Tag Archives: Diving

All That Glitters Is Not Legal

(Photo by DFG Marine Biologist Derek Stein)

Question: I have been studying up on different methods of spear fishing while free diving and have read about the use of “glitter” as an attractant for bait fish. I have an idea to sprinkle glitter in the water so that when the bait fish come to investigate, the large game fish will follow and be caught as they attack the bait fish!

What are your views and the legal ramifications of this method? I understand chumming is not legal for taking game animals in our state, but the use of artificial lures is. With my idea the game fish would not be chummed by this method but instead just attracted by the collection of bait fish. If this method actually works, would it be legal?  (Theodore G., Stockton)

Answer: You have an innovative idea there. Unfortunately, even if your plan to lure unsuspecting fish to you by sprinkling shiny, sparkling glitter in the water were to work, you could be cited for doing so. Placing glitter in the water is littering and is prohibited under Fish and Game Code, section 5652.

The activity you describe would be considered chumming. According to DFG Game Warden Michele Budish, chumming is defined as “placing any material in the water, other than on a hook while angling, for the purpose of attracting fish to a particular area in order that they may be taken” (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.32). Chumming in the ocean is allowed, but chumming in freshwater is permissible only in specific areas and for certain fish species (see CCR Title14, sections 2.30 and 2.40).

Rare abalone die-off in Sonoma County
Question: I was diving in Sonoma County last weekend (Aug 28) in Fisk Mill Cove. The water was dirty as if there was a plankton bloom and visibility was only four to five feet. On my very first dive to about 12 feet I looked into a cave in the rocks with my light and saw something I’ve never seen before in 50 years of diving for abalone. There was an abalone laying upside down and clinging to a piece of kelp rather than clinging to a rock like usual. My dive partner told me he picked up two similar abalone on one dive. They were also in a rock cave just laying upside down on the rocks. Later we met two other divers who had been diving at Timber Cove the day before and they too came across a couple of abalone laying upside down on their shells among the rocks.

Have you heard or seen this before? Are these abalone dying? Is the plankton bloom doing something to the abs? Are the abs suffocating from the plankton bloom? Are the abalone ok to eat? (T. Yamashita)

Answer: What you observed last weekend in Sonoma County is a rare die off event and your observations are similar to many reports we’ve received from other abalone divers in the area. All of the reports mention abalone observed lying upside down on the bottom and the water a dark brown color with visibility less than a foot. Reports have come from Fort Ross State Park, Russian Gulch, Timber Cove and Salt Point State Park where the abalone are dying.

According to DFG Senior Marine Biologist Ian Taniguchi, these abalone deaths coincided with local phytoplankton blooms (red tide), accumulations of drift kelp and calm ocean conditions. Similar invertebrate die-offs have occurred along the North Coast in the past, typically inside protected coves and under similar ocean conditions. The abalone deaths may be due in part to the large phytoplankton bloom, but the investigation is still ongoing. While we don’t know exactly what’s causing the die-offs, we do know they are not due to Withering Foot Syndrome – a fatal disease found in some Southern California abalone.  Withering Foot Syndrome is specific to abalone (in this case, sea stars appear to be dying as well) and causes the abalone’s body to shrink (also not the case in this instance).

Large phytoplankton blooms can make some filter-feeding shellfish like mussels and clams toxic to humans and cause paralytic shellfish poisoning. Abalone are not filter-feeders though – they eat kelp and other seaweeds. At this time, the abalone season is still open and all harvest regulations remain in effect

The California Department Public Health (CDPH) is collecting samples of shellfish for analysis from the affected area and advises recreational consumers to be cautious and not consume seafood that may have been affected by the bloom. CDPH will post their analysis results as soon as they are available at http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/DDWEM.aspx.

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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.

Must Abalone Divers Carry Measuring Gauge and Fishing License Underwater?

Diver measures abalone with fixed-caliper measuring gauge (Photo by Ken Bailey)

Question: I believe the regulations say you must carry an abalone gauge and a fishing license when diving for abalone. Does that mean both need to be on my person when diving or is having those items in my float tube sufficient? (Mr. Chee)

Answer: It depends on the circumstances. The short answer is that they may be left in the dive tube only if the dive tube remains in your immediate possession.   The long explanation follows:

According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Lt. Dennis McKiver, all individuals including divers must have an Abalone Report Card in their immediate possession while fishing for or taking red abalone (California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 29.16(a)). In addition, every person while taking abalone shall carry a fixed-caliper measuring gauge (CCR Title 14, section 29.15(f)). As long as the dive tube is in the immediate possession of diver, then the diver may leave their Abalone Report Card and abalone gauge in their dive tube. It is required that “undersize abalone must be replaced immediately to the same surface of the rock from which detached,” therefore it is always best if you carry your measuring gauge with you.

Let’s say you surface with an abalone and then have to swim a distance to retrieve your dive tube and abalone gauge, only to measure and discover the abalone is undersize. Now that you have had to swim away from the location where the abalone was taken, you may not be inclined or able to return and find “the same surface of the rock from which detached.” If you are being watched by the warden and fail to replace the abalone “immediately to the same surface of the rock from which detached,” then you might be cited for violating CCR Title 14, section 29.15(d), failure to immediately reattach abalone to the same surface of the rock from which detached, and also section 29.15(f), failure to carry a measuring device while taking abalone as required. The measuring device should remain in your immediate possession, so your best bet is to anchor your float tube close by so it doesn’t drift away while you are diving and your gauge and license are always close at hand.

Carrying more than one firearm while hunting?
Question: While hunting, is it legal to carry more than one firearm, not including handguns? I cannot locate any regulations that prohibit carrying a rifle and a shotgun together. (Jason H.)

Answer: Generally, carrying multiple firearms while hunting is not prohibited by Fish and Game laws. However, there may be restrictions if you are hunting in a specific wildlife area or refuge or during a restricted season, such as an archery-only season.

According to retired DFG Capt. Phil Nelms, exceptions to this general rule occur in certain areas and during seasons when all firearms are prohibited. Such exceptions include certain wildlife areas, refuges, areas with county firearms closures and archery only seasons/zones.

For the authorized methods of take for various categories of game and nongame birds/mammals, please check the hunting regulations (sections 311, 353, 465, 475 and 507 (for waterfowl)). The regulations are available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/.

Selling vintage Native American jewelry containing bear claws?
Question: I realize buying and selling bear claws is prohibited in California, but is there an exception in the law for vintage Native American jewelry? These pieces often include bear claws in their designs, which are an important part of their culture. They also, of course, in no way cause any damage to the current bear population. (Neil Z., Burbank)

Answer: Unfortunately, the purchase or sale of the pieces or parts of any bear is prohibited and the law does not provide any exception for Native American art pieces (Fish and Game Code, section 4758).

Disabled American Veteran Reduced Fee Licenses
Question: I am a disabled American veteran. Can I purchase the reduced fee fishing license online? How about the reduced fee hunting license online? (Randolph Toy)

Answer: No, you will need to purchase these licenses initially from a DFG office because you will need to fill out the reduced fee forms. Once you are in the system, you will be able to purchase these licenses online in the future.

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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.

Turning a Waterski Kneeboard into an Abalone Diving Rig?

Red abalone with tealia (Photo by DFG Marine Biologist Derek Stein)

Question:What is the definition of a boat or vessel? I ask because I am altering an old waterski kneeboard into a specialized abalone diving rig with a small anchor so I can accurately place my board closer to abalone. It’s a smaller version of a surfboard. It has no sails, rudders, oars or motor but does have an anchor. The anchor will be a marker for me to follow down on my next breath. I am wondering though if by adding this anchor I am making it into what will be construed to be a vessel? (Devin G.)

Answer: There is no prohibition against using a kneeboard instead of a float tube, which is much more common for abalone. A diver may use an anchor on a float tube or kneeboard if they choose to, but most just tie a line to a piece of kelp to keep the tube in place. What you describe is a legal device to access an abalone diving spot as long as you are not using SCUBA equipment. A kneeboard would not be considered a boat or vessel so you will not need to tag your abalone and fill out your card until you return to shore.

Retaining just one claw when crabbing?
Question: Our fishing club is planning a fishing trip for local crab out of the Santa Monica Bay area. Some people in the group insist we should only keep one claw from each crab so they can be put back to grow another claw and still live. I know with lobsters we are instructed to leave them whole until they are ready for consumption to allow the game warden to verify it’s a legal catch. Is it legal to keep only one claw, or do we need the entire crab to allow the game warden to verify? (Jerry E.)

Answer: You are required to take the whole legal-sized crab to prove your crab is of legal size. Possessing just claws would be a violation because the size of the crabs they came from cannot be determined (Fish and Game Code, section 5508). Crabs also carry a lot of meat in the body. Crab season for all crabs of the genus Cancer (except Dungeness crabs) is open all year. The size limit in Southern California is four inches and the part of the crab that we measure is the main body shell (edge of shell to edge of shell at the widest part).

While crabs may be able to regenerate lost claws under good conditions, crabs with only one claw have a far tougher time fending off predators than if they had both claws for protection. Predators will go after any weakened animal, so just removing a claw may be considered a waste of fish – also a state violation.

A two-day nonresident hunting license to shoot pigs?
Question: My friend is coming to California soon and I’d like to take him out pig hunting. Since we’ll only have a couple of days available to hunt, can he just purchase a two-day nonresident license to cover him on the days we hunt? It seems like a waste to buy a full license for only a few days of hunting. (Jared H., Coalinga)

Answer : Unfortunately, no. The two-day hunting license is only valid for taking resident small game and nongame birds/mammals and is not valid for big game species in California.. Your friend would be required to buy an annual nonresident license and a current nonresident wild pig tag.

Coastal Access?
Question: I have a coastal/waterway access question. If a stream with a state highway marker goes under the Pacific Coast Highway and into a beached cove, can I walk down the center of the stream to the ocean and go for a swim? The land surrounding the stream is private, and the landowners would like to assert that no access to the cove is allowed, even from a boat. (Mike Pinkerton)

Answer: In California land is deeded under flowing stream channels, so you would be trespassing. If the land is posted with no trespassing signs at 1/3 mile intervals, fenced or under cultivation you could be cited for this violation (Penal Code, section 602.8). The water you described is state water and as long as you were floating on the water, such as in a boat, there would be no violation.

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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 I Use a Camera on my Bow to Film my Hunts?

Archery pro, Keli Van Cleave (Photo by Bill Konway)

Question: I have heard it is illegal in California to use a camera (such as the Roscoby Riser camera) that mounts onto your bow to film your hunts. Is this true? If so, why? (Shane S.)

Answer: Mounting a camera (with no spotlight) onto your bow is legal. It would only be a problem if it was an electronic device with lights to assist in the taking of game (California Fish and Game Code, section 2005).

Abalone and SCUBA diving on the same trip?
Question: We want to go abalone diving and SCUBA diving on the same day. I know we have to free dive for abalone, but we also want to SCUBA dive on the same trip. We live away from the coast but can only do a one-day trip, so which one should we do first? How can we do this without getting in trouble with a game warden who might think that we used the SCUBA for the abalone? (Matthew P.)

Answer: If you’re planning to be out on a boat, just make sure that you don’t have any SCUBA gear present on the boat while diving off of it. If you’re entering and exiting from the shore, be sure to leave your SCUBA gear in your car or in your camp. You could probably do your dives in either order but just be sure that it’s obvious your dives were done separately and that SCUBA assistance was not part of your abalone dive. The law prohibits having SCUBA gear on a boat or floating device when diving for abalone or when abalone are onboard. The law does not prohibit driving home from your dive site with both abalone and SCUBA gear in the same car.

Why can’t fishing licenses extend for 12 months from purchase?
Question: Has the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) ever considered a 12 month fishing license – good for 12 months from the date purchased? If not, is there a reason? Also, has the number of resident fishing licenses grown, stayed the same or declined in the past five years here in California? (Paul R.,San Diego)

Answer:  Sport fishing license sales fluctuate, but generally, have been declining gradually for many years. The DFG maintains a website of license sales statistics at: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/statistics/statistics.html.

According to DFG Sport Fishing Program Analyst Glenn Underwood, we occasionally receive suggestions to change the sport fishing license structure to make licenses valid for one year from the date of purchase. Generally, they come from anglers who do not fish until the summer or fall each year and do not wish to purchase a sport fishing license for the remainder of the year. Making fishing licenses valid for one year from the date of purchase would not reduce the number of licenses an angler has to purchase. If an angler doesn’t fish until July each year, the angler would have to purchase a new license each July, it would expire in June of the following year and the angler would still have to purchase a new license each year in July. There is no real advantage to the angler.

Several factors would have to be dealt with before sales of fishing licenses valid for one year from the purchase date could be implemented. For example, license years and expiration dates for fishing licenses and stamps are set in the Fish and Game Code and would have to be changed.

Several of DFG’s licenses are issued in the form of report cards. Report cards grant the licensee the privilege to pursue a particular species, and help DFG gather valuable data regarding the time spent pursuing the species and the number and location of the species harvested. If DFG switched to a license that’s valid for one year from the date of purchase, report card data would not be from the same time period. Therefore, it would not be very useful.

All of the states bordering California issue licenses that are valid for the calendar year, except Nevada which employs a license year of March 1 through Feb. 28. None offer licenses that are valid for one year from the date of purchase.

DFG offers several short-term fishing licenses for anglers not wishing to purchase an annual Sport Fishing License. Anglers who choose to fish only occasionally may want to purchase a Two-Day Sport Fishing License for $21.86 or a One-Day Sport Fishing License for $14.04.

DFG also provides two Free Fishing Days each year when anglers do not need licenses or stamps to fish, but appropriate report cards are required (e.g. sturgeon, steelhead, abalone, etc) and all other regulations such as size and bag limits must be followed. For 2011, Free Fishing Days will be held on July 2 and Sept. 3. In addition, a fishing license is not required while fishing from a public pier in ocean or bay waters.

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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.

Abalone Diving with Spare Air for Safety?

Abalone may be taken only by freediving without the assistance of SCUBA or surface-supplied air (Photo courtesy of Ken Bailey)

Question: While abalone diving, I would like to keep a very small, emergency supply of air on my person as a safety precaution. The device would be shrink-wrapped to indicate evidence of use. The idea being that if the seal is intact, there would be no evidence of “use” and I would be in compliance with the law. The product I’m asking about can be seen at http://www.spareairxtreme.com/.

Would I be in violation of any of the regulations if I were to wear such a device while taking abalone, assuming I did not use the device and had sufficient evidence to prove such a claim? (Aaron L.)

Answer: The law prohibits the “use of SCUBA gear or surface-supplied air to take abalone” (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.15(e)). According to DFG Lt. Dennis McKiver, this includes having it in your possession, even if you are not actually breathing off of it. The law also states that abalone may not be taken or possessed aboard any boat, vessel, or floating device in the water containing SCUBA or surface-supplied air. Since you are not allowed to have SCUBA gear in your possession on a boat while taking abalone (even if the SCUBA gear is not being used), to be consistent with the law, this “spare air” product would also not be allowed as the same principles apply.

Turkey hunting and pig hunting at the same time?
Question: Spring turkey season is one of my favorite times of the year and I’m heading out for a gobbler next weekend. I do a lot of my hunting in prime hog country and like to combine my options when I’m there. I usually hunt with a bow but am considering carrying my .44 revolver for hogs, and a shotgun for turkeys. Could this cause a conflict if I’m stopped because the .44 is not legal for turkey hunting? If all lead-restrictions are observed, would it be legal to carry the handgun while turkey hunting with a shotgun? What about carrying the handgun and the bow at the same time? (Phillip L.)

Answer: There are no restrictions against carrying a shotgun for turkeys and a handgun for pigs at the same time. And since you’re not hunting during the deer archery only season, should you decide to bow hunt for turkeys, there are also no restrictions against carrying both a bow and a firearm on the same trip.

Hunting license needed to shoot gophers on private land?
Question:Do I need a hunting license to shoot gophers on private land? (Anonymous)

Answer: Yes. Gophers are nongame mammals and may be taken by licensed hunters. In addition, gophers that are damaging growing crops or other property may be taken without a hunting license by the owner or the owner’s agent.

Shooting from a reservoir too close to our homes
Question:We live near a reservoir where people do a lot of duck hunting on. Our houses sit right above the reservoir and they sometimes get hit with duck shot. Does the 150 yard distance apply on reservoirs the same as it does on land? And can we post signs along the reservoir to warn people about no shooting? (Curtis B., Redding)

Answer: Yes, the same prohibition against shooting within 150 yards from an occupied dwelling exists for people shooting from the water the same as when on land (Fish and Game Code, section 3004). And yes, you can post your property to warn unaware hunters/shooters.

Hunting Wild Ox or Buffalo?
Question:I am a lifetime hunting license holder with the additional big game package. Last time I hiked in the Cleveland National Forest, I saw a wild ox (my son said it was a buffalo, but it had smooth skin without fur and thin long pointed horns). Could you tell me if I can take it? It is not listed anywhere on your website for a tag requirement. (Allen H.)

Answer: It is not uncommon for domestic livestock to be found on Forest Service lands. In fact, many ranchers have long-term contracts with the Forest Service allowing that use. In addition, National Forest property is commonly adjacent to private ranches and the livestock frequently stray onto the public land.

According to ret. DFG Capt. Phil Nelms though, a truly feral cow or similar domestic stock (except a burro) is considered to be a nongame mammal in the Fish and Game regulations and can be taken. A hunting license is required but there are no prescribed seasons or bag limits.

Beware though … if you kill one of these animals and it is not feral, you could be prosecuted for a felony. Stick to deer!!

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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.

When is a duck not a duck anymore?

Mallard drake (Photo ODFW)

Question: During waterfowl season, I would like to hold onto as many birds as I can so that I can mount those birds that are in the best shape. But at what point does a duck go from being a duck in my possession to a carcass for mounting? Does a skinned-out bird count as one duck toward that season’s bag limit? Do birds in the freezer from last year count toward this season’s bag limit? Do mounted birds count toward my possession limit? I would like to know what the regulations are and abide by them. (Brian Porter)

Answer: According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Assistant Chief Mike Carion, generally, Fish and Game laws and regulations prohibit a person from having more than the bag or possession limit prescribed for each species. You may not keep game for longer than 10 days following the season, unless you have a valid hunting license (or a copy) for that species that was issued to you or to the person who donated the birds to you. The license must have been issued for the current or immediate past license year. Possession limits apply to each person in the household whether they were the taker of the game or not. As long as you do not possess more than the legal possession limit for each person living at the residence, you will still be in compliance with the laws.

If you plan on mounting birds for another person, you will be required to obtain a Federal Taxidermy Permit (Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 50, section 21.24) and will be required to tag all birds belonging to someone else (specific requirements can be found in CFR Title 50, section 20.36). In addition, you must keep accurate records of who you obtained the birds from, date taken, species and who you deliver the bird to. (Fish and Game Code, section 3087 and California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 14, section 695).

As far as at what point a duck is no longer a duck and instead a carcass for mounting, under DFG laws, “bird” means any wild bird or part thereof. A feather, bone, webfoot, etc. from a wild duck is always a bird. Once you remove, consume or otherwise use the edible portions of the bird, the bird would no longer count toward your possession limit for the season. As long as you have the edible portions of the bird, it would still count toward your possession limit.

Once you skin out a duck and remove all of the edible portions, the edible portion remains part of your possession limit while the remainder of the carcass can be kept for taxidermy without counting toward your possession limit.

Keep in mind that birds still in the freezer from last year DO count toward this season’s possession limit, but mounted birds that were legally taken and preserved by taxidermy are not counted in either the bag or possession limits.

For more information, please see Fish and Game Code, sections 22, 2001 and 3080, available online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/.

Legal method to take rock scallops?
Question:What is the legal method of take for rock scallops and are there any size limitations? Am I allowed to SCUBA dive for rock scallops? (Lee C.)

Answer: You may use SCUBA to take rock scallops. The daily bag and possession limit is 10 rock scallops per person and there are no size limits. They may be taken by hand or by using dive knives or abalone irons. The regulations that discuss legal methods for taking rock scallops are located in your current 2010-2011 Ocean Sport Fishing regulations booklet in section 29.05(d) (page 52) and section 29.60(b) (page 55).

Can filling guzzlers be considered baiting?
Question:I have a question concerning water for guzzlers. I’ve always assumed it was okay to add water to dry or nearly dry guzzlers, but an incident occurred to a friend of mine in early summer that has me wondering. He was adding 50 gallons to a dry guzzler when a hiker came up to him and told him what he was doing was illegal, mentioning that he could be cited for baiting wildlife. I find that hard to believe, but figured we better check it out with DFG. Are there any laws against adding water to dry or nearly dry guzzlers? (Gerald O.)

Answer: There are no fish and game laws specifically prohibiting adding water to a guzzler or other area where wildlife may gather to drink. In fact, there is a very active volunteer effort addressing this in Southern California. There are some restrictions, though, so please check CCR Title 14, section 730 to ensure that your activities are legal.

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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.

Hazing turkey vultures from rooftop roosts

Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) are scavengers that feed almost exclusively on carrion. They are widespread throughout North America (Photo by Nick Todd)

Question: I have 15-20 turkey vultures that have been roosting on my roof. They are congregating and making a mess on my roof and in my yard with their droppings and molted feathers. My house is two stories and the roof is tile so access is difficult. How can I get rid of them? (Lawrence)

Answer: You have different persuasion options available for moving these birds from your roof to a more appropriate roost site. According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Raptor Biologist Carie Battistone, these may include repetitive loud noises, motion sensor sprinklers and the use of an effigy (usually a taxidermic preparation or an artificial likeness of a deceased vulture). Since your roof is steep and hard to access, you will have to use caution when placing anything on the roof. If all else fails, you may want to call Wildlife Services (federal wildlife trappers) to ask for advice or possibly for someone to come out to help you.

Below are several links to articles on deterring vultures from roost sites:

Website for Wildlife Services: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/

Guidelines for Using Effigies to Disperse Nuisance Vulture Roosts: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/nwrc/research/invasive_wildlife/content/VultureEffigy%20Guidelines-revisedMar2010.pdf

Managing Depredation and Nuisance Problems Caused by Vultures: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ws/researchreports/report05.pdf

High-grading abalone is illegal and may kill those returned
A game warden on the north coast told me recently that abalone high-grading is as much of a problem as poaching, and that it’s often the legal abalone harvesters who are doing it without even realizing they’re doing something wrong. Now we all know the regs say you can take three, so as long as any smaller abs are returned to rocky crevices before leaving the water, and the diver ends up with the three best abalone they can find, what does it really matter? (Rini R., Fort Bragg)

Answer: High-grading for abalone is when legal-sized abalone are extracted from their crevices or detached from their substrate but then later returned in favor of larger animals. This is not legal or sporting and the law prohibits this largely due to concerns for the health of the animals. Abalone are hemophiliacs and can be difficult to dislodge from their protective crevices or substrate. Any cuts or damage they may sustain while being detached by the ab iron can cause them bleed to death. For this reason, all legal-sized abalone detached are required to be retained by the person who detaches it, up to the three per bag limit. In addition, no undersize abalone may be retained in any person’s possession or under his control. Undersize abalone must be replaced immediately to the same surface of the rock from which detached (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.15[d]).

In addition, according to DFG Lt. Dennis McKiver, no person shall take more than 24 abalone during a calendar year (CCR Title 14, section 29.15[c]). If the diver takes three legal-sized abalone and puts them back, those abalone still count toward both the diver’s daily and yearly limit. This means that divers must still record those abalone on their report card so as to not exceed their yearly limit.

If a game warden sees someone take an abalone that is obviously larger than seven inches and the person puts the abalone back, this person has just violated CCR Title 14, section 29.15(d). If that person then doesn’t record the abalone, he is guilty of failing to complete the Abalone Report Card as required. Game wardens on the north coast have written several citations for this, usually to trophy hunters looking for that elusive 10-inch abalone. The wardens try to convince people hunting for trophy abalone to measure them before removing them from rocks.

Shooting doves with a .22?
I have heard from a few friends that a rimfire rifle (.22 lr or mag.) can be used to take doves or Eurasian collared doves since they’re considered small game. Is that correct? If not, what type of firearm is appropriate? (Anonymous)

Answer: Rifles may not be used for the take of doves. Mourning dove and white-wing dove are migratory game and their take is regulated by CCR Title 14, section 507. Only shotguns, muzzleloading shotguns and dogs may be used to take migratory game birds. Eurasian collared doves, spotted doves and ringed turtle doves are non migratory and are therefore covered by CCR T14, section 311, which allows take by pellet rifle, archery and crossbow.

Do river guide boats need to be licensed?
I would like to know if guided drift boats need a California hull sticker. Drift boat guides say they don’t have a motor and so they don’t need one. I would say 95 percent of guide boats on the Trinity River in California don’t have the sticker. What does the law say? (Joe B.)

Answer: The guides are correct. If the boat is without a motor, no CF number is needed.

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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.