Question: If we are on a party boat with 30 other people and one of them catches and keeps an undersized lingcod or an overlimit of fish, can the captain be charged with the same violation? In other words, is the captain responsible for what people on his boat keep?
— Matt N.
Answer: Boat limits allow all passengers on the boat to fish past their individual allowable bag limits to fill the overall boat quota. The rationale is that this provides the opportunity for all passengers to go home with fish. But the flip side is that boat limits also make all passengers and crew responsible for the actions of each person on the boat.
Under ocean boat-limit regulations, everybody on the vessel can be cited for the short fish. This includes party boats where all passengers as well as the captain and crew can be responsible for the violations of just one person.But if the culprits can be easily identified, then they might be the only ones cited. Still, it's in everyone's best interest to be sure that all passengers are abiding by the fishing regulations since everyone may pay the price for the mistake or poor judgment of just one person.
Q: You recently answered a question about shooting your animal at dusk and then retrieving it after shooting hours. What if you shoot an animal on the last day of the season in the last hour of daylight and can't find it? You'd need to get up the next morning and continue searching until you find the animal, and it is either dead or not. Can you legally finish it off (if necessary) and field dress it and take the animal in for validation of the tag, then go home or to the butcher?
— Russ W.
A: The answer doesn't change. No "take" is allowed after shooting hours and/or season closure. You might also be subject to prosecution for wasting game if you have to leave it in the field. You need to plan your hunt to allow time for finding your animal before sundown.
Hunting requires a hunter to use good judgment and to follow all the rules. Sometimes situations can lead to illegal activity. If you have done everything you can to follow the rules and find yourself in a situation you described, it might be best to contact the local game warden and discuss the situation so you are not cited for an illegal activity while attempting to recover game you do not want to go to waste.
Q: I am about to begin the challenging task of training my own upland bird dog. What are the rules about using live pigeons, including shooting them over the dogs when the time comes? Also, I would like to know the rules regarding the use of bobwhite or other quail species in the training program, including the use of quail recall pens on private or public land.
— William K., Pomona
A: As long as no wild birds are captured, injured or killed during the dog training, you may train your dogs to retrieve, point or flush game birds. You may also train for, or participate in, field events or similar events related to these activities at any time of year from sunrise to sunset as long as no wild birds are captured, injured or killed.
Bobwhite and coturnix quail, domestic pigeons and domestically reared game birds (pheasants, including all ring-necked pheasant races, chukar, Hungarian partridge and captive-reared mallard ducks) can only be released and/or taken for dog training or organizational field trials under the provisions state regulations. Dogs cannot be trained or allowed to pursue any birds that have special protection under California or federal law, including but not limited to fully protected birds and endangered, threatened or candidate species.
California hunting licenses are required for each person taking domestically reared game birds, and each person (except holders of junior hunting licenses) taking Hungarian partridge, ring-necked pheasant and chukar must possess a valid Upland Game Bird Stamp.
Anyone who plans to plant birds is required to notify the DFG office in the region where the birds will be released and/or taken at least three business days prior to the activity.
Be aware that there are a lot of strict regulations and requirements involved with this activity, so before getting started I suggest you thoroughly review the regulations (CCR Title 14, Section 677: Dog Training and Field Trials). Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. Send questions to: CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov