It's not safe, or legal, to shoot across a road

CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.govApril 23, 2013 

Carrie Wilson, outdoor writer who works for the California Department of Fish & Game.

Question: While bow hunting for turkeys last week, I saw a flock of hens and jakes on the side of a highway and I got to wondering if it's legal to hunt off the side of a highway. I know we can't shoot across a highway, but exactly how many yards or feet away does a bow hunter have to be?

Rafael O.

Answer: It is unlawful to discharge a firearm or release an arrow or crossbow bolt over or across any public road or other established way open to the public in an unsafe and reckless manner. In addition, most counties have ordinances setting the distance from a public roadway for hunting. Many require 150 feet, but the distance varies from county to county, so you should check with the local sheriff's office. It is always unlawful to negligently discharge a firearm, and firing a firearm from or on a public road is prohibited.

Q: I recently acquired a hand reel (Cuban yoyo.) Are there any restrictions on using one? What part of the Fish and Game code applies to their use?

Will E.

A: Yes, these basic hand-held reels are legal. Just add some line, tie on your hook, choose a bait, toss it in the water and you're fishing. It doesn't get much easier or less expensive. Standard methods apply, so you need to follow hook restrictions — three hooks with bait or three lures with three hooks each for inland waters or two hooks for rockfish in the ocean. If you happen to hook a big fish, just be sure you'll be able to land it!

Q: Can you clarify the starry flounder regulations in saltwater versus freshwater? I know that flounder are included in the rockfish-cabezon-greenling (RCG) regulations in saltwater, with limits and a definite season. However, when they move upstream (east) of the Carquinez Bridge into inland waters, do the same regulations apply? Or, can they be taken year-round with no limit as they are not mentioned in the freshwater regulations?

Barbara U.

A: Capt. Bob Puccinelli, of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the fresh-water limits for starry flounder are the same as the ocean limits. That means when there is an ocean closure (zero limit), there would be a corresponding zero limit in freshwater.

Q: I hunt ground squirrels with pellet guns as I understand they don't fall into the category of firearms. My question is, do I have to use non-lead pellets?

James T.

A: While not specifically prohibited for pellet guns, the intent of the non-lead ammunition requirement laws is to prevent lead from being introduced into animals that California condors might eat. Ground squirrels could fall into this category but the law does not expressly prohibit lead pellets. Non-lead pellets are available.

Q: I wear reading glasses. I don't like to take my glasses to the beach or in the water because I don't want them to get scratched. However, without my glasses, I cannot clearly read the new abalone cards. Last season I accidentally used the wrong tag (one that was not in sequential order) because I could not read the numbers. What can I do to make this easier?

Zoe D., Trinidad

A: I can empathize. You might want to consider including non-prescription reading glasses and/or a small magnifying glass in your dive bag. You can can find them for under $15. At least with these you would not have to risk losing or breaking your prescription glasses and still comply with the regulations.

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