Need license for wild pigs, not livestock

Question: Can you hunt feral pigs from a stand over bait if the bait is on a completely enclosed area on a licensed game ranch? I was offered such a hunt and the landowner said I wouldn't even need pig tags. Though it's allowed in other states, I didn't think it was legal in California, so I didn't pursue it. Would it be legal if the rancher had released his own domestically bred pigs to run wild, as he is doing legally with other exotic game animals?

-- Anonymous

Answer: It is not legal to hunt feral hogs over bait. However, if domestic swine are released into an area enclosed by escape- proof fencing, the pigs retain their status as domestic livestock and are neither feral nor game mammals protected by laws. Based on your description, this would not be hunting, but instead killing domestic animals owned by the rancher. If this is being advertised as "wild hog hunting" and sold as a hunt, there might be issues regarding violations of other state laws.

Q: Is it legal to fish in the California Aqueduct system?

-- Thomas

A: Yes, it is legal to fish in certain areas but not legal to trespass. Some of these areas are fenced or posted to keep folks out. Many people fish for stripers in the aqueduct. Check the regulations for where you may fish.

Q: I was recently cited for fishing in a Marine Protected Area. I wasn't familiar with the area and went into it unintentionally. I am wondering about the penalties I face.

-- Mike G.

A: You can look up the bail and penalty schedule for the code section you were cited for at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/ reference/documents/2009_jcbail.pdf to see the penalties. But it is entirely up to the court as to what fines will be imposed. Keep in mind that with the additional court fees and processing costs that come with each ticket, your total can be double what the bail schedule calls for.

Q: When a person is caught in the act of a violation, his equipment (firearms, rods, reels, camping gear, vehicles, etc.) is often confiscated. Can property taken by the game wardens ever be retrieved? What if charges are dismissed by a judge? If the citation lists the model number and brand name as evidence, can equipment taken by the officers be retrieved?

Do DFG officers have the ability to take for themselves if the person that committed the crime never gets a chance to get retrieve their property?

Is confiscated property sold at auction? If so, when and where does this take place? Is there a list of what's available and the prices?

-- DMB, West Sacramento

A: Once the case is adjudicated, the judge decides to have the gear either returned to defendants or forfeited to the DFG. If the gear is forfeited, the DFG has two options: If it is in poor condition and not safe to use, it is destroyed; if it is in good condition, it can be distributed to scientists or wardens for work-related use.

For all other confiscated gear, the DFG has three options: 1) put it to work- related use, 2) destroy it, or 3) sell it at a public auction. Confiscated fishing gear is usually donated to the DFG's "Fishing in the City" or "California Fishing Passport" programs. All confiscated firearms are destroyed unless they have collector value, in which case they are donated to museums or schools. Public auctions for confiscated gear are infrequent, but the DFG must provide public notice through local newspapers when they occur.

Contact Wilson at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.