CA Primitive-Only Tag?

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Nuthatch

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I'm kicking around an idea to propose to the CA DFW that involves muzzleloaders and am curious to get feedback from folks all over the country -- shoot some big 72-bore holes in this idea if you like. All critiques are welcome, especially the harsh but thoughtful ones. I'd prefer to keep this intelligent and off of politics. Admittedly, there are bound to be a few things I haven't thought through very well. This is the time to enlighten me & discuss.

Here in CA, we have an Archery-Only deer tag, that allows the holder to hunt virtually any non-lottery zone (A, B & D zones) during their open seasons provided the tag holder only hunts with archery gear. It's buck-only, just like the zones themselves, and has the same season dates. An AO tag holder can hunt any of these zones just like a holder of a zone-specific tag. But their method of take must be archery. These tags are virtually over-the-counter and have poor success rates (less than 5%), meaning hunters who buy AO tags don't usually fill them so they have a negligible effect on the populations wherever they hunt.

What I'm brainstorming is to propose a Primitive-Only (PO) tag, which would operate similarly to the AO tag in that holders can hunt the A, B & D zones but with the restriction of only allowing only traditional archery gear (longbow or recurve, no compound) during the archery season and open-sighted, traditional (sidelock, not inline) muzzleloaders or traditional archery during the general season. Given that traditional archers typically have an effective range of about 20-25 yards for most people and traditional muzzleloaders with open sights typically run somewhere <100 yards, I fail to see how it could negatively impact harvest rates much more than AO tag holders, on the average. An AO tag holder would have the added advantage of being able to use a compound during the archery seasons but a PO tag holder could use a muzzleloader during the general while an AO tag holder would still be stuck with some kind of bow. Seems to me they'd wash out.

Part of the motive is dealing with fire closures. My home-zone was closed all last season due to fires. Others are closed this year for the same reason. The PO & AO tags give people the ability to change zones if their primary location is closed down due to the USFS (not CDFW) closing public lands in the area. People have been lobbing complaints at CDFW for not being able to hunt at all. But the complaints are largely misplaced -- CDFW can't control what the USFS does on their land. We can all only adapt (and harass the USFS when they overstep). It also could give CDFW the chance to rescue some revenue from hunters who might be inclined to hunt out of state until these fires stop becoming such a major issue. I don't know how much revenue that could save but I doubt it's too much. Most people still like the convenience and ease of more modern arms.

I understand that some numbskull could shoot a buck with a compound and then say he took it with a longbow. Another could shoot a buck with a centerfire but say he took it with a muzzleloader. But they could do worse than that already -- using a centerfire rifle and then saying they took it with a longbow. There is little enforcement on the method of take restrictions other than what very few wardens can observe in the field. I'll occasionally hear rifle shots during the archery season and I haven't seen a warden in the field during the deer season in my 20+ years afield. There have been a few checkpoints setup in the past but I haven't seen one for about a decade. Bottom line, if you're caught carrying a tag and a weapon that doesn't match, you get busted. Otherwise, it's mostly an honor system as it is. So I don't see how it could be any different with a PO tag vs the current AO tags.

Projectiles must be lead-free here -- no change. At this point, there are several options for sidelock hunters -- anything from ITX & Bi roundball, a full-bore conical and even fast-twist barrels on sidelock arms (Traditions) to allow for shooting sabots, which have the widest availability in the local stores. It shouldn't piss off the compound guys too much since they already have AO tags at their disposal. But may be they'd feel that they now have to compete with travelling flintlock hunters. It may piss off in-line guys who will be excluded from the opportunity. But some of these modern in-lines are about as close to traditional arms as a compound is to a selfbow. So, to make sure that the harvest rates aren't impacted, some further restrictions seem in order.

So, your thoughts, if you would be so kind as to share them.
 
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I'm kicking around an idea to propose to the CA DFW that involves muzzleloaders and am curious to get feedback from folks all over the country -- shoot some big 72-bore holes in this idea if you like. All critiques are welcome, especially the harsh but thoughtful ones. I'd prefer to keep this intelligent and off of politics. Admittedly, there are bound to be a few things I haven't thought through very well. This is the time to enlighten me & discuss.

Here in CA, we have an Archery-Only deer tag, that allows the holder to hunt virtually any non-lottery zone (A, B & D zones) during their open seasons provided the tag holder only hunts with archery gear. It's buck-only, just like the zones themselves, and has the same season dates. An AO tag holder can hunt any of these zones just like a holder of a zone-specific tag. But their method of take must be archery. These tags are virtually over-the-counter and have poor success rates (less than 5%), meaning hunters who buy AO tags don't usually fill them so they have a negligible effect on the populations wherever they hunt.

What I'm brainstorming is to propose a Primitive-Only (PO) tag, which would operate similarly to the AO tag in that holders can hunt the A, B & D zones but with the restriction of only allowing only traditional archery gear (longbow or recurve, no compound) during the archery season and open-sighted, traditional (sidelock, not inline) muzzleloaders or traditional archery during the general season. Given that traditional archers typically have an effective range of about 20-25 yards for most people and traditional muzzleloaders with open sights typically run somewhere <100 yards, I fail to see how it could negatively impact harvest rates much more than AO tag holders, on the average. An AO tag holder would have the added advantage of being able to use a compound during the archery seasons but a PO tag holder could use a muzzleloader during the general while an AO tag holder would still be stuck with some kind of bow. Seems to me they'd wash out.

Part of the motive is dealing with fire closures. My home-zone was closed all last season due to fires. Others are closed this year for the same reason. The PO & AO tags give people the ability to change zones if their primary location is closed down due to the USFS (not CDFW) closing public lands in the area. People have been lobbing complaints at CDFW for not being able to hunt at all. But the complaints are largely misplaced -- CDFW can't control what the USFS does on their land. We can all only adapt (and harass the USFS when they overstep). It also could give CDFW the chance to rescue some revenue from hunters who might be inclined to hunt out of state until these fires stop becoming such a major issue. I don't know how much revenue that could save but I doubt it's too much. Most people still like the convenience and ease of more modern arms.

I understand that some numbskull could shoot a buck with a compound and then say he took it with a longbow. Another could shoot a buck with a centerfire but say he took it with a muzzleloader. But they could do worse than that already -- using a centerfire rifle and then saying they took it with a longbow. There is little enforcement on the method of take restrictions other than what very few wardens can observe in the field. I'll occasionally hear rifle shots during the archery season and I haven't seen a warden in the field during the deer season in my 20+ years afield. There have been a few checkpoints setup in the past but I haven't seen one for about a decade. Bottom line, if you're caught carrying a tag and a weapon that doesn't match, you get busted. Otherwise, it's mostly an honor system as it is. So I don't see how it could be any different with a PO tag vs the current AO tags.

Projectiles must be lead-free here -- no change. At this point, there are several options for sidelock hunters -- anything from ITX & Bi roundball, a full-bore conical and even fast-twist barrels on sidelock arms (Traditions) to allow for shooting sabots, which have the widest availability in the local stores. It shouldn't piss off the compound guys too much since they already have AO tags at their disposal. But may be they'd feel that they now have to compete with travelling flintlock hunters. It may piss off in-line guys who will be excluded from the opportunity. But some of these modern in-lines are about as close to traditional arms as a compound is to a selfbow. So, to make sure that the harvest rates aren't impacted, some further restrictions seem in order.

So, your thoughts, if you would be so kind as to share them.
I am sure there will be replies .. good and bad ... but I want to thank you for a well thought out post. I am in Oklahoma so am not affected by Cal rules. Dale
 
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I like your idea. Not sure how much most game departments care about traditionalists, but it cannot hurt to try.

Probably not tons of these out there, but underhammers should be included along with sidelocks. More fine tuned definition may be needed to really ensure that only traditional equipment is legal. One thing is for sure...the "cheaters" will try to find every way possible to bend a definition to "modernize" it.
 
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It seems the main hassle with any ML firearm in the view of the parks/wildlife powers that be would be fire caused by patch material, etc. The saboted bullet in a sidelock/underhammer gun may help get you in the door; you have a great idea that is probably beyond the comfort zone of well entrenched authority. I'd try to contact my representative and senator and politely explain the personal benefits for him or her in backing legislation for your (their) idea. They love to get press on their bills that pass, regardless of how stupid, which yours is most certainly not. You are up against the old 'city liberal' vs country conservative so you must find a way to make it appealing to those who otherwise despise hunting and only spend outdoor time feeding voters barbeque. I like your idea, and wish you the best. P.S. It is not a matter of how many game wardens you see, its a matter of how many see you when you think Big Brother isn't looking! The only thing sneakier than a warden is a sniper, or Bigfoot, LOL!
 
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I like your idea. Not sure how much most game departments care about traditionalists, but it cannot hurt to try.

Probably not tons of these out there, but underhammers should be included along with sidelocks. More fine tuned definition may be needed to really ensure that only traditional equipment is legal. One thing is for sure...the "cheaters" will try to find every way possible to bend a definition to "modernize" it.
And how about hammer in lines? We know inline ignition goes way back, but wood stock, iron sights and hammer ignition can be pretty primitive... Just a thought. (Don't shoot me, I just have a shotgun like that, lol!)
 

Nuthatch

40 Cal
Joined
Feb 19, 2019
Messages
389
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379
Location
CA
It seems the main hassle with any ML firearm in the view of the parks/wildlife powers that be would be fire caused by patch material, etc. The saboted bullet in a sidelock/underhammer gun may help get you in the door; you have a great idea that is probably beyond the comfort zone of well entrenched authority. I'd try to contact my representative and senator and politely explain the personal benefits for him or her in backing legislation for your (their) idea. They love to get press on their bills that pass, regardless of how stupid, which yours is most certainly not. You are up against the old 'city liberal' vs country conservative so you must find a way to make it appealing to those who otherwise despise hunting and only spend outdoor time feeding voters barbeque. I like your idea, and wish you the best. P.S. It is not a matter of how many game wardens you see, its a matter of how many see you when you think Big Brother isn't looking! The only thing sneakier than a warden is a sniper, or Bigfoot, LOL!
Good thoughts. Thankfully, the USFS published their own study where they determined that the risk of black powder firearms is very small. The highest risk of smoldering patches really only occurs with dry patches, which most people don’t use. Since this came from the USFS and is published on their website, I figured we’d likely face little opposition on that issue.

Here it is, if you’d like to take a look.

Enforcement-wise, it’s a moot point. Most people, including myself, follow the regs and encourage others to do so. By and large, the honor system works.
 
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