California Deer News

Another wolf may be roaming in Siskiyou County August 3, 2015 California, Redding Record Searchlight
...  State officials say they strongly suspect a new wild wolf is roaming Siskiyou County, more than a year after OR-7, California’s famous wandering wolf, headed back to Oregon...

Fair Oaks, Sac Metro Fire Crews Rescue Baby Deer July 30, 2015 California, FOX 40
... After talking with Kindred Spirits Fawn Rescue, firefighters covered the fawn’s eye, untangled him from the fence, splinted his broken leg and carried him back to a vehicle...

CDFW Completes Deer Capture Project in Truckee Area July 27, 2015 California, CDFW News
     The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has successfully completed a deer capture project involving the Loyalton-Truckee mule deer herd.  This purpose of the capture and study is to help researchers better understand deer migration patterns and reduce the high number of automobile/deer collisions on a busy 25-mile stretch of Highway 89.  Using tranquilizer darts, CDFW wildlife biologists captured 13 does and fitted them with global positioning satellite (GPS) collars... The Loyalton-Truckee mule deer are a migratory herd inside the Tahoe National Forest. The herd occupies the premium deer zones X7a/b. They have been studied for more than a decade for various reasons including health and migration patterns. It is estimated that more than 2,000 deer occupy this area.

    The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering a draw for an apprentice deer hunt on the Chimineas Unit of the Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve. The two-day hunt, which is being offered in cooperation with the California Deer Association (CDA), will be held Sept. 12-13 on the 30,000-acre reserve in San Luis Obispo County... Three apprentice hunters will be chosen by lottery. Selected apprentice hunters must be accompanied by an adult...

A deer's desperate attempt [successful!] to escape the flames of a brush fire in the Sunol Grade area was captured on chopper video. - July 20, 2015


... the mountain lions of the Santa Monica mountains are trapped, hemmed in by busy oncoming traffic from the 101 freeway... Save LA Cougars, a massive initiative to build what could be the world’s largest wildlife crossing... benefits for a wide range of wildlife, including bobcats, coyotes, deer and even smaller species such as birds and lizards...

... For the third year, Jones Ranch and Sleepy Creek Ranch will be offering fall hunts for deer, bear, turkey, quail and dove. These remote ranches in West Cuyama Valley encompass 1,000 acres between them, and will offer separate hunting opportunities... A $11.37 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each hunt choice... Participating landowners receive liability protection and compensation for providing public access to or through their land for wildlife-dependent recreational activities. The goal of the SHARE Program is to provide additional hunting, fishing and other recreational access on private lands in California...

Deer rescued from irrigation canal in Blythe July 8, 2015 California, KESQ-TV.com 
... a deer became stuck in an irrigation canal... needed a few moments to get the doe out and set her free...



Deer and foxes and opossums – oh my! July 7, 2015 California, Sonoma Index-Tribune
... As the worst drought in the state’s history continues, animals may have to search for food and water on the roads less traveled ... Officials from Wildlife Fawn Rescue, an organization in Kenwood dedicated to saving and releasing fawn back into the wild, say they’ve seen a steady rise in reports of deer putting themselves in dangerous situations...


... Three bull elk, eight antlerless and two junior-only antlerless elk tags will be available through a random draw process. These hunts are in addition to those issued through the big game drawing ... For more information about each SHARE property, please visit http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/SHARE.

San Bernardino Mountains fire creating wonderful deer habitat June 27, 2015 California, Victorville Daily Press
... The reality is that deer are a successional species that thrive in disturbed habitats that are transitioning from their disturbed condition back to the mature forest (whether that disturbance has been caused by fire, landslides, or grazing/timber harvest/brush removal). This fire has largely been in habitat that had been very marginal for deer...


...   The 2-week-old baby deer was under the care of the Sierra Wild Life Rescue ... "The habitat that's been burned, that's their food, their cover, so basically, they have nothing to eat and nowhere to hide," said Cook.  If they are to survive, they have to leave the fire burn area...

... California keeps getting thirstier and thirstier, water sources are drying up faster than ever, leaving many of us wondering if our deer have moved to another state...  The woods have changed, and some of us are left scratching our heads...

... Assembly Bill 499. AB 499 would authorize a person with a valid license to carry a firearm capable of being concealed on the person, consistent with the terms of that license, while engaged in the taking of deer with bow and arrow...

Deer become more aggressive during birthing season June 5, 2015 California, KSBW-TV 8 Salinas... Mother deer are extra sensitive because of their fawns, so they see dogs as a threat... The added stress of not being able to find food and water makes the deer more aggressive... deer-resistant plants ... available on the department's website.

Where to Chase Columbia Blacktail Bucks June 5, 2015 California, Outdoor Life Magazine
... The earliest deer season out West is California’s sweltering A-Zone blacktail hunt. The bow season usually commences in mid July; the rifle season around the first weekend in August. Mendocino County is the top spot, with Clear Lake and Lake Mendocino among the prime starting points...

Lost deer ends up in Baldwin Park June 2, 2015 California, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
... A deer wandered around Baldwin Park Tuesday morning and ended up in the yard of a construction business. Animal control officers tranquilized the animal and drove it back to the mountains...

'Ghost deer' appears in Monterey neighborhood May 30, 2015 California, kcra.com
... A rare white deer with pink ears and a pink nose has been spotted several times strolling around Monterey ...

2015-2016 Deer Seasons and Quotas Have Been Adopted May 24, 2015 California, Legal Labrador
... The 2015-2016 deer hunting seasons and quotas were adopted by the California Fish & Game Commission (FGC) on April 9, 2015.  They are pending final approval by the California Office of Administrative Law and filing with the Secretary of State...

Highway 37 crossing for wildlife in the works May 24, 2015 California, Santa Rosa Press Democrat
... Highway 37, which connects Novato to Vallejo, slices right through major habitat for jackrabbits, deer ... The Land Trust is working on creating a safer wildlife passage under the highway... Animals avoided the underpass, about three-quarters of a mile west of the intersection of Highways 37 and 121, because of the lack of trees and shrubs to serve as cover ...

     The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released the draft California State Wildlife Action Plan 2015 Update (SWAP 2015) and is seeking public input. Public input will help shape the final SWAP 2015, which will be completed by October 2015. The draft SWAP 2015 is available online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/SWAP.  Written comments on SWAP 2015 can be submitted on the website, by emailing SWAP@wildlife.ca.gov or by mail to SWAP 2015 Update, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, 1416 Ninth Street, 12th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814. The comment period is open from May 18 through July 2, 2015.
     Public meetings to provide information about SWAP 2015 will be held in Sacramento, Oakland, San Diego and Los Angeles.  See www.wildlife.ca.gov/SWAP for more details.

Reasons why wolves not in California varied May 15, 2015 California, Redding Record Searchlight
... California cannot compare with the other states on the numbers of prey animals... while some states have hundreds of thousands of elk, our state has less than 10,000 elk. California has more deer than elk, but again, less than what other western states have...

Harvest Reporting Now Mandatory May 14, 2015 California, CDFW News
     Beginning with the 2015 deer season, all deer hunters will be required to report their deer tags to CDFW. Any person who is issued a deer tag must submit a report for the tag after the hunt, even if they did not hunt, or if they did not harvest a deer. Imposition of the $20 non-reporting fee has been delayed by the Fish and Game Commission until the 2016 season. Failure to report 2016 results will require payment of the non-reporting fee prior to purchasing tags and tag applications in 2017.
     Hunters have two methods to submit their harvest reports:  Online – Submit an online report for each deer tag you are issued, at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/. When you report online, you receive instant confirmation that your report has been received and accepted.  By Mail – Any person who does not report their deer tag online must return the report card portion of each deer tag they are issued to: CDFW – Wildlife Branch, PO Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94299-0002.

Fawn rescued from 275-acre wildfire near San Luis Reservoir May 11, 2015 California, KSBW-TV 8 Salinas
... The fawn with bright white spots was having trouble breathing until firefighters gave it an oxygen mask. On Monday evening, CalFire said the fawn was continuing to show signs of improvement and is expected to be OK...



... California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold public meetings to discuss the 2015 update to the California State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). The meetings will be held in Sacramento, Oakland, San Diego and Los Angeles [click on link above for details, meetings start on May 22] ... California’s SWAP is a comprehensive, statewide plan for conserving the state’s fish and wildlife and their vital natural habitats for future generations. It is part of a nationwide effort by all 50 states and five U.S. territories to develop conservation action plans and participate in the federally authorized State and Tribal Wildlife Grants (SWG) Program....

Volunteers hope roadkill photos spark animal crossings May 5, 2015 California, The Santa Cruz Sentinel
...  the California Roadkill Observation System (CROS), a citizen science website that plunks dead animal sightings onto a map of the state... Researchers and wildlife advocates hope the data will convince state highway authorities to construct more animal crossings or barriers to reduce future collisions...

Corona, Deer rescued from lake euthanized due to bite wounds May 5, 2015 California, The Press-Enterprise
... it had suffered serious bite wounds, possibly from a coyote... Based on tracks found near the lake ... authorities believe the female deer was chased into the lake’s mucky waters, where it got stuck up to its chest ...

Connect the Corridors  May 3, 2015 California, SCV TV 
... The National Park Service released its study earlier this month on the Rim of the Valley Corridor and is holding a meeting ... Alternate C worked on connectivity of the urban areas of Los Angeles to the open-space areas near Los Angeles. Alternate D protected the animal corridors including our Soledad corridor, which is currently in danger of being closed off.  The National Park Service, despite 95 percent of the community asking for a combination of C and D, has recommended Alternate C...

Mapping the carnage of roadkill, and looking for solutions May 2, 2015 California, Sacramento Bee... California Roadkill Observation System has been collecting data on statewide hotspots since 2009 ... a “lethal sampling device.” Roadkill can tell us something about wildlife population distribution ... deer fatalities nearly doubling last year. The statewide drought may be to blame, Shilling says, forcing animals to move around more in search of water. But his 2015 observations so far point toward a troubling decline...


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/california-forum/article20117298.html#storylink=cpy
Decline of California Deer, Big changes for Hunter Education in California May 2, 2015, Examiner
... Dave Casady a Dept. of Fish & Wildlife biologist made a presentation on a study he has been working on regarding the condition, and status of the blacktail deer in a 400 sq mile area of the Mendocino national Forest. This data will be covered in full in a later report, however, the main points coming out of the data was as many hunters have suspected the size of the California Blacktail herd is diminishing by about 10% each year, in this area...

... the Animal Protection and Rescue League OC carried signs in front of the District Attorney’s office calling for the two animal control officers to be criminally indicted.  “What they did was felony animal cruelty,” said Dina Kourda, chairwoman of the national group’s Orange County chapter...
...  the buck was found impaled and hanging upside down on a fence, screaming in pain, by Anaheim Hills veterinarian Kathleen Johnson, who then called 911 for help. Although she told the officers that the animal could be saved ... Johnson stated the pair just slit the animal’s through before cutting it down from the fence ...

...  Results indicate that body hair, if collected during or shortly after growth of the winter coat, can be used as a supplementary sample for measuring selenium concentrations in deer. None of the other correlations and linear associations were found to be sufficiently strong to conclude that hair can reliably be utilized as a complementary sample for measuring these trace mineral concentrations.

Roadkill hot spots identified in California April 15, 2015 Central Valley Business Times
... an interactive map showing how California's state highway system is strewn with "hot spots” where man has interacted with wildlife to the latter’s detriment and demise.  The report by the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis, is expected to help state highway planners take measures to protect both drivers and wildlife...
     What are California's deadliest roads for animals? April 15, 2015 OCRegister
...  I-280 in the San Francisco Bay Area: Bad for deer...  State Route 50 in the Sierra Nevada Mountain area: Lethal for several species.  State Route 101 through Northern California redwoods: Lethal to all forms of wildlife...

In the Wake of the Rim Fire, What Comes Next? A Story of Recovery, Restoration and Reforestation April 13, 2015 California, United States Department of Agriculture
... blackened portions of the Stanislaus National Forest, which were left by the Rim Fire that blazed through the Sierras in August of 2013, have begun to spring to life... a reforestation team is diligently working to bring forth a new forest... “Reintroducing fire into the forested areas early is one way the Stanislaus has of lessening the damaging effects of intense fires,” ... Deer are one species that rely on acorns during cold winter months. They are also an indicator species for overall forest health ...

Afternoon of Deer and Yearlings April 12, 2015 California, Examiner
... the herd was held responsible for destroying lawns, shrubbery and property and even scaring residents with their aggressive behavior.  The threat was unfounded, of course, but the initial plan for thinning the herd called for using archers and killing them with bows and arrows ... Only when the “Villagers” vigorously and angrily protested the cruel plan was it abandoned...

... "I think of roads as a continuous wildlife sampling device," says Fraser Shilling, the UC Davis professor who operates the database ...  early on in the drought, he and the other researchers saw a spike in the amount of roadkill, especially deer. Shilling speculates this might have been driven by the animals' increased migration as they looked for food ... More recently, however, the data has shown the opposite trend. ... "It's probably because we have a decline in wildlife populations in general." ...


Lead restrictions begin for CA hunters April 1, 2015 California, U-T San Diego
... Starting in July, all hunters on CDFW lands must use non-lead ammunition... CDFW is phasing in a mandatory reporting regulation for all deer hunters. Starting this year, all California deer hunters must submit a report for every deer tag they draw or buy and if they’re successful or not...

2015 Big Game Digest Now Available Online March 30, 2015 March 30, 2015 California, CDFW News
     The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has posted the 2015 Big Game Digest to its website. The 64-page document can be downloaded online for free at
www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/digest/. The popular guide includes season, quota and harvest information for deer, elk, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep, as well as tag drawing information, bear and wild pig hunting information and big game hunting regulations for the 2015-16 seasons... Preliminary total state buck harvest for 2014:  13,930 of which 48.4 percent were two point bucks.

CDFW Reminds the Public to Leave Young Wildlife Alone March 27, 2015 California, CDFW News
... The state’s rehabilitation facilities receive an average of around 400-500 fawns per year from well-meaning members of the public. Many of these fawns were healthy and in no danger, and should not have been disturbed...  If the butt is clean, it’s likely not an orphan because a doe will meticulously clean the fawn’s bottom after it feeds...

Pregnant deer shot to death in Paso Robles March 26, 2015 California, The San Luis Obispo Tribune
... The doe was killed sometime on Tuesday afternoon near the 300 block of 24th Street in the city... call 1-888-334-2258 reward ...

Deer Management Plan March, 2015 CDFW, California
... Comments due by April 30, 2015  ... CDFW has completed a Draft California Deer Conservation and Management Plan (Draft Plan) and is seeking public comment on the content. This Draft Plan is an update to the 1976 A Plan for California Deer...
 The most important goals of the Draft Plan are to manage the state’s deer and deer habitats on a landscape level and to develop and implement robust population management methods. CDFW is proposing planning by the Deer Conservation Unit (DCU), and 10 individual DCU plans will be prepared. Landscape level planning will allow CDFW to collect population data comparable at larger scales and assess the needs of deer on a landscape level ... The public may comment on the plan in one of two ways:  By U.S. Mail to: Deer Plan, 1812 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95811, or By electronic mail to: DeerPlan@wildife.ca.gov.
... Download the Draft California Deer Conservation and Management Plan (PDF).

... Californians around the state can now use an online tool to report incidents of fish and wildlife mortality directly to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). By contributing to CDFW’s growing database, citizens can help state environmental scientists gather important information necessary to monitor and evaluate wildlife populations and help prevent and control emerging diseases... The preferred method is to submit information using the new mortality reporting form found at wildlife.ca.gov/living-with-wildlife...

A Brief History of Tule Elk on the Point Reyes Peninsula March 19, 2015 California, West Marin Citizen
... the tule elk (Cervus elaphus nannodes), a subspecies of elk found only in California ... summer day of 1576 when Sir Francis Drake and his weathered crew landed at what is now Point Reyes ... first caught a glimpse of this stoic, and remarkably abundant grazer, as described in a journal entry: “... very large and fat Deer ...  " ...  tule elk are making a comeback thanks in large part to extensive management and reintroduction efforts...


California data: The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) estimated 443,289 deer in 2014, down from about 850,000 in 1991.  See graphic below from CDFW Deer Management Plan.  Our population model puts the population at below 400,000 for 2013 and 2014, down from the peak of about 2 million around 1960. The persistent drought will drive populations lower in 2015.  Recent population estimates from CDFW do not track with the declining deer harvest data  See a Long term deer population estimate for information on reasons for the decline. Habitat loss, fragmentation, and fire suppression resulting in denser forests have been major factors contributing to the decline of deer populations throughout the West. The decline in timber sales corresponding to reduced logging activity is highly correlated to the decline of California deer populations.  Buy a paper bag - save a deer.  Also contributing to the population decline in California appears to be the large number of deer tags issued by the Game Commission.  
 In 2014, t
he Game Commission authorized about twice as many buck tags as there are available bucks in the entire state. Given the history of a large number of tags issued, hunter success in California is lower than in any other state.  If California hunters had the national average hunting success rate, the wild herd would be wiped out. CDFW generates revenue from the sale of tags.  
      Evidence suggests that another contributing factor in California may be the long-term policy of  essentially bucks only hunting, resulting in highly skewed deer population demographics, as might be found in a poorly managed game preserve.  The reported 2013 harvest was 13.8% of the peak harvest reported in 1956.  No other state in recent history has experienced this much of a decline. No other state has followed an essentially bucks only harvest nearly as long as California. The state also takes a high percentage of young bucks, resulting in relatively few mature bucks. The national management trend is to balance herd demographics. Deer managers around the country often comment to the press about the dangers of persistent skewed demographics. A 2009 study of deer in Siskiyou county found only 3 percent males.  About 10,000 deer are killed each year in vehicle collisions.  During the 1960's, when Idaho was selling too many tags to sustain the herd, the people of the state pressured the agency, sales were reduced, the herd recovered.
      The mountain lion population is thought to have peaked in 1996 at about 6,000 and was guessed to be about 4,000 in 2010.  Estimated $400 million related to deer hunting in the state annually, but on a steady decline.

Useful Links:
California Roadkill Observation System Report what you see, the roadkill incidents are saved to a database that is mapped and used at U.C. Davis for Wildlife Research.
Wildlife Observer:  Cam-WON provides a service to operators of wildlife cameras to manage their camera network in a web-based environment enabling sharing of photos and data from their projects.        
 -  Wildlife Fawn Rescue of Sonoma County Wildcare. An Organization Devoted to Living Well with Wildlife in San Rafael, California - Sierra Wild Life Rescue, Placerville   - Wildlife Fawn Rescue, Kenwood

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Closure of California Deer Refuges to be considered by the legislature. The report, which was recently made public, is a result of public input and comments the department has gathered in regards to its proposal to eliminate the refuge status of 19 state game refuges, effectively opening those areas to hunting. A full copy of the report is available on the department's Website at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/gamerefuges 

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