Question: Can you clarify the regulations on hunting coyote with a light? I interpret it to mean that it's OK to hunt at night with a light except during a designated deer season, and that the light must be handheld. Can you use a scope-mounted light?
— Tom B.
Answer: Coyotes can be taken at any time of the year, in any number (unless prohibited by local ordinance) and in any manner except poison. You are correct that lights cannot be used at night during the general deer season.
Lt. Todd Tognazzini said before you set out to hunt coyotes, you will need to research two main areas of the law. The first deals with the use of lights while night hunting. The state is divided into three zones. In some counties in Zones 1 and 2 spotlights can be used from a vehicle as long as the engine is off and spotlighting does not occur from a public roadway. In the rest of the state hunters can only use lights to take furbearing and nongame mammals if the hunter is on foot and away from a vehicle. Lights can be a maximum 9-volt with self-contained batteries, and either hand-held or worn on your head.
The Fish and Game code says it is unlawful to use or possess any infrared or any night- vision equipment or optical devices, including, but not limited to, binoculars or scopes that use light-amplifying circuits for hunting.
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In Zones 1 and 2, a weapon-mounted light of any size could be used so long as it was not prohibited under the FGC. In the rest of the state, a weapon-mounted light would be lawful as long as it complies with the 9-volt rule.
There are also quite a few areas where night hunting is prohibited completely, such as parts of San Benito and Monterey counties. There are also different areas with complete closure zones, so check for those as well.
Q: We would like to harvest some mussels from the rocks and pier pilings around Monterey and are wondering if we can use an abalone iron or small shovel to get the mussels.
— Ronald V.
A: No, most saltwater mollusks, including mussels, may be taken only on hook and line or by hand. Since there are no additional provisions for taking mussels with any other sort of tool, taking them by hand is your only option.
Q: Is it legal to capture and keep wild boars (feral pigs) in California? Is it legal to keep them in a pit to train dogs for hunting boars?
— Barb S.
A: No, it is unlawful to capture and keep live wildlife in California, with rare exceptions for rehabilitation and educational purposes. According to Lt. Todd Tognazzini, it is unlawful to capture any game animal or to confine any live animal taken from the wild. The law also directs DFG to seize any bird or mammal possessed or confined in violation of this section.
Q: I know the law requiring anglers to display their licenses when fishing was recently repealed and the law requiring the purchase of a Bay-Delta Enhancement Stamp to fish in inland waters was also changed. Can you tell me when these changes officially go into effect?
— Bill K.
A: The regulation repealing the need to display your license while fishing will not go into effect before March 1, the first day the general inland regulations start. The Bay-Delta stamp is no longer required as of Jan. 1.
Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. Send letters to CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.