Tag Archives: importation

How to Measure Abalone Correctly to Avoid a Ticket?

Abalone must be measured with a fixed-caliper measuring gauge capable of accurately measuring seven inches (CDFW staff photo)

Abalone must be measured with a fixed-caliper measuring gauge capable of accurately measuring seven inches (CDFW staff photo)

Question: I know a guy who was abalone diving off his kayak recently and took three nice abalone that all measured around nine inches. He was diving for the big abs and so was using a 9-inch gauge, but had his required 7-inch gauge in his goody bag on the kayak. When he finished up and got back to the beach with his tagged abalone and his gauges in his goody bag, there was a wildlife officer waiting there who had been watching him and wrote him a ticket for using a 9-inch gauge instead of a 7-inch gauge. Why did he get a ticket? (Tim S.)

Answer: Abalone divers are required to “… carry a fixed-caliper measuring gauge capable of accurately measuring seven inches” (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.15[f]) and are required to retain any legal-sized abalone they detach and add them to their bag (CCR Title 14, section 29.15[d].) It is fine to use a gauge larger than the required 7-inch gauge to measure over-sized abalone when trophy hunting. The problem occurs when a diver detaches and brings an abalone to the surface, measures it with only a 9-inch gauge, and then rejects it for being smaller than their personal target size even though the abalone may still be of the minimum legal size (seven inches or larger). This practice puts the diver in violation of the above sections and this practice is considered “high-grading.”

To avoid this kind of ticket, divers should not return any abalone before first measuring with a 7-inch gauge to be sure they are smaller than legal size. A 7-inch gauge should be in the immediate vicinity of where the diver surfaces (in hand, float tube or kayak) so that the abalone can be readily measured, and if they then turn out to be short, the diver can then return it to the same location where originally taken. The violation occurs when divers detach and then reject legal-sized abalone because they are seeking only the oversized ones.


Disabled wheelchair-bound hunters?
Question: My dad used to hunt ducks with me every weekend. The last few seasons he had to miss due to becoming disabled and wheelchair-bound. Recently he has talked about hunting the refuges with me this coming season, and has bought an electronic chair. My question is will the electronic chair be allowed onto free roam Type A/B or on Type C areas? Or will it be considered an ATV (which it is not)? He would only be able to do levees or gravel roads. Thanks. (James)

Answer: Many of our wildlife refuges have disabled hunter blinds that would allow your father and one able-bodied hunter to still enjoy waterfowl hunting and accommodate his need for an electronic chair or regular wheelchair. But while he would probably be allowed to free-roam hunt, most refuges with their levees and gravel roads may not be easy to get around in via a wheelchair. ATVs are prohibited. It might be best to call ahead to the refuge where you’d like to hunt to inquire about the conditions available.


Hunting with an arrow rifle?
Question: I have an arrow rifle that’s powered by CO2 high pressured gas that I’ve had for the last 15 years. It’s not a crossbow. I’ve heard it was made for SWAT teams, but I’m not sure. I just think it would be cool to hunt with it but didn’t see anything in your regulations about it. What do you think? Would it be legal? (Wes H.)

Answer: No. The weapon you describe would not be legal for taking fish or wildlife in California.


Bringing black bear claws in from out of state
Question: I recently purchased black bear claws from a licensed store/vendor in Idaho and would like to know if it is legal to bring them back into California. (Anonymous)

Answer: If you buy them legally in another state and have documentation to prove it, you can legally bring them back here so long as you declare their entry into California (Fish and Game Code, section 2353. Assuming they are from a black bear, you cannot sell them once in California though. Even if you decide to later sell them and plan to do so over the Internet … don’t! You could then be charged with a hefty federal Lacey Act violation. Buying or selling black bear parts within California is strictly forbidden, even if the bear was taken out of state.

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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.

Relocating Rescued Rattlesnakes

Rattlesnake (CDFW photo)

Rattlesnake (CDFW photo)

Question: I found and took home a dying Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus) after it became a victim of a wildfire. It’s now eating great and able to move fluently which is great and a job well done in my eyes. I’ve had it in captivity close to three weeks now. Is it okay to place it back into the wild (away from humans, of course)? (Daniel G.)

Answer: While we appreciate your desire to help injured wildlife, it is illegal for members of the public to rehabilitate wildlife without possessing a wildlife rehabilitation permit.

If you kept the injured rattlesnake near or with other captive reptiles at your house, the snake should not be re-released back into the wild due to the inherent danger of spreading disease into wild populations of rattlesnakes after release.

Wildlife rehabilitation is regulated in California to ensure animals are cared for and housed properly and that their reintroduction into the wild is done very carefully. Wildlife rehabilitators often give pre-release medical exams or observe wildlife patients for an extended period of time to evaluate the health of an animal prior to release. All rehabilitation facilities have a veterinarian of record who help them with medical issues and can help them assess whether an animal is healthy enough for release. Wildlife rehabilitators must return wildlife within three miles of where the animal originated and often work with the department to find suitable release sites.

We encourage you to find a wildlife rehabilitation facility that is willing to take the rattlesnake and go through the proper channels for its release. For a list of permitted wildlife rehab facilities, please go to www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/WIL/rehab/facilities.html .


Can cowcod caught in Mexico be imported to U.S. waters?
Question: If we’re fishing in Mexican waters and catch a cowcod, can we legally bring it back into a California port as long as we have all of the proper licenses and the Declaration for Entry form properly filled out? I’d just like to know for sure as we fish Mexican waters frequently targeting rockfish and I’d like to avoid a citation. (Jeff M., San Diego)

Answer: No. Cowcod may not be imported or even possessed in California regardless of where caught (Fish and Game Code, section 2353(a)(2)). Broomtail groupers and canary, yelloweye and bronzespotted rockfishes are also illegal to be possessed or imported into California under this regulation and under California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 28.55(b)(1), even if they were taken legally in Mexico.


Hunting deer over water?
Question: I was having a conversation with my uncle the other day and we were discussing whether it would be legal to hunt over a horse or cattle trough. With the recent drought, I’m worried that the deer in our area aren’t getting sufficient watering holes. I have read the section on baiting in the Big Game Digest, but am under the impression that water is not considered bait. So our main question is, is it legal to hunt over a horse/cattle trough or any other type of man-made pool of water if there are no horses or cattle? (Tony S., Davis)

Answer: Although there are some specific exceptions, it is generally legal to hunt near cattle troughs or other sources of water. Keep in mind that many wild animals like deer will water before or after legal hunting hours.

In addition, it is NOT legal to hunt, camp or otherwise occupy for more than 30 minutes within 200 yards of wildlife watering places on public land within the California Desert Conservation Area, within 200 yards of guzzlers or horizontal wells for wildlife on public land, and within one quarter mile of five wells in Lassen County and one well in Modoc County is prohibited (CCR Title 14, section 730). “Wildlife watering places” are defined as waterholes, springs, seeps and man-made watering devices for wildlife such as guzzlers (self-filling, in-the-ground water storage tanks), horizontal wells and small impoundments of less than one surface acre in size.


Abalone dinner donations?
Question: If a non-profit organization puts on a dinner and only requests donations to attend, can a group of divers legally donate abalone to the organization to be used for the dinner? (Anonymous)

Answer: Yes, but only as long as the dinner is not advertised as being an abalone dinner and as long as paying for the dinner is optional. You may charge for the rental of the facilities, tables, chairs, etc. and charge for the plates, napkins, cups, etc. Abalone (like all sport-caught fish and game) cannot be bought, sold, bartered or traded.

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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.

Can Fin-clips Identify Different Trout Strains?

(CDFW file photo by Roger Bloom, Heritage and Wild Trout Program)

(CDFW file photo by Roger Bloom, Heritage and Wild Trout Program)

Question: With trout season opening soon, I was thinking about how several years ago I ran across a way to identify what strain a Lake Crowley trout was based on which fins were clipped. Identify as follows: adipose only-Eagle Lake strain, adipose and left ventral-Kamloops (from Junction Reservoir), adipose and right ventral-Coleman, and ventral only-Kamloops or Coleman. No fin clips would indicate a natural spawn and not from a hatchery. And, what hatchery would these plants have come from? Possibly Hot Creek or maybe Fish Springs? I have talked to the driver planting catchables in Silver Lake and learned those plants came from the Fish Springs hatchery. Thanks for any info you can provide. (Ron A.)

Answers: In the mid-1990s, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) fisheries biologists applied fin clips to Eastern Sierra trout stocked in Crowley Lake to evaluate their performance, growth, return to creel, etc. The results were very interesting.

According to CDFW Fisheries Program Manager Curtis Milliron who conducted those studies, wild trout were unmarked and at that time both rainbow trout (RT) and browns constituted about 25 percent of the catch of all larger fish caught at Crowley. They did not substantially supplement the average size class, however. The marked trout came from both Fish Springs (Coleman strain RT and Eagle Lake trout) and from Hot Creek Hatchery (Kamloops strain RT).

Coleman strain fish were found to be caught most often by anglers while trolling, while Kamloops were often associated with nearshore angling. Eagle Lake trout (ELT) were found all over the lake, including feeding on large snails right on the lake bottom. Additionally, ELT outlived the other strains, and therefore greatly contributed to the “carryover” population, which are fish that do not get caught in the first year after being stocked and return to anglers at a much larger size.

By about 1999, Milliron discontinued the Crowley Lake trout strain studies but thinks some marked fish may have persisted in the lake for another five years, at most. Today, no similar studies are being conducted, and fin clips to identify the various strains of Eastern Sierra trout are no longer being applied. But, thanks to the findings of the studies, a management plan for Lake Crowley was created, and the lake continues to draw anglers back year after year as one of the most popular and productive trout lakes in the Eastern Sierra.


How many turkeys in possession?
Question: My buddy and I are going out of town on a three-day turkey hunt. If we both get a turkey each day (total of six) and get stopped by a warden on the way home, will we be legal? I heard that you can’t have more than one bird with you at a time, but the regulation states possession limit is three birds per hunter for the season. I want to make sure we are legal. Otherwise I will have to travel back and forth after each successful day and it’s about a two-hour drive each way. Thanks for any information you can give me. (Brent M.)

Answer: You do not have to return home after taking a bird on any one day. The daily bag limit for turkeys during the spring season is one bearded turkey per day and you can take three per season. You may have three bearded turkeys in your possession as long as you only take one per day.


Spearfishing rockfish and lingcod after dark?
Question: Can rockfish and lingcod be taken by spearfishing after dark? (Brian S.)

Answer: Yes, you may spearfish for rockfish and lingcod at night, except in San Francisco Bay (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.56).


Buying skulls from other states
Question: I found someone in Oregon selling a raw coyote skull. I own some flesh-eating dermestid beetles and am interested in buying the skull from them to clean off. Is it legal to buy raw (uncleaned) skulls from other states if it was obtained legally and not from California? I know you can’t purchase almost any part of California fish and game, but can we bring parts in from other states? (Anonymous)

Answer: Yes, as long as the animal was legally taken in another state and is properly imported with a “Declaration for Entry into California form,” then it can be possessed. The same goes for most species, but there are some exceptions, such as bears, mountain lions, and fully protected birds and mammals whose parts cannot be legally possessed in California (Fish and Game Code, section 3039). For a copy of the declaration form, please go to www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/entry-declaration.aspx. Remember that deer and other cervid skulls may not be brought into the state unless special rules are followed to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease (see CCR Title 14, section 712).

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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.

Ethics of Shooting Birds on the Water or on the Ground

Wood duck (USFWS photo)

Wood duck (USFWS photo)

Question: Is it lawful to shoot a bird that is on the water, or if I’m field hunting, to shoot a bird that is standing on the ground? I do not consider it sporting, but I was party to a group of hunters that took part in the above actions. Just curious what the official word is on this. (Nick V.)

Answer: It’s not illegal, but it’s certainly not sporting as it violates the Fair Chase Principle. “Fair chase” is the ethical, sportsman-like, lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an unfair advantage over such animals. In addition, it can also be unsafe to shoot birds on the ground or on the water because nearby hunters might be in your line of fire.


Is it legal to keep legal-sized fish caught in hoopnets?
Question: If I catch fish in a hoop net while lobster fishing, are they legal to keep provided they meet any size requirements? I have been throwing them back because I’m not sure it is legal to catch them that way. Someone told me they must be caught on fishing line only. What about sea snails and octopus that are caught in my hoops? Can other line-caught sportfish, such as tuna, be used as bait in lobster hoops? Please advise. (Steve G.)

Answer: You were correct to return fish caught in your hoop nets because hoop nets are not a legal method of take. Finfish may only be caught by hook-and-line except in very specific circumstances listed under “Finfish – Gear Restrictions” in the Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 28.65).

Taking sea snails and octopus caught incidentally in your lobster hoop net is not allowed (CCR Title 14, section 29.10(a)). Any finfish that is legal to take or possess in California may be used as bait in your lobster hoop net.


If license is forgotten, will a photo copy of license do?
Question: My son and I fish from our private boat almost exclusively and keep our sport fishing licenses aboard so they are always present. On rare occasions we will attempt to fish without the boat, and a few times have forgotten to bring our licenses. To prevent us from mistakenly being without our fishing licenses, can we show a photo copy of our licenses or can the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) issue more than one copy to a sport fisherman? (Murray C.)

Answer: Good questions, but the answers to both are no. You must have a valid fishing license in your possession when fishing or attempting to take fish, and you must present it to a game warden upon request. Additionally, only one license may be issued to a person per year.


Importing buffalo hides and products?
Question: Are there any restrictions on importing buffalo hides or buffalo art productions into California?

Answer: American buffalo (Bison bison) are considered a domestic breed of bovine (like cattle, goats and sheep) and thus no Fish and Wildlife laws regulate them. American buffalo hides are not restricted by CDFW and so they may be imported or possessed as long as they were obtained legally. However, the live importation of other species of true buffalo (e.g. African Cape Buffalo, etc.) or their hides is restricted by law (CCR Title 14, section 671).


Is it legal to catch carp and trout by hand?
Question: I recently read a post from people saying they had caught carp by hand in a lake. Is this legal in California? I have caught trout by hand in streams when I was younger, but wasn’t sure if that was legal either. Can you please clarify? (Nick)

Answer: There are no freshwater finfish species that can be legally taken by hand from any California lake waters within the state (only exception: a few fish species are allowed to be caught by hand during specific times in a few non-lake areas, as per CCR Title 14, sections 1.76 and 2.30.)


Electronics and hunting
Question: Is there any law against mounting a camera to the scope of a rifle to record my hunting experience? (Barry N.)

Answer: No, there is no law against this as long as there is no light emitted from the camera.

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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.

Computer-Assisted Fishing

To fish using remote-controlled boats, the fishing rod must remain attached to the hooks and line. must be  for fishing must

Computer-assisted fishing is not legal, but battery powered remote-controlled boats are as long as a fishing rod remains attached to the line to maintain control when a fish is hooked.

Question: In the regs it states, “It is unlawful to take or assist in the taking of any fish in or from this state, by computer-assisted remote fishing.” However, I have heard that you can use a remote-controlled boat to tow a line and or bait out as long as the bait and hook are connected to a rod and reel and not to the boat. Is there any truth to this? (Toby M.)

Answer: Most of these remote-controlled boats that people talk about are not powered by computers. They are battery powered. Only remote computer-assisted fishing is prohibited. Even though the remote-controls may employ some computer technology, this law does not prohibit their use as long as the person in control is present at the site. Thus, these types of boats are legal to use so long as the angler maintains control of the hook and line via a fishing rod. Remote-controlled boats are most often used to take hook and line out farther or into tight places that the angler cannot reach by regular casting.

Remember that a legal number of hooks must be used, and in inland waters you are limited to either three hooks or three artificial lures with a maximum of three hooks on each lure (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 2.00).


Squirrel hunting during archery season
Question: My dad and I often hunt together. During archery season and squirrel season, I deer hunt with a bow and he always comes along with me. We were wondering if it’s okay for him to hunt squirrels with a .22 rifle while I deer hunt. (William H.)

Answer: During an archery only deer season, you would be prohibited from carrying, or having under your control, any firearm (Fish and Game Code, section 4370). The exception would be if you are a peace officer. However, if your dad is not hunting deer, this provision would not apply to him.


Importing birds from Mexico
Question: I have family in Mexico who have given me a parrot and some love birds which I would like to bring to California. I have been searching the web and have been directed here. Any information on this subject would be greatly appreciated. (Bob S.)

Answer: Some species of “love birds” such as Quaker or Monk parakeets are prohibited under restricted species law (found in CCR Title 14, section 671(c)(1)). If the species you are inquiring about are not restricted species, provisions to import them would be found by consulting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For a complete list of restricted species, please check the following: www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/specialpermits/.


Special regulations for kayak fishing
Question: I recently purchased a kayak and I’m trying to find information on regulations. Do I have to have a net? How many rods can I use? I have searched the web site but haven’t found anything kayak-specific. (Christopher P.)

Answer: A kayak is generally considered a boat/vessel, so regulations that apply to boats also apply to kayaks when angling. Unless you are fishing for a few species such as rockfish, lingcod, cabezon, greenling or salmon north of Pt. Conception (Santa Barbara County), there are no boat-specific limits on rods for boats fishing in the ocean. A landing net with an opening of not less than 18 inches is required for boats (and kayaks). The reason is for assistance in landing undersize fish of species having minimum size limits (CCR Title 14, section 28.65(d)).


Where can I get a copy of the Fish and Game Code?
Question: I would like to know where the California Fish and Game Code is officially published so that I may appropriately cite regulations therein. (Elizabeth J.)

Answer: Both the California Fish and Game Code (FGC) and the California Code of Regulations Title 14 can be easily accessed from links on our enforcement page at www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/. Otherwise, CD copies of the FGC may be purchased from LawTech Publishing, 1060 Calle Cordillera, Suite 105, San Clemente, CA 92673, (800) 498-0911 or www.lawtechpublishing.com. To view the Fish and Game Code online, go to www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html.

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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.

GPS Collars on Dogs While Hunting?

gr-sh-pointer_wilson1

GPS collars may be used on dogs only when bird hunting but are prohibited when hunting mammals (Photo by Carrie Wilson)

Question: My dog is often hard to follow when we’re hiking through heavy cover. Is it legal to use GPS tracking devices on dogs while hunting? (Mark M.)

Answer: GPS collars may be used on dogs only when bird hunting but are prohibited when hunting mammals. Electronic dog retrieval collars employing the use of global positioning system equipment (devices that utilize satellite transmissions) are prohibited on dogs used for the pursuit/take of mammals (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 265(d)(2)).


Lighted fishing lures
Question: I have begun to see fishing lures for sale on eBay that are LED-lighted. Are these legal in California? I fish the Sacramento and Feather rivers. (Donna B.)

Answer: Yes. There are no prohibitions against using LED-lighted lures in either fresh or salt water.


Can I carry a gun for protection during archery-only season?
Question: I am an avid bow hunter and spend most of the archery season stalking deer and bear in the deep canyons, and walking from ridgeline to ridgeline carrying nothing but my bow and my two knives.

However, I have not been able to continue my tradition of solo crosscountry hunting trips recently due to the high numbers of marijuana gardens being found and raided in my hunting zone. I am not sure of the ethnicity of the marijuana farmers, but I have family in south Texas and they have told me stories of the Mexican drug cartels kidnapping people and forcing them to go into the wilderness and farm these big marijuana gardens. These people have strict orders to shoot anyone that may cause a threat to the crop.

After hearing this, I stay a whole lot closer to main roads and out of canyons but am still fearful of being confronted by these guys with guns when I just have my bow and the bear deterrent I carry in bear country. My question is why can’t I, being an American citizen, have a firearm in my possession while bow hunting? Doesn’t the Second Amendment give me the right to bear arms? This was just a question that crossed my mind today as I was deer hunting and I hope you can answer it for me. (Vincent W.)

Answer: I appreciate your concern and understand you wanting to be safe while in the woods. But, under current California Fish and Game laws, if you choose to hunt during an archery-only (AO) season or during the general season under the authority of an AO harvest tag, it is not legal for you to be in possession of a firearm while in the field.

However, AO tags/seasons are only one option, you can instead choose to hunt during the general season under a general tag with a bow, and if so you may carry a firearm. Hunting under the AO authority grants special opportunity in exchange for leaving the firearm in camp.

With respect to archery-only hunts for deer, in order to allow the possession of firearms by anyone other than peace officers, Fish and Game Code, section 4370 would have to be amended. For other archery-only hunts, the Fish and Game Commission would need to amend the applicable regulations for those hunts. It is not up to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).


Ivory piano keys
Question: My mother has an old piano that has been in her family for about 70 years and she needs to sell it. She says it has ivory keys. We were wondering if it would violate any Fish and Game laws to sell it? If so, any suggestions? (Cathi D.)

Answer: African and Asian elephants are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principle federal agency responsible for implementing and enforcing the ESA and CITES, and federal regulations do allow for some elephant ivory to be owned, bought, and sold. You should contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (800) 344-9453 or their website at www.fws.gov for further information regarding federal restrictions.

As far as state regulations, the California Penal Code section 653o (a) says, “It is unlawful to import into this state for commercial purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or to sell within the state, the dead body, or any part or product thereof, of any … elephant.”


Ocean stamp needed for pier fishing?
Question: Do we need an ocean enforcement stamp to fish on a pier? (Sher K.)

Answer: No sport fishing license or Ocean Enhancement Validation is required when fishing from a public pier.

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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.

Bringing Fish and Game Back from Mexico

Thresher boat

P/V Thresher patrols Southern California ocean waters down to the U.S.-Mexico border and out to 200 miles offshore (CDFW photo).

Question: I fish in Mexico and have a question regarding bringing them back to the U.S. I saw a statement on Facebook where the poster said we cannot bring cowcod or fillets into U.S. waters even if we have a signed declaration to present with the fish. Despite the fact cowcod are not legal to possess in California, they are legal to catch in Mexico.

I would like to know if this is true as many things posted on the Internet are not always correct. If it is correct, is this also true for the other three protected rockfishes – canary, yelloweye and bronzespotted rockfish? If I take a legal Mexican limit of five bocaccio, would I be limited to bringing only three back into California? Also, I hunt in Mexico where it is legal to take 60 doves. At the border, could I declare the 60 doves when I cross the border or would I only be able to have the California limit of 10 doves? What are the laws? Since I am hunting and fishing in another country and abiding by their laws, do I have to also abide by California laws when I import game from another country? (Randy H.)

Answer: It is unlawful to import or possess birds, mammals, fish, reptile or amphibian taken from outside of this state unless the following requirements are met (as per Fish and Game Code, section 2353):

  • The animals were legally taken and legally possessed outside of this state.
  • California and federal codes and regulations do not expressly prohibit their possession in this state.
  • A declaration is submitted to the department or a designated state or federal agency at or immediately before the time of entry, in the form and manner prescribed by the department.

Therefore, even if the fish were legally taken in Mexico but are prohibited here in California, then they cannot be brought back here. This means while cowcod, canary, yelloweye and bronzespotted rockfishes may be legally caught and possessed in Mexico, they cannot be brought back to California. California’s sport fishing laws do not allow possession of whole fish, or filleted fish, that are less than California’s size limits, or are in excess of California’s bag or possession limits, regardless of where the fish were taken.

There is an exception for migratory gamebirds. Migratory gamebirds, such as doves, taken in Mexico fall under the federal migratory bird regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 50. Federal regulations allow importation of doves from Mexico “not to exceed the maximum number permitted by Mexican authorities to be taken in any one day: Provided, that if the importer has his Mexican hunting permit date-stamped by appropriate Mexican wildlife authorities on the first day he hunts in Mexico, he may import the applicable Mexican possession limit corresponding to the number of days actually hunted during that particular trip.”(see CFR section 20.61.)

Declaration for entry forms can be found online at www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/.


Trolling for salmon
Question: There is a one rod per angler rule in Monterey Bay. This last weekend while trolling with my husband for salmon, we had three fish on board and needed one more for the two of us to have limits. My question is, do we need to fish with just one rod as one of us has a limit, or may we fish with two rods until we catch one more fish? (Donna S.)

Answer: You can use two rods until you catch your final fish because boat limits apply in ocean waters. When there are two or more persons who are licensed or otherwise authorized to sport fish in ocean 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)).


Collecting starfish can be very expensive!
Question: Our family was at Mavericks Beach in Half Moon Bay recently. I wasn’t paying close attention when the kids were collecting things from the beach. My kids collected a starfish and snails and put them into a cooler. When a ranger saw what they had he made me put them back in the water. We didn’t know it was against the law. He wrote a ticket out to my husband as “CCR Title 14, section 29.05(d) Unlawful taking of invertebrate” and marked as misdemeanor.

We wouldn’t have let the kids do it if we knew it was illegal. What will the fines or penalties be? (Laurice P.)

Answer: Sea stars (starfish) residing on nearshore rocks between the mean high tide line and 1,000 feet seaward of the mean low tide line may not be taken (CCR Title 14, section 29.05(b)). Pursuant to Fish and Game Code section 12000, the maximum fine for this violation is $1,000.

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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.