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: My brother and I both hunt deer during open season along with small game, preferably squirrels. We carry two rifles each (one for deer and the other for squirrel). After hours of hiking though, it gets tiring. So my question is if I was to carry a small caliber rifle to hunt squirrel and my brother carries a big caliber rifle to hunt deer, would it be legal for us to switch guns during the same trip? For example, after he tags his deer, I could use his gun to go hunt for deer and he’d use my small caliber rifle to hunt squirrels. Or, would we have to continue carrying two guns each to hunt the two different species? (John)
Answer: There is no problem with you and your brother sharing your rifles as long as the appropriate rifle is used for the appropriate species. Remember that rimfire rifles, such as the .22, are legal for squirrel but not for deer. If you are deer hunting, you must carry a centerfire rifle. If you are hunting in the Condor Zone, the large caliber rifle must carry non-lead ammunition. This restriction would not apply to the take of small game including tree squirrel, jackrabbit and cottontail.
Q: We love to camp at the Gerstle Cove Woodside Campground and eat abalone for dinner. Can we legally clean the abalone at the fish cleaning facility and then drive a mile back up to the campsite to cook them? I am sure the rangers would prefer the abalone guts to be at the cleaning station rather than to be put into the trash cans at the campsite to rot. However, it means driving a mile to the campsite in possession of abalone that are out of the shell. I am afraid the campground workers will not enjoy your answer. (Anonymous)
Q: I understand that doves can be taken with airguns/spring guns with use of pellets. Does this mean I can take them while perched but not in flight? If yes, when I go dove hunting can I take both my shotgun and my airgun? And if this is alright, can I use my shotgun when the doves are in flight and my air gun when they land? Do the same regulations apply to quail? (Blong Y.)
A: It is legal to take perched doves and other resident small game (including quail) with air rifles powered by compressed air or gas, as prescribed in the regulations. However, only the following dove species are classified as Resident Small Game and may be taken with pellet guns: Chinese spotted doves, Eurasian collared-doves and ringed turtle-doves of the family Columbidae. Western mourning dove and all other migratory game birds may not be taken by pellet gun (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 300(b)). You may carry both the pellet gun and shotgun while hunting.
Q: Can you please define bait for me? Some rivers have a no bait restriction. Can I use rubber egg imitations? And if so, can I also add some scent to the rubber eggs? (Ken H., Santa Rosa)
A: Bait is not specifically defined in California Fish and Game fishing regulations, but rubber eggs or any similar item is covered by the definition for "Artificial Lure" in section 1.11 in the Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet. An artificial lure is a manmade lure or fly designed to attract fish. This definition does not include scented or flavored artificial baits. Often these regulations also state barbless hooks.
Bait that is authorized for use is defined in section 4.00 of the fishing regulations as: "Legally acquired and possessed invertebrates, mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians (except salamanders), fish eggs and treated and processed foods…"
Rubber egg imitations without scent would qualify as an "artificial lure" and may be used in waters where artificial lure restrictions are in effect.
If you have a question you would like to see answered in this column, e-mail it to CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.
Image courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service