Are white-tailed deer coming to California?

White-tailed deer are not native to California

Question: Will California ever introduce white-tailed deer here? If not, why? If we did we could possibly sell more tags and have a hunt later in the season. Also, why not have a draw for special late season archery hunts in the D7 area that would run into the rut or even pass the rut or a doe hunt in this area? I know several people who have said if they were offered a doe tag or buck tag and could only get one of the two, they would take a doe tag. And wouldn’t this help with the doe to buck ratio? (Jarrod D., Fresno)

Answer: No. White-tailed deer are not native and would be competing with native deer for already-limited habitat. According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Deer Program Manager Craig Stowers, if native deer are on the decline, introduced white-tailed would likely not do any better. Additionally, white-tailed deer carry diseases and parasites that native deer have no defenses against. They also would have a hugely negative impact on agriculture in this state. Given that, farmers in the Central Valley would likely not be too pleased with us for introducing that species here.

Regarding creating a late season hunt in D7, our management strategy in that zone is to maximize opportunity. Unfortunately, late season hunting is not one of the opportunities available.

While DFG generally authorizes them, antlerless hunts are often determined by county jurisdiction. For more on doe hunts, please see the August 28, 2008 California Outdoors column  (

Why is some trout meat pink and some white?
Question: I have caught trout in many different lakes and streams and found that sometimes there may be one trout that has really pink meat while the others are white. Can you tell me why some trout will occasionally have pink meat? (Sam M.)

Answer: The main reason for any differences in flesh color is due to the food they eat. According to DFG Senior Hatchery Supervisor Judy Urrutia, astaxanthin and canthaxanthin are naturally occurring carotenoid pigments found in crustaceans that fish eat. Some private growers add these naturally occurring pigments to fish feed over the last few weeks before fish are stocked. Most hatchery fish feed has no color in the formula, so their flesh is white.

I’ve received two fishing licenses as gifts. Can I return one?
Question: I’ve received two 2010 fishing licenses with ocean stamps as gifts. They both have my first and last name on them since that was required at the store of purchase. Is there some way that I can return one for a refund? (J. Cook)

Answer: Yes, you can follow these instructions for a refund (minus the 5 percent agent handling fee):

(1) Make a copy of the license you are going to keep.

(2) Mail the copy, the entire second fishing license (license and application for duplicate), a note explaining your request, and your name, address and daytime telephone number to:

Department of Fish and Game
License and Revenue Branch
1740 North Market Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95834

(3) Allow up to 20 weeks for processing, as refunds are issued through the California State Controller’s Office.

For additional questions, please contact our License and Revenue Branch office at (916) 928-5805 or

Full metal jacket bullets for squirrels?
Question: I know that full metal jacket (FMJ) bullets are specifically prohibited to use for big game, but can I use a FMJ bullets to hunt squirrels? (Kevin G., Northern California)

Answer: You are correct that FMJ bullets may not be used for big game. According to DFG Game Warden Patrick Foy, only “soft-nose or expanding projectiles” may be used to hunt big game because they make the bullet far more lethal, therefore making for a clean kill while hunting (CCR Title 14, section 353). A FMJ bullet does not expand like a soft-nosed bullet and increases the chance the big game animal will escape wounded.

There is no restriction on the expansion quality of a bullet when hunting squirrels, and FMJ bullets are not specifically prohibited for use in CCR Title 14, section 311 (“Methods Authorized for Taking Resident Small Game”). Therefore, you may use FMJ bullets to hunt squirrels. Be aware there are other bullet restrictions in place while hunting in condor range. For more information and a map of condor range, see

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at

2 responses to “Are white-tailed deer coming to California?

  1. You’ve got great insights about white tail deer, keep up the good work!

  2. It would be nice to have whitetail in CA but from my experience traveling to WI every other year to visit family, I have encountered countless traffic accidents involving deer outside of major cities. Considering whitetail deer multiply like crazy and like to stay to lower elevations unlike blacktail and mules, I think CA traffic accidents rates would rise. Don’t hate, I sure do like deer huntin’.

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