California. Dept. of Fish and Game.

California fish and game (Volume 1954-1956) online

. (page 11 of 16)
Online LibraryCalifornia. Dept. of Fish and GameCalifornia fish and game (Volume 1954-1956) → online text (page 11 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

bienniuni were keyed to keep pace with the growing
demand for hunting opportunities and to maintain
game species and habitat in good, healthy condition.

The department has made every attempt to provide
a \\ ise use of the resource through research 'and sound
management practices. As a result, game species are
maintaining their numbers and in many cases increas-
ing in spite of ever-increasing hunting pressures and
record, or near-record, bags taken during the bien-

To preserve and develop existing wildlife habitat
and to provide greater hunting opportunities, the de-
partment has requested jurisdiction over 542,903 acres
of public lands under the U. S. Coordination Act of
1946. This act provides that public lands owned by
the United States may be placed under administrative
control of the state which dedicates them for wildlife
and recreational uses. Plans of the department call for
habitat development and construction of access roads

on these lands if funds for such purposes become

During the biennium, 40 miles of access roads were
constructed, opening many thousands of acres of pub-
lic lands to hunters.

Among other activities of the branch during the
biennium \\ere active participation in the work of
the Pacific Flyway Council on waterfowl and close
cooperation with Oregon and Nevada on problems
relating to the interstate deer herds. The council, made
up of representatives of the western states, makes rec-
ommendations to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
on seasons and bag limits and other waterfowl prob-
lems of the flyway.


During the biennium California received $1,146,271
in federal aid apportionments. California's contribu-
tion, as required by the Pittman-Robertson Act, was




1382,090, mjiking a total of 11,528,361 for carrying
out the federal aid program in California.

These funds are derived from excise taxes on sport-
ing arms and ammunition levied at the manufacturer's
level and apportioned to the states under the Pittman-
Robertson Act for wildlife restoration purposes.

In California these funds were allotted to 14 proj-
ects set up for improvement and management of the
resource, either through research or development and
management of the game species and game habitat.
Five of these projects were in the field of research and
in\-olve gathering data necessary to solve the problems
arising in the management of the game species. One
coordination project provides general administration
of Pittman-Robertson activities.

Seven of the projects are devoted exclusively to
development of waterfowl areas throughout the State
and one is concerned primarily with springs develop-
ment, quail, chukar and deer guzzler construction and
maintenance, and brush manipulation b\- means of
tractor operations, control burning, and chemical
plant control. It is the department's largest single
Pittman-Robertson project and is state-\\ ide in scope.


Of the total federal aid mone\s received during the
biennium, the largest share was spent on development
projects (approximately 60 percent). Development
projects on waterfowl management areas include land
leveling, levee and irrigation s\'stem construction,
building construction, production of w aterfo^\ 1 food
crops and general operation and maintenance of the

The following is a list of waterfowl development
projects carried on during the biennium, showing area
size and food crop acreages:

Gray Lodge Water^oii'l Management Area (6,735
acres). Waterfowl food crops include rice, barley,
milo, and millet under cultivation; approximately 5,000
acres in crop producing area.

Imperial Waterfowl Management Area (Finne\'-
Ramer 2,064 acres; Hazard-Fleet, 535; Wister, 5,010
acres). Waterfowl food crops under cultivation in-
clude rice, millet, barley, and sesbania; approximately
1,000 acres.

Honey Lake Waterfoivl Manageiiient Area (4,819
acres). Waterfowl food crops under cultivation are
barley, wheat, rye and clover; approximately 950

Madeline Plains Waterfowl Management Area.
The development work accomplished v\ith Pittman-
Robertson funds here included construction of well
and pump installations.

Los Bancs Waterfowl Management Area (3,000
acres). Waterfowl food crops under cultivation in-
clude millet and barley; cropland areas approximately
1,100 acres.

Grizzly Island Waterfowl Management Area (8,600
acres). Waterfowl food crop under cultivation was
barley; approximately 3,500 acres in crop lands.

Mendota Waterfowl Managejnent Area (8,536
acres). Waterfowl food crops under cultivation
include barley and millet; appro.ximately 1,800 acres
in cropland area.

Largest P^R Project

Under the game habitat development project,
most extensive in the program, a great many activities
were undertaken throughout the State. Some of the
more noteworthy accomplishments are listed below.

1. Twenty-one new guzzlers were installed and
five were enlarged; over 2,600 maintenance checks
were made on existing installations, and needed re-
pairs made.

2. A total of 210 springs and wells were located,
checked, or developed.

3. Over 5,000 acres in small plots were cleared of
brush by burning, chemical spraying, or by mechani-
cal means. By clearing small plots in planned locations,
the area w hich benefits game is many times the area
actually cleared.

4. A total of 2,470 acres of cleared or burned areas
were seeded.

5. Browse plantings— 5,352 individual plants set out
for game cover and feeding cover; 3,600 plants re-
ceived for future plantings.

6. Ten miles of trails and access roads were con-


Game bags remained at a high level during the
biennium, with record bags being reported on some

Statistics on the game bag were compiled from
hunter questionnaire surveys, count of birds taken on
cooperative hunting and waterfowl management areas,
and from a tabulation of deer tag returns.

This /,200-go//on capacity tank, twice the size of a normal quail guzzler,
is installed in Kern County in typical chukar country.

(Fish and Game Photo by Harold Harper)



(^iimc KiU t94^-f955



Chukar Partridge (first open season






Jacksnipes (first open season 1963).


Pheasants (cocks)

Pheasants (hens) (first open season


Pheasants (total)


Rabbits (cottontail-brush)

Sage hens

Tree squirrels




















2,100 4,000

2,460,200 2,571,600
3,461,600 1 3,289,000






















'As reported by hunters in statewide questionnaire surveys.

The hunter questionnaire survey has been a standard
procedure since 1948, \\ith questionnaires being sent
to a 2 percent random sample of hunting Hcense

The information obtained from these questionnaires
is considered typical of the entire hunting public, and
is projected mathematically to obtain a state-wide
figure. This s\stem, however, produces somewhat
exaggerated results. Factors leading to the exaggera-
tion remain constant, so that the indicated trends from
\ear to year of the game bags are considered reliable.
A change in the questionnaire form prior to the 1954
survey contributed to the recording of a more ac-
curate reported take.


The deer population recovered from the severe
losses of the winter of 1951-52 within two years, as
was evidenced b\- the regular season reported buck
kill of 75,602 in 1954, an all-time record for California.
In addition a total of 2,326 deer were taken during
special seasons that year.

The deer kill of 1954 is all the more impressive
when it is remembererd that northeastern California
(District 1%) was closed to the taking of forked-
horn bucks during 1954 and 1955 due to action of
the State Legislature.

In 1955, the regular season reported buck kill
dropped off to 71,126 animals, still the second highest
regular season buck kill in this State. In addition, a
total of 9,460 deer were bagged during special deer
seasons. The total deer bag (both regular and special
seasons) in 1955 was 80,586 animals.

An elk hunt was held in Owens \'alley, Inyo
County, in 1955. A management plan for this herd
of Tule elk was developed in 1952, after considerable
discussion with intere.sted local sportsmen, ranchers,
and business organizations and groups.

The plan, which has general local support, stipulates
that the elk herd will be held at a population of 125-275
animals. \\'hene\er the census shows that the popula-
tion has exceeded the upper limit, a hunt is held to
reduce the herd size to the lesser limit. The elk hunt
held in 1955 was for this purpose.

A total of 150 permits was authorized for a De-
cember 3-11 season. The checked bag of 144 animals
included 36 bulls, 79 cows and 29 unclassified elk.

Spet.\vt\ Deer Seasons

Twenty special deer seasons were authorized by the
commission to relieve range and agricultural damage,
or both, or to harvest surplus animals during the

A total of 11,793 deer were reported taken. The bag
included 2,099 males and 9,408 females and 286 deer
designated as "unclassified" in the tabulation because
tag returns failed tf) indicate sex.

The law specifies a public hearing must be held in
the area affected before a special hunt can be author-
ized. The commission's policy has been to authorize a
special deer hunt onh- when local support for such a
hunt is demonstrated.

The first special hunt for antlerless deer had been
held in the winter of 1949-50 on Catalina Island. In
June, 1950, the commission, after discussing the matter
with sportsmen, ranchers and others throughout the
State, adopted a policy of maintaining deer herds at

BO-cfCiHx Vecx 'Kdi ^ecMd



Tag sales










1939 _







1943 -






1948 -








1962. .



1966 -


Proper care of this buck during coastal deer season assured good eating

tor G. 5. McCain of Bakersfield. Scene is in East Liebre Mountain Camp,

Los Angeles County.

(Fish and Game Photo)

their range carrying capacity by harvesting deer of
either sex. There have been 38 special hunts, 20 of
them in the last biennium. These helped establish the
groundwork for a decision by the commission in May,
1956, to hold the first general antlerless seasons in the
State. They were slated for the fall of 1956 in 34

Widespread Interest Created

These special hunts created such widespread interest
among the sportsmen that a total of 85,610 applications
were received for the 20,453 hunting permits allotted.

The following is a summary of the various special
deer seasons held during the biennium:

Glemiville, Tulare and Kern Counties. Two special
either-sex deer seasons were held on privately owned
lands in the Glennville area primarily to relieve pas-
ture damage caused by a high deer population. In 1954,
200 permits were authorized for the October 28th to
November 2d season. A total of 174 deer (42 males
and 132 females) was bagged. In 1955, 200 permits
were authorized for a November 3d-8th season. A
total of 160 deer was reported taken. The breakdown
showed 43 males, 116 females, and 1 unclassified.

San Benito, San Benito County. Two special antler-
less deer seasons were held on privately owned and
public lands to relieve alfalfa and pasture damage by
an increasing deer population. In 1954, 330 permits

were authorized for a September 18th to October 3d
season. A total of 45 males and 128 females, was re-
ported taken. In 1955, 250 permits were issued for a
September 24th to October 2d season. A total of 104
deer was reported taken (27 males and 77 females).

Barton's Flat, Fresno and Tulare Counties. Two
special either-sex deer seasons were held on the
Barton's Flat area to harvest surplus deer from a popu-
lation which summers partially in Kings Canyon and
Sequoia National Parks and is unavailable during the
regular hunting season.

The repeated hunts, of which there have been four,
may serve to demonstrate the effects of the continued
harvest of deer of both sexes.

The 1954 hunt (with 400 permittees shooting) was
held during four periods in a November 17th to No-
vember 29th season. The reported bag was made up of
82 males and 87 females. Another 400 permits were
authorized in 1955 for a November 18th-30th season.
The reported bag was 74 males and 89 females. During
the four-year period, the bag for both regular and
special seasons has increased from an average of about
200 bucks only to an average of about 500 deer per

Camp Pendleton, San Diego County. Two special
hunts for antlered and antlerless deer were held on
the Camp Joseph Pendleton Marine Base to harvest
surplus animals. Hunting was limited to service per-
sonnel. In 1954, 260 antlerless and 45 antlered permits
were authorized for use during 13 week-end hunting
periods between August 7, 1954, to Januar}- 23, 1955.

The Department of Fish and Game disease labora-
tory personnel examined bagged deer for evidence of
disease, parasitism, general condition, and reproductive
rate during every second hunting period. The commis-
sion authorized the take of an additional 40 deer dur-
ing March and April of 1955 in order to fill out the
scientific information. A total of 167 deer was taken,
of which 38 were males and 129 were females.

In 1955, 220 antlerless and 55 antlered permits were
authorized for use during an October 1, 1955, to
iMarch 18, 1956, season. A total of 31 males and 133
females was taken. The disease laboratory examined
bagged deer once a month to complete the scientific

San Joaqtiin River Unit, Fresno and Madera Coun-
ties. An either-sex deer hunt was authorized in 1954
for 600 permits during an October 27-31 season to
lighten range damage. A total of 360 animals was re-
ported taken, including 83 males and 277 females.

During 1955, 500 permits were authorized for a sec-
ond either-sex deer hunt during a November lst-6th
season confined to the portion of the unit in Fresno
County. The reported bag of 198 deer included 43
males and 155 females.

Sierra Foothills, Zone 1, Nevada, Placer and Yjiha
Counties. During 1954 a special either-sex deer hunt
was authorized in portions of Nevada, Placer and

•.t^am .st7-?\it

Center phofo shows bitferbrush leader growth, choice forage for deer. Flanking photos show damage done by deer to forage species. At I
"hedged" bitferbrush which normally grows like bush in center but which has been misshapen by hungry deer. At right is a "high line" on a

so-called because it is browsed to the moximom height reachable by deer.

(Fish and Game Photos)

eft is a

Yuba Counties, for 1,000 permittees during an Octo-
ber llth-24th season. A total of 318 deer, 66 males
and 229 females and 23 unclassified, was reported
taken. The hunt was held primarily to relieve agri-
cultural damage in the Sierra foothill area.

Sierra Foothills, Xone 11, El Dorado, Placer, Sacra-
mento and Amador Counties. A special either-sex
deer hunt was held in 1954 primarily to relieve agri-
cultural damage in this foothill ranch area. One thou-
sand permits were authorized for an October 4th- 17th
season. A total of 373 deer was reported taken, in-
cluding 78 males, 280 females and 15 unclassified.

Capay, i'olo County. In 1954, a special antlerless
deer season was held in the Capay Valley area pri-
marily to relieve agricultural damage. One thousand
permits were authorized for an October 25th-Novem-
ber 7th season. A total of 417 deer was reported taken.
The bag included 79 males, 326 females and 12 un-
classified deer.

Devil's Garden, Modoc County. A third special
antlerless deer hunt was held on the Devil's Garden
interstate deer herd range in 1955 to harvest surplus
deer and lighten range damage. Other special hunts
were held in 1950 and 1951. A quota of 3,500 permits
was authorized for a December 10th- 18th season. A
total of 2,008 deer was reported taken, including 263
males, 1,732 females, and 13 unclassified animals.

Lassen-Washoe Unit, Flinuas, Sierra and Lassen
Coimties. A second special antlerless deer hunt was
held on the interstate herd unit in 1955 to harvest sur-
plus animals and decrease range damage. The first
special season was held in 1951. A quota of 3,000 per-
mits was authorized for a December 10th- 18th season.
Hunters reported a take of 1,858 deer, including 246
males and 1,612 females.

Tebania County. A special antlerless deer season
was held in eastern and southwestern Tehama Count\-
in 1955. Five thousand permits were authorized for a
November lst-6th hunting period. The hunt was held
primarily to allow harvest of surplus deer and lighten
the pressure on the range. A total of 2,715 animals
was bagged, including 444 males, 2,247 females, and
24 unclassified deer.

Napa County. A special antlerless deer season was
held September 24th to October 3d in 1955 in the

central portion of Napa County primarily to relieve
agricultural damage. One thousand permits were
authorized. A total bag of 452 animals was reported.
The bag included 34 males, 307 females and 1 1 1 un-
classified deer.

Mineral King National Wildlife Refuge, Tidare
County. A first special either-sex deer season was
held in this national wildlife refuge in 1950 to help cut
down a heavy deer population and relieve a serious
range depletion condition. It became necessar\- to
authorize a second special season for this purpose in
1955. Five hundred permits were authorized for a
September 29th to October 11th season. A total bag
of 383 deer was reported, including 222 males and
161 females. During the second hunt it was found that
fawns born in 1950 made up the third largest group
of deer in the 1955 bag. Fawns born in 1951 made up
the largest group and those born in 1954 the second

Carson River, Alpine County. A special antlerless
deer season was held in this area in 1955 to harvest
surplus deer and lighten range pressure during No-
vember 5th-13th. Five hundred permits were author-
ized. A total reported bag of 367 deer included 42
males and 325 females.

West Walker, Mono County. A special antlerless
deer season, with a quota of 500 permits for a No-
vember 5th-13th hunting period, was authorized in
1955 in order to remove surplus deer and decrease
range damage. A total of 380 deer was taken, con-
sisting of 31 males, 435 females and 6 unclassified

Oil-ens Valley, Inyo and Mono Counties. A spe-
cial antlerless deer hunt was held in the 0\\ ens Valley
area in 1955 during a November 5th-13th season with
a quota of 600 permits. The hunt was held to harvest
surplus deer and lighten range damage. A total of 508
deer (42 males, 455 females and 11 unclassified an-
imals) was bagged.


Several former Pittman-Robertson projects were
combined during the biennium into one big game
investigations project which is comprised of related
segments of various phases of big game activities.

Public shooting grounds on the department's Imperial Waterfowl Man-
agement Area in Imperial Valley yielded this bag of ducks to Glenn
Leslie of Burbank.

(Fish and Game Photo)

One segment consists of big game management proj-
ects throughout the State and the other of big game
investigations. Both are coordinated regionally and


Field personnel of a former big game studies project
were transferred to the various regions to work with
other regional personnel in obtaining information
needed for proper management of deer and other big
game animals. The deer herd studies which were in
progress under the former project have been com-

Mimeographed final reports have been issued on the
Inyo-Sierra deer herds, three Siskiyou County deer
herds, an inner coast range deer study and a south
coast range deer study. Four final reports are under
preparation on harvest and yield of the Barton's Flat
deer, the San Joaquin deer herds, deer of the Kern
River drainage and two Yolla Bolla unit deer herds.

One field man in Region I has been assigned to con-
tinue the antelope investigation. This investigation
aims at discovering and reducing the factors which
have held down antelope productivity in this State.
Findings of the former project have been published
in a mimeographed report entitled "Northeastern
California Antelope Studies." So far the results of the
investigation indicate that neither predation nor dis-

ease are important factors in the low survival of ante-
lope kids. Indications at this time are that some range
component on California's submarginal antelope range
is in short supply. A survey of antelope stocking sites
was made.

No formal investigation of the state-wide status of
bighorn sheep has been made, but information on
this big game species has been gathered whenever the
opportunity presented itself. A survey of possible
planting sites in the Trinity Alps indicated that .suc-
cessful introduction of bighorn sheep into this area
would be extremely doubtful due to a lack of suitable
\\ intering areas.


Fquall\- important with the management phase of
the project is the range investigations phase. It con-
sists of probing the effects of brush removal on game
ranges in California and stud\'ing the problem of game
range restoration.

The brush removal investigation is being conducted
by the University of California under a service agree-
ment with the department. The work is now focused
on effects of brush management on deer of the San
Joaquin (Aladera County near the north fork of the
San Joaquin River) migratory deer winter range.

Intensive studies are in progress on the effects of
different types of brush treatments on forage produc-
tion, deer numbers and movements, and over-all range

Information on deer movements already obtained
from observations of, and returns from, 134 belled
deer have changed former concepts about migration
routes and summer ranges of this deer herd.

Game Range Restoration. This part of the project
is being continued under a service agreement \\ ith the
California Forest and Range E.xperiment Station. Its
purpose is to develop means of increasing desirable
deer browse on depleted ranges.

During the period, the investigation has progressed
from small plot trials of bitterbrush seeding to experi-
mental field plantings. Bitterbrush has been grown suc-
cessfully with proper soil preparation and planting,
but search for less expensive and more practical seed-
ing methods is still in progress. The scope of the

Trapping ducks for banding on Los Bonos Waterfowl Management Area.
(Fish and Game Photo by Wendell Miller)




IPu^Uc S^'(K^tc*t^

Atreages Open


Acreages open








Hunting Results




Average per






in\estigation has been broadened to include other de-
sirable deer browses adapted for planting at various
elevational and precipitational levels.


Ducks have consistentl\- produced the greatest bag
of an\- of the game targets. During 1954 and 19.^5 the
population of waterfowl wintering in California re-
mained high and was reflected in a good harvest each

The number of geese bagged remained high, but
hunting was best during 1954. During 1955 many
hunting areas were inundated, and were not accessible
to hunters. Both ducks and geese used these isolated
areas as natural refuges. This condition was especiall\-

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 13 14 15 16

Online LibraryCalifornia. Dept. of Fish and GameCalifornia fish and game (Volume 1954-1956) → online text (page 11 of 16)