A family member who lives on Catalina Island has been telling me lately that the Catalina Island
is deliberately destroying the Island's mule deer population. This is being done by fencing off the herd's access to water,
effectively ensuring that the deer will die of thirst. In addition, the Conservancy has announced a hunting season starting in July of this year, and
will issue tags for nearly half of the Island's remaining population of 2500 mule deer. They request hunters shoot at least one doe, and with the
hunting season opening so early, most does will be pregnant or have suckling fawns.
First, back in the 90s, the Coservancy got rid of some 10,000 goats that roamed the Island's interior, 56,000 acres of wilderness. Their claim was
the goats were not indigenous, and were causing erosion and damaging indigenous plants that were rare and native species. So, they would capture a
young goat, place a radio collar around its neck, and then let it go to return to the herd. When they had pinpointed the location of the herd via the
radio collar, they would come in with helicopters and machine gun the herd, finishing off the stragglers with shotguns.
Next, they set their sights on the Island pig population. Another non-indigenous, invasive species that was rooting up the ground, causing erosion and
eating their precious plants. So they fenced the 20 mile long island all the way across in two places, and ran all the pigs to ground with dog teams,
then killed them all and left the carcasses for the ravens. The ravens seem to have been the primary beneficiaries of these policies, as the island
now has a large and healthy raven population, but no pigs or goats.
Meanwhile, the Conservancy has proclaimed the Island fox a new species and is protecting it, although many of the foxes either developed distemper and
died or simply disappeared after the dogs ran all the pigs to ground. There was speculation the foxes were either killed outright by the
indiscriminate dogs, or caught distemper from infected feces. The Conservancy also claims the California Valley Quail, the State bird, that reside on
the Island have now evolved into a new species, the California Gray Quail, and are protected as such.
The website linked above has a FAQ page on the recent fires and deer management program. There is a smalll bison herd on the Island, as well, but it
is the focus of tours and brings in big revenue, so it is safe for now.
Growing up on Catalina Island in the 70s, my family relied on hunting and fishing to put meat on the table in our household. Now they are trying to
destroy the last vestige of this important natural resource over concern about trampling and grazing of new growth shoots and tubers on the 2007 burn
area. Why can't they just fence off the burn area then, instead of the deer's water sources? To see the Conservancy come in and destroy this
resource for what I consider highly questionable and suspect motives breaks my heart.
The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) officially “owns” all of the mule deer in California on behalf the people of California. The
CDFG also oversees a number of game management programs that include issuing tags for deer hunting. The Island’s hunting program is administered for
CDFG by the Catalina Island Conservancy. Since the deer have no natural predators on the Island, the PLM is currently the only means of moderating the
The Conservancy administers for the California Department of Fish and Game a Private Lands Management Program (PLM) that permits the taking of 500
deer per year....
Yet they are issuing tags for 1200 deer and request taking does that are either pregnant or have suckling fawns. I believe this is a criminal act, and
it must be stopped. I strongly urge all concerned parties to contact the
P.O. Box 2739
125 Claressa Ave.
Avalon, CA 90704
as well as the
California Department of Fish and Game
1416 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
Serving Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties
4949 Viewridge Avenue
San Diego, CA 92123
Information: (858) 467-4201
FAX: (858) 467-4299
Voice your concern over this wanton, needless destruction of wildlife before its too late. The next non-indigenous, destructive species to be removed
will be man himself. Then they will just boat tourists over to see the bison and native fox and gray quail, not to mention all the rare and indigenous