California Outdoors Q & A:
Freezing tails and tossing bodies?

DFG Scientist Carrie Wilson Answers Outdoor Queries

Question: Once I arrive home with sport-caught lobster in a measurable condition, am I permitted to freeze the tails and discard the bodies? (Ben W.)

Answer: If you tailed the lobster at home and then froze it, you would be in possession of a lobster in an unmeasurable condition. The law requires you to keep the head attached to the tail until prepared for immediate consumption. By the letter of the law, this applies to lobsters in your freezer at home, too. The likelihood of someone’s freezer at home being checked by a game warden without a search warrant is almost non-existent. On the other hand, if you store tailed lobster in a freezer on a boat, the likelihood is much higher.

Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Lt. Eric Kord has this suggestion for freezing lobster for future consumption:

“You could de-vein the lobsters, bleed them and then freeze them in a whole condition (carapace still attached to the tail). That way you just need to remove the head when you get ready to eat them at home.”

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Flapping duck decoys

Question:I have a question regarding flapping wind duck decoys. I know that spinning wing duck decoys are not allowed until after Dec. 1, but what if they flap up and down rather than spin? Is this type of flapping wing decoy legal for the whole duck season? (Yoshio O.)

Answer: Decoy devices that are electronically powered or activated by anything other than natural wind to directly or indirectly cause rotation of decoy wings or blades that simulate wings are prohibited when attempting to take waterfowl between the start of the waterfowl season and Nov. 30 (Fish and Game Code Title 14, section 507). Wind-powered decoys and wings or wing-simulated devices that do not rotate or spin around a fixed point are legal to use to attract waterfowl prior to Dec. 1 and throughout the entire season. Flapping wing decoys are therefore permitted all season.

Fishing perceptions

Question: I am a fisherman and have three friends who are avid surfers and have been begging me to take them out on my boat to a surf break called “Ralph’s” just off Point Loma. After ferrying them to the spot, I’d like to do some fishing. If I do catch fish and return to the Shelter Island launch ramp with fish on board, will this pose any problems if I have the only fishing license? Would having multiple rods on the boat be a problem? I know I should already know the answer, but I don’t. (Dave, Lemon Grove)

Answer: As long as you have your fishing license and only you do the fishing, you should not have any problems. The number of rods won’t matter because in ocean waters you are allowed to fish with multiple rods, unless you’re fishing for and/or have rockfish, lingcod or salmon aboard. Just make sure that your friends don’t assist in the fishing portion of your trip at all and everything should be fine. Happy fishing!Can I use dead trout and Kokanee for bait? Is it legal to use dead trout and/or Kokanee for bait in ocean waters? (Howard A.)

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Can I use dead trout and Kokanee for bait?

Question: Is it legal to use dead trout and/or Kokanee for bait in ocean waters? (Howard A.)

Answer: If it is store-bought, you can use it as bait in the ocean. If it is sport-caught, it needs to be legal for you to possess and it must meet any size requirements that may apply to that species.

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Buyer’s remorse

Question:I bought an A Zone deer tag and want to trade it in for a D Zone tag. What is the deadline to do so?

Answer: The tag could have been exchanged back in July, prior to the opening of the A Zone archery season, but once the season opens the tag can no longer be exchanged. It doesn’t matter if the tag holder intended to hunt only during the zone’s rifle season (which opens after the archery season). Once archery season opens, it is too late to exchange the tag. This is the rule for all deer tags to prevent someone from purchasing a tag, going hunting, then exchanging the tag for a different deer zone tag because he or she was unsuccessful.

Because California hunters are allowed to purchase two deer tags, the holder of the A Zone tag can still purchase a D Zone tag afterwards if there are any left. To check on which tags are still available, go to DFG’s website at and click on the “Daily account of tags available” link.