Check the wildlife code before you sell or trade that trophy mount

By: George deVilbiss/Special to Gold Country News Service
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Mounted deer heads. Moose. Elk. A largemouth bass appearing to be in its natural habitat. Two quail or ducks, geese, pheasants and so many others can be beautifully mounted and proudly displayed in a sports person’s home or office.

Sometimes, however, the owner decides to part with it.

What some owners of those mounts don’t realize is that according to California Fish and Wildlife code, section 3039, it’s illegal to sell, trade or barter any animal or their parts if that particular animal is found naturally in the wild in California.

For example, you could have legally bagged and tagged a monster mule deer in Colorado and had the head mounted. For whatever reason, you decide you no longer want it so you put it up for sale or trade.

Is that legal? Absolutely not. Mule deer are found naturally in California.

However, if you bagged a monster white-tailed buck in Kansas, had it mounted and later decided to sell it, that would be allowed. White-tailed deer don’t exist in California. The same sale would be allowed for caribou and reindeer.

You couldn’t legally sell a rug made from a large black bear, as black bears are the main bruin in California. However, you could part with a rug made from a grizzly bear, as grizzlies no longer exist in California.

Deer shed their antlers every winter. If you want comb through hundreds of acres in search of shed antlers, you can do that. However, there are restrictions. Antlers, or pieces of them, can be used for a variety of items, such as buttons, whistles, key chains and even large items as elaborate as a chandelier.

You aren’t allowed to use the antlers of a deer you took during hunting season, but you are allowed to use the antlers of a deer that shed them naturally.

Confusing? Not really. Just keep in mind: Is the animal naturally found in California? If it is, it’s illegal to sell, barter or trade any part of that fish, fowl or game critter.


Fishing regulations for 2013 includes a few changes


An addendum to the main fishing regulations booklet details changes in 2013.

There isn’t enough space in this column to detail each and every change, so it’s strongly suggested you visit a sporting goods outlet and pick up a copy.

New regulations include salmon, sturgeon and steelhead retention and fishing methods. In a nutshell, for anglers fishing in inland water, salmon and steelhead must remain in such a condition that their species and size can be identified. That means you aren’t allowed to fillet the fish until you reach your permanent residence.

It’s been reported here that only barbless hooks may now be used for sturgeon; the new size limit is 40-inch minimum, 60-inch maximum, measured from their snout to the “V” of the tail, and snares are no longer allowed.

Most importantly, the slot size limit has been removed from black bass at Lake Oroville, McClure, Millerton, Orr and Siskiyou. Bass 12 inches or greater is now legal to be kept.

Obtain a copy of the freshwater fishing regulations for 2013 and review the changes.


Current fishing


With such great weather, I hope you’re hitting your favorite waterway. There are some great fishing opportunities right now.

Lake Pardee: It was a blockbuster opener. As usual, the banks were lined with shore casters and fish were hauled in right and left. The water level is 10-15 feet below the spillway, and the bad news is the lake is dropping. There isn’t much uphill to bring up the lake appreciably, either. To enhance the opener, 7,000 pounds of trout were planted by a private provider while the DFW planted 2,000 pounds. Those fishing the Rec Area Cove mainly did well. White, rainbow and garlic Power Bait with glitter generally scored. The best recorded areas were near the Jackson Creek Spillway, Rainbow Point and Woodpile. The bank opposite the boathouse is always a favorite spot. Boaters also scored but had to work harder to find a bite. One troller working around the dam nailed a German brown that weighed 6.68 pounds. Another angler flipping crawlers in the main body of the lake outfought a 7.7-pound smallmouth. Overall, bass are showing activity along the exposed rock edges near the shoreline, and spinner baits are getting them to bite. Trout plants will continue throughout the season.

Lake Camanche: If you don’t want to fight the crowds at nearby Pardee, go to Camanche. They’re also planting heavily with the most recent putting 600 pounds each in the South Shore Pond and at the South Shore and North Shore ramps. The closest area in the south Placer County region would be a quick run to North Shore. There are plenty of great areas to fish from shore, or you can troll outside the buoy line of North Shore, the cove, or head south to Hat Island and the dam. There’s downright good rod-bending action to be found for those looking for a stringer of trout.

Lake Amador: They plant from 400 to 600 pounds of trout every weekday. Most of the action is being found by those on shore around the dam-spillway and soaking bait or cast-retrieving a variety of lures. One angler nailed a 15¾-pound cut-bow fishing Carson Cove, and another caught a 12 2/3-pound cut-bow trolling a Rapala in Firetiger pattern.

Camp Far West: The lake is in excellent shape, sitting at 95-percent of capacity. With no storms, the lake is clearing and the bass fishing has been good. Get your boat launched and head up the creek arm or the Bear River arm. You need to get down 10-20 feet, but plastics, jigs and Brush Hogs are scoring on bass running to two pounds.

Collins Lake: The lake is close enough to call it full. There were 1,800 pounds of rainbows planted on Valentine’s Day, and another 1,800 pounds are scheduled this week. Half of those fish range from two to six pounds. Get in on the good action now. One angler fishing off the lower beach nailed a 10½-pounder. Starting March 1, the lake will hold a big fish contest for trout, bass and catfish. Additionally, there are tagged fish worth a variety of prizes — free ice cream, $5 off a day-use fee, $10 off a T-shirt or hat, or you could win the grand prize, a $100 bill.

Rollins Lake: Access to the lake is unlimited, and the water is clearing nicely. There are 13- to 16-inch rainbows being taken by those fishing from shore soaking a crawler or chartreuse marshmallows on a sliding sinker rig. Those trolling are working the inlet area or around Greenhorn with Rapalas showing good action.

Contact George deVilbiss at