California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Deer Management Program

Image of a deer

Opportunity for Public Comment

CDFW has completed a Draft California Deer Conservation and Management Plan (Draft Plan) and is seeking public comment on the content. This Draft Plan is an update to the 1976 A Plan for California Deer. The most important goals of the Draft Plan are to manage the state’s deer and deer habitats on a landscape level and to develop and implement robust population management methods. CDFW is proposing planning by the Deer Conservation Unit (DCU), and 10 individual DCU plans will be prepared. Landscape level planning will allow CDFW to collect population data comparable at larger scales and assess the needs of deer on a landscape level. The Draft Plan is intended as a framework for developing the DCU plans.

Major goals of the plan are: 1) Develop Deer Conservation Unit Plans; 2) Develop updated population management objectives; 3) Develop habitat conservation objectives; 4) Develop research, monitoring and adaptive management objectives; and 5) Develop outreach objectives. Download the Draft California Deer Conservation and Management Plan (PDF).

The public may comment on the plan in one of two ways:

  • By U.S. Mail to: Deer Plan, 1812 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95811, or
  • By electronic mail to: DeerPlan@wildife.ca.gov.

Comments due by April 30, 2015

California's deer herds are a valuable resource to both hunters and non-hunters alike. Deer can be seen throughout most of California providing enjoyment for many outdoor enthusiasts. For future generations to experience the benefits that come from having healthy, viable deer herds throughout the state, proper management is essential.

The Deer Management Program is composed of branch and field biologists who work together coordinating programs throughout the state. The Deer Management Program, its activities, and staff are largely supported by hunters through the purchase of hunting licenses and deer tags. Biologists develop hunting regulations, provide expertise on habitat and population assessments, compile harvest information, conduct and direct research needs, monitor and estimate populations and respond to various public inquiries related to deer in California. Biologists also work to coordinate joint projects with outside agencies, universities and private entities.

In 1976 A Plan for California Deer was developed to respond to the decline in deer numbers resulting from the loss and degradation of quality deer habitat. With the growing human population in California and continuing loss of quality deer habitats, biologists have realized the goal to restore deer herd numbers to those in the1960s is unlikely and unrealistic.

Stuart Itoga - Deer Program Coordinator
(916) 445-3652.