California. Dept. of Fish and Game.

California fish and game (Volume 1954-1956) online

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captains. Recognizing the need for additional person-
nel, the Legislature authorized an increment of 30
wardens and six captains. Plans were made for the new
personnel to join the department in the 1956-57 Fiscal
^ ear, and a wardens' training program was under-

Departmental in-service training began in March,
1955, at the wildlife protection supervisor level. By
the close of the biennium training had been given
through the warden level, and training classes, com-
prised of personnel from the various branches, had
been inaugurated. Plans were formulated for the
training of new wardens and captans authorized in the
1956-57 Budget.

Consideration was given to a method of time report-
ing w hich would reflect the amount of time spent bv
w ardens in carrying out various components of their
jobs. It is anticipated that the labor distribution system
drawn up will be put into use early in 1957.


Arrests for violations of fish and game laws in-
creased over those made during the previous biennium
by 15 percent. The tendency of the public to travel
greater distances in search of hunting and fishing recre-
ation, the opening of formerly inaccessible areas
through construction of logging roads and unimproved
thoroughfares and the increased use of rugged vehicles
capable of penetrating into remote places all had their
impact on the arrest record.

Some of the persons apprehended had violated fish
and game law s apparently only because they had trav-
eled a long way from home and wanted to return
with amounts of fish or game in keeping with the
effort thev had expended in reaching their chosen
hunting or fishing area. Others found themselves in
almost virgin hunting and fishing areas where compe-
tition w as light and populations of fish or game heavy.
Thev succumbed to temptation.

Since it is true that fish and game law violations are
committed by a small minority of the hunting and
angling public, the number of hunters and fishermen
afield during the biennium is evidenced by the arrest
figures: 8,775 in the 1954-55 Fiscal Year, 9,427 in

California courts assessed an average individual fine
of S31.57 during the 1954-56 biennium. Total fines
collected during the two-year period of this report
amounted to 1574,596.10, a decline of 2.4 percent from
fines of the previous biennium. The number of cases

dismissed b>' the courts, or in which the defendant
was found not guilt\' after a trial, amounted to 172—
only .94 of 1 percent.


\ table in this section lists fish and game offenses
b\ t>pe during the biennium. Although arrests for
angling without a license were the largest single type
of offense, as usual, it is noteworthy that loaded guns
in motor vehicles accounted for the appearance of
2,67.'> persons in court.

Incredible as it ma>' seem, an average of more than
three persons each day during the two-year period
deliberately risked their lives and the lives of others
for the doubtful expediency of convenience or haste.

Sales by public auction of hunting and fishing equip-
ment ordered forfeited by the courts as a result of con-
\iction of fish and game violations, as well as revenues
derived from the sale of confiscated fish, totaled $39,-
257.71. Of this amount, $20,623.15 was received from
the sale of fish and lobsters taken illegally, while an
additional $2,612 was deposited in the Fish and Game
Preservation Fund as the result of the sale of nets
seized in Southern California waters and later awarded
tfi the Department of Fish and Game by superior
court action.

Neither arrest records nor statistics of fines, jail
sentences and other penalties give an adequate view
of the work of California's wardens in the law en-
forcement phase of their activities. Program cost
figures developed in 1955 showed that wardens devote
approximately 70 percent of their total work load to
law encorcement. The Department of Finance showed
that wardens in 1954 worked an average day in excess
of 1 2 hours, without compensation for any time given
in excess of the required eight hours. There has been
no change in the wardens' activities which would
account for a reduction in the number of uncompen-
sated hours put in since that time. On horseback, in
autos, by boat and airplane, wardens covered hundreds
of thousands of miles, many of them in remote and
uninhabited areas, in making their rounds of Cali-
fornia's fish and game areas. Much of the time the
warden was necessarily alone, performing his job
creditably under often difficult conditions.


Significant changes occurred in the habits of Cali-
fornia's fishermen during the biennium, and peremp-
tory attention was focused on ultimate development
of the State's water resources. New fisheries, length-
ening of the seasons and enlargement of areas in which
anglers could successfully pursue their sport, gained
rapidly in popularity.

Critical water shortages in Southern California,
coupled with that area's huge increase in hunting and
fishing license holders, resulted in changed patrol pat-
terns bv both land and marine wardens.

Marine warden in acfion in Southern California.

CFish and Game Photo)

As a number of reservoirs and streams dropped to
such low water levels that fishing activities were either
curtailed or halted, land patrol effort was shifted to
newly developed reservoirs and more stable existing
impoundments where new angling pressures built up.


Marine patrol acquired additional burdens as many
Southern Californians turned from the dwindling in-
land waters to the ocean for their fishing recreation
and the increasing dollar value of some scarce com-
mercial fish species spurred the catch efforts of the
commercial fishing fleet. Large ocean areas off the
south coast, where the use of nets is either restricted
or banned, required constant attention by patrol craft.

Market conditions in the tuna industry made the
landing of undersize tuna attractive to boat and can-
nery operators, but heavy patrol was maintained and
over 200,000 pounds of undersize tuna were seized
and given to charitable and public institutions during
the biennium.

Many Southern Californians who turned to ocean
sport fishing were new residents from states where
ocean angling is not available or where an ocean an-
gling license is not required. This unfamiliarity with
California law by newly arrived citizens caused ma-
rine w ardens to spend a large amount of time in the
enforcenient of angling license laws. In Southern Cali-



fornia, 1,957 convictions were obtained for angling
license violations alone.


In order to rehabilitate potentially good spawning
streams, the value of which was destroyed through
stream obstructions, debris accumulations and other
poor logging practices, wardens in the northern part
of the State assisted materially during the biennium
in the survey of all streams in Regions I and III to
determine the effect of logging on fish habitats. Spe-
cial periodic surveys of the Klamath River were made
to check on the operation of log dumps. Bark traps
were inspected and log rafts watched for possible
effects on fishlife.

Section 482.5 of the Fish and Game Code provides
that "No person shall cause or permit to exist any log
jam or debris accumulation * * * in any stream * *
in Del Norte, Siskiyou, Trinity, Humboldt, Mendo-
cino, Sonoma, and Marin Counties, which will prevent
the passing of fish up and down stream or which is
deleterious to fish * * *." In certain critical situations
arrests were made for violations of 482.5 and success-
ful prosecution followed.

To aid in the maintenance of present good spawn-
ing streams and in the restoration of others which had
become impassable to migrating steeihead and salmon
because of man-made barriers, wardens conferred
with timber operators in an effort to reconcile the
needs of spawning fish with the demand for more
lumber to meet requirements throughout the mush-
rooming State. While much remains to be done, prog-
ress was made in safeguarding streams vital to the
future of steeihead and salmon.

The Striped Bass Problem

In the years following the end of World War II,
fishing pressure for .striped bass in the Sacramento-
San Joaquin Delta region has more than doubled in
intensity. In the same period, the striped bass popula-
tion has been on a slow and steady downward trend.
To safeguard this important fishery, the Fish and
Game Commission in February, 1956, raised the mini-
mum legal length of striped bass from 12 to 16 inches.

Wardens in the delta area intensified their patrol of
rivers and sloughs to insure compliance with the length
requirement. At the same time, inspections of fish
markets and restaurants were stepped up to discourage
the illegal sale of stripers, and netting operations were
closely watched to prevent the retention of this fish
which may not be taken commercially.

During the biennium a game fish long overlooked
by anglers gained rapidly in popularity. Shad, present
in the State since 1871, at last began to attract interest
by a large number of fishermen. One favorite method
of taking shad is by means of dip nets during night
hours. Since shad is the only species of game fish which

may be so taken, wardens directed their attention to
adequate patrol of this expanding sport, in order to
protect other species of fish present during shad runs.

Pollution Laws Enforced

Increasing industrialization of the State resulted in
expanding water pollution problems. In the San Fran-
cisco and Los Angeles areas particularly, pollution
problems are chronic. One warden in the former city
and two in the latter are assigned primarily to enforce-
ment of antipollution laws. During the biennium they
remained constantly busy in the investigation of com-
plaints, attendance at conferences and regional water
pollution control board meetings, and prosecution in
court of wilful violations of laws designed to main-
tain the purity of state waters.

Protection of salmon, the most important sport fish
taken north of Monterey, accounted for heavy patrol
effort. In 1955 the Fish and Game Comnussion
changed sport salmon regulations so that it was no
longer permissible for ocean anglers to retain one
salmon under the minimum length of 22 inches.
Wardens concerned themselves with inspections on
sport fishing boats to insure that the legal length was

The mounting popularity of salmon fishing both in
ocean waters and in the Sacramento River system
required wardens to maintain constant vigilance over
spawning beds during the autumn and winter months.
Many hours on foot, by car or boat, or aloft in the
department's aircraft were expended to insure that
salmon would not be molested during the critical


Changes and additions to game seasons did not alter
the wardens' work patterns during the biennium as
noticeably as did conversions in fishing habits. How-
ever, the opening of seasons on some previously un-
hunted species and special hunts to reduce deer and
elk herds in certain areas affected the over-all work
load of the Wildlife Protection Branch.

checking a hunter's bag is only one of the many duties of a game


(Fish and Ciame Photo)

First Chukar Season

In autumn of 1954 the first open season on chukar
partridges in California began, extending for four days.
Because of the tendency of this bird to frequent semi-
aiid mountainous regions, hunters were dispersed and
patrol was necessitated over a wide area. In 1955 the
chukar season was increased to 16 days, coinciding
\\ith the state-wide pheasant season. Because of the
critical need for patrol of pheasant habitat, especially
cooperative hunting areas, during the open season, it
has proved fortunate that the chukar is not taken with-
out a great deal of hard work by the hunter.

A two-day sage grouse season occurred in Lassen
and Modoc Counties in both autumns of the biennium.
Because the inland deer season had not yet begun in
either year, little conflict with the need to patrol deer
areas resulted, except to watch the activities of those
w ho might be inclined to take deer illegally because
their shooting w ould be masked b\' gunfire of grouse

During 1955 a special elk hunt was held to remove
surplus animals from Inyo County. There were 150
permits issued, and wardens were assigned especially
to patrol the county during the term of the hunt.

Special winter and antlerless deer hunts conducted
during the biennium required an intensive patrol by
wardens assigned to this duty. In 1954 some 3,625
permits to take anterless deer were issued; in 1955
permits approximated 16,170. Hunts of this type give
rise to a number of violations by a small minority, and
w ardens were active in insuring game law observance.

Operating procedures on state cooperative hunting
areas were changed during the biennium. The changes
resulted during the 1955 season in a decrease in the
number of wardens assigned to the areas in 1954.
Although the changes did not decrease the total
number of enforcement personnel in the areas (since
department employees other than wardens were as-
signed to perform law enforcement duties), it was
possible for more wardens to effectively patrol the
State at large during this particularly busy period of
November hunting.


Of each warden's day, some 30 percent is spent in
wildlife conservation activities other than nominal law
enforcement. Critical review of operations b\- the de-
partment during the biennium, aimed at rendering
greater service for the same amount of money per
license bu\er, resulted in the addition of a number
of tasks to the warden's variety of duties.

During 1955 wardens added to their back-country
patrols the responsibility for inspection and opera-
tion of stream flow maintenance dams. This job, pre-
viously done by Inland Fisheries personnel, could
more economically be performed by wardens while

Warden E. C. Fullerton models the standardized uniform adopted dur-
ing the biennium by the department.

(Fish and Game Photo)

patroling the remote lakes and impoundments. In-
spection and maintenance of the dams include the
removal of debris from spillways, adjustment of water
flow and the rendering of reports on the need for
dam repair.

Performance of this job by wardens while on rou-
tine patrol did away with the need for Inland Fish-
eries personnel to schedule valuable peak-season days
to this activity at a time when tourist demands for
pack stock are heavy and available stock is corres-
pondingly scarce.


-» •

umli^ ^ft .

Reserve Warden Ronald Ailey checking an angler's ilcense.

(Fish and Game Photo)

Many Duties

In other fields of wildlife conservation, wardens
contributed appreciable assistance in fish rescue work,
cleaning and inspection of fish ladders, stream im-
provement, census taking, reporting of fish and game
population trends, and appearances at public gather-
ings where a strong interest in fish and game mat-
ters is apparent.

One of the principal facets of a warden's job is his
public service activities. Because of his extensive
knowledge of the area in which he works, he is fre-
quently called on to aid in finding persons lost in the
mountains. He is expected to render his services when-
ever the public welfare so dictates, and he does so as
a natural adjunct of his assigned duties.

Additional emergencies during the biennium such
as fires, floods, drownings and other tragedies found

the wardens rendering notable assistance to a number
of public agencies as well as to private individuals.


The number of reserve wardens in Southern Cali-
fornia and the Sacramento Valley declined by 25 per-
cent during the biennium. Raising of the requirements
for qualification to compete in civil service examina-
tions for the position of State Fish and Game War-
den contributed to a degree to the drop in veteran
reserves and potential replacements, since the require-
ments ruled out many of those who hoped to gain a
civil service appointment. Despite this attrition, ac-
tivation of three new reserve units in Central Cali-
fornia enabled the force to maintain its strength.

Reserve wardens fill a distinct need in buttressing
the work of the Wildlife Protection Branch. This is



particularly true of certain critical periods such as
opening days of various seasons and heavily pressured
week ends, when the regular wardens need help.

Applicants desiring a commission as a reserve war-
den must attend weekly training classes for 10 weeks
and pass an examination before gaining an appoint-
ment. Receiving neither salary nor expenses, the\'
team up on their tours of duty with regular wardens.
Failure to conduct himself with consideration, cour-
tesy and helpfulness toward the public is justification
for immediate dismissal of a reserve from the program.

Tours of Duty

By terms of their appointments, reserve wardens
are required to perform one tour of duty a month.
Generally this service is conducted on a week end,
although many reserves generously donate time far in
excess of requirements. Consideration of the personal
expense borne by each reserve warden leads to the
conclusion that the ranks are filled only ^\•ith men
who are genuinely interested in the welfare of Cali-
fornia's fish and game.

At the close of the biennium 1 1 reserve ^\•arden
units, comprising 242 men, were active within the
State. Units were located at Sacramento, Stockton,
San Francisco, Fresno, Sonora, Tulare, Merced,
Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Terminal Island (marine)
and San Diego.


At the beginning of the biennium Section 424 of
the Fish and Game Code became effective. This
statute, designed to reduce the number of hunting
casualties, required that hunters under the age of 16,
other than those having held a hunting license in prior
years, be trained in proficiency with firearms as a con-
dition of obtaining a hunting license. Upon satisfac-
tory completion of a minimum four-hour course in
the safe handling of guns, enrollees in these classes are
issued a certificate of competence which, when pre-
sented to a license agent, furnishes proof of compe-
tence upon which issuance of a hunting license is

Much of the work of disseminating information, re-
cruiting instructors and organizing training schools
fell upon the Wildlife Protection Branch. Wardens
worked prodigiously to assure success of the program.
Most wardens gave cheerfully of their own free time
to show films and speak to sportsmen's clubs and civic
organizations concerning the need for safety with

At the close of the second year of the hunter safety
law 41,740 youngsters had been granted certificates
of competence and 4,654 adults had been certified as
instructors by the department and the National Rifle
Association, the organization with which the depart-

ment has worked closely in carrying out the mandate
of the Legislature.

During the biennium a schedule of marksmanship
training for wardens was inaugurated. Ammunition
allowances were provided and wardens were required
to regularly submit a report of their scores.

In the spring of 1955 a five-man team was sent to
the California State Championship Pistol Matches in
San Diego. This team won two state championships in
the sharpshooter class and took nine individual medals.


Because Department of Fish and Game radios were
assigned to an operating frequency used by the Divi-
sion of Forestry, communications in the past were
often unavoidably unsatisfactory. Peaks in work loads
of both agencies occur during the summer and autumn,
with a resultant heavy demand on radio facilities.

During the period of this report a complete new
radio sv^stem was installed by the land and marine pa-
trol of Region V. This included 82 mobile units in
patrol cars, boats and an airplane, 10 land-based sta-
tions and seven relay stations. Now operating on a
frequentl\" assigned to exclusive use of the department's
A\-ardens, this system has been an invaluable asset to
law enforcement.

To further improve the efliciency of the depart-
ment's radio system, a budget request for 1 186,000 was
made in 1955, so that a complete departmental radio
system might be installed. The request was approved
by the Legislature, and at the close of the biennium
pians had been completed for early installation of the


Two new patrol boats were acquired during the
period of this report. One of them replaced the 25-
foot Gninion, based at San Diego. The Gnmion,
which had been in operation continuously since 1947,
was incapable of performing its duties further with-
out undergoing an expensive overhaul. The new ves-
sel, christened Skipjack, is 30 feet in length and is
capable of a speed of 25 miles an hour. Based at San
Diego, the Skipjack is used for patrol of the heavy
sport and commercial fishing activities in that area.

In the spring of 1955 the Rainbow HI was added
to the patrol force in the Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta. Replacing the Rainbow II, which had outlived
its usefulness, the new boat is also 30 feet in length.
Purchased in October, 1954, its primary function is
patrol of the striped bass and sturgeon fisheries and
commercial boats netting salmon in the Carquinez
Straits. The Rainbow III is based at Crockett.

Radar was installed during the biennium on the 32-
foot patrol boat Yellowtail, operating out of Port
Hueneme. Addition of this electronic equipment ap-
preciabl\- increased the effectiveness of the boat.



Department of Fish and Game
field personnel rescued approxi-
mately 100 persons from im-
mediate danger of drowning
during the floods of 1955 and
assisted in the evacuation of hun-
dreds of others.

But their greatest over-all con-
tribution in averting further dis-
aster was the fact that in many
areas, including Yuba City and
Klamath, Fish and Game war-
dens provided the only com-
munication with the outside
world for a period of several
days during the height of the

At Yuba City Wardens Ross
Waggoner of Yuba City and
Edward Dennett of Wheatland
foresaw the possibility of an
emergency and when the floods
struck, had set up an emergency
radio communication system.
Dennett gave the first warning
of the Shanghai Bend break,
and Waggoner relayed the
warning to the sheriff's office.
Robert Paillaix, Yuba City levee
commissioner, credits them with
preventing a staggering loss of

Crews under the direction of
Patrol Captain Don Davison of
Paradise, and Assistant Game

Manager Albert Naylor of Gray
Lodge, Butte County, rescued
approximately 50 persons in the
Yuba City area. Warden Jack
Ferges of Roseville uarned of
the Nicolaus levee break, assisted
in rescue and evacuation work,
and maintained continuous radio

In the stricken town of Klam-
ath, Del Norte County, War-
dens Otis Wright and Ralph
Schlitzkus were the first law
enforcement personnel in the
area, and had the only radio
contact with the sheriff's office.

In the Eel River Valley War-
dens Lyle Null, Robert Perkins
and Larry Werder rescued 16
persons and assisted in the evac-
uation of the town of Weott,
brought in medical supplies and
food, maintained radio com-
munications and patrolled evac-
uated areas against looting.

Warden Jack McKerlie of Pt.
Arena directed a dangerous res-
cue of 17 persons, including 15
children, cut off and in danger of
drowning in the raging Gualala
River. McKerlie for two da\s
maintained the only communica-
tions into Pt. Arena.

In the Fernbridge area of Hum-
boldt County Warden Robert

Wor(/ens Q\\ Berg, leff, and Hal Mefford in acfion during rescue operations
of height of Yuba City flood,

(Fish and Game Photo by Capt. Don Davison)

Burge was the first rescue party
to reach the area, and in addition
helped evacuate the town of
Orick. Warden Anderson Smith
acted as rescue coordinator in
Hayfork, Trinity County, for 24
straight hours, and had the only
communication with outside. In
Scott Valley Warden Robert
Fraser maintained the only com-
munication, and assisted in sev-
eral rescues.

Warden Forrest McDermott
served continuously for five days
in the Santa Cruz emergency,

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