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 was stopped by a game warden on a dirt road while out geocaching. He told me that if I am in a hunting zone when the season is open and I have a method of take (I always have a rifle with me), I must not only have a hunting license and tag for that zone, but I also have to show them to the game warden. All of this even though I said I was NOT hunting! Is this true?
If it is true, would this not deny everyone that uses the forest, and even land owners, their second amendment rights if they didn’t have a hunting license?
I thought this was ruled on and settled years ago. Have there been new laws enacted? The only new law I’ve heard of allows us to take our guns into national parks. This seems contrary to that new law. (Randy S.)
Answer: Fish and Game law does not require a person to have a hunting license and/or harvest tag while carrying a firearm in any area at any time of the year where access by the general public is otherwise unrestricted. A hunting license is only required if you are taking birds and mammals (Fish and Game Code, sections 22, 54, 86 and 3007).
According to retired DFG Capt. Phil Nelms, anyone who is traveling in these areas, especially persons carrying firearms during an open hunting season, can expect to be stopped by a game warden and questioned as to the nature of their activities. And, for some species of animals the season is open all year.
Game wardens have the authority to inspect any firearms, licenses, tags or game you may have in your possession (FGC, sections 1006 and 2012). This authority in the Fish and Game Code is in addition to that provided for all peace officers to inspect any firearm that is being carried in any area that is otherwise not open to the discharge of firearms, such as from or upon any public road (Penal Code, sections 374(c) and12031(e)).
Q: Are there any restrictions on the collection of crayfish? Any bag limits? Do I need a fishing license? (Kathleen J.)