BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                              1

          |                                                                 |
          |                Senator Darrell Steinberg, Chair                 |
          |                    2007-2008 Regular Session                    |
          |                                                                 |

          BILL NO:  AB 2132                  HEARING DATE:  June 10, 2008
          AUTHOR:  Houston                   URGENCY:  no
          VERSION:  June 2, 2008             CONSULTANT:  Bill Craven
          DUAL REFERRAL:  no                 FISCAL:  yes
          SUBJECT:  Wildlife: hunting 
          Existing laws for hunting and fishing in California are  
          contained in the Fish and Game Code and regulations of the  
          Department of Fish and Game and the California Fish and Game  

          An existing provision makes it unlawful to enter lands that are  
          posted with signs forbidding trespassing for the purpose of  
          hunting, without written permission from the owner, provided the  
          signs are posted in accordance with the law, which, among other  
          criteria, requires 3 signs posted per mile.  

          Existing law also provides for an archery season for deer under  
          regulations established by the commission. 

          Existing law prohibits a hunter from intentionally firing a  
          weapon across any public road in an unsafe manner. 

          PROPOSED LAW
          This bill would make changes in each of the existing provisions  
          noted above. Additionally, the bill proposes a new section in  
          the Fish and Game Code pertaining to lost hunting dogs. 

          As for lands posted with "no trespassing" signs, the bill  
          proposes to require signage to be posted at an interval of 1  
          sign per 1/3 mile and that such signs be at least 8  x 11  
          inches in size. 

          The bill would amend the bow hunting provisions for deer hunting  
          by directing the commission to develop regulations that permit  


          bow hunters to use one dog per hunter to aid in the recovery of  

          The bill proposes that the standard by which unsafe firing of a  
          weapon across any public road should be changed from negligence  
          to a "grossly" unsafe manner, and adds the qualification that  
          the discharge "could result in injury or death to a person using  
          the public road or established way. Adding "or established way"  
          is also proposed new language. 

          The bill proposes a new section that prohibits the unapproved  
          removal of a dog's tag, with the intention to prevent or hinder  
          the owner from locating the dog. A court may order a convicted  
          defendant of paying damages for the actual value of the dog and  
          any lost breeding revenues. 

          The sponsors contend that re-stating the signage requirement  
          will result in a more even distribution of signs and will help  
          prevent the occasional practice of some landowners of grouping  
          such signs so closely that hunters are not fully aware of the  
          affected property lines. The sponsors suggest that the  
          trespassing violations, which are relatively common, will be  
          reduced when the posting of property is undertaken more  
          uniformly and at better defined intervals. 

          The provision pertaining to the use of a dog for bow hunters to  
          help retrieve deer would parallel a similar provision that  
          applies to deer hunters who use firearms. A dog can help a  
          hunter more easily locate and recover downed game. 

          The new provision that would penalize the unauthorized removal  
          of a dog's collar is a response of the sponsors to situations in  
          other states in which members of the public have apparently  
          removed electronic collars from hunting dogs while they are in  
          the field. A handful of states have passed legislation  
          penalizing this conduct. The sponsors note that such activities  
          are uncommon in California, but that California has taken other  
          preventative steps with regard to undesirable hunting activities  
          such as the ban of computer-assisted remote hunting in 2005. The  
          California Outdoor Heritage Alliance states that a hunting dog  
          may cost thousands of dollars in training, maintenance, and  
          veterinary care. 



          The Committee received a letter of opposition that contained no  
          substantive information from the California Federation for  
          Animal Legislation. 


          1. Staff suggests a technical amendment to clarify that the  
          provisions concerning the removal of a dog's collar be limited  
          to hunting dogs. The first suggested amendment would accomplish  
          this objective. 

          2. The Committee should be aware that the proposed amendment to  
          section 3004 would change the standard by which the intentional  
          discharge of a firearm across any public road or other  
          established way is considered. Existing law says such discharge  
          is unlawful if it was "unsafe." The amendment proposes that the  
          standard should be "in a grossly unsafe manner that could result  
          in injury or death to a person using the public road or  
          established way." Staff is flagging this issue for the attention  
          of the Committee and prepared an amendment in case the Committee  
          or the author desires to make a change in this language. 

          It clearly seems reasonable to add "or established way" to this  

          As to the changed negligence standard, the Committee should know  
          that this subdivision in its current form was added last year as  
          part of an Assembly omnibus bill that contained numerous changes  
          to the Fish and Game Code. 

          In a non-hunting context, the negligence standard seems to be  
          also one of "gross negligence." Section 246.3(a) of the Penal  
          Code provides that "Except as otherwise authorized by law, any  
          person who willfully discharges a firearm in a grossly negligent  
          manner which could result in injury or death to a person is  
          guilty of a public offense and shall be punished by imprisonment  
          in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment in  
          the state prison." 


          AMENDMENT 1 


          Page 2, line 4, add "hunting" before the "dog" and Page 2, line  
          8, add "hunting" before "dog" and Page 2, line 11 add "hunting"  
          before "dog."  
          AMENDMENT 2 
          Should the author or the committee determine to delete the  
          changed negligence standard and revert to existing law, that  
          could be accomplished by amending the proposed amendment to  
          Section 3004 by deleting the words "in a grossly" and by  
          deleting "that could result in injury or death to a person using  
          the public road or established way." 

          California Houndsmen for Conservation
          California Outdoor Heritage Association
          Delta Waterfowl Foundation 
          Lower Sherman Island Duck Hunters Association 
          California Deer Association 
          Mule Deer Foundation 

          Animal Switchboard
          California Federation for Animal Legislation