HUNT/FISH - LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
SACRAMENTO — As of Jan. 1, several new laws sponsored or supported by the California Outdoor Heritage Alliance (COHA) have gone into effect which will benefit hunters and provide more hunting opportunity in the field.
First, penalties for hunter harassment have appropriately been increased to a possible misdemeanor on the first offense, while field trials and related hunting dog training are now legally protected activities.
Also, commercial hunting club license fees imposed by the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) have been substantially reduced, with most hunting clubs seeing their annual fees cut nearly in half.
In addition, California’s private lands hunting program (SHARE Program) has finally been formally established as a statewide program, paving the way for significant new hunting opportunity for the public in future years.
Other positive legal changes written by COHA include new laws which: a) reduce penalties for hunters who have been cited for not having their hunting license in the field, but who can produce it in court; b) allow hunters to shoot across roads and other ways open to the public when it can be done in a reasonably safe manner; c) make it a crime to remove the collar of a hunting dog without written permission of the owner; and, d) require the Wildlife Conservation Board, in acquiring land for hunting and fishing purposes, to take into consideration those areas of the state most in need of increased hunting and fishing access.
COHA also teamed with DFG to substantially increase penalties and fines for egregious cases of poaching. Violators can now face tens of thousands of dollars in fines and possibly have their hunting license revoked for life.
COHA thanks Assembly Members Tom Berryhill (D-Modesto) and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) for their considerable efforts to support and pass these legislative provisions.