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: 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 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.
Q: 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.)