Question: I am preparing my gear for the Sept. 1 dove opener and am wondering if I have to use nonlead shot for Eurasian collared-doves since they are a nonnative species with no season or limit? Do I have to carry two types of shells – lead and nonlead – to hunt both mourning doves and Eurasian collared-doves on the opener? Help! I am so confused. (Anonymous)
Answer: Thanks for your question. We’ve received many similar questions in recent days. For the 2017 dove season opening statewide Sept. 1, lead shot is permitted for the taking of Eurasian collared-doves, mourning doves and white-winged doves – as long as you are hunting outside of a state wildlife area or ecological reserve.
California is phasing-in the use of nonlead ammunition for hunting. Until July 1, 2019, doves quail and snipe will not be included in the nonlead shot requirements unless hunting on state wildlife areas or ecological reserves where nonlead shot is required for all hunting. In addition, hunting programs on military bases now require nonlead for all hunting as well.
You are correct in that the Eurasian collared-dove is a non-native species that can be hunted year-round with no daily bag or possession limit. The Eurasian collared-dove is officially defined as a dove and listed as a game bird under Resident Small Game (California Code of Regulations, section 257) and, like all doves, quail and snipe, can be taken with lead shot. Eurasian collared-doves do not count toward your daily bag and possession limit of mourning and white-winged doves.
Determining creek and river boundaries during closed seasons
Question: When a stream, river or creek is closed year-round or has a closed season, how do you determine the boundary between the closed creek, stream or river, and the river it flows into? Water flows can change on a daily basis depending on dam releases, rain, snowmelt etc. I see the regulation for flows from rivers/creeks into lakes (CCR Title 14, section 1.44). I heard from one person that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) told them the boundary was 100 yards, but then another person said the boundary extends 300 yards into the creek or stream. For example, the area where Cottonwood Creek or Battle Creek flows into the Sacramento River in Northern California. (Bryan R.)
Answer: Generally, for areas where a creek flows into a river, the term “mouth” or “confluence” is used to describe the boundary or divide between the two bodies of water. For your example, if a person was floating downstream in Battle Creek, once they passed the location where the channel of Battle Creek ends (which is the mouth or confluence), they would be in the Sacramento River. (For a description of the boundary or divide between an area or body of water, go to CCR Title 14, sections 7.00 and 7.50).
The Fish and Game Commission defines “stream” (which includes rivers) for the purpose of hunting and fishing as, “…a body of water that flows at least periodically or intermittently through a bed or channel having banks and supports fish or other aquatic life. This includes watercourses having a surface or subsurface flow that supports or has supported riparian vegetation” (CCR Title 14, section 1.72).
Saltwater use of dead carp
Question: Many lakes want people to catch and remove carp yet they cannot be disposed of on site, and many people do not eat them. I have used cut carp in the Imperial Valley for catfish and it has amazingly tough skin that sometimes has to be cut off the hook. I would like those properties for shark/ray bait when casting into the surf but do not know about the legality of using carp. Can carp be used as chum or bait in saltwater? Their tough skin may also be a plus as a lobster bait. Can carp be used as bait in freshwater? It they could be used as bait, this might encourage people to remove them from our lakes as they then would then have a viable use. (Jim G.)
Answer: There are no regulations that prohibit the use of dead carp as bait in saltwater. However, the use of fish as bait in freshwater is only allowed in certain locations. To find a complete description of where finfish may be used as bait, see CCR Title 14, sections 4.00 through 4.30 found at http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Inland/2017-Regulations#ch2art3.
Bow hunting during a general season
Question: Is it legal to hunt deer and/or big game in California with a bow during the general season? (Clayton S.)
Answer: Yes, so long as your archery equipment meets the general requirements for “Archery Equipment and Crossbow Regulations” found in the California Mammal Hunting Regulations and CCR Title 14, section 354(c).
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Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.