Using historic deer harvests as a basis for estimation, the
California deer population peaked at about two million around 1960 and has
fallen by about 75 percent to its present level. Times series analysis of a variety of annual climate,
wildfire, and timber data for 1978 to 2016 reveals one variable very highly
correlated to the reported deer harvest.
Board Feet of Timber Removed from California Land is positively
correlated and, as a variable in a linear regression equation, explains 63 percent of the variation in a two year moving average of the reported buck harvest for the following year. Numerous equation and variable specifications
were evaluated using stepwise regression.
Adding Palmer's Drought Index to the equation created the best model; the
two variables explained 75 percent of the variation. Precipitation and Average
Temperature were significantly correlated to reported harvest in some equation
specifications. Wildfire variables,
Acres Burned and Number of Fires, were not significantly correlated. Also, a report on a suburban deer management
project where does were sterilized resulting in a population decline from 175 to
about 60 over almost six years, below the San Jose community's desired level: the effort to design fencing for a sustainable