Sunday, November 29 , 2015, 8:45 am | Fair 49º

Outdoors Q&A: If White-Tailed Deer Stray Into California, Can We Shoot?

White-tailed deer can only be taken under the normal deer hunting provisions for the area in which it wandered.
White-tailed deer can only be taken under the normal deer hunting provisions for the area in which it wandered.  (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service photo)

By Carrie Wilson |

Q: If white-tailed deer were to migrate into California from Oregon or Idaho, could they be shot here on sight since there is no season or provision for that species? (Scott H.)

A: No. Since Fish and Game Code, section 3950(a) defines deer as genus Odocoileus, which includes white-tailed deer, white-tailed deer can only be taken under the normal deer hunting provisions for the area in which it wandered.

Spearfishing in the Sacramento River

Q: I live in the Valley District and am wondering if it is legal to spearfish in the Sacramento River. I know there are carp, pikeminnow (squawfish) and western suckers. I’ve been searching online and many people say you can’t spearfish in any fresh water system, including streams, lakes and rivers. I have spearfished in the ocean but not in fresh water yet. I keep hearing different things from people regarding the spearfishing.

Also, is there any recommended equipment for spearfishing? Can homemade or custom-built equipment be legally used for spearfishing? I know the Valley District is only open for a short time (five months) for spearfishing. (J.T. Moua)

A: Spearfishing is allowed but there are some restrictions. First of all, please pick up a copy of the 2012-13 Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet available free of charge at most stores or California Department of Fish & Game offices that sell fishing licenses or online by clicking here.

Section 2.30 (page 15) lists the only species that may be taken in the Valley District between May 1 and Sept. 15. For a description of the boundaries for the Valley District, please see section 6.36 (page 27). In addition, you may not spearfish in designated spawning areas. There are no specific definitions regarding the spears that may be used, so you may build your own or buy a custom made spear. For a definition of what regulations constitute spearfishing, please see section 1.76 (page 13).

How Many Hooks Are Allowed When Sturgeon Fishing?

Q: When fishing for sturgeon, how many hooks are allowed?

A: Only one single point, single shank, barbless hook may be used on a line when taking sturgeon.

When a Sturgeon Is Accidentally Caught on the Wrong Gear …

Q: If a legal-sized white sturgeon is caught accidentally on a barbed hook (e.g. while fishing for striped bass), can it be legally kept as long as the angler possesses a sturgeon report card and tag? (Anonymous)

A: No, even if accidentally caught, barbed hooks are not an authorized method of take for white sturgeon. Thus, even legal-sized white sturgeon caught on a barbed hook cannot be kept.

What Are the Rules for Sturgeon Fishing from a Boat?

Q: Once an angler on a boat has legally caught and kept a white sturgeon, must all anglers on that boat switch to barbless hooks?

A: No. However, for the rest of that day, the successful sturgeon angler must no longer fish for sturgeon and must immediately release any sturgeon that is accidentally caught.

Sand Souvenirs

Q: I am developing a souvenir that would contain granules of sand from California beaches. I would only require about a half-gallon of sand. Am I able to take sand from a beach and re-sell it as a souvenir to promote the state and its natural resources? (Paul K.)

A: Generally, beach sand is not protected by any California Fish and Game law. However, collection of anything (including beach sand) is prohibited in any park or other marine area that has a specific designation and protection in law. In addition, you may want to consider the corrosive nature of beach sand due to its salt content and other unsuitable qualities resulting from decomposition of biotics before using it in your souvenirs. You may find it more beneficial to purchase treated beach sand that is sold in small quantities at many stores that stock landscape and garden supplies.

— Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish & Game. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

comments powered by Disqus

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.