Reporting a Striper Disc Tag

striper disc tag
Disc tag (front and back) from a striper caught in Pacifica. Photo courtesy of Jamie Jackson.

Question: I caught a striper in Pacifica, with a California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) tag from Stockton on it. Who do I call? (Jamie J.)

Answer: Every year, CDFW fisheries biologists use disc tags to mark white sturgeon and striped bass in the Delta. The fish are caught with nets, measured and then marked before release. When anglers later catch them and report the data from the tags, CDFW receives valuable information about seasonal and geographic catch and harvest, along with some measure of fishing effort.

Some tags are reward tags (although this one unfortunately is not), ranging from $20 up to $100. We ran the number on the back of your tag and found that your fish was a male that measured 22 inches total length (55 centimeters fork length) when it was caught and tagged by our staff near Knights Landing on May 29 of this year. Striper travel far, fast and wide, so it’s not surprising he made it to Pacifica!

Anglers can report tag information by downloading the online reporting form and mailing it, and the tag, to CDFW, Attn: Sportfish Unit, 2109 Arch-Airport Road, Ste. 100, Stockton, CA  95206. Regardless of whether it’s a reward tag, you’ll receive a certificate of commendation with information about where and when your fish was tagged. We do need to process the actual tag (not just a photo!), but if you’d like the tag returned to you, you can make note on the form and staff will be happy to mail it back to you.

Who can sign a deer tag?

Question: I am currently employed by the Superior Court as a Deputy Clerk of the Court. I have the authority to administer oaths and sign fix-it tickets under California Code of Civil Procedure, section 2093(a). Can I also countersign a deer tag in California? For example, if I am out hunting with my dad or close friends, would I be able to countersign their deer tag? I’m aware that I cannot sign my own tag. (Frank O.)

Answer: The California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 708.6 states that any person legally killing a deer (or elk) in the state shall have the license tag countersigned by “a person authorized by the Commission” before transporting the animal (unless they are taking the deer or elk to the nearest person who is authorized to countersign the license tag).

This is followed by a long list of state, federal and “miscellaneous” classifications that are authorized to sign the tag. The “miscellaneous” category includes firefighters employed on a full-time basis (only if the elk or deer carcass is brought to the fire station), judges and justices of all state and federal courts, notaries public, peace officers, officers authorized to administer oaths, and “owners, corporate officers, managers or operators of lockers or cold storage plants for deer or elk” (again, if the animal is brought to their place of business). Only individuals in the categories listed in section 708.6 are authorized to sign a deer tag.

As a deputy clerk of the Superior Court, you are considered an “officer authorized to administer oaths.” So yes, you may countersign a deer tag. It does not matter if you are related to the hunter, but you are correct that you cannot countersign your own tag!

Carrying a sidearm while archery hunting

Question: Is it legal to carry a sidearm for personal protection while archery hunting during deer season this year? (Gary D.)

Answer: Unless you are an active or honorably retired peace officer, you may not possess a firearm while hunting deer during the archery season or under an archery only tag during the general season.

The California Code of Regulations says that “archers may not possess a firearm while hunting in the field during any archery season, or while hunting during a general season under the provisions of an archery only tag” (CCR Title 14, section 354(h)).

Additionally, the California Fish and Game Code, section 4370, states that during archery season a deer hunter cannot legally “carry, nor have under his or her immediate control, any firearm of any kind.”

California Code of Regulations Title 14 was recently amended to allow persons hunting for big game other than deer during the archery season to carry a concealable firearm, as long as that firearm is not used to take wildlife. There is also an exception for peace officers and retired peace officers.