Tips for mentoring youth hunters

MENTORING YOUTH HUNTERS 

Q: I’m taking my nephew out for his first turkey hunt on some property I have access to. His sister wants to join but doesn’t have a hunting license. I’m wondering what limitations she might have so a game warden doesn’t think she’s hunting too. For example, can she be in camo with us given that we’re only letting my nephew shoot?

A: First and foremost, thank you for being a mentor to a youth hunter, and possibly two! You’re a critical link to the future of hunting. We believe that a first-time hunter’s success in taking wild game, cooking and processing it, and sharing with family, is an incredibly empowering moment—especially for youth. For your niece, making sure she doesn’t possess a method of take – as in a shotgun or archery equipment – should be top priority. This will help avoid creating the impression that she’s hunting. If your nephew is in sole possession of the shotgun for the entire duration of the hunt, your niece can be with you. Note that she should not assist with set up, decoy placement, or calling. 

However, by simply being there as a non-hunter, you can teach them both the intricacies of a successful turkey hunt. If successful, you can walk them through the plucking and cleaning process. From there we suggest you encourage them both to learn to cook the turkey and plan the meal. You can also help them work through the disappointment at the end of a day if your nephew is not successful, another important lesson about hunting. 

Turkey hunting is challenging enough for experienced hunters, so hunting with first timers, especially kids, presents its own challenges. As you are probably aware, one of the most important strategies of turkey hunting is keeping still. Kids often have a difficult time keeping still, but teaching them will significantly increase the chances of a successful hunt. The best way to keep your apprentice hunters still is often to keep them as comfortable as is reasonably possible. We suggest using a ground blind that all three of you can fit in. Ground blinds help conceal excessive movement and they come with reasonably comfortable chairs. There are lots of online resources and other tips you may want to review to make your hunt successful. One of them is CDFW’s Guide To Hunting Wild Turkeys in California, which is free to download on our Upland Game Bird Hunting page. Good luck!

CRAB LOOP TRAPS 

Q: Can two crab loop traps be used simultaneously on one fishing pole? Can a fishing hook be attached to a fishing line that has a crab snare on the end?

A: As for your first question, yes it is legal to have two crab loop traps used simultaneously on one fishing pole. However, if you’re on a public pier, no person shall use more than two rods and lines, two hand lines, or two nets, traps or other appliances used to take crabs, per California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 14, section 28.65(b). Section 29.80 of CCR, Title 14, covers what gear can be used to take crabs and other crustaceans. A hook is not a legal method of take for crabs. If you’re going to use crab loop traps, you’ll need to tie the trap onto the line instead of using a hook. In conclusion, you can either have two poles with one loop trap tied on each, or one pole with two loop traps. 

As for your second question, the answer is no. You cannot attach a fishing hook to a fishing line that has a crab loop trap on the end because hook and line is not a legal method of take for crabs, per CCR, Title 14, section 29.80. 

CROSSBOWS

Q: Can I use a crossbow to hunt wild turkey?

A: Yes, you may use a crossbow to hunt wild turkey during the regular season but not during the archery only season. With an exception for those issued a disabled archer permit, section 354(g) of CCR, Title 14, states that crossbows may not be used to take game birds and game mammals during archery seasons, including the wild turkey archery season. For additional information regarding archery equipment and crossbow regulations, see CCR, Title 14, section 354. Also, it’s not just the bow that is defined, section 354(c) requires hunting arrows and crossbow bolts to be tipped with a broad head type blade which will not pass through a hole seven-eighths inch in diameter. Mechanical/retractable broad heads shall be measured in the open position.