Question: There are 15 to 20 turkey vultures that have been roosting on my roof. They are congregating and making a mess on my roof and in my yard with their droppings and molted feathers. My house is two stories and the roof is tile so access is difficult. How can I get rid of them?
Answer: You have different options available for persuading these birds to leave your roof for a more appropriate roost site. According to Department of Fish and Game raptor biologist Carie Battistone, these options include repetitive loud noises, motion sensor sprinklers and the use of an effigy (usually a taxidermic preparation or an artificial likeness of a deceased vulture). Since your roof is steep and hard to access, you will have to use caution when placing anything on the roof. If all else fails, you can call Wildlife Services (federal wildlife trappers) to ask for advice or possibly for someone to come out to help you.
Here are some links on deterring vultures from roost sites:
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Web site for Wildlife Services: www.aphis.usda.gov
Managing depredation and nuisances caused by vultures: www.aphis.usda.gov/ws/researchreports/report05.pdf
Q: A game warden on the north coast told me that abalone high-grading is as much of a problem as poaching, and that it's often the legal abalone harvesters who are doing it without even realizing they're doing something wrong. We all know the regs say you can take three, so as long as any smaller abs are returned to rocky crevices before leaving the water, and the diver ends up with the three best abalone they can find, what does it really matter?
— Rini R., Fort Bragg
A: High-grading for abalone is when legal-sized abalone are extracted from their crevices or detached from their substrate but then later returned in favor of larger animals. This is not legal or sporting and the law prohibits this largely due to concerns for the health of the animals. Abalone are hemophiliacs and can be difficult to dislodge from protective crevices. Any cuts or damage sustained while being detached by an ab iron can cause them to bleed to death. So all legal-sized abalone detached are required to be retained by the person who detaches it, up to the three per bag. In addition, no undersize abalone can be kept. Undersize abalone must be replaced immediately to the same surface of the rock from which it was removed.
In addition, DFG Lt. Dennis McKiver said no person can take more than 24 abalone during a calendar year. If the diver takes three legal-sized abalone and puts them back, those abalone still count toward both the diver's daily and yearly limit. This means that divers must still record those abalone on their report card so as to not exceed their yearly limit.
If a game warden sees someone take an abalone that is obviously larger than 7 inches and the person puts the abalone back, this person has just violated the regulations. If that person then doesn't record the abalone, he is guilty of failing to complete the Abalone Report Card. Game wardens on the north coast have written several citations for this, usually to trophy hunters looking for that elusive 10-inch abalone. Wardens try to convince people hunting for trophy abalone to measure them before removing them from rocks.
Q: I have heard from a few friends that a rimfire rifle (.22 or mag) can be used to take doves or Eurasian collared doves since they're considered small game. Is that correct? If not, what type of firearm is appropriate?
A: Rifles cannot be used to kill doves. Mourning doves and white-wing doves are migratory game and their take is regulated under DFG rules. Only shotguns, muzzleloading shotguns and dogs can be used to take migratory game birds. Eurasian collared doves, spotted doves and ringed turtle doves are nonmigratory and are therefore covered by a different rule, which allows take by pellet rifle, archery and crossbow.
Q: I would like to know if guided drift boats need a California hull sticker. Drift boat guides say they don't have a motor and so they don't need one. I would say 95 percent of guide boats on the Trinity River in California don't have stickers. What does the law say?
— Joe B.
A: The guides are correct. If the boat is without a motor, no CF number is needed.
Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. Contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.