Scientific Collecting Permit Needed?

RTTB

Arachnoprince
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Dec 4, 2016
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After decades of collecting native scorpions and centipedes in my home state, I never thought one would need a permit for terrestrial invertebrates. I've always had a fishing license for herping. I was recently told by a fellow enthusiast I met that to collect scorpions centipedes or any invertebrates for that matter that I have to have a Scientific Colkecting permit and the Dept of Fish and Wildlife simply does not issue them to hobbyists like myself. I read the regs and they are vague and my emails to the specific officer assigned to terrestrial invertebrates have not been responded to. Almost sounds like if I find a centipede in my backyard that I can't collect it. Yeah right. I've never been questioned by all my years of black lighting in the desert areas near where I live and I have had Fish and Game check out what I was doing but were only interested if I had an reptiles. Can anyone lend any insight into this matter? I would appreciate it.
 

chanda

Arachnoking
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Howdy, neighbor! (I'm just up the road from you, in Redlands.)

I don't know the legal requirements for local collecting, but it's been my experience that nobody really cares as long as you're not bagging dozens of tarantulas or scorpions at a time. My personal opinion (not that it's worth much) is if I could squish or spray it with impunity for trespassing in my yard or garden, as so many other people do, then there's nothing wrong with sticking it in a cage and feeding it instead. (Not that I do squish or spray - I try to keep my yard as chemical-free and bug-friendly as possible.) Given that a great many people hire exterminators to eliminate spiders and scorpions on their property - or kill them when they find them out wandering around - and that is considered generally acceptable to do so - I don't think there are a great many people out there who will get upset at hobbyists collecting a few pets. I do know when I visited the Salton Sea with my son a few years ago I was talking to a couple of the park rangers about some of the inverts I wanted to find/catch. (I was specifically looking for a solifugid at the time.) They told me that they'd had some show up in the station recently and even took my number and offered to call me if another one showed up. While I never did get a call from them to come pick up a solifugid, they also didn't say "Oh, you can't do that!" or anything to that effect, so...
 

RTTB

Arachnoprince
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Hi neighbor. It's a small world. I'm just trying to be mindful ethical and legal in my casual collecting. Thank you for your insight.
 

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
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Beware state parks and national forests. Depredation can get you a hefty fine faster than you can say 'I was just...'.
 

RTTB

Arachnoprince
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Yes indeed. I keep my endeavors to public land and private land with owner permission.
 

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
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In the words of Sam M, USFS, and retold constantly in certain circles: 'I told them, that's the most expensive piece of wood your likely to find in your life time'. Spoken as he stopped a couple of guys loading a log collected in the Angeles National Forest into a truck.
 

SlugPod

Arachnoknight
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Sep 28, 2015
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@RTTB
I had been doing a bit of research on this recently myself, and the only things I could find were this;
Don't collect from State Parks, National Forests, anything protected. You mentioned you stay well away from that, so I don't see any issues there.
Public land is considered fine to collect from, private land you just have to have the permission of the land owner.
As long as you can find it in the wild within the USA, it's legal.
If you want to collect out side of the USA and then bring it back, you need a permit for that, which is nearly impossible to get for hobby keepers. I read mixed things on whether or not it is actually obtainable by a hobby keeper or if it is impossible. Some things said it's possible just incredibly difficult, and some sources said it's impossible unless you work within some kind of Facility like a Museum, Zoo or other place such as that.
So perhaps that was what the person was referring to, that would be my guess anyway.

The local laws COULD vary, of course. And certain things may not be allowed to be collected from the wild unless you do have a permit. I'm not familiarized with California's local laws.
 

BobBarley

Arachnoprince
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Sep 16, 2015
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I live in California also, (right next to Modesto, about an hour south of Sacremento) and have never heard of such regulations other than collecting from protected land (but that's a given).
 

RTTB

Arachnoprince
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Yeah I was hoping it was misinformation I got. I found it interesting that there is a Fish and Wildlife officer assigned to terrestrial invertebrates on the California Fish and Wildlife website.
 

chanda

Arachnoking
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Yeah I was hoping it was misinformation I got. I found it interesting that there is a Fish and Wildlife officer assigned to terrestrial invertebrates on the California Fish and Wildlife website.
I've tried reading the regulations before and found it all pretty confusing. There are certain places (like National Parks, State Parks, Wildlife preserves, etc.) where of course collecting anything (plant or animal) is forbidden, but when it comes to non-protected lands the rules are a little less clear.

What exactly is meant by "scientific collecting"? Obviously someone with a research grant who is doing a population study or something of the sort and sweep netting broad areas or setting numerous traps will have a much larger impact than a small-time hobbyist. Likewise, the commercial vendor who is scooping up dozens of live or dead specimens for sale can significantly damage local populations. The question is, does the regulation for "scientific collecting" even apply to the amateur hobbyist who is only collecting a few pets or pinned specimens for a collection? Surely they can't expect every Boy Scout, science teacher, or entomology student who is building an insect collection to pay hundreds of dollars in fees and spend six months or more waiting for a permit to be approved, so either the permit requirement doesn't apply - or it isn't enforced at that level.
 

Matttoadman

Arachnoknight
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I know in Kentucky scientific collecting means, collecting outside of the legal limits and species. For research of course.
 

JLC

Arachnopeon
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I moved near the Palm Springs, CA area a couple of years ago and have always been cautious about going out to the desert collecting because I didn't want to get in trouble. Anyone have any links to laws or rules about this? It'd make me feel better to have some documentation with me while I'm collecting and happened to get questioned.
 

RTTB

Arachnoprince
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Dec 4, 2016
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Just stay away from Whitewater. It's a reserve now and historically there is Fish and Game officers aplenty patrolling for snake collectors as the area is well known for Rosy Boas. I've been questioned many times for black lighting for scorpions at night in adjacent areas and it got to be a hassle explaining each and every time that I was after scorpions and not snakes.
 

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
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When in doubt, here is your golden rule to follow: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Wilderness_Preservation_System

Always keep in mind that without the various protections and conservation efforts, the organism homo sapiens is quite capable of disturbing or destroying any and all natrural habitats on the entire earth within a decade or so.

The 'just this/these won't be missed' mentality costs us our natural heritage and will deprive future generations the bio-diversity we presently enjoy.
 
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Anoplogaster

Arachnodemon
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Jan 15, 2017
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The regs are always super confusing in CA, unfortunately. Even as scientists, collecting permits are a huge pain for us to obtain, and you have to be very specific with what you're doing.

Like others have mentioned, just stay out of protected areas and don't touch endangered species. As long as you're not setting up traps or doing something extremely obvious, you're probably okay.

Did you know you can be cited by the federal government for picking up a feather on the beach? All seabirds are protected under the Migratory Bird Act. Did you know up until a couple years ago, you could be cited for spotting a Southern Sea Otter south of Point Conception and not reporting it? You would be charged for being an accessory to a federal crime, as the SEA OTTER would be in violation of the Sea Otter Management Zone put in place in 1987. Not a joke:confused:
 

myrmecophile

Arachnolord
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Dec 22, 2006
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National forests are ok, blm technically requires a permit which used to be easy to get, however unless you are being destructive it is not enforced. State parks, national parks, reserves avoid like the plague.
 
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