aqueduct as a water source?

action7phil

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Hey guys, I was out the other day and got to thinking whether or not the CA Aqueduct was suitable water source for quail? sometimes I see that there is chain-link fence running along it, is that considered a barrier for quail, or do the fly over/walk through it? is the concrete slopes that go down to the water a deterrent? Just wanted to see what everyone's thoughts where. Thanks!
 

Marty

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I have seen quail in the brush around the aqueducts. I have not seen quail in an aqueduct.
I am sure they would drink the water in the aqueduct if they were thirsty.
However, I know they prefer Dos Equis. And that, my friend, is not in the aqueduct.
 

Stonepointer

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There are some areas where the fence has holes or open fence and quail, coyotes, and other animals go in carefully for a drink.

I have seen quail, coyote, rabbit, and sometimes even deer tracks along some soft dirt areas of the aqueduct when I get over that way for fishing trips.

If I remember correctly, there is a California law that does not allow any hunting too close between roads and the aqueduct, but I do not remember what the distance is.

I believe it is a much greater prohibitive distance than the distances allowed for other water sources though.

However, you can fish the aqueduct for catfish and striped bass, but the striper has a size limit on most places in California, except for certain districts.
 

#1Predator

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It's a great source of water for wildlife. Quail, doves, ducks, coyotes, bobcats....I've seen them all use the aqueduct. I used to work along the "ditch" from Pinion Hills to I-5. No hunting is allowed on ditch property but lots of dove hunters use to line the fence on Sept. 1st.
 

Skyler

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There are some areas where the fence has holes or open fence and quail, coyotes, and other animals go in carefully for a drink.

I have seen quail, coyote, rabbit, and sometimes even deer tracks along some soft dirt areas of the aqueduct when I get over that way for fishing trips.

If I remember correctly, there is a California law that does not allow any hunting too close between roads and the aqueduct, but I do not remember what the distance is.

I believe it is a much greater prohibitive distance than the distances allowed for other water sources though.

However, you can fish the aqueduct for catfish and striped bass, but the striper has a size limit on most places in California, except for certain districts.
There is no distance regulation for roads or aqueducts in California. Only structures and camps. You can't shoot ACROSS a road, but you can stand right next to the 15 freeway and unload legally. The aqueduct itself is fenced. No hunting within the fence. However, you can legally hunt along the fence line. You would think the area would hold drought-proof coveys. But this is not the case. The amount of forage in the desert is drastically impacted by rainfall, and seems to affect the quail numbers FAR more than the presence of constant water. I've been out there this year, and found very little game.
 

Stevehazard

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Quail will drink water from the aqueduct but some of the areas bordering the water can be pretty exposed. If the birds have to cross hundreds of feet of concrete and graded open dirt they more then likely go elsewhere.

I've hunted up to the fence line of the aqueducts and do not believe it is prohibited. As long as your not firing lead shot toward or over the water I believe it is lawful.
 

spectr17

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There is no distance regulation for roads or aqueducts in California. Only structures and camps. You can't shoot ACROSS a road, but you can stand right next to the 15 freeway and unload legally. The aqueduct itself is fenced. No hunting within the fence. However, you can legally hunt along the fence line. You would think the area would hold drought-proof coveys. But this is not the case. The amount of forage in the desert is drastically impacted by rainfall, and seems to affect the quail numbers FAR more than the presence of constant water. I've been out there this year, and found very little game.
You CAN shoot across a road in CA if it's safe. You just CAN'T shoot FROM a road, gotta take one step off the road. Straight from a DFG warden. Now what is safe when shooting across a road is open to interpretation from what I'm told but if I have a good view both ways down the road I have no problem shooting across a road if I feel it's a safe shot.
 

527varmint

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Warden watched me shoot from a secondary dirt road and stopped me. Infact shot the rabbit right in the middle of the road. He never said a thing just wanted to check the plug and my game bag.

I am hunting guzzlers that are filled to the top with water. Still no birds around. I agree it is a matter of enough food rather than water.
 

action7phil

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Thanks guys, thats good info. Of the three species of quail here in CA do you think that any one in particular is more limited by water, or are do they all equally need some water, along with lots of food?
 

Stonepointer

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I was not completely sure about the distance regulation and I am trying to remember where I had read that, so thanks for clearing that up.
 

Stonepointer

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Thanks guys, thats good info. Of the three species of quail here in CA do you think that any one in particular is more limited by water, or are do they all equally need some water, along with lots of food?
I look for things like bladder sage and wash areas that show good rainfall with lots of cover.

They need brushy places close enough from one to another to hide in quickly and it should also provide difficulty for larger animals to access.

Sometimes it seems like there might not be water around and you will still find quail, so there is going to be some kind of water source somewhere.
 

#1Predator

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There are some distance and/or time restrictions on "camping/occupying" wildlife watering areas. No hunting is allowed within 200 yards of a guzzler. Here's the actual law from section 730, Title 14, California Code of Regulations:

730. Camping Near or Occupying Wildlife Watering Places.


(a) Camping/Occupying Defined. For purposes of this Section, camping/occupying is defined as establishing or inhabiting a camp; resting; picnicking; sleeping; parking or inhabiting any motor vehicle or trailer; hunting; or engaging in any other recreational activity for a period of more than thirty (30) minutes at a given location.


(b) Wildlife Watering Places Defined. For purposes of this Section, wildlife watering places are defined as waterholes, springs, seeps and man-made watering devices for wildlife such as guzzlers (self-filling, in-the-ground water storage tanks), horizontal wells and small impoundments of less than one surface acre in size.


(c) Prohibitions.

(1) Camping/Occupying is prohibited within 200 yards of the following:

(A) Any guzzler or horizontal well for wildlife on public land within the State of California.


(B) Any of the wildlife watering places on public land within the boundary of the California Desert Conservation Area as depicted on the Bureau of Land Management maps of “Calif. Federal Public Lands Responsibility,” “Calif. Desert Conservation Area” and the new “Desert District, B.L.M.”


spectr17 is correct - "You CAN shoot across a road in CA if it's safe. You just CAN'T shoot FROM a road, gotta take one step off the road (ed. - this includes the shoulder of the roadway). Straight from a DFG warden. Now what is safe when shooting across a road is open to interpretation from what I'm told but if I have a good view both ways down the road I have no problem shooting across a road if I feel it's a safe shot."

But it is illegal to cast an arrow across a road. Section 354, Title 14, California Code of Regulations:



354. Archery Equipment and Crossbow Regulations.


(a) Bow, as used in these regulations, means any device consisting of a flexible material having a string connecting its two ends and used to propel an arrow held in a firing position by hand only. Bow, includes long bow, recurve or compound bow.

(b) Crossbow, as used in these regulations means any device consisting of a bow or cured latex band or other flexible material (commonly referred to as a linear bow) affixed to a stock, or any bow that utilizes any device attached directly or indirectly to the bow for the purpose of keeping a crossbow bolt, an arrow or the string in a firing position. Except as provided in subsection 354(j), a crossbow is not archery equipment and cannot be used during the archery deer season.

(c) For the taking of big game, hunting arrows and crossbow bolts with a broad head type blade which will not pass through a hole seven-eighths inch in diameter shall be used. Mechanical/retractable broad heads shall be measured in the open position. For the taking of migratory game birds, resident small game, furbearers and nongame mammals and birds any arrow or crossbow bolt may be used except as prohibited by subsection (d) below.

(d) No arrows or crossbow bolt with an explosive head or with any substance which would tranquilize or poison any animal may be used. No arrows or crossbow bolt without flu-flu fletching may be used for the take of pheasants and migratory game birds, except for provisions of section 507(a)(2).

(e) No arrow or crossbow bolt may be released from a bow or crossbow upon or across any highway, road or other way open to vehicular traffic.


(f) No bow or crossbow may be used which will not cast a legal hunting arrow, except flu-flu arrows, a horizontal distance of 130 yards.

(g) Except as described in subsection 354(j), crossbows may not be used to take game birds and game mammals during archery seasons.

(h) Except as provided in subsection 353(g), archers may not possess a firearm while hunting in the field during any archery season, or while hunting during a general season under the provisions of an archery only tag.

(i) No person may nock or fit the notch in the end of an arrow to a bowstring or crossbow string in a ready-to-fire position while in or on any vehicle.
 

action7phil

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There are some distance and/or time restrictions on "camping/occupying" wildlife watering areas. No hunting is allowed within 200 yards of a guzzler. Here's the actual law from section 730, Title 14, California Code of Regulations:

730. Camping Near or Occupying Wildlife Watering Places.


(a) Camping/Occupying Defined. For purposes of this Section, camping/occupying is defined as establishing or inhabiting a camp; resting; picnicking; sleeping; parking or inhabiting any motor vehicle or trailer; hunting; or engaging in any other recreational activity for a period of more than thirty (30) minutes at a given location.


(b) Wildlife Watering Places Defined. For purposes of this Section, wildlife watering places are defined as waterholes, springs, seeps and man-made watering devices for wildlife such as guzzlers (self-filling, in-the-ground water storage tanks), horizontal wells and small impoundments of less than one surface acre in size.


(c) Prohibitions.

(1) Camping/Occupying is prohibited within 200 yards of the following:

(A) Any guzzler or horizontal well for wildlife on public land within the State of California.


(B) Any of the wildlife watering places on public land within the boundary of the California Desert Conservation Area as depicted on the Bureau of Land Management maps of “Calif. Federal Public Lands Responsibility,” “Calif. Desert Conservation Area” and the new “Desert District, B.L.M.”


spectr17 is correct - "You CAN shoot across a road in CA if it's safe. You just CAN'T shoot FROM a road, gotta take one step off the road (ed. - this includes the shoulder of the roadway). Straight from a DFG warden. Now what is safe when shooting across a road is open to interpretation from what I'm told but if I have a good view both ways down the road I have no problem shooting across a road if I feel it's a safe shot."

But it is illegal to cast an arrow across a road. Section 354, Title 14, California Code of Regulations:



354. Archery Equipment and Crossbow Regulations.


(a) Bow, as used in these regulations, means any device consisting of a flexible material having a string connecting its two ends and used to propel an arrow held in a firing position by hand only. Bow, includes long bow, recurve or compound bow.

(b) Crossbow, as used in these regulations means any device consisting of a bow or cured latex band or other flexible material (commonly referred to as a linear bow) affixed to a stock, or any bow that utilizes any device attached directly or indirectly to the bow for the purpose of keeping a crossbow bolt, an arrow or the string in a firing position. Except as provided in subsection 354(j), a crossbow is not archery equipment and cannot be used during the archery deer season.

(c) For the taking of big game, hunting arrows and crossbow bolts with a broad head type blade which will not pass through a hole seven-eighths inch in diameter shall be used. Mechanical/retractable broad heads shall be measured in the open position. For the taking of migratory game birds, resident small game, furbearers and nongame mammals and birds any arrow or crossbow bolt may be used except as prohibited by subsection (d) below.

(d) No arrows or crossbow bolt with an explosive head or with any substance which would tranquilize or poison any animal may be used. No arrows or crossbow bolt without flu-flu fletching may be used for the take of pheasants and migratory game birds, except for provisions of section 507(a)(2).

(e) No arrow or crossbow bolt may be released from a bow or crossbow upon or across any highway, road or other way open to vehicular traffic.


(f) No bow or crossbow may be used which will not cast a legal hunting arrow, except flu-flu arrows, a horizontal distance of 130 yards.

(g) Except as described in subsection 354(j), crossbows may not be used to take game birds and game mammals during archery seasons.

(h) Except as provided in subsection 353(g), archers may not possess a firearm while hunting in the field during any archery season, or while hunting during a general season under the provisions of an archery only tag.

(i) No person may nock or fit the notch in the end of an arrow to a bowstring or crossbow string in a ready-to-fire position while in or on any vehicle.
I think you are reading it wrong. You CAN hunt right on top of a guzzler but you can not stay for more than 30 minutes. One thing that you cant do is park and leave your car within 200yds of a guzzer, but you could park 200 yrds away and then go sit on top of the guzzler for 30 min and call in the quail in if you really wanted.

(a) Camping/Occupying Defined. For purposes of this Section, camping/occupying is defined as establishing or inhabiting a camp; resting; picnicking; sleeping; parking or inhabiting any motor vehicle or trailer; hunting; or engaging in any other recreational activity for a period of more than thirty (30) minutes at a given location.
 

Stevehazard

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The law regarding camping water sources does not apply to aqueducts anyways as the surface area of the water will easily exceeds an acre. The law is intended to prevent somebody from squatting over small watering holes for extended periods that animals are forced to come to essentially using the water as a form of bait.
 

#1Predator

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I think you are reading it wrong. You CAN hunt right on top of a guzzler but you can not stay for more than 30 minutes. One thing that you cant do is park and leave your car within 200yds of a guzzer, but you could park 200 yrds away and then go sit on top of the guzzler for 30 min and call in the quail in if you really wanted.

(a) Camping/Occupying Defined. For purposes of this Section, camping/occupying is defined as establishing or inhabiting a camp; resting; picnicking; sleeping; parking or inhabiting any motor vehicle or trailer; hunting; or engaging in any other recreational activity for a period of more than thirty (30) minutes at a given location.
Stevehazard - great reading and you are correct, the aqueduct is not one of the restricted areas (see #4 above about "lining the fence" during dove season - perfectly legal on public land). I included the entire (well almost) definition so as to be clear as to which areas were legal and which areas were not legal. In addition to guzzlers, "stock troughs" and/or stock ponds on public land within the California Desert Conservation Area do qualify as prohibited areas for the 200 yard restriction since they are usually under one surface acre in size (4,840 square yards).

Action7phil - you are wrong. Section 730(a) is defining the words "camping/occupying". The section uses semicolons and the word "or" to separate various independent types of activities. If you count them individually, there are 10 different activities mentioned in the section that are all grouped as "camping/occupying". "Engaging in any other recreational activity for a period of more than thirty (30) minutes at a given location" is a separate activity and does not include the word "hunting" because the activities are separated by a semicolon and the word "or". Section 730(c) lists the activities that are prohibited using the definitions of sections 730(a) and (b).

Section 730(c)(1) says that all of the activities listed under the definition of section 730(a) "is prohibited within 200 yards of the following:" then section 730(c)(1)(A) says, "Any guzzler or horizontal well for wildlife on public land within the State of California". If we put those two subsections together we get, "Camping/Occupying (ed. - all 10 of those activites mentioned in 730(a)) is prohibited within 200 yards of the following: Any guzzler or horizontal well for wildlife on public land within the State of California". So any of the 10 specific activities (with the exception of the last activity...but we'll get to that in the next paragraph) defined under the "camping/occupying" definition are prohibited within 200 yards of a guzzler regardless of any length of time.

So what is "or engaging in any other recreational activity for a period of more than thirty (30) minutes at a given location"? Here are a few examples: photography; painting; mining (and no, there is no exemption under the federal Mining Act); rock collecting; bird watching; student study (i.e. field trips to the area by schools, colleges, or universities - although some scientific studies are exempt); trapping (when trapping was allowed in the state, trappers could not "set" within 200 yards of a guzzler even though trappers would have loved to have been able to do so for obvious reasons - since a trapping set remains for more than just 30 minutes, it was a virtual ban on trapping within the 200 yard limit); religious ceremonies (Native American, church services like Easter Sunrise services, even burying my favorite hunting dog); etc. All of these other activities are restricted to 30 minutes or less.The last activity, "any other recreational activity" was a "catch all" so as to not have to specifically name each activity. The 30 minute time limit only applies to the catch all "other recreational activities", not to hunting. The first 9 activites (including hunting) are not allowed regardless of the length of time.

If we said that the semicolons and the "or" don't matter and that hunting falls within the 30 minute period, then all of the activities listed would also have to be included in the 30 minute interval. I could park my vehicle next to a guzzler as long as I didn't park for longer than 30 minutes. But, action7phil, you all ready said that would be illegal, right? I know it's confusing but that is the law. No hunting within 200 yards of a guzzler.
 
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Stevehazard

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The section is defining occupying. In which a time frame would be relevant for all of the actions listed, not just any other activity. If the interpretation is that the 30 minute time frame is only for any other activity then a person who hikes by a guzzler is permitted but the moment they stop for a minute to catch their breath, drink some water, eat a granola bar or anything else that could be construed as "resting" or "picnicking" they are suddenly in violation. That doesn't make sense. Why permit any other activity to occur for up to 30 minutes but restrict something as basic as "resting" from occurring at all? There are over a half dozen guzzlers in one of the areas I hunt are you telling me that in actuality these are to be treated as huge keep out zones? How can a hunter be reasonably expected to comply with the law if there is no time period to allow one to move away such location? Guzzlers, waterholes, springs are often unknown with vegetation or terrain masking their locations until your right up to them. So you come across a guzzler that you did not know about and your automatically violating the law?
 

#1Predator

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"So you come across a guzzler that you did not know about and your automatically violating the law?"

The short answer - If you're hunting and within 200 yards of a guzzler, then yes. It would be a violation of the letter of the law.

The long answer - Yes it would be a violation of the letter of the law but is it a violation of the spirit of the law? Keep in mind, fish and game laws, with some exceptions, are considered "general intent" laws under the legal system. General intent is present when a person consciously chooses to do a prohibited act. The only state of mind required is an intent to commit the act constituting the crime (in the question above, simply the act of walking by an unknown guzzler is "the act"). The person charged need not have intended to violate the law, nor need to have been aware that the law made the act criminal. In addition, fish and game laws (with some exceptions) are "strict liability" laws under the legal system. In the criminal law, offenses sometimes do not require any specific or general mens rea (criminal intent). The conduct itself, even if innocently engaged in, results in criminal liability. Strict liability crimes are usually limited to minor offenses or regulatory offenses like parking violations, violations of health codes, F&G violations, PC §647f (drunk in public). Strict liability laws are commonly referred to as “Ignorance is no excuse.” Example - I'm fishing and a warden asks to see my license. I check my wallet but then I remember I left my license at home in my fishing vest. Did I violate the law? Yes. Did I intend to violate the law? No. I bought a license but I just forgot it. Should I get a ticket (with court costs, etc. roughly a $680 penalty) or a warning?

A good game warden (that is, one who would enforce the spirit of the law) would use his/her discretion and would take the time to determine if a person had "innocently" violated the law or if the person was trying to circumvent the law. After all, the mission statement for the wildlife protection division states, "The Mission of the Law Enforcement Division is to protect California natural resources and provide public safety through effective (ed. - meaning adequate to accomplish a purpose; producing the intended or expected result) and responsive law enforcement." In either case (the fisherman or the "guzzler hunter/walker") would a warning accomplish the mission or should everybody get cited? It's up to a good warden to figure this out.

Semicolons separate each act making them independent of one another and making each of the 10 acts in section 730(a) a violation. If I park my trailer within 200 yards of a guzzler, set up camp, eat a "picnic" lunch, fall asleep then wake up and start hunting, I could be charged with 5 counts of violating section 730(c)(1)(A).

"If the interpretation is that the 30 minute time frame is only for any other activity then a person who hikes by a guzzler is permitted but the moment they stop for a minute to catch their breath, drink some water, eat a granola bar or anything else that could be construed as "resting" or "picnicking" they are suddenly in violation."

Again, yes it is a violation by the letter of the law. Sometimes laws are written to try and prevent people from circumventing the law. I checked three hunters sitting about 30 yards from the barbed wire fence surrounding the cement apron of a guzzler in the El Paso Mountain range. They knew they had violated the hunting section, so when I asked if they were hunting, they said, "No, we're just taking a break. We're just sitting here, we aren't hunting. There's no law against that." I checked their hunting licenses (all had upland stamps), their shotguns (all had two rounds in the plugged magazine with one in the chamber) and their hunting vests (nothing but feathers, most likely from a previous hunt). All of them were locals who knew better. All were cited into the Ridgecrest Muni Court (when we had muni courts) for two counts ("resting" and hunting - their guns were fully loaded - we all know that they would have shot at any birds coming into the guzzler) within 200 yards of a guzzler and all were found guilty. If section 730(a) had been written as, "Camping/occupying is defined as engaging in any of the following activities for a period of more than thirty (30) minutes, establishing or inhabiting a camp; resting; picnicking; sleeping; parking or inhabiting any motor vehicle or trailer; hunting; or engaging in any other recreational activity", then these hunters would have been within the law as long as they didn't stay more than 30 minutes. In this case, I would've had to wait 30 minutes to make sure they were outside the 200 yard limit. But the section is written with the 30 minute limit at the end, not at the beginning of the section.

I've mentioned "good warden" a few times here. A good warden, IMHO, is one who is conscientious, diligent and willing to go the extra mile in performing his/her duties. By contrast, there are wardens who perform their jobs as though they were robots without regard to the spirit of the law and their mission statement. Their motto: "Everybody is equal under the law and any violator will be cited without regard to any extenuating circumstances." IMHO, chimpanzees could be trained to do their job.
 

Stevehazard

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I take it you are or were a warden?

Good to know that is the specific meaning of the letter of the law, definitely written in a manner to benefit enforcement. I'm going to be a bit more aware of my location in relation to guzzlers now. What if I would like to go up to a guzzler and check on it's status? See if it's empty or not, broken, frozen, etc? To not be in violation should one unchamber the weapon? Old guzzlers that are broken how should they be treated?
 

#1Predator

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I take it you are or were a warden?

Good to know that is the specific meaning of the letter of the law, definitely written in a manner to benefit enforcement. I'm going to be a bit more aware of my location in relation to guzzlers now. What if I would like to go up to a guzzler and check on it's status? See if it's empty or not, broken, frozen, etc? To not be in violation should one unchamber the weapon? Old guzzlers that are broken how should they be treated?
Retired CA warden. Hunters are a valuable source of information when it comes to insuring that guzzlers are in good working order. Most of the guzzlers in CA are installed and maintained by volunteers from local bird clubs or rod & gun clubs. Some clubs have a water truck that will fill the tanks in extremely dry years. Unfortunately, CF&W doesn't keep track of guzzler status and/or working order. The CF&W provides plans and a materials list to the volunteers and the local biologist might supervise the installation but that's about it as far as the State is concerned.

When I was working I appreciated hunters telling me when they found a guzzler that was broken (cattle fence was down, collection apron was cracked, occlusion bars were missing, tank was broken or full of bullet holes, etc.). If I didn't know which club had installed it, I could make a few phone calls and get the information about the broken guzzler to the correct club. Some clubs have a good volunteer base (like old retired game warden farts) and others can't get volunteers to pick up trash at their own clubs, let alone go out in 100+ degree heat to dig up and replace a tank.

Yes, I would unload the weapon completely, action open, and set it down outside the guzzler fence. Although still technically illegal, at this point, a good game warden would see that your intent was to check the guzzler status. If you want to, you can make some minor repairs of your own. Repair the fence if you can (I carry a set of fencing pliers for this task). Look at the collection apron for major leaking. Remove any debris from the apron (sticks, brush, trash, etc.). If you do decide to check a tank, be aware that snakes like to hang out just inside the tank opening usually within striking distance. Use a flashlight and check before you get too close. A pair of fang holes between the eyes is not a good thing. If it's safe, remove any debris at the opening entrance (don't worry about the stuff inside the tank). You might be able to repair/replace any occlusion bars by wedging the fallen bars back into place or fashioning new ones from sticks/branches in the area. If the tank is dry, see if you can spot any holes or cracks. Sometimes there aren't any holes - the tank just dried up because of the lack of rainfall.

If the site needs further repair, contact the local CF&W warden or biologist. They might know who installed the tank. Tracking down the club that made the installation could be difficult if not down right impossible. If you are lucky and find the right people, please make sure to give them an exact location (GPS coordinates). The El Paso Mountain Range has about 52 guzzlers. That's a lot of walking without GPS coordinates.

Thanks in advance for your help. Wildlife needs every break it can catch, especially when it comes to guzzlers.
 

527varmint

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In the mojave most work I know is done by quail unlimited and water for wildlife. I run the water for wildlife facebook page and if there is a broken guzzler you can message me, leave the info on FB, or look around the FB page for Cliff Mcdonalds contact info. I'll make sure it gets to cliff and he will let someone know or WFW will fix it. Cliffs information is also on this forum if you search for WFW.

As for quail unlimited not sure but sure you can leave a message on their FB page. QU also does work in mountain areas like cleavland, SB, and angeles NF.

Santa Clarita Quail and Upland Wildlife foundation mostly works in the Angeles NF and Los Padres. They have FB too.

In the desert area some with open tanks might be Big Horn Sheep Society also have FB

I don't think it matters who installed the guzzlers. All these groups care and will fix it if they can or let someone know so it can get done.
 


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