Wilson on Outdoors: Hiking in deep for deer harvest? Bring a saw

Question: I am preparing for my deer hunt and planning to hike 21/2 miles one way into a place to try to harvest my deer. If I am successful, I will need to pack the animal back out by myself, and this may be an all-day project. If this animal is large enough, I am probably going to have to quarter it and hump it out. If this is the case, do I take the head and antlers out with the tag on them, then make successive trips back in, or how do people normally do this? I don’t want to take the head out and put it in the back of my truck, risking someone might take it, and then bring another load out and find I have no evidence. Do you have a suggested protocol? Thanks. Rick L.

A: Most hunters in your situation like to bring a small saw to cut the antlers and skull cap from the head, as you are not required to keep the whole head of a deer you legally harvest. The law requires that upon taking a deer, you must immediately fill out the tag completely and attach it to the antlers (or ear if an antler-less hunt) and then keep it for 15 days after the close of the season. In your case, the antlers and skull cap could be placed in your locked car in a box or plastic bag until all your meat is hauled out. Depending upon the type of terrain and size of the deer, many hunters either take out quarters of their deer or elect to bone it in the field.

You also might consider using a game carrier with wheels so you can keep your game with you at all times while packing it out. Any wildlife officer who contacts you during this process likely will want to check your tagged antlers, but wildlife officers understand it isn’t always possible to carry the whole deer to your car in one trip.

Q: There has been a lot of discrepancy recently because of a bit of a loophole in the ocean salmon regulations. I have been given different answers by a number of people and would like to have it clarified. I live in Santa Cruz, and in the past few weeks, there have been a lot of incidental salmon catches in shallow water while targeting rockfish or ling cod. Because it is an incidental catch, I don’t see a problem keeping it even though it was caught on a barbed hook. As long as it was of legal size and landed with a net, it should be OK. Of course, if you keep it, you would have to switch to salmon-legal gear, but until you did keep one, you can’t prevent one from slamming an iron as you’re reeling up. So, basically, if I am targeting rockfish using the appropriate gear and catch a salmon while doing so, could I land it using the required net, and if it was 24 inches, could I keep it and resume fishing with salmon-legal gear?

Azure C., Santa Cruz

A: You are incorrect about a loophole. It is unlawful to take salmon (north of Point Conception) with a barbed hook. No more than two single-point, single-shank, barbless hooks may be used, and no more than one rod per angler when fishing for salmon or fishing from a boat with salmon on board. If an angler hooks a salmon while fishing for rockfish using barbed hooks, the fish must be immediately released.

Q: I do a lot of fishing in lakes and the Delta. Can an auto hook-setter be used on local lakes and rivers?


A: Yes.

This story was originally published September 30, 2014 6:44 PM.

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