Save Wildlife: Apply for a Hunting Permit

Arizona Wildlife Protection:  Gambling for Big Game

Young Mule Deer

Young Mule Deer

I am not a gambler, but as I watched five Mule Deer browsing in my yard this morning I decided to enter the Arizona Game and Fish Department drawing to win a deer hunting permit.  If I win, I will have blocked a real killer.  (The header image is from the Arizona Game and Fish Department website.)

You can enter drawings for Bighorn Sheep, Buffalo, Deer, Javelina, Pheasant, and Turkey.  Click here to enter.  Fees vary depending on your location and the species you are protecting.  For Arizona residents, the hunting license and the drawing entry fee total $50.  If you win, the toe tag will cost an extra $45.

The drawings for Elk and Pronghorn Antelope took place last month (25,932 killing permits issued).  There are a few Elk tags left.  If this is your special animal, click here to buy a chance to save one.

Arizona Wildlife Management

Some will argue that killing wild animals is necessary to prevent habitat-destroying population explosions.  Others will say that restoring and protecting habitat, removing domestic livestock, and protecting large predators will achieve natural populations and increase overall biodiversity.  Of course, selling licenses is big business; the Arizona Game and Fish Department, like many other governmental wildlife management agencies, depends on license sales for a substantial part of its annual budget.  Search my website for “Hunting,” “Livestock,” and “Predators” to find discussions and reports related to these subjects.

Here’s a tweet suggestion (you should have room to add a photo):

Protect wildlife: Apply for a big-game permit and keep a killer out of the woods.

If you decide to take a chance, you can let us know in a comment.  If you don’t want to publicize your gambling sins, send me a private email.

Deer at Coldwater Farm

Deer Birth Announcement

We have two new fawns! They were probably born Sunday night, July 27, 2014. Both appear normal and healthy.

Last year we regularly saw a doe in our fallowed cow pasture, and in July, she bore a fawn. Last winter several deer began visiting. The group included two yearlings, a pair of two-year olds, and several doe. One of the does looked pregnant. I didn’t see her on Monday, she came alone on Tuesday, and this morning she brought two tiny fawns.

1-IMG_1955The fawns are tiny dynamos. The one on the left didn’t have time for milk, only time for running, jumping, and running some more. Awkward, but quite fast. The other fawn made a few short sprints and jumps, but was too hungry to do more just now.

Mule Deer are showing up in yards and gardens across the western U. S. Our continuing drought is limiting forage production, and combined with our incessant pumping, the drought is drying up some springs. We are happy to have deer visit. They are eating our weeds, pruning all of our shrubs and trees, and eating unfenced garden vegetables. They love to help the birds and squirrels clean up the sunflower and millet seeds I scatter each morning.

Western U. S. deer populations are shrinking. Well-known causes include livestock grazing, farming, construction, and hunting.  We know that the causes of deer decline including hunting will not stop.  These two small creatures could be shot and killed within the next two or three years.  Nevertheless, we will continue to provide our bit of support to the deer and we are encouraging our neighbors to do so as well.


Deer Decline in Western U. S. as Drought Continues

Deer in Arizona

Mule Deer Mother and Daughter at Coldwater Farm (Garry Rogers April, 2014)

Mule Deer Mother and Daughter at Coldwater Farm (Garry Rogers April, 2014)

The Arizona deer “harvest” is declining as the drought deepens.  Though the Arizona Game and Fish Department now places no limits on the number of deer hunting licenses sold, the number of deer that hunters kill is shrinking as the deer population shrinks.

Last year, wildlife managers warned that deer would start showing up in towns where there are irrigated lawns and gardens.  That certainly was true for Coldwater Farm where the first repeated deer visit occurred and a fawn was born.  More deer are coming to the Farm this year, and we are expecting more births.

The deer are coming for water and to eat our flowers, vegetables, and weeds.  We are delighted, and would rather see deer than tomatoes.  If necessary, we can fence our garden. There are two problems:  1) we do not want to spoil the deer ability to live in the forest when the drought fades (if it does).   2) Some of our neighbors prefer tomatoes over deer and may call Animal Control (Wildlife Services?) to remove the deer.

Problem 1) is insignificant.  Because of local geology, the river has carried surface water through the site of Coldwater Farm for tens of thousands of years.  Deer have probably come for the water and riparian vegetation many times in the past and returned to the chaparral and forest when rains returned.

Problem 2) is more significant.  Already two neighbors report “shooing” deer from their garden.  Climate forecasts predict that our drought will continue for many years.  Deer could join the smaller mammals to become a permanent part of our small town biosphere.  How long before Humans demand that the deer are removed?  What will I have to do to protect their right to water and food?

Deer in Colorado

“The number of deer in Colorado and other parts of the West is rapidly declining, including a 36 percent drop among mule deer in the Centennial State from 2005 through last year, and a reported drop of at least 10 percent throughout the region.

“Brutal winters followed by extremely dry summers, loss of habitat due to commercial and residential development and predators like coyotes and mountain lions are factors in the decline, Matt Robbins, spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told

“It’s a culmination of things,” Robbins said. “Weather has absolutely been a factor; we’ve had very harsh winters and then very dry summers, and we’re always very conscious of chronic wasting disease, loss of habitat, highway mortalities, predators and oil and gas development.”