Collecting Roadkill Raptors

American Kestrel (USFWS photo)

American Kestrel (USFWS photo)

Question: What are the rules concerning the use of birds of prey, such as owls, which have been killed by vehicles? I have found several in the local area which seemed to be dead along the side of the road but without evidence of damage to the body. My guess based on where they fell is they are “indirect roadkills.” If I wanted to save these animals for taxidermy or another use, would I need some kind of documentation? If so, what sort of permit would I need? It would be simple to document the finds I have made photographically at the site, but preserving them for inspection later by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) would be harder. Thanks for your help with this. (Ken Z., Visalia)

Answer: Under both state and federal law, it is not legal to collect or possess any species of bird that is protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This would include all raptors that have been killed by vehicles. There are permits available, under very specific circumstances that allow scientific or educational facilities to salvage these birds. Organizations that believe they may qualify for these permits would be required to obtain both a federal Salvage Permit and state Scientific Collecting Permit. More information on these permits can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/nongame/research_permit/ and www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-10a.pdf.

Another very valuable thing the average citizen can do when they see a potential road kill is to “document the find” in one of the databases such as www.wildlifecrossing.net/california/. If it is near a State Highway, the Department of Transportation keeps records specifically for planning and coordination purposes.


Fishing license and second rod stamp
Question: I have a California sport fishing license but did not pay for the second rod stamp. When I am out ocean fishing on my boat, am I only allowed one rod? I thought since it was the ocean I can have two rods out, even if I did not pay for a second rod stamp. (Anonymous)

Answer: The second rod stamp is only required when fishing in freshwater with two poles. In the ocean, any number of poles and lines generally can be used, with some exceptions. For example, fishing for lingcod, rockfish, greenlings or cabezon is limited to one line with no more than two hooks. Also, when fishing in San Francisco Bay or when fishing for salmon north of Pt. Conception, only one rod/line may be used per person.

Other exceptions exist, such as when pier fishing – only two methods may be used. There are only a few exceptions like these, but I’d recommend reviewing the Gear Restrictions section of the Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet and any regulations for the species you’re pursuing to ensure you’re following the law.


Legal to collect moon jellyfish for personal use?
Question: I am interested in collecting some moon jellyfish just for my personal use but want to be sure it’s legal. They would not be sold or traded. If legal, can I collect them under a basic fishing license or would I be required to have a marine collector’s permit? (Tucker M.)

Answer: Moon jellyfish occurring outside the tide pool zone (1,000 ft. seaward from mean high tide) may be legally taken with a fishing license and the bag limit is 35 (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.05 & 29.05(a)).


Crab pot dimensions?
Question: My son wants to build his own crab pot. I think it’s a great project but I can’t find any official size regulations. He already has line, buoys and bait containers. I found a web page that described a circular pot as measuring 42 inches in diameter, 14 inches deep and weighing 90 pounds. Are those the required dimensions? Can they be bigger/smaller? Any help is appreciated. (Anonymous)

Answer: As long as the trap has “at least two rigid circular openings of not less than four and one-quarter inches inside diameter so constructed that the lowest portion of each opening is no lower than five inches from the top of the trap” (CCR, Title 14, section 29.80 (c)), your son is free to construct a pot using any dimensions!

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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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