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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

End of the Drought: A glimmer of hope

Map by NOAA Climate.gov, based on data from the Climate Prediction Center.
By Frank Galusha
11/21/14 -- Chances for a below normal, normal or above normal level of precipitation in Northern California are all about the same according to NOAA author, Mike Halbert. The map provided by Halpert in a NOAA release yesterday...Full Story

Rogue Aquatics: Mark the date…Nov. 29

11/20/14 -- After you have your "big box store" shopping done Rogue Aquatics of Central Point is inviting MyOutdoorBuddy readers to come into their store on Saturday November 29 for a cup of coffee and a special... Full Story

NPS: Spend Black Friday at Lava Beds!

11/20/14 -- For those looking for a more refreshing experience the day after Thanksgiving, Lava Beds National Monument has a solution. On Friday, November 28 ranger led programs will be offered at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.. Full Story

Water: Can’t store what isn’t there

11/20/14 -- California’s approval of a $7.5 billion water bond has bolstered prospects for expanding reservoirs and groundwater storage, but the drought-prone state can effectively use no more than a 15 percent increase... Full Story

‘Old Time Holiday’ returns to Shasta County

11/20/14 -- The National Park Service and California State Parks are gearing up for their annual “Old Time Holiday” celebration on Saturday, December 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Follow in the footsteps of miners who in 1849... Full Story

How are sturgeon weathering the drought?

White Sturgeon (CDFW photo)
California Outdoors Q&A by Carrie Wilson
11/20/14 --  I have a question about sturgeon. Are they being negatively affected by the drought? Since sturgeon have been around millions of years, they must have endured many droughts and so hopefully this drought will... Full Story

Oregon Weekly Recreation Report

11/19/14 -- Yes, many rivers and streams closed to trout fishing after Oct. 31, but don’t put away the trout gear quite yet. Lots of water bodies are open for trout year-round, and this time of year the fish are feeding heavily in...Full Story

Chemical contamination up in CA streams

11/19/14 -- Detections and concentrations of pyrethroid pesticides are increasing in California stream sediments, according to a new report by the Stream Pollution Trends Monitoring Program of the State Water Resources...Full Story

Splashing Salmon and Giant Sycamores

Spawning fall-run Chinook salmon. Photo by Steven T. Callan
Article and photos by Steven T. Callan
11/16/14 -- I’m sometimes asked if I had any favorite places to work during my twenty-one years supervising the warden force in western Shasta County. Lower Battle Creek immediately comes to mind--especially the tree...Full Story

F&G Commission Agenda needs scrutiny

By Frank Galusha
11/15/14 -- When the California Fish and Game Commission holds a meeting it is important for all potentially impacted stakeholders to be informed. There are 36 major items on the F&GC’s December 3 meeting starting at 8 a.m. at... Full Story

Tule Lake Unit to receive facelift

Tule Lake Unit Segregation Center non-historic fence, NPS
11/14/14 --  The Tule Lake Unit is receiving a facelift! In its continued effort to protect and preserve the historic landscape that once made up the Tule Lake Segregation Center in Newell, CA, the National Park Service is replacing...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

ODFW: Do not to feed brown pelicans

11/12/14 -- The brown pelican, with its famous large throat pouch and gregarious personality is one of the most distinctive birds on the Oregon coast. Under normal circumstances, brown pelicans sustain themselves by scooping... Full Story

RV Collision Repair Requires Multiple Skills

Don Stec, author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com
By Don Stec
11/10/14 -- I do not know of any other vehicles that require as many multiple occupational skills to repair than a collision damaged RV, specifically motor homes and travel trailers. Steel and aluminum are used in the structural ...Full Story

Redding vacation planning guide available

Visit Redding, Sacramento river fish ladder
11/06/14 -- Searching for an affordable vacation destination where no two visits will ever be the same? You will find it in spectacular Redding, California. Boasting 300+ beautiful days a year, the “Second Sunniest City in the U.S... Full Story

Lassen/Whiskeytown fee increases loom

Whiskeytown and Lassen park fee schedule 2015
11/03/14 -- Lassen Volcanic National Park and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (NRA) will hold a public meeting on November 6 in the Community Room at the Redding Library from 6:00 p.m.to 7:30 p.m. to discuss possible... Full Story

3 locals plead guilty to illegal woodcutting

downed tree cut up in rounds, Lassen National Forest
11/02/14 -- Two recent cases involving the illegal cutting of green trees on the Eagle Lake Ranger District of the Lassen National Forest have resulted in three guilty pleas. Mike and Bryan Trumbull of Susanville pled guilty to illegally...Full Story

Passing on the Tradition essay contest

10/29/14 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and California Wildlife Officer Foundation are again co-sponsoring the annual “Passing on the Tradition” essay contest for young hunters...Full Story

Lake Britton Dam Bridge closes Nov. 3 - 23

10/25/14 -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will close off traffic across the bridge over the Lake Britton Dam from Nov. 3-23. During this time PG&E’s contractor will have equipment on the bridge, which will be closed 24 hours... Full Story

CDFW November 2014 Calendar

10/24/14 -- Docent-led walks at the Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve are scheduled every Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Binoculars and bird books are available for the public to borrow at no cost. The visitor center...Full Story

Oregon State Police: Watch for wildlife

Meyerhofer vehicle after being in accident, OSP, Oregon State Police,
10/21/14 -- Within the last few days there have been several wildlife-involved traffic collisions on Oregon highways, serving as another reminder for travelers to be on extra alert for wildlife and other animals... Full Story

Contest for CA Upland Game stamp begins

10/19/14 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is conducting an art contest to select the design for the state’s 2014-2015 upland game bird stamp. The California Upland Game Bird Stamp... Full Story

USFWS re-opens comment on Cuckoo

Yellow Billed Cuckoo photo courtesy of Wikipedia
By Frank Galusha
10/15/14 -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Oct. 14, 2014, will re-open the public comment period on its proposal to designate 546,335 acres of critical habitat for the western population of yellow... 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

USFWS to list West Coast Fisher

West Coast Fisher, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
10/07/14 -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it is seeking information from the scientific community, the public and interested stakeholders on its proposal to protect the West Coast population...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

Five Mile Point Caves predate 'Clovis'

10/03/14 -- The National Park Service has added the Paisley Five Mile Point Caves to the United States’ listing of the nation’s most important archaeological and historic sites. Situated near the town of Paisley in south...Full Story

Ringing in a New Water Year

California's water reservoir storage graph, FISHIBIO, Erin Loury
By Erin Laury, FISHBIO 
09/29/14 -- It's time to make some water-related resolutions, because October 1 marks the beginning of a new water year. A "water year" is a term used by the U.S. Geological Survey and hydrologists to describe...Full Story

CA DFW has swan tours through January

Tundra Swans
09/19/14 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will offer free swan tours near Marysville from Nov. 2014 through Jan. 2015. Co-hosted by local rice farmers, the tours will focus on tundra swans...Full Story

How to Comply with Tow Chain Laws

By Don Stec
09/13/14 -- One of the most common mistakes trailer owners make is: Failure to properly attach a safety chain between a trailer and the towing vehicle. There seems to be a consensus by the general public that simply...Full Story

Above the Canopy

Article and photos by Steven T. Callan
09/06/14 -- Having had the pleasure and privilege of diving in California’s kelp forests from San Diego to Monterey, I would describe it as a surreal, almost religious experience -- witnessing underwater cathedrals rising...Full Story

Turtle Bay to showcase Toytopia

Toyopia, Monopoly, Turtle Bay Museum, Redding, Shasta,Credit Stage Nine Productions.
09/03/14 -- Turtle Bay is gearing up to host a brand new exhibition: Toytopia, from Stage Nine Exhibit Design! From September 20th to January 7th, the Exploration Hall and East End of the museum will be filled with a reminisce...Full Story

Trinidad Sea Kayaking

Trinidad Sea Kayaking, Pacific Outfitters, PacificOutfittersAdventures.com
By Jason Self
09/03/14 -- The thing I love most about guiding and coaching sea kayaking is sharing unique experience with others. The ocean is dynamic. It’s full of life and energy. One hundred yards from shore and you’re...Full Story

Light Your Way

Light Your Way by John Higley
Article and photos by John Higley
07/25/14 -- Okay, I was lost, or at least in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a long time ago and I was in New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness Area following what I thought was the trail back to camp, only it was a path used primarily...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

​Honey, Bees Can Make You Bumble!

The outdoor edge author badge for Don Webster, myoutdoorbuddy.com
By Don Webster
07/21/14 -- It was a warm, sunny day in July, many, many years ago. In two months, I would officially be a teenager. As I recall, it was a Saturday, and our entire family had piled into two cars and we were headed...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

Roaring Camp 1; Grumpy old man 0

 This is a better pic of Antonnette at the sluice box.
By Chuck Giles
05/31/14 – For a full seven day stretch last week, I was not a grumpy old man. I slipped into a happy trance. My wife, Antonnette and I spent the time at Roaring Camp Gold Mining Company in Pine Grove, California. I have... 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

Extreme Beam Flashlights

By Gary Heffley
04/08/14 -- Let’s get right to the point Extreme Beam Flashlights are durable, dependable, have great tactical applications and outshines most of the competition. What’s that you say, you have looked at some of the competition...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

Mendocino Weekend: Cave & Wave Kayaking

Mendocino Weekend: Cave & Wave Kayaking, John Whittenberger, Headwaters adventure, Redding Ca., outdoors recreation
Article and photos by John Whittenberger
10/30/13 -- My first day paddle (Thursday October 24) from Russian Gulch to the town of Mendocino was calming after being in my truck for so long. The sun came out and warmed me up just enough so I wanted to land on... Full Story

BLM seeks input on use of OR public lands

01/30/13 – Resource Management Plans or RMPs are a process in which the BLM is working with communities, to gain innovative ideas and to identify the latest natural resource research on how your Oregon public lands will...Full Story

 

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