California Outdoors for the week of 4/4/20113

Carrie Wilson
Californai Department of Fish and Wildlife

Extra ammo

  Question: I wonder if you can settle a bet for me and my friends. They told me when hunting for turkeys, it is illegal to also carry shotgun slug ammunition. I disagree because what if someone wants to carry slugs in case they get the chance that a pig might run by? Please set us straight.


Paso R


    Answer: Sorry, your friends are correct! Only shotgun shells with loose No. 2 size shot or smaller may be in your possession while hunting for turkeys (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 311(b)). So, if you are hunting turkeys, you cannot carry a slug because it’s not shot loose in the shell. If you are hunting wild pigs with a shotgun using slugs in the California condor range, the slugs must not contain more than 1 percent lead by weight.  


Carp by spear gun

    Question: When I was a kid, we used to hunt carp with a spear gun. We’d jump into the creek and get carp up to 21 pounds. It was a lot of fun for a bunch of skinny kids with the fish pulling us all over the pool! Can you please clarify the regulations and let me know where, when or even if it is still doable?

—Damian L.


    Answer: It is only legal to spearfish carp in the Colorado River District, parts of the Valley District, parts of the Kern River and in those areas listed in CCR Title 14, section 2.30. It is only legal to spearfish carp in the areas listed in this section.


Carrying a sidearm

    Question: I am new to hunting and have a question. I understand that in order to hunt with a handgun, the barrel length needs to be 4 inches or longer. However, I have a Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan 454 Casull with a 2.5-inch barrel. I do not plan to hunt with it, of course, but would like to know if I can carry it as a backup. I do not want to purchase another gun if I already have one. Please help me with my question.

—Daniel K.

Los Banos

    Answer: Regulations do not restrict you from carrying a sidearm while hunting except when hunting during an archery-only season for that species or while hunting under the authority of an archery-only tag during the general season for that species.

    And the 4-inch barrel length for handguns only applies when hunting for elk and bighorn sheep. Pistols and revolvers with any barrel length using centerfire cartridges with softnose or expanding projectiles may be used to take deer, bear and wild pigs. In the California Condor Zone, all ammunition in your possession must be certified non-lead.

    See sections 311, 353, 354, 465 and 475 in the 2012-13 Mammal Hunting Regulations for specific methods authorized for taking birds and mammals. These regulations are available online at


Transporting bait fish

    Question: I have a question regarding transporting finfish. Is it legal to catch anchovies and shiners by throw net and then transport them to the fishing location? I would like to do this in San Francisco Bay but would not take Bay fish to other waters (or take ocean bait fish into Bay waters). If it’s all within the Bay, does that still indicate “transporting”? If so, is there a distance limit? For example, can I net bait fish near a marina with parked boats and take them 50 to 100 yards to a legal fishing site? California Department of Fish and Wildlife regs refer only to restrictions on freshwater species but do not refer to saltwater and San Francisco Bay fish. We all just want to play by the rules, so can someone please clarify for us? Thank you.

—Gino P.


    Answer: It is legal to use a Hawaiian-type throw net in the ocean north of Point Conception (including San Francisco Bay) to take some species, including anchovies and shiner surfperch. For a complete list of species that may be taken with this gear, please see section 28.80 in the Ocean Sport Fishing regulations. There is no minimum distance provided in the regulations, and bait fish taken inside San Francisco Bay may be used inside the Bay.


Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Contact her at

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