Question: I was recently walking with my dog in Monterey park when a doe deer came right up to us. My dog ran out after her and the next thing I knew I heard yelping and looked out to see the doe standing over my 60 pound dog, kicking it repeatedly. This cannot be normal - typically, the deer run away from my dog when he chases them. There must be something wrong with this deer.
Answer: While this situation may seem unusual, there is probably nothing wrong with this doe. You should be aware that this is fawning season and it sounds like this doe may have had a young fawn or fawns nearby that it was trying to protect. For California black-tailed deer, fawning season runs roughly April through July, and during this time the does can be very protective and will do all they can to defend their young against predators.
These deer may view domestic dogs as a threat even if the dog is being walked by the owner on a leash or even in the owner’s backyard. This doe may have viewed your dog as a potential predator and instinctively acted quickly and aggressively to drive it away from the area in order to protect her fawn(s) against this perceived threat. Does that have lost their fear of people may also act aggressively toward humans who wander too close to their fawns. This is a temporary situation and aggressions usually subside once the fawns become more mobile.
Does will hide their fawns in locations away from other does while they go out foraging. This ensures that the fawns imprint on their mothers and not on another doe. In urban or suburban areas, these fawning sites may quite often be in public parks or secluded backyards where plenty of plant life creates protective cover.
Once the fawns become strong enough to travel and can keep up with their mother, the doe will lead them back to where she lives. In the interim, it is best for you and other dog owners this time of year to give any deer you encounter a wide berth and keep your dogs on a leash.
Fishermen on boats with firearms
Question: We do not have a concealed carry permit but while camping we keep a loaded pistol in our camper for personal protection. We would prefer not to leave it in the camper while we are out on the boat fishing. Is it legal to carry an unloaded firearm (pistol) on a boat while fishing in the ocean? If so, does it have to be in plain sight or can it be kept in a glove box on the boat?
Answer: California Penal Code, section 25400 provides: A person is guilty of carrying a concealed firearm when the person does any of the following:
1. Carries concealed within any vehicle that is under the person’s control or direction, any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
2. Carries concealed upon the person any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
3. Causes to be carried concealed within any vehicle in which the person is an occupant any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
However, the above section does not apply to, or affect, licensed hunters or fishermen carrying pistols, revolvers, or other firearms capable of being concealed upon the person while engaged in hunting or fishing, or transporting those firearms unloaded when going to or returning from the hunting or fishing expedition (California Penal Code, section 25640).
Why not wolves in California?
Question: Even though gray wolves are slowly expanding back out into their historical ranges, why have they not returned to California? Other western states have them. What makes California different?
Answer: The biggest considerations on natural reestablishment of gray wolves into California are the smaller populations of prey species available (compared to other western states), the growing population of people, and the decline in habitat to support them.
According to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Wildlife Program Manager Karen Kovacs, while the gray wolf’s prey species is similar to other western states (deer and elk), California cannot compare with the other states on the numbers of prey animals. In general, wolves in the western states prey on elk. And while some states have hundreds of thousands of elk, our state has less than 10,000 elk. California has more deer than elk, but again, less than what other western states have.
Human population in California is also different. California has more than 38 million people and infrastructure to support that population including highways, development, reservoirs, and intensive agriculture, all of which contribute to a loss of deer and elk habitat, hence a loss of potential wolf habitat.
One other difference is that California has very limited information regarding the prior presence of wolves in the state. Very little verifiable information exists, including about two wolves collected in the 1920s. So just how widespread and what those historical numbers are is unknown.
California has no intention to reintroduce wolves into the state as other states have done. For more information on gray wolves and the work being done in California, please go to: www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/nongame/wolf/
Note: Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and while she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer in this his column. Contact her at CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.gov .