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
Fire leaves huge scar on Weed
09/16/14 -- This is a view on the south side of the Roseburg Mill in Weed, California. The small housing area in the foreground looks to me to be the old mill housing area just east/northeast of the Weed Mercantile. Cause of the...Full Story
Pick Up Litter Day comes to Parks09/17/14 -- Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, the Friends of Whiskeytown, and Forever Resorts are collaborating with local businesses and supporters to help clean up litter around Whiskeytown Lake on Saturday...Full Story
Be alert during WOW Week
How to Comply with Tow Chain LawsBy 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
Sac River NWR Codora Unit opens
Identity of mountain lion confirmed09/12/14 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed forensics testing of the mountain lion killed by wildlife officials in Cupertino on Wednesday, Sept. 10. Test results from the department’s...Full Story
Lassen Park seeks input on Bumpass Hell
Lion guilty of attack killed by CA DFW09/11/14 -- A 65-pound male mountain lion was killed with a rifle shot near the Picchetti Ranch Zinfandel Trail area this morning in an effort to protect public safety relating to a lion attack several days earlier. Wildlife experts...Full Story
Will cold smoking kill fish parasites?
09/11/14 -- I recently caught a number of trout that had what I believe to be parasites called “Lernaea” attached to them in various places. I know after reading another posting from this column titled “Parasites and Trout”...Full Story
Young boy attacked by mountain lion09/09/14 -- A 6-year-old boy hiking with a large group of people was attacked by a mountain lion in a rural area west of Cupertino on Sunday afternoon. The child is expected to survive, and the California Department...Full Story
Above the Canopy
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
Beetle infestation down at Medicine Lake09/03/14 -- After applying a variety of treatments over the past few years to reduce the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) infestation at Medicine Lake Recreation Area, forest officials have surveyed and gathered...Full Story
Redding events for your calendar
Turtle Bay to showcase Toytopia
Trinidad Sea Kayaking
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
Pit River flows increased two weekends09/02/14 -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will provide high, whitewater flows in the Pit 5 Reach (9.3 miles) of the Pit River in eastern Shasta County over two weekends, the company announced today...Full Story
Whiskeytown NRA to have Harvest Festival09/01/14 -- Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and the Friends of Whiskeytown are inviting visitors to the 4th Annual Harvest Festival on September 20, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the park’s Tower House...Full Story
Special exhibition on tap for Lassen Park08/30/14 -- Lassen Volcanic National Park will celebrate its new Artist-In-Residence program with a special exhibition opening at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center on Friday, August 29. The exhibition will feature...Full Story
Matsutake mushroom season to begin08/29/14 -- Matsutake mushroom season will begin next week within the Medicine Lake Highlands region of the Modoc National Forest. The season will open Sept. 2, 2014 and will run through Nov. 30, 2014 when all...Full Story
A bridge to the future -- but where?
08/28/14 – Don’t be fooled by the dateline on this story! It’s not August 28, 2014! Skip ahead 500 years. This is the Sacramento River flowing through the city of Redding in the year 2514. The city’s marvelous Sundial Bridge...Full Story
Wildlife Officer Academy graduates 2808/27/14 -- Twenty-eight cadets graduated from the California Wildlife Officer Academy during ceremonies at the Performing Arts Center in Paradise, Calif. on Aug. 23, 2014. The graduating class included 17 sponsored...Full Story
CDFW September 2014 Calendar08/26/14 -- Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve. Docent-led walks 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
Lava Beds install new information panels
CDFW recruiting new Wildlife Officers08/22/14 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is recruiting those interested in a career as a wildlife officer. CDFW will accept applications for wildlife officer cadet from Aug. 22 through Oct. 17, 2014...Full Story
Snakes... why did it have to be snakes!
08/21/14 -- Many years ago, early-on in our marriage, I brought home a rather large rattlesnake in my knapsack that I'd dispatched with a shovel while on a camping trip. Admittedly, killing the snake was...Full Story
Lake Oroville; the real issueBy Chuck Giles
08/08/14 -- The bottom line is we have ourselves a water situation, “Duh!” Lake Oroville already resembles what it used to be; the Feather River. Suddenly, this hits home for all us anglers in our bass and trolling rigs who...Full Story
Celebrate Fall at WNRA Harvest Festival08/07/14 -- Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and the Friends of Whiskeytown are inviting visitors to attend the 4th Annual Harvest Festival on September 20, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the park’s Tower...Full Story
CDFW: Watch for waterfowl mortality!07/30/14 -- Drought conditions have increased the possibility of disease outbreaks in waterfowl, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium that causes avian botulism...Full Story
Light Your Way
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
Boat trailer frame repairs
07/22/14 -- One of the most common damages we see to a boat trailer is caused by “jack knifing” the trailer. This is usually when the trailer is being backed up and the turn angle becomes too severe. The trailer cannot...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
Honey, Bees Can Make You Bumble!
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 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
CDFW: Wild animals do not need handouts
Mountains of Marble
07/11/14 -- Welcome to the Marble Mountain Wilderness located in the heart of the Klamath National Forest. Designated in 1931 as the Marble Mountain Primitive Area, this later became one of California’s original... Full Story
Roaring Camp 1; Grumpy old man 0
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
Take a trail ride at Wild Horse Sanctuary
05/29/14 -- The Wild Horse Sanctuary in Shingletown/Manton kicked off its annual trail ride season with the Wildflower ride on April 26th-27th. Professor Laird Blackwell, an expert on California wildflowers, entertained and... Full Story
50th Wilderness Celebration set for Red Bluff05/01/14 -- Save the date (Oct. 10-12) and register early! Northern California will be hosting the premier 50th Wilderness celebration in Tehama County this fall in Red Bluff. “Wilderness Treasures – Celebrating 50...Full Story
The Mystery of the Middle Fork – Part IIIBy 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 FlashlightsBy 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 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 Missing Valley -- 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
Fee Free Days set for BLM-Public Lands
Mendocino Weekend: Cave & Wave Kayaking
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 lands01/30/13 – 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