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Archive for the 'deer' Category

Got deer in your yard? Please answer this quick survey


I’m getting more and more reports from people who have deer visiting their yards.

I think it’s time for another one of my impromptu little surveys to see how big this problem is. Or if it really is a problem at all.

If you get deer visits please take a moment to click on leave a comment/reply below and answer these questions:
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, August 5th, 2008
Under: Animals, deer, Survey, Wildlife | 8 Comments »

Point Reyes National Seashore’s white deer are being slaughtered

The government is busy these days. First they want to kill wolves in Alaska, Montana, Wyoming … and now the National Park Service is killing the white deer at Point Reyes.

The park service says the deer are not part of the native ecosystem, and they want them to be gone NOW. They plan to kill 1,100 non-native fallow and axis deer. There has been considerable debate on this, with many people and organizations arguing that the deer can be controlled by humane management and not killing.

1,100 deer is a lot of death.

I received the following information this morning from Friends of the White Deer:
This week, a major slaughter (about 400+ deer already killed to date) of the non-native deer at Point Reyes National Seashore here in California is scheduled to continue, according to local residents in the area. Hired killers from a company called White Buffalo, Inc. are being paid to do the dirty job.

The deer have been there since they were brought to the National Seashore in 1948.

Helicopters will herd a hundred deer into a “hole” where they will be shot en masse.

The roster of those opposed to this inhumane slaughter keeps growing. The Humane Society of the United States issued a letter and called on Senator Barbara Boxer to end the “futile, destructive, and inhumane” extermination program.

California State Senator Carole Migden, U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey, and California Assembly member Leno all support placing a moratorium on the killings until a better solution can be found. Elected officials are responding to the growing number of local residents, including many ranchers and hunters, who are strongly opposed to the inhumane killing. In addition, the Marin Humane Society, In Defense of Animals, and Wildcare, object to the specious “science” and inadequate consideration of alternatives as part of the National Park Service’s environmental impact statement.

“The Humane Society of the United States has become very concerned with the Park Service’s program apparently designed to exterminate non-native deer at Point Reyes National Seashore,” writes John Grandy, Senior Vice President, Wildlife and Habitat Program, HSUS. “We have contacted Senator Boxer’s office … to expand on these concerns and offer humane non-lethal alternatives for reducing vegetation changes caused by those species to acceptable levels, where necessary.”

You can find out more details on this at:


What can you do about it? Share this information with friends and ask them to check out the above Web sites. There has to be a better more humane way of resolving this problem than just slaughtering these animals. Thanks for caring! /Gary

Posted on Monday, January 28th, 2008
Under: Animal Politics, deer | No Comments »

Animals vs. the New Year


Senator Carole Migden and former Assemblyman Joe Nation have endorsed a letter asking U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein and U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey to put a moratorium on deer killing at Point Reyes National Seashore until 2010. The National Park Service has hired a Connecticut-based group, White Buffalo, Inc., to kill non-native deer in the park. There are an estimated 950 European fallow deer and 250 Axis deer in the park. The NPS claims the non-native deer are competing with the native black-tailed deer. More at:

The issue of feral cats vs. wild birds is rearing its ugly head in Benicia. In an attempt to balance the needs of feral (wild) cats with a diverse and sensitive wild bird population, city officials and local animal advocates are crafting new regulations for undomesticated felines. The cat people want to set up trap-spay/neuter-release programs and feed cat colonies throughout Benicia. Local bird lovers say this conflicts with the protection of local wildlife because the cats will eat the birds. This cat fight isn’t going to end anytime soon, if ever. The full story:

Bay Area conservation groups are launching an interesting program in 2008 to reconnect residents with the natural resources and values of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) with the first-ever “GGNRA Endangered Species Big Year. The year-long event is aimed at connecting GGNRA visitors with the 33 endangered species found in the park, through individual exploration and guided expeditions, and to encourage participation in conservation action items that will prevent species from going extinct. You can find out more at

Speaking of the Martinez beavers — A special flow device is expected to be installed in the Martinez beaver dam this week, hopefully before the BIG rains that are expected this weekend. This device is supposed to control the water level behind the dam to keep Alhambra Creek from flooding. Let’s hope they get it installed before the rain … and let’s hope that it works. You can keep an eye on things at

This is just a tiny sampling of all the animal-related activities that will be going on in 2008 around the country and the world. You can find out more at the Web sites of some of the more active animal-protection organizations:

The Humane Society of the United States:

Defenders of Wildlife: http: //

National Wildlife Federation:

Center for Biological Diversity:


Just one New Year resolution:
Figure out a way to take my couch pillow back from the cats so I can watch TV. /gary

Posted on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008
Under: Animal Politics, Animal welfare, Beavers, Birds, Cats, deer, Endangered species | No Comments »

Got deer photos?

Anyone have a photo(s) of deer on or by a road or freeway that they can post on the Times’ Pets & Wildlife Photoblog for use in a story?

Go to, scroll down to “Share Your Photos,” click on “Pets & Wildlife,” and follow instructions to send your photos. Thanks a lot! /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, January 17th, 2007
Under: deer | No Comments »

Don’t mess with deer!

Fall is when buck deer are "in rut" or exhibiting breeding behavior and becoming more aggressive, according to the California Department of Fish and Game. You need to be careful when out walking your dog. An aggressive  deer encounter can be dangerous for you both.

I just had my first report of a local encounter between an aggressive buck deer and a lady walking her dog. You can read more about it in today’s column.
Last year about this time, a buck attacked two dogs in Orinda, killing one of them. In San Diego County a man died after being gored by a buck he surprised in his backyard, and a couple was attacked by a buck in their garden in Mendocino County. Deer involved in these attacks were killed.
As I say in my column, suburban deer, in particular, can be a problem because they are not as afraid of humans as the wild deer back in the hills that have little or no human contact.

When walking your dog, make sure you have a leash so you can control your dog if you run into an aggressive deer. If that happens, leave the area immediately and give the deer plenty of space.

DFG says you can avoid some of these situations by not feeding deer and by deer-proofing your property. To help you, DFG has a 24-page publication, "A Gardener’s Guide to Preventing Deer Damage," available for printing at The guide has chapters on deer-resistant plants, deer repellents and fencing suggestions.

Deer are also a focus of DFG’s "Keep Me Wild" campaign.

Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2006
Under: Breeding season, deer | No Comments »

Don’t Shoot The Wrong Deer!

A story in the Contra Costa Times on Saturday, Oct. 22, stated that a federal trapper may have shot the wrong buck, and not the one responsible for attacks on local dogs in Orinda, Ca. If that’s the case, it is unforgivable. A picture of the problem buck was available and a neighbor offered a copy to the trapper to help him ID the right deer. He refused to take it. And now the wrong deer may be dead.

Killing sometimes gets to be too easy.

Posted on Tuesday, October 25th, 2005
Under: Animals, deer, Killing, Wildlife | 4 Comments »

Deer vs. Dogs

Buck Deer Attacking Dogs in Orinda, Ca.

I wish there was a better way of dealing with the buck deer in Orinda that has been attacking dogs in their yards, other than shooting it.

Unfortunately, at the present time there doesn’t appear to be one. Maybe this event will give people ideas for dealing more humanely with these kinds of problems in the future.

The deer killed one dog, wounded another and attacked two others over a period of several days. The California Department of Fish and Game has issued a depredation permit for a professional hunter to kill the buck because of its threat to dogs.

I’ve had many phone calls asking me why they don’t just relocate the deer to a new area? I called Eric Larson, DFG deputy regional manager and asked him.

"We don’t relocate wildlife as a practice," he said. "We do it with bears and have done it with wild turkeys. We don’t relocate deer because of the risk of injury to the animal. Relocating a problem animal also just relocates the problem to another area. We also don’t have the staff to do it."

Larson also told me the depredation permit was issued for the hunter to kill the deer because his department was required by state law to do so. "If you can show us damage to your property by a wild animal and request a depredation permit, we cannot refuse."

From my own viewpoint, relocating the deer would also risk relocating any local diseases to a new area. It would also bring the buck into competition with other deer that already live in the new territory and throw them into a tizzy. In other words, it would create lots of new problems.

I personally consider this particular buck’s attacks on multiple dogs to be an aberration. An isolated case. In 35 years of writing my daily newspaper column I’ve never received reports of a deer that tracked down dogs in their yards and attacked them. I talked to Times staff writer Denis Cuff who interviewed people and wrote the Oct. 7 story about the buck. He said the local game warden told him she had never encountered a deer that aggressive in 16 years. The Orinda Police chief told him he’d been a beat cop for many years, patrolling Orinda neighborhoods, and never seen such a problem.

On the other hand, it has happened before. Cuff also told me a DFG biologist told him a relative in Colorado had a dog that was gored to death by a deer. So yes, it’s extremely rare, but it does obviously happen.

Let’s hope it will be many, many years before we encounter it again, in Orinda or anyplace else.

One thing we can all do to help keep it from happening again is to NOT feed the deer. That just attracts them to our yards … where our dogs live.

Posted on Friday, October 7th, 2005
Under: Animals, deer, Wildlife | 8 Comments »