Will Mechanical Duck Decoys
Be Regulated?
The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is planning public hearings in Sacramento, Oakland, Long Beach and Redding regarding the possible regulation of mechanical duck decoys in California. The Fish and Game Commission will also discuss and possibly decide the issue at regularly scheduled meetings.

The first DFG meeting is scheduled for Friday, May 4, in Sacramento, at the Resources Building Auditorium, 1416 Ninth Street, from 6 to 8 p.m.

In the last two years, the use of mechanical duck decoys — also known as spinning-wing decoys, "moto-ducks" or "roto-ducks" — has increased, and so has the debate about whether they should be permitted for waterfowl hunting. Some hunters claim that widespread use of the devices will dramatically increase the waterfowl harvest, resulting in the need to reduce bag limits and seasons. Others, however, feel the devices will help recruit and maintain hunters by increasing hunter success.

DFG, in cooperation with the University of California at Davis; California Waterfowl Association; United States Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division; the Central Valley Habitat Joint Venture; and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has been collecting and assessing data on the possible impact of these devices. Data includes information on the harvest, harvest rates, and the population status of ducks breeding and wintering in California. In reports to the Fish and Game Commission, the DFG has not, to date, been able to discern any biological effect. However, results from last year's hunting season and other yet-to-be completed assessments, may warrant a different conclusion and the DFG may be making recommendations to the Fish and Game Commission regarding mechanical decoy use in the 2001-2002 waterfowl hunting seasons.

The second workshop is scheduled for the Long Beach City Hall in the City Council Chambers, 333 West Ocean Blvd., May 7, from 6 to 8 p.m.

On May 8, a meeting is scheduled at the City of Redding Civic Center, 777 Cypress Ave., Community Room, from 6 to 8 p.m.

On May 10, a meeting will be held in the auditorium, Elihu Harris State Building, 1515 Clay St., Oakland, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The Fish and Game Commission has also scheduled three meetings to discuss and adopt hunting regulations for waterfowl. These meetings are scheduled for June 15 at the Memorial Hall in Bridgeport; August 4, a Saturday, at the Resources Building Auditorium in Sacramento; and on August 24 in Santa Barbara at the City Council Chambers.

For more information, contact the Commission at (916) 653-4899 or through the Internet at www.dfg.ca.gov/fg_comm/index.html.

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