Friday, September 21 , 2018, 1:12 pm | Partly Cloudy 70º

 
 
 
 

Outdoors Q&A: When Screeching Owls Move In

A fake owl can help discourage a family of real owls from overstaying their welcome

Q: We have four owls that have taken up residence in our palm tree in the past two weeks, and they are showing no signs of leaving. This normally wouldn’t be a problem except they screech from dusk to dawn and are causing a disruption in our neighborhood. Will you please tell me how I can get these owls removed and hopefully relocated? (Kate K.)

Carrie Wilson
Carrie Wilson

A: You probably have a new family of owls in your tree (adults with juveniles). According to Department of Fish & Game raptor biologist Carie Battistone, if you can be patient with the noise, they should move on soon. If not, try putting a fake owl out in a highly visible location — the ones sold in stores are great horned owls, which are a top predator — to discourage them from settling in. It may help to move the fake owl to different locations every other day so they don’t get used to it in one place. Loud noises such as clapping or banging can flush them out, too.

If all of that fails, you can contact USDA Wildlife Services, which specializes in this type of issue. Call 916.979.2675 and they can direct you to the appropriate office.

Clarification of Guns and Ammo

Q: I want to confirm my understanding of the regulations regarding hunting in California with a shotgun. As I read it, those who hunt birds can carry only 25 shot shells and have three shells in their shotgun. However, hunters hunting coyotes (a nongame species) are not bound by the bird hunter shell counts. They may carry up to 10 shells in their shotgun and an unlimited number of shells with them. Is this an accurate interpretation? Does the same apply to fur-bearing animals such as fox and bobcat?

What if I am in the field and encounter a warden who sees more than three shells in my gun? Will he look at the Dead Coyote Choke, No. 4 buckshot shells, FoxPro and hand calls to determine what I am actually hunting, and confirm I am not a bird hunter? Seems like it is subject to officer discretion, even though it is obvious nobody hunts quail using callers and No. 4 buckshot. (Bruce C., aka Cautious Sportsman)

A: Generally, shotguns with a three-shell maximum capacity are authorized for taking all birds and mammals in California, and there are no restrictions on how many shells you may possess while in the field.

Regulations do restrict using or possessing a shotgun capable of holding more than six shells to take any bird or mammal statewide, including all fur-bearing and nongame mammals (Fish and Game Code, section 2010).

Fur-bearing mammals (fox, raccoon, beaver, ground squirrels, etc.) and nongame mammals (coyotes and bobcats, etc.) may be taken with shotguns, and regulations do not limit the capacity of shot shells possessed by the hunter in the field or in the firearm (California Code of Regulations Title 14, sections 465 and 475).

Hunting regulations for federal wildlife refuges do restrict hunters to no more than 25 shells while in the field no matter what species of bird or mammal they are pursuing, including coyotes. Some state wildlife areas also have this restriction, but not all of them, so check with the SWA where you intend to hunt to confirm its policy.

According to DFG retired Capt. Phil Nelms, unless you are on a refuge or SWA where there is a restriction on the number of shot shells that may be in your possession, you may take coyotes, bobcats and foxes throughout California with a shotgun holding no more than six shells total, and there is no restriction on the number of shells you can possess while in the field.

Statistics on Hunting and Fishing Licenses

Q: Where can I find information on the number of hunting and fishing licenses sold in California for 2008, 2009 and so far for 2010? (Michael S., Auburn)

A: Click here for information on the numbers of licenses sold, cost of each license and the annual revenue generated from each. You also can view all of the special permits, cards and stamps sold as well as commercial fishing and fish business licenses and permits here. If you click on the 10-year link under each category, you will find the 2010 sales statistics to date. These statistics are updated monthly.

— 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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