Had a great trip to Modoc to scout for deer. And, we did find some. Take note, they were in a burn.
Burns are a vital ingredient of deer habitat. The fires return the climax forest growth to a new start of the plant succession. Mule deer do best in habitat with young plants that sprout after a fire removes the timber that shades out new growth.
We also witnessed several days of lightning a an accumulation of small wild fires that began to expand.
Upon our return home, we were greeted by a notice of closure of most of the Devil’s Garden for the remainder of the fire season (October 1) See link.
Modoc fire closure order 8-1-17-1
Here’s a map showing the closure area.
Modoc Fire closure map 8-1-17-4
The closure is for northeastern Modoc National Forest in the Devil’s Garden area. Unfortunately, that’s where all the mule deer spend their time on the summer range along with most of the antelope and elk. For deer it’s a no-brainer and I’ve already send a letter in to the License and Revenue Branch requesting a reinstatement of my preference points.
For antelope and elk it’s not as clear. There are some antelope and elk that hang out in the southern portion of the Garden,in summer, but most of the antelope appear to hang out near Clear Lake Reservoir.
Just to make sure I wasn’t missing out on an opportunity, I contacted Collins Company. Collins Company, AKA Collins Pine. Collins owns owns a large portion of the summer range in northeastern Modoc and has a long track record for providing public access to hunt and camp.
The Collins Forest Manager said, “Find another place to hunt.”
That effectively closed the last potential opportunity for a deer hunt. If my appeal is granted, my preference points will be reinstated and my deer tag forteited.
So, these events are a double-edged sword. While some of the areas scared by fire will produce only junipers and cheat grass, other areas will provide a fresh succession of preferred plant growth that will enhance the habitat of Modoc deer for years to come.