Q: How many crime tips does the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) receive each year through CALTIP?
A: CALTIP, which stands for Californians Turn in Poachers and Polluters, was started in 1981 to serve as a tool for the public to report crimes involving wildlife - including plants, habitat and pollution. It is essentially a secret witness program where concerned citizens can report crimes and choose to remain anonymous.
CALTIP receives about 6,000 reports per calendar year. In 2015, CALTIP incorporated TIP411 as a tool for reporting violations using text, a phone app, or the “Report Poachers and Polluters” link on CDFW’s homepage. Currently about 2,000 reports are submitted via TIP411 per calendar year.
Reporting through CALTIP allows the public to be additional eyes and ears for CDFW’s wildlife officers while helping to protect California state resources from those who choose to act illegally by unlawfully killing animals, uprooting protected plants or polluting California waterways, for example.
The four ways to submit a crime tip through CALTIP or TIP411 are:
- Call 1-888-334-2258 (1-888-334-CALTIP)
- Use the free CALTIP smartphone app available at wildlife.ca.gov/Enforcement/CalTIP
- Use the “Report a Violation Online” link located on the CALTIP page at wildlife.ca.gov/Enforcement/CalTIP
To learn more, watch the Advanced Hunter Education CALTIP webinar (YouTube) on CDFW’s YouTube page.
Q: I’m a new hunter and plan on hunting upland game birds and small animals like rabbits and squirrels. I’ve been told that my shotgun needs to be “plugged.” What does that mean?
A: Wildlife regulations require that shotguns used for the take of game mammals and birds be restricted to a maximum capacity of three shotgun shells. This means that the total capacity of the shotgun, including the magazine and chamber, cannot exceed three shells. As some shotguns come from the factory “un-plugged” (able to accept more than three shells), you must check your shotgun to see how many shells it will hold. If it holds more than three, you must buy (or make) a plug to restrict the magazine capacity. See California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 14, section 311(a), which states:
“Shotguns 10 gauge or smaller using shot shells only and incapable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined. If a plug is used to reduce the capacity of a magazine to fulfill the requirements of this section, the plug must be of one-piece construction incapable of removal without disassembling the gun.”
Also see CCR, Title 14, section 353(d), and CCR, Title 14, section 507(a)(4).
Q: Would CDFW support the idea of re-introducing grizzly bears into California?
A: While it is an interesting concept, CDFW isn’t convinced that reintroducing the grizzly into present day California is a good idea because of California’s high human population and intensive urban development throughout much of what was historically prime grizzly habitat.
Historically, grizzly bears inhabited the foothills, valleys and coastal areas. Inland, they could be found wherever there was an abundance of anadromous fish, acorns or large herds of pronghorn antelope and tule elk. Along the coast, they could be found wherever there was an abundance of marine mammals and invertebrates. These places have been subject to development. For example, major freeways have been constructed and the landscape no longer provides suitable space for grizzlies to roam. California already faces issues of wildlife connectivity, urban-wildland interface problems and vehicular deaths with species that currently exist. We believe reintroducing grizzlies would exacerbate these problems.
CDFW also has public safety concerns. California’s Sierra Nevada is not like a Yellowstone ecosystem. The Sierra Nevada entertains millions more visitors annually. More people live, play and work there. Human-wildlife and depredation conflicts involving species such as mountain lions, black bears and coyotes are on the rise throughout California creating a heavy workload on department staff. We fear that the reintroduction of grizzly bears would add to this burden.