Abalone rebellion or diver blunder?

Abalone divers and shore pickers must use ab irons with proper removal techniques to pop the tasty mollusks whole from their rocky substrate. (Photo by DFG marine biologist Derek Stein)

Question: One of my dive buddies asked me what to do when plucking an abalone and the abalone shell comes off the ab and the meat remains on the rock. Should the person then pry the meat off the rock, lay it in the shell and take it all like this? It would be a legal (seven inches or bigger) abalone. Is this illegal? I know it is the sporting thing to do and the right thing to do, but the regulations say that if you have an abalone removed from the shell, you are in violation! What is the right thing to do in this scenario? (Matt M.)

Answer: Although the spirit of the law may make you want to pry the meat off and place it in the shell, the law prohibits possession of an abalone removed from the shell, and your friend should not possess this abalone. According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Lt. Dennis McKiver, in his experience he’s only known this to happen on rare occasions and only when the abalone iron is not being used properly. McKiver advises that if this happens to you, or if your abalone are being otherwise injured when removed, then you should have someone show you how to properly remove an abalone without injury. This would be the right and sporting thing to do.


Strategy for father and son to hunt together?
Question: I have a bow hunting question. If a father and son want to hunt together and the son has an Archery Only (AO) tag, but he doesn’t get his deer during archery season, can he then hunt with his dad who only hunts with a gun during the gun season? How could they make this work so they could both hunt together? (Doug W.)

Answer: California is one of the few states that allows two deer tags. According to DFG Lt. Todd Tognazzini, there are three options:

The first and simplest would be for the son to enjoy the benefit of an AO tag during the archery only season and then use the second tag for an area both the father and son can hunt during general season.

The second option would be to pick a zone in which they could hunt together. The son could hunt that zone during its archery season, and, if unsuccessful, join his father during rifle season with the same general zone tag for that area. During season he could use archery equipment or a rifle.

The third option would be for the son to hunt archery only during the general season and the father could go rifle hunting if he had the general tag for these areas. It is not normal for these two types of hunting to be joined because of close range requirement of archery hunting, but it would be legal.

If hunting any of the many two-deer areas in the state, they could apply for a second deer tag for a common zone and hunt together with the second tag. The archery only tag designation only applies to the first deer tag application.

AO tags allow hunting with archery equipment during the archery and general seasons in A, B and D zones. An AO tag may be used by military personnel only for Additional Hunt G10. (To hunt during an X zone archery season, the hunter must have an Area-Specific Archery Hunt tag.) Rifles, pistols, revolvers or crossbows may not be possessed when hunting with an AO deer tag except as otherwise provided.


Can guests fish my private pond without a license?
Question: I recently purchased a home with a private pond. Is it ok for my guests to fish the pond without a fishing license? (Randy N.)

Answer: You and your guests can fish your private pond without a fishing license only if all fish in the pond are purchased from a person licensed to raise and sell fish (a registered aquaculturist), and the pond is completely self-contained without any waters coming into the pond or running out that may contain fish. If this is not the case, then the fish are considered to be owned by the citizens of the state and are not owned by you and so fishing licenses would be required. For more information regarding registered aquaculturists, please go to http://dfg.ca.gov/fish/Administration/Permits/.


Can felons hunt with muzzleloaders or black powder guns?
Question: Can felons hunt with muzzleloaders or black powder guns? Can a felon hunt legally in California with a muzzleloader or black power rifle? (Carl R.)

Answer: No.

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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.

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