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: How does the Department of Fish and Game determine the antler count on each side? Do the eye guards count? I would like to know also about your website on the "bucks taken" point count and totals. I have not seen the count for "forked" bucks? I do see the count for taken bucks as "TWO" point? Aren’t the two point bucks "spike" bucks? Aren’t spike bucks illegal to take? (Daniel C.)
Answer: I think you may be confusing the methods used in the East to count antlers on whitetails with the way we assess mule deer antlers here in the West. Minimum antler counts are to ensure the animal is old enough to be harvested. Additional counts help give an idea of relative age and body condition. Fish and Game laws in California count only the points on one side, and eye guards are not included. A "spike" needs only a one-point antler on at least one side, but it could be on both sides and still be a spike. A "forked horn" has at least one branch on one side on the upper two-thirds of the antler, but both could be branched. For example, 1 x 2 or 2 x 2 are both correctly "forked" horn and not a 3-pt or 4-pt and so forth. A 2 x 3 buck is a 3-pt and not a 5 pt and so forth.
For a complete description of how California defines antler count and antlerless deer, please go to section 351 in the 2011-12 Mammal Hunting Regulations available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/.
Q: I live in a mobile home park in a rural community in San Diego County. We are being told we cannot feed the wild Canada geese around our community lake because the managers are very mad at the geese for the droppings.
Is it legal to feed the geese actual goose food (e.g. a source of food that is put together for them and purchased from a feed store)? If not, can a person be fined for doing so? Are these geese endangered or a protected species? What are the regulations? (Phillip L.)
A: No, it is not legal to feed the geese. California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 251.1 prohibits the "harassment" of wildlife, which can in some circumstances include feeding. Harass is defined as "an intentional act which disrupts an animal’s normal behavior patterns, which includes, but is not limited to, breeding, feeding or sheltering."
Q: My name is Austin. I am eight years old and I love to learn and study ocean animals. I want to have a salt water tank and am doing research before I get one. I wanted to find out if you are allowed to get a fish from the ocean and keep it as a pet. Like a lionfish or Mandarin fish. If you could answer my question I would like that. I don’t plan on doing this, I am just wondering if you can. (Austin Holtz)
Q: I live here in California and was wondering if I can hunt wild pigs at night? (Richard X.)
A: Night hunting is not allowed for wild pigs. Wild pigs are classified as big game mammals, and according to California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 352, the hours for hunting all big game mammals in California are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Please be sure to read and understand California Mammal Hunting Regulations before going afield to hunt (www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/mammalregs.aspx).
Q: I know this guy from Mexico who sells garibaldi and he said the ban on collecting and exporting garibaldi from Mexico has been lifted. I was thinking of starting a cold saltwater tank and would like to include garibaldi but I want to check the legality. If purchased from Mexico, is it okay to keep them in California? If it is legal, can I sell it if it gets too big for the tank? (Cesar M.)
A: No. Garibaldi may not be imported into California because they cannot be legally possessed (see the Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations, section 28.05(b), and Fish and Game Code, sections 8598 and 2353, all available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/).
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 4-point buck courtesy of David Hannigan / Colorado Division of Wildlife