Outdoors Notes : Chance of a Deer Slaughter in Burned Area Is Unlikely

Fears that an early storm in the High Sierra would drive deer down to a slaughter through an area near Mammoth Lakes where the cover was burned away have been partly put to rest.

The season opened in Eastern Sierra hunting zones last weekend, and Ron Thomas, state game warden in the area, said, “I know of only one deer taken in that burn area. We set the season early enough.”

Dept. of Fish and Game Lt. Mike Wolter of Bishop said that the hunting pressure was so light that “for a time there, I thought the opener had been called off due to apathy.”

He said the deer taken generally were small but in good condition.


The season runs until Oct. 2 in most of the Eastern Sierra, but indications are that the migration to winter habitat will start later, and that warm weather and lack of water in the lowlands will keep the deer in the high country for a while.

The season will open Saturday along the west slope of the Sierra and in the north coastal area of the state, then at staggered intervals by zones throughout Southern California in October and November.

Thomas said it was a fairly good opener for the Eastern Sierra. “As we expected, there was a very small percentage of yearling deer.”

A spot check by DFG biologists revealed only 2 yearlings among 45 deer taken--an indication of a poor fawning season.


“In good years, about half will be yearlings,” Thomas said. “The biggest thing that’s hurting our deer herds is livestock grazing on public lands. This year it’s even worse because of the drought. We’re going to see some real poor ratios this next year, too.”

Cattle also had trampled much of the bitterbrush the Forest Service replanted in the Laurel Creek burn area, but the service plans to build fences 18 inches off the ground, which the cattle can’t get over but the deer can crawl under.

Where are the deer?

“In our area, wherever they can get food and water,” Thomas said. “Elevation doesn’t seem to be a factor. We’ve had thunderstorms, and wherever they’ve hit, the deer will be.”


Thomas expects the best area to be Zone X-12 around Bridgeport, which had a strong 25% hunter success rate last year. The state average is about 10%.

The DFG advises hunters to equip themselves with topographic maps that show back-country watersheds, and Forest Service maps showing access roads.

It isn’t yet known what effect the Grass Valley fire on the west slope will have on the deer hunt scheduled to open in that zone (D-3) Sept. 24.

Hunters who wear glasses may need a little extra help from their optometrist when it comes to keeping their vision on target.


According to the American Optometric Assn., regular eyeglasses may do more harm than good for hunters because the prescription may not be set high enough in the lens for sighting the gun.

Also, the association says, glasses with small lenses or thick frames and wide temple pieces can hamper side vision, which is used to detect motion.

It suggests that hunters tell their optometrists about their sport and ask for frames and lenses suited for hunting.

Game wardens making a recent three-day sweep along the Delta region of the lower Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers issued 218 citations and 76 verbal warnings among 1,612 anglers checked in an effort to curtail the illegal take of striped bass.


The wardens put 833 man-hours into the operation, using trucks, boats and motorcycles.

They seized 723 undersized stripers, accounting for half of the citations. Another 80 were for fishing without valid licenses in possession, 16 for fishing without any license at all.

The fine for fishing without a license was stiffened to $100 this year.



The West Coast Marlin Shoot-Out, which will benefit the American Cancer Society’s Orange County unit, will be held Sept. 23-24 in the waters off Southern California. For more information call (714) 751-0441. . . . The 1988 hunting regulations booklets for resident and migratory birds other than waterfowl are available at sporting goods stores and DFG offices.

Mike Kingston, highway patrolman and innovative fly tyer, will be the guest speaker at the Sierra Pacific Flyfishers’ meeting Thursday at the Odyssey Restaurant in Mission Hills. For more information call (818) 783-5436. . . . The DFG’s seventh annual Wister Work Weekend and Desert Bash--where volunteers can help prepare Niland’s 5,000-acre Imperial Wildlife Area for the annual waterfowl migration, has been scheduled for Sept. 17-18. Payment is a Mexican-style dinner.