California Deer News

Looks like a good year for new deer May 30, 2016 California, San Francisco Chronicle
... “In the past few years during the drought, we verified deer with one fawn, and some with no fawns,” ... wildlife ecologist for the East Bay Regional Park District. “It showed how stressed out the deer were with the drought. This year, there are lots of fawns.” ...

Belvedere, Marin County Island Considers Expense Deer Spaying Plan May 23, 2016 California, CBS Local
...“The deer are eating their flowers, their plants, their expensive vegetation and their landscaping,” ... One suggestion is to surgically spay the deer, one at a time, at an estimated cost of $1,200 each ...
     Belvedere deer sterilization program receives mixed reviews May 21, 2016 Calironia, Marin Independent Journal
... A group of Belvedere residents wants to control the island’s deer population by surgically sterilizing the females ... Cindy Machado of the Marin Humane Society said, “We need to educate the community on how we live with wildlife,” and that “the proposal is premature.”  “We really need to see data,” ... The deer group proposed ... working with the Connecticut-based nonprofit White Buffalo Inc ...

Don Ford reports on debate over how to control exploding deer population on Belvedere Island (5-23-2016) - May 24, 2016 California


Fish and Wildlife seek public help in deer killing May 21, 2016 California, Sierra Star
...shooting of a deer in Yosemite Lakes Park at about 8:30 p.m. Monday night... along the 44000 block of Copper Creek Court ...  24-hour CalTIP hotline (888-334-2258)... send an anonymous text tip to 847411 (tip411) ...

Locals rally for fawn rescue center May 19, 2016 California, Ramona Sentinel
... Using Lockwood’s Oak Street property as a home base, the women take in fawns that have either been abandoned or injured or otherwise separated from their herds... Last year, the center also reunited two fawns that were mistaken for abandoned by hikers...

Marin wildlife camera project yields vast collection of animal images May 16, 2016 California, San Jose Mercury News
... Wildlife cameras installed on Mount Tamalpais ... Volunteers are cataloging hundreds of thousands of photos ... Black-tailed deer are the most common, accounting for roughly half ...

Deer-ly beloved May 13, 2016 California, The Sheet
...  a drowning deer in a Snowcreek reclaimed water holding pond ... unable to exit the pond due to the rubberized liner which is intended to prevent water from seeping into the ground ... attempted do to CPR on the deer, but that it was too late...

... aspiring do-gooders are snatching up the animals and bringing them in for foster care...In order to keep her young safe, a doe will leave her fawn in a secluded area, often for as long as 12 hours, distracting predators away from her baby while she forages for food.  ... 

...  recent Caltrans studies indicate more than 1,000 mule deer have been killed along Highway 89 in the Loyalton-Truckee area over the past 27 years ... It’s really making sure these deer can use the habitat like they always have....

Marin wildlife experts urge residents to leave baby deer alone May 4, 2016 California, Marin Independent Journal
...  unattended fawns that residents have loaded into vehicles and taken home, hoping to save them ... When a fawn is alone and sitting quietly, its mom is usually not far away... WildCare has taken in 15 fawns this year from both residents and the Humane Society. Six have been successfully reunited with their mothers ...

CDFW seeks info on doe kill May 1, 2016 California, Siskiyou Daily News
...  The deer was shot on the body with a shotgun and left to waste along the side of Ditch Creek Road, west of Hornbrook in Siskiyou County [around Marh 26] ... call CalTIP, CDFW’s confidential secret witness program, at (888) 334-2258 

... the 11 westernmost contiguous states excluding Alaska and Hawaii — lost more than 4,300 square miles of what it calls "natural lands" ... California lost the largest amount of natural land to development between 2001 and 2011... 784 square miles ...  it has highly alarming implications for the mule deer or the grizzly bear who need connected corridors of land to survive...

... In a little less than one week (on March 30) this petition, with all its signatures (hopefully 29,000 or more) and comments, will be referenced in “Meeting Documents” of the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) for their April 14, 2016, meeting. A critical final vote is scheduled ...


... California has had the largest decline from peak to recent harvest of any state. Declining timber sales are highly correlated with the decline in California. States like California with a relatively high proportion of public land, a low hunter success rate, and a persistently skewed buck-to-doe harvest ratio report a lower harvest as a percent of peak. An economic framework is presented to explain how the public decision making process for deer management and the practice of setting the price of deer hunting licenses well below market equilibrium incentivizes some of these result.

Mule Deer seen near Hidden Falls Regional Park in Auburn, CA (Placer County) March 19, 2016 California


Point Reyes Elk Test Positive for Disease February 28, 2016 California, Bay Nature
... Five adult elk ... tested positive for Johne’s disease in February, following hundreds of negative results from samples collected since May 2014... it can be rampant in cattle operations. The Drake’s Beach elk herd shares park-owned pastureland with cattle ... The discovery could complicate the National Park Service’s efforts to relocate tule elk to other areas of the park ...
... A $407,000 grant to the California Rangeland Trust for a cooperative project with the Natural Resource Conservation Services to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 1,547 acres of land for the protection of oak woodlands, deer and mountain lion habitat, watersheds and wildlife corridors located in Bear Valley in Colusa County...

Many of California's Mountain Lions Are Eating Our Pets February 21, 2016 Patch.com
... When examining the stomachs of those animals, official discovered that they had primarily been eating things like dogs, cats and other domesticated animals. A much smaller portion of their diets— just 5 percent— was deer. [Given the decline of the deer population, see right column, the lions have few alternatives. We expect the lion population to decline dramatically as this behavior is unlikely to be sustainable].

I280 Roadkill – Definitely No Food Party February 15, 2016 California, Palo Alto Online
... “It’s just carnage out there around 2AM - 4AM,” says San Jose resident and activist, Kathryn Harrold. I’ve driven 280 home late from work to find multiple deer over multiple lanes just mowed down... It’s been two years since the completion of Interstate 280 Wildlife Connectivity Research Study: Findings and Recommendations, yet nothing has been done...

Lincoln Butte is a two acre parcel in northern Sausalito, California


Obama Protects 1.8 million Acres of California Desert February 12, 2016 EcoWatch
... The newly designated Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains National Monuments protect parts of the Mojave and Sonoran wilderness ... essential habitat for desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, mule deer, golden eagles and a host of migratory bird species...

Short clip of mule deer bucks sparring for dominance in San Diego County's back country. February 11, 2016 California


Stop GPS Hound Hunting of Deer in California, petition to CDFW February 5, 2016 Change.org
... Hound hunting of deer is what hunters may label it, but having a pack of hounds run a deer to the ground ... often only to be mauled or killed by the hounds ... the California Fish and Game Commission is considering an amendment to Mammal Hunting Code of Regulation 265 to allow GPS collars on hounds while hunting deer ...

... prescribed burning in the Sierra Nevada and other parts of California with over-dense timber and brush... the practice, already well-established in Yosemite National Park ... would reduce fire losses while enhancing wildlife habitat and watersheds... The fires maintain the semi-open habitat favored by deer...

Fishing, hunting report card data for many species due Jan. 31 January 29, 2016 California, Lake County News
... The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds ... hunters that Jan. 31, 2016, is the due date for turning in ... unfulfilled deer tag report cards (a new requirement for this year)...

California Deer Tag Numbers May Drop By 70,000 January 27, 2016 Calironia, The Outdoor Wire
...  Currently, 196,980 deer tags are issued for the A, B, C, D and X zone general hunts in the state. The new figures allow for lowering that number to 127,000, or 69,980 fewer tags. That means the state is expecting deer herds to plummet...

... The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has begun conducting a series of deer surveys in northern California this week using a helicopter. The survey work began Monday, Jan. 25 in Modoc County... The Modoc and Lassen surveys are part of a larger CDFW effort to estimate population sizes of deer herds throughout northern California...

Public weighs in on the wolf January 21, 2016 California, Siskiyou Daily News
... Griffin, District 5 Supervisor Ray Haupt, and District 3 Supervisor Michael Kobseff discussed at length the issue of California’s low elk and deer populations. There was also talk of how the wolf population might affect the hunting season. The members also discussed the cost involved with the loss of cattle...

This Southern Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) doe (female) has found a place to drink in San Diego County's back country. This resource is especially important as drinking spots in this drought stricken region have become fewer every year. - January 15, 2016 California


...  another gray wolf has entered California from Oregon last month... a three-year-old male named OR-25 ... 

... Pumas and black bears are the two large carnivores found throughout California. Both species kill deer and other ungulates and as a result they often compete with each other...  pumas abandoned over 70% of their kills as soon as bears arrived ...  Santa Cruz does not have bears, and as you might expect puma densities are over five times higher ...

California condor that helped save species returns to wild December 31, 2015 Chicago Tribune
... Lead poisoning is believed one of the main factors that drove California condors toward extinction. The birds ingest fragments of lead bullets when they feed on carcasses of animals shot by hunters...

Cobb man sentenced for illegally killing deer December 29, 2015 California, Lake County News
... convicted and sentenced for illegally hunting on the Hoberg's Resort property on Cobb Mountain ... illegally taking deer within 400 yards of a baited area, wanton waste of a game animal, failure to tag a deer after killing it and illegal possession of a deer...

California State Spotlight December 24, 2015 Mule Deer Foundation
... Warner Mountains Aspen Retreatment:  ... re-treat 300 acres of quaking aspen habitat ... so critical for fawning cover, quality forage and loafing activities, and that healthy aspen stands are shrinking all around the West, this project is an extremely important one. MDF contributed $50,000 to this effort with chapter rewards and a grant from the CDFW big game tag account, and the USFS contributed another $107,000...

That’s right America, in Berkeley deer use crosswalks! December 21, 2015 California, Berkeley Side
... While driving along Grizzly Peak Boulevard on his scooter after dark on Dec. 17, McPartlan witnessed not one, but three deer use a crosswalk to get from one side of the road to the other...

Deer rescued after getting stuck in mud at Bolinas Lagoon December 21, 2015 California, Marin Independent Journal
... After pulling the deer out of the water, rescuers used a blanket to clean off the mud and then checked the animal out, determining that despite the ordeal, it was unhurt...

... for authorizing the state to kill wolves when the population reaches as few as 50 to 75 animals.  In an equally troubling step, the plan calls for increasing the number of bears and coyotes killed – and the eventual killing of wolves – to maintain elk and deer populations, though habitat conditions are bigger factors...

... On Friday, the National Park Service (NPS) released video footage of the mountain lion kitten in the wild, mewing and approaching the carcass of a deer killed by the its mother... The group is threatened by inbreeding, highway deaths and rat poison ...

Fog ferries mercury from the ocean to land animals December 18, 2015 California, Science News
...  mercury, picked up from ocean water, is being deposited on land and accumulating in animals ... Weiss-Penzias presented preliminary data showing high levels of mercury in deer in central California and in the mountain lions that eat them...

Alaska Airlines plane kills deer while landing in Santa Rosa December 5, 2015 California, San Francisco Gate 
... The unusual deer collision occurred as the plane was landing but before it hit the ground. The plane landed safely but the animal died...

A big buck doesn't seem to know what to make of three wild turkeys. - December 4, 2015 California


Why is there no deer fence along I-280? November 30, 2015 California, Woodland Daily Democrat
...  The project is on hold. Caltrans says it needs $4 million to install a fence for 22 miles from Millbrae to Woodside to keep deer off the freeway, but those funds haven't been allocated yet. There are up to 50 deer-auto collisions a year on 280 in San Mateo County...

CDFW Seeks Public Comment on Supplemental Wildlife Plans November 16, 2015 California, CDFW News
... The goal of the SWAP is to examine the health of the state’s fish and wildlife resources and to prescribe actions to conserve these resources before they become endangered and more costly to protect... The public review period will run from Nov. 16, 2015, through Jan. 15, 2016. In addition, CDFW will hold a public meeting to present the plans and answer questions on Nov. 30, 2015, from 1-3 p.m. in the Natural Resources Building auditorium, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento...The draft companion plans and comment form are available online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/swap

Sick, dying deer being tracked by state November 6, 2015 California, The Willits News 
... Over the last two years, CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Lab (WIL) has received more than 50 reports of sick or dead deer in urbanized areas from Siskiyou County to Fresno County.  Evidence collected from deer carcasses suggests that adenovirus hemorrhagic disease ... 

It’s time to improve our deer herds and increase opportunity October 25, 2015 California, Victorville Daily Press
... In California, our deer herds are at probably their lowest ebb in history. Between long-term drought, increasing human population growth that continues to negatively impact habitat, and the DFW’s inability to implement habitat improvements or management efforts ... Instead of being able to shoot any forked-horn or larger buck, he would have to shoot only older three-point or bigger deer...

On Monday, October 26, 2015 we spotted these deer heading down to the shores of Silver lake for a drink of water. The Deer were only a few steps away from Silver Lake Resort, located along the June Lake Loop in California.


2015 California Deer Forecast October 21, 2015 California Sportsman Magazine
... For the past four years California has been suffering through an extreme drought...  the browse plants higher up were drought stressed, and the deer were scarce... I’ve hunted in California since the mid 1950s, and I won’t pretend things are as good now as they once were. Today, there are fewer deer and fewer hunters ...

How the California-wide drought is affecting Berkeley October 20, 2015 Berkeleyside
... Troublesome plants like broom and fennel are also spreading less, she said, because they are being eaten (hence pruned) by deer and moths that usually don’t seem to like those plants. “I’m fairly sure it’s because whatever those deer normally eat is not available,”...

CDFW Monitoring Deer Mortalities Throughout State October 20, 2015 California, CDFW News
... Over the last two years, CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Lab (WIL) has received more than 50 reports of sick or dead deer in urbanized areas from Siskiyou County to Fresno County.  Evidence collected from deer carcasses suggests that adenovirus hemorrhagic disease is one of the main causes... Adenovirus symptoms include nasal and anal bleeding, foaming at the mouth, weakness and instability. It can strike fast and without warning. Residents can see apparently healthy deer one day and find them dead the next morning. The public can report sick or dead deer to their CDFW Regional office... deer and other species have to work harder to survive during drought conditions ...

Two Deer Face-Off In Golf Course Battle For Sex October 16, 2015 California, The Post Game
... Spyglass Hill Golf Course in Pebble Beach, California, may be one of the nicer courses in the country, but earlier this month it served as a prime location for two deer to battle for dominance...

Amid drought, rise in roadkill in Sonoma County October 13, 2015 California, Santa Rosa Press Democrat
... This year, however, the number of large mammals like deer that have been killed on roads has mysteriously gone down. While this could be due to disease or other issues, Shilling said it also is possible that deer could have reached a “tipping point.” In other words, when there is a lengthy drought, animals that rely on open water sources might be decreasing in population because these sources are drying up...



Groups work to preserve habitat in Lakeside October 13, 2015 California, The San Diego Union-Tribune
... A 410-acre swath of land in Lakeside will now be preserved as open space...  home to the threatened California gnatcatcher, mule deer, coastal sage scrub ...

Siskiyou, state clash over deer plan October 5, 2015 California, Siskiyou Daily News
...  the letter ...  targeting the state’s Deer Conservation and Management Plan ... argues that it is forest fires and fire suppression activity that has led to a decline in deer populations in Siskiyou County, rather than stresses on habitat from urban development...

Filmed in North Pines Campground, Yosemite Valley. October 11, 2015

 
Deer season opener for rifle hunters on tap October 1, 2015 California, bakersfieldcalifornian.com
...  With Saturday’s deer season opener in most inland zones across the state, hundreds of hunters will converge on the higher elevations, hoping to score on a legal buck.  Even though prospects are rated as poor to fair because of the continuing drought, some shooters will find success ...

Deer running for their lives ... September 26, 2015 California, Sierra Sentinel News
... a young doe, looking starved and lost, crossed Hwy 49 at the height of Cal Fire traffic...

Deer hunter numbers down at 108 check point September 24, 2015 California, Union Democrat
... Since 1953, the lowest years were 21 in 2014; 27 in 2013; 30 in 2006; and 31 in 2005. Deer aged in each of those years.  This year, the total was 29...

Does and their fawns jump at the "deer crossing" at the Effie Yeaw Nature preserve - September 26, 2015


What Wildlife Need To Thrive September 23, 2015 California, Mountain News
... Studies have shown that wildlife populations segregated in pockets, separated by roads and tracts of houses, are far less likely to prosper... Conditions deeper within a forested landscape are markedly different from those at the forest edge in terms ... Especially important in terms of mitigating these detrimental effects is identifying and protecting wildlife corridors ...

Man charged with felony in deer shooting September 23, 2015 California, Bakersfield
... Prosecutors have filed a felony gun charge against a 73-year-old Bear Valley Springs man accused of fatally shooting a female deer that was eating apples in his front yard....

Unlikely allies are joining the quest to save the imperiled sage grouse September 21, 2015 California, Los Angeles Times
... Scientists say the bird's odd mating ritual is an indicator of a healthy Western landscape. As the sage grouse goes, they say, so go hundreds of other species that depend on sagebrush and the creatures it shelters and feeds, including elk, mule deer and golden eagles...

Mild winter gives deer herds a bounce September 21, 2015 California, SFGate, Tom Stienstra
... [In this article the author supports the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's estimate of a population increase during a severe drought in 2015 by writing]:  "The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies also reported a big increase, and estimated roughly 450,000 to 550,000" [Both estimates come from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  These are not independent estimates as the author suggests.  Here is what the author is reporting about the impact of the drought]: "A mild winter a year ago followed by spring rains helped give deer herds their first population bounce in years..."  [Here is what the author reported about the impact of the drought last year]: "Drought and competition for food, along with a lack of fear of humans, is driving wildlife to strange places to seek something to eat ... " 
     Here is the assessment from the California Department of Water Resources for 2015:  January was exceptionally dry throughout the state, with the northern two-thirds of the state receiving less than 25 percent of average rainfall. About half of that area recorded less than 5 percent of its normal precipitation.  Despite the December storms, the 8-station northern Sierra precipitation index had fallen to less than 90 percent of its historical average by late January. Precipitation at the five stations in the San Joaquin region was only 46 percent of normal by late January; similarly, the six stations in the Tulare Basin registered precipitation at only 49 percent of normal....

Wolf’s Return to California Stirs Debate September 20, 2015 California, Wall Street Journal 
...  four years after a single radio-collared wolf was detected crossing into California, for the first known time since the animal last existed in the Golden State in 1924...  ranchers trying to defend their herds from predatory attacks, and with hunters who fear the animals will kill too many elk and deer...

General Deer Season Opens Saturday in B2, B6, C1 and C2 September 17, 2015 California, CDFW News 
... This Saturday, Sept. 19 is the general deer season opener in zones B2, B6, C1 and C2. Elk season is already open in Siskiyou County and the northeast zone. For complete hunting regulations including zones and season, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations.

Man kills deer for eating apples from his trees September 11, 2015 California, Bakersfield
... a 73-year-old man on suspicion of shooting and killing a female deer in his front yard — after the deer ate apples from his tree...  found the dead female deer and her two young fawns standing by her body...

2015 General Deer Seasons Set to Open in California September 6, 2015 California, Sierra Sun Times
... The sale of hunting licenses and tags provides approximately $25 million every year to CDFW ...  said CDFW Deer Program Coordinator Stuart Itoga. “We appreciate the role hunters play in conservation and management of the state’s wildlife.” [California routinely issues the largest number of tags in relation to its deer population, a practice correlated with the decline of deer populations.  California has had a larger decline than any other state over the past 100 years] ...;

California Deer Forecast for 2015 September 3, 2015 Game & Fish
... The tag quota for Zone A is 65,000, but only around half are sold each year... Part of the reason sales aren’t more robust is because private property covers much of this huge zone... There are large parcels of private land throughout the C zones, but there is also public land on BLM and national forest property...

... The sale of hunting licenses and tags provides approximately $25 million every year to CDFW ...  Last year, approximately 22 percent of the state’s deer hunters harvested a deer. ... statewide, estimated deer population numbers are up slightly from 443,000 last year to 512,000 this year. [the population estimate presented to the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies was 450,000 to 550,000, better reflecting the reliability of the estimate]

Nonprofit Organizations Encouraged to Apply for Fundraising Hunting Tags August 31, 2015 California, CDFW News
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites nonprofit organizations to help wildlife by auctioning big game hunting license tags for the 2016-17 season. Proceeds from the sale of these tags are returned to CDFW to fund projects that benefit bighorn sheep, deer, elk and pronghorn antelope. Last year’s auctions raised more than $370,000 ... A call for applications and the required application form are available on the CDFW website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/hunting/fundraising. Applications must be received by 3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015...

In Your Garden with Jenny Watts: Oh, Deer! August 28, 2015 California, The Willits News
...  Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent has a strong odor and has proven to be very effective, environmentally safe and biodegradable.  Simple repellents such as bars of soap or human hair hung in an area, hot sauce or blood meal are effective on a limited basis. Changing repellents frequently may offer the best control...

     The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is preparing a draft environmental document to address potential impacts resulting from the implementation of elk hunting regulations. A public scoping meeting regarding the document is scheduled Wednesday, Aug. 26, from 1 to 3 p.m. at CDFW’s Wildlife Branch, 1812 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814).  The public is invited to comment on potentially significant environmental effects that may result from the proposed regulations, as well as any feasible mitigation measures that should be addressed...

Even in 1542, Southern California's air quality was in question August 22, 2015 The San Luis Obispo Tribune
... During the 19th century, many recent arrivals from the East and Midwest thought the fires were deliberately started by Native Americans to facilitate their killing of wild game ...  historical documents, indicate that Native Americans employed extensive burning of chaparral and shrub lands as a means of land management. They sought to turn the former into native grasslands to promote the proliferation of deer, antelope and small game...

... Diane Nicholas believes a dearth of water and fresh vegetation in the Sierra Foothills is behind what's been the busiest year for her fawn rescue Kindred Spirits Fawn rescue ... she received more baby deer in April than in any other year and is on track to rehabilitate a record 200....

... Prior to 1920, ranchers and hunters made it very difficult for the gray wolves to survive in California. Because they were a danger to livestock, ranchers would place bounties on the wolves. Hunters in the area also damaged the wolves’ feeding patterns by hunting so many deer that the wolves found it difficult to find enough food to survive ...

California’s first wolf pack found in Siskiyou County August 20, 2015 California, SacBee.com
... On Thursday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife released photos of five wolf pups with a group of adults, providing more evidence that the endangered species was returning to the state...

Sonora Pass to Stables Run 27.7Miles 3K up and 5K down 8 hours - August 20, 2015


... The Northern Sierra Partnership ... joined with the Nature Conservancy ... Home to black bears, mountain lions, deer ... starting roughly 100 years ago, the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies began putting out the fires ...  Now ... some evergreen forests have five times or more trees per acre as they would naturally ... if these forests are thinned it could increase the amount of water flowing from the Sierra Nevada [thinning these forests will also provide better habitat for California deer - thick forests reduce deer forage]

Zone A deer season opens Saturday August 14, 2015 California, The Willits News
...  temperatures were expected to reach the 90 degree-plus range ... most of the deer will be bedded down in a deep canyon within a couple of hours after daylight. This year, because it’s so dry, the deer are concentrated near the available springs and water holes...

Hunting season gets underway along the North Coast August 13, 2015 California, The San Luis Obispo Tribune
... the Ventana Wildlife Society that a $25,000 federal wildlife grant has been made available to expand the society’s free giveaways of nonlead ammunition... As to the accuracy of copper bullets, according to American Rifleman (associated with the National Rifle Association), “The reason lead-free bullets have become so popular is because of their performance.”  ...

... protecting wildlife ... "If something were to enter the reservoir such as a deer or animal, they are not challenged or drowned while trying to escape back out of the pond."


Sierra scientists study deer migration north of Truckee August 11, 2015 California, Orange County Register
...  an average of nearly three dozen deer are killed annually on a busy 25-mile stretch of State Highway 89 between Truckee and Loyalton, California... the Loyalton-Truckee deer herd, including sub-units, is considered to be stable to declining with an average estimated size around 3,200 ...

California lead restrictions for hunting this year 2015 August 10, 2015 Examiner.com
... This year we have the following added:  No hunting on any Dept. of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) property. Hunting is not allowed at all CDFW wildlife areas and ecological reserves. For those areas where hunting is allowed, nonlead ammunition will be required starting July 1, 2015... 

...Six years before Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer ignited a global firestorm when he killed an African lion named Cecil, he posed for a photo beside the carcass of another trophy – one he killed 60 miles from Sacramento.  It was a bull tule elk, and its majestic antlers were a near world record. Like his $50,000 hunt for Cecil, Palmer’s California trophy didn’t come cheap. He paid $45,000...

...  four deer carcasses have turned up near Lodi Lake in just the last two months....

Deer herd numbers not what they once were August 5, 2015 California, Lake County Record Bee
... in Lake County ... The deer herd reached its maximum population in the late 1950s. In 1955, the estimated deer kill in Lake County exceeded 2,000 bucks. Compare that to last year when only 275 bucks were taken...  The Mendocino National Forest ... In the 1960s it wasn’t unusual to see 25-60 deer per day. Now if you see five deer per day it’s considered quite a few...

... "In many instances, such ecological impacts eventually disappear or create a net benefit for the ecosystem over time, but chronic damage can also occur," read the USDA's January 2013 forest report. A California Department of Fish and Wildlife study of mule deer in the 1990s found fire is the most effective mechanism in restoring their habitat, following declines caused by hunters and land developers...

... State officials have begun a research study aimed at reducing the high number of collisions involving automobiles and deer on a busy 25-mile stretch of Highway 89 in Truckee and north of town... Recent Caltrans studies indicate more than 1,000 deer have been killed along Highway 89 in the Loyalton-Truckee area over the past 27 years...


California data: The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) estimated 512,000 deer in 2015 up from 443,289 deer in 2014.  The population estimate for 2015 that CDFW presented to WAFWA was a range of 450,000 to 550,00, better reflecting the estimation reliability.  Although the CDFW population model relies heavily on the deer harvest data, this estimate was made in early 2015, before the harvest data was available.  Our population model puts the population in the low 400,000 range for 2013 and 2014, down from the peak of about 2 million around 1960.  See a Long term deer population estimate for information on reasons for the decline.  
     Data from the U.C. Davis Roadkill project point to a "troubling decline" in deer numbers for 2015, consistent with the expected outcome of prolonged drought.   Road kill data had jumped in 2014.  Deer appear to have been to be moving around more in search of food of water in 2014, hunter success went up somewhat in 2014, a common result of scarce food supplies. Nevada estimated a population decline as a result of the drought in 2015. Preliminary 2015 harvest data is higher, but the state implemented mandatory reporting which is expected to increase the reporting rate.  In January, 2016, the state considered dropping the target number of deer tags for 2016 from 196,680 to 127,000.  Read a peer reviewed research article demonstrating how public management decisions in California have contributed to the long term decine of the deer population.
     CDFW declines to explain the details of  its population estimation method. We filed a freedom of information request and got one small, undocumented spreadsheet that seemed to assume a downward future trend for the population.  This peer-reviewed research article, starting on page 159, documents previous information on CDFW's website that significantly overstated the relative abundance of deer in California.   
       CDFW estimated the population at 850,000 in 1991, 1.5 million in 1967.  The graphic below shows the CDFW's estimate for the California population since 1991 compared to the reported deer harvest [click on graph
to enlarge]. 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, the 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 often 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 about $25 million in revenue annually 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. [see a peer reviewed journal article documenting these issues] 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.  During the 1960's, when Idaho was selling too many tags to sustain the herd and overstating the population numbers.  The people of the state pressured the agency, tag sales were reduced, the herd recovered.  Same basic story in Colorado during the 1990's.  About 10,000 deer are killed each year in vehicle collisions.  Estimated $400 million related to deer hunting in the state annually, but on a steady decline.
     Elk, less than 10,000 in 2015.
     The mountain lion population, estimated at around 3,100 by mountainlion.org in 2015, thought to have recently peaked around 1996 at about 6,000 and was guessed to be about 4,000 in 2010, an estimate of 3,000 to 5,000 in 2013  About 600 in 1967, 2,400 in 1972,  at least 5,100 in the late 1980s. California hunters collected from $20 to $60 each for killing 12,461 mountain lions from 1907 to 1963..  Hunting lions was banned in 1990.  More info
     Wolves, the draft plan for wolves in California.  
     California is home to 197 mammal species, 433 species of birds, 84 reptiles, 67 species of freshwater fish and 5,047 native plants. It has more species than any other state. CDFW

Report poaching:  Contact the 24-hour CalTIP hotline (888-334-2258) or send an anonymous text tip to 847411 (tip411). In the message, just text CALTIP followed by a space and then the information.

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  -  Kindred Spirits Fawn, Loomis

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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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