Question: I know a guy who was abalone diving off his kayak recently and took three nice abalone that all measured around nine inches. He was diving for the big abs and so was using a 9-inch gauge, but had his required 7-inch gauge in his goody bag on the kayak. When he finished up and got back to the beach with his tagged abalone and his gauges in his goody bag, there was a game warden waiting there who had been watching him and wrote him a ticket for using a 9-inch gauge instead of a 7-inch gauge. Why did he get a ticket? Thanks. (Tim S.)
Answer: Abalone divers are required to “… carry a fixed-caliper measuring gauge capable of accurately measuring seven inches” (Section 29.15[f]) and are required to retain any legal-sized abalone they detach and add them to their bag (Section 29.15[d].) It is fine to use a gauge larger than the required 7-inch gauge to measure over-sized abalone when trophy hunting. The problem occurs when a diver detaches and brings an abalone to the surface, measures it with only a 9-inch gauge, and then rejects it for being smaller than their personal target size even though the abalone may still be of the minimum legal size (7 inches or larger). This practice puts the diver in violation of the above sections and this practice is considered “high-grading.”
According to Lt. Steve Riske, to avoid this kind of ticket, divers should not return any abalone before first measuring with a 7-inch gauge to be sure they are smaller than legal size. A 7-inch gauge should be in the immediate vicinity of where the diver surfaces (in hand, float tube or kayak) so that the abalone can be readily measured and if they then turn out to be short, the diver can then return it to the same location where originally taken. The violation occurs when divers detach and then reject legal sized abalone because they are seeking only the oversized ones.
Do I Need to Carry a Photo I.D. When Hunting or Fishing?
Question: While hunting or fishing, besides carrying the appropriate license(s), do I also need to have photo identification in possession or can I leave it in my vehicle? (Gambino A.)
Answer: You will need to verify that you are the person holding your own fishing or hunting license. Though photo identification is not mandated by law, being able to identify yourself properly is. If you cannot appropriately identify who you are, you may see yourself in an extended contact with the game warden. If you’re getting cited for something, the game warden may have to take you to jail until you can be properly identified. The bottom line is even though the law doesn’t state you must have photo identification in possession, it would benefit you greatly to carry photo identification, so you may properly identify who you are to the game warden.
Is it Legal to Use Underwater Lights When Ocean Fishing?
Question: Is it legal to use underwater attractor lights in ocean waters to attract fish to the boat? Thanks. (John V.)
Answer: According to Game Warden Todd Tognazzini, there are no prohibitions from using underwater attractor lights in ocean waters.
Is it Legal for One Person to Have Two Shotguns in a Duck Blind?
Question: Is it legal for one person to have two shotguns in a duck blind? Thank you. (Bob G.)
Answer: Yes, but while it’s legal to have more than one shotgun in your blind, keep in mind that there is a 25 shell limit on most public shooting areas (state and federal refuges). Hunters often forget this and bring a box of shells for each gun they have, but then find themselves in violation of the 25 shell limit. Also required, each gun must be plugged and not capable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined and lots of times nothing larger than 10 gauge shells are allowed in these areas. For more information, please check the Upland Game Bird Regulations booklet (PDF).
How to Become a Warden
Question: Are wardens hiring now? If so, how does someone apply? How much education is required? (James S. USMC, Al Taqaddum, Iraq)
Answer: Yes, wardens are being hired, right now! The application deadline is Nov. 7, 2008. DFG is hiring for the Academy class which starts in Jan. 2010. See www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/career for more information about becoming a warden and what a warden does, including a new video DFG produced to illustrate many of the job functions that many people don’t realize wardens do. Wardens must have the equivalent of two years (60 semester units) of college with 18 semester units in the biological sciences, police science or law enforcement, natural resources conservation, ecology or related fields.
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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.