Outdoors

Wilson: You can't shoot cows, even if they look wild

Question: I have been encountering a herd of feral cows every time I go hiking on the Tehama Wildlife Area over the last four or five years. I have searched through the regulations but cannot find any references to feral cows. My question is: Can I harvest one or will I get charged with a felony for grand theft? — Khris

A: California might have feral pigs, but there is no such thing as a feral cow. All cattle are considered domestic (not wild or feral) livestock and are someone's property. Ranchers lease cattle grazing rights on public property.

According to DFG Patrol Lt. Scott Willems, it would be a felony to kill someone else's cow without their permission (grand theft)in a wildlife area or any other place for that matter. When cattle gain access to a wildlife area, DFG has the authority to relocate them.

Bottom line: If you try to do this yourself, you may be arrested for cattle rustling and find yourself in jail for up to six months along with facing a hefty fine.

Q: I have a pond in my back yard where the fish have been breeding very successfully, so I have lots of young healthy fish. Can I sell them to private buyers or pet stores? If so, is a license required to sell live fish? — Phil

Answer: If the fish are species native to California or found in the wild here, you will need to have a Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Aquaculture Permit in order to sell or transport them, according to retired DFG Capt. Phil Nelms. If the fish are a tropical ornamental species legally found in the pet industry in California, maintained in home aquariums for hobby purposes and will not be released into the wild, then no permit is required.

Be aware that there are many non-native species that are common in the pet industry in other states but illegal in California. These species are illegal to import, transport or possess alive. For a list of these species and information regarding aquaculture permits, visit our Web site at www.dfg.ca.gov/fish/Administration/Permits/Aquaculture.

Q: Please help clarify the rules on the offshore Multi-Day Permits with respect to actual time away from shore. If we leave on a Friday at 0900 and return Sunday at 1500, can we take a limit on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday before returning? Does this meet the requirements for a three-day permit (e.g. 12 hours first and last day, Fri/Sat/Sun as three days)? — John R.

A: Yes, this would be correct. A declaration for multi-day fishing trip requires that the trip is continuous and extends for a period of 12 hours or more on the first and last days of the trip. In addition, no berthing or docking is permitted within five miles of the mainland shore.

According to DFG Lt. Eric Kord, as long as you leave by noon on the first day (Friday) and return after noon on Sunday, you should be able to take three limits. Only one limit can be taken per day each day. If you leave later than noon on the first day and/or return earlier than noon on the third day, then the Multi-Day Permit will not apply on those days.

Q: I'm trying to settle a bet with someone regarding the taking of wild animal parts such as a tail from a raccoon that was killed on the road. What Fish and Game regulations or code do I reference to prove my point that the taking of wild animal parts is prohibited? Thank you. — Stephanie

A: You win. Though Fish and Game Code section 2000.5(a) states the accidental taking of animals by a motor vehicle is not a violation of the law, it does not authorize the possession of any bird, mammal, reptile or amphibian taken by a collision with a vehicle.

Wilson is a marine biologist with the Department of Fish & Game. Send questions to: CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

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