). Some lakes prohibit night fishing for purposes of access control, safety or security reasons. You will need to contact the agency or concessionaire managing the lake to inquire about their policy.


Fishing from my private dock?
Question: I live right on the river and can fish from my backyard off my private dock. Do I need a fishing license? I heard if it is private property you do not need a license. (Eric)

Answer: What you heard was not correct. You do need a fishing license because it’s not a matter of where you’re standing, it’s a matter of the waters you’re fishing in. All rivers of the state are public waters, and all fish contained in those waters are public fish. Even if a stream or river runs through private property, all of the fish within those waters belong to the people of California, and thus a fishing license is required. The only places where you would not need a fishing license would be if you were fishing in a pond on private property that has no stream or creek water flowing into it or out of it. The water must be completely self-contained so that no fish from outside of the property can swim into it or swim out of it. The only other place where you can fish without a fishing license is on a public pier in the ocean (CCR Title 14, section 1.88).


Hunter Ed reciprocity between states?
Question: I took a hunter education class in Missouri and have a hunter’s safety card issued from there but recently moved to California and would like to hunt here. Do I have to complete another hunter ed course in California or can I just purchase a hunting license using my old card? (Steve H.)

Answer: No, California accepts hunter education certificates from other states as proof you have completed an approved course in the past. You can also present a previous hunting license from another state as proof to buy a California hunting license. But despite the fact you may not need to take a California hunter education class, you still may want to consider one. It’s a good idea for everyone to periodically update their knowledge with a refresher course and a review of the 10 commandments of handling a firearm. Our hunter education program is always improving and most people do benefit from a refresher. For a calendar list of more than 200 hunter education classes offered throughout the state, please go to www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/classes.aspx).


Casting for squid?
Question: Is it legal to use a standard cast net to catch squid in the ocean or are only dip nets allowed? (Hai L.)

Answer: Hawaiian type throw nets or cast nets are legal to use to take squid if used north of Point Conception. In waters south of Point Conception, only hand-held dip nets are allowed (CCR Title 14, section 28.80).

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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 CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.

Scouting with Scuba for Abalone?

(Photo by Derek Stein for CDFW)

Scuba divers cannot assist a free diver in any way when pursuing abalone (CDFW photo by Derek Stein)

Question: Is there any regulation prohibiting a photographer with scuba gear from also scouting out large abalone for a regulation-compliant abalone diver to take? Thanks in advance, and for all you do. (Dave C.)

Answer: The photographer in scuba cannot assist the free diver in any way. The action you describe falls within the definition of “take” under the Fish and Game Code and its regulations (see Fish and Game Code, section 86 and California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.80). Both the abalone diver and the photographer with scuba gear may be cited for violating CCR, Title 14 section 29.15(e), which prohibits the use of scuba gear to take abalone.


Ocean whitefish fillet size limit
Question: I noticed in the new ocean sport fishing regulations that ocean whitefish fillets are required to be a minimum length of 6½ inches long and retain the entire skin intact. However, there is no minimum size limit for the whole fish. Why is there a size limit on fillets but not on the whole fish? (Jim Martinez)

Answer: The reason is because previously in the regulations, the basses (kelp, sand and spotted) all had 12 inch minimum total lengths or 6½ inch minimum fillet lengths, and were required to retain 1-inch patches of skin still attached for identification. Ocean whitefish fillets looked so similar to the bass fillets that they too were required to measure a minimum of 6½ inches with skin attached to avoid confusion with the basses. This year though fishery managers increased the minimum lengths of the basses to 14 inches and the minimum fillet lengths to 7½ inches. Because there was no biological reason to increase fillet lengths on the ocean whitefish, scientists chose to leave their minimum fillet lengths at 6½ inches and to require all skin to be left on so that there still could be no mistaking ocean whitefish fillets with fillets of one of the three bass species.


Hunter Ed question regarding a someone with a felony
Question: My father-in-law is interested in big game hunting. Unfortunately for him, he has a non-violent felony conviction which bars him from possessing a firearm. This will allow him to only hunt via archery methods.

Does he still have to take the standard hunter safety course or is there a special class for archery only? I have a feeling he has to take the standard course even though all the firearms questions will have no bearing on his archery tackle pursuit. If he does take and pass the course, may he still hunt during the general deer season using a crossbow with me?

I pride myself on knowing CDFW law well, but this wrinkle throws me for a loop. He is a great guy who just made a bad choice more than 12 years ago. Now that I married his step-daughter and am such an avid hunter, he wants to get in on the fun, but only as the law allows. (Anonymous)

Answer: He will still have to take Hunter Ed, but he will have to find a class that does not use real firearms or have a live-fire requirement in the class. While signing up for the class or else at the very beginning of the class, your father-in-law should notify the instructor immediately of any firearms restrictions he may have. Then the instructor can determine how best to accommodate him during the class. For a list of available hunter education classes in his area, please go to http://www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/hunting/.

Hunter Ed isn’t just about firearms. It includes all forms of hunting, hunter safety, conservation, ethics, etc. In most cases convicted felons are not restricted from using archery equipment or air rifles but he should check with his parole officer or the court to make sure the conditions of his case do not preclude using these methods of take for hunting.


Practicing spearfishing in rivers?
Question: I know it is not legal to spear fish in rivers. However, if I want to take my spear to the river to practice my technique with no intention of taking any fish, am I abiding by the law? (Zoe D., Trinidad)

Answer: Spearfishing is permitted in some rivers, such as those in the Colorado River District and the Valley District (as authorized under CCR Title 14, section 2.30) but primarily only for a few species of non-game fish. New this year, spearfishing for stripers is now legal in the Valley District. Even if just practicing your techniques, don’t forget your fishing license! Otherwise, the use and possession of a spear within 100 yards of any canal, river, stream, lake or reservoir is specifically prohibited (CCR Title 14, section 2.09).

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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.

How Much Fishing Until Boat Limits Apply?

(CDFW photo by Ed Roberts)

(CDFW photo by Ed Roberts)

Question: I heard this question asked on the radio last season while fishing for salmon in Monterey. The answers from mostly experienced and knowledgeable anglers were mixed. No one seemed to be certain. So here’s the situation:

Two anglers, both legally licensed, one rod trolling per angler, barbless hooks, one lure per line. The anglers take turns hooking up and fighting the fish. Soon they have three legal salmon on the boat. One angler has a limit, and the other angler needs one more and wants to catch his own. The question: Can the two anglers continue trolling with the two rods out?

My reading of the ocean regs is yes, they can, because there is nothing in the regs saying the angler with a limit must stop fishing while the boat/anglers are not over limit. If the next one to hook a fish was to fill the boat limit, then the angler with the limit would not be able to even touch the rod. However, since catch and release fishing is not prohibited, both can continue to fish until the last fish is netted. Do you agree? (Dave R.)

Answer: Yes, boat limits apply. Boat limit: When two or more persons that are licensed or otherwise authorized to sport fish in ocean waters off California or in the San Francisco Bay District … are angling for finfish aboard a vessel in these waters, fishing by all authorized persons aboard may continue until boat limits of finfish are taken and possessed aboard the vessel (CCR, Title 14 section 27.60 (c )).


How to become a Hunter Ed Instructor?
Question: How can I sign up to become a Hunter Education Instructor?

Answer: Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Successfully complete the hunter education course prior to submitting an application
  • No felony convictions
  • Completed a course of study prior to taking a supervised examination covering the basic topics of hunter education

The testing process to become a certified instructor takes about two hours and applicants must score a minimum of 80 percent. After passing the exam, the volunteer will take an oath and work with an experienced instructor before leading their own class.

To retain current HEI certification, an instructor must teach one class per year and attend one conference. More information on the requirements can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered, or speak with one of our wildlife officers at the upcoming Fred Hall Shows in either Long Beach or Del Mar.


Lobster report card for two different types of traps?
Question: If I am fishing with both flat and rigid types of hoop nets in one set, do I need to fill out two lines on my lobster report card (e.g. one line with a gear code for flat and one line for the non folding type?) (Dixon C.)

Answer: Yes. According to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Environmental Scientist Travis Buck, instruction 2 on the lobster report card says “make a separate entry for each location fished and each type of gear used.” You’ll see under gear codes that flat hoop nets are gear #1 and rigid hoop nets are gear #2. So create separate lines for each type of net, and record the corresponding number of lobsters retained for each type of net. Thank you for paying attention to this detail!

Also, hunters and anglers are now being offered the ability to report harvest data online at: www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/harvestreporting/. This means you will be able to enter your 2012 lobster report card data online. Thanks and good luck lobster fishing.


Importing USDA processed black bear meat?
Question: Can I bring USDA processed black bear meat into California from Colorado and Nevada from USDA plants to sell here locally? (Anshu P.)

Answer: No, California Fish and Game law prohibits the sale of the pieces or parts of any bear in California, and it makes no difference if the item was a bear that was killed in California or in another state and imported into the state. (See Fish and Game Code, section 4758.)

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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.