Turning in wasted waterfowl
Question: Last year during waterfowl season my son and I were hunting in a state wildlife area on a pond. As we were wading across the pond on our way out we found a dead duck on the edge of the pond. The bird had clearly been shot and in the water for perhaps a day or two. We picked up the bird and gave it to the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) folks at the check-out station when we turned in our shoot cards for the day and showed our harvested birds.
We were told that since the bird was “in our possession” it counted toward our daily bag total. And since we had limited out, we were now over limit for the day. The folks acknowledged that the bird had probably been dead for a couple of days, but chided us that in the future we should just “let the dead bird lay there” because some animal will eat it eventually. We were not cited but we’re wondering if our behavior was illegal.
Answer: According to DFG Assistant Chief Mike Carion, picking up the duck does add it to the possession of the person. If you find a dead duck and already have a limit, it is best to leave it. Predators and scavengers will quickly put it to use.