Question: I recently shot a doe with my bowe and arrow, and it appeared to be a lethal shot. I tracked the blood to a privately owned ranch 100 yards away. I stopped tracking it when it appeared she went onto the ranch property. I then approached the ranch manager to get permission to continue tracking my deer. The owner initially agreed but she retracted her permission and requested that we leave her property at once because she didn’t want people to think she approved of hunting, so I left.
I don’t like seeing animals die or suffer for no reason. I would never have shot if I would have known I couldn’t recover her. I believe I did everything legal and correct but it shouldn’t be right that a deer goes to waste because of the bias of a property manager.
Is there anything I could have done to recover my deer? Do I have any rights or is there anyone I could have contacted?
Answer: It’s unfortunate that this happened. Although the law prevents one from wasting the deer, the law does not permit the trespass to retrieve it. Perhaps, if you’d contacted the local game warden, they may have been able to contact the ranch manager or owner for some possible assistance to prevent the deer from going to waste.
According to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Lt. Todd Tognazzini, when archery hunting it is recommended to hunt farther from private property boundaries to avoid this type of problem as deer taken with archery usually travel farther after a lethal wound than those shot with a rifle. Tognazzini says he has never been refused when a fresh and legitimate blood trail is found leaving public land onto private property.
Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. She can be contacted at CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.
NOTE: For more than four years, California has been dealing with the effects of drought. To learn about all the actions the state has taken to manage our water system and cope with the impacts of the drought, visit drought.ca.gov .
Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at saveourwater.com .