Outposts

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Category: Weapons

Fish and Game Q&A: Is it legal to use lights to monitor wildlife if you do not have any guns in your possession?

Two fawns nurse as a doe takes advantage of a late night snack.

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: 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.

Instead, you might consider using a trail cam like those sold through most outdoor-gear stores. These will allow you to capture (with night-vision equipment) images or video of wildlife that might be visiting a watering hole or passing through an area. 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 take photos of them while they are acting normally, doing whatever they naturally do at night. You might also be surprised by the different species that will appear that you probably would not expect!

Q: 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.)

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Fish and Game Q&A: Are bang sticks legal to use in self-defense against sharks?

White shark 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 are spearfish divers and are wondering if bang sticks or powerheads are legal to use in self-defense against sharks approaching us. They are like a fold-out stick with a bullet at the end. You press the stick against a shark if it comes in too short, and it fires. There are many companies that will ship them to California but I heard they are a firearm and must be registered. I’ve also heard that because of what they are used for, they are legal and don’t need to be registered. I’ve called a few local police departments to ask but they have no idea. (Christopher)

Answer: California Fish and Game law does not prohibit possession of these devices. However, according to retired Department of Fish and Game Capt. Phil Nelms, bang sticks and/or powerheads that use an explosive cartridge are firearms. Firearms are not a legal method of take for sharks and can’t be used to take or land sharks, or any other species of fish.

Q: I have a disability in my right eye which prevents me from being able to view through the peep sights on my bow. However, I’ve learned to use my left eye for shooting my rifle, and have practiced with a crossbow. I would like to be able to hunt during the archery season with my crossbow. How can I legally do this? (Erik, Laytonville)

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Fish and Game Q&A: What's the limit when fishing catch and release?

An angler with a wild Klamath River steelhead that was soon released. 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 I fish for trout using a barbless lure and catch five during the day but release them all, is that still considered my limit for the day?

Answer: Fish caught and immediately released do not count toward your daily bag limit unless the fish dies or is not released in a viable condition. If fish are not released, they are counted toward your limit whether you keep them or give them to someone else. Fish that are maintained and later released may also count toward the daily bag limit if they show signs of stress or other indicators they can not swim off in a viable condition. Keep in mind that any fish with a zero bag limit may not be retained or possessed at any time, so these fish must be released immediately no matter what condition they are in upon landing.

Q: I legally shot a black bear last year in California and then took it to a taxidermist in Nevada who was  going to create a bearskin rug for me. Somehow the taxidermist mistakenly gave my bear away to another customer and so then gave me a different bear rug to replace it. This wasn’t a good solution for me though because I don’t want this bearskin from an animal I didn’t take. Can I legally sell it since it was taken in another state? (Anonymous)

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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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Outdoor Life magazine introduces Outdoor Life Survival website

Outdoor Life Survival Outdoor Life magazine recently announced the launch of Outdoor Life Survival, a new website chock-full of informative and possibly useful topical survival news, advice and tips for outdoorsmen, travelers and urban dwellers.

With more than 20 years experience studying survival skills and primitive technologies, survival expert and instructor Tim MacWelch -- the site's lead contributor -- will share strategies on all aspects of sustaining oneself in the wild through photo galleries, videos and how-to guides, as well as frequent postings to the site's new Survivalist blog.

Outdoor Life Survival's content is divided into five sections, designed to provide ideas and solutions for almost any survival situation:

Wilderness, focusing on classic outdoor and wildlife dangers, including surviving animal attacks and bites, extreme weather and finding safe wild food sources;

Urban, which addresses skills such as burglar-proofing a home, freeing a stuck car from ice or mud and creating a family emergency plan;

Conflict, offering tips on staying safe abroad and protecting yourself in dangerous situations;

Disasters, which focuses on preparing for and surviving hurricanes, floods, blizzards and other natural catastrophes;

Gear, a resource for the best in survival essentials such as knives, watches, food and survival kits.

"The essential skills for survival are no longer just the purview of those who love the outdoors," said Todd Smith, editor-in-chief of Outdoor Life magazine. "With unpredictable weather, global unrest and even the increasing congestion in our cities, the tactics that have long kept outdoorsmen safe are of interest to a general audience. OL Survival channels the expertise of top survivalists into tips anyone can use to be prepared and stay safe, whether they're on a wilderness adventure or close to home."

Other features of the site include a forum where visitors can post questions and receive answers from Outdoor Life experts and fellow online members, and a gallery offering readers the opportunity to share their survival tales and photos.

-- Kelly Burgess

twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Image courtesy of Outdoor Life


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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Poll finds rifle hunters, shooters consider scopes essential gear

Kathy Hansen, right, tests a Trijicon rifle scope at January's Safari Club International Convention in Reno.

Scopes are considered to be essential gear for sportsmen who shoot or hunt with rifles, as evidenced by the number of respondents to a recent survey. Conducted by HunterSurvey.com, the poll revealed more than 92% of rifle owners own at least one scoped rifle, and nearly three out of four own multiple scoped rifles, while only 7.7% responded that they do not own a scope.

Scopes are also a prominent purchase for many shotgun and handgun owners. While both types of firearms are generally used with open sights, 28.7% of shotgunners and 24.5% of handgunners say they own at least one scoped model.

"While firearms and ammunition purchases have been extensively analyzed, not a lot is known about scope ownership and usage," said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which creates and manages the surveys. "This information can be valuable to manufacturers and particularly retailers who now know nearly every rifle buyer is also a potential scope customer as well."

Of those sportsmen surveyed, 26.2% said they intend to purchase a scope in 2011, while 32.5% are not sure.

Launched in 2006, AnglerSurvey.com and HunterSurvey.com help the outdoor equipment industry, government fisheries and wildlife officials, and conservation organizations track consumer activities and expenditure trends. The results are scientifically analyzed to reflect all U.S. anglers and hunters.

Those who hunt, fish and target shoot are invited to participate in either or both survey sites. Respondents are entered in a monthly drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice.

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: Kathy Hansen, right, tests a Trijicon rifle scope at January's Safari Club International Convention in Reno. Credit: Max Whittaker / Reuters


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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2011 DFG advanced hunting clinics schedule now available

Three youth and a dog watch a flushed pheasant sail out of gun range.

The California Department of Fish and Game has posted the 2011 advanced hunting clinics schedule on its website.

The clinics take place at various locations during the year and focus on the basics of hunting. The series includes sessions on how to hunt turkey, upland game, waterfowl, bear and wild pig. There are also classes offered on land navigation and wilderness survival.

Some of the topics covered in the clinics include the type of firearm and ammunition best for each hunting situation; scouting, tracking and field-dressing game; hunter safety and ethics; and conservation.

Space for each clinic is limited, so those interested in participating should register early.

For more information, e-mail or call Lt. Dan Lehman at (916) 358-4356.

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: Three youths and a dog watch a flushed pheasant sail out of gun range. Credit: Brent Stettler / Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

 

 

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: 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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