Q: When is breeding season for tule elk in California?
A: The breeding season, or rut, for California’s tule elk typically occurs from through February with peak rut being October through November. Scientists can estimate breeding season for tule elk because they know firsthand that tule elk calving runs from mid-March through October with a peak of around June and July, and a gestation period of about 250 days. California’s other two sub-species of elk – Rocky Mountain and Roosevelt – typically rut from September through October.
Q: Can different species of trout successfully mate?
A: The short answer is yes! Although it is very uncommon, some species of trout have been observed reproducing with other species of trout, which scientists refer to as hybridization. For example, cutbow trout are hatchery produced trout created from spawning two different species: rainbow trout and cutthroat trout. For more fun fisheries facts visit CDFW’s Classroom Aquarium Education Program.
Q: Is it legal for me to bring ducks from this recent waterfowl season to a restaurant to have the chef prepare them for me?
A: Yes. You may take your harvested ducks to your favorite restaurant, assuming they have agreed to prepare them for you. California Fish and Game Code (FGC), section 2015 provides that authorization. Section 2015 (a) states that, except as otherwise provided in this section, it is unlawful to possess a bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, or reptile, that may not be legally sold, in a restaurant or other eating establishment. However, section 2015(b) goes on to describe some exceptions:
(1) A person who lawfully took or otherwise legally possessed the bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, or reptile.
(2) A person preparing the bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, or reptile for consumption by the person who lawfully took or possessed it, or by that person and others, if the person who took or possessed it is present on the premises.
(3) A bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, or reptile tagged with a signed statement of the person who took the bird, mammal, fish, amphibian or reptile stating that person’s name and address, the date taken, and the total number and kind taken.
Bringing your hunter-harvested wild game to a professional chef can result in an expanded culinary experience for the hunter and guests, as well as serve as an enjoyable challenge for many chefs. In fact, we spoke with a hunter who harvested a bighorn sheep and had a professional chef prepare his harvest along with domestically reared sheep steaks so he could try them side-by-side. They had quite dissimilar flavors despite being from the same taxonomical genus. As you might expect, the bighorn sheep steaks were leaner and had a mild wild game flavor. As a final note, be sure to comply with subsection (3) above if you deliver your sport-taken ducks or other game to a chef ahead of time so that they can prepare for your later return.
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.