Sunday, November 29 , 2015, 9:40 pm | Fair 48º

Outdoors Q&A: Are Game-Tracking Devices Legal?

Here's what you need to know before heading out with your arrows to catch big-game animals

Mule deer roam the Clear Lake Highlands. Archery hunters in California may not use arrows with attached tracking devices for following wounded game.
Mule deer roam the Clear Lake Highlands. Archery hunters in California may not use arrows with attached tracking devices for following wounded game.  (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service photo)

By Carrie Wilson |

Q: Archery season is starting, and before we go out I would like to know if it’s legal to use an electronic tracking device that attaches to an arrow. The tracking device separates from the arrow as the arrow contacts the target animal and then enables the hunter to better follow the wounded animal. Thanks for any help. (Jared T., Red Bluff)

Carrie Wilson
Carrie Wilson

A: No. There is a regulation that restricts the use of computerized or telemetry types of devices to track big-game mammals, so this device is not legal to use in California. According to Section 251 of the Fish and Game Code: “No person shall pursue, drive, herd or take any bird or mammal from any type of motor-driven air or land vehicles, motorboat, airboat, sailboat or snowmobile. Additionally, no person shall use any motorized, hot-air or unpowered aircraft or other device capable of flight or any Earth-orbiting imaging device to locate or assist in locating big-game mammals beginning 48 hours before and continuing until 48 hours after any big-game hunting season in the same area. No person shall use at any time or place, without department approval, any computer, telemetry device or other equipment to locate a big-game mammal to which a tracking device is attached.“

Q: Our club would like to hold a halibut derby in San Francisco Bay, and we need information on permits. When and where are they needed, and what are the requirements? Do we need a permit for a halibut derby in the bay, or are permits needed only for bass fishing? (Mark S.)

A: Permits are not required for fishing contests conducted in waters of the Pacific Ocean. Waters of the Pacific Ocean are defined in Section 27.00 of the commission regulations to include all of San Francisco and San Pablo bays west of the Carquinez Bridge. As long as all fishing is done in waters west of the Carquinez Bridge, you will not need a fishing contest permit.

Click here for information on requirements for holding fishing contests in inland waters, how to obtain fishing contest permits and for the permit application forms.

Q: What are the restrictions on shooting ravens in California? I have witnessed ravens killing baby chukar and baby red-tailed hawks. At my home, they raid my chickens and steal the eggs. They like to sit on a pole where the remnants of their kill ends up on the ground, including a variety of egg shell bits and baby desert tortoise shells. I also have seen a group of ravens attempting to kill a cat. I know they became protected at one time, but what is the status now? May I shoot the ones on and around my property? Thanks. (David C.)

A: No. Ravens, Corvus corax, are protected by both California (FGC Section 3513) and U.S. laws (Title 50-CFR). Ravens may not be taken in California except under the authority of a permit issued by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Click here for more information on permit availability from the Fish & Wildlife Service Permit Office Web site.

Q: How many fishing rods can be in one’s possession? I have a second rod stamp but want to know if I can carry more than two rods with me. Although I may be on foot fishing from the bank, I see anglers on the bass tourney TV shows fishing while still having several rods on their boats. What advice do you have? (Joe P., Red Bluff)

A: The number of rods in your possession is not the issue; it’s the number of lines you have in the water fishing at one time. You may have as many rods as you wish in your possession — just make sure to use only the number allowed for the species of fish or for the particular waters that you’re fishing.

— 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).

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