Dog Training with Farm-raised Game Birds?

To train dogs with farm-raised pheasants and chukars, birds must be purchased from a licensed, domesticated game bird breeder and dogs are allowed to take birds only on the day released (Photo by John Pomerroy of Rick Copeland and Craig Hanson).

Question: I have a 16-month-old Brittany pup that I’m training for upland game. I would like to continue to train him until it starts to get too hot. I want to buy chukars and pheasants from a breeder, then release and take them on private property. What steps do I need to do to stay legal?  (Paul)

Answer: There is no longer a dog training permit requirement. Dog training is authorized so long as no wild birds are captured, injured or killed (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 677). Since you won’t be doing this as part of an organized field trial or hunt test, you are not required to notify Department of Fish and Game (DFG). However, you must mark your birds to distinguish them from other game birds and tag them with a DFG-issued game bird seal. Your dog will only be allowed to take birds on the day they are released and you are required to have a hunting license and buy the birds from a licensed, domesticated game breeder. In addition, the carcass of each pheasant and chukar must be tagged with the game bird seal prior to transport. To avoid any confusion, you should retain your receipts or other paperwork showing you purchased the birds from a domestic game breeder.

Crabbing in Humboldt Bay or the mouth of the Eel River
Question: Is it true that traps cannot be used in Humboldt Bay or the mouth of the Eel River? Both areas are popular for crabbing and I’ve never heard of anybody getting cited for using traps or rings. Thanks. (Bryan S.)

Answer: Crab traps are allowed in Humboldt Bay and in other areas of the Ocean and San Francisco Bay District, but not in inland waters. The definition of the Ocean and San Francisco Bay District includes “the waters of open or enclosed bays continuous to the ocean” (CCR Title 14, section 27.00). The mouth of the Eel River is another story though because it falls under inland waters regulations. The definition of inland waters includes “all the fresh, brackish and inland saline waters of the state, including lagoons and tidewaters upstream from the mouths of coastal rivers and streams” (CCR Title 14, section 1.53). While Dungeness crabs may not be taken by traps in inland waters, they can be taken by hand or by hoop nets in Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and Sonoma counties (CCR Title 15, sections 7.50(a)(2) and 8.00)). Fishing is closed for crabs and other saltwater invertebrates during low-flow river and stream closures though.

Multiple limits on the same stringer
Question: My question is about the bag limit and possession limit of fish. Can one person carry more than just their own fish? Other friends say it is fine as long as the licensed people are accounted for, even if they are on the same line. If we have a bag limit of five fish and possession limit of 10, would sharing a stringer with a friend count toward my bag and/or possession limit? Would a stringer of fish in the water be different from having a bucket or cooler of fish instead? Other friends have said the fish must be in a cooler or the car for it to not count toward your bag limit but it will still count towards your possession limit. (Toua X.)

Answer: Every angler is responsible for their own fish. So long as all anglers remain together, there is no law that requires catch to be separated. However, if one of your friends leaves the area, make sure they take their catch with them. You should also know who caught which fish. If you are not able to remember, you should separate your catch. [Note: Starting this year, people who take abalone may not comingle their catch until their abalone have been tagged.]

How many shells for predator hunting?
Question: I have heard you can carry five shells in a shotgun when hunting for predators but I couldn’t find anything in the regulations to confirm this. Is it true? (Joe H.)

Answer: The maximum number of shells allowed in a shotgun under California Fish and Game Code laws is six (FGC, section 2010).

However, Fish and Game regulations limit the number of shells to a total of three (one in the chamber and two in the magazine) when hunting migratory game birds (waterfowl, pigeons, doves, etc.), resident small game (quail, rabbits, pheasants, chukar, grouse, tree squirrels) and big game (deer, bear and wild pigs only) (CCR Title 14, sections 311, 353 and 507).

The three-shell restriction does not apply when taking nongame mammals such as coyotes, bobcat, ground squirrels, skunks, gray fox, raccoon, etc. (CCR Title 14, sections 465 and 475 and the Mammal Hunting regulations.) To view the complete seasonal hunting regulations, please check out

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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

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