Tag Archives: hoop netting

Hoop Netting for Crabs off California Piers

Dungeness crab (DFG photo)

Dungeness crab (DFG photo)

Question: Is it legal to use hoop nets to catch crab off piers in California this time of the year? I thought that I read crab season runs through June. However, the hoop net is a net that people use for catching California spiny lobster too, so do I need the California Spiny Lobster Report Card even though I’m not fishing for lobster? I ask this because someone might think that I intend to fish for lobster if I am operating a hoop net.

Also, I have a fishing license I recently purchased for this year, but in general, does one need a license to operate a crab trap during crab season on a pier in California? (Trevor W.)

Answer: Dungeness are the only crabs with a closed season, and they are found mostly along the northern half of California’s coast. Dungeness crab season varies depending on location, so you should check the regulations once you know where you will be crabbing (see section 29.85 on page 51 of the 2016-2017 Ocean Sportfishing Regulations booklet).

The other crabs belonging to the Cancer genus (yellow crab, rock crab, red crab and slender crab) are found statewide and may be taken year round. You need a sport fishing license to take crab generally, but whenever you are fishing from a public fishing pier, a sport fishing license is not needed. You are limited to two fishing appliances on a public fishing pier, though (two nets, rods, lines, etc.).

As long as you immediately release any lobster that may wander into your net, you do not need a Spiny Lobster Report Card. This means you cannot keep them for any length of time. If you pull one up, it must go right back into the water.

Before taking crab, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) encourages you to check for any health advisories related to domoic acid by calling the California Department of Public Health at 1-800-553-4133.


Using artificial scents as fish attractants?
Question: Are you allowed to use artificial scents applied to lures such as fish oil-based products to attract fish in freshwater lakes of California? What’s the difference between bait and using scents that do not contain food to attract fish? (Dean H.)

Answer: Artificial scents may be applied to lures or baits except in areas with specific artificial lure restrictions. An artificial lure “does not include scented or flavored artificial baits” (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.11). This means attractants may not be applied to the lure while fishing in waters restricted for artificial lure use only. It is very common to use fish oil products and or scents in many areas of the state.


Does a loaded Bandolier make an unloaded gun loaded?
Question: If a gun is unloaded but has a Bandolier attached to the stock containing loaded bullets/shells, is it actually considered to be a loaded gun? (Anonymous)

Answer: No. Loaded gun laws that apply to vehicles on roads open to the public have changed over the years, and there are differences between the Fish and Game Code and the Penal Code. Long guns are considered to be loaded pursuant to Fish and Game Code, section 2006 “when there is an unexpended cartridge or shell in the firing chamber but not when the only cartridges or shells are in the magazine.” Under the Penal Code, a firearm is also considered to be loaded if there is a round in the magazine that can be loaded into the firing chamber with the firearm’s action. A firearm with rounds in a holder attached to the stock would not be considered loaded under these standards.


Hunting small game with a .22 air rifle?
Question: What are the laws on hunting small game (doves, quail, etc.)? Do I need a hunting license to hunt small game? I live in the Bakersfield area and am wondering if I can hunt doves and quail with a .22 air rifle? (Arnold C.)

Answer: You will need a hunting license to hunt big and small game mammals as well as game birds. If you don’t yet have your license, you will need to take and successfully pass a Hunter Education course. You can find information about the courses, dates and locations of upcoming classes, and you may sign up for a class on our Hunter Education website.

Methods of take for resident small game include “air rifles powered by compressed air or gas and used with any caliber of pellet, except that wild turkey may only be taken with a pellet that is at least 0.177 caliber” (CCR Title 14, section 311(f)). Different methods of take are specified for migratory birds, such as doves. Air rifles or all other rifles are prohibited for the take of migratory birds (CCR Title 14, section 507).

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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.

Tracking Wounded Game with an Electronic Device?

California mule deer (CDFW photo)

California mule deer (CDFW photo)

Question: Archery season is starting and before we go out I would like to know if it’s legal to use an electronic tracking device that attaches to an arrow to help track our game. The tracking device separates from the arrow as the arrow contacts the target animal and then enables the hunter to better follow the wounded animal. Are these legal to use? Thanks for any help. (Jared T., Red Bluff)

Answer: No, unfortunately, they are not legal to use. The regulation below restricts the use of computerized or telemetry types of devices to track big game mammals. Because of this, the device you describe is not legal to use in California at this time.

“No person shall pursue, drive, herd, or take any bird or mammal from any type of motor-driven air or land vehicles, motorboat, airboat, sailboat, or snowmobile. Additionally, no person shall use any motorized, hot-air, or unpowered aircraft or other device capable of flight or any earth orbiting imaging device to locate or assist in locating big game mammals beginning 48 hours before and continuing until 48 hours after any big game hunting season in the same area. No person shall use at any time or place, without Department approval, any computer, telemetry device or other equipment to locate a big game mammal to which a tracking device is attached.” (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 251).


Recorded abalone harvest data wrong on abalone report card
Question: After abalone diving in Mendocino last weekend, I didn’t realize until too late that when I tagged my abalone I mistakenly recorded my abalone catch incorrectly on my abalone report card. I recorded them out of order in the wrong column and then used the corresponding wrong tags. This meant I skipped three of the lower numbered tags. The tags are still on the report card and corresponding recording fields on the report card are still empty. Can I go back and use those missed tags for my next trip? (Atsu I.)

Answer: No, the law requires that “Tags shall be used in sequential order, and shall not be removed from the report card until immediately prior to affixing to an abalone. Any tags detached from the report card and not affixed to an abalone shall be considered used and therefore invalid” (CCR Title 14, section 29.16(b)(4)). You are also required to write “Void” on the Abalone Report Card in the spaces you skipped and then dispose of the three corresponding tags. This is because the law also says, “…(5) No person shall possess any used or otherwise invalid abalone tags not attached to an abalone shell.”


Permit required for fishing contests?
Question: Our club would like to hold a halibut derby in San Francisco Bay and we need information on permits. When and where are they needed and what are the requirements? Do we need a permit for a halibut derby in the Bay or are permits only needed for bass fishing? (Mark S.)

Answer: Permits are not required for saltwater fishing contests. Waters of the Pacific Ocean include all of San Francisco and San Pablo Bays west of the Carquinez Bridge (CCR Title 14, section 27.00). As long as all fishing is done in waters west of the Carquinez Bridge, you will not need a fishing contest permit.

Fishing contest permits are required for various fishing contests in freshwater. For information on the requirements when holding fishing contests in inland waters, how to obtain fishing contest permits and for the actual permit application forms, please visit our Fishing Contests, Tournaments and Derbies website.


Do fishing boat passengers need fishing licenses if not fishing?
Question: As an avid fisherman on a private vessel at a slip, I often take friends out hoop netting or fishing. Often these friends are perfectly happy to operate my boat while I tend the fishing line(s) or hoop nets. Do these companions need to have a fishing license as long as we follow the bag limits and limits on nets and lines in the water for a single fisherman? It is often a spur of the moment decision to go out, and sending my guest off to get a license for one or two hours of fishing is inconvenient at best. (Jack Z.)

Answer: It is legal to take non-licensed passengers along to observe you while fishing or hoop netting as long they do not engage at all in any of the actual sport fishing activities. It is only in the commercial fishing industry where those who assist with the boat handling and other tasks need to have their own commercial fishing license.

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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.

When Bullies Intentionally Harm Wildlife

Aleutian_Canada_Geese-4

If while driving you encounter geese or other wildlife crossing the road, give them the right-of-way or risk a fine of $1,000 and six months in jail. (USFWS photo)

Question: I live in an over-55 community in Rio Vista. There are wild turkeys here and Canada geese, which many of us love. Last month someone deliberately ran into turkeys crossing a road to go to their roosting trees. A man who went out every evening to watch them “fly up” saw a car actually speed up to hit them. The driver floored the accelerator and plowed into them instead of slowing down to let them pass. Six were killed. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) was called, and presumably never caught the guy.

A few days ago a golfer in a golf cart plowed into a bunch of geese crossing the golf path. He hit and injured one. The golfer didn’t stop. A woman walking her dog saw it happen and confronted the golfer who said, “Well, the geese shouldn’t be crossing the path.” Yesterday on a main road outside the community a turkey and babies were crossing; eyewitnesses said that instead of slowing down, a car sped up and killed at least the parent.

Many people here are very upset by bullies in vehicles intentionally killing innocent animals. I am making a flier that will go to people on the Nextdoor community email. I want to tell what the legality is about deliberately killing a wild turkey or Canada goose and what the possible consequences might be. I can’t seem to find a clear answer yet and was hoping you could help. (Judith A.)

Answer: Scenarios like you are describing are very disturbing and constitute several violations. The use of a vehicle to take turkeys or geese violates the law because vehicles are not a lawful method of take (California Code of Regulations Title 14, sections 311 (Upland Game/Turkey) and 507 (Migratory Birds/Geese)). Pursuing, driving, herding or taking any bird or mammal from any type of motor-driven vehicle is also prohibited (CCR Title 14, section 251). In addition, no person shall harass, herd or drive any game or non-game birds (CCR Title 14, section 251.1). Violations of Fish and Game Code and Title 14 regulations such as these are generally punishable as misdemeanors, with fines of up to $1,000 and six months in jail (see FGC, section 12002 (a)).

Hopefully, you will not encounter these types of situations again, but if you do try to collect as many details as you can including vehicle type, license plate number, date and time. Then call the 24-hour CalTIP hotline at (888) 334-2258 or send an anonymous text to 847411 (tip411). In the message, text CALTIP followed by a space and then the information. You can even send photos. Remember, you can remain anonymous and may receive an award for your efforts.


How to find “What’s Open and What’s Closed” in ocean waters?
Question: I’ve spent hours on the CDFW website trying to find the season and take limits for halibut. Can you please tell me if you know the answer? (Richard G., Redondo Beach)

Answer: Yes! And next time you have a question like this, here’s the first and best place to check: http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Fishing-Map. This is a great resource, so please bookmark this page! You will find a clickable map of California here. Just click on the portion of the state (along the coast) where you’d like to fish and a list will pop up of exactly what’s open and what’s closed in that area. Then, if you click on the species you’re interested in, you will be provided with the basic fishing regulations and requirements for that species.

In your case, since you are from Redondo Beach and are wondering about California halibut, just click on that location and you will find the following information will immediately pop up:

  • California halibut: The recreational fishery for California halibut (Paralichthys californicus) remains open year-round. The daily bag and possession limit is five fish south of Point Sur, Monterey County. The minimum size limit is 22 inches total length.

In addition, if you click on “California halibut” in this reference, you will find a hot link that will take you to an informational page that will provide you with additional life history information and interesting facts about this species. The same is offered for most every other fish species that you will find included on this clickable map. We always keep this site current and up-to-date, so you can count on that!


How do hunters deal with fleas and ticks?
Question: I’m not a hunter but am wondering if there is a concern for hunters having to deal with fleas and/or ticks jumping off a cooling carcass when field dressing the animal? (Kelly B., Los Angeles)

Answer: Many animals have fleas and ticks and hunters are encouraged to protect themselves from bites by using appropriate sprays or products to reduce the chance of bites and diseases like Lyme disease.

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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.

Importing Rattlesnakes to Sell as Exotic Meats?

Western Rattlesnakes cannot be imported or sold in California (photo courtesy of Pete Walker, Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

Western Rattlesnakes are native to California and so cannot be sold or imported into the state (photo courtesy of Pete Walker, Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

Question: I have a business where I sell different types of exotic meats for human consumption. If legal to do, I would like to offer the meat of the following species of rattlesnakes: eastern, western and prairie rattlesnakes. I know I cannot bring western diamondbacks into the state, but are there any restrictions to selling eastern diamondbacks and prairie rattlesnakes from Montana in California? What about selling rattlesnake sausages and rattlesnake cakes made in Colorado? Can I sell processed food in California or is there a restriction? (Anshu P.)

Answer: There are no restrictions in California Fish and Game laws against importing and selling the meat of any species of reptile or amphibian that is not found in the wild in California, as long as they are not otherwise prohibited by federal law. For a list of species found in the wild in California, please go to www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/nongame/list.html.


Lobster hooping?
Question: I understand from the regulations that if hoop netting from a kayak, you need to keep your license and card with you. However, if you are scuba diving, you can keep it in your car 500 yards away. I want to hoop from land, but most likely I will have to swim or get wet at certain areas. Can I also keep my license in my car or do I have to bring it with me? (Ping Lee)

Answer: When a person is diving from a boat, the license may be kept in the boat, or in the case of a person diving from the shore, the license may be kept within 500 yards on the shore (Fish and Game Code, section 7145(a)). Therefore, the Fish and Game law that allows the license to remain in the vehicle is specific to a person who is diving from the shore and within 500 yards of the vehicle. Under all other circumstances, the law requires you to have your license in your immediate possession.


Bluegill for bait?
Question: I have had some discussions with other fisherman over the use of bluegill for bait in the body of water it was caught in. I can’t seem to find anything on the website this year pertaining to using them for bait. Am I looking in the wrong area? Have the regulations changed? Please lend us a hand with some info because we don’t want to fish out of our limits. Thanks a million and tight lines to you. (Randall S.)

Answer: California sportfishing regulations for freshwater generally prohibit using live or dead finfish for bait. Although certain species of finfish may be used in the waters where taken, bluegill may only be used in the Colorado River District (see California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 4.15(a)) and portions of the Valley and South Central Districts (see CCR Title 14, section 4.20(d)). See sections 4.00 – 4.30 in the Freshwater Sportfishing Regulations for a complete listing of fish that may be used for bait, and keep in mind that bluegill are sunfish pursuant to CCR Title 14, section 1.77. The regulations are available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/.


New big game fund-raising random drawing tags?
Question: What’s the latest on the special big game tags this year? Will any new tags be available via the random drawing system? (George S., Modesto)

Answer: Yes! Hunters can apply for four different fund-raising random drawing tags. These tags raise funds needed for vital wildlife conservation programs.

According to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Big Game Program Analyst Lai Saechao, the 2013 fund-raising random drawing tag for bighorn sheep will be valid in two hunt zones. The hunter will have a choice between the Marble/Clipper Mountains or the South Bristol Mountain hunt zones. In addition, Dry Creek Outfitters has offered free guide services to the winner of the Fund-Raising Random Drawing Bighorn Sheep Tag.

Also available, one open zone deer tag which allows the hunter to hunt during the authorized season dates of any deer hunt, using the specific method and meeting any special conditions of the tag for that hunt. There’s also an Owens Valley elk tag which allows the hunter to hunt in any of the Owens Valley zones (Bishop, Independence, Lone Pine, Tinemaha, Tinemaha Mountain and Whitney) with any legal method. Last but not least, a Northeastern California antelope tag will be valid in the Mount Dome, Clear Lake, Likely Tables, Lassen, Big Valley and Surprise Valley zones with any legal method.

Opportunities to apply for these four fund-raising random drawing tags are available to all interested hunters. Hunters can now apply at any CDFW license sales office, through license agents or online at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/ols/. Hunters may also apply for these fund-raising random drawing tags at the CDFW booth at the Fred Hall Shows in Long Beach and Del Mar next month.

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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.

Do Crippled Birds Add to My Bag Limit?

Ethical hunters will make every attempt to find a downed bird and count it to their bag whether they find it or not. (USFWS photo)

Ethical hunters will make every attempt to find a downed bird and count it to their bag whether they find it or not. (USFWS photo)

Question: I was informed that a downed crippled bird that was not recovered, even though a true effort was made to find the downed bird, still counts toward your bag limit. Where is this stated in the regulations? (Aaron W.)

Answer: It is not in regulation. It is an ethical hunter issue. Ethical hunters will make every attempt to find a downed bird. Even if that bird is never located but the hunter knows it was hit, the ethical hunter will still count it towards their bag limit. Ethical hunters do what is right even when they think no one’s looking.


Fishing and retrieving lobster hoop nets
Question: I understand that each person that drops a hoop net must be the same person that retrieves it. How is this going to be monitored? If we have four people in the boat and 10 nets, are we supposed to somehow mark each net to distinguish whose is whose? (Bill J.)

Answer: The law states that the owner of the hoop net or the person who placed the hoop net into the water shall raise the hoop net to the surface and inspect the contents of the hoop net at intervals not to exceed two hours.

According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Lt. Eric Kord, the intent of this law is to require a minimum checking interval of every two hours at least by whoever placed the net in the water and not to cite somebody for pulling up their buddy’s net. Wardens understand if you are working together as a team, but any net placed into the water is your responsibility to raise and inspect every two hours. Depending on someone else to do that for you may result in you receiving a citation if they fail to comply with this requirement.


Filleting salmon on board
Question:Can a private fisherman filet a fresh-caught salmon on the Sacramento River while retaining the carcass? I ask because I am of the opinion the salmon is not a size or weight limit fish. Does this change the answer? (Leslie G.)

Answer: You are correct that there is no minimum size or weight for salmon caught in the Sacramento River as there is in the Klamath River and ocean. This means Fish and Game Code, section 5508, does not prohibit anglers from filleting salmon caught from the Sacramento River. However, Fish and Game Code, section 5509 provides it is unlawful to possess on any boat or to bring ashore any fish in such a condition that the species cannot be determined. Since there are multiple species and runs of salmonids in the Sacramento River, and it is difficult to determine which is which based only on fillets, anglers shouldn’t filet salmon until they are ashore.

Anglers taking salmon from the shore are not affected by this prohibition and not restricted from filleting their catch. Retention of the carcass is not required.


What to do with old abalone shells?
Question: I know that abalone shells may not be sold, but what about shells found on private residential property? In this case, abalone shells had been used for landscape decoration and were removed in a clean up of that property. Can they be sold or given away? What about buying abalone shells from retail shops such as those located on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco or other retail tourist destinations where they display these shells for sale? If someone does buy a shell from one these tourist shops, would the purchaser be violating any DFG regulation for that purchase and possession? Does the Lacey Act of 1900 apply?

What do private citizens do if in fact they encounter abalone shells that have been used for landscape decoration and are in the ground and have been for some years? What about unsuspecting people who obtain shells at a retail tourist shop? How do they ensure they do not inadvertently run afoul of any DFG regulation? (Dr. Thomas G.P. Luparello, D.C. (Ret.))

Answer: California fish and game laws that protect abalone apply to all parts of the fish, including the shell. Under these laws, shells of sport-caught abalone may not be sold.

However, there are many abalone fisheries throughout the world, there was a commercial abalone fishery in California until 1993 and abalone are lawfully produced and sold by aquaculture facilities. The prohibition on selling sport-caught abalone shells does not apply to the shells of these abalone.

Additional information regarding this valuable and vulnerable resource is available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/invertebrate/abalone.asp.

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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.

How does managed hunting benefit deer herds?

 

California Mule Deer

Question: I am quite concerned about the health of our deer herds and would like to know how proper management of deer hunting will contribute to long-term protection of the herds. I know many people still believe hunting will decimate the herds, but I’ve been told that regulated hunting could also help control the population. What is your take on this?  (Bill B., Susanville)

Answer: Managed hunting of deer is designed to smooth out the highly dynamic population cycles of deer. They are a classic “boom or bust” species in that when habitat conditions are good, deer populations can rise very quickly, but when they are bad (or over-utilized by too many deer), they can crash just as quickly. These crashes usually occur through starvation and/or disease issues.  Managing the population through regulated sport hunting can minimize these types of events.

Another way that managed hunting contributes to herd protection is through the payment of fees for tags and licenses. According to Deer Program Manager Craig Stowers, these funds are used for collection of population, habitat use and movement data, information to monitor and research disease issues, and enforcement of the laws and regulations that are the basis of managed sport hunting. Tag monies are used for habitat projects to benefit deer herds in the state as well.

Although deer are a resource “owned” by all citizens of California, deer management in this state is not supported by general taxes – the license and tag fees are basically “user fees” that are paid for by deer hunters and in turn used to manage the deer resource. Hunters’ dollars fund deer research and habitat work, and hunter harvest helps benefit California’s deer herds by regulating their population cycles.


Hoop netting for lobsters with panty hose?
Question: While hoop netting lobsters in the past, I have used a piece of old panty hose to keep the bait together. It’s worked well but recently I have been told this is illegal to do because a lobster may get entangled on the hose. This has never happened in the times that I have hoop netted. I’m trying to be legal at all times. Am I breaking the law by using this method? (Doug F.)

Answer: Hoop nets are legal to use to take lobster but traps are not. If hoop nets are modified in any manner that causes the lobster to become entangled or trapped, then the device ceases to be a hoop-net and becomes a trap. The fabric used to make panty hose is known to be an effective trap for lobsters and is not recommended for use on any part of a hoop net when it is used to take lobster.

Hoop nets may contain a bait container but may in no way act to entangle or impede the movement of lobster while it tries to leave the net. If it does, then the device would be illegal, no matter what material is used to construct the bait container.


Are target shooters limited to the 3-round max shell capacity?
Question: My friends and I were arguing over whether or not recreational shotgun shooters (skeet/trap) are bound in the same way as game hunters by the 3-round maximum shell capacity restriction. I also cannot find any Fish and Game regulations as to whether this holds true for nongame species (such as coyotes). Only game mammals and birds are listed specifically. (Ken)

Answer: Regulations regarding magazine capacity only apply when “taking” game birds and/or mammals (California Code of Regulations Title 14, sections 311, 353 and 507). The 3-round shell restriction does not apply when using a shotgun to take furbearing or nongame species, or when shooting targets, skeet/trap, sporting clays, etc. (CCR Title 14, sections 465 and 475).

Fish and Game Code section 2010 does limit shotguns to no more than six shells when taking “any bird or mammal” and there are Penal Code sections restricting large capacity firearms. Additional information regarding large capacity firearms is available from the Bureau of Firearms Web site at http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/.


Are duck decoys with flashing LED lights legal?
Question: I have a question about a new duck decoy I’ve found that is not mechanical or a spinning wing type but is one that operates with a string of flashing LED lights on the wings. Nothing on the decoy moves but the flashing lights seem to be an attractant in the early morning. Are these legal to use before Dec. 1? (Mark L.)

Answer: Unfortunately, these decoys may not be used at any time during the waterfowl season because it is unlawful to use any artificial light to assist in the taking of game birds, game mammals or game fish, except in ocean waters or other waters where night fishing is permitted. (FGC, section 2005).

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. She cannot personally answer everyone’s questions but will select a few to answer in this column each week. Contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

Can waterfowl hunters get a little help?

Waterfowl at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in November. (Photo © Carrie Wilson)

Question: I have a question about the number of shells a hunter may possess while waterfowl hunting. Is it clarified in the regulations that only hunters cannot possess more than 25 shells in the field during the waterfowl season? If not, a non-hunter could then carry another 25 shells into the field for the hunter to use.  (Rick S., Pleasanton)

Answer: Current Fish and Game Commission regulations restrict the number of shot shells that are permitted in the field on some refuges or wildlife areas. The ammunition restriction does not apply to all areas, but in the areas/refuges listed in CCR Title 14, Section 551(a), the restrictions are twofold:

1) Hunters may not possess more than 25 shot shells while in the field (CCR Title 14, Section 551[q]); and,

2) Only persons with a valid hunting permit for that day are permitted to possess ammunition in the field (CCR Title14, Section 551[b][4]).

Therefore, a non-hunter cannot pack in extra shells for the hunter.


Legal to catch lobsters and crabs in crab traps?
Question: Is it legal to fish for both lobsters and crab at the same time using hoop nets for the lobster and a crab pot for the crabs? My concern is that when we return to harbor, a game warden may question which method was used to take which species. The crab pot is a Northern California type that is “soaked” for days and has escape ports. The hoop net is a basic hoop net. Thanks. (Joel S.)

Answer: You may fish for lobsters and crabs at the same time but only with hoop nets or by hand. According to Game Warden Jason Chance, crab traps are legal to use in the north but are illegal for sport fishermen to use south of Point Arguello (CCR Title 14, Section 29.80(e)). While most lobsters occur in Southern California below Point Arguello, for any that do occur north of this point, crab traps may not be used.


What is a loaded gun?
Question: In a recent column you discussed loaded guns in a vehicle. Can you clarify what a “loaded gun” is? I know that having cartridges/shotgun shells in the chamber is illegal, but what if the cartridges/shotgun shells are just in the magazine of the rifle or shotgun? Do the restrictions also apply while in or upon a vehicle on a public roadway? (Anonymous, Redding)

Answer: Under the Fish and Game Code, a rifle or shotgun is deemed loaded when there is an unexpended cartridge or shell in the firing chamber, but not when the only cartridges or shells are in the magazine. It is “unlawful to possess a loaded rifle or shotgun in any vehicle or conveyance or its attachments which is standing on or along or is being driven on or along any public highway or other way open to the public (FGC Section 2006).”

The California Penal Code is more restrictive, however, and defines “loaded” as being when ammunition is attached to the weapon (even if all shells or cartridges are only in the magazine portion of the weapon and not in the chamber).

According to Assistant Chief Mike McBride, the consequences may be dependent on circumstances such as location and type of roadway. In other words, a loaded weapon in a vehicle on a dirt road in the boondocks might be viewed differently than one in a vehicle on a paved road that has a lot of traffic. Also, a county sheriff may tend to enforce the Penal Code rather than the Fish and Game Code. A warden could do the same if the circumstances seem to justify that course of action (if this occurs on a major paved road, etc.).

So, it is up to the law enforcement officer to make that call. However, the very safest and most prudent course of action is to have the weapon entirely unloaded.

For more information on loaded guns and to review the California Summary of Firearms Law, contact the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms at http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/.


Is it legal to catch carp and trout by hand?
Question: I recently read a post from people saying they had caught carp by hand in a lake. Is this legal in California? I have caught trout by hand in streams when I was younger, but wasn’t sure if that was legal either. Thanks. (Nick)

Answer: No, there are no freshwater finfish species that can be legally taken by hand from any California lake waters within the state (only exception: a few fish species are allowed to be caught by hand during specific times in a few non-lake areas, as per CCR Title 14 Sections 1.76 and 2.30.)

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. She cannot personally answer everyone’s questions but will select a few to answer in this column each week. Contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.