Question: If white-tailed deer were to migrate into California from Oregon or Idaho, could they be shot here on sight since there is no season or provision for that species?
Answer: No. Since Fish and Game Code defines deer as genus Odocoileus which includes white-tailed deer any white-tailed deer that might show up could only be taken under the normal deer hunting provisions for the area in which it wandered.
Q: I live in the Valley District and am wondering if it is legal to spearfish in the Sacramento River? I know there are carp, pikeminnow (squawfish) and western suckers. I've been searching online and many people say you can't spearfish in any fresh-water system, including streams, lakes and rivers. I have spearfished in the ocean but not in fresh water.
Also, is there any recommended equipment for spearfishing? Can homemade or custom-built equipment be legally used for spearfishing? I know the Valley District is only open for a short time (five months) for spearfishing.
A: Spearfishing is allowed but there are some restrictions. First, pick up a copy of the 2012-2013 Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet (it's free) at most stores or DFG offices that sell fishing licenses or online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/. On page 15 you'll find a list of the only species that may be taken in the Valley District from May 1 to Sept. 15. A map of the district boundaries is on page 27. In addition, you cannot spearfish in designated spawning areas. There are no specific definitions regarding the spears, so you can build your own or buy a custom-made spear. For a definition of spearfishing, see page 13.
Q: When fishing for sturgeon, how many hooks are allowed?
A: Only one single-point, single-shank, barbless hook can be used on a line when taking sturgeon.
Q: If a legal-sized white sturgeon is caught accidentally on a barbed hook (e.g. while fishing for striped bass), can it be legally kept as long as the angler possesses a sturgeon report card and tag? And once an angler on a boat has legally caught and kept a white sturgeon, must all anglers on that boat switch to barbless hooks?
A: If accidentally caught, barbed hooks are not authorized for taking white sturgeon. So, even legal-sized white sturgeon cannot be kept and must be released.
The rules after a white sturgeon is caught are mixed. Anglers can continue using barbed hooks, but the the successful sturgeon angler can no longer fish for sturgeon and must immediately release any sturgeon that is accidentally caught.
Q: I am developing a souvenir that would contain granules of sand from California beaches. I would only require about a half-gallon of sand. Am I able to take sand from a beach and re-sell it as a souvenir to promote the state and its natural resources?
A: Generally, beach sand is not protected by any California Fish and Game law. However, collection of anything (including beach sand) is prohibited in any park or other marine area that has a specific designation and protection in law. In addition, you might want to consider the corrosive nature of beach sand due to its salt content and other unsuitable qualities resulting from decomposition of biotics before using it in your souvenirs. You might find it more beneficial to buy treated beach sand that is sold in small quantities at many stores that stock landscape and garden supplies.
Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Reach her at Cal.Outdoors@wildlife.ca.gov