California Outdoors Q&As

What’s a Daily Bag and Possession Limit?

Question: The fishing regulations talk about “a daily bag and possession limit of fish.” In the case of striper, it lists two. My question is this: If you catch legal size fish, you keep the first and give away the second to another angler, are you still allowed to continue fishing and keep another fish? (Jeff)

Answer: No, in your example you would have taken three striped bass (one more than the limit, which is two). No more than one daily bag limit of each kind of fish – striped bass, in this case – may be taken or possessed by any one person unless otherwise authorized, regardless of whether they are fresh, frozen or otherwise preserved, as per California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 14, section 1.17.

If you are interested in boat limits for the Ocean and San Francisco Bay District, please review CCR Title 14, sections 27.60 and 195.

Trading sport-caught fish

            Question: Can I legally trade bluefin tuna caught on a charter boat? This would be a personal trade to someone for fishing gear. (Chad)

Answer: No, it is not legal to trade sport-caught fish for fishing gear. California Fish and Game Code (FGC) section 7121 specifically prohibits selling or purchasing sport-caught fish – and the definition of “sell” includes to barter, exchange or trade (FGC, section 75).

Non-lead ammo exceptions for vintage firearms?

            Question: I am the third generation to hunt with my grandfather’s .32 Winchester Special. I have been unable to locate non-lead ammunition for the rifle, which I would like to pass on to my son this year. Is there any exception if non-lead is not available, or do you know where I can find some? (John)

Answer: Your Winchester sounds like a great rifle, and one truly worthy of being passed on. But there is not an exception. Non-lead ammunition is required when taking any wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California. However, there is a possible solution. You may be able to load your own ammo with non-lead bullets. One of our wildlife officers suggested finding a local gun shop or gunsmith who can teach you how. The officer said, “I’m in the same situation – I’m currently in the process of making my own brass for a .255 Dean, a 120-year-old family gun that I’d like to keep in use. Many of the older calibers are nearly impossible to use without loading your own ammo.”

Also, you should know that manufacturers are adding more and more nontoxic rounds and calibers as time goes by – so continue to check the list of Certified Non-lead Ammunition from time to time! And you can continue to use lead ammunition for target shooting where allowed, which is another way to continue enjoying your grandfather’s rifle.

Hunting coyotes during archery-only deer season

            Question: Can I still hunt coyotes with a rifle during the archery deer seasons or do I need to wait until the general rifle seasons open for deer? I would only be hunting coyotes. I will not be bow hunting for deer. (Ivan)

Answer: Unlike deer, which have very specific and highly regulated hunting seasons, coyotes may be hunted at any time of year, as per CCR Title 14, section 472(a). So you are allowed to hunt coyotes with a rifle at the same time an archery deer season may also be underway in the area you are hunting. To hunt coyotes with a rifle, you will need a valid California hunting license and non-lead ammunition, which is required for the taking of any wildlife in California with a firearm. You cannot, however, do both and hunt deer with a bow while carrying a firearm for coyotes. FGC, section 4370(a) states that “a person taking or attempting to take deer during such archery season shall neither carry, nor have under his or her immediate control, any firearm of any kind.”

Collecting moon snails

            Question: Can I catch moon snails in Bodega Bay? (Bryan)

            Answer: Moon snails cannot be taken north of the Golden Gate Bridge, per CCR Title 14, section 29.71. Since Bodega Bay is north of the Golden Gate Bridge, moon snails cannot be collected there. If you can travel just down the peninsula, San Mateo County is a popular area for collecting moon snails.

Moon snails are a classification of mollusk and live in mud flats and low intertidal zones on the Pacific Coast from British Columbia to San Diego. They can be identified by their large foot-to-shell size and globe-like, brownish-white shell.

South of the Golden Gate, possession limits on moon snails can be found in the California Recreational Ocean Fishing Regulations under Invertebrate Fishing Regulations. Moon snails can be collected year-round with a daily possession limit of five.

Remember, to legally take any mollusk in California, including moon snails, you’ll need a valid fishing license in your possession.