Tag Archives: pig hunting

Late 8 a.m. Start Time for Abalone Unfair

Red abalone feeding on kelp at San Miguel Island (CDFW photo by Derek Stein)

Red abalone feeding on kelp at San Miguel Island (CDFW photo by Derek Stein)

Question: Just a note (complaint) … the start time of 8 a.m. for abalone is very, very unfair. The two lowest tides of the year are in May and June, and you just eliminated them. Rock pickers are put into a shorter collection time and can make even more hurried decisions to take an under-size ab off a rock. You are punishing all rock pickers and putting them in danger by forcing them to dive for abs when they are not good divers (thus, in danger of drowning). The 8 a.m. rule does not adversely affect the divers at all. You already closed off way over half the state of California. There is no way that abalone hunters can wipe out the abalone population. I go rock picking for abalone with six others and we all share these thoughts. (Fred M., San Francisco).

Answer: The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) made recommendations to the Fish and Game Commission (Commission) to reduce the take of abalone because recent scuba surveys had shown lower numbers of abalone at popular abalone sites, particularly in Sonoma County.

According to CDFW Marine Environmental Scientist Jerry Kashiwada, the current Abalone Recovery and Management Plan (ARMP) recommends a 25 percent reduction in the take of abalone when the density (number of abalone in a standard area) reaches the low levels seen in the most recent surveys. Density in the Fort Ross area was so low it reached an ARMP “trigger” for closure to allow the abalone population to recover.

Abalone rock pickers

Abalone rock pickers (CDFW photo by K. Joe)

The Commission had a choice between the 8 a.m. start time, reduction of daily limit to two abalone, reduction of the limit on the abalone card, reduction of the season (more closed months), reduction of take for Sonoma and Marin counties or some combination those proposed changes.

The 8 a.m. start time was initially proposed by CDFW wildlife officers who had been seeing large numbers of rock pickers at all low tides and believed that segment of the fishery was unsustainable. The officers observed rock pickers were taking more time to find legal limits, were less likely to get a limit and were removing and returning more short abalone, many of which were unlikely to survive the handling. The later start time also helps officers by eliminating predawn fishing hours when the light is too dim to observe violations. The effect of the new start time was estimated using data from returned abalone report cards, but the actual effect is unknown since it depended on whether many people would shift to later hours. Data from abalone cards returned this year will provide a clearer picture of the effects of the regulation changes.

The timing of low tides is variable from year to year and while the 8:00 a.m. start reduces the number of low tides available, there usually are some days with suitable tides. The lower numbers of abalone being taken by rock pickers may make it easier to find abalone at higher tide levels than in the past. The activities of sport fishermen might not be sufficient to cause extinction of abalone species but they can reduce abalone populations to the point that the abalone are spaced so far apart that their chances of reproducing are very low. At low abalone population levels, many people might stop participating in the fishery because it is too difficult to find abalone. Reducing abalone populations to low levels also makes them more vulnerable to events like the 2011 die-off that affected abalone in much of Sonoma County.

CDFW is currently in the process of developing a Red Abalone Fishery Management Plan and revising sections of the ARMP. For more information, please visit the CDFW Invertebrate Management Project website.


Can a non-hunter carry an unloaded shotgun when with other hunters?
Question: While hunting on a game bird club, can a non-licensed, non-hunter carry an unloaded shotgun while walking with other hunters? (Anonymous)

Answer: While it may not technically violate the law for you to carry an unloaded shotgun without a license, by doing this with others who have ammunition and are taking game, it will likely generate many questions by the wildlife officer contacting you in the field. Whether or not you have a hunting license is not an element of “take.” You may argue you are not taking game, but the officer has sufficient evidence to prove you are. Do you really want to put yourself through the hassle of going to court? Leave the firearm behind if you want to go with your buddies while they are taking game.

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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.

Sidearm While Duck Hunting?

(Photo courtesy of USFWS)

(Photo courtesy of USFWS)

Question: A friend and I recently had a situation where we found pig tracks at one of the areas where we like to duck hunt. We both found it a little unnerving to be walking in knee to waist high grass armed with only bird shot if a pig were to charge. The area where we are hunting doesn’t explicitly prohibit handguns. We were wondering if California law allows us to carry a handgun, not as a method of take, but rather for defense while hunting waterfowl. I noticed the answer to the question on sidearms while hunting upland game and small game but don’t know if duck hunting has any additional restrictions. Also, if this is allowed, does the ammo in the handgun apply to the nonlead requirement while hunting duck, or is it exempt considering that it is not a method of take? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks. (Rhyan P.)

Answer: Unless the area where you’re hunting explicitly prohibits the possession of, or hunting with, handguns, that part should not be a problem. If that is the case, and you feel that your life is in danger, you can shoot the pig. However, you are not authorized to take the carcass unless you have a pig tag and utilized a legal method of take. If you’re hunting in condor country, you must carry nonlead ammunition.


Are crabs with black spots safe to eat?
Question: I just bought two crabs and found one with black spots on the outside shell. I’ve seen these before and usually avoid them, but this time the seller sneaked it into my package. When I called him about it, he said he didn’t know what it is, but it doesn’t permeate the shell. This isn’t true—I’ve seen this stuff on the flesh at the joints. It looks like oil. Can you enlighten me? Besides being ugly, is it unsafe? (Mari V., Berkeley)

Answer: Black spots on the shells of crustaceans are typically composed of melanin, which is the end product of a series of immunological reactions. This means the crab was likely responding to some shell damage that could be caused by physical trauma or a disease agent. In this case, the black spotted crab is probably safe if cooked correctly. However, if the discolored shellfish tissue has an unpleasant taste or texture, or looks or smells unusual, we always recommend not eating it.


Where can I find bail fine information?
Question: How are fines determined and how can someone locate published documentation on fines? (John S., Bakersfield)

Answer: The State Judicial Council publishes the “Uniform Bail and Penalty Schedules” every year. If you perform a web search, most courts will link to the most current edition. The link on our web site  www.courts.ca.gov/documents/july2011_jcbail.pdf is the 2011 edition. Additionally, some fines are mandatory and established by the California legislature. Those can be found in the Fish and Game Code starting with Section 12000. See the California Legislative Information web site http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes.xhtml to look up the code. With some exceptions for mandatory fines, the uniform bail and penalty schedule is a guideline used by judges. In other words, judges have a great deal of discretion in setting fines and penalties for any violation.


Crossbows for wild pigs?
Question: I am trying to get some clarification on hunting wild pigs with a crossbow. The regulations state that crossbows may be used to take deer and wild pigs only during the regular seasons (California Code Regulations, Title 14, section 353). Since wild pigs can be hunted all year, does that mean that a crossbow can be used (like a firearm) to hunt wild pigs? Can any legal hunter with a hunting license and a pig tag use a crossbow for wild pigs? The regulations have a bit of a gray area here and I would like some clarification please. (Al Q.)

Answer: Yes, wild pigs can be taken year-round with a crossbow.


Importing a water buffalo skull?
Question: I purchased a water buffalo skull with horns in Thailand (Jan 2014). The Thai post office informed me I would need a “customs” form to have it delivered in the U.S. but they did not have them. The skull remains with my son in Thailand.

The skull is clean and dry. There is no remaining material on the skull. The skull was purchased from a buffalo farm for about $60. The animal was not mistreated or tortured. It died a natural death. The farm has a number of skulls for sale.

Can you please tell me what form I need and what I need to do to have it shipped to me here in California? Thank you in advance for your assistance. I enjoy your articles! (Jerry M.)

Answer: California wildlife law does not generally apply to this situation. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would be the contact agency regarding importing parts from a water buffalo into California.

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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.

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.

Raw or Cooked … It Still Counts Towards Your Limit

Red abalone from California's North Coast (Photo by DFG Marine Biologist Derek Stein)

Question: I often go to Fort Bragg with a group of friends to get abalone. On the first day we all make our dives, and then in the evening we have abalone and a fish fry. The abalone is all sliced, pounded and breaded. Some always remains uncooked or cooked and not eaten. We go diving again the next day and get our limits again, and then head home that day or the next. I know I may only possess three abalone in the shells. However, what about the abalone I have left over, including the abalone that has been sliced, pounded and breaded for food? Will I be in violation for being over my limit? Do I need to keep the old shells and tags? (Terry L., Nipomo)

Answer: The law states: No more than one daily bag limit of each kind of fish, amphibian, reptile, mollusk or crustacean named may be taken or possessed by any one person unless otherwise authorized; regardless of whether they are fresh, frozen, or otherwise preserved (California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 1.17). 

According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Lt. Dennis McKiver, even if you have leftover abalone that is pounded, breaded and cooked, it still remains part of your abalone limit until you either eat it or give it away. If you have a partial abalone left over after your first day’s dinner, you would only be allowed to get two abalone the next day. Otherwise you would be over your possession limit. If you have three tagged abalone in their shells and one partial abalone pounded and breaded and you are headed home, you would not only be in violation of being in possession of an over limit, but you would also be in violation of transporting an abalone that has been removed from the shell.

In the future, make sure you eat all of your prepared abalone or else give it away before you get another full limit or head home.


Can I keep a pet dwarf caiman?
Question: I want to keep a pet dwarf caiman and was wondering how I can get a permit to do so. I know a lot about them and how to handle them properly based on what I’ve learned from other gator experts and gator farm workers. I have done a lot of research myself and know to never release a caiman into the wild. (Ian L.)

Answer: Unfortunately, you cannot keep a pet dwarf caiman. California restricts the importation and possession of many species, including all species in the Order Crocodilia. No restricted species may be imported or possessed for pet purposes. For additional information and a list of restricted species, please go to www.dfg.ca.gov/about/wildlife.html and click on “Restricted Species Laws” (PDF).


Starting a business to trap/eradicate wild feral hogs
Question: I am interested in starting a company to focus on trapping / eradicating wild feral hogs. Does California have a permit program for this venture? If so, how can I get information and an application to allow me to do this? Are there any counties that need this service? (Joseph W., Murrietta)

Answer: According to DFG Statewide Wild Pig Program Coordinator Marc Kenyon, a property owner may apply to the DFG for a permit (depredation permit) to kill wild pigs causing damage to their property. This depredation permit contains a section wherein up to three individuals may be listed to act as an “agent” on behalf of the landowner. These agents may kill the pigs for the landowner in the manner specified on the permit. You, as a sole proprietor of a company, could be listed as an agent on this permit at the time it is issued by DFG, and then you would be able to take the pigs as specified in the permit.

Wild pig populations are mostly concentrated around the central coastal counties, ranging from Mendocino to Ventura counties.


Shooting clay pigeons when doves not in season.
Question: Is it legal to shoot clay pigeons in the same fields that I use for dove hunting when doves are not in season? (Richard X.)

Answer: Fish and Game laws do not generally cover target practice. However, Fish and Game law does prohibit target practice on most state wildlife areas, except in specifically designated areas that are identified as such.

Keep in mind that shooting clay targets produces a lot of litter. Please make sure you have the property owner’s permission before you do it and comply with their requirements regarding cleanup.

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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.