Q: Most hunters that I know learned in their youth. I am an adult male who has never hunted but would like to learn. Are there classes or programs for adult males to learn? If so, can you please give me some information? (Edward H.)
A: Yes, and an excellent first step is to take a hunter education course. This is required to get a hunting license in California and provides good entry-level instruction about firearms safety, first aid, wildlife management, etc. (http://dfg.ca.gov/huntered/). Most local communities have sportsmen's clubs which usually are associated with a gun range. This would be another location to learn a great deal about firearms and to discuss hunting with experienced people. A number of Advanced Hunter Education classes are offered by the Department of Fish and Game throughout the state, including wild pig seminars, waterfowl seminars, wild turkey seminars, etc. These can be found on the DFG website at http://dfg.ca.gov/huntered/advanced/. In addition, there are many books and magazines that provide many resources about hunting, and the Internet is also full of information that would help.
Landing net required
Q: I understand when fishing for salmon from a boat in the ocean, you are required to have a net on the vessel for landing the fish. Are there size restrictions for the net? (Jeff)
A: Yes, while fishing in ocean waters, you are required to have a landing net aboard any boat or other floating device with an opening that measures no less than 18 inches in diameter (California Code of Regulatons Title 14, section 28.65(d)).
Archery and rifle season
Q: I am an archery hunter. If I am not able to fill my tag during the archery season, can I still hunt during the rifle season with my bow?
A: Yes, but it may depend on what type of tag you get. If its an Archery Only (AO) tag then you can only use archery equipment even during the rifle season. The rifle season you refer to is more accurately called the general season. During general season with a tag for that area, you can use any legal method for deer, including bow and arrow.
Wild bird feathers
Q: Is it illegal to have wild bird feathers? I live in the national forest and I often find feathers around. I never know if it is ok for me to keep them. I am an artist and need to know if I can gather feathers to use in my artwork to (hopefully) sell. Please let me know what I can and cannot have. (Cedar)
A: Generally, California and U.S. laws protecting wildlife prohibit both possessing and selling any part of any bird found in the wild in California. However, there are some exceptions:
You may possess but not sell or purchase the feathers from any wild bird which was harvested legally during the open season (e.g., ducks, geese, quail, pheasants, etc.) You don't have to take the birds yourself. They can be acquired from another person who took them, but there can be no sale or bartering involved in you acquiring them.
You may possess and sell the feathers of any bird which you acquire from any person who is licensed to possess and raise game birds for commercial purposes.
Feathers of bird species commonly sold in hobby or pet stores (e.g. canaries, parrots, parakeets, etc.), or any species of domestic poultry, are not protected by Fish and Game laws and may be possessed and sold. Although I realize these are probably not the feathers you are inquiring about, they may be found in various locations throughout California.
Additional and specific information regarding the laws protecting birds is available online at dfg.ca.gov/enforcement, in the "Helpful Information" column on the right side of the page choose the link to the Fish and Game Code. Specific laws to study include: Sections 22, 2000-2002, 3039, 3504-3513, 3800-3801.6.
For federal laws protecting birds, check the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at fws.gov.
Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.