Tag Archives: possession limits

Releasing Pet Ducks to the Wild?

It is not legal to release pet ducks into the wild (USFWS photo)

Releasing domestic animals to the wild is not only illegal, but most are not prepared to take care of themselves in the wild. Our pets are usually dependent upon humans for food and protection, so when released to the wild to fend for themselves, many will end up starving to death or falling prey to any number of predators. (USFWS photo)

Question: I have some ducks that I would like to find a good home for but I’m not sure where to start. They have been pets and I don’t want to eat them or risk giving them to someone else who will eat them. I’d like to release them into the wild and am hoping you can advise where I can do this. I’m willing to donate them someplace as long as I know they won’t get eaten. (Mike)

Answer: I understand you are seeking a good home for your pets, but releasing domestic animals into the wild is a bad plan and often has disastrous results. Typically, domestic animals depend on humans for food and are ill-equipped to take care of themselves in the wild. When released to the wild, many end up starving to death or falling prey to any number of predators.

If the animals do survive, they often become a nuisance in their new home and may cause damage because they tend to seek out people for food. Domestic animals also compete for resources with wildlife, and in some cases may breed with their wild counterparts which reduces the genetic fitness of wildlife populations. There is also a real possibility of introducing domestic diseases to wildlife that have no immunity. This may cause die-offs, sometimes quite massive ones. In addition to all of this, it is also against the law. Any person who willfully abandons an animal is guilty of a misdemeanor under California Penal Code, section 597s.

You might try posting a notice at a local farm or agricultural store because many of these stores regularly sell domestic ducklings. You could also search for petting zoos or small city zoos to see if they may be interested in giving them a good home. If that doesn’t work out, try advertising on the Internet. You might also check with local schools and ask friends.

Bottom line … you have a number of options to explore in your quest to find a new home for your feathered friends, but releasing them into the wild should not be one of the them.


Selling abalone jewelry
Question: I’ve recently been to a few beaches where I’ve found red abalone shells that have washed up on the shore. I’ve collected a few shell fragments and have made jewelry from them. Friends of mine have shown the items to others and now they want me to make them items as well. My questions is … Is it illegal for me to collect red abalone shells and then make jewelry, then sell them to friends, and so forth? I’ve gotten mixed answers from the Web and have tried to navigate your Website. I have seen no definitive answer. If anyone could respond to this it would be great. (Matt R.)

Answer: You may give the shells away or use them for personal use, but shells collected under the authority of sport fishing license cannot be legally bought, sold, traded or bartered.

People often ask what they can do with their old abalone shells. We get requests for shells from Native American tribes who use them for ceremonial purposes. Shells can be donated directly to a Native American Tribe, or they can be given to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and we will distribute them to Native Americans when we get requests.


Deer decoys
Question: I know that baiting for big game is illegal in California, but what about using deer decoys to attract deer to a certain location when deer hunting? (Matt W.)

Answer: Yes, decoys are legal to use while deer hunting in California. However, decoys that employ any recorded or electrically amplified bird or mammal call or sound is illegal to use for big game.


Transporting smoked/canned fish
Question: We have a vacation house on the North Coast where we spend a lot of time ocean fishing and enjoy smoking and/or canning our fish. How can we legally transport this processed fish back to our home in the valley? (Jim S., Redding)

Answer: As long as you possess only the legal limit and the fish were taken legally, transporting these fish as smoked or canned is not a problem. Regardless of whether they are fresh, frozen, or otherwise preserved, no more than one possession limit may be possessed by any one person (CCR Title 14, section 1.17).

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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.

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When is a duck not a duck anymore?

Mallard drake (Photo ODFW)

Question: During waterfowl season, I would like to hold onto as many birds as I can so that I can mount those birds that are in the best shape. But at what point does a duck go from being a duck in my possession to a carcass for mounting? Does a skinned-out bird count as one duck toward that season’s bag limit? Do birds in the freezer from last year count toward this season’s bag limit? Do mounted birds count toward my possession limit? I would like to know what the regulations are and abide by them. (Brian Porter)

Answer: According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Assistant Chief Mike Carion, generally, Fish and Game laws and regulations prohibit a person from having more than the bag or possession limit prescribed for each species. You may not keep game for longer than 10 days following the season, unless you have a valid hunting license (or a copy) for that species that was issued to you or to the person who donated the birds to you. The license must have been issued for the current or immediate past license year. Possession limits apply to each person in the household whether they were the taker of the game or not. As long as you do not possess more than the legal possession limit for each person living at the residence, you will still be in compliance with the laws.

If you plan on mounting birds for another person, you will be required to obtain a Federal Taxidermy Permit (Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 50, section 21.24) and will be required to tag all birds belonging to someone else (specific requirements can be found in CFR Title 50, section 20.36). In addition, you must keep accurate records of who you obtained the birds from, date taken, species and who you deliver the bird to. (Fish and Game Code, section 3087 and California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 14, section 695).

As far as at what point a duck is no longer a duck and instead a carcass for mounting, under DFG laws, “bird” means any wild bird or part thereof. A feather, bone, webfoot, etc. from a wild duck is always a bird. Once you remove, consume or otherwise use the edible portions of the bird, the bird would no longer count toward your possession limit for the season. As long as you have the edible portions of the bird, it would still count toward your possession limit.

Once you skin out a duck and remove all of the edible portions, the edible portion remains part of your possession limit while the remainder of the carcass can be kept for taxidermy without counting toward your possession limit.

Keep in mind that birds still in the freezer from last year DO count toward this season’s possession limit, but mounted birds that were legally taken and preserved by taxidermy are not counted in either the bag or possession limits.

For more information, please see Fish and Game Code, sections 22, 2001 and 3080, available online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/.


Legal method to take rock scallops?
Question:What is the legal method of take for rock scallops and are there any size limitations? Am I allowed to SCUBA dive for rock scallops? (Lee C.)

Answer: You may use SCUBA to take rock scallops. The daily bag and possession limit is 10 rock scallops per person and there are no size limits. They may be taken by hand or by using dive knives or abalone irons. The regulations that discuss legal methods for taking rock scallops are located in your current 2010-2011 Ocean Sport Fishing regulations booklet in section 29.05(d) (page 52) and section 29.60(b) (page 55).


Can filling guzzlers be considered baiting?
Question:I have a question concerning water for guzzlers. I’ve always assumed it was okay to add water to dry or nearly dry guzzlers, but an incident occurred to a friend of mine in early summer that has me wondering. He was adding 50 gallons to a dry guzzler when a hiker came up to him and told him what he was doing was illegal, mentioning that he could be cited for baiting wildlife. I find that hard to believe, but figured we better check it out with DFG. Are there any laws against adding water to dry or nearly dry guzzlers? (Gerald O.)

Answer: There are no fish and game laws specifically prohibiting adding water to a guzzler or other area where wildlife may gather to drink. In fact, there is a very active volunteer effort addressing this in Southern California. There are some restrictions, though, so please check CCR Title 14, section 730 to ensure that your activities are legal.

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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.

Fishing with a beach net

 

(Photo: William B. Folsom, courtesy of NMFS)

Question: If I am using a 20-foot beach net (the type generally used inland as bait nets) on an inland water (Mission Bay or San Diego Bay, in particular) to demonstrate to my kids the kind of nearshore sea life that is around, am I going to get zinged?

Here are the details: I would be using a 20-foot beach net, or a longer one if possible. It would be operated by hand with me (a license holder) on one end and my 7-year-old son on the other to crowd whatever sea life would be in the particular area. We are not targeting any species in particular. We would not actually take any sea life, but perhaps would handle them and observe them in a confined area. Would the regulations be any different for a non-inland area? (Tim D., San Diego)

Answer: I’m glad you asked first before taking that beach net out to show your kids what you’d catch. Here’s why …

California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 28.85 states that beach nets not over 20 feet in length with meshes at least 7/8 of an inch in length may be used to take surf smelt north of Point Conception.

That means you cannot use beach nets or throw nets anywhere south of Point Conception, and this includes San Diego waters. The area you describe is not considered inland waters, but even if it was, these nets are not legal in inland waters at all anywhere. Beach or throw nets can only be used under the authority of a Scientific Collecting Permit and these are issued only for bona fide research, education or collection for approved public display purposes.


Possessing bear parts
Question: I’m trying to find information on the possession of parts of a bear that I found in the woods that appeared to have died of natural causes. I have looked over the rules and regs and all pertain to the “killing/hunting” and possession of it thereafter. Nothing addresses the possession of bear parts in the manner that I have described, where the bear died of natural causes. Do I need a permit authorizing the collection of the skull and claws? (Heather M.)

Answer: Under California Fish and Game law the pieces and parts of an animal are treated the same as the complete animal, live or dead. Possession of any piece or part of a bear is legal only if it was acquired as authorized by law. There is no provision in the law for taking bears that are already dead, but neither is it specifically prohibited.

According to retired Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Capt. Phil Nelms, if you are in possession of a bear (including any or all pieces and parts) and if there is any evidence the bear had only recently been killed or died, it would be probable cause for a game warden to investigate the circumstances. If evidence exists that the bear was taken in violation of the law, you would be subject to prosecution. However, mere possession of dried and/or desiccated bones, teeth, claws, etc. generally do not raise undue suspicion, especially in the absence of any other evidence or information suggesting the bear was taken illegally.

Keep in mind that buying or selling any part of a bear is illegal in California and violations are prosecuted as felonies.


Do freezer fish count towards my possession limit?
Question: I recently purchased a sport fisher that I hope to use fishing. It has a very good freezer on board and a friend has stored some yellowtail and yellowfin tuna he caught in Mexico in it. This fish was processed and packaged for freezing in convenient meal-size portions before he returned from Mexico. Do I need to remove this fish if I am using the boat for fishing? (Dave N.)

Answer: In California waters, Fish and Game Code sections 5508 and 5509 state you may not possess fish on a boat or bring ashore fish to a California port unless the size and species can be determined. Returning to California waters or landing in a California port with fish in the condition you describe would not be legal because the fish would not meet those criteria. Section 1.17 of the California Code of Regulations provides that bag and possession limits apply whether your fish are fresh, frozen or otherwise preserved.


Selling farm reared abalone shells
Question: Can shells from farm-reared abalone be sold? (Maria M., Sacramento)

Answer: Yes. Commercially raised abalone and their shells may be sold by the abalone farm. Only those abalone shells taken under the authority of a sport fishing license may not be traded, bartered or sold. Therefore, a person off the street could not sell them without proper commercial licensing pursuant to Fish and Game Code section 8030.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. She cannot personally answer everyone’s questions but will select a few to answer in this column each week. Contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.