Thursday, June 21 , 2018, 7:42 am | Overcast 61º


Outdoors Q&A: Why Do I Need a Fishing License to Take a Bullfrog?

Bullfrog (rana catesbeiana). Click to view larger
Bullfrog (rana catesbeiana).  (Dave Feliz/CDFW)

Question: Why do I need to have a fishing license to take a bullfrog? They are a non-native species, have voracious appetites, eat many of our native species and should be removed wherever we can. (Robert, Merced)

Answer: The California Legislature has defined “fish” in section 45 of the California Fish and Game Code. “Fish” means a wild fish, mollusk, crustacean, invertebrate, amphibian, or part, spawn or ovum of any of those animals.

A bullfrog is an amphibian, so you must have a fishing license in order to take one. More information on the take of frogs and other amphibians can be found in section 5.05 of the California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations.

The daily bag and possession limit for amphibians is four unless otherwise provided. There is no limit for American bullfrogs, Lithobates catesbeianaus. You will need a fishing license, but you may take as many bullfrogs as you want.

Lost hunter education certificate

Q: I passed my hunter safety course about 40 years ago but have lost the paperwork. If I wanted to get a hunting license now, how would I get a new copy of my “certification” or whatever it’s called? Does the state have records that far back? (Keith Hamm)

A: As per Fish and Game Code, section 3050, you can obtain a new California hunting license if you have proof of having held a hunting license in California in a prior year, or a current or recent (no more than two years old) hunting license from another state or province.

If you’ve never had a hunting license, you need to present proof of having passed a hunter education certificate from California or another state or province.

Prior to 1989, hunter education instructors maintained student records themselves. Therefore, CDFW does not have reliable records for this period.

You may try contacting the original instructor, club or organization where the course was taught to obtain a duplicate. If you are unable to obtain a duplicate certificate through these means, and you’ve never held a license, you will need to repeat the course.

The requirement of hunter education is not exclusive to California, many states have this same requirement for obtaining a hunting license, and most of the courses are universally accepted.

If you find yourself having to repeat the course, we encourage you to go into it with an open mind. The courses are more comprehensive than ever and even seasoned hunters who find themselves having to repeat the course for one reason or another reported learning many new things.

This would also be a great opportunity to bring along a friend or family member who is interested in hunting but may be apprehensive about taking the course. Many wildlife officers and even hunter education instructors have taken the course multiple times and inevitably they report learning something new every time.

CDFW has a frequently asked questions page that covers a lot of information about hunter education.

Is it illegal to feed wildlife?

Q: This question has been bothering me for years. Is it legal to feed wildlife?

Some people make it a habit to not only put out seed for the songbirds and nectar for the hummingbirds, and others go so far as to feed the ravens, wild turkeys, foxes and raccoons. I am curious if such laws are enforced and what the penalties are for violating the law?

At what point should Fish and Wildlife be notified if this is an ongoing problem? (Ken)

A: The California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 251.3, specifically states that it is illegal to feed big game mammals.

For other species of wildlife, section 251.1 addresses feeding as “harassment” of animals. “Harass,” as defined in this section, is an “intentional act which disrupts an animal’s normal behavior patterns, which includes, but is not limited to, breeding, feeding or sheltering.”

Reasonable amounts of normally used small bird feeders generally do not create an issue of “disrupting normal behavior.”

This section can (and has been) used as a tool to address situations where feeding animals has become problematic; for example, when such large amounts of food are being offered that wildlife no longer need to forage, hunt or sustain themselves naturally. Violation of these sections are misdemeanors. 

— Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. She can be reached at [email protected].


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.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

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.

Sign Up Now >