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Category: Fish and Game Q&A

Fish and Game Q&A: What to do about injured wildlife?

Department of Fish and Game veterinarian Pam Swift examines a young black bear cub. In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: We have seen an injured buck in our neighborhood with a gash in his left hind leg and bone sticking out. It’s swollen, probably infected and he can’t put any weight on that leg at all. I don’t see how it will get better and he doesn’t seem to have much to look forward to other than a lot of suffering and a painful death. He needs to either be given a fighting chance by tranquilizing and treating him or to be put out of his misery so this injury won’t fester and cause him to suffer anymore. Is there anything someone can do? (Jennifer P., Pacific Grove)

Answer: There are wildlife rehabilitation facilities that are able to help fawns in some situations, but for safety reasons they cannot possess or take in adult deer. According to Nicole Carion, DFG’s statewide coordinator for wildlife rehabilitation and restricted species, adult deer can be very dangerous and do not fare well in captivity to undergo medical treatment, so a rescue is not a good option. In this particular case, it sounds like humane euthanasia may be the best solution.

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Fish and Game Q&A: Can hunters sell their game for medicinal reasons?

Black_bear

In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: If a person buys a hunting license and a bear tag and goes out and hunts a bear legally, then that bear belongs to that hunter. If that hunter takes all the usable parts of the bear, then those bear parts belong to that hunter. But if the bear and all the usable parts belong to the hunter, why can’t the hunter sell the parts of the bear to other cultures that use them for medicinal reasons? Why do Americans think they have the right to tell other cultures what they can and can’t use in their beliefs of medicine, as long as the animals are taken legally? Who knows, maybe they can find a cure for illnesses that we don’t have today. I am a legal and ethical hunter who is about to drive out of state for hunting because of all of the ridiculous laws, so please start thinking about changes in the laws in favor of making hunting more enjoyable for hunters.

-- James "Rufus" Smith

Answer: California Fish and Game laws are designed to protect and preserve California’s wildlife resources. Through the enactment of these laws, the Legislature grants people the privilege to take some species under very specific regulations but has prohibited certain acts that are considered a great threat to the species’ continued existence. Selling the pieces and parts of a bear is only one example of the threats that endanger California wildlife.

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Fish and Game Q&A: How much do California halibut move around?

Associate DFG marine biologist Ken Oda with a California halibut. In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: I have a question about the halibut out at San Clemente Island. Is it a self-contained population due to the long distance between the island and mainland? If so, is it harder for this island population to mix and propagate with the mainland coastal halibut? I understand that all fertilized fish eggs, larvae and fry drift with the sea currents, but wouldn’t it be easy to overfish this one "homegrown" species of fish at San Clemente Island? (Steve)

Answer: Halibut do move inshore-offshore and along the coast to spawn. They also follow feed and follow favorable ocean conditions. Unfortunately, there is no good answer to your question regarding the fish at San Clemente Island, mostly because no data are available.

According to Department of Fish and Game associate marine biologist Travis Tanaka, more than 26,800 coastal mainland halibut were tagged as part of a halibut study performed in Southern California from 1992 to 1997. The study seemed to indicate that migration was related to the size of the fish, but this was not statistically proven. Most of the fish in the study (64%) were recaptured in the same region as the original capture. However, halibut larger than 550 millimeters (21.9 inches) in length averaged 29.5 kilometers (18.3 miles) in travel. At the same time, smaller halibut less than 550 millimeters averaged from 4.6 to 5.6 kilometers (2.9 to 3.5 miles) of travel. The greatest distance of travel was accomplished by a 559 millimeter (22-inch) halibut, which traveled 319 kilometers (198.2 miles). The lesson here is that fish do move, and in the case of this particular study, the movement was mostly to the north. (The results of this study can be found in DFG’s scientific journal, California Fish and Game, vol. 85, no. 2.)

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Fish and Game Q&A: May a photo be taken with a 'no-take' fish before it is released?

Giant (black) sea bass. In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: I fish in Southern California and have a question about black sea bass. I know they are illegal to keep when caught. However, when they are caught while targeting other species, what is the regulation for releasing them? After the hook is removed and swim bladder punctured, may a picture be taken with the fish out of the water before it is released? I am under the impression they may not be removed from the water. I ask because a friend of mine accidentally caught a small black sea bass (about 30 lbs.) and after removing the hook and puncturing the swim bladder, he held it up and posed for a quick picture with the fish. I told him I didn’t think that was legal and he argued it was. He did release the fish immediately after the photo was taken, and the fish swam off, apparently unharmed. I’ve searched the website for clarification, but have found nothing. Can you please clarify this issue for me? We are very conscientious fisherman. (Dave L.)

Answer: Giant (black) sea bass and other no-take species cannot be retained and must be released immediately. Therefore, holding the fish out of the water for a picture is unlawful. The best-case scenario for the fish would be to cut the line while it is still in the water.

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Fish and Game Q&A: Are broken antlers a sign of nutrient deficiencies?

Sparring mule deer bucks.

In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: I recently had a wonderful opportunity to accompany a friend to the 2010 Goodale Buck Hunt (G3) in the Owens Valley. It was great to see so many mature bucks in California! However, we noticed many large four-point bucks had broken antlers. Some actually had one complete side broken or partially broken. It appeared that the small tines on the four-point bucks had the most damage. I have never seen this many damaged horns in any other zone or any other state. Is this caused by a deficiency in nutrients? (Bob Pihera)

Answer: It may be that a mineral deficiency is playing a role, but we can’t say for sure. According to Department of Fish and Game deer program manager Craig Stowers, we have documented this deficiency regarding Tule elk in the area but don’t have any data specifically related to deer. Additionally, that particular hunt is held late (in December), pretty much in the middle of the rut. By that time those antlers have endured a lot of stress from animals fighting with each other for dominance. Given this, it wouldn’t be too unusual for these animals’ antlers to reflect a lot of wear and damage from the rutting season.

Q: We are Buddhists. For expressing mercy we used to buy captive fishes and set them free in rivers. However, we could not buy live-bred fishes and free them here because the salesperson in the supermarket said it violates California laws. I could not find any information in the regulations you issued. Please tell us which codes apply. (James W.)

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Fish and Game Q&A: What is the law on hunting exotic ranch animals on private lands?

Non-native animals, such as this bison, kept behind confining fences are not classified as either game or nongame wildlife. Thus, no hunting regulations apply.

In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: What is the law in regard to hunting "exotic ranch animals" on private lands? I see an advertisement for hunts (pigs, goats, etc.) with no tags or licenses required. These hunts are offered 24/7 year-round. How can this be legal? (Monty S.)

Answer: Imported animals that are not native to California and that are put behind a confining fence are not classified as either game or nongame wildlife. They are considered domestic animals/livestock and are not covered by state Fish and Game laws, so hunting regulations do not apply and no hunting licenses or tags are required.

Feral (domestic animals that have reverted to the wild) goats and a number of other species that have become wild in California are covered under nongame laws (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 472). A hunting license is required to take any nongame animals listed in this section.

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Fish and Game Q&A: Is it legal to cherry pick the best crabs?

Dungeness crab In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: Recreational Dungeness crab fishermen often seem to hold onto crab in excess of their limit while they are still crabbing, then they cherry pick the best ones and throw back the extras after pulling all their pots. Is this legal? Say for example I’m fishing alone and drop three pots. When I retrieve the pots, the first one contains 10 crab, and I put them all in my fish box. The second pot also has 10 crab and I also put them all in the box. I pull the last pot, then sort through all the crab and throw back all but the biggest 10 before heading into the harbor. This is how I would prefer to fish, but I think it would be illegal since I should never have more than my limit (10 crab per person) aboard. (Jesse)

Answer: What you describe is high-grading and is absolutely illegal. Every
 crab over the limit that is in the fisherman’s possession, even if just for a short time, could get them cited for possession of an overlimit. Once a limit is in possession, all other crabs must be immediately returned to the water. If the fisherman keeps 10 legal-sized crabs from his first pot, all other crabs in any subsequent pots must be released.

Q: Is it legal to sell unused ammo at a garage sale or flea market? I have ammo that was given to me and I don’t own the guns that fire them. They are still in the box and some still have the price tags. I know there is value to somebody who owns these guns. (David S.)

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Fish and Game Q&A: What's the difference hunting waterfowl on wildlife refuges vs. private land?

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area.

In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: I have some questions about waterfowl hunting. The waterfowl hunting regs book refers to different wildlife areas and refuges as Type A, B or C areas. What is this referring to? I know that hunting is only allowed on designated days in the state and federal wildlife refuges and areas, but what about hunting on private land? Can you hunt on any day you choose? (Tim H.)

Answer: According to Department of Fish and Game Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Manager Dave Feliz, DFG wildlife areas are classified as Type A, B, or C areas based on the level of staffing and the public use demand. Type A and B areas are staffed and often defined by the presence of wetland habitats. Type A areas are intensely managed, with extensive vegetation manipulation and water management. Public use is typically very high and carefully managed by the department. We often staff a hunter check station at these facilities, and physically check all hunters in. All game taken is identified and tabulated. There is a fee to hunt on Type A wildlife areas which can be paid daily or the hunter can purchase a Type A annual pass.

There is also a fee to hunt on Type B wildlife areas. These facilities often do not have a staffed hunter check station. Fees are satisfied with either a Type A or Type B season pass. Hunters will not be able to purchase a daily pass at a Type B hunting area.

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Fish and Game Q&A: New computer licenses draw queries

Game warden Nicole Kozicki checks a waterfowl hunter's hunting license. In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: For generations, our family has bought annual hunting and fishing licenses and then proudly saved each license over the years as collectible pieces of our family history. Why after so many years have you chosen to discontinue these traditional-style licenses in favor of just computer printouts?

Answer: While many may miss the traditional-style licenses, this new computer system enables the Department of Fish and Game to maintain an accurate and complete customer license database. It ensures everyone is licensed correctly, customers can quickly retrieve their license information to replace lost licenses and annual renewals will be much easier.

It also reduces fraud and the official license sent from DFG is actually much less destructible than the more ornate licenses of the past.

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Fish and Game Q&A: Is it unlawful to use night-vision equipment while legally hunting?

Bobcat

In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: I have an important question regarding the use of "passive" night-vision equipment when legally night-hunting nongame mammals and nongame birds in the state of California. My research indicates that it is perfectly legal to hunt nongame mammals (e.g. coyote and bobcat) using passive (which means it does not project an infrared beam of light or other artificial light) night-vision equipment (e.g. rifle scopes, binoculars, etc.) that do not conflict with the California Penal Code for legal possession.

If you believe that my conclusions are in error, please state the applicable regulation and specific verbiage in the law. For the record, is it illegal to use any type of night-vision equipment in the state of California while legally hunting big game or nongame animals? Yes or no? (Rick B.)

Answer: Yes, it is unlawful to use or possess at any time any infrared or similar light used in connection with an electronic viewing device or any night-vision equipment or optical devices. According to Department of Fish and Game Ret. Capt. Phil Nelms, this includes but is not limited to binoculars or scopes that use light-amplifying circuits that are electrical- or battery-powered to assist in the taking of birds, mammals, amphibians or fish (Fish and Game Code section 2005(c).

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Fish and Game Q&A: What to do with pesky coyotes?

Coyote sightings in and around urban areas have become common. In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: For the past 10 months, our neighborhood in Encinitas has been overrun by coyotes. Who can we work with to mitigate the situation before someone gets hurt? (Ken S.)

Answer: Coyotes and other wildlife cannot and should not be removed just because there may appear to be too many in a community. If they are congregating, the problem may be that your neighbors are being careless with food and garbage, which serve as attractants. Coyotes play an important role in the ecosystem by helping to keep rodent populations under control. They are by nature fearful of humans.

Coyotes primarily hunt rodents and rabbits for food but will take advantage of whatever is available, including garbage, pet food and domestic animals. If coyotes are given access to human food and garbage, their behavior changes. They lose caution and fear and may cause property damage or threaten human safety. When this happens and they threaten humans or begin preying on domestic livestock or pets, they may be killed.

Relocating a problem coyote is not an option because it only moves the problem to someone else’s neighborhood.

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Fish and Game Q&A: Will I be in violation if I clean lobsters once the boat is docked?

Traditional-hoopnet In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: I run a six-pack charter boat business and we often hoop net for crab and lobster. My deckhands and I make money by cleaning our passengers' catch. This includes both rock crab and lobster. We always wait until we make landfall before we tail the bugs. This year the new regulations say: "(e) Spiny lobsters shall be kept in a whole, measurable condition until being prepared for immediate consumption." What is the definition of immediate consumption? Will I be in violation if I clean the lobsters for my passengers after hitting the dock? (Captain David Y.)

Answer: Yes, prior to this law, there was a big enforcement problem with people who were already on the shore tailing undersize lobsters before the Department of Fish and Game could contact them to measure their catch. Because lobsters must be measured across the back of their carapace rather than the tail region, this was allowing them to get away with possessing short lobsters when the carapace and tails were separated. This is one of the reasons why this section was changed.

According to DFG Lt. Eric Kord, captain of the San Diego-based patrol vessel Thresher, by the letter of the law, "prepared for immediate consumption" means cooked and on a plate ready to be eaten immediately. Or in the case of sushi, it means ready to be eaten immediately raw on a dinner plate. He advises not cleaning or tailing the lobsters for your passengers as doing so would be a violation. If they are stopped by a game warden on the way to their car, they would be cited for illegal possession of tails under this section.

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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.



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