Tag Archives: report cards

Fish Parasites – Will Cold Smoking Kill Them?

(CDFW photo by Debra Hamilton)

(CDFW photo by Debra Hamilton)

Question: I recently caught a number of trout that had what I believe to be parasites called “Lernaea” attached to them in various places. I know after reading another posting from this column titled “Parasites and Trout” that these “are killed during cooking, effectively eliminating any possibility of infecting humans eating the fish,” but I am considering smoking them. Would these parasites pose any threat if the trout were cold smoked rather than cooked, or would the curing that takes place eliminate any threat as well? Presumably if they were hot smoked there would be no threat because the fish are then cooked. I appreciate any info you can provide. Thanks. (Keith R.)

Answer: First off, Lernea and other external parasitic copepods of fish are not transmissible to humans.

As far as fish brining and smoking (even hot smoking), according to Dr. William Cox, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Program Manager of Fish Production and Distribution, there are other parasites that warrant more serious consideration, such as anasakine nematodes and human tapeworms. These parasites are not reliably killed by brining, smoking or even freezing. The only way to ensure they are killed is to thoroughly cook your fish. Generally, we are not worried about those parasites in freshwater fish caught in California. But, nematodes are a concern and they are commonly found in saltwater fish of all species.

For any additional questions related to human health issues, please contact the California Department of Public Health www.cdph.ca.gov.

How are deer hunting zones determined?
Question: What is the history of the deer hunting zones in California and how were they formed and decided upon? I assume the decision on the zone boundaries, tag quotas, seasons, etc. involved the Fish and Game Commission, science gathered by wildlife biologists and land managers, the public, etc. When did the random drawing fund-raising tags for big game begin? (Travis B.)

­Answer: California deer zones were originally developed in 1978 to reduce deer hunting pressure in certain areas of the state. Here’s how they came about.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, there was a tremendous demand for lumber to satisfy a growing demand for housing. Timber harvest created large areas of early successional habitat upon which mule and black-tailed deer thrived. By the 1960s and 1970s, changing land use practices began to change the landscape. Fire suppression, grazing and commercial/residential development projects caused the loss or degradation of deer habitat. With the reduced areas of deer habitat (and land available for hunting), the result meant higher concentrations of hunters in certain areas.

As land use practices changed and deer habitat was lost, by the winter of 1966-67 significant decreases in deer numbers were also observed. These low deer numbers were likely due to a combination of factors including habitat loss and degradation, and severe winter conditions.

Harvest numbers continued to show a downward trend into the 1970s and it was during this time that CDFW began to implement more conservative deer hunting regulations. Fewer deer and intense hunter pressure (particularly on mule deer) required new conservation measures to sustain deer populations. To relieve hunting pressure on mule deer, the decision was made to go to a zone system.

In 1978, CDFW used the best available information (along with the public’s input) to establish hunt zones that reflected the biological needs of the state’s 81 deer herds and their associated habitats. Currently, California has 44 hunt zones with some designated as premium hunts available through a lottery system. The zone/tag quota system currently in place is the result of the changes that began in 1978.

Handing off?
Question: Can two people be in a boat (both with licenses) with one person diving and handing abalone to the other person on the boat? (Janet R.)

Answer: No. Abalone may not be passed to another person until they are tagged and recorded on the abalone report card. “Cardholders … shall not transfer any abalone from his or her immediate possession unless they are first tagged and recorded on the report card” (CCR Title 14, section 29.16(b)(1)). After they are tagged and recorded, the diver can give his or her daily bag limit of abalone to the other person, but the diver cannot take any more abalone that day.

Can mice be used as bait?
Question: Is it legal to use mice as bait for stripers and bass? (Chris M.)

Answer: Despite the fact that there are many artificial lures on the market that look like mice, real mice may not be used in inland waters. Only legally acquired and possessed invertebrates, mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians (except salamanders), fish eggs and treated and processed foods may be used for bait (CCR Title 14, section 4.00). In ocean waters, there are no restrictions on using mice as bait for stripers.

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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.

Luring Lobsters with Snacks?

California Spiny Lobster (CDFW photo by Derek Stein)

California Spiny Lobster (CDFW photo by Derek Stein)

Question: My friends and I are going to Catalina next weekend to dive for lobsters. We know we have to catch them by hand but are wondering if it’s legal to lure lobsters out of their holes by holding a piece of sardine or squid in your hand? (David C.)

Answer: Sure, you can give it a try, but I don’t know how successful you’ll be. The law says that skin and scuba divers may take crustaceans by the use of the hands only and may not possess any hooked device while diving or attempting to dive for them (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.80). There is no prohibition against waving snacks in front of them.

Tagging sturgeon
Question: We are planning a sturgeon fishing trip on the Delta but want to check in first to find out what the new sturgeon tagging requirements are? I understand there have been some changes this year. (Anonymous)

Answer: As of Jan. 1, 2014, California sturgeon anglers are seeing a small change to sturgeon tags. Sturgeon anglers have been required to tag all retained legal-sized sturgeon for many years. In the past, the date, location and length of the fish caught were recorded on each tag. Now, in addition to legibly and permanently writing the date, time, location and length, the new tags require the angler to physically punch out the date and month printed on each tag.

The bag limit for sturgeon remains at one per day and up to three sturgeon per year. Failure to attach a properly filled out tag to a retained sturgeon is a misdemeanor violation.

Is licorice legal bait?
Question: My brother and I have two burning questions we have been wondering about. Is it legal to use licorice to fish with as bait? Also, we observed a man with a syringe injecting air into his bait worms so they would float off the bottom. Is this legal? (Marcus O.)

Answer: Processed foods, such as licorice, are legal under bait regulations for inland waters (found beginning in CCR Title 14, section 4.00). It is also legal to inject air into a fishing worm and many such kits are found at sporting goods outlets. This method can be a very effective way to keep a worm off the bottom of lakes with heavy bottom vegetation.

Practicing taxidermy
Question: I want to practice taxidermy and am wondering how I can get some animal hides to practice with. Would it be ok for me to purchase a hide from a tannery? If I do, will I have to just use game animals I take during hunting season? (Spencer)

Answer; As far as game animals, only deer hides can be purchased. The only other hides that can be purchased are hides from fur-bearers taken under the authority of a trapper’s license. Remember, California wildlife (even hides and body parts) cannot be legally bought, sold, traded or bartered.

You can practice on any carcasses you can legally possess (e.g. taken legally by another person who gifts it to you, carcass of non-game/furbearing mammals taken under depredation laws, domestic game animals, etc. In addition, you can also buy many hides from species not found in the wild in California from other states.

Must fishing license be carried while spearfishing?
Question: If I am spearfishing from the shore and return with my take, do I need to have my fishing license on my person or can it be in my car? (William H.)

Answer: Persons diving from a boat or shore may have their license on the boat or within 500 yards on the shore, respectively (FGC Section 7145).

Spotlighting for rabbits?
Question: If I am on my own property, can I hunt rabbits at night with a spot light? (John S.)

Answer: No. It is unlawful for any person, or one or more persons, to throw or cast the rays of any spotlight, headlight, or other artificial light on any highway or in any field, woodland, or forest where game mammals, fur-bearing mammals, or nongame mammals are commonly found, or upon any game mammal, fur-bearing mammal, or nongame mammal, while having in his or her possession or under his or her control any firearm or weapon with which that mammal could be killed, even though the mammal is not killed, injured, shot at, or otherwise pursued (Fish and Game Code, Section 2005(b)).

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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.

Beach Hunting

(CDFW photo by Melanie Parker)

(CDFW photo by Melanie Parker)

Question: I’ve heard deer and elk are occasionally spotted on a beach in a remote area of Northern California. This beach stretches for several miles and I’m planning to hike it beginning from a public access point. During deer and elk season, what are the regulations regarding hunting from the beach? I will have a harvest tag for the appropriate area and know not to shoot over water or within 150 yards of a dwelling. I believe the State of California owns everything from the mean high tide water line out to three miles, so if it were a low tide, and a deer or elk happened to be below the mean high tide line, could I technically take a shot? Although it’s not likely this scenario would occur, I am curious about the legal and ethical nature of this scenario. (Katie H.)

Answer: There are no California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) laws prohibiting this, but there could be local firearms closures in place. To determine if firearms or archery equipment would be legal to possess and use in the area you’re interested in hunting, you should contact the local sheriff (if an unincorporated area) or the local police department (if an incorporated area) to confirm. Also, these beaches may very likely be managed by either State Parks (where hunting is prohibited) or Bureau of Land Management (who may have restrictions on hunting near trails, camps and beaches). Therefore, you should also contact the local agency having jurisdiction over where you plan to hunt to be sure hunting is authorized there.

Number of fishing rods used in ocean boat?
Question: If we are fishing on a boat in Monterey, how many fishing rods are allowed? If we already have rockcod aboard, do I need to use one rod? Can I use two rods to target lingcod or halibut if we don’t have rockcod? Can I still use a second rod for bait fishing if rockcod are aboard? (Kenual L.)

Answer: Generally, any number of hooks and lines may be used in ocean waters and bays, but there are exceptions involving certain locations and specific species of fish. When pursuing rockfish, lingcod, cabezon, kelp or rock greenlings, or salmon north of Point Conception, or when any of these species are aboard or in possession, only one line with not more than two hooks may be used (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 28.65(c)). When rockfish are aboard, you may not use a second rod even if for bait fishing. Instead, plan to fish for bait before fishing for these species. Anglers should read section 28.65 on page 46 of the 2013-2014 Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet before fishing with multiple hooks or lines.

Crabbing in Santa Barbara (Refugio Beach)
Question: I’m planning to head to Refugio Beach in Santa Barbara to do some crabbing. What do I need to get to trap crabs in the water about 100 yards out? What traps can I use since I’m not a commercial fisherman? (Robert M.)

Answer: Crab traps are illegal south of Point Arguello (north of Refugio State Beach), so you may not use traps there. However, you can take crabs by hand or hoop net (CCR Title 14, section 29.80). Hoop nets must be serviced every two hours. You will need a sport fishing license (unless you go on a Free Fishing Day www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/freefishdays.html), a measuring gauge to measure the crab and hoop net(s). Since lobster season is currently open, if you catch a California spiny lobster, then as long as you have lobster report card in your possession and the lobster meets the size requirements, you can take lobsters by hoop net also. Any spiny lobsters caught outside of the season or that are too short must be immediately returned to the water. Please make sure you’re familiar with all crab (and lobster) fishing regulations before heading to the beach. The 2013-2014 Ocean Sport Fishing Regulation booklet can be found wherever fishing licenses are sold, or online at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/sportfishing_regs2013.asp.

Methods of crayfish harvesting?
Question: I was wondering if you can harvest crayfish by free diving for them in lakes and streams using only your hands. (Eddie R.)

Answer: Yes. Crayfish may be taken only by hand, hook and line, dip net or with traps not over three feet in greatest dimension (CCR Title 14, section 5.35). Most crayfish have no limit and the season is open all year. However, Shasta crayfish are protected and so there are specific river and lake closures listed for their protection in the 2013-2014 California Freshwater Fishing Regulations booklet (on page 20), as well as online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/. Look for subsection (d) of this section for the closed waters to avoid.

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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.

How Much Fishing Until Boat Limits Apply?

(CDFW photo by Ed Roberts)

(CDFW photo by Ed Roberts)

Question: I heard this question asked on the radio last season while fishing for salmon in Monterey. The answers from mostly experienced and knowledgeable anglers were mixed. No one seemed to be certain. So here’s the situation:

Two anglers, both legally licensed, one rod trolling per angler, barbless hooks, one lure per line. The anglers take turns hooking up and fighting the fish. Soon they have three legal salmon on the boat. One angler has a limit, and the other angler needs one more and wants to catch his own. The question: Can the two anglers continue trolling with the two rods out?

My reading of the ocean regs is yes, they can, because there is nothing in the regs saying the angler with a limit must stop fishing while the boat/anglers are not over limit. If the next one to hook a fish was to fill the boat limit, then the angler with the limit would not be able to even touch the rod. However, since catch and release fishing is not prohibited, both can continue to fish until the last fish is netted. Do you agree? (Dave R.)

Answer: Yes, boat limits apply. Boat limit: When two or more persons that are licensed or otherwise authorized to sport fish in ocean waters off California or in the San Francisco Bay District … are angling for finfish aboard a vessel in these 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 )).

How to become a Hunter Ed Instructor?
Question: How can I sign up to become a Hunter Education Instructor?

Answer: Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Successfully complete the hunter education course prior to submitting an application
  • No felony convictions
  • Completed a course of study prior to taking a supervised examination covering the basic topics of hunter education

The testing process to become a certified instructor takes about two hours and applicants must score a minimum of 80 percent. After passing the exam, the volunteer will take an oath and work with an experienced instructor before leading their own class.

To retain current HEI certification, an instructor must teach one class per year and attend one conference. More information on the requirements can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered, or speak with one of our wildlife officers at the upcoming Fred Hall Shows in either Long Beach or Del Mar.

Lobster report card for two different types of traps?
Question: If I am fishing with both flat and rigid types of hoop nets in one set, do I need to fill out two lines on my lobster report card (e.g. one line with a gear code for flat and one line for the non folding type?) (Dixon C.)

Answer: Yes. According to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Environmental Scientist Travis Buck, instruction 2 on the lobster report card says “make a separate entry for each location fished and each type of gear used.” You’ll see under gear codes that flat hoop nets are gear #1 and rigid hoop nets are gear #2. So create separate lines for each type of net, and record the corresponding number of lobsters retained for each type of net. Thank you for paying attention to this detail!

Also, hunters and anglers are now being offered the ability to report harvest data online at: www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/harvestreporting/. This means you will be able to enter your 2012 lobster report card data online. Thanks and good luck lobster fishing.

Importing USDA processed black bear meat?
Question: Can I bring USDA processed black bear meat into California from Colorado and Nevada from USDA plants to sell here locally? (Anshu P.)

Answer: No, California Fish and Game law prohibits the sale of the pieces or parts of any bear in California, and it makes no difference if the item was a bear that was killed in California or in another state and imported into the state. (See Fish and Game Code, section 4758.)

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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.

Are Hatcheries Producing Triploid Trout?

Triploid rainbow trout produced at the San Joaquin Hatchery (photo by David Hunter)

A triploid rainbow trout produced at the San Joaquin Hatchery (photo by David Hunter)

Question: A friend told me  state Fish and Wildlife fish hatcheries are now producing and stocking triploid fish. Is this true? (Anonymous)

Answer: Yes! These vivacious, catchable, sterilized rainbow trout are produced by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) fish hatcheries. Triploid fish have an extra set of chromosomes (3N) as a result of pressure treatment, combined with carefully monitored temperature and time precision during egg fertilization. The resulting fish are sterile, making them a more ecologically sound option for recreational fishing in many waters across the state. The fish perform for anglers like a diploid (fertile) fish, many grow larger than the fertile diploids, and they are increasingly being produced in other states for recreational stocking throughout the country.

In fact, new legislation that went into effect January 1, 2013 requires the CDFW to sterilize nearly all fish planted for recreational purposes. This sterilization practice has been in place for decades and requires no manipulation of the cell genomes – no genes are modified or transferred in this process. The carefully applied pressure during fertilization simply encourages the retention of an extra set of chromosomes normally in the egg but later discarded. Polyploidy (more than two sets of chromosomes) is common in the animal kingdom.

Do new sturgeon regs change two rod privileges?
Question: The new sturgeon regulations mandate that only barbless hooks may be used when fishing for sturgeon. Does this mean it is now illegal to use two rods in waters where only barbless hooks are allowed? This doesn’t seem right. (Anonymous)

Answer: No. Establishment of the barbless regulation for sturgeon does not alter use of the second-rod validation (e.g. the 2-rod stamp). The second-rod validation pertains only to specific bodies of water.

Crab snares?
Question: I’ve read about crab fishing using a fishing pole and “crab snares” but don’t know what regulations apply. Can you please clarify? (Tim T.)

Answer: These are referred to as “loop traps” In the Ocean Sport Fishing regulation booklet (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.80). Basically, they are composed of a bait box and up to six monofilament loops used to ‘snare’ the crab, and they are fished at the end of a line. Crab traps, including crab loop traps, may be used north of Point Arguello to take all species of crabs. For the take of Dungeness crabs from commercial passenger fishing vessels, please refer to the Ocean Sport Fishing regulations booklet (CCR Title 14, section 29.85.)

Note: Loop traps may have only a maximum of six loops total. You may find many loop traps with more loops for sale, but to stay legal when fishing in California waters, you’ll need to cut off any extra loops.

Why the need for sturgeon fishing report cards and tags?
Question: Why am I required to buy a sturgeon fishing report card and tags in order to go sturgeon fishing? What will the collected money be used for? Will the money be directed to a dedicated fund account? (Anonymous)

Answer: The sturgeon fishing report cards with tags were created to help with enforcement of the sturgeon bag limit, a key conservation measure. In addition, data from the report cards is a valuable complement to on-going sturgeon research. The monies received from the sturgeon report card will be used to fund increased data analysis of the sturgeon populations (white and green) and enforcement of the regulations related to the sturgeon fishery. Card fees are not going to a dedicated fund because a dedicated fund can only be created by the Legislature.

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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.

Transporting Gifted Abalone Out of State

To legally transport abalone they must remain in their shell with the tags still attached. (DFG photo by Carrie Wilson)

Question: I will be receiving a gift of some abalone steaks (frozen) which I intend to take with me on my return to Hawaii. These were legally fished off the Northern California coast. Is there any possible legal infraction for this? (Shel B.)

Answer: It is illegal to transport gifted abalone unless it is still in the shell with an abalone tag attached. California Sport Fishing laws require abalone to remain in the shell until they are being prepared for immediate consumption. “Immediate consumption” as used in this law is applied to mean “right now” or “into the frying pan” and not “later today,” for example.

Possession of abalone out of the shell (e.g. “… abalone (frozen) steaks …”) is a clear violation. In addition, when you take them to Hawaii it will be a violation of the Lacey Act, a U.S. law that prohibits taking any wildlife across state lines in violation of either state’s laws.

See sections 29.15(g) and 29.16 beginning on page 45 in the current Ocean Sport Fishing Regulation Booklet, available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/

If you have an opportunity to acquire legally taken and tagged abalone still in the shell, you may transport one limit (maximum of three abalone measuring seven inches or greater in diameter) with you from California but it is advised that you check with the State of Hawaii and inquire about any restrictions or requirements they have on bringing abalone into Hawaii.

Deer tagging requirements
Question: I’m getting back into deer hunting after 30 years, and realize from reading that validation is required prior to transferring a deer to my residence. What I am confused about is can I still bone it out in the field rather than drag it back whole to camp or the vehicle? If so, what are the requirements of what I must present for verification sign-off of the tag? (Don S.)

Answer: Welcome back! Hunters are required to pack out of the field all edible meat and the portion of the head which normally bears the antlers (skull cap) with the tag attached. The remainder of the skull and all inedible portions of the carcass may be discarded at the kill site. If you harvest a deer, the tag must be immediately filled out and attached to the antlers (Fish and Game Code, section 4336). The tag needs to be validated at the first available opportunity by a person authorized to validate the tag.

Although the tags are quite a bit different looking than when you quit deer hunting, the specific regulations you are asking about are relatively the same as years ago. Hunters are then required to maintain the portion of the head which normally bears the antlers with the tag attached during the open season, and for 15 days thereafter, and it must be produced upon demand to any officer authorized to enforce the regulations (California Code of Regulations Title 14, sections 708(3)(4) and (5) and FGC sections 4302, 4304 and 4306).

How many traps and lines for crayfish?
Question: How many traps and lines can you use while fishing for crayfish? (Brian C.)

Answer: There is no limit regarding the number of traps and lines when taking crayfish. Within the California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet for 2012-2013, section 5.35 reads in part: “(c) Methods of take: Crayfish may be taken only by hand, hook and line, dip net or with traps not over three feet in greatest dimension. Any other species taken shall be returned to the water immediately. Traps need not be closely attended.”

Every person 16 years and older is required to have a current Sport Fishing License to take all fish, including crayfish.

Shotgun shell clarification
Question: I know that .00 buck shot shells can only be used to take deer in special areas and cannot be used for big game, like for bear and pigs. For big game like bear, pigs and deer (outside special areas), only slugs or sabot can be used. Recently, I saw a type of .12 gauge shot shells available at Big 5 that is a combination shot shell, which includes a rifled slug with three .00 buck packed together in a shell. Can this type of ammo be used for deer, pigs and bears? (Tim L.)

Answer: No, the shot shell you describe that combines a rifled slug and buckshot is not legal for taking wild pigs in California. Shotguns firing rifled slugs may be used for wild pigs, but not buck shot.

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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.

Can a Disabled War Veteran Hunt with a Canine Companion?

Injured veteran Cpt. Leslie Smith US Army (ret). with her awesome seeing-eye companion dog, Isaac (photo by Carrie Wilson)

Question:I’m a 100 percent disabled war veteran and have a canine companion dog (yellow lab) that goes with me everywhere as my hearing dog. I lost most of my hearing in the war from enemy fire. Is it legal to take a companion dog turkey or deer hunting? Can my dog go turkey hunting on a leash, not as a hunting dog but as a hearing dog? My dog has never been trained to hunt and he won’t be part of that life. He wouldn’t be chasing game but because he is my second set of ears, can he be used for hearing? (Larry L.)

Answer: Yes, you can use your dog in the situations described. Generally, there’s no prohibition against using dogs (having them with you) while bird hunting, but there is a one dog per hunter limit during general deer season. No dogs are allowed during archery deer season or while hunting with an archery-only tag (California Code of Regulations, section 265).

Transferring a sturgeon tag to another person?
Question: While bank fishing in the Delta recently, I watched some people nearby land a legal-sized sturgeon. They took some pictures and were about to release the 63-incher when a family came running up and asked if they could keep it for dinner. It appeared to me that the catch-and-release fisherman felt compelled to give it to them, and he did. I could not tell if the sturgeon was properly tagged prior to the transfer of ownership because the family left pretty quickly. I thought I might offer one of my tags as I am also a catch-and-release fisherman who has never landed a sturgeon and would never need three tags, but I am wondering if this would be legal. Not knowing, I decided not to give up my tag. My question is, can someone donate a sturgeon tag to another fisherman? (Rob Grasso)

Answer: No, that is not legal. According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Lt. Scott Melvin, all fishing licenses, tags, permits and report cards are issued to a specific user and the Fish and Game Code expressly prohibits their transfer to another person. To emphasize this, “non-transferable” precedes the words “report card” in both the general report card requirements and the white sturgeon regulations in the Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet.

Although the tags are removed from the card to tag a fish, sturgeon tags are uniquely correlated to one specific report card and may not be transferred to another user.

How to take two limits of horse neck clams?
Questions: My wife and I are heading to Dillion Beach for some camping and clamming for horse neck clams. I was told the limit is 10 clams per day per person. I was also told it would not be legal to dig clams for another person who is back at the campsite. I want to confirm that I can indeed do the digging for both my wife and myself as long as she is right there with me. Digging four feet or deeper into the wet sand would be difficult for her. This will be the first time we’ve done this. Please let me know if there are any other “gotchas” we should be aware of before we go. We don’t want to break any rules. (Bob D.)

Answers: No gotchas here. Horse neck clams are more correctly referred to as gaper clams. Gaper clams are often harvested with Washington clams so the limits are ten of each species. Due to the fact that their shells are often broken during harvest, the first ten of either species taken must be retained.

As with any other fish or shellfish you pursue and harvest in California, you may only take one bag/possession limit per day for yourself. Taking an additional limit for someone else is not permitted. One thing you can do is if you plan to be there for more than one day, you may take a bag limit the first day and give it to your wife. Then on the following day you can harvest another bag limit for yourself. By doing it this way, you and your wife can still have your maximum possession limits.

Importing cougars taken legally out-of-state?
Question: What do I need to do to legally bring into the state a cougar hide and meat that was legally taken in Nevada during the current 2011 season? (Peter Meyer)

Answer: You can’t. It is illegal to import any part of a mountain lion since the passage of Proposition 117 in 1990, which created section 4800 of the Fish and Game Code.

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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.