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California Outdoors 1.16.19
Define Practice Of ‘Taking By Hand’ For Sea Urchins

Question: The regulations state that sea urchins “may be taken only on hook-and-line or with the hands.” Does “with the hands” mean that I can use pliers, a knife or any hand-plying tool to help in gathering the urchins, or do I have to do this bare-handed? I am allowed to wear gloves? (Kin)

Answer: You may be incorrectly referring to the California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 14, section 29.10, which applies to mollusks. It states that mollusks “may be taken only on hook-and-line or with the hands.” Sea urchins are not mollusks. They fall into the general category of invertebrates, for which there is no specified method of take. You may use tools to assist in your harvest of sea urchins if you like. You will find that urchins do not attach themselves strongly to the substrate the way abalone do. With some caution, they are fairly easy to pick up by hand and put into your dive bag. But we strongly suggest that you wear protective gloves when urchin diving/picking, as their spines are very sharp and painful if they poke you.


Are My California Licenses Still Valid if I Move Out of State?

Question: I’m moving to Nevada but I have been hunting and fishing in California my whole life. I already bought both a fishing and hunting license for this year. When I move and become a formal Nevada resident, will I be able to use my licenses to fish and hunt here still or do I have to upgrade to a non-resident license? As you can imagine, I would rather save the money. (Jim)

Answer: We wish you well on your move. There are some wonderful, dedicated people at the Nevada Department of Wildlife on both the science and law enforcement sides. We work with them regularly. Thanks to their effort, and those of conservation-minded hunters and anglers, you will have some excellent fishing and hunting opportunities there too. Let’s start by answering your question in the immediate term.

California Fish and Game Code (FGC), section 70, defines a “resident” as any person who has resided continuously in the State of California for six months or more immediately prior to the date of his application for a license or permit, any person on active military duty with the Armed Forces of the United States or auxiliary branch thereof, or any person enrolled in the Job Corps established pursuant to the United States Code Title 29, section 2883.

So if you purchase a hunting or fishing license as a resident of California, it is valid until it expires, whenever you return to California, no matter where you move and establish residency. Let us plant an idea for you to consider (and answer your question from a long-term perspective): If you think you will return to California to hunt and fish often over the years to come, you may want to consider purchasing a lifetime license. If you purchase a lifetime license while you are still living here as a resident, California will honor your license and whatever additional privileges you purchased for the rest of your life. A good example would be when a grandparent purchases a lifetime hunting or fishing license for a grandchild, before the grandchild moves out of state due to a parent’s job transfer. Ownership of a lifetime license will hopefully coax the grandchild back to California time and again, both to visit family and continue to enjoy all of the wonderful fishing and hunting opportunities California has to offer.


Is it Legal to Shoot a Pellet Gun from a Car?

Question: Is it legal to shoot a pellet gun out of a car in California? It would be in a hunting/pest removal situation. (Barry)

Answer: No. CCR Title 14, section 251 (a) states: No person shall pursue, drive, herd or take any bird or mammal from any type of motor-driven air or land vehicles, motorboat, airboat, sailboat or snowmobile. A related statute can be found in FGC, section 2006, which prohibits shooting a loaded long gun from a vehicle, but refers only to shotguns and rifles, not pellet guns. There are exceptions to this for mobility impaired disabled persons with proper signed documents from a physician.

If you are hunting, you must abide by the required legal methods of take for the animal you are hunting.


California Outdoors is a column published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to answer your questions about California’s many fish and wildlife species, hunting and fishing methods, regulations and opportunities and natural resource conservation. If you have a question you would like to see answered in the California Outdoors Q and A column, email it to