In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Pete Thomas Outdoors, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly California Outdoors Q&A column:
Question: I have a 16-month-old Brittany pup that I’m training for upland game. I would like to continue to train him until it starts to get too hot. I want to buy chukars and pheasants from a breeder, then release and take them on private property. What steps do I need to do to stay legal? (Paul)
Answer: There is no longer a dog training permit requirement. Dog training is authorized so long as no wild birds are captured, injured or killed (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 677). Since you won’t be doing this as part of an organized field trial or hunt test, you are not required to notify Department of Fish and Game or mark the birds. However, your dog would only be allowed to take birds on the day they are released and you are required to buy the birds from a licensed, domesticated game breeder. To avoid any confusion, you should retain your receipts or other paperwork showing you purchased the birds from a domestic game breeder.
Q: Is it true that traps cannot be used in Humboldt Bay or the mouth of the Eel River? Both areas are popular for crabbing and I’ve never heard of anybody getting cited for using traps or rings. Thanks. (Bryan S.)
A: You are correct. Traps are not allowed in any inland waters, but are allowed in the Ocean and San Francisco Bay District (as defined by CCR Title 14, section 27.00). This regulation includes "the waters of open or enclosed bays continuous to the ocean" in its definition of waters within the Ocean and San Francisco Bay District. Humboldt Bay is an "enclosed bay continuous to the ocean," so crab traps are allowed in Humboldt Bay. The mouth of the Eel River does not have an open or enclosed bay that I know of. It’s more of a tidewater lagoon, so it would fall under the definition of inland water (in CCR Title 14, section 1.53) and traps would not be allowed. This regulation defines inland waters as "all the fresh, brackish and inland saline waters of the state, including lagoons and tidewaters upstream from the mouths of coastal rivers and streams."
Q: My question is about the bag limit and possession limit of fish. Can one person carry more than just their own fish? Other friends say it is fine as long as the licensed people are accounted for, even if they are on the same line. If we have a bag limit of five fish and possession limit of 10, would sharing a stringer with a friend count toward my bag and/or possession limit? Would a stringer of fish in the water be different from having a bucket or cooler of fish instead? Other friends have said the fish must be in a cooler or the car for it to not count toward your bag limit but it will still count towards your possession limit. (Toua X.)
Q: I have heard you can carry five shells in a shotgun when hunting for predators but I couldn’t find anything in the regulations to confirm this. Is it true? (Joe H.)
A: The maximum number of shells allowed in a shotgun under California Fish and Game Code laws is six (FGC, section 2010).
However, Fish and Game regulations limit the number of shells to a total of three (one in the chamber and two in the magazine) when hunting migratory game birds (waterfowl, pigeons, doves, etc.), resident small game (quail, rabbits, pheasants, chukar, grouse, tree squirrels) and big game (deer, bear and wild pigs only) (CCR Title 14, sections 311, 353 and 507).
The three-shell restriction does not apply when taking nongame mammals such as coyotes, bobcat, ground squirrels, skunks, gray fox, raccoon, etc. (CCR Title 14, sections 465 and 475 and the Mammal Hunting regulations.) To view the complete seasonal hunting regulations, please check out www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/.
If you have a question you would like to see answered in this column, e-mail it to CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.
Image of a dog next to a ring-necked pheasant courtesy of Tyler Baskfield \ Colorado Division of Wildlife