Q: If we are on a party boat with 30 other people and one of the anglers catches and keeps an undersized lingcod or an overlimit of fish, can the captain be charged with the same violation? In other words, is the captain responsible for what people on his boat keep? (Matt N.)

Carrie Wilson

Carrie Wilson

A: Boat limits allow all passengers on the boat to fish past their individual allowable bag limits to fill the overall boat quota. The rationale is that it provides the opportunity for all passengers to go home with fish. But the flip side is that boat limits also make all passengers and crew responsible for the actions of each person on the boat.

Under the ocean boat limit regulations, everybody on the vessel may be cited for the short fish. This includes party boats where all passengers as well as the captain and crew may be responsible for the violations of just one person. The following two sections apply:

“All persons aboard a vessel may be cited where violations involving boat limits are found, including but not limited to: (a) over-limits, (b) possession of prohibited species, (c) violation of size limits, and (d) fish taken out of season or in closed areas” (CCR Title 14, Section 27.60[3]).

“For the vessel operator(s) and crew, they may be cited for violations occurring aboard the vessel, including but not limited to violations of: (a) over-limits, (b) possession of prohibited species, (c) violation of size limits, and (d) fish taken out of season or in closed areas” (CCR Title 14, Section 195[f]).

If the culprits can be easily identified, they may be the only ones cited. But it’s in everyone’s best interest to be sure that all passengers are abiding by the fishing regulations, since everyone may pay the price for the mistake or poor judgment of just one person.

Shooting Your Animal at Dusk on the Last Day of the Season

Q: You recently answered a question about shooting an animal at dusk and then retrieving it after shooting hours. What if you shoot an animal on the last day of the season in the last hour of daylight and can’t find it? You would need to get up the next morning and continue searching until you find the animal, and it’s either dead or not. Can you legally finish it off (if necessary) and field dress it and take the animal in for validation of the tag, then go home or to the butcher? (Russ W.)

A: It’s the same answer as before. No “take” is allowed after shooting hours and/or season closure. You also may be subject to prosecution for wasting game if you have to leave it in the field. You need to plan your hunt to allow time for finding your animal before sundown.

Hunting requires a hunter to use good judgment and to follow all of the rules. Sometimes situations can lead to illegal activity. If you have done everything you can to follow the rules and find yourself in a situation you described, it may be best to contact the local game warden and discuss the situation so you’re not cited for an illegal activity while attempting to recover game you do not want to go to waste. (Click here to read related question and answer from a previous column).

Training My Upland Bird Dog

Q: I’m about to begin the challenging task of training my own upland bird dog. What are the rules about using live pigeons, including shooting them over the dogs when the time comes? Also, I would like to know the rules regarding the use of bobwhite or other quail species in the training program, including the use of quail recall pens on private or public land. (William K., Pomona)

A: As long as no wild birds are captured, injured or killed during the dog training, you may train your dogs to retrieve, point or flush game birds. You also may train for, or participate in, field events or similar events related to these activities at any time of year from sunrise to sunset as long as no wild birds are captured, injured or killed.

Bobwhite and coturnix quail, domestic pigeons and domestically reared game birds (pheasants [Phasianus colchicus], including all ring-necked pheasant races, chukar, Hungarian partridge and captive-reared mallard ducks) may be released and/or taken for dog training or organizational field trials only under the provisions of CCR Title 14, Section 677[1] through [50].

Dogs can’t be trained on or otherwise be allowed to pursue any birds that have special protection under California or federal law, including but not limited to fully protected birds (FGC Section 3511) and endangered, threatened or candidate species (FGC Section 670.5 and Code of Federal Regulations, Title 50, Section 17.11).

California hunting licenses are required for each person taking domestically reared game birds, and each person (except holders of junior hunting licenses) taking Hungarian partridge, ring-necked pheasant and chukar must possess a valid Upland Game Bird Stamp.

Anyone who plans to plant birds is required to notify the Department of Fish & Game office in the region where the birds will be released and/or taken at least three business days before the activity.

Be aware that there are a lot of strict regulations and requirements involved with this activity, so before getting started I suggest you thoroughly review the regulations (CCR Title 14, Section 677: Dog Training and Field Trials).

— Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish & Game. She can be reached at cwilson@dfg.ca.gov.