Question: Most hunters I know learned to hunt in their youth. I am an adult male who has never hunted but would like to learn. Are there classes or programs for adults to learn? If so, can you please give me some information? Edward H.
Answer: Yes, and an excellent first step is to take a hunter education course. This is required for getting a hunting license and provides good entry-level instruction about firearms safety, first aid, wildlife management, etc. (http://dfg.ca.gov/huntered/).
A number of Advanced Hunter Education classes are offered by DFG throughout the state, including wild pig seminars, waterfowl seminars, wild turkey seminars, etc. These can be found on the DFG Web site.
Most communities have sportsmen's clubs which are usually associated with a gun range. This would be another location to learn about firearms and to discuss hunting with experienced people. In addition, there are many books and magazines that provide resources about hunting, and the Internet is full of information (try www.nssf.com/hunting/getstarted/). Good luck!
Q: I am an archery hunter. If I am not able to fill my tag during the archery season, can I still hunt during the rifle season with my bow? Anonymous
A: Yes, but it might depend on what type of tag you get. If it's an Archery Only (AO) tag then you can only use archery equipment even during the rifle season. The "rifle" season you refer to is more accurately called the "general" season. During general season with a tag for that area, you can use any legal method for deer, including bow and arrow.
Q: I understand when fishing for salmon from a boat in the ocean, you are required to have a net for landing the fish. Are there size restrictions for the net? Jeff
A: Yes, while fishing on a boat in the ocean, you are required to have a landing net that measures no less than 18 inches in diameter.
Q: Is it illegal to have wild bird feathers? I live in the national forest and I often find feathers around. I never know if it is OK for me to keep them. I am an artist and need to know if I can gather feathers to use in my artwork to (hopefully) sell. Please let me know what I can and cannot have. Cedar
A: Generally, California and U.S. laws protecting wildlife prohibit both possessing and selling any part of any bird found in the wild in California. However, there are some exceptions:
You can possess, but not sell or purchase, the feathers from any wild bird which was harvested legally during the open season (e.g., ducks, geese, quail, pheasants, etc.) You don't have to take the birds yourself. They can be acquired from the person who took them, but there can be no sale or bartering involved in you acquiring them.
You can possess and sell the feathers of any bird which you acquire from any person who is licensed to possess and raise game birds for commercial purposes.
Feathers of bird species commonly sold in hobby or pet stores (e.g. canaries, parrots, parakeets, etc.), or any species of domestic poultry, are not protected by Fish and Game laws and can be possessed and sold. Though I realize these are probably not the feathers you are asking about, they can be found in various locations throughout California.
Additional and specific information regarding the laws protecting birds is available online. Go to www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/ and in the "Helpful Information" column on the right side of the page, choose the link to the Fish and Game Code. Specific laws include sections 22, 2000-2002, 3039, 3504-3513, 3800-3801.6.
For federal laws protecting birds, check with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Web site at www.fws.gov/
Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. Contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.