Archive for March, 2008

California Mule Deer

Posted by on Saturday, 29 March, 2008

 California Mule Deer

Steve Merlo’s Outdoor Column

Cal Deer Association to hold annual banquet


“With California’s deer herds in a steep decline due to predation and dwindling habitat, hunters and other conservationists need to do all they can to promote healthy mule deer and blacktail deer environment in the Golden State.

While several of California’s herds are stable or at least growing steadily, the majority still suffers, needing a decent jump-start to return to the unprecedented numbers of the mid-1900s.

Creating prime deer habitat is an expensive proposition, taking a whole lot of sportsmen’s dollars and hard work to stimulate a healthy deer herd rebound. But just raising dollars to promote animal welfare is not enough — deer advocates need to be certain all their monies remain where it will do the most good — inside California.

Enter the California Deer Association. Dedicated to the promotion of California’s deer herds for hunting and conservation, the group retains every penny it earns entirely within California for exactly that purpose.

On April 12, the local chapter of the CDA will hold its seventh annual fundraising dinner and banquet at the Kern County Fairgrounds. The event is usually a sellout. I’ve been to the last three events and can attest to its popularity and fun. This year’s banquet has changed buildings, allowing a greater number of people to attend. Last year’s event actually turned folks away.

Right now, tickets, raffle and sponsor packages are available at reduced pricing to stimulate sales.

The event begins at 4:30 p.m. for cocktails, with dinner and the evening’s festivities immediately afterward.

There will be a general raffle and live and silent auctions for outdoor-related gear, including guns and wildlife art. Contact Steve Hill (331-4536), Gene Darter (823-1858), Ed Frank (589-1635) or Mike Hayes (397-1200) for more information.”

Did you know?

Posted by on Saturday, 29 March, 2008

Nevada BLM Land Sales

If you live in Nevada, you ought to be interested in this. If you don’t, you still ought to pay attention, because something similar is probably happening in your state. Personally, I am less than delighted at how such a large amount of money ($2.4 billion) could be so well squandered. It is incredible. This amount of money could really help mule deer, and/or other game animals if it were put to best use. The “conservation use” mentioned is hugger conservation. So, Nevada is losing on both sides of this equation. More land for development and the money from the land sale is doing little to help wildlife.


“……..In the real world, however, it’s the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act. Since 1998, the act has allowed the Bureau of Land Management to sell public lands within a specific boundary around Las Vegas. A large portion of that revenue—about 85 percent—funds conservation work in Nevada and Lake Tahoe. So far, the act has supplied around $2.4 billion for environmental projects in Nevada, with about 23,000 acres more to be sold.In this eighth and latest round, $78.9 million in funding has been approved for groups including the Nevada Fire Safe Council, Desert Research Institute, Nevada Land Conservancy and Washoe County Department of Parks and Recreation. Of that, $28.6 million is for projects in Northern Nevada.

This is down from the $132 million approved for Round 7 funding last year, and dramatically less than the $936 million approved during Round 6.

“The decrease is nothing more than a direct correlation to the land sales,” says Hillerie Patton, of the BLM Las Vegas Field Office. “Three years ago, we were doing land sales at $600 or $700 million. … Developers really aren’t building a lot of houses right now.”

Here’s a rundown of Round 8 earmarks:

• Fifty percent of it, or $14.3 million, is for fire prevention and fuels reduction in the Lake Tahoe Basin and Carson Range.

• Thirty-nine percent, or $11.09 million, is the “Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space” project to protect about 121 acres of open space in the Ballardini Ranch area in Southwest Reno.

• Eleven percent, or $3.1 million, is for land acquisitions. One project is High Rock, 1,282 acres of Washoe and Humboldt counties near the Black Rock Desert. It’s noted for its scenic, historic and wildlife resources, including bighorn sheep, raptors, sage grouse, mule deer and pronghorn. The other acquisition project is Green Gulch, two miles north of Bordertown. Its 650 acres is within critically designated Mountain Quail habitat and is also habitat for about 500 deer during fall migration and sage grouse, according to its project summary.

Just because a group has funding set aside doesn’t mean the project will be necessarily carried out. There are still yards of red tape to cut through in terms of permits, environmental analysis, etc.

This is something Lynda Nelson knows well. She’s planning manager for Washoe County Department of Regional Parks and Open Space, whose application for $11 million for open space protection within Ballardini Ranch was chosen by the BLM as the No.1 priority project for parks, trails and natural areas.

“That money is secured,” says Nelson. “But it’s not a done deal by any means.”

An appraisal needs to be done, and landowners have to accept that amount for the project to move forward. The Ballardini Ranch area—of which the 121 acres is just a small part—has been controversial in Reno for years as developers also have been vying for the land.

“We’re moving forward,” she says. “But with lands deals—as I’ve come to learn—until that escrow closes, anything is possible.”

Deer Tracking with a New Approach

Posted by on Thursday, 27 March, 2008

Mr. Michael Turk, of DC – yes that’s DC, formerly of New Mexico, wrote me to explain a deer tracking project using a GPS device and a free map service. Big Mule Deer Buck named ThorOne of the animals they are tracking is a buck named Thor. Thor looks a little like a whitetail, but is really a mule deer – you can tell by the size. He looks pretty suave with his collar, don’t you think? How would you like to track a big buck, like this, for a while?

The man who invented this tracking approach identifies himself as “Siberian Tracker”. I think he is pretty clever. Here is what he says about it,

Mail to Map/SMS-to-Map/Mail to GE service: new twist in (r)Evolution

The idea of creating a simple “Mail-to-Map” service came when I was tracking White-Tailed Deer in the suburbs of Pennsylvania. The GPS coordinates were send by the collared deer as a SMS/Text Message via GSM/cell-phone networks to a server in Sweden, and then relayed to my e-mail account. I was surprised to find out that there was no way for me to gain access to the server, so the creation of dynamic kml/kmz files straight from the server was out of the question. All what I was left with was a set of e-mails with 8 coordinates in each.

Here is my first attempt for a solution, which reads coordinates in e-mail and relays coordinates in real-time to the Google-Earth/Google Map service. I believe this is the fist successful solution of Mail-to-Map service which is based entirely on free web services.”

To see the map go here:

New Mexico Buck killed by Michael TurkAs for Mr. Turk, he was a successful Mule Deer hunter in SE New Mexico, where his family owns a sizeable ranch, by harvesting this 10pt. (Eastern Count) buck mule deer. The buck has an extra cheater which is not visible in the picture. This buck was harvested in 2007. According to Mr. Turk, the herd numbers were down, but his party managed to harvest several nice bucks.

Thank you for the information, Mr. Turk.

Posted by on Thursday, 27 March, 2008

The Cactus Cuties sing The National Anthem

Off topic, maybe, but enjoy!


A sign of things to come

Posted by on Thursday, 27 March, 2008

Idaho land closures

Agencies want reasons to close land. Wintering mule deer offer that opportunity. I predict we will see more of this.

The harsh weather this past winter has forced the Bureau of Land Management to leave the the St. Anthony sand dunes closed for an extra month.

Normally the dunes open to the public on April first but the Department of Fish and Game has been feeding 800 mule deer on the dunes.

Food has been sparse for the animals and they could die if people get too close.

John Hansen, Dept. Fish & Game: “We kind of liken it to the fact they only have so much gas in their gas tanks and they’re running on empty bout this time of year. March and April are typically the months when we see the majority of the winter kill.”

The dunes have been and will remain open east of Egin Lakes but no one is allowed to go west of the lakes.

Sheriff Ralph Davis, Fremont Co. Sheriff’s Office: “We will monitor that from the air and from patrol vehicles and there will be citations. We won’t be giving warnings on this.”

The sheriff says the crusted snow is also very dangerous for people to play or ride ATV’s on.

All of the dunes should be ready to open on May 1.

Idaho closes area to “protect” Mule Deer

Posted by on Thursday, 27 March, 2008

Idaho Closes Winter range

Old news, but the hard winter has hit Idaho too:


The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has closed the 33,500-acre Boise River Wildlife Management Area east of Boise to help mule deer survive the winter. The high snowfall this winter has forced deer into lower elevations, and Ed Bottum, manager of the area, said humans disturbing deer can cause them to use up energy they need to survive until spring.

“Their strategy is to minimize the amount of energy they use so their body reserves will last as long as possible,” Bottum told the Idaho Statesman. “It’s kind of a race to see if their body fat will last until spring greens up.”

Bottum said that not disturbing the deer on the management area means they will be more likely to stay there, where they won’t be hit by vehicles, chased by dogs, or eat shrubs near homes.

Fish and Game tries to track the health of deer herds in the state by placing radio collars on some animals. It currently has collars on 850 deer. On average, Fish and Game officials say, about 85 to 90 percent of does survive. Usually, about 50 percent of fawns survive, though that can drop to 20 percent during tough winters and rise to 80 percent during mild ones.

Fawns usually start dying in late February, officials said, and those deaths are tracked throughout the winter.

So far, Fish and Game has not started emergency winter feeding in southwest Idaho, though that is being done in some other parts of the state.

Summer and fall forage conditions also influence deer survival during the winter, said Brad Compton, Fish and Game big-game manager.

He said a mild, wet fall allowed deer to find more food, and that big snowstorms didn’t start in southern Idaho until the middle of December. He also said temperatures have not been unusually cold.

If deer can survive the winter snow, he said, the additional moisture this spring will mean they’ll likely have plenty of food.

“There’s a strong correlation between deer populations and precipitation,” Compton said. “We may take a hit this winter, but in the long term, we end up with healthier, more productive deer populations.”

Mr Jim Heffelfinger

Posted by on Tuesday, 25 March, 2008

Jim Heffelfinger, Arizona Game and Fish Director

Mr. Heffelfinger, Director of Arizona Game and Fish, is quoted below. The quote is not the first time I have witnessed an agency representative implying that money is not the main issue. I think it is worth noting that Arizona, like many other states, has done very little to increase the number of mule deer, but rather the focus is on the low number of hunters. The logical conclusion to this story, if or when carried out to the extreme is this: Everyone will hunt and pay their money, but no one will harvest a mule deer because there aren’t any.


Quote from Jim Heffelfinger:

….The danger of reduced hunting opportunity for mule deer is not only the loss of revenue for state agencies, but more importantly, the loss of an interested and active constituency that is in tune with the issues that face mule deer.

Hunters have led the conservation movement because we care about the animals we pursue. A reduction in mule deer hunters equates to fewer constituents working and supporters working on habitat projects and fighting against the forces…..

Mule Deer or Whitetail?

Posted by on Monday, 24 March, 2008

Here it is:

mule deer or whitetail

Wyoming Preference points still Available

Posted by on Monday, 24 March, 2008

Wyoming Preference Points

It’s too late to apply for a Wyoming Mule Deer Hunt, but you can still apply for a “brownie point”.


The Department shall allocate not less than seventy-five percent (75%) of the available nonresident Elk, Deer and Antelope licenses to a preference point drawing and twenty-five percent (25%) of the available nonresident Elk, Deer and Antelope licenses will be assigned to a random drawing in which all unsuccessful applicants from the preference point drawing shall be placed. 

 For party applications, the number of preference points for each applicant within the party will be averaged for the preference point ranking to be used for the ranking in the preference point drawing. 

Purchasing ONLY A PREFERENCE POINT can ONLY OCCUR from July 1, 2008 through September 30, 2008.  DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PURCHASE A PREFERENCE POINT ONLY during any of the initial license application periods.   YOU MUST WAIT until July 1st to purchase only a Preference Point.   The price is $50.00 for Elk, $40.00 for Deer and $30.00 for Antelope ($10.00 for youth for each species). There is NO APPLICATION FEE TO PURCHASE A PREFERENCE POINT ONLY.

REMEMBER, a PREFERENCE POINT ONLY PURCHASE is DIFFERENT THAN an application for a license with a PREFERENCE POINT OPTION.   THE PREFERENCE POINT OPTION takes place during the initial license application periods. If you elect this OPTION when applying for an Elk, Deer or Antelope license, the fee, which you must remit with your application for a regular elk license, is $641.00 ($14.00 application fee, $577.00 license fee and $50.00 preference point fee). Regular deer license is $366.00 ($14.00 application fee, $312.00 license fee and $40.00 preference point fee).    Regular antelope license is $316.00 ($14.00 application fee, 272.00 license fee and $30.00 preference point fee). 

To purchase a Preference Point, an applicant must be at least eleven (11) years old at the time of application and be at least twelve (12) years old by December 31 of the year of application.

An applicant may fail to apply for a license or fail to purchase a Preference Point for one (1) year without losing accumulated Preference Points. However, if an applicant fails to properly apply for a license or purchase a Preference Point for two consecutive years, the accumulated Preference Points will be deleted. 

The Preference Point system is designed to award a point for each unsuccessful draw attempt in a hard to draw area for individuals who elect the PREFERENCE POINT OPTION and remit the additional Preference Point fees, yet not penalize those who wish to list an easier to draw area on their second or third choice. If a person draws on the second or third choice when electing the PREFERENCE POINT OPTION, a Preference Point will be awarded even though a license is issued. If the person is successful in drawing his or her first choice, then all Preference Points are deleted but the preference point fee paid for that year is refunded. DRAWING A SECOND OR THIRD CHOICE DOES NOT CAUSE PREFERENCE POINTS TO BE DELETED.

Some suggestions when applying for licenses with the PREFERENCE POINT OPTION:  DO NOT apply for an easy to draw area for your first choice. If you do and are successful, then all of your accumulated preference points will be deleted and the odds of drawing a license in a hard to draw area may be greatly diminished for the next couple of years. For example, a person applying for Antelope might list area 57/type 1 as a first choice and area 26/type 1 as the second. Based on past years, drawing odds in area 57/type 1 are less than ten (10) percent but area 26/type 1 has been a 100 % draw on all choices. Under the Preference Point system, a person, if not drawn for area 57 would be issued a Preference Point for Antelope if he or she elected the PREFERENCE POINT OPTION, and would also be awarded an area 26 Antelope license if the additional Preference Point fee was remitted as identified above. 

To summarize, please remember there is a difference between PREFERENCE POINT ONLY PURCHASES and an application for a license with the PREFERENCE POINT OPTION. A PREFERENCE POINT ONLY PURCHASE APPLICATION (no chance to draw a license) CAN ONLY be submitted from July 1, 2008 through September 30, 2008. An application for a license with the PREFERENCE POINT OPTION can only be made during the applicable initial draw periods. 

If you have any doubt, please call (307) 777-4600 or go to our Web Site at where the difference between PREFERENCE POINT ONLY PURCHASES and PREFERENCE POINT OPTIONS WITH LICENSE APPLICATIONS will be further explained.

Click here for more info:

Wyoming Hunting information

Colorado App Deadline Approaching

Posted by on Saturday, 22 March, 2008

Colorado Mule Deer Hunt Application Deadline

April 1 is the deadline to apply for Colorado Mule Deer