California Outdoors for the week of 10/31/2012

Carrie Wilson
California Department of Fish and Game

Special hunts

  Question: I haven’t hunted for pheasant in years but would like to do so and introduce my daughter to the sport. I’ve heard the Department of Fish and Game holds special pheasant hunts for new apprentice and returning hunters and that these hunts are paid for with funds generated by the upland game bird stamps that licensed hunters buy. Can you please provide me some information on this program regarding dates, locations, requirements and how to apply?

—James K., Napa

Answer: DFG holds many special hunts throughout the state specifically for apprentice (first-time) hunters, juniors (15 years and under), families, women and those who are mobility-impaired. These include hunts for wild turkey, quail, chuckar, pheasant and wild pigs. Planted pheasant hunts are for apprentice hunters only.

  Newly certified Hunter Education class grads are especially encouraged to apply because they will be given priority one time only over others applying through regular drawings. Newly certified hunters just have to type their HE cert number into the application and their names are automatically added to the “first hunt” roster. Those names will be drawn first, and based upon their preferences, selected for hunts not yet filled prior to those applying through the regular drawings. All hunts that do not include planted pheasants are for wild bird hunts and are not part of the priority selection with the HE cert.

    Special hunts are offered throughout the year. To view the schedule and apply:

  —Go to the DFG hunting page at

  —Click the “Online Application for Special Hunts” link in the top right corner.

  —Create an account (quick and easy!) or log into an existing account.

  —Click the “Select and Apply For Hunts” link at the bottom of the next page.

  —All hunts available around the state will pop up, along with the dates, contact numbers and information about each hunt.

  —Then select which hunt(s) you’re interested in.

  —Applicants will be notified shortly by email which hunt(s) they were successfully selected for.

    These special hunts are some of the best opportunities out there to help encourage and support new hunters, women hunters and those who are mobility-impaired. And, they are all funded by hunters for hunters. Don’t miss out!


Are crab snares legal?

  Question: I am looking forward to doing some crabbing this year. I have a seven-loop crab snare but a bait and tackle shop owner told me it was completely illegal to use. Is this true? If so, why? Also, will I need a fishing license to take crabs?

—Jeremy H.

    Answer: Crab loop traps (often sold as “crab snares”) are legal to use north of Point Arguello to take all species of crabs, but no more than six loops are allowed (California Code of Regulations Title 14, sections 29.80(d) and (e)). To make this a legal trap you will need to cut off one of the loops. Valid sport fishing licenses are required to take crab, unless you are fishing from a public fishing pier (as defined by CCR Title 14, section 1.88).


Separate shells

  Question: I was just reading this week’s Q&A (which I really enjoy!) and Terri S. asked whether one could have shotgun shells to hunt wild pigs while hunting turkeys. You stated that, “the hunters may not possess a shotgun slug while turkey hunting.” You also stated that, “Shotgun shells may not be used or possessed that contain shot size larger than No. BB, except that shot size larger than No. 2 may not be used or possessed when taking wild turkey.”

    For clarification, could they have two shotguns with separate shells if they were in possession of a pig tag? What is the law on carrying different kinds of firearms when attempting to hunt different kinds of game?

—Cristen L.

    Answer: You can carry more than one gun when hunting different types of game. However, you cannot possess certain types of ammunition while hunting certain species. For example, while hunting turkey you may not possess anything larger than No. 2 shot, and while hunting waterfowl you may not possess lead. In both of these cases, your second gun cannot have anything illegal to possess. So it is legal to carry two guns, but neither gun may have ammunition that is illegal for any species you are hunting.


Military licenses

  Question: I am in the U.S. Navy stationed at Camp Pendleton and want to hunt and fish while I am here. Do you have special licenses for active duty military?

—Timothy T.

Camp Pendleton

  Answer: Active duty military may purchase resident fishing and hunting licenses while stationed in California. We do not currently offer special military licenses.


Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. She will select a few questions to answer each week. Contact her at


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