Stop the boat before hunting deer

October 22, 2013 

Question: Is it legal to hunt deer from a boat drifting down a river? If so, what are the parameters? Do you have to be a certain distance from shore?

Eric S., Redding

Answer: The main requirement when hunting from a boat is that the boat cannot be under power or be moving as a result of power. In addition, engines must be shut off and out of the water. Once you've done this, the boat can drift, be beached, moored, resting at anchor, or propelled by paddle, oar or pole.

Aside from the requirements of using the boat as a platform, the shooter must consider what else might be around and beyond the deer. You cannot hunt or shoot a firearm within 150 yards of an occupied dwelling, or hunt on private property or within prohibited areas such as municipalities.

It is important to research your specific hunting area and know legal access points. No person can pursue, drive, herd or take any bird or mammal from any type of motor-driven air or land vehicles, motorboat, airboat, sailboat or snowmobile, according to California's regulations. There might also be some Penal Code restrictions regarding loaded firearms in vehicles.

Q: My dad is handicapped and someone told him if he gets a license and abalone report card, he can then have someone else catch abalone for him and hand it to him either while he's on a boat or once back on shore. Is this true?

Janet R., Sacramento

A: Unfortunately, no. A person who is unable to take their own abalone cannot buy an abalone report card and have someone else take abalone for them then fill in their report card. A person licensed to take abalone can give some of their own catch to your father as long as the abalone are tagged and recorded on the actual diver's report card.

Q: I live in Fullerton and I am having coyote problems. A coyote recently killed my cat, and some other pets have been killed and/or attacked.

Is it legal to kill a coyote in my neighborhood if I feel it is a threat at the time? I'm not seeking them out and I'm not trying to hunt. I just don't want to lose any more animals.

We want to comply with all laws but we aren't getting anywhere talking to the local police department or the animal shelters or humane society. I've never had a hunting license and my parents' licenses are expired but can be renewed if need be. We have registered handguns, rifles and shotguns that are all legal.

I just want to make sure we won't get into trouble with the law. What are our rights?

Christina, Fullerton

A: Under Fish and Wildlife laws, coyotes are classified as non-game animals and can be killed throughout the year with a valid hunting license. The offending animals can also be taken if they cause property damage. That being said, laws generally prohibit the discharge of any firearm or other weapon in urban areas. You will want to check the laws in your area with your local police or sheriff's office. Some communities have hired licensed trappers to remove nuisance coyotes.

Q: What are the true regulations for collecting limpets? From what I can gather from reading the regs, there is no size limit, the bag limit is 35, and they can only be collected by hand or by hook and line.

In Hawaii, it is common to use a butter knife to pry the limpets or "opihi" off the rocks, and this is the most effective method. Without a knife, it's pretty much impossible. Therefore, is it legal to use a knife to collect limpets?

If not, can the regulations be changed so that limpets are an exception? I don't believe that regulation was made with limpets in mind.

Orion G., Santa Barbara

A: You are correct. You can take up to 35 limpets year round and you are allowed to take them only on hook and line or with the hands. If you think this regulation should be changed, you are encouraged to propose amendments to the Fish and Game Commission.

For a list of upcoming meetings or to contact them directly, please go to

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

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