Q: I have a few questions about the new trap regulations for recreational crabbing that took effect Nov. 1. Why the new regulations? Where can I find information about the new requirements for marker buoys, main buoys, and validations?
A: We appreciate your interest in keeping up to date on recreational crabbing regulations. The new regulations are spelled out in California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 14, sections 29.80 and 29.85. They were adopted to address entanglement risk in the recreational fishery and to minimize interaction potential with protected whales and sea turtles.
The regulations establish a validation stamp requirement, trap limit, trap service interval, new trap marking requirements, and new authority for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to temporarily limit the use of crab traps in times of increased entanglement risk.
A full background report and rationale is available on the California Fish and Game Commission website. You can find answers to the most commonly asked questions about the new regulations on our crab fishery web page.
Q: I was looking for information about hunting wild pigs in California and came across a YouTube video with wildlife officers providing just the information I needed. Are there other videos like this, and if so, where can I find them?
A: It sounds like you watched a recording of CDFW’s Advanced Hunter Education (AHE) webinar titled “Wild Pig Hunting on Public Lands.” This webinar is one in a series of CDFW Advanced Hunter Education webinars, which launched about a year ago.
Each webinar is about an hour long and focuses on a particular hunting related topic. Some of the topics covered so far include turkey hunting 101, virtual scouting and Zone D11, D13 and D15 deer hunting opportunities. You can sign up to participate in upcoming webinars at wildlife.ca.gov/Hunter-Education/Advanced.
Additionally, you can view recordings of prior webinars by searching for “AHE” titled videos on CDFW’s YouTube channel.
CDFW’s R3 (which stands for recruit, retain and reactivate) program also offers a virtual seminar series called the R3 Harvest Huddle Hour (R3H3). R3H3 seminars are focused on people new to hunting, fishing, foraging and shooting sports.
You can register for these events by clicking on the calendar events listed on the R3 webpage. Past recordings can be found here. You may also find resources listed under the hunting tab useful, too, like this older guide on hunting pigs (PDF) in California.
Q: I followed the news story about the Santa Rosa resident who found dozens of rattlesnakes under his home. Should I be worried about rattlesnakes under my house? Are rattlesnakes aggressive?
A: It’s perfectly natural, and perhaps even an innate human reaction, to feel worried when hearing a story about a California resident finding so many potentially dangerous snakes so close. In general, rattlesnakes are not aggressive. They avoid conflict to the best of their ability because they don’t want to risk injury or death in a battle or to waste venom by biting something that isn’t prey.
The most familiar way rattlesnakes avoid conflict is signaling their presence by rattling and taking a defensive coiled posture when a potential threat gets too close for comfort. If left alone, they will move away from the threat, not toward it.
A lot of bites occur when people are trying to kill or move rattlesnakes. However, not all bites involve envenomation. They will sometimes “dry bite” as a warning.
Rattlesnakes are distributed broadly across the state but are typically found in open habitats like grasslands, savanna and desert, often in and around rock outcrops when available. When they are found in homes and yards, it’s usually along a wildland-urban interface. However, coming across a den under a house like the one in Santa Rosa is incredibly rare.
It’s important to recognize that rattlesnakes don’t seek out or prefer to live near people, but they will den under a home if there is an abundance of prey and if it’s the best available habitat in an area.
The Santa Rosa story is a good reminder that we should be mindful of our surroundings when we spend time outdoors and around our homes, especially during warmer weather.
Residents can make their yards rattlesnake safe by removing objects that attract them and their prey. This can include keeping vegetation away from fences, removing piles of boards or rocks around the home and repairing any holes in vents or other potential access points. For more information on rattlesnakes in California, visit wildlife.ca.gov/Keep-Me-Wild/Rattlesnakes.