Question: I haven't hunted for pheasant in years but would like to introduce my daughter to the sport. I've heard the Department of Fish and Game holds special pheasant hunts for new apprentice and returning hunters and that these hunts are paid for with funds generated by the upland game bird stamps that licensed hunters buy.
Can you provide some information on this program regarding dates, locations, requirements and how to apply?
James K., Napa
Answer: DFG has many special hunts throughout the state specifically for apprentice (first-time) hunters, juniors (15 years and under), families, women and those who are mobility-impaired. These include hunts for wild turkey, quail, chuckar, pheasant and wild pigs. Planted pheasant hunts are for apprentice hunters only. Newly certified Hunter Education (HE) grads are especially encouraged to apply because they will be given priority one time only over others applying through regular drawings.
Newly certified hunters just have to type their HE cert number into the application and their names are automatically added to the "first hunt" roster. Those names will be drawn first, and based upon their preferences, selected for hunts not yet filled prior to those applying through the regular drawings. All hunts that do not include planted pheasants are for wild bird hunts and are not part of the priority selection.
Special hunts are offered throughout the year. To find them and to apply:
Go to www.dfg.ca.gov/Hunting/
Click "Online Application for Special Hunts" in the top right corner;
Create an account or log into an existing account;
Click "View Available Hunts" at the bottom of the next page;
A display of all hunts around the state will pop up, along with the dates, requirements, contact numbers and information;
Select the type of hunt in which you're interested;
Applicants will be notified shortly by e-mail for which hunt(s) they were chosen.
If an applicant hasn't already bought a license, which is a requirement to apply, it will take 24 hours to be entered into DFG's licensing system so it can be verified through the drawing application.
These special hunts are some of the best opportunities out there to encourage and support new hunters and others. All are funded by hunters for hunters. Don't miss out!
Q: I am looking forward to doing some crabbing this year. I have seven loop snares but a bait and tackle shop owner told me it was completely illegal to use them. Is this true? If so, why? Also, will I need a fishing license to take crabs?
A: Crab loop traps (often sold as "crab snares") are legal, but no more than six are allowed to be in use. Valid sport fishing licenses are required to take crab, unless you are fishing from a public fishing pier.
Q: I was just reading the Q & A's, which I really enjoy, and Terri S. asked whether one could have shotgun shells to hunt wild pigs while hunting turkeys. You wrote that "hunters may not possess a shotgun slug while turkey hunting." You also stated that "shotgun shells may not be used or possessed that contain shot size larger than No. BB, except that shot size larger than No. 2 may not be used when taking wild turkey."
For clarification, could they have two shotguns with separate shells if they were in possession of a pig tag? What is the law on carrying different kinds of firearms when attempting to hunt different kinds of game?
A: You can carry more than one gun when hunting different types of game. However, you cannot possess certain types of ammunition while hunting certain species. For example, while hunting turkey you cannot possess anything larger than No. 2 shot, and while hunting waterfowl you cannot possess lead. In both of these cases, your second gun cannot be loaded with anything illegal to possess. So it is legal to carry two guns, but neither gun may have ammunition that is illegal for any species you are hunting.
Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. Contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.