Raccoon House Pets?

Raccoons are illegal to keep as house pets (USFWS photo)

Question: Is it legal to have a raccoon living in the house? I have seen a raccoon in my friend’s tree during the daytime (which is unusual) and they told me it belongs to their neighbor. My friend has a lot of grandchildren running around outside and so I worry this is a health issue. I am not sure if they have a special permit for this little creature. Should a game warden come out to check on the situation? (Debra M.)

Answer: It is not only illegal to keep raccoons (or any wildlife) as pets or in captivity, but it also may be dangerous. Wild animals such as raccoons can become very aggressive and dangerous to both humans and pets as they mature. In addition, they can carry diseases and parasites that can present health risks to humans. Wildlife need to be kept wild for their safety and well-being, as well as ours. Only people who are permitted by DFG (for example, licensed wildlife rehabilitators or exhibitors) may keep wildlife in captivity. To report this situation, please contact our CalTIP line at 1-888-334-2258.


Can full Alabama rigs be legally fished in ocean waters?
Question: Can full Alabama rigs be legally fished in ocean waters? (Zack P., Santa Barbara)

Answer: Alabama rigs have been all the rage, as well as very controversial, in the bass fishing circuits this year. While in freshwater lakes and Delta waters the Alabama rig must be modified (only three hooks total allowed rather than the standard five), in ocean waters no modifications are required. However, if fishing for salmon or rockfish or if salmon or rockfish are in possession, the angler would be limited to only two hooks.


Shooting from side-by-side carts on private property?
Question: What are the rules for shooting from or off side-by-side carts on private property? Legal or not legal? (Ric)

Answer: California Fish and Game laws prohibit shooting from a vehicle when you are shooting at wildlife and you cannot shoot from any vehicle that is on a way open to the public. In addition, there are restrictions in the Penal Code against discharging firearms in certain incorporated or unincorporated areas, even if you are on private property. Information regarding these Penal Code provisions are available online in the “Firearms Laws” (Booklet by California Department of Justice) (PDF) on the DFG Enforcement homepage (www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement).

The one exception here would be for mobility impaired disabled hunters who qualify for a special hunting license allowing the person to use a motor vehicle to pursue game. The vehicle would still have to be stopped before the hunter could shoot from the vehicle. For more information on this special license, please visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/hunting/huntdescrip.html.


Selling bottle openers made from antlers
Question: I have a very small hobby/business of making (and at some point hopefully selling) bottle openers. I currently make them out of wood but I would like to make some of them out of deer or elk antlers or bone. There are companies on the Internet who sell antlers, but they say they cannot ship to California. What are the regulations concerning using antlers for hobby items such as this? What antlers are permissible for importing for use in a hobby/business of making bottle openers? Why are elk antlers not allowed to be imported into California? Can elk antlers be legally gathered or purchased from within California? (Jeff M., South Lake Tahoe)

Answer:  In general, it is not legal to buy or sell the parts of any game bird or mammal found in the wild in the state of California (Fish and Game Code, section 3039(a)). However, FGC section 3039(c) allows the purchase and sale of shed antlers or antlers taken from domestically reared animals that have been manufactured into products as long as the antlers are not complete, attached to a head, mounted for display, or in velvet. As far as your question, if the antlers are from sheds and are made into bottle openers, they would be allowed to be sold in California. Another option would be to purchase antlers from animals such as caribou or moose, since they are not found in the wild in California.


Turkey call
Question: I want to make a turkey call from a box turtle shell. Would these be legal to possess in California? (Jeff H.)

Answer: Yes.

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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.

One response to “Raccoon House Pets?

  1. I’ve seen a raccoon attack a friend’s Golden Retriever and leave a nasty scar on her face til this day. A raccoon is NOT the type of animal you want around, trust me. They also are nasty like rats and disease carriers, they are to be avoided not kept.

    -Jessica Jacobs

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