Question: I am considering venomous snake rescue and relocation and am hoping you will direct me to the proper department. What laws or permits are involved in such a hobby? Are there designated release locations for rescued snakes? Do I need a permit?
Answer: All native reptiles and amphibians are protected under California Fish and Game laws and may not be taken except as authorized by those laws. The laws do not include take for the purposes you describe. But, a limited version of the business may legally be conducted under the Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations (dfg.ca.gov/regulations/FreshFish-Mar2011/).
According to retired Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Capt. Phil Nelms, some species, including rattlesnakes, may be taken under the authority of the regulations. Under the provisions of these regulations, any person with a current sport fishing license may take the number of snakes provided as the “bag limit” for that species each day (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 5.60). However, if you are taking rattlesnakes only, no fishing license is required and the bag limit is two rattlesnakes per day.
Additional regulations protect native reptiles and amphibians taken from the wild, as well as those held in captivity, from being sold or released back into the wild. Live snakes that are immediately released in the area where taken are not considered to be captive (CCR Title 14, section 40).
It is permissible to conduct a snake removal business as long as you operate within the parameters of these sport fishing laws. You may also need to have a local business license.
Buying duck stamps
Question: I have contacted three sporting goods stores in my area asking about the purchase of state and federal duck stamps and how they relate to the automated license data system (ALDS). They don’t know and do not have individual state stamps as in the past. Please help a bunch of duck hunters.
Answer: Federal duck stamps are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and are available at U.S. post offices, some license agents and online at https://shop.usps.com/, but not from DFG.
The California Duck Validation (no longer called a stamp) may be purchased now online at dfg.ca.gov/licensing/ols/, in person at any DFG license sales office (a list of which can be found at dfg.ca.gov/licensing/officelocation.html) or from any license agent (dfginternal5.dfg.ca.gov/lasweb/), where validations can be purchased at the same license terminal as the hunting license. Although they are no longer required, the physical stamps are still produced for collectors’ purposes. If you purchase the California Duck Validation and still want to receive an actual stamp, you must request it online. Please read how to do that here: dfg.ca.gov/licensing/collectorstamps/.
Outside the Golden Gate
Question: I know that you can use as many rods and hooks as you want outside the Golden Gate, but can I use multiple rods to catch striped bass and halibut from the shore? I already know that only one rod can be used for salmon, rockfish and lingcod. I have heard that once I have a striped bass or a halibut in possession, then only one rod can be used.
Answer: If you are outside of the San Francisco Bay and fishing from shore for halibut and striped bass, you can use as many rods and hooks as you want. However, if you catch a species like salmon or rockfish, you will have to release it as only one line may be used to take these species (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 28.65).
Question: I am considering purchasing an AR-15 (5.56 mm/.223 cal) but cannot find information that would indicate whether or not this firearm can be used for big game hunting, to include in particular wild boar and deer. Is there a DFG handbook or regulation that covers this in detail?
Answer: AR-15 rifles that are legal to possess in California are legal to use for hunting as long as the ammunition being used is legal for the area and species being hunted.
Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. Contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.