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California Deer Association looking for help from hunters for SoCal deer herds


Deer hunters who have an interest in Southern California deer zones are being asked to attend this Thursday’s meeting of the newly-formed High Desert Chapter of the California Deer Association. The group is looking for management ideas and field projects that could benefit the deer herds in this region and restore them to their higher, historic population levels.

The meeting will be 6 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 15) at Georgio & Luigi Pizzeria Sports Bar and Grill, Victorville.

This meeting will be of special interest to D11, D14, and D17 hunters, and all are encouraged to attend to make suggestions and share ideas on solutions to low deer numbers.

This newly-formed group is currently the only chapter of the CDA in Southern California, with the suspension of the San Bernardino-based chapter. This new group will be taking over existing projects and initiating new work efforts. For more information, contact Karen Shackelford at 760-887-1092.

Department of Interior issues order

to improve big game winter range

habitat and migration corridors

An order that will improve the habitat quality on Western big game’s winter range and protect migration corridors for antelope, elk, and mule deer was issued on Friday this past week by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke while at the Western Conservation and Hunting Expo in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The order fosters improved collaboration with states and private landowners and facilitates all parties using the best available science to develop of guideline that helps ensure that robust big game populations continue to exist.

"We all know that animals go where animals want to go, and more often than not that's dependen upon natural features like watersheds, rather than whether land is owned by the BLM, state, or private landowners. We need to manage appropriately. My goal is healthy herds for American hunters and wildlife watchers, and this order will help establish better migration corridors for some of North America's most iconic big game species like elk, mule deer and antelope," said Zinke and the signing ceremony.

"American hunters are the backbone of big game conservation efforts, and now working with state and private landowners, the Department will leverage its land management and scientific expertise to both study the migration habits of wildlife as well as identify ways to improve the habitat. For example, this can be done by working with ranchers to modify their fences, working with states to collaborate on sage brush restoration, or working with scientists to better understand migration routes."

Most Western states’ game agencies are prioritizing migration studies and protection as they better understand the habits of animals like mule deer, elk, and antelope, said Zinke. However, there is much work the federal government can do to better understand the animals and improve habitat.

The migration patterns of the many big game herds cross over thousands of miles of all types of land including federal, private, state, and tribal. As an example, Zinke pointed out that in southern Utah, mule deer travel up to 110 miles into from Bryce Canyon National Park into the Arizona strip area. They cross state, private, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and U.S. Forest Service land in the journey.

In practical terms, it means states like California will have better access to federal help and funding when studying and enhancing habitat for big game populations in those critical winter range and migration habitats.

Invasive nutria are discovered in

three San Joaquin Valley counties

Breeding populations of nutria, a large, semi-aquatic rodent from South America, have been discovered in wetlands and waterways in Merced, Fresno, and Stanislaus counties, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The DFW believes nutria could severely impact California’s natural resources, causing the loss of wetlands, severe soil erosion, damage to agricultural crops and levees, and reduced stability of banks, dikes and roadbeds. Other non-native populations in Louisiana, Chesapeake Bay, and the Pacific Northwest have had serious impacts, and they also degrade water quality and contaminate drinking supplies with parasites and diseases transmissible to humans, livestock, and pets.

Native to South America, nutria can be up to 2 1/2-feet long and weigh 20 pounds. Nutria strongly resemble native beaver and muskrat, but are distinguished by their round, sparsely haired tails and white whiskers. Both nutria and muskrat often have white muzzles, but muskrats have dark whiskers, nearly triangular (laterally compressed) tails and reach a maximum size of five pounds. Beavers have wide, flattened tails and dark whiskers and reach up to 60 pounds.

The DFW is requesting anyone seeing nutria to immediately report sightings so the DFW can initiate trapping efforts to try and contain and eliminate the species within the state.

Over the past year more than 20 nutria – males, pregnant females, and juveniles – have been documented within private wetlands near Gustine on local duck clubs, the Merced River near Cressey, adjacent to the San Joaquin River near Grayson, south of Dos Palos, the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, and Salt Slough on the San Joaquin River. The full extent of the infestation is not yet known.

Nutria observations should be reported to CDFW’s Invasive Species Program by e-mail at or by phone at 866-440-9530.


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