Tag Archives: elk

Caltrans and the Department of Fish and Wildlife Urge Motorists to Be Alert During Watch Out for Wildlife Week

Caltrans and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) remind motorists to remain alert for wildlife near roadways during Watch Out for Wildlife Week (WOW), which runs September 15-21.

“It’s important that motorists, when driving through areas frequented by deer, elk and other animals, be alert to protect themselves as well as California’s wildlife,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.

Defenders of Wildlife (Defenders), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting native species and their natural communities, reports more than 200 people are killed nationally in collisions with deer, elk and other large mammals each year with an estimated 1.5 million animals hit annually.

The Watch Out for Wildlife campaign is supported by Caltrans, CDFW, Defenders and the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis.

“It’s a shame that many animals and people are injured and killed on our roads every year,” said Craig Stowers, CDFW’s Game Program Manager. “Many injuries, deaths and costly vehicle repairs can be avoided if drivers would pay more attention when animals are most active, and be prepared to react safely if an animal moves onto the road.”

Caltrans, CDFW and Defenders offer a few tips for motorists:

  • Be particularly alert when driving in areas frequented by wildlife and give yourself more time to react safely by reducing your speed.
  • Pay particular attention when driving during morning and evening, as wildlife are most active during these times.
  • If you see an animal cross the road, know that another may be following.
  • Don’t litter. The odors may entice animals to venture near roadways.

Here are a few examples of what Caltrans, CDFW and their partners are doing to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions:

a beautiful golden bob cat walking out from a highway underpass
A bobcat that just crossed safely under State Route 76 in San Diego County. Caltrans photo
two coyotes walk into concrete underpass to reach other side of a highway
Coyotes safely cross under SR 76 in San Diego County. Caltrans photo

Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing, Los Angeles County
Caltrans has applied for $2 million in federal funding for the environmental and engineering design phases of a future wildlife crossing over U.S. Highway 101 at Liberty Canyon Road in Agoura Hills. In the interim, Caltrans is providing wildlife fencing in Liberty Canyon to prevent wildlife mortalities along the freeway until a permanent structure can be built. The highway presents an impassible barrier for wildlife migrating into or out of the Santa Monica Mountains.  A new wildlife crossing promises to provide an improved habitat connection that will sustain and improve the genetic diversity of wildlife in the area.

State Route 76, San Diego County
Five wildlife crossings and directional fencing were installed as part of the SR-76 Melrose to Mission Highway Improvement Project in 2012. A wildlife movement study, including road kill surveys, camera station surveys and tracking transect surveys, is underway to determine the effectiveness of the crossings and fencing. A review of the data collected to date suggests the combination of directional fencing and wildlife crossings may be limiting vehicle-wildlife collisions and allowing for wildlife movement across SR-76. Medium-to-large species using the wildlife crossings include the badger, bobcat, coyote, raccoon, striped skunk, desert cottontail and opossum.

State Route 17, Santa Cruz
Caltrans has built wildlife undercrossings to accommodate wildlife on several highways in the Bay Area and is currently working with the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County to build a new wildlife undercrossing at the Laurel Curve on State Route 17. Since 2007, motorists have hit 14 mountain lions along this section of the highway in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Land Trust is working to raise $5 million to purchase land on either side of the Laurel Curve, which would make it possible for Caltrans to proceed with building the undercrossing.

Central Coast
Caltrans is seeking $1.8 million in federal funding to finance wildlife corridor projects in Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties where local wildlife exists in close proximity to state highways. If the request is approved, Caltrans will obtain an additional $2.5 million in state funding to finance all aspects of the projects. Caltrans assembled an extensive list of stakeholders and partners for this proposal, including the California State Coastal Conservancy, the Nature Conservancy, UC Davis, the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, the Pinnacles National Monument and the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County.

Caltrans has installed new wildlife fencing and electric mats at unfenced intersections along U.S. Highway 101 near San Luis Obispo, which bisects a major wildlife corridor in the Los Padres National Forest.

Media Contacts:
Mark Dinger, Caltrans Public Affairs, 916-657-5060
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, 916-322-2420

DFG Reminds Hunters to Help Keep Chronic Wasting Disease Out of California

Media Contacts:
Dr. Pam Swift, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 358-1462
Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) reminds out-of-state hunters to take appropriate precautions to prevent the introduction of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) into California. CWD is a neurological disease that does not affect humans, but is fatal to deer, elk and moose. Prior to leaving the state, big game hunters are asked to review DFG’s short online video that shows how to properly process deer or elk before bringing it across state lines. The video can be viewed on DFG’s website at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/deer/cwd/. (Please note that the video is graphic in nature.)
 
“There is real concern that a CWD-infected carcass will be transported into California and improperly disposed of in deer or elk habitat, resulting in infection in California cervids,” says DFG Senior Wildlife Veterinarian, Dr. Pamela Swift. “CWD has the potential to devastate our deer and elk populations if it enters the state.”
 
California hunting regulations specifically prohibit importing brain or spinal cord tissue from deer and elk harvested out of state to minimize the risk of introducing CWD into the state. Hunters are encouraged to bone out their deer or elk harvested out of state and only bring in deboned meat. In addition, it is recommended that some parts are properly disposed of and not consumed, including eyes, lymph nodes, tonsils and spleen from these animals.
 
Wardens have the authority to inspect harvested game and conduct vehicle stops when successful hunters return to California.
 
“Taking the time to learn about safe harvesting practices and current state laws is the ethical responsibility of every hunter,” said DFG Assistant Chief Paul Hamdorf. ”DFG makes every effort to educate the public about the dangers of diseases like this one, because just one mistake on the part of an uninformed hunter could potentially harm populations.”
 
CWD regulations passed in 2002 were updated in 2008 to help protect the state’s deer and elk herds. Summaries of the regulations are printed in the 2010-2011 Mammal Hunting Regulations (www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/mammalregs.aspx) and the 2011 California Hunting Digest Big Game issue (www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/digest/), and are codified in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 712.
 
The regulations state that only the following hunter-harvested deer and elk parts are allowed into California:
 
• portions of meat with no part of the spinal column, brain or head attached (other bones, such as legs and shoulders, may be attached)
 
• hides and capes (no spinal column, brain tissue or head may be attached)
 
• clean skull plates (no brain tissue may be present) with antlers attached
 
• antlers with no meat or tissue attached, except legally harvested and possessed antlers in the velvet stage are allowed, if no meat, brain or other tissue is attached
 
• finished taxidermy mounts with no meat or tissue attached (antlers in the velvet stage are allowed if no meat, brain or other tissue is attached)
 
• upper canine teeth (buglers, whistlers and ivories)
 
California hunters who have been successful out of state must also complete and return the “Declaration for Entry into California of Game, Fish, Birds or Animals” form prior to returning home. The form is available both at DFG regional offices and online at www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/docs/declaration_form.pdf. Failure to complete the forms could result in a citation, fines or a misdemeanor conviction.
 
California hunters should also be aware that other states have regulations in place to prevent the spread of CWD. Hunters should always review regulations specific to any state where they hunt, to be sure they are in compliance with local laws.
 
CWD has been detected in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. It has also been detected in the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. To date, there is no cure for the disease, which remains resilient and has a long incubation period.

Nonprofit Groups Raise Funds With California Hunting Tags

Media Contact:
Victoria Barr, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034

Application deadline is October 5 at 3 p.m.

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) invites nonprofit organizations to help wildlife by auctioning big game hunting license tags for the 2012-13 season. These tags will allow the highest bidder to hunt bighorn sheep, deer, elk and pronghorn antelope in California. There are only 13 of these special fund-raising tags reserved for 501(c)(3) nonprofit groups to sell and they’re sure to draw many participants to any fund-raising event.

Nonprofit organizations compete for a chance to auction these special fund-raising tags, which hunters can only buy through such auctions. The possibility of winning such a rare prize attracts bidders to the groups’ fund-raising events, which helps them raise more money for their organizations.

A call for applications and all required application forms are on the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/fundraising/index.html. Applications must be submitted by 3 p.m. October 5, 2011.

Fish and Game Code section 4334 requires the proceeds from the sale of these few tags to be returned to DFG to fund programs that benefit bighorn sheep, deer, elk and pronghorn antelope. In last year’s auctions, tags for hunting three bighorn sheep, two pronghorn antelope, two elk and eight deer raised more than $402,000 for the research and management of these native wildlife species.

Organizations that have previously applied or expressed interest in future opportunities to sell these tags have been notified by e-mail.

Representatives of nonprofit groups without Internet access may request a printed application package by calling the DFG Wildlife Branch at (916) 445-4034, sending a FAX to (916) 445-4048, or writing to:

Ms. Victoria Barr
DFG Wildlife Branch
1812 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA  95811

Special Wyoming Hunt Tag to be Sold as Fundraiser for Children of DFG Biologists

Media Contacts:
Stan Atwood, California Mule Deer Foundation, (408) 395-5503
Dwight Ortmann, California Mule Deer Foundation, (650) 556-5882
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

A special big game hunting opportunity in Wyoming will be auctioned at a March 26 fundraiser sponsored by the Mule Deer Foundation Central Coast Chapter. The Wyoming Commissioner’s tag will allow the winning bidder to choose an elk, deer or antelope hunt during any open 2011 season in Wyoming.  The tag is valid anyplace in Wyoming, except the closed sections 75, 77 and 79.

The tag was donated by a Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioner to the California Waterfowl Association, which decided to auction it to raise funds to benefit the children of the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) biologists killed in a January 2010 helicopter crash.

The auction will be held at the Mule Deer Foundation’s annual fundraising night, to be held from 3 to 10 p.m. March 26 at the San Jose Airport Garden Hotel. Tickets to the dinner may be purchased online at the website, www.muledeer-ccc.org.

Attendance at the dinner is not necessary to bid on the Wyoming tag or other auction prizes. Telephone bids will be accepted, but bidders must register in advance by filling out the forms available on the website. Forms must be completed and faxed to the Mule Deer Foundation by March 24. For more information, see the website or call Stan Atwood at (408) 395-5503.

The Six Children’s Fund was established to benefit the young children of Clu Cotter and Kevin O’Connor, two biologists who were among four killed in a helicopter crash while conducting a routine deer study in Madera County. All proceeds from this auction are earmarked for this fund. Other supporters of the auction include DFG, the California Fish and Game Commission, the California Waterfowl Association, Safari Club International’s San Francisco Bay Area and Golden Gate chapters, and the California Wild Sheep Foundation.

The Central Coast Chapter of the Mule Deer Foundation is a 501(c)(3)nonprofit organization. Donations in excess of the fair market value of products and services received are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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