Junior hunting license
Q: My grandson is a junior hunting license holder who turned 16 years old in August. Does he need an adult hunting license for the 2021-22 season or can he still hunt with his junior license for this year?
A: First, thanks for being an awesome mentor to your grandson. We think some of the most treasured memories and greatest bonding moments between generations of family are in the duck blind, in the field while hunting big game, in a boat fishing, etc. Good news: Your grandson is still eligible for his discounted Junior Hunting License because he was 15 years old at the beginning of the 2021-22 license year on July 1. However, now that he has turned 16 years old, if he wants to go waterfowl hunting, he’ll need to purchase a federal duck stamp. Federal law requires it – specifically, California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 14, section 509, which deals with concurrence with federal law. CCR, Title 14, section 509(c) states: It shall be unlawful for any person aged 16 years or older to take any migratory waterfowl unless at the time of such taking the person carries in his or her immediate possession an unexpired federal migratory bird hunting and conservation stamp validated by his or her signature written in ink across the face of the stamp or an unexpired federal migratory bird hunting and conservation electronic stamp issued in his or her name prior to any taking of such birds.
As a junior hunting license holder, he will not need a California Duck Validation, in case you didn’t know. The California Fish and Game Commission adopted the regulation to not require hunters who possess a junior license to also purchase a California Duck Validation for consistency and to give our junior license holders that extra break.
Also, he is still eligible for all the youth hunts, apprentice hunts and junior hunts this season – so we hope you take advantage of some of those great opportunities. For young waterfowlers, the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days, February 5-6 in the Balance of the State Zone, is a special opportunity you don’t want to miss. Enjoy hunting with your grandson!
Managing deer populations
Q: What is the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) role in managing deer populations on public lands?
A: CDFW’s role in managing deer and other hunted species across California includes population monitoring, movement monitoring (i.e., migration corridors and habitat linkages), administering appropriate levels of hunter take and enhancing habitat.
Public land makes up about 48 percent of the state’s deer habitat, with most of it being federal land administered by the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Since CDFW owns and directly manages less than one percent of the state’s deer habitat, CDFW collaborates with federal and state agencies, private landowners, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders on land management projects that improve deer and other wildlife habitat. Over the last six years, CDFW has awarded over $2.1 million through its Big Game Grant Program to non-profit groups (such as California Deer Association, Mendocino County Blacktail Association and Mule Deer Foundation) for habitat enhancement projects on California’s public lands.
Q: I’d like to know the rules for catching geoduck clams at Dillon Beach in Marin County. Can I use a hand pump to catch them, or do I have to dig them out by shovel?
A: Since March 2021, you can no longer use hydraulic pumps to extract clams. While you must dig for them by hand, you can use certain devices to help, including suction devices commonly known as slurp guns or clam guns. California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 14, section 29.20(c) makes it unlawful to possess any hydraulic devices, or other device, capable of liquifying sand to aid in the harvest of clams anywhere clams may be taken. CCR, Title 14, section 29.20(c) states the following:
(c) Gear restrictions. It shall be unlawful to use anything other than the following hand-operated devices to take clams: spades, shovels, hoes, forks, rakes, devices that use suction to remove clams commonly known as slurp guns or clam guns, or rigid pipes used to prevent the collapse of holes when digging for clams. It shall be unlawful to use any other device to take clams, including any hydraulic devices. It shall be unlawful to possess a hydraulic pump, or other device, capable of liquifying sand to aid in the harvest of clams anywhere clams may be taken. It shall be unlawful to possess any such unauthorized device, except in their permanent residence, concurrently with any clam. No instrument capable of being used to dig clams may be possessed between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise, on any beach of this state, except tools and implements used in the work of cleaning, repairing or maintaining such beach when possessed by a person authorized by appropriate authority to perform such work.
If you have a question you would like to see answered in the California Outdoors Q and A column, email it to CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.