Question: Most hunters that I know learned in their youth. I am an adult male who has never hunted but would like to learn. Are there classes or programs for adult males to learn? If so, can you please give me some information as to how an old guy like me can get started?
Answer: Yes, and an excellent first step is to take a hunter education course. This course is required to get a hunting license in California and provides good entry level instruction about firearms safety, first aid, wildlife management, etc. For more information and to find an upcoming class in your area, go to: wildlife.ca.gov/Hunter-Education.
After you’ve taken the entry level hunter education class, you might consider taking some of the Advanced Hunter Education classes offered by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) throughout the state. These include wild pig seminars, waterfowl seminars, wild turkey seminars and can be found on the CDFW website at wildlife.ca.gov/Hunter-Education/Advanced.
You may also want to check around for local sportsmen’s clubs in your area. Most communities have them and many are associated with a gun range. This would be another location to learn a great deal about firearms and to discuss hunting with experienced people.
And finally, there are lots of books and magazines available that provide many resources about hunting, and the Internet is also full of information that may help ( nssf.com/hunting/getstarted/). Just remember, you’re never too old to learn how to hunt and there are lots of resources available to help you.
Question: When is the best season to enjoy clamming?
Answer: There really is no best season for clamming. Generally, any really low tide during daytime hours with minimal surf and decent weather is a good time. There are specific seasons for taking of Pismo clams and razor clams in specific areas, so please check the regulations before venturing out for these clams.
The hours of take for clams are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. No instruments capable of taking clams (shovels, hoes, rakes, etc.) may be possessed on the beach during closed hours. It may be safer to go clamming from November through April, as biotoxins may be concentrated in filter-feeding bivalves (such as mussels and clams) from May through October especially. For more information about biotoxins, visit the California Department of Public Health website at cdph.ca.gov/healthinfo/environhealth/water/pages/shellfish.aspx.
Question: I am disabled and confined to a wheelchair and am trying to obtain a general sport fishing license. The rules seem to require someone in my position to go to a license sales office, which would be difficult as I live in San Francisco.
Answer: You can complete the Free Sport Fishing License Application (which requires a physician’s signature) found online at wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing and return the form with a copy of your identification (DMV ID, passport or birth certificate) to any CDFW license sales office listed on the back of the form. The office will then enter your information into the system and mail you back a license. You also may renew your license at any CDFW license agent, CDFW license sales office or online.
NOTE: Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. She can be contacted at CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.gov .