California Outdoors for the week of 12/12/2012

Carrie Wilson
Californai Department of Fish and Game

Youths in wildlife areas

  Question: My son is 11 years old and a licensed hunter. We would like to duck hunt this year at state and federal wildlife areas. Does he need a one- or two-day pass? Does he need any paperwork aside from his license? I would hate for him to be turned away from the check station the morning of our hunt because we were not properly prepared.

—Steve H.

  Answer: People hunting under the authority of a junior hunting license in state wildlife areas (or federal areas managed by the Department of Fish and Game) where entry permits are required are exempt from the permit and pass requirements, except they must have a no-fee entry permit issued to them. Holders of junior hunting licenses are only eligible for entry permits when accompanied by an adult (18 years or older). One adult may accompany up to two holders of junior hunting licenses. In addition, adults must accompany holders of junior hunting licenses in Type A and Type B areas.

  For additional information regarding hunters using junior hunting licenses in state wildlife areas, see sections 551 (f), (g) and (h) in the 2012-13 Upland Game and Waterfowl Regulations/Regulations for Hunting on Public Lands booklet, available online at

  Additional and specific information regarding entering and hunting in state wildlife areas is available for each area online at


Unintentional fish catch

  Question: I have an ongoing debate with a friend and am hoping you can resolve it. Lets say salmon season is open but I’m drifting for halibut and hook up on a legal-sized salmon on a halibut rig. What is the protocol? I was unable to find anything about this in the regulations booklet, but I did find where it says it is illegal to catch and waste fish. Also, what is the protocol if trolling for salmon with regulation gear and hooking up with an untargeted lingcod? If you can cite which code is correct for these situations, I can finally put this to bed. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

—Tom C.

  Answer: First of all, salmon may only be taken on a barbless hook. Possession of salmon taken on any gear other than the gear described in regulations is illegal. Thus, unless your halibut rig is a barbless circle hook (doubtful!), you would have to immediately release any salmon you catch on it, regardless of the condition of the salmon (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.80).

  Hooking and keeping lingcod on your salmon rig is permitted as long as you are within the depth limit of the groundfish management area, and the groundfish season is open (CCR Title 14, sections 28.27 and 28.65).


Avoiding bear ‘baiting’

  Question: The regulation booklet says no baiting for bear or no bear shall be taken within 400 yards from baited areas. I’m confused, since the law says no baiting, but then it says no bears to be taken within 400 yards of a baited area. Is the law implying that baiting is allowed as long as the hunter shoots the bear from more than 400 yards away? How can Fish and Game tell if a bear was taken from areas with or without baits? How can hunters tell if the area was baited or not? Also, what if I had just dressed a deer and the next day a bear came after the remains, and I shot the bear? Is that not legal as long as I have a bear tag? Please clarify.

—Pao H.

  Answer: Regulations prohibit placing feed, bait or other materials capable of attracting a bear in any location for the purpose of taking a bear (CCR Title 14, section 365(e)). This portion of the regulation prohibits these acts and is not dependant on distance. It is illegal to place “bait” out for the purpose of taking a bear.

  In addition, the regulation also prohibits taking a bear within 400 yards of a garbage dump or any place where bait has been placed even though you may not have put it there. It is your responsibility to carefully inspect the area you intend to hunt and determine it complies with the law.

  Under this regulation the remains of a deer constitute feed or bait and it is illegal for you to dispose of them with the intention of attracting a bear to the site, and to take any bear within 400 yards of the remains.


Sand crab limit

  Question: I’ve been advised that there is a limit on the number of sand crabs a surf fishermen can possess. Is this true?

—Drew B.

  Answer: Yes, there is a limit on the number of sand crabs (Emerita analoga) a fisherman may possess. The limit is 50 sand crabs (CCR Title 14, section 29.85(d)).


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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