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Fish and Game Q&A: Can I mail trout to someone out of state? Can he send me venison?

July 9, 2009 |  3:11 pm

Garrett Arman, 8, took top kid honors at Gull Lake by catching a 5.4-pound rainbow on opening day of the eastern sierra trout season.

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

Question: I was wondering about the laws on mailing fish. A friend of mine took me to Eagle Lake a few years ago, and to return the favor I always bring him some fish on the way home. He is going to be moving to Kansas and I want to send him some of the prized fish. Is it legal to ship them through the mail? I know I can get live lobsters from Maine, but they are a commercial product. My friend also wants to try to send me some venison but we're not sure of the laws there either. Thank you for your help. (Steve)

Answer: Unfortunately, it is not legal to ship trout outside of California (FGC Section 2356.) You also cannot personally transport them to another state, unless you have a nonresident angling license or are on active military duty (in which case you may personally transport no more than one limit of trout across state lines).

As far as venison mailed across state lines, as long as the animal was taken legally in the state of origin, it can be shipped to a recipient in California for their personal use, provided the shipper complies with the following procedures:

According to Captain (ret.) Phil Nelms, both California (FGC Section 2348) and United States (Lacey Act) laws require that packages containing wildlife and being shipped by common carrier "... shall bear the name and address of the shipper and of the consignee and an accurate description of the numbers and kinds of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, or amphibians contained therein clearly and conspicuously marked on the outside thereof." In addition, a declaration form must be filed when importing fish, game, etc. (FGC 2353.) This form is available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/docs/declaration_form.pdf.

Though it's not a requirement, it would be a good idea for your friend to include with his venison shipment a copy of his valid hunting license and tags for the deer, along with all information regarding where and when the animal was taken.

Question: I am going to be hunting 300 acres of private land for wild hogs in a few weeks with only my archery tackle gear. Can I carry a side arm in case of a charge by a large hog? I will be hunting with someone else but we will be in different areas and would like some protection. Is this legal? (Albert Q.)

Answer: Yes, you may carry a side arm when archery hunting for wild pigs. According to game warden Todd Tognazzini, you may carry any legal method of take and combine the methods when you are hunting pigs. It is illegal, on the other hand, to carry a firearm while hunting other big game species under the authority of an archery-only tag or during an archery-only season. And if you will be hunting in the condor range, your handgun must be loaded with non-lead ammo.

Question: I'd like to try some rabbit hunting but hear they may carry some kind of disease. Is this true? If so, is this anything to be concerned about and what precautions should I take? (Jeff J., Stockton)

Answer: You may be referring to "tularemia," a bacterial disease that wild rabbits occasionally carry. To be safe, hunters should take precautions by wearing latex gloves when field dressing their rabbits to minimize exposure to the disease. Be sure to properly cool the animal after field dressing it and to always cook it thoroughly. Tularemia is named after the place where it was discovered -- Tulare.

Question: If I'm out spearfishing with scuba gear, can I leave the scuba gear in the boat to also free dive for abalone?

Answer: No. Sport divers are prohibited from using scuba or other surface-supplied air equipment to take abalone, and they cannot possess abalone on board any boat, vessel or floating device in the water containing scuba or surface-supplied air. There is no problem transporting abalone and scuba gear together while on land. Divers working from boats, kayaks, float tubes or other floating devices who wish to use scuba equipment to spear fish or harvest sea urchins, rock scallops or crabs of the genus Cancer, will need to make a separate trip for abalone.

Photo: Garrett Arman, 8, took top kid honors at Gull Lake by catching a 5.4-pound rainbow on opening day of the Eastern Sierra trout season. Credit: Pete Thomas / Los Angeles Times