Tuesday, 29 September 2020

California Outdoors: Measuring lobsters safely, hunting with a .223 caliber for deer

California spiny lobster. Courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.


Measuring lobsters safely


Question: I use a hoop net to catch lobsters. Is there a change to the regulations to allow me to measure my lobsters on the pier? (Robert M., Oceanside)

Answer: In response to safety concerns over lobster fishermen pulling up hoop nets and leaning over the boat in an attempt to measure lobsters at the surface of the water, the California Fish and Game Commission amended the regulations related to measuring lobster from a hoop net.

Lobster fishermen who use hoop nets are now authorized to bring lobster onto a boat, pier or platform from which they are fishing to immediately measure lobster from their hoop nets. Any sub-legal sized lobsters must still be returned immediately to the water after measuring. Recreational lobster divers are still required to measure all lobster while in the water. It remains unlawful to hold onto undersized lobsters, leave them on the deck of your boat, or place any sub-legal sized lobster into any type of receptacle by either divers or hoop netters.

CCR Title 14, section 29.90 (c) states that the minimum size is 3 ¼ inches measured in a straight line on the mid-line of the back from the rear edge of the eye socket to the rear edge of the body shell.

Additionally, “All lobsters shall be measured immediately and any undersize lobster shall be released immediately into the water. Divers shall measure lobsters while in the water and shall not remove undersized lobsters from the water. Hoop netters may measure lobsters out of the water, but no undersize lobster may be placed in any type of receiver, kept on the person or retained in any person’s possession or under his or her direct control.”

For the rest of the regulations related to take of spiny lobsters, please see the rest of CCR Title 14, sections 29.90 and 29.91.

Hunting with a .223 caliber for deer

Question: Deer season opens soon and I’m wondering if I can legally use my Ruger Mini-14 rifle. It is a .223 caliber and has a 10-round capacity magazine. I have a hunting license and tags for D3-5. (James C., Placerville)

Answer: Yes, you can use the rifle you describe. California hunting regulations restrict the cartridge and bullet type for hunting big game, but not the rifle itself. In short, big game may only be taken by rifles using centerfire cartridges with softnose or expanding projectiles.

Pay close attention to be sure your .223 bullets fit this description, as most .223 bullets are manufactured with full metal jackets (FMJs), which would be unlawful to use.

It is best to buy .223 ammunition manufactured specifically for hunting. See the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 353 for more details on authorized methods of take for big game.

Your 10-round magazine is also legal to use. The California Penal Code prohibits use of a magazine in excess of 10-round capacity. Good luck on your hunt!

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