Outdoors

Wilson on Outdoors: Deer hunting from my porch?

You can shoot a deer from an occupied dwelling as long as it’s 150 yards from an occupied dwelling.
You can shoot a deer from an occupied dwelling as long as it’s 150 yards from an occupied dwelling. California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Question: I have a house on five acres in Northern California and have some really nice bucks on my land. Every day, they come within a few feet of my house and graze on my garden and plants. If I purchase an A Zone tag this year, can I legally shoot a deer on my land from my house or porch? My house is situated more than 200 yards from any other property or house and it is outside the city limits. Thanks. Brian T.

Answer: Yes. The safety zone law prohibits shooting within 150 yards of any occupied dwelling without the permission of the occupant. As long as it is otherwise legal to discharge a firearm in this area (e.g. not in the city limits or not prohibited by county ordinance), then go for it.

Q: The local municipal water district operates a nearby lake that is open to the public for fishing and day use. My question is regarding the regulations set for this lake. The maximum daily catch limit is lower than the limits the California Department of Fish and Wildlife authorizes. Do they have the authority to do this? Who has the ultimate jurisdiction in this matter? Roger S., Ojai

A: Yes, this is perfectly legal for them to do. Private lake managers can be more restrictive than CDFW regulations but not less restrictive. It is their prerogative to impose more stringent regulations in the interest of better managing their individual waters than what the state requires for managing California’s fisheries statewide.

Sorry, I’m sure this isn’t what you hoped to hear. For further clarification, please contact your local game warden.

Q: I live in a city in Southern California and have an avocado tree in my yard. Squirrels and possums have been a big problem recently. Can I use a Havahart trap to catch them and then transport them to a more rural location a few miles away? David S.

A: Yes, most squirrels and possums can be trapped, but tree squirrels will need a depredation permit. When trapping wildlife, traps must be checked every 24 hours and the animals either dispatched or released in the immediate area.

According to CDFW Statewide Wildlife Rehabilitation Coordinator Nicole Carion, squirrels and possums that have caused property damage can be trapped by legal means (Fish and Game Code, section 4180). All furbearing and nongame mammals that are legal to trap must be immediately euthanized or released (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 465.5(g)(1)).

Squirrels and possums should not be “relocated” from where they were trapped for many reasons, the most important being to prevent the spread of disease. It is illegal to release, introduce or transplant plants or wildlife (domestic or domesticated species) onto CDFW lands or waters (CCR Title 14, section 550(k)) and plants and animals or their parts taken elsewhere shall not be introduced, liberated or placed on any National Wildlife Refuge (Federal Code of Regulations, part 27, section 27.52). It is also illegal to release an animal into a California State Park without written authorization from the District Superintendent (CCR Title 14, section 431(a)).

Please be very cautious about trapping in the springtime because this is when wild animals have offspring. Trapped nuisance wildlife cannot be taken to wildlife rehabilitators. Although rehabilitation facilities can take in orphaned wildlife, the orphaned animals will have a much higher chance of survival if they are raised by their wild mothers. Often, wild animals only take up residence somewhere temporarily during the springtime.

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This story was originally published September 23, 2014 5:39 PM.

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