Question: In Santa Barbara, a surf fisherman was seen last week eating baby perch squeezed from a gravid female. How do live fry from perch relate to a daily limit in possession if consumed? Also, if dead fry are expelled from a dying gravid female in an ice chest, do they count toward the daily possession limit of 10? If fish are consumed by surf fisherman while they fish is there a requirement to save the carcass to verify minimum size for species and daily catch limit? The surfperch babies squeezed directly into the upturned mouth is a bit disturbing and prompted me to pose these questions. Thanks. – Hills S., Ventura
Answer: Disturbing, indeed. The law says the limit is 10 of any one species. Surfperch are livebearers and it is legal for a person to have fish still inside a livebearing species. Technically, fry are not considered individual fish until they are born, so they do not count toward the limit.
However, if the fry are outside the body, then they technically count as a fish. If a female expels fry in a cooler or boat and puts a person over the limit, please return the fry to the water immediately. This will keep you from being over limit and maybe even save a fry or two … or 40.
Q: What is the law when it comes to shooting common or barnyard pigeons? After discussing this with a number of friends and hunters, no one seems to have a definitive answer. Can you help? – Jeff S.
A: Barnyard pigeons or “rock doves” are the feral progeny of domesticated pigeons, and their take is not regulated by the Fish and Game Code. While there is no limit for barnyard pigeons, don’t confuse them with bandtail pigeons or racing pigeons. If someone hunting barnyard pigeons outside the bandtail pigeon season accidentally kills a registered racing pigeon, they could be in trouble and cited with a misdemeanor (Fish and Game Code, Section 3680). The chance of this happening is very low though.
Q: Can a person use an automatic hook set fishing pole? It would be similar to the action of a mouse trap but with an electric latch that would be activated by the user of the pole holder via a push-button switch. The electric latch would unhook and that would cause the pole to spring up and hook the fish. The pole holder would be attended to the whole time and the electric latch would have wires to a switch that a person would have in his hands to activate the latch when a bite is noticed, thus having it in hand and fully in control when the latch is released. Does this sound OK? – Roy D.
A: Sure, give it a whirl! There’s nothing in the Fish and Game Code or Title 14 that prohibits the use of an automatic hook set fishing pole as you have described.
Q: My wife loves to hunt almost as much as I do. She especially loves duck hunting but is not confident enough to be out there on her own. The problem is I have a felony on my record that prohibits me from being in possession of a firearm. Can I legally just chaperone her as long as I don’t have access to the firearm? – Richard W.
A: I think the answer lies with either your probation officer or the courts. California Fish and Wildlife laws do not address this issue. The best thing you can do is contact either your probation officer or refer to the court documents related to your case for information regarding any restrictions that may apply to you.
Q: Is it legal to use a slingbow for bowfishing? – Leng M.
A: Yes, a slingbow is legal to use to take a limited number of fish species in freshwater and the ocean. For fishing purposes, the arrow must have a line attached to be legal (California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 1.23). In ocean waters, the slingbow can be used for skates, rays and sharks (CCR Title 14, Section 28.95). In freshwater systems, the slingbow may only be used for certain species and in specific areas (CCR Title 14, Section 2.25).
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.