Golfing with rattlesnakes in Lake Tahoe
California DFG Outdoor Q&As by Carrie Wilson
07/27/12 -- Question: For years I was always told there are no rattlesnakes in the Lake Tahoe area because the altitude was too high. However, recently I’ve read many articles that say rattlesnakes can live as high as 10,000 feet. I am worried because I play golf and often end up in the rough, which means looking for my golf ball in tall grass and brush. Are there rattlesnakes in the Lake Tahoe basin and surrounding areas that I need to be watching out for? (Nick R.)
Department of Fish and Game (DFG) doesn't track occurrences of common snake
species, but according to DFG Statewide Coordinator for Conservation of
Amphibians and Reptiles Betsy Bolster, don’t discount the possibility of
encountering a rattlesnake in the Lake Tahoe area. The Great Basin rattlesnake
(Crotalus oreganus lutosus) is widespread and can occur up to the
Its range continues outside the state to the north into eastern Oregon, and east to western Utah, southern Idaho, most of Nevada and barely into extreme northwestern Arizona. Its preferred habitat includes rocky hillsides, barren flats, sagebrush, grassy plains and agricultural areas.
You should know though, that rattlesnakes are generally not aggressive, and will usually only strike when threatened or deliberately provoked. Given room they will likely retreat. Most snake bites occur when a rattlesnake is handled or accidentally touched by someone walking or climbing. The majority of snake bites occur on the hands, feet and ankles.
The California Poison Control Center notes that rattlesnakes account for more than 800 bites each year, and only one to two deaths. About 25 percent of the bites are “dry,” meaning no venom was injected, but the bites still require medical treatment.
Given this, since your golf game, like mine, includes some time spent in the rough, I'd keep my eyes and ears open when searching for a golf ball away from the fairway. It might be worth it to hit the pro shop for some extra golf balls rather than taking chances on whether or not you are in rattlesnake habitat. FORE!
(References: (Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Robert C. Stebbins, 1985). Californiaherps.com. californiaherps.com/snakes/pages/c.o.lutosus.html)
Question: I will be going camping next week at a place called Hell Hole Reservoir near Lake Tahoe and I need to know if I may bring a jeep survival knife with me. The knife has a 15-inch blade with a sheath. I know you are not allowed to carry a knife more than three inches long in California, but I need to know if there is an exception for camping. (Mitch L.)
Answer: There is no Fish and Game law regarding your knife and I am not aware of any law regarding knives with blades that are longer than three inches.
According to ret. DFG Capt. Phil Nelms, “generally prohibited weapons are listed in California Penal Code, section 16590, and special provisions regarding knives and similar weapons begin at section 20200. You may want to pay special attention to sections 21310 and 16470 regarding concealed dirks and daggers, but knives with fixed blades are generally not prohibited as long as they are carried openly (not concealed).”
To check all the laws regarding knives online, please go to leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html. In addition, you may want to contact your local police or sheriff's department for more information regarding dangerous weapons.
abalone with rubber bands?
Question: After reading a recent answer to a diver who asked how to attach his abalone tag to a rare abalone he’d taken that had no siphon holes where he could affix the tag, I have a question. Some members of my dive club and I assisted DFG with the abalone creel survey last year. We noticed that some of the pickers we surveyed used rubber bands to attach the tags to the abalone. They just laid the tag on the shell and put the rubber band all the way around the abalone to hold the tag on. There were no holes in the tags. Is this a legal way to attach the tag? (Curt H.)
Answer: No, this is not legal. The law requires the tag be “... securely fastened to the shell of the abalone. To affix the tag, a “zip tie,” string, line or other suitable material shall be passed through a siphon hole on the abalone shell and through the tag at the location specified on the abalone tag.” (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.16 (b)(3)).
Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game.
While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few
to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.
More Outdoor News
WCB Funds Fish and Restoration
CDFW now hiring LE cadets
OR 2015 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year
Wounded Tracking with Electronic Device?
08/25/16 -- Archery season is starting and before we go out I would like to know if it’s legal to use an electronic tracking device that attaches to an arrow to help track our game. The tracking device separates from the arrow as the...Full Story
CDFW LE and Wildlife cadets graduate
OR Funding Task Force Meets June 3006/24/16 -- The legislative task force on Funding for Fish, Wildlife and Related Outdoor Recreation and Education will hold its sixth meeting at the State Capitol on Thursday, June 30 from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., in Room HR 50...Full Story
Boating Facilities Grants Available
Rafting and Reflecting on the American
06/12/16 -- When I looked at the list of outdoor activities for this year’s Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) spring conference, a rafting trip down the American River practically jumped off the page...Full Story
In Search of the Elegant Trogon
05/18/16 -- I’ve always been fascinated with birds, but I really became hooked on bird-watching, or birding, as it’s often called, during the mid-seventies when I was a rookie Fish and Game warden down on the Colorado...Full Story
The Mudhen King
03/21/16 -- Revered by the Ahwahneechee, later congressionally designated as a Wild and Scenic River, the South Fork Merced originates on the southern slope of Triple Divide Peak in Yosemite National Park. Part of the Clark ...Full Story
A Letter to Ted Trueblood
01/28/16 -- Although you probably know what’s on my mind, I think you understand that it’s important for me to tell you anyway. You, Corey Ford, Nash Buckingham, Robert Ruark, and Ernest Hemingway were writers who wrote... Full Story
Flat tires! Are They Undetectable?
11/02/15 -- Modern vehicles handle very well. So it is understandable when some people tell us they did not notice one tire was flat and drove several miles on the flat, destroying the tire. The first time I had heard this... Full Story
Poaching in the Parks
08/29/15 -- The recent killing of Hwange National Park’s beloved icon, Cecil the Lion, has brought to mind a number of outrageous poaching incidents that occurred right here in California -- all of them inside national parks, state parks... Full Story
Those Wonderful Wildlife Caregivers
07/18/15 -- One of the more disheartening, sometimes discouraging aspects of a wildlife officer’s job is dealing with injured, orphaned, or imprinted wildlife that cannot be released back into the wild. Wildlife rehabilitation facilities, most of... Full Story
06/01/15 -- Adjacent to the eastern border of Lassen Volcanic National Park is a remote volcanic plateau on the eastern slopes of what was once Mt. Tehama. Cinder cones, crater peaks, old-growth forest, and azure lakes make up... Full Story
A Jewel in the Desert
05/25/15 -- In late April, before summer set in, Kathy and I decided to spend a few days in the land of blistering sands and sharp thorns. I had worked in the California desert during my early years with the California Department of Fish... Full Story
Don’t kill them all! Some snakes are good!
04/27/15 -- Most survivalists and Preppers spend a good deal of time outdoors as do many other Americans. Many people have a healthy fear of snakes, and given the fact that there are several species of venomous snakes that are...Full Story
Marijuana Wars and the California DFW
04/16/15 -- Just after daylight in September 2014, four California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers and four Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies quietly locked their vehicles and began what was to be an arduous hike... Full Story
‘Preppers’ & Disaster Preparedness Myths
04/14/15 -- We live in a world where civilization, reason and logic are said to be at historic heights, yet so many people today, especially our youth, are making new lows in relevant intelligence and labor under a host of myths and illusions...Full Story
A Happy Dog is a Panting Dog
04/07/15 -- Bigfoot’s number one pet is the wolverine but for us humans it’s the canine. Americans are projected to spend $60 billion this year on pets! A large portion of this goes to dogs. We all love our dogs and generally...Full Story
Show Respect and Pass Through Quietly
03/05/15 -- “Quick, roll up the windows!” said Kathy. We had just entered the ten-mile auto tour route at Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, when four cars roared by us like we were standing still. Pulling to the side of the road...Full Story
Tactical Survival Axe, AKA: ‘The Bruiser’
02/24/15 -- I am not an expert with edged weapons, even though I have a trunk-load of them, including the old Buck hunting knife that my Dad gave me when I was a teenager many moons ago. So with that said, I wanted to share...Full Story
02/24/15 -- Much like fantasy baseball, winter is the “hot stove” season for high elevation wilderness adventures. It is time to study and plan for the upcoming summer. But instead of preparing to draft players, we find...Full Story
A Problem Requiring a Different Approach
02/08/15 -- Most survival strategies and related tactics used today draw upon the methods that were used or which worked in past small-scale localized and regional disasters, and will likely work again to some extent in similar...Full Story
Firearms and Disaster Preparedness
01/19/15 -- With the start of the new-year, there always seem to be several articles that come out promoting guns as part of a preparedness solution. And it’s an unfortunate fact that firearms have become almost synonymous with Prep... Full Story
Getting Kids Hooked
01/06/15 -- Now, more than ever, we need to get our kids involved in the outdoors. Many kids are becoming softer and lazier with each generation, losing touch with nature, depending on technology to instantly learn everything, presumably...Full Story
Survival Using RVs
12/26/14 -- Over the past year many people have reached-out to me asking the same question; ‘What can people do to survive a catastrophic event besides sailing to an island on a bug-out boat? This was of course a natural... Full Story
For the Love of Ducks
12/23/14 -- With the north wind blowing off snow-covered Mount Shasta, it was brutally cold that December afternoon in 1960. Sitting in the back seat of our family car, I spotted an enormous flock of snow-white birds feeding in the... Full Story
Disaster Preparedness Strategies – Part II
11/25/14 -- Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of Disaster Preparedness articles written by Capt. William E. Simpson, USMM. The first was an attempt to simplify the subject of disaster preparedness by focusing on risk...Full Story
Disaster Preparedness Strategies – Part I
Making Friends With The Neighbors
10/14/14 -- There are few animals in nature that match the majestic beauty of a stallion running wild and free. They rule their territory by day and by night. Recently, my wife Laura and I decided to change adventures...Full Story
10/08/14 -- Southwest of Mt. Lassen lies a remote and largely forgotten piece of Cascade foothill region. Dark basaltic cliffs and pinnacles adorn inhospitable river canyons, carved by what is now Mill and Deer Creeks, through bad...Full Story
Tall Trees and Emerald Waters
10/06/14 -- Kathy and I recently attended the Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) fall conference on the aptly-named Wild Rivers Coast. Stretching from Port Orford, Oregon to Klamath, California, the Wild.... Full Story
Lassen National Volcanic Park
07/21/14 -- Lassen National Park is one of the best kept secrets in the National Park system. It may be hard to call a place that has over 400,000 visitors a year a secret but compared to Yosemite’s 2.5 million and the 9.4...Full Story
Peak Bagging in WinterBy Jim Broshears
02/11/13 -- Peak bagging, according to peakbagging.com/ refers to climbing mountains. When a summit is reached, it is “bagged”. You don’t have to go to exotic locations to enjoy this sport, or even be an elite mountain climber...Full Story
The Mystery of the Middle Fork – Part III
04/09/14 -- Our search for Tuck’s lost meadow continued in 2013. After three previous trips and multiple days of searching, you might be wondering why we don’t just call it a day. Or possibly question why we have not... Full Story
The 'Death Wobble' -- Be Safe Not Sorry!
03/31/14 -- Death Wobble is not to be confused with a front-end shimmy or a wheel balance problem. A Death Wobble (DW) is very common on vehicles with a solid front axle. It has earned its name, not from mechanics but by vehicle... Full Story
The Mystery of the Middle Fork -- Part II
03/10/14 -- Our return to the Middle Fork of Feather River would take place in August of 2012. Having nearly 10 months to plan the next exploration, we, of course, waited until the last minute decide our course of action... Full Story
The Mystery of the Middle Fork -- Part I
02/15/14 -- Part #1 Exploring the Middle Fork of the Feather River -- Stories about hidden valleys, waterfalls, canyons and fishing are part of outdoor folklore. Most of these tales begin with “When I was a kid we went to this place” and...Full Story