Tag Archives: pig hunting

Turkey Hunting with Extra Ammo

The author with a spring turkey (Carrie Wilson photo)

When hunting spring turkeys, hunters may carry only shotgun shells with loose #2 size shot or smaller (Carrie Wilson photo)

Question: I wonder if you can settle a bet for me and my friends. They told me when hunting for turkeys, it is illegal to also carry shotgun slug ammunition. I disagree because what if someone wants to carry slugs in case they get the chance that a pig might run by. Please set us straight. (Rob, Paso Robles).

Answer: Sorry, your friends are correct! Only shotgun shells with loose #2 size shot or smaller may be in your possession while hunting for turkeys (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 311(b)). So, if you are hunting turkeys, you cannot carry a slug because it’s not shot loose in the shell. If you are hunting wild pigs with a shotgun using slugs in the California condor range, the slugs must not contain more than 1 percent lead by weight.


Carp by spear gun?
Question: When I was a kid, we used to hunt carp with a spear gun. We’d jump into the creek and get carp up to 21 pounds. It was a lot of fun for a bunch of skinny kids with the fish pulling us all over the pool! Can you please clarify the regulations and let me know if, where, when or even if it is still doable? (Damian L., Modesto)

Answer: It is only legal to spearfish carp in the Colorado River District, parts of the Valley District, parts of the Kern River and in those areas listed in CCR Title 14, section 2.30. It is only legal to spearfish carp in the areas listed in this section.


Carrying a sidearm
Question: I am new to hunting and have a question. I understand that in order to hunt with a handgun, the barrel length needs to be four inches or longer. However, I have a Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan 454 Casull 2.5 inch barrel. I do not plan to hunt with it, of course, but would like to know if I can carry it as a back up. I do not want to purchase another gun if I already have one. Please help me with my question. (Daniel K., Los Banos)

Answer: Regulations do not restrict you from carrying a sidearm while hunting except when hunting during an “Archery Only Season” for that species or while hunting under the authority of an “Archery Only Tag” during the “General Season” for that species.

And, the four inch barrel length for handguns only applies when hunting for elk and bighorn sheep. Pistols and revolvers with any barrel length using centerfire cartridges with softnose or expanding projectiles may be used to take deer, bear and wild pigs. In the California Condor Zone, all ammunition in your possession must be certified non-lead.

See sections 311, 353, 354, 465, & 475 in the 2012-2013 Mammal Hunting Regulations for specific methods authorized for taking birds and mammals.  These regulations are available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/.


Transporting baitfishes
Question: I have a question regarding transporting finfish. Is it legal to catch anchovies and shiners by throw net and then transport them to the fishing location? I would like to do this in San Francisco Bay but would not take Bay fish to other waters (or take ocean baitfish into Bay waters.) If it’s all within the Bay, does that still indicate “transporting?” If so, is there a distance limit? For example, can I net baitfish near a marina with parked boats and take them 50 to 100 yards to a legal fishing site? California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) regs refer only to restrictions on freshwater species but do not refer to saltwater and San Francisco Bay fish. We all just want to play by the rules, so can someone please clarify for us? Thank you. (Gino P., Cotati)

Answer: It is legal to use a Hawaiian-type throw net in the ocean north of Pt. Conception (including San Francisco Bay) to take some species, including anchovies and shiner surfperch. For a complete list of species that may be taken with this gear, please see section 28.80 in the Ocean Sport Fishing regulations.  There is no minimum distance provided in the regulations, and bait fish taken inside San Francisco Bay may be used inside the Bay.

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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.

Spikes, Forks and Counting Points

Fish and Game laws in California count only the points on one side, and eye guards are not included. This is a 4-point buck (Photo courtesy of CDOW)

Question: How does the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) determine the antler count on each side? Do the eye guards count? I would like to know also about your website on the “bucks taken” point count and totals. I have not seen the count for “forked” bucks? I do see the count for taken bucks as “TWO” point? Aren’t the two point bucks “spike” bucks? Aren’t spike bucks illegal to take? (Daniel C.)

Answer: I think you may be confusing the methods used in the East to count antlers on whitetails with the way we assess mule deer antlers here in the West. Minimum antler counts are to ensure the animal is old enough to be harvested. Additional counts help give an idea of relative age and body condition. Fish and Game laws in California count only the points on one side, and eye guards are not included. A “spike” needs only a one-point antler on at least one side, but it could be on both sides and still be a spike. A “forked horn” has at least one branch on one side on the upper two-thirds of the antler, but both could be branched. For example, 1 x 2 or 2 x 2 are both correctly “forked” horn and not a 3-pt or 4-pt and so forth. A 2 x 3 buck is a 3-pt and not a 5 pt and so forth.

For a complete description of how California defines antler count and antlerless deer, please go to section 351 in the 2011-12 Mammal Hunting Regulations available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/.


What to feed wild geese at a community lake?
Question: I live in a mobile home park in a rural community in San Diego County. We are being told we cannot feed the wild Canada geese around our community lake because the managers are very mad at the geese for the droppings.

Is it legal to feed the geese actual goose food (e.g. a source of food that is put together for them and purchased from a feed store)? If not, can a person be fined for doing so? Are these geese endangered or a protected species? What are the regulations? (Phillip L.)

Answer: No, it is not legal to feed the geese. California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 251.1 prohibits the “harassment” of wildlife, which can in some circumstances include feeding. Harass is defined as “an intentional act which disrupts an animal’s normal behavior patterns, which includes, but is not limited to, breeding, feeding or sheltering.”


Fish for home aquarium
Question: My name is Austin. I am eight years old and I love to learn and study ocean animals. I want to have a salt water tank and am doing research before I get one. I wanted to find out if you are allowed to get a fish from the ocean and keep it as a pet. Like a lionfish or Mandarin fish. If you could answer my question I would like that. I don’t plan on doing this, I am just wondering if you can. (Austin Holtz)

Answer: Unfortunately, it is not legal for an individual to capture live fish off the California coast and transport them to their fish tank. I suggest you purchase your ocean fish from your local pet shop, which is specially licensed to capture and keep salt water fish for sale. I appreciate your love for ocean animals.


Night hunting
Question: I live here in California and was wondering if I can hunt wild pigs at night? (Richard X.)

Answer: Night hunting is not allowed for wild pigs. Wild pigs are classified as big game mammals, and according to California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 352, the hours for hunting all big game mammals in California are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Please be sure to read and understand California Mammal Hunting Regulations before going afield to hunt (www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/mammalregs.aspx).


Importing garibaldi?
Question: I know this guy from Mexico who sells garibaldi and he said the ban on collecting and exporting garibaldi from Mexico has been lifted. I was thinking of starting a cold saltwater tank and would like to include garibaldi but I want to check the legality. If purchased from Mexico, is it okay to keep them in California? If it is legal, can I sell it if it gets too big for the tank? (Cesar M.)

Answer: No. Garibaldi may not be imported into California because they cannot be legally possessed (see the Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations, section 28.05(b), and Fish and Game Code, sections 8598 and 2353, all available online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/).

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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.

Fore!! Teed Off Golfers Say … “Scoot Coots!”

American coots and other waterfowl can become nuisances when they take up residency on golf courses and public parks (Photo by Carrie Wilson)

Question: I am a golf course superintendent on a municipal course located within the city of Pacific Grove. The front nine of our course is located within the neighborhoods of the city, but the back nine is located within sand dunes along the Pacific Ocean and the Monterey Bay. On the back nine we have a fresh water pond, and this year we have been inundated by coots. We easily have between 300 and 400 birds this year, up from about 30 to 40 last year. These coots are a terrible nuisance and they make a mess of the greens and the fairways, making it difficult for golfers to play some of the holes on our course. How we can either remove the birds or reduce their population using deterrents or through other means? (Daniel G., Pacific Grove)

Answer: Many courses in this area seem to be having the same problem. Coots are considered migratory birds and as such are regulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. A permit from the FWS may be required for removal of coots. Additional information can be found on their website.

According to DFG Environmental Scientist Jeff Cann who oversees Monterey County, many courses in this area use trained dogs to haze waterfowl off the greens. Hazing coots is a legal activity but it is recommended that folks contact the professionals at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for information. APHIS has extensive experience with hazing and removal of nuisance wildlife, such as coots.

Coot populations in our area fluctuate as new birds migrate through in fall and winter, and others leave the area. You can try applying mylar reflective tape streamers on poles in areas the coots use to scare them off, but the birds usually get used to this. In addition, these might be distracting to golfers.

Licensed hunters can harvest coots during the waterfowl hunting season, but discharging a firearm on the golf course is probably not legal in your area. Check with your local sheriff or police department to find out. Courses in more rural areas can employ this method of control and hazing.

Some airports use sonic devices with some success to repel a variety of types of birds. I am not aware of focused studies on using them to repel coots, however.

You can try contacting the USDA Wildlife Services offices for information on dealing with nuisance waterfowl or check with the FWS permitting office for additional assistance.

Bottom line, not much will help repel the coots as long as there is food (grass on the course) and water available for them to drink and relax on.


Shooting turkeys within city limits?
Question: We have about two dozen turkeys that are running around our local streets? If I use an air gun, can I legally kill (and eat) a turkey within the San Pablo/Richmond city limits? (Bob C.)

Answer: Turkeys can be taken under a hunting license with air rifles firing pellets and powered by compressed air or gas (0.177 caliber minimum for taking wild turkey), but I seriously doubt you can shoot anything within the city limits there! It depends on local city and county ordinances on discharging air rifles within the city limits. Fish and Game Section 3004(a) generally prohibits the discharge of any deadly weapon while hunting within 150 yards of a building without specific consent of the owner. Most city and county ordinances say, “No discharging of firearms or other dangerous weapons,” which would include air rifles. Check with the local Sheriff’s Department for the local policies to be sure.


Using trout for bait in ocean waters?
Question: Is it legal to use dead rainbow trout or wild non native brown trout as bait when fishing in the ocean? My buddies want to make sure they are not breaking any laws when shark fishing in Humboldt Bay starts to pick up next month. (Trevor L., Fortuna)

Answer: It is legal as long as each angler never possesses more than the legal limit possession limit for trout in that area (regardless of whether the fish are brought in from elsewhere). As long as the fish were taken legally, they can be used for bait in the ocean waters of the state.


Pig hunting with an AR-type 308 rifle with 10-round magazine?
Question: I have an AR-type 308 rifle with a 10-round detachable magazine. Can this type of rifle be used for wild pig hunting? (Julio R.)

Answer: Yes. Any rifle that is legal to possess in California and that uses centerfire ammunition may be used to take big game, including pigs. Just remember to use non-lead ammunition when in condor country.

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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.