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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.)

Answer: The 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 timberline.

the Great Basin Rattlesnake (subspecies, Crotalus oreganus lutosus) is found in California in the far northeastern corner and in a small region east of the Sierra Nevadas near the Mono Lake area. MyOutdoorBuddy.com
According to references, the Great Basin Rattlesnake (subspecies, Crotalus oreganus lutosus) is found in California in the far northeastern corner and in a small region east of the Sierra Nevadas near the Mono Lake area. Photo courtesy of USFWS

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)

Knife rules
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.

Tagging 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

An Island of Our Own

Western Toad, by kathy callan
On Patrol, by Steven T. Callan
09/23/16 -- Over the years, Kathy and I have often dreamed of escaping today’s fast-paced, hectic world and moving to an island of our own—an island of trees, flowers, and abundant wildlife, where we could experience the joys of...Full Story

Sea Otter Survey Encouraging

Sea Otters, photo by CDFW
09/22/16 -- The southern sea otter, Enhydra lutris nereis, continues its climb toward recovery, according to the annual count released by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners today. For the first time, southern sea otters...Full Story

Ultra-lights, Fixed Wing...Harassing Wildlife

Ultra light, photo by Creative Commons
California Outdoors Q&A by Carrie Wilson
09/23/16 -- We live around the Imperial Wildlife Area (Wister Unit) and over the past two years we’ve seen an influx of ultra-light air craft flying over the Imperial Wildlife Area, sometimes very low. For example, on June 15 we saw...Full Story

CDFW Offering Free Tundra Swan Tours

Tundra Swan, provided by CDFW
09/14/16 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will offer free swan tours near Marysville on Saturdays beginning in November and extending through January. Co-hosted by local rice farmers, the naturalist...Full Story

Siskiyou Mountain Club on the move!

Siskiyou Mountain Club volunteers
09/07/16 -- Siskiyou Mountain Club volunteers, interns and staff have restored 63.87 miles and maintained 64.8 miles of trails so far in 2016. The Club maintained a growing portfolio of adopted trail systems, including a wilderness...Full Story

Up to $10,000 Reward Offered

Shawn Eugene Hof, Jr., CDFW photo
09/04/16 -- With the assistance of California Wildlife Officers Foundation, California Waterfowl Association, The Humane Society of the United States, The Sportfishing Alliance, The Nature Conservancy and private donors...Full Story

Tour of Sandhill Cranes newly reclassified

Sandhill Crane, by CDFW
09/04/16 -- The sandhill crane is making its annual migration to the Central Valley – this time with a new name. Previously known as Grus canadensis, genetic work has led scientists to reclassify the bird as Antigone canadensis... Full Story

CDFW September 2016 Outdoor Calendar

beach, by CDFW
09/01/16 -- Various Days — Guided Wetland Tours, By Reservation, at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). A wildlife naturalist will lead any group, school or organization on a half-mile route...Full Story

WCB Funds Fish and Restoration

Iceplant invades coastal wetlands at Ponto Beach near Encinitas. Photo courtesy of San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy
08/31/16 -- At its Aug. 30 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $15 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 21 funded...Full Story

CDFW now hiring LE cadets

warden-binoculars, courtesy CDFW
08/28/16 -- Do you have what it takes to be a California wildlife officer? The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is currently accepting applications for Fish and Game warden cadet (wildlife officer), with a final filing...Full Story

OR 2015 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year

Pictured (left to right): ODFW West Region Manager Steve Marx, OSP Captain Jeff Samuels, DDA Keith Stein, Lieutenant Casey Thomas
08/26/16 -- On August 18, 2016, Linn County Deputy District Attorney Keith Stein was presented the 2015 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year Award at the Oregon District Attorney's Association summer conference...Full Story

CDFW LE and Wildlife cadets graduate

CDFW graduating cadets, courtesy of CDFW
08/23/16 -- Twenty-three new law enforcement cadets graduated from the California Wildlife Officer Academy during ceremonies at the Performing Arts Center in Paradise on Aug. 12, 2016. The badge pinning and swearing-in...Full Story

Boating Facilities Grants Available

Texas marina, courtesy of BoatUS
06/21/16 -- Visiting boaters, whether staying over for just one night or a couple weeks, offers economic benefits and adds to the vitality of waterfront communities, marinas and boat clubs. How do towns and marinas attract them...Full Story

Rafting and Reflecting on the American

Rafting on the American River, by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
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

Male hooded oriole in pomegranate tree, photo by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
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

Don Webster, author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com
04/22/16 -- There has been a time or two during my life when having some knowledge and experience with the outdoor world has come in handy. Especially job handy. As in monetarily handy. I remember one such occasion...Full Story

Hite Cove

hand holding fish, by phil akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
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

Ted Trueblood, photo courtesy of Don Webster
By Don Webster
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?

Example of what happens to a flat tire driven at freeway speed and possibly ten miles distance, photo by Don Stec
By Don Stec
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

A stately bull elk in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Photo by Kathy Callan
By Steven T. Callan
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

Steven T. Callen with one of three orphaned black bear cubs, circa 1981. Photo courtesy of Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
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

Caribou Wilderness

Susan Lake, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
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

Once coveted by the pet trade, native reptiles, like this chuckwalla, may no longer be sold in California. Photo by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
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!

Indigo snake
By Captain William E. Simpson
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

ish and Wildlife Warden Jerry Karnow with suspected poisoned bear at an illegal marijuana grow site. Photo courtesy of California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden Jerry Karnow
By Steven T. Callan
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

Life is hard... it's even harder if you're stupid, John Wayne
By Capt. William E. Simpson
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

Pup, Phil Akers, A Happy Dog is a Panting Dog
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
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

Butte Valley Wildlife Area with Mount Shasta in background, photo by Kathy and Steven Callan
By Steven T. Callan 
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’

USMC Tactical Survival Axe, AKA: ‘The Bruiser’, photo by William E. Simpson
Article and photos by Capt. William E. Simpson
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

Hot Stove

blue lake surrounded by gray snow peaked mountains with green grass meadow in the foreground. Photo by Phil Flip Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
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

A humungous crowd of people.
By Captain William E. Simpson, USMM
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

Military man leaning on the heavy back that pulled him backwards
Article and photos by Captain William E. Simpson, USMM
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

Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
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

Silver mobile home with striped awning, parked on a grassy field alongside a river with forested hills leading up to snow capped mountains. Photo by William E. Simpson
Article and photos by William E. Simpson
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

Snow geese at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. photo by Steven T. Callan
Article and photos by Steven T. Callan
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

NASA image depicting solar storm impacting earth’s geomagnetic field.
By Capt. William E. Simpson, USMM
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

Preparedness & Survival by Capt. William E. Simpson
11/12/14 -- Over the past few years, disaster preparedness (“prepping”) has become a popular topic. A very large mix of people have begun preaching prepping, all having different motives for promoting their particular... Full Story

Making Friends With The Neighbors

Wild (feral) stallions competing - copyright Laura Simpson 2014
By William E. Simpson
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

Ishi

 Newspaper headline from early August 1911. Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Bee.
By Phil 'Flip' Akers
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

Kathy at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, beside one of the largest (redwood) trees on Earth., photo by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
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

Jim Broshears, Mt. Lassen view from Brokeoff Mountain
By Jim Broshears
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 Winter

Peak Bagging in Winter, Jim Broshears, Trailhead Adventures, Paradise, CA, MyOutdoorBuddy.com By 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

Jim Broshears, Trailhead Tales author badge for My outdoor buddy
By Jim Broshears
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!

Death Wobble, underbody of a vehicle, Don Stec
Article and photos by Don Stec
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

Article and photos by Jim Broshears
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

The Mystery of the Missing Valley By Jim Broshears
Article and photos by Jim Broshears
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

 

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