Q: Many sporting goods stores ran out of copper and steel ammunition early in the pandemic. How can hunters keep using the right ammunition?
A: It’s true that finding non-toxic hunting ammunition as required by California law has been a real challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several factors have contributed to the ammunition shortage over the past two years, including global supply chain issues, a lack of raw materials such as steel, bismuth, nickel and copper, and huge demand among consumers who bought – and often hoarded – ammunition from all. types and genera.
The good news in the spring of 2022 is that the availability of non-toxic hunting ammunition seems to be increasing at most sporting goods stores. Availability will likely depend on the type of ammo you are looking for and the time of year. Non-toxic ammunition for standard and popular rifle calibers and shotgun calibers may be easier to find in the brand and configuration you want compared to under-gauge rifle calibers and shotguns more specialized.
Likewise, it will be difficult to find loads of doves and non-poisonous deer rounds just before these seasons open. The best advice we can give you is not to wait for hunting season to buy ammunition. Dove and deer hunters, for example, should start researching now for seasons that open in September and may need to adjust their expectations of finding their preferred brand and cartridge.
Additionally, different types of metals are used today to make non-toxic ammunition beyond copper and steel. You may be able to find non-toxic ammunition more easily if you broaden your search to include options such as bismuth, tungsten, and metal alloys. These alternative metals can be even more effective than steel or lead; the downside is that they are often more expensive too.
If you find the non-toxic ammunition of your choice online or at an out-of-state sporting goods store, you can work with your local Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder or your authorized ammunition supplier to have the ammunition shipped to you and transferred to California. Authorized retailers in California generally charge a small processing fee for this service.
Q: I heard there are new regulations for the California grunion. What should I know?
A: Effective June 1, 2022, the new regulations add the month of June to the seasonal closure with no grunion levy. The closure now runs from April 1 to June 30. In addition, a bag and possession limit of 30 grunions per person has been created. See CDFW’s press release for more information.
During open season, a California fishing license is required for those 16 and older. Grunion can only be taken by hand. No nets or devices of any kind may be used to collect grunions, and no holes may be dug in the beach to trap them. Visit the CDFW grunion webpage for species information, a schedule of scheduled races and regulatory information.
Q: I was at a public event where an organization was handing out a desert tortoise care sheet with instructions on how to care for a tortoise as a pet. Isn’t the desert tortoise a protected species?
A: Yes, the desert tortoise is listed as an endangered species under federal and California endangered species laws, and is currently under consideration for listing as endangered in California. It is illegal to remove desert tortoises from the wild, but some people had desert tortoises as pets before the law was enacted. Possession of a desert tortoise requires a license and license tag from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) – this is how wildlife officers would determine if a desert tortoise is legally owned.
Once in captivity as a pet, desert tortoises can never be released back into the wild because they frequently contract a respiratory disease that can decimate already declining wild populations. For this reason, pet turtles that have been abandoned can sometimes be legally rehomed. More information can be found on the California Turtle and Tortoise Club website.