The leaves are changing and the air is getting colder. For a select group of people in the county this is the best time of the year because it is open season in Plumas County, and deer hunters are on the prowl.
The county boasts some of the best places to hunt in California, including the Bucks Lake area, La Porte and the Lakes Basin Recreation Area.
Through the Department of Fish and Game’s complex system of zoning areas and selling a quota of tags according to the deer population of each zone, hunters are able to enjoy an activity that has long been a part of human history. And they do so without negatively impacting the deer population.
Season dates vary based on the zones. But in general, the season in each zone extends for about a month.
Archery season began around the middle of August, and general season followed about a month later. Hunting season will close entirely around the end of November.
Associate Wildlife Biologist Terri Weist works for DFG in Plumas and Sierra counties.
“Every year there are tag quotas based on the data we collected from the year before,” she said. “We know what the deer population is, and we know how many hunters there are, and how many bucks they can kill.”
According to the DFG website, deer population in the area is considered steady, and consists mainly of the Columbian black-tailed deer and the California mule deer.
Not only does hunting draw in people to the county, it also funds the DFG.
“Our agency is primarily funded by hunters,” Weist stated, “and all that money goes back into research.”
There are many factors that contribute to a successful season for a hunter including the time of year, the weather and the area in which he or she received a tag.
Often hunters will try to purchase tags that encompass areas they are familiar with, such as their own property. However, because it is a draw system they may not get the area they hoped for.
The DFG will not know how successful this season is until they receive the returned tags from the hunters. However, the crew at the butcher in Quincy, George’s Custom Meat Co., is busy receiving the carcasses that locals bring in from all over the area.
“The season is going very, very well,” said company owner George Westbrook. “We’ve received 200 deer already, and we are up 75 deer from this time last year.”
Both Weist and Westbrook agree that there seem to be more hunters this year. The DFG has sold more tags this year than last year, and more and more people are coming to Westbrook with their kills.
Though the deer may not enjoy hunting season, it is clear that it remains a thriving recreational activity in the are