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MCBA works with LEAR Asset Management to clean up our forests (2011)

A California Fish and Wildlife grant given to MCBA led to the eradication of an illegal marijuana grow. The cleanup was handled by LEAR Asset Management and documented by Mendocino TV (as commissioned by the Jere Melo Foundation), along with other members of the local media.

MCBA joins DFG advisory committee

(This article is from the 2011 California Hunting Digest: Big Game PDF.)

New Committee Advises Department on Special Funds

Senate Bill 1058 (Harman) made specific and important changes to existing law regarding revenues from the sale of antelope, elk, deer, wild pig, bear and sheep tags, including any fund-raising tags. Revenue from these sales must be deposited into the Big Game Management Account to provide separate accountability for the receipt and expenditure of these funds. The law stipulated the permitted uses for these funds, including acquiring land, completing projects, implementing programs to benefit antelope, elk, deer, wild pigs, bear, and sheep, and expanding public hunting opportunities and re- lated public outreach. DFG may also use funds from the Big Game Management Account to pay for administrative and enforcement costs of the programs and activities identified as permitted uses.

The new law also provides for an advisory committee made up of representatives, invited by DFG’s director, from interested nonprofit organizations that have goals and objectives directly related to the management and conservation of big game species. This committee is authorized to review and provide comments to DFG on all proposed projects funded from the Big Game Management Account. The law also requires DFG to post budget information and a brief description on an website for all projects funded from the Big Game Management Account.

Currently, the Big Game Advisory Committee includes:

  • Robert Moore and Wayne Raupe California Bowmen Hunters
  • Mike Ford Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
  • Kyle Meintzer California Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation
  • Dwight Ortmann and Kathy Lynch Safari Club International
  • Mike Gulley, Randy Morrison and Rich Fletcher Mule Deer Foundation
  • John Kunkle Californa Houndsmen for Conservation
  • Matt Rogers California Deer Association
  • Mark Hennelly and Bill Gaines California Outdoor Heritage Alliance (COHA)
  • Rich Klug Siskiyou County Fish and Game Commission
  • Paul Trouette Mendocino Blacktail Association
  • Steve Hill Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep
CA DFG Big Game Advisory Committee 2011

Mendocino County Blacktail Association hosts historic summit meeting on future of blacktail deer in the B-Zone

Known as California's "deer factory," if you want to find world-class blacktail bucks with antler spreads of 25-28" or more, historically the best place in the world to go is northwestern California's "B Zone" that stretches along the coast from the Oregon border to Mendocino and Glen Counties to the south, and from I-5 on the east to the Pacific Oregon. According to late renown wildlife biologist Raymond Dasmann, with prime habitat conditions the B- Zone should support as many as 55 blacktails per square kilometer. However between 1989 and 2009 the harvest of bucks in the B-Zone has dropped 57%, in large part due to a dramatic decline in the region's deer herd. The 2000 harvest of bucks in Mendocino County was 1,256, a decline of 3,976 bucks per year since the 1950's.

The decline in deer has cut down the number of hunters in the B-zone, where the annual deer hunt pumps an estimated $35 million a year into the region's economy when all is well. Responding to the dramatic decline in deer in Northwestern California, to rally the region's natural resources conservation leaders on February 25, 2011, the Mendocino County Black Tailed Deer Association, a regional 501-C-3 non-profit organization founded in 2005, hosted a historic day-long Blacktail Summit meeting at the Red Lion Hotel in Eureka.

Those in attendance included representatives of state and federal agencies, members of county Boards of Supervisors,and County Fish and Game commissions from 10 northern California counties, and representatives of conservation groups.

The participants discussed many of the problems associated with the dramatic decline in blacktail deer in the area including: the decline in deer habitat due to the dramatic decline in fires (planned and wild) and logging; an increasing number of predators; and poaching and wanton use of pesticides due to a proliferation of illegal marijuana gardens on public wildlands.

"MCBA hosted this Summit in an attempt to begin to move agencies, policies, and projects to the fore front of those in charge of the resources, in hopes reversing the current negative factors that are destroying the Wildlife in the public lands," said Paul Trouette, President of MCBA who planned and hosted the summit. Retired Department of Fish and Game wildlife biologist Jack Booth, and Dave Willoughby, vice president of MCBA, were also in attendance representing the sponsoring organization. "I think the summit was a call to action that everyone in the room heard and responded favorably to" Trouette added.

Those attending the felt it was long overdue and badly needed. A steering committee was formed to develop a calendar of subsequent meetings and a plan for action. The next meeting of the steering committee will be in Weaverville, CA, April 28, 2011 and join them for their upcoming annual fund- raising dinner on April 16.

B-Zone Summit participants picture

MCBA’s Efforts Make NRA Hunting News

This article was taken from the Willits news by the “American Hunter Magazine”, which published part of the MNF study by outdoor writer Gary Roussan of Willits, CA.

More Feral Hogs Mean Fewer Blacktails?

A three-year research project by the University of California-Davis and The California Department of Fish and Game is trying to determine why blacktailed deer numbers have declined precipitously in the Mendocino National Forest and surrounding private property. While habitat degradation is undoubtedly at work growing populations of wild pigs may be a factor, too. One focus of the project, Willits News reports , is to determine if wild pigs are directly competing with the deer for food and habitat. The pigs may also be providing an abundant food source for mountain lions, increasing the number of cougars, which then kill more deer. Mountain lions and feral hogs will be collared and tracked to determine lion predation rates for hogs and deer.

Covelo Study In The News

The groundbreaking study that the MCBA is participating in has been in the news.

Here's two of the articles:

And some pictures:
(photos by Harry Morse)

MCBA Tip: Fences And Deer

Most ranchers and land managers are not aware of the associated problems of cross-fencing their pastures. Cross-fencing affords predators the advantage of catching young deer by running them into it. It also is a potential entangling device when deer are caught jumping them. As a result of these factors, cross-fencing is responsible for many blacktail deaths each year. Make sure your deer management strategy includes proper fence building.
A deer jumps a fence

Black Butte River Habitat Restoration Project

After talking with Lee Johnson, District Ranger, and upper lake district coordinator Terry Nickerson, our Black Butte River Drainage Project is tentatively being slated for the fall of 2011 (decision expected in August). This project is designed to use a controlled burn to treat the old decadent chaparral and browse species, and reduce the noxious weeds in the winter grasslands; so that the deer will have new forage. We will be burning in a yearly rotational pattern going north from the Clifton Ridge area to the Indian Dick area. There are thousands of acres that need treatment, and the MCBA targeted these areas as a much needed project. The MCBA is planning on contributing upwards of $ 10,000.00 plus in 2011 -- and more in subsequent years to come -- to this project. The USFS also is contributing funding to help with habitat enhancement. USFS Ranger Lee Johnson has been a very supportive component to getting our project off the ground, Terry Nickerson has also been very instrumental in drafting the projects nuts and bolts. Thanks, gentlemen; and thanks to all the MCBA members who have helped make this project possible.

Field of Dreams Sponsorship

The MCBA -- along with many other great organizations -- helped to sponsor the annual "Field of Dreams" in 2010; an event to give joy to children with special needs and their families through outdoor activities. We look forward to helping out again with this truly special event in 2011.
Group photo from Field Of Dreams in 2010

MCBA Helps Fish and Game retrieve deer collars.

Fish and Game tranquilize deer yearly in their management program, and place radio and GPS units on them so they can track the deer for herd data studies. It is vital to have this information to understand how deer are responding to new and old influences in their habitat; such as lion predation, coyote predation, bear predation , natural mortality due to environmental changes and other things that haved changed over the years -- such as the commercial marijuana industry which has been devastating the deer herds in public lands. MCBA volunteer Jack Booth -- a retired Mendocino County Fish and Game Biologist -- Paul Trouette, the President of MCBA, and MCBA member Lee Nerli spend their time here in 2007 finding the collar from a deer in the Mendocino National Forest Andersen Creek Area.
MCBA volunteersMCBA volunteers