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California Outdoors Q&As,March 18: Can;t blame it on the hunting dog!

By Carrie Wilson, CA DFG Marine Biologist

Question: Is it legal for a dog to grab a wounded duck on the way to the blind before shooting time? Last duck season a buddy and I were at Wister and at 4 a.m. we started for the blind and the dog was ahead of us going in and out of the water canals. When my buddy called him back, he showed up with a wounded duck that was still alive. Was it OK to keep that duck? (Bill S)

A dog is considered a legal method of take by DFG regulations. Dogs may be used to locate, retrieve and may actually take game by catching live game. According to DFG Northern California Chief Mike Carion, although it is legal for the dog to take game, you have to remember that any game it takes becomes part of the bag. In the scenario you have described, the dog’s take was done before legal hours and would be a technical violation of the law. In addition, if the hunter were to discard the bird it would be a violation of waste of game laws. In order to avoid issues of illegal take (for instance take before or after season, or before or after legal hours of take), your dog should be on a leash and under control so this scenario does not happen to you!

Cleaning fish in lakes and streams?

Occasionally, I see a few knuckleheads who after a great day of fishing will decide to clean their fish and toss the remains into the lake, thus bringing the sea gulls in. You can probably imagine what the fishing is like for the rest of us then who want to continue fishing. Is there a regulation regarding fish cleaning in lakes and streams? (George L.)

No. While under some circumstances it may attract birds looking for an easy snack and end up spoiling the fishing experiences of anglers close by, this practice does not violate Fish and Game Code. According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Game Warden Nick Buckler, the Fish and Game Code only prohibits the disposal of mammal viscera or carcasses and dead bird carcasses into the states waters (FGC section 5652). Depending on the waters, there may be special county park ordinances though requiring all fish cleaning to be done at cleaning stations or away from the fishing waters, but there is no state law requiring this.

Can casting barbless teasers still be considered fishing?

I invited a fishing buddy to go fishing with me this week. He had not yet obtained a license so we came up with the idea to remove the hooks from one of his swimbaits so that he could toss it out just as a teaser. It didn’t seem to be considered angling since the regulations say: pursue, hunt, capture or attempt to do so (roughly), and that the fish has to voluntarily take hook in mouth and no snagging is allowed. Since we would have no hooks on the lure, is this considered fishing as described in the regulations? (Brian S.)

Tell your fishing buddy to do his practice casting onshore or get a license. They are available online at According to DFG ret. Capt. Phil Nelms, based solely on your description, it would not be surprising if a game warden issued him a citation. It appears from the description that he is helping you take (e.g. pursue, hunt, capture, or attempt to do so …) fish, and if so, then he needs a fishing license.

Marmot hunting in California?

Can California marmots be hunted?

Yes, marmots are nongame mammals (rodents) and may be taken by hunters with a current hunting license. Marmots have no seasons or bag limits but some regulations on hunting hours and methods of take for nongame mammals apply. Check the current Mammal Hunting regulations book beginning on page 43 (see CCR T-14, sections 474-475) available online at

Other nongame birds and mammals (not classified as threatened or endangered) that may be legally taken at any time of the year and in any number (except as prohibited in Chapter 6) include: English sparrow, starling, coyote, weasels, skunks, opossum, moles and rodents (excluding tree and flying squirrels, and those listed as furbearers, endangered or threatened species (California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 472.)

Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. She cannot personally answer everyone's questions but will select a few to answer in this column each week. Contact her at

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Thanksgiving Eve drive to Baum Lake

View of Crystal Lake Hatchery across Baum Lake, photo by Alex Colvin
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Raccoon, photo courtesty of USFWS
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Havalon Hydra red double-bladed hunting knife, courtesy of Google
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November 2015 CDFW Calendar

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Example of what happens to a flat tire driven at freeway speed and possibly ten miles distance, photo by Don Stec
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Burney Falls Halloween Hike

 Burney Creek just above the falls, photo by Alex Colvin
Article and photos Alex Colvin
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Sac Refuge Visitor Center open longer

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Invation of the Aquatic Plants poster, by Fishbio
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Tundra Swans, photo courtesy of CDFW
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Sandhill cranes in flight, photo courtesy of CA DFW
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Before and After by Don Stec, author badge,
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A stately bull elk in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Photo by Kathy Callan
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Steven T. Callen with one of three orphaned black bear cubs, circa 1981. Photo courtesy of Steven T. Callan
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Campground at the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet on the Feather River in the Oroville State Wildlife Area. Photo by Mike Tripp
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Susan Lake, photo by Phil Akers
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Horses drinking at the Grapevine, photo courtesty of Wild Horse Sanctuary
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Once coveted by the pet trade, native reptiles, like this chuckwalla, may no longer be sold in California. Photo by Steven T. Callan
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Indigo snake
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Marijuana Wars and the California DFW

ish and Wildlife Warden Jerry Karnow with suspected poisoned bear at an illegal marijuana grow site. Photo courtesy of California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden Jerry Karnow
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Life is hard... it's even harder if you're stupid, John Wayne
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Pup, Phil Akers, A Happy Dog is a Panting Dog
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Gold & Silver: Should I Buy Some?

piles of gold and silver bars and coins
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By Steven T. Callan 
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blue lake surrounded by gray snow peaked mountains with green grass meadow in the foreground. Photo by Phil Flip Akers
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William E. Simpson author badge for
By Capt. William E. Simpson
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A humungous crowd of people.
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Don Stec, author badge,
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Wild (feral) stallions competing - copyright Laura Simpson 2014
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 Newspaper headline from early August 1911. Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Bee.
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The Mystery of the Middle Fork – Part III

Jim Broshears, Trailhead Tales author badge for My outdoor buddy
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Death Wobble, underbody of a vehicle, Don Stec
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The Mystery of the Middle Fork -- Part II

Article and photos by Jim Broshears
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The Mystery of the Missing Valley By Jim Broshears
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02/15/14 -- Part #1 Exploring the Middle Fork of the Feather River -- Stories about hidden valleys, waterfalls, canyons and fishing are part of outdoor folklore. Most of these tales begin with “When I was a kid we went to this place” and...Full Story


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So many places to visit and so little time, but if you scan
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