CDFW mailbag: Why license violations elsewhere may mean you can't hunt in California
Q: Can my 17-year-old nephew participate in the upcoming Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days this weekend?
A: Yes, federal regulations allow licensed hunters ages 17 years old and younger to participate in these post-season youth waterfowl hunts offered in most, but not all, parts of the state. All hunters need a current Harvest Information Program Validation. Hunters 16 years old and older will need a signed federal duck stamp — an electronic stamp option is available — with their hunting license, per federal regulations and the California Code of Regulations.
Young hunters who are no longer eligible for a California Junior Hunting License will need a California Duck Validation. If your nephew is planning to hunt at one of the public Type A or B state-operated wildlife areas or federal wildlife refuges, he'll need the appropriate Type A or B area pass. Junior Hunting License holders don't need the California Duck Validation and are exempt from having to purchase a wildlife area pass to hunt these public wetlands.
Lastly, even as a 17 year old hunting under a valid adult California hunting license, your nephew will need to be accompanied by a non-hunting adult age 18 or older during these post-season youth waterfowl hunts. These hunts are intended to be mentoring opportunities for young hunters, which gives you and your nephew a great opportunity to have a memorable time together in the outdoors.
Visit CDFW’s waterfowl hunting web page at bit.ly/3ANiZ7R for more information.
Q: There used to be a regulation that defined the minimum strength of a hunting bow as a bow that could cast an arrow at a certain distance. That regulation changed, right? Is there a minimum draw weight for taking big game with a bow and/or crossbow?
A: Yes, the regulation you referred to was updated by the California Fish and Game Commission. The current regulation states: It's unlawful to use any bow or crossbow without a draw weight of at least 30 pounds for a bow, 125 pounds for a crossbow.
Q: Is recreational gold panning allowed in creeks of the Spenceville Wildlife Area east of Marysville?
A: No. Recreational gold mining or panning is not allowed on any CDFW owned lands.
The California Code of Regulations states: Except for the take of fish and/or wildlife in compliance with general and site-specific hunting and fishing regulations, or under written authorization from the department to conduct environmental research or environmental education, no visitor shall cut, saw, trim, remove or disturb any plant, mammal, fish, mollusk, crustacean, amphibian, reptile, soil, sand, gravel, rock, mineral or any other form of plant or animal life on department land, except that non-woody vegetation may be cut and used for temporary hunting blinds.
Q: What is the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact?
A: The IWVC is an agreement between 47 states that allows for the reciprocal recognition of hunting and fishing license suspensions. If your license privileges have been suspended by another state, the suspension may be recognized here in California.
For example, if your sport fishing or hunting privileges have been suspended in Colorado for five years, your privileges may also be suspended for five years in California or any of the states participating in the IWVC. The purchase of licenses or tags during the term of the suspension is a violation of the law and may result in prosecution. Licenses or tags purchased prior to or during a suspension are not refundable.
Information on member states can be found on the National Association of Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs website at naclec.org/wvc.
Over the years, CDFW has received occasional calls from hunters or fishers wondering why they were not allowed to purchase a hunting or fishing license at a California vendor. A common reason is that they have an unpaid citation in another state for something as simple as fishing without a license. That failure to take care of the fishing without a license citation would put them in the IWVC, which would prohibit them from purchasing a fishing license in California or any of the other participating 46 states until it is handled per the direction of the out-of-state court.
Email CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.gov with questions for the CDFW.