Turning in Wasted Waterfowl

Mallard drake (USFWS photo)

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.

Can lobsters be taken from inside San Diego Bay?
Question: Do you know if divers can take lobster within San Diego Bay? (Bob S.)

Answer: Fish and Game regulations do not specifically prohibit diving for lobster in San Diego Bay. However, much of the bay is closed to all public use (including diving) by local ordinances and federal regulations. Diving in these closed areas by the public for any purpose is prohibited. Please contact the San Diego Police Department or San Diego Harbor Patrol for specific information about these closures.

Purchasing a bow-mounted laser range finder
Question: I am an archery hunter and am interested in purchasing a bow-mounted laser range finder. However, the manufacturer’s website does
not list California as a state where this device can be legally used to hunt. The device I’m considering doesn’t emit a visible light so I am wondering what the DFG’s stance is on this before I make the investment into the product for hunting purposes. (L.C.)

Answer: Simple laser rangefinders are not prohibited. Just be sure the device does not project any visible light or electronically intensify light for the purpose of either visibly enhancing an animal or providing a visible point of aim on an animal. (See California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 353(i).)

Lead ammo for pistol in condor country?
Question: In the lead-free condor zone, can I carry a pistol that is loaded with lead ammo for self defense, with the intention of NEVER using it for hunting purposes? The purpose of carrying it is for self defense only. Of course I’ll be carrying lead-free ammo for my rifles, but I want to know about the side arm. Personally, I carry either a Glock 20 in 10mm or a Ruger 44mag. (Brandon C.)

Answer: You may not use or possess lead ammunition in the condor zone while hunting, even if you have no intention of using the lead ammunition to shoot wildlife. For more information on the non-lead requirements in condor country, please go to http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/condor/.

Is it legal to spearfish a marlin while diving?
Question: I had an argument with my friend over whether or not we could spear a marlin while diving. I know that you can’t spear broadbill, but I looked up the allowed fish that spearfishermen can take and the regulations don’t say anything about marlin (see Title 14 section 28.90). But my friend read that section and he said a broadbill is a marlin, so that means I can’t spear those fish. Is he right? (Anonymous)

Answer: It is legal to spearfish for marlin but not for broadbill swordfish – they are different species!

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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. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

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