This is not surprising, considering the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reduced the number of deer hunt tags from 10,000 to 6,000 in Zone D6 (parts of Stanislaus, Mariposa and Tuoloumne Counties). The tags are now sold out, per today’s CDFW press release:
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is notifying hunters that tags are no longer available in the D6 Zone for the 2014 deer season. The California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) finalized big-game tag quotas at its April 15 meeting in Ventura. Notable changes from the 2013 hunting season included a reduction in the D6 Zone general season tag quota from 10,000 to 6,000.
Other zones are getting close to selling out. CDFW urges hunters to act early for the best possible chance to get a tag in the zone they want. For those hunters who did not apply for or receive a tag through the annual big-game drawing process, CDFW has provided a list (updated daily) of available deer tags atwww.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/biggame/.
In the summer of 2013, the Rim Fire burned approximately 257,000 acres in Tuolumne and Mariposa counties. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service subsequently issued Rim Fire Closure Order 2014-01, which closed the burned area through Nov. 18, 2014. This closure encompasses approximately 175,000 acres of public and private land, including popular deer hunting locations in the D6 Zone such as Cherry Lake, Kibbie Ridge and Crocker Ridge in Tuolumne and Mariposa counties.
CDFW usually issues 10,000 tags per season for the D6 Zone. If the deer tag quota had remained at that level this season, CDFW anticipated a significant increase in hunting pressure on the remaining open areas. Such crowded hunting conditions could have led to an overharvest of the accessible herds, dropping buck-to-doe ratios below management objectives. Due to the reduction in quality hunting opportunities and potential negative biological impacts, CDFW recommended the decrease from 10,000 to 6,000 for the 2014 hunting season, which the FGC approved as part of its changes to this year’s Mammal Hunting Regulations at its April meeting.
Hunters seeking to pursue deer in the Sierra Nevada still have several options in zones D3-5, D7 (which filled last year in early August) and D8. CDFW posts available tags by hunt zone at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/biggame/. Hunters who received a D6, A21, G37 or J15 tag can monitor forest closure information on the Stanislaus National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/stanislaus/.