Tag Archives: bait

Can Crab Hawk Traps Be Fished in California?

Dungeness crab (Photo by Carrie Wilson)

Dungeness crab (Photo by Carrie Wilson)

Question: Is the Crab Hawk legal for use in California during crabbing season? The ads say it is not a trap, and because it opens, crabs would not be damaged should they need to be released. Can you please clarify this for me? (Dennis J.)

Answer: The Crab Hawk traps are indeed traps and are not legal as sold because California state law requires traps to possess escape rings.

Crab traps are required to have 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 (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.80(c)).

Traps that are not specifically provided for in this section may not be used for crabs or other invertebrates. The Crab Hawk trap is not specifically provided for, nor does it meet standards for crab traps in California, so it is not legal to use in the state.


Neighbor feeding seagulls
Question: I have concerns about a neighbor who, for several years, continues to feed seagulls despite many requests to stop. Every day, and sometimes twice a day, this elderly woman feeds seagulls bread. I have recorded this by video and photographs. It has been going on for several years now. She has been asked numerous times by property management where she lives not to feed the gulls. She has received letters and notices explaining the harm she is doing, but she ignores all. The only time the community doesn’t have trouble is when the birds migrate inland in the spring. But then once winter rolls around, the gulls return and the problem starts all over again, year after year.

Motorists are distracted by birds swooping down across traffic when she feeds them. The seagull droppings are damaging the recently replaced rooftop of the school district building where a large flock gathers and roosts, waiting to see her leave the building where she lives. Bird feces damage paint on the cars, and on and on. Business owners have complained because of the mess the birds leave. Police have been called with complaints, but they say there is no law against feeding the birds.

However, the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 251.1prohibits the harassment of wildlife and defines harassment as an intentional act that “disrupts an animal’s normal behavior patterns, which includes, but is not limited to, breeding, feeding or sheltering.” They are also protected under one of America’s oldest environmental laws: the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. That’s because gulls live on the Pacific Coast in the winter and migrate inland every spring to lay eggs. The California “Seagull Law” does not necessarily pertain to seagulls in California, but to seagulls on the entire West Coast of the United States.

Another concern is seagull feces and the health hazards that can potentially make humans sick. This activity has gone on for years. We have tried to convince her many times and in many different ways to stop feeding the seagulls, but she has ignored our requests and refuses to listen. Please, if there is any advice you may have that will help, I would greatly appreciate it. (Gina B.)

Answer: I’m sorry to hear about your neighbor’s unfortunate and selfish behavior. You are correct that CCR Title 14, section 251.1 prohibits the harassment of wildlife. Feeding the birds bread offers them very little nutrition. Bread just fills them up but offers virtually none of the important vitamins and minerals that they need as part of a healthy diet.

Since this woman refuses to listen to your complaints, you might consider reporting to your local public health department regarding your concerns that the excess fecal matter is creating a health hazard. Depending on where you live, you could also try to contact your local CDFW office and ask to speak to the regional wildlife biologist. Hopefully, they will have some suggestions for you as far as how to handle this situation and/or may be able to put you in touch with a local wildlife officer. To find your local regional office, please go to: http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions.

I have written about this issue many times. Here’s a similar one from a couple of years ago that you might find helpful: https://californiaoutdoorsqas.com/2014/01/16/feeding-wildlife-can-do-more-harm-than-good/. Good luck!


Dead farm-raised trout for bait in lakes and streams?
Question: Is it legal to use dead farm-raised trout for bait in inland waters? I’ve found only “live trout” is called out. Costco has farm-raised rainbow trout for sale at a great price and I was thinking it might make great catfish bait for my kids. (Marcus)

Answer: No. Trout may not be used for bait (CCR Title 14, sections 4.00-4.30).

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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.

Fishing or Foul Hooking?

The Northern or Florida strain of largemouth bass (LMB) are the best species for stocking in small private ponds. (DFG staff photo of Amanda Menefee by Ken Oda)

Angling is defined to only include the fish voluntarily taking the bait or lure in its mouth. Snagging the fish outside of its mouth is illegal and considered foul hooking (CDFW staff photo of Amanda Menefee by Ken Oda)

Question: When sport fishing for black bass, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) regulations say the fish must willingly take the bait in its mouth. However, it doesn’t say if the hook has to be inside the mouth or not. For example, when fishing a multi-hook bait, can the hook go from the outside to the inside of the mouth? As bass often hit these baits while attempting to eat it, the rule seems a little vague. (Randy R.)

Answer: No, this would be considered foul hooking and not legal since the fish is essentially snagged rather than voluntarily trying to eat the lure. Angling is defined in the regulations to only include “such manner that the fish voluntarily takes the bait or lure in its mouth.” The outside of its mouth is not in its mouth (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.05).


Hunting pigs and turkey simultaneously?
Question: There is a bit of a debate going on the Nor-Cal Wild Pig Hunters Facebook group regarding the legality of hunting pigs and turkey simultaneously during turkey season. Is it legal to carry No. 6 shot shells (for turkey) and rifled slugs (for pigs) at the same time while out hunting turkey in an area that holds pigs? Many say it is common practice, others say it is illegal to carry slugs (or any shell holding larger than No. 2 shot) while pursuing turkey. Who’s right? (Mark, San Bruno)

Answer: It would be legal to hunt pigs and turkeys simultaneously because a slug is not shot. A hunter who possesses shot size larger than No. 2 could be cited while turkey hunting, but the regulation limiting shot size that may be possessed when taking turkey does not address slugs.

Methods authorized for taking big game (wild pig) include shotgun slugs, rifle bullets, pistol and revolver bullets, bow and arrow and crossbow (2014-2015 Mammal Hunting Regulation booklet, page 24, section 353).

Methods of take for resident small game (wild turkey) are shotguns 10 gauge or smaller. Shotgun shells may not be used or possessed that contain shot size larger than No. BB, except that shot size larger than No. 2 may not be used or possessed when taking wild turkey (CCR Title 14, section 311(b)).


How can I prove my innocence regarding a fishing citation?
Question: If I am cited by a wildlife officer for a short fish or an overlimit of crustaceans but believe I am innocent, how can I prove it? Do I have to go to court at my own expense to prove my innocence? (Dustan B.)

Answer: If you believe that you are innocent of the violation(s) you were charged with, then yes, you need to appear in court on the date listed on the citation. You will then have the opportunity to enter a plea of guilty, no contest or not guilty. If you enter a plea of not guilty, you will have your opportunity to explain your side of the story to the judge.


Fishing with mosquito fish/guppies for bait?
Question: I live in the Central Valley, Fresno to be exact. In inland waters where mosquito fish are resident, is a person legally able to use “mosquito fishes” as bait (similar to using minnows as bait)? I would already presume transferring them from one body of water to another is prohibited, but what if the body of water is already inhabited by mosquito fish? (John T., Fresno)

Answer: Mosquito fish are not native to California waters but were introduced into California around 1922 to consume and suppress mosquitos and their larvae. Allowable live baits that may be used in the Central District, which includes the Fresno area, can be found in section 4.20 of the 2014-2015 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet (page 17). Legally acquired mosquitofish can be legally used in any body of water for bait except those listed under 4.20(f).

Use and transportation of bait fish is strictly regulated in the Freshwater Fishing Regulations booklet (CCR Title 14, section 4.00) to prevent the inadvertent transfer of a baitfish species from one body of water to another. It’s a good idea to double-check this section of the regulations booklet whenever you are transporting baitfish to your favorite fishing spot.

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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.

 

Any Difference Between Baiting vs. Attractants?

The use of any substance (real or artificial) that is capable of attracting an animal to an area, and when used causes the animal to feed (on the substance), is prohibited. (Photo by Carrie Wilson)

Question: What are the differences between baiting and attractants? I know baiting is illegal but was curious about attractants. What qualifies something as an attractant? Can you please define and differentiate? (Josh L.)

Answer: There is no difference … bait is an attractant and an attractant is bait.

No specific definition is provided in Fish and Game laws for these terms, but the definition of “baited area” in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 257.5 is helpful.

It states in part: “Resident game birds and mammals may not be taken within 400 yards of any baited area. (a) . . . baited area shall mean any area where shelled, shucked or unshucked corn, wheat or other grains, salt, or other feed whatsoever capable of luring, attracting, or enticing such birds or mammals is directly or indirectly placed, exposed, deposited, distributed, or scattered . . . ”

Under this regulation, the use of any substance (real or artificial) that is capable of attracting an animal to an area and when used causes the animal to feed (on the substance) is prohibited. Generally, aerosols sprayed into the air are permissible because there is nothing to feed on. But the same products applied to a surface (e.g. tree, brush, rock, etc.) where the animal licks, eats, chews, nibbles, etc. the surface is considered feed and is a violation.

In addition, intentional acts that disrupt any birds’ or mammals’ normal behavior patterns (CCR T14, section 251.1) as well as feeding big game mammals (CCR T14, section 251.3) are prohibited.

For the complete regulations, please go to http://dfg.ca.gov/regulations/ to find the California Mammal Hunting Regulations for 2012-2013.


Casting nets for catching own bait?
Question: I want to use a net to cast and catch my own bait rather than continue to buy bait at the stores. Is it legal to do so? I do most of my fishing in lakes and I see shads and minnows I would like to catch. I can’t seem to find any information on the website that relates to catching your own bait and if you could what are the sizes of the nets that I can use. Any information or alternatives in regard to this would really help. (Khanh Vu)

Answer: Unfortunately, the device you describe (commonly called a throw net, casting net or Hawaiian throw net) is not legal to use in freshwater. Approved baitfish may be taken only by hand, with a dip net, or with traps not over three feet in greatest dimension (CCR Title 14, section 4.05. In addition, possession of these nets in inland waters or within 100 yards of any canal, river, stream, lake or reservoir is a violation of state law (CCR Title 14, section 2.09).


Where does inland end and ocean begin?
Question: I would like to fish with two rods in the Delta but don’t know whether the regulations are in the freshwater books or in the ocean books. Is the Delta part of the ocean regulations or is it considered inland waters? Where does it change from ocean to inland if considered inland? (Brian S., Felton)

Answer: You can legally fish in the waters of the Delta with a second rod stamp. Inland regulations apply from upstream of the Delta to Carquinez Bridge. The definition of inland waters vs ocean waters is, “Inland waters are all the fresh, brackish and inland saline waters of the state, including lagoons and tidewaters upstream from the mouths of coastal rivers and streams. Inland waters exclude the waters of San Francisco and San Pablo bays downstream from the Carquinez Bridge, the tidal portions of rivers and streams flowing into San Francisco and San Pablo bays, and the waters of Elkhorn Slough …” (CCR Title 14, section 1.53).


Hunting with a 30-30 but dispatching with a .22?
Question: If I hunt deer with a 30-30 cal, can I carry a .22 pistol at the same time (not to shoot deer)? And if I wound a deer with the 30-30 cal, can I kill the wounded deer with the .22 cal? (John D., Ramona)

Answer: Yes, it is legal to carry a .22 caliber rimfire pistol while taking deer during an open rifle season. No, you may not kill a wounded deer with any rimfire cartridge (see California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 353). If hunting in Condor Country, remember that your pistol ammunition must also be lead-free.


Non-lead Bullets for Squirrels in Condor Country?
Question: If I am a land owner or a land owner’s agent engaged in squirrel depredation in the condor area, do I have to use non-lead bullets? (John B.)

Answer: Yes, even if you are using rimfire ammunition to shoot nongame mammals, the use of projectiles containing lead is prohibited in the condor range. (California Code of Regulations, Title 14, sections 355 and 475.)

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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.

Importing Exotics … Reindeer?

Reindeer (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)

Question: I am planning to start a business within the next few years that will involve domesticated reindeer. I will likely need to import them into California from another state and am wondering what licenses, fees and requirements I will need to meet in order to do this. I do not plan to have more than five animals at any time and they will live on my property with me. I will not be using them for anything related to food or human/animal consumption. In other words, they will not be hunted or slaughtered.

I also want to know what areas are subject to zoning and other limitations. How can I know which geographical areas within Southern California will allow me to keep reindeer? I want to figure out which cities/towns I should look into, in terms of the real estate market, to meet these requirements. (Erica A.)

Answer: Reindeer are a restricted species and may not be imported as pets, so you must have a verified use or need. If your plan is to use the animals for exhibition or display purposes, you cannot do so without obtaining a restricted species permit (pursuant to CCR Title 14, section 671).

According to Kathi Kline from DFG’s Special Permits Unit, the importation of any deer to an authorized restricted species facility requires the applicant to submit a Cervidae Importation Application for approval by DFG Veterinarian Dr. Pam Swift at the Wildlife Investigations Lab. Zoning issues are not part of the restricted species permitting process. It is the applicant’s/permittee’s responsibility to comply with all city or county zoning requirements.

Under the Cervidae Importation Application that must be filed, importers seeking authorization to import approved hoofed animal species must verify the animals have been tested and cleared of bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis before importation. Additional testing prior to importation may be required when there is reason to believe other diseases, parasites or other health risks are present.

Incidentally, California law also prohibits the importation of reindeer for meat production (aka “deer farming”). Only fallow deer may be possessed for this purpose (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 676).


Catching bait fish in a fish trap?
Question: Is it against the law to use a small (12 inch by 24 inch) fish trap on the shoreline of Huntington Beach for the purpose of catching bait fish (smelt and anchovies)? I’ve seen a lot of fisherman using them but was told by a kayak shop that they are illegal to use and could result in a hefty fine.  (Roy B.)

Answer:  Using traps to take bait fish south of Point Conception (Santa Barbara County) is not allowed. Generally, hook and line or a dip net not greater than six feet in diameter are the only methods allowed to take fin fish in the ocean waters south of Point Conception (See CCR Title 14, sections 28.65 through 29.00).


Catching crawdads just for fun?
Question: Do I have to have a license to take a piece of string and some liver and fish for crawdads for fun? I don’t want to keep them. I don’t want to eat them. I don’t want to use them for bait. I just want to catch them. (Jim M.)

Answer: Yes, a fishing license is required even if you don’t keep them. It’s the same premise as “catch and release” fishing for trout.


Doctor’s note for a Disabled Archer Permit?
Question: I have recently been advised by my doctor to discontinue shooting archery equipment due to my fourth reconstructive shoulder operation. As an avid archery hunter, I am really having a hard time with this! When I stopped into my local archery shop, they informed me of a device that locks the draw cycle back on a compound bow. What would I need to do to be able to use such a device during archery season? Is there a doctor’s note or something that I would need, and if so, what would I do with that note? (Tim S.)

Answer: You may qualify for a Disabled Archer Permit if you have written verification from a physician regarding your medical condition (check section 354(j) in the 2010-2011 Hunting Regulations available online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/).

For more information and the Disabled Archer Permit application, please go to: http://dfg.ca.gov/licensing/pdffiles/fg537.pdf. There is no fee for this permit.

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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.

Lights at night to monitor wildlife behavior and movement?

You never know what you might capture with a trail camera. These porcupines were caught by Adam Miller from Sheffield, PA (Photo courtesy of Cuddeback Digital)

Question:Is it legal to use lights to monitor wildlife if you do not have any guns in your possession? Watching wildlife at night is a very interesting way to educate kids to be on the lookout for and gain an interest in wildlife. I’ve always wondered if using lights to do this would be considered harassment somehow and not be allowed? (Bill T.)

Answer: It is not illegal to shine lights since you won’t have a “method of take” with you, but your activities could alert a game warden who might think you are using the spotlights to poach game at night. Be aware that there are vehicle code laws that prohibit shining a hand-held spotlight from a motor vehicle, and another provision that requires “off road” lights to be covered while traveling on a public roadway or highway.

(Photo by Nathan Borgmeyer of Apex, N.C and courtesy of Cuddeback Digital)

Instead, you might consider using a trail cam like those sold through most outdoor gear stores. These will allow you to capture (via night vision equipment) images or video of wildlife that might be visiting a watering hole or passing through an area where the camera could capture their image. There are some cameras that take photos when a light sensor is tripped and some that take photos at certain time intervals. The trail cams would not bother or harass the wildlife and you’d be able to capture them while they are act ingnormally, doing whatever they are naturally doing at night. You might also be surprised by the different species that will appear that you probably were not expecting!


How much help for a legally blind angler?
Question: I helped my boss, who is legally blind, get a disabled license for fishing. However, due to her disability, she will need help baiting her hook. Can I legally help her without needing a two-pole stamp? (Sandy B.)

Answer: Yes, as long as you are just assisting and not controlling the rod or reeling the fish in for her, you will not need a fishing license or second rod stamp.


When fishing catch-and-release for ocean fish, what’s the limit?
Question: If my friend and I catch and retain our boat limit of salmon, can we continue fishing for them if all are immediately released? (Anonymous)

Answer: No. If you have taken and retained your limit of salmon, or any other limit of fish, you cannot continue fishing with gear and methods that will most likely target those fish. According to California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Lt. Dennis McKiver, if you were to do this, by law you are attempting to take more salmon. “Take” is defined by law to include hunting, pursuing, catching, capturing or killing, or attempting to hunt pursue, catch, capture or kill (Fish and Game Code, section 86 and California Code of Regulations, section 1.80). If you are in possession of a limit of salmon, you may not attempt to catch additional salmon. If you do, you could be subject to a citation if you are targeting salmon while you are in possession of your limit of salmon. In addition, salmon are not good candidates for catch and release fishing because they are highly susceptible to hooking mortality, so it is important to stop salmon fishing when you reach your limit.


Can a non-hunter carry an unloaded shotgun when with other hunters?
Question: While hunting on a game bird club, can a non-licensed, non-hunter carry an unloaded shotgun while walking with other hunters? (Anonymous)

Answer: While it may not technically violate the law for you to carry an unloaded shotgun without a license, by doing this with others who have ammunition and are taking game, it will likely generate many questions by the game warden contacting you in the field. Whether or not you have a hunting license is not an element of “take.” You may argue you are not taking game, but the warden has sufficient evidence to prove you are. Do you really want to put yourself through the hassle of going to court? Leave the firearm behind if you want to go with your buddies while they are taking game.


Legal to bait for coyotes?
Question: Is it legal to use animal carcasses as bait for hunting coyotes? (Wilcox)

Answer: Yes, the carcass of legally acquired wildlife may be used as bait when taking coyotes. It is legal to use feed, bait or other material capable of attracting coyotes and other nongame animals unless you’re hunting these animals with the assistance of hunting dogs (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 475(e)).

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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.