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 will soon be taking off to the mountains from the valley floor to do some mountain quail and tree squirrel hunting. In past years, after arriving at hunting camp, most of my hunting was done on foot and so I couldn’t cover much ground in a day. Last year I took my grandson with me to start teaching him a little about gun safety, hunting and camping in the wild. After walking for a while he got tired though and wanted to rest. We were walking along a logging road and he told me that he wished he had his bicycle with him. This got me to thinking that with a bike I could cover much more area, be basically silent, use no fossil fuel and get some much needed exercise to boot. So, for my hunting trip this year I purchased a mountain bicycle and got it geared up with saddle bags and a handle bar gun rack for my shotgun.
Now I’m all ready to go but can’t find any hunting laws, rules or regulations concerning guns and bicycles on logging roads. Here are my questions:
■ Can I legally shoot from my bicycle while stopped with my feet on the ground or do I have to completely dismount the bicycle to shoot?
■ Can I have a shotgun shell in the chamber while on my bicycle (like while walking) or must I have the chamber empty and action open like when in a motor vehicle?
■ Can I carry a holstered six shot, black powder pistol with five rounds capped on my bicycle or do all the nipples have to be uncapped as in a motor vehicle?
I don’t want to do anything illegal or get into any trouble, so I would appreciate any help with these questions. (K. Broberg)
Answer: Shooting or taking game from a bicycle, whether on it or straddling it, is not specifically prohibited in California Fish and Game laws. However, section 374(c) of the Penal Code prohibits shooting a firearm from or upon a public road. A logging road is not a highway but it may be a public road depending on multiple factors, including who owns and/or maintains the road. But, in any case it is advisable to always be off any road before shooting even if it is not expressly prohibited by law.