Menu
Contact Us Search

Big Game Management Account Funded LMAC Projects

Active Projects

Antelope Distribution in Northeastern California - Project Info

Region: Northern (Region 1)

Pronghorn antelope once ranged widely throughout the Central Valley and northeastern California. Currently, most pronghorn in the state occur in the counties of Siskiyou, Modoc, and Lassen. Populations have declined compared to historical levels and causes of these declines and factors limiting their recovery are not adequately known. This proposed study will update information regarding pronghorn distribution within summer and winter ranges, location of migration corridors, migratory behavior, impediments to migration, and important seasonal habitat areas within occupied range in northeastern California. Health assessments of individual animals captured will also reveal important information regarding potential nutritional and mineral deficiencies, diseases, pregnancy rates and other vital rates.

Big Game Data Analysis - Project Info

Region: Inland Deserts (Region 6)

The overall goal of this contract is that with the expertise of Dr. Mary Conner, Utah, State University, Department staff will be mentored and trained to model the factors affecting wildlife populations, and, in the process, improve the Department's ability to conduct science based population monitoring and resource assessment that can be used to make management decisions. Dr. Conner will be focusing on big game species, primarily deer, bighorn sheep, bear, and pronghorn, within Region 6.

Bighorn Sheep Population Assessment - Project Info

Region: Inland Deserts (Region 6)

The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) maintains an inventory of the distribution and abundance of bighorn sheep in California. Range-wide assessments of bighorn sheep are part of a long-term assessment and inventory effort in California. Additionally, these surveys are part of a strategy to manage desert bighorn sheep in the 2012 Draft Statewide Conservation Plan for Desert Bighorn Sheep (CDFG 2012). This project proposes to survey management units in San Bernardino, Imperial, Mono, Inyo and Riverside counties.

Bodie Hills Antelope Project - Project Info

Region: Inland Deserts (Region 6)

The Bodie Hills pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) herd is an interstate herd that winters in Mineral County, NV, and summers primarily within the Bodie Hills, Mono County, CA. To date, no telemetry studies have been conducted and little baseline information exists regarding the distribution, movement patterns, and seasonal home ranges of the Bodie Hills herd. Knowledge of seasonal movements and home ranges is critical for determining the impacts of proposed land use projects and other human activities on pronghorn populations. 

Carrizo Tule Elk - Project Info

Region: Central (Region 4)

Over the past four years, there have been significant changes in land use patterns in and around the Carrizo Plain (San Luis Obispo County) which currently has an estimated population of 500 tule elk. Land use changes include construction of almost 7,000 acres of solar plants and the conversion of another 6,000 acres of dryland barley to mitigation lands to be managed for endangered species. The proposed project will be to capture and place GPS collars on up to 20 elk from the three separate sub herds in the study area to determine habitat use patterns in light of the recent landscape level changes in the study area.

Desert Mule Deer Fecal DNA Study - Project Info

Region: Inland Deserts (Region 6)

The impact of energy development, primarily solar and wind facilities, on desert mule deer populations is unknown, but is expected to be severe. Estimating desert mule deer abundance is difficult because they exist at very low densities, are patchily distributed, and are reluctant to leave cover. The primary objective of the proposed study is to develop a method to estimate population parameters, including abundance, survival, and sex ratio for desert mule deer using fecal DNA-based capture-recapture methods.

     

    East Tehama Deer Abundance - Project Info

    Region: Northern (Region 1)

    Robust estimates of the state’s deer populations are needed to fulfill CDFW’s regulatory obligations and for conservation of deer. We will evaluate the ability of an integrated application of random sampling (Thompson 2012), fecal DNA transects (Lounsberry et al. 2015), and camera traps (O’ Connell 2011) to estimate deer abundance across a large geographic area. To accomplish this, we will model abundance using a closed, mark-recapture model (Kéry and Schaub 2011) of the DNA data and an Nmixture model (Royle 2004) of the camera trap data. The methods currently being used for estimating populations and assessing trends need to be improved. Surveys will occur throughout portions of northern California deer zones C3, C4, and X4 between 500 - 2,500 m elevation and summing to approximately 11,500 km2.

    East Tehama Deer Herd Study - Project Info

    Region: Northern (Region 1)

    The Eastern Tehama deer herd is the largest migratory herd in the State and has experienced population declines in the past several decades.  These declines have resulted in the substantial loss of recreational activities, declines in revenues to local economies associated with deer hunting or viewing, and public concerns over the effectiveness of the Department's management strategy for this herd.  We propose to use GPS telemetry to collect this information and employ advanced GIS modeling techniques to understand how deer use habitats at various spatial scales.  Disease screening will be conducted to determine if health is a factor limiting this population.

    Habitat Connectivity of Tule Elk - Project Info

    Region: Central (Region 4)

    Tule elk are a recovering native species with metapopulations increasingly being isolated by man-made structures (e.g., highways, reservoirs, canals, etc). As specified in the California Wildlife Action Plan, research should be conducted to address habitat fragmentation and avoid loss of key wildlife movement corridors. As the human population of California continues to increase, man-made barriers to movement will become more widespread. The Department requires data necessary to guide the design and/or placement of new structures that facilitate habitat and metapopualtion linkages.

    Lower Sacramento River Deer Assessment - Project Info

    Region: North Central (Region 2)

    Deer that inhabit the section of the lower Sacramento River corridor from the town of Red Bluff south to Colusa are currently causing extensive damage to orchards and alfalfa crops adjacent to the river. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this population is increasing and a commensurate amount of additional crop damage is a real concern by the public. In order to derive a level of deer harvest (including females) that is sustainable, scientifically defensible, and adheres to responsible resource management, the collection of baseline and follow-up population data is vital to parametrize predictive population models.

    Marin County Deer Abundance - Project Info

    Region: Bay Delta (Region 3)

    Robust deer population estimates are needed for conservation and management of the state’s deer. Population data for deer in Marin County is minimal and what little there is comes from road survey data. We will evaluate the ability of an integrated application of random sampling (Thompson 2012), fecal DNA transects (Lounsberry et al. 2015), and camera traps (O’ Connell 2011) to estimate deer abundance across a large geographic area.

    Mojave National Preserve Deer Study - Project Info

    Region: Inland Deserts (Region 6)

    The proposal represents the second of two parts of a long-term investigation. Phase 1, a period during which baselines have been established with respect to demography, habitat selection, and effects of mule deer on forage resources has just been completed. This proposal is presented to ensure that phase 2, during which water sources will be manipulated, will be adequately funded. This investigation, planned for a total of 10-12 years, has been underway since 2007, and has been designed to answer very basic questions addressing the demographic, behavioral, and distributional responses of large mammals (in this case, mule deer) to the availability and provision of surface water in a Mojave Desert Environment.

    Multiple Data Source Analysis (X9a + X9b) - Project Info

    Region: Inland Deserts (Region 6)

    Using excellent science-based capacity, this multiple data source approach to monitoring California’s Casa Diablo, Round Valley, and Goodale deer herds will provide an understanding of the underlying processes that affect population change.  This is part of an ongoing program to assess and manage deer populations and to evaluate the pertinence of new methodologies for population assessment which minimize helicopter time and help evaluate modifications to routine helicopter survey standards.

    North Central Bighorn Sheep Feasibility - Project Info

    Region: Inland Deserts (Region 6)

    This concept is needed to determine the feasibility of reintroduction of Desert Bighorn Sheep to the Sierra Nevada in the CDFG's North Central Region. Potential areas in Nevada and Alpine counties that were historic range for bighorn sheep would be evaluated. Places like the Truckee River Canyon have remained mostly undeveloped due to steep terrain and contains fairly large tracts of public land.

    Pacific Deer Herd Fecal DNA Study - Project Info

    Region: North Central (Region 2)

    We are proposing a study to determine if using deer fecal DNA to identify individual deer for the purposes of estimating abundance is a practical and efficient way of obtaining population information in migratory deer herds within the D zones. We propose to utilize non-invasive DNA techniques to obtain rigorous estimates of abundance and density with moderate precision for the migratory Pacific Deer Herd and assess the feasibility of implementing DNA-based monitoring of this deer herd in the future.

    Pacific Deer Herd Survival - Project Info

    Region: North Central (Region 2)

    The Pacific Deer Herd (PDH) is a migratory deer herd that encompasses El Dorado and Placer counties in California. Management of deer in California requires population estimates and demographic information (survival, recruitment, and non-hunting related mortality) in order to conserve and manage California’s deer herds. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is currently estimating the population of this herd on its' summer range using fecal deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) methods (Bellemain et al. 2005, Brinkman et al. 2011).

    Peninsular Ranges Bighorn Sheep - Project Info

    Region: Inland Deserts (Region 6)

    Despite recent increases in population size and distribution the Peninsular Ranges bighorn sheep population remains extremely vulnerable to predation, demographic and environmental stochasticity, habitat loss and fragmentation, disease, and human disturbance. A scientifically credible population assessment and health monitoring program using VHF/GPS radio collar technology and aerial surveys designed to determine and track population status, distribution, recruitment and survival rates, and mortality factors has been in place since 1992. Continued implementation of this program remains crucial to the development and refinement of management and recovery strategies and achieving established recovery objectives.

    Plumas and Sierra Counties Elk Expansion - Project Info

    Region: North Central (Region 2)

    Sporadic sightings of elk (Cervus canadensus) have been reported in Plumas and Sierra counties for the last decade. It is presumed the elk originated in Lassen County and are expanding their range southward into Plumas and Sierra Counties crossing Highway 395. The purpose of this study is to gain baseline data on the number of elk that are settling into Plumas and Sierra counties by placing GPS telemetry collars on four individual animals. Since the numbers are assumed to be small at this time and elk are primarily herd animals, we can gain information on herd status by initially deploying a small number of transmitters.

    San Joaquin Watershed Telemetry- Project Info

    Region: Central (Region 4)

    The San Joaquin deer herd is in decline and much of the winter range is underutilized. In addition, based on location and timing of harvest, a large percentage of bucks harvested within the range appear to be resident deer causing concern that the migratory population may be even more suppressed. Increased resident population at low elevation and underutilized winter range may indicate that the limiting factor for migratory deer in this watershed is summer or fawning habitat condition. To gain understanding of the deer population on this range we are proposing a telemetry project. Telemetry data will help us locate, protect, and enhance key summer and winter range areas and the migration corridors throughout the range.

    West Siskiyou Deer Study - Project Info

    Region: Northern (Region 1)

    In Siskiyou County, declines in deer have prompted interest in understanding factors limiting populations and criticism of the Department’s hunt programs. In 2007, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors convened a technical working group to develop the first County-sponsored deer management plan in California. This prospectus outlines a comprehensive investigation into underlying causes that regulate black-tailed deer populations in western Siskiyou County. It will significantly enhance the Department’s stewardship, management, conservation, and public service activities involving black-tailed deer based on sound science.


    Completed Projects

    BHWA Habitat Restoration - Project Info

    Region: Northern (Region 1)

    In 2010, a fire at the state-owned Bass Hill Wildlife Area (BHWA) burned approximately 200 acres of the property, some of which was dominated by bitterbrush. Bitterbrush is an important source of winter forage for deer in the area. In recent years, wildfires and conversion of shrub steppe plant communities to other uses has significantly decreased the availability of bitterbrush to deer in Lassen County. A 25-acre site within the burn at BHWA was seeded with bitterbrush in 2010, and installation of deer proof fencing is needed to protect young seedlings from browsing until they become established.

    Camera Surveys - Project Info

    Region: Northern (Region 1)

    This project will augment efforts of the State Wildlife Grant funded Ecoregion Biodiversity Monitoring Project (EBM) to monitor mule deer and black bear occupancy and demography trends at the DAU scale though the use of baited camera stations. It will provide sufficient data for conducting a prospective power analysis for monitoring medium and long term trends for informing game management planning. This project will also fund a more detailed interpretation of survey photographs for collecting demographic information.

    Carson River Deer Study - Project Info

    Region: North Central (Region 2)

    The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) and the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) meet annually to discuss and distribute deer tag quotas for several interstate deer herds. The objective of this effort is to obtain current distribution and migration patterns of the Carson River Deer Herd (CRDH) to aid in deer tag allocations between California and Nevada. Deer will be captured on their summer or intermediate ranges in order to determine where and when they travel to their winter range. Radio collars will be tested for accuracy prior to deployment.

    Central Region Deer Louse Study - Project Info

    Region: Central (Region 4)

    In 2009, the exotic biting louse, Bovicola tibialis, was found on deer in Tuolumne and Merced counties. Surveillance has found that exotic lice are also present in Mariposa and Madera counties. The objectives of this proposal is to identify deer populations infected with exotic lice, identify the factors that result in infection with exotic lice and result in hair loss, monitor the population level impacts on the infected populations and its impact on recruitment and survival, and come up with measures to reduce/slow the spread to non-infected populations and reduce the impact on infected populations.

    East Siskiyou Deer Study - Project Info

    Region: Northern (Region 1)

    Mule deer in Siskiyou County provide important public recreational opportunities and contribute substantially to the local economy. However, little research has been conducted in northern California to determine the underlying factors that limit populations, or the effects of current harvest strategies on population dynamics. Detailed knowledge of habitat-use or temporal distributions of mule deer in eastern Siskiyou County is unavailable. This information is important to land managers when designing projects and investing resources to benefit deer, and to address important issues related to conservation and population management.

    Hunting Surveys - Project Info

    Region: All

    Understanding hunter attitudes towards hunting programs is a fundamental role of wildlife managers and is an essential part of the Department’s mission. Deer hunting opportunities offered to the public are based, in part, on the Department’s efforts to meet public demand while providing for appropriate uses of the deer resource. A statistically valid survey and sampling strategy will be developed under consultation with University researchers and other experts in investigating public attitudes towards resource management and hunting. The survey will be designed to evaluate hunter attitudes towards hunter success, hunter opportunity, the current zone system, allocation of tags among user groups, and antlerless hunting.

    I-280 Deer Study - Project Info

    Region: Bay Delta (Region 3)

    The purpose for conducting this research project is to ascertain where and why animals (focusing on but not limited to deer) are being struck by vehicles on Interstate 280 in San Mateo County. Collision rates may be a result of a number of environmental, geographical and human engineered variables. These findings will then be used to develop a “transportation enhancement” (TE) plan that will aid in the reduction of animal mortality and increase the level of human safety along I-280 in San Mateo County.

    La Panza Fixed Wing Flights - Project Info

    Region: Central (Region 4)

    Tule elk populations have been increasing in the La Panza hunt zone since their reintroduction in the 1980’s. In order to determine habitat use patterns and home range sizes, radio telemetry collars were placed on elk from 2005-2010. Ultimately, all of this information will be used to determine the carrying capacity for tule elk in the study area. This information will directly affect management strategies (CDFW owns ~60,000 acres and holds conservation easements on another 15,000 acres), will be used to determine if new elk hunting opportunities are available/feasible, and will be used to help determine harvest rates on the PLM lands.

    Loyalton-Truckee Deer Study - Project Info

    Region: North Central (Region 2)

    The North Central Region (NCR) proposes to capture and collar up to 15 adult female deer from the Loyalton-Truckee deer herd (LT herd) during March-June 2010. Fifteen Advanced Telemetry Systems G2000S GPS collars will be deployed and used to assist in pinpointing deer migration routes and crossings along Highway 89 in Sierra County as part of the Highway 89 Steward-ship Team (H89ST) project.

    Mendocino Deer Study - Project Info

    Region: Northern (Region 1)

    In 2009, the University of California at Davis (Heiko Wittmer) and the California Department of Fish & Game (David Casady) started a 3-year project aimed at understanding the factors affecting the decline of a hunted black-tailed deer population on public lands in the Mendocino National Forest. Our black-tailed deer study in the Mendocino National Forest provides a unique opportunity to understand causal relationships between deer population dynamics and environmental variables including habitat and predation. Such information is urgently required to allow better management of deer populations in California.

    Mt. Hough Burn Project - Project Info

    Region: North Central (Region 2)

    The project is located in the Northeast Sierra Deer Assessment Unit (DAU), which has been identified as a top priority area to attempt to reverse the decline of deer populations through habitat-based efforts. Such efforts include using fire in forested ranges to enhance deer habitat on summer ranges and targeting shrub-dominated winter ranges. Project occurs within Deer Zone X6A. Burning will allow for improved deer access, forage availability, renewed plant vigor, nutrition and browse palatability.

    Rush Fire Habitat Rehabilitation - Project Info

    Region: Northern (Region 1)

    In August 2012, a large wildlife of 315, 577 acres burned in Lassen County, California, and Washoe County, Nevada, damaging a significant wildlife habitat. The purpose of this agreement is to provide funding to stabilize and rehabilitate big game habitats and water sources important to big game species on land. Funding from the CDFW will be used to rehabilitate and protect important water sources and regenerate vegetation burned in the fire.

    San Luis Elk Relocation - Project Info

    Region: Central (Region 4)

    The San Luis National Wildlife Refuge (SLNWR) tule elk herd was established in 1974.  The herd currently contains more than 70 animals and is well above the desired maximum level of 50.  Capturing and translocating tule elk from the SLNWR is proposed at this time (prior to 2012 calving season) to maintain habitat quality and keep elk from suffering nutritionally. The objective is to remove excess animals from the tule elk enclosure to lower the number of elk to below the carrying capacity in an effort keep the habitat in good condition and the elk in excellent physical condition. 

    San Luis Reservoir Elk Counts - Project Info

    Region: Central (Region 4)

    It is the goal of the elk program to survey these areas on a yearly basis in an effort to track changes in elk herd distribution, composition, and numbers. Data are needed to monitor elk populations within this elk management unit (EMU) as well as set harvest quotas, season length, and justify additional hunts should the data support them.


    Large Mammal Project Locations

    • Click on point for more information
    • Zoom for additional labels
    • Click on arrows on left for legend



    Wildlife Branch - Game Management
    1812 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811
    (916) 445-0411