Q&A: Bang Sticks for Self Defense Against Sharks

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Posted by California Department of Fish and Game on April 25, 2011 at 11:43:54:

California Department of Fish and Game News Release

Question: We are spearfish divers and are wondering if bang sticks or power heads are legal to use in self-defense against sharks approaching us? They are like a fold-out stick with a bullet at the end. You press the stick against a shark if it comes in too short, and it fires. There are many companies that will ship them to California but I heard they are a firearm and must be registered. I've also heard that because of what they are used for, they are legal and don't need to be registered. I've called a few local police departments to ask but they have no idea. (Christopher)

Answer: California Fish and Game law does not prohibit possession of these devices. However, according to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) retired Captain Phil Nelms, bang sticks and/or power heads that use an explosive cartridge are firearms. Firearms are not a legal method of take for sharks and can't be used to take or land sharks, or any other species of fish.

Question: The new automated licensing system requires that a driver license or ID card be presented in order to issue a fishing license and sturgeon report card. Children are required to have their own report card. However, children do not have ID cards. How does a child get a report card or a fishing license if they do not have a driver license at the age of 17 or 18, as many city residents do not? (Jared K.)

Answer: You are correct in that children are required to have their own report card if they are fishing in waters or for species that require a report card. Children 15 years and younger are entered into the new automated licensing system under their parent's or guardian's ID number. When they obtain a California ID or California driver license, then that number will be entered into their personal information in the system.

Individuals 16 years and older are required to have a sport fishing license. They will need to provide identification for their fishing license via one of the following (as per CCR Title 14, Section 700 4(b)):

Any applicant applying for any license, tag, permit, reservation or other entitlement issued via the ALDS shall provide valid identification. Acceptable forms of identification include:

Valid driver license or state-issued identification card
U.S. Birth Certificate
U.S. Certificate or Report of Birth Abroad
INS American Indian Card
Birth Certificate or passport issued from a U.S. Territory
U.S. Passport
U.S. Military Identification Cards (active or reserve duty, dependent, retired member, discharged from service or medical/religious personnel)
Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship
Previously issued ALDS license

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