Be careful how you discourage crows

Cal.Outdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.July 16, 2013 

Question: I live in Redondo Beach and was told by the city to ask you what could be done about an infestation of nuisance birds that are an absolute plague in our neighborhood. I have small children that are awakened by these vile creatures starting at 3 a.m. and going on until around 8 a.m.!

— Armando R.

Answer: There is a provision in the Fish and Game regulations that allows for landowners to destroy (shoot) crows that are damaging farm fields or other crops. However, it seems this is not what you are dealing with, not to mention the fact that firearms cannot be discharged within city limits. If I interpret your question correctly, your principle complaint is the noise.

There are a number of cities that have similar problems with crows and they have coordinated with either the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture or the U.S. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to take action. The Washington Department of Wildlife took at look at this in the article at this site (wdfw.wa.gov/living/crows.html). It's a tough issue because most of the abatement measures work only for short time. If you believe the crows are in such a concentration that they create a public health hazard through their droppings, then your city or county health department should be notified.

Bottom line, if you continue to get more roosting crows, the city might need to get involved.

Q: Yesterday I caught and released a Pacific angel shark. At first I didn't know what it was. It looked like a guitar fish but was different. After looking through the regulations, I didn't see anything about the Pacific angel shark. Is there a bag limit and/or size limit on them? Or are they a protected species? I also caught and released a broadnose sevengill shark. The regulations list a limit of one but no size limit. Does this mean any size can be taken?

— Alan V.

A: When a species is not mentioned specifically in the Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, section 27.60 applies (found on page 32). The general bag limit instructs fishermen to keep no more than 20 fish per day, of which no more than 10 may be the same species.

Additionally, some species have no bag limit. If no size limit is given for a species, there is none.

Q: I've been seeing turtles at this lake we like to fish, and there's a good chance I could catch one. What are the regulations regarding catching turtles? Can I bring it home as a pet or to eat?

— Huu Tran

A: Before attempting to catch a turtle, it is important to positively identify what kind of turtle it is. It is illegal to capture western pond turtles, a native California species, but it is legal to catch and collect non-native turtles (painted, slider and softshell turtles) as long as you have a sportfishing license. While there are no bag or possession limits, there are restrictions on how you catch them. The only way to legally collect western pond turtles would be if you have a scientific collecting permit. These permits are issued only to scientists doing bona fide research.

Q: How can my son find his existing hunting license number? He has his certificate but lost his license. Can you let us know what to do?

— Carla B.

A: Your son can contact any CDFW office that issues licenses or any outside vendor and ask them to look it up. He will need to provide either a driver license number, or if too young to have one, a parent's identification information.

Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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