The Calif. private deer season article

Jack O'Conner

New member
Jan 11, 2003
Black Hawk, SD
Peterson's HUNTING Magazine July 1987.
Article titled, The Big Blacktail of Redwood Creek by Bob Robb.
location: Redwood Creek Ranch, Eureka, CA
Animal hunted: coastal blacktail buck
season: NOV 5 - NOV 30

reference: California Private Lands Management Act

The article is well written. Bob Robb is a favorite of mine. The suprise is that this ranch and others like it set their own seasons for hunting publicly owned animals that reside on privately owned land. No other state that I know of allows this practise. Exotic animals are exempted from state deer seasons because they are privately owned non-native animals.

Bob Robb shot an exceptionally large buck in this article. Shows what could be feasible for the rest of California's sportsmen if allowed to hunt the rut also.

I don't pretend to understand California's methods of game management. Just passing on the information.
It is interesting, Jack. In California, the County Supervisors of each county have to approve an antlerless hunt, as well. Needless to say, most counties do not approve them, as they are more concerned with political correctness than with game management.

The argument in favor of these landowner seasons that I have heard the most is that they serve to encourage the landowners to co-exist and even support the game populations since the game becomes a source of revenue to the rancher/farmer/landowner. The down side is that I wait decades trying to get drawn for a Tule Elk tag, while anyone with 10 or 11 thousand dollars can hunt one on a private ranch.

The New Mexico landowner permit system allows the tag holder to hunt any time from August (I believe) to February or March. (I'm sure one of our members more familiar with the process in NM will chime in with the precise details or I will check my regs from 2 years ago for the exact details.) There are two types of landowner authorizations in NM - ranch only and unit wide. Ranch only tags are good for that landowner's ranch only. Unit wide tags allow the person purchasing the tag from the landowner to hunt either public land or the rancher's land, but in exchange the rancher has to allow the public onto his ranch to hunt. (Unit wide tags being more valuable to a buyer than a tag restricting you to that particular ranch.)

I would like to see a "unit wide" type tag process for California private land, because that would open more hunting opportunities for the general public. It would force the landowner to open up his land to the public (with properly purchased tags through a draw) if he was going to benefit from the game on his property by selling other hunts. Of course, he could decide not to allow hunting on his property so long as he was not selling the game himself, either.
One of Bob Robs articles is what got me to doing the hardcore cross country thing that I so enjoy now!!!
I worked in N. California for 11 years. The deer hunting on BLM and some Forest Service tracts is quite good due to almost no competition from other hunters. I discovered several thousand acres of Bureau of Reclamation lands managed by the Corps of Engineers to be virually ignored by hunters. These are lands adjacent to reservoirs built as flood control measures. New Hogan Reservoir is just one of many such lakes. Lake Sonoma is another. But a clever fellow can find many more with this information!

Granted, deer hunting in 105 temps initiates creative ways to get the animal out without spoiling. I used to skin and quarter them in the field and backpack or wheelbarrow the meat out. I had a cooler full of ice in my vehicle.

The way CA manages their game is beyond my comprehension. One year in the late 1980's, a lottery for tule elk was used for hunting Grizzley Island Refuge near Fairfield, CA. The winner sold his coveted tag to Hoyt-Easten who in turn gave it to a non-resident named Chuck Adams. The world record (at that time) tule elk was arrowed/killed by Chuck Adams. It was an old timer bull that lived its life on this protected refuge with no fear of humans. Right or wrong? I don't know; just telling the facts. Did Chuck Adams do anything wrong? Not that I know of.

But selling resident tags to non-residents is illegal in South Dakota. A group called Dakota Safari performed this crime for several years but eventually was caught. A client from Ohio was turned in by the very taxidermist who mounted the head of a monster muley. The SD resident tag did not match the name of the Ohio guy who shot it. He was not charged in exchange for testimony against Dakota Safari. So it goes.

My advise for Californians who like to hunt is this: Do some research and find good places to hunt legally on public lands. Ignore the corruption, it won't go away anyways.

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