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20.10.2015 admin
Use these free images for your websites, art projects, reports, and Powerpoint presentations! Deer Antler a€“ White Tail, 5 PointOur deer antlers have been manufactured for use in your crafting or decorating projects.This product is a replication of an actual white tail 5 point antler shed. Well, it was reported recently that the State of California is saying that there are only about 445,000 Mule Deer left in California.
To some folks that sounds like a lot, but according to the California Fish and Game if you realize that the almost half a million deer are spread over the entire state - which is some 99 Million acres big - then one can see how they can be pretty spread out.
With only 445,000 deer over such a large area, some are saying that that is part of the reason that the deer population is dwindling in California. In 2010, it was reported that the California deer population has plummeted over the past two decades - by 46 percent - if the yearly count of bucks killed by hunters is a proper measure. According to the recent report in the news, it stated that because deer are a popular hunting species - that it is that reason that they are intensively managed by Fish and Game.
To me, it sounds a little more like someone's wishful thinking than what's really taking place.
But reality doesn't matter to the state of California because Fish and Game's claim that all kills are reported to them is what they say they use as a way of knowing that there are problems with the demographics of the remaining deer population.
With many in Fish and Game, the belief is wide spread that the deer population is on the decline mainly for one reason - the loss of habitat. A recent report from the Sacrament Bee newspaper says housing data showed a similar trend over the past decade, at least until the recession began.
My concern has been that this loss of land has eliminated great farm land essential to producing food for you and me. Fish and Game believes that this land conversion eliminated food and migratory corridors vital to deer. Part of the reason that I'm having so much trouble with this story about a decline in mule deer here in California is because of the story of white-tailed deer across the country. White-tail deer were found throughout much of the United States when the Europeans first arrived and settled here. Their range extended from the Eastern coast to modern-day Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Texas.
Commercial hunting and deforestation are said to be the primary causes of this eradication. In response to the declining deer populations, hunters encouraged state officials to manage the remaining white-tail deer. Today, deer are found in all of their former range and are even extending their range westward to areas that they were never found before. Believe it or not, recent land use changes have also encouraged an increase in white-tail deer.
With the loss of natural predators, such as wolves and mountain lions, white-tail deer have become abundant in many parts of the United States - even in places where white-tailed deer were never seen before. Because deer are increasingly found in habitats near humans, especially in urban settings, they are often described as a nuisance. And yes, deer are associated with risk to people because they carry ticks with Lyme Disease and cause thousands of car accidents each year.

Simply put, since it is illegal in most cities and towns to discharge a firearm within city limits, fact is that hunting cannot be used to regulate deer populations in these habitats. The one aspect that sours the success story of the return of white-tail deer in America is that the economic and ecological damage that they bring with them is something that Cities, Counties, and Fish and Game Departments must address when planning their future.
That, my friends, is a loss of almost half the California deer population in just over 20 years.
And that, to me, is really hard to believe knowing the success of the white-tailed deer in other parts of the country.
The loss that that the California Fish and Game is describing is incredible all by itself.
But even though that's what many see as taking place, the state who manages its deer herds according to zones defined by habitat and deer behavior says that of the 45 zones in California, only about 6 have deer populations that held steady or increased slightly since the 1990s.
According to them, these are generally found in some of the least populated areas of the state.
City folks, like those in the San Francisco Bay Area, might tell you of the many deer they now see along side the highways and freeways, in the hills, in the parks, and even grazing on school grounds around the state. Rural residents might tell you that many of us see deer all the time on our property, in our orchards, in our gardens, eating our rose bushes, crossing roads, and even as road-kill. Researching this story, I spoke to quite a few farmers, ranchers, hunters, and just folks who live in these areas in the Sierra Mountains, along the Sacramento delta, and in the San Joaquin farmlands. Deer require a particular type of forest habitat called "early seral." This means they prefer to eat the tender, nutritious, young vegetation that surges for several years after a land disturbance like say a forest fire. The problem for rural residents, these days, is that deer primarily find this kind of food in the gardens and landscaping of new homes that tend to go with new rural housing development. Fish and Game believes that natural sources of this deer food have been largely eliminated by a century of fire suppression in forests - the same problem that has caused forests to become overstocked with small, young trees that they say now pose an enormous fire risk. And yes, though the overly dense forests pose a massive wildfire risk, I'm sorry to say that I simply don't trust the Forest Service to maintain their so-called "control burns" to the extent that they don't get out of hand and threaten the many people and homes which have cropped up in and near forests. Complicating the problem is that, when a wild-land fire does occur, there is often a rush to remove the burned trees and replant with seedlings. A study was conducted last year by PRBO Conservation Science, which examined conditions after fires on the Plumas and Lassen national forests, and they found that dozens of songbird species benefit from the same kind of post-fire habitat that emerges when a burned area is left alone.
There is another point here, deer are an iconic species for hunters - and the population decline has not gone unnoticed among hunters. For California, the state-wide hunter success ratio for deer hunters in 2010 was 15 percent, according to Fish and Game data.
In Colorado, by comparison, the hunter success rate for deer in 2011 was 43 percent, according to that state's Department of Wildlife. The males grow multi-pronged antlers, which, along with the promise of venison, is a primary reason they are the state's most popular game mammal. The claim is that a state law that bans mountain lion hunting, passed by voters in 1990, has allowed the mountain lion population to grow almost completely unchecked. One problem that Fish and Game has with its relating the increased mountain lion problem to the decline in deer population is that there has not been a thorough study of the state's mountain lion population in many years, and there are no formal monitoring programs in place. And yes, as everyone knows, if a state or federal agency doesn't spent a million or so taxpayer dollars on one study or another - they act as though they don't have a clue as to what's going on around them.

If true, then maybe that's why ranchers are reporting more and more mountain lion attacks on their cattle and sheep.
Randy Morrison, unlike myself, doesn't buy the mountain lion part of the equation and believes it's all about habitat.
It seems that people interested in this are leaving out another factor for the deer decline, if there is one.
Fact is, the illegal sale of California wildlife and wildlife parts generates an estimated $100 Million a year - second only to the illegal drug trade, according to California Department of Fish and Game officials. Environmental Protection Agency, 75,000 acres per year were converted to low-density housing across California. European settlers described the great abundance of white-tail deer in their early accounts of America.  They seemed everywhere!
Gardens and landscaped lawns provide plants for deer to feed on and forest patches give deer places to hide - even though they have nothing to fear because hunting is banned in those areas. Even in rural landscapes where deer may be hunted, these animals are said to over-graze and damage forests, reducing the potential for marketable timber.
Both species are lumped together in Fish and Game's 2011 population estimate of about 445,000 deer statewide, a drop from 850,000 in 1990. Also according to the Fish and Game folks, all the other zones have declined significantly.
Forest Service are now reversing themselves as they now say that they have made an error in excessive fire suppression.
Much of their habitat has been eliminated by rural development - and the habitat that remains is poor quality. Often this comes with herbicide spraying to prevent other plants from competing with the seedlings.
Yet, as most who hunt know real well, it has become increasingly difficult to find them during hunting season.
They thrive on the edges of forests, where they can find the underbrush and grasslands they prefer and still find places to hide from predators. It's pretty hard to sell homes to families, especially those with small children, if they know that the lack of deer in the area has now made the mountain lion population look for other items to eat instead.
Proof of this is that citations and arrests have increased by 600 percent compared to 10 to 12 years ago.
This impulse eliminates the natural forest regeneration that would support deer populations. And no, National Parks like Yosemite National Park are not excluded from the places where poachers are harvesting deer in the numbers.

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