Tag Archives: migratory birds

Illegal to Interfere with Someone’s Fishing Experience?

(DFG photo by Sabrina Bell)

Question: Recently, my girlfriend and I were surf fishing locally when some other “fishermen” showed up demanding we leave as it was their fishing spot. Things escalated quickly when one of the anglers cast his line over mine and intentionally cut it. From there the situation degraded with the other party making threats of death and bodily harm. All this over a barred perch fishing spot! The police got involved and the instigator ended up going to jail charged with a felony (for the threats).

I understand there are state laws that forbid individuals or groups from intentionally interfering with the legal hunting efforts of others. I believe these regulations were primarily created in response to anti-hunting groups trying to both intimidate legitimate hunters and scare away game from being accessible. Do these same laws apply to legal fishing?

Are the above-mentioned laws Fish and Game codes or some other California state statute, and are violations of these laws misdemeanors or felonies? I’d like to know if my legal fishing efforts were interfered with and whether I should ask the City Attorney to add any additional charges. (Dan F., Venice, CA)

Answer: You are correct in your understanding of laws regarding interfering with hunting, and these same laws protect any individual engaged in shooting, hunting, fishing, falconry, hunting dog field trials, hunting dog training or trapping where the activity is taking place … even for surf perch!

According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Lt. Todd Tognazzini, Fish and Game Code, section 2009, is the law you are referring to and it is punishable as an infraction, but escalates to a misdemeanor for a second conviction in a two year period.

The law is a little different than most Fish and Game Code sections in that the warden has to establish that the offender has specific intent to interfere with the activities listed. In addition, “interfere with” is defined in the law as any action which physically impedes, hinders or obstructs the lawful pursuit of these activities, including but not limited to:

1. Actions taken for the purpose of frightening away animals from the location where the lawful activity is taking place,

2. Placing or maintaining signs, gates, locks or barricades that prohibit or deny access to lands without authorization from the landowner or lessee or an authorized designee of the landowner or lessee,

3. Placing food on lands not belonging to the person for purposes of eliminating the lawful ability to hunt due to the presence of bait.


Hunting with swords?
Question: I was curious about the laws behind using a sword (or any blade in excess of, say, 20 inches in length) as a means of take, primarily as a secondary line of defense against another predator (or an extremely angry wild pig). I know it sounds odd, but curiosity abounds! (Mark S.)

Answer: Swords and knives are not a legal method of take for big game and are thus illegal, including when hunting an extremely angry wild pig. Legal methods of take for big game (such as wild pigs) are defined in the 2011-2012 California Mammal Hunting Regulations booklet under sections 353 and 354.


Stuffing wild owls?
Question: I found a dead great horned owl while on a walk with my dad last night. I’d like to get it stuffed but heard it might be illegal to do this. What are the rules when it comes to possessing an owl body? (Morgan)

Answer: You are correct that this owl, or any part of it, is illegal to possess. These birds are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Fish and Game Code, sections 3503.5 and 3800. The only way to legally possess the owl and/or to get this animal stuffed is if you can qualify for a California scientific collection permit, which means the animal must be used for education or scientific research. Otherwise, you must leave it where you found it.


Can game wardens in the field find my license through my CDL?
Question: Under the new electronic license system in California, do I still need my fishing license with me, or is my California driver license (CDL) all that I need? What about the enhancement stickers and second rod stamps? Are all of these accessible by wardens in the field? (Josh V.)

Answer: No, by statute, you still must have the actual license in your possession. The licenses are not tied to the CDL database system and so game wardens have no way of looking them up. If you are caught without proper licenses and stamps in your immediate possession, you will likely be cited.

# # #

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

Taking extra game to give away?

DFG photo by Derek Stein

 

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

# # #

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.