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Study to Track Movement of Deer on I-280 Begins Friday

The California Department of Fish and Game will use tranquilizing dart guns on deer in the study.

In its efforts to learn how to reduce deer-vehicle collisions along I-280, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and UC Davis will embark upon a study that will involve capturing 15 deer near the highway.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is informing motorists that the study that will take place beginning December 2. 

The CalTrans-funded project, which is being carried out by researchers at UC Davis, will study the movement and activity of deer in the area for an 18-month period.

DFG and UC Davis researchers will capture the deer and fit them with radio collars to track their movements and better understand how to keep deer from crossing the highway.

Due to the nature of the study, the deer captures must be conducted relatively close to I-280. According to the CHP, motorists may see a DFG vehicle pulled over on the freeway (to check nearby traps) or possibly witness dart gunning in action on a nearby road.

Upon completion of the study, researchers will submit a recommended action plan to CalTrans.

Capture dates will be December 2-December 11, 2011. During that time 15 deer will be captured using tranquilizer dart guns and walk-in net traps. The collars will automatically drop off the animals approximately six months later, and another set of 15 deer will then be collared.

All captures will be conducted from specially marked California Department of Fish and Game vehicles, but at a glance the dart guns may look like rifles, and the CHP does not want to alarm motorists.

For more information on the study, contact Clara Laursen or Rose Isarose at 280Connectivity@gmail.com.

Related Topics: Traffic Do you think deer interfere with traffic? 

Terry Meyer December 01, 2011 at 03:31 PM
A great waste of time and money.
wolfone December 01, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Why is it a great waste? A car hitting a deer on 280? Killing the deer and possibllly injured the passengers in the car? Well maybe if we didn't shoot all the Mt. Lions around here, there wouldn't be so many deer? Anything to preserve Nature & animals is not a waste & time & money!
Hal Schuette December 01, 2011 at 05:44 PM
Why? We all know the roads taken by deer. They are creatures of habit and follow their established routes. Keep the deer trails open! This is needless agony for the deer. Is this another budget item that needs to be spent? There are better ways to utilize the money !
JJB December 01, 2011 at 05:51 PM
This study is such a waste of peoples time and tax payers money. I guess they are just trying to create a job for themselves. Deer have been crossing 280 ever since it was built, as well as other streets & roads in the Bay Area. There have been other studies that have been done that could be used to answer the question "Why are deer crossing our highways"? This is not "Rocket Science". Deer feed on the new grass and new growth along the highways that is planted to keep the hills from becoming mud slides in the winter, they cross the highways when the bucks starting to look for does to breed during late summer and early fall, they cross the freeways to feed on new plants, planted by people in the spring time in there home gardens. The only way to keep deer from crossing to 280 is to build deer proof fencing along 280 or build the fencing where most of the deer are crossing or build tunnels under 280 so the deer can cross. They do this for cattle in many western states and the deer also use them to cross. Deer are very smart and will learn where to cross over time. How about the poor racoons, rabbits and cats that you see dead all over 280? Maybe the next study, will be how to keep them from crossing 280. Where does all this non-sense Stop? . And we wonder why our state, city and County's are in debt. It is always sad when people get hurt and a deer gets killed, but that is the risk you take when driving in a deer populated area.
Annette S December 01, 2011 at 06:25 PM
There just is no way to make all the people happy all of the time. This is obviously a plan to show that Cal-trans is being sensitive to the needs of the deer as well as the safety of the public. It costs money to clean up the dead deer, and Cal-trans is then sued by a motorist or their family for the damages or death. I think Cal-trans is simply doing what they can to keep the environmental/animal advocates happy, cut some costs in other budget line items like clean up and worker safety on the side of the road, and motorists. They are trying to solve a problem and still be respectful of the deer. UC Davis will be able to offer some good sound research information for this location and probably other locations in the future of deer movement as to help other areas too. Look into all the other government funded R&D projects out there, there are some far more ridiculous and fraudulent ones worse than this..lol
Hal Schuette December 01, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Thank you JJB! Well said! Will someone tell the CHP to stop this silly project? The CHP can spend that time writing speeding tickets on 280.
Reality Check December 01, 2011 at 07:01 PM
CA DFG (California Department of Fish & Game) & UC Davis are doing the Caltrans-funded study -- not the CHP.
Joan S. Dentler (Editor) December 01, 2011 at 07:25 PM
You are correct Reality Check, the Department of Fish and Game and UC Davis are doing the study. DFG will be the agency capturing the deer.
skip December 03, 2011 at 05:41 PM
you wouldn't be saying this is a waste of time if you had hit one on 280 going 65mph, totalling your car, ending you and the passengers in the hospital for days, with a very dead deer (traffic breaks done to clear the deer also causes rear-end collisions by inattentive drivers). And during deer mating season, there are 100+ collisions all over the peninsula. having this study will allow them to understand their most used route and habits, and come up with a plan if possible. Similar to putting in traffic measureing devices to see how fast and frequently cars travel on a certain road, to determine whether to put in speed bumps, stop sign, stop lights, etc...
wolfone December 03, 2011 at 07:09 PM
len, Thank you! Voice of reason and sounds like experience too!
Dubfields December 03, 2011 at 08:40 PM
this is definitely a dumb study....why do the deer cross the highways? because we built highways right in the middle of their land. the best way to observe them is to just simply observe them, not shooting and capturing them. Luckily, there is a source for your daily Belmontian deer observations. http://-deerdiary.tumblr.com/
JJB December 04, 2011 at 01:57 AM
Mt Lions have not been shot in the Bay Area for over 20 years by hunters. The State of Calif passed a law over 20 years ago to ban hunting on Mt Lions. Little do you know.
wolfone December 04, 2011 at 02:06 AM
JJB commented on the article Study to Track Movement of Deer on I-280 Begins Friday "Mt Lions have not been shot in the Bay Area for over 20 years by hunters. The State of Calif passed a law over 20 years ago to ban hunting on Mt Lions. Little do you know." **************** No not hunters the Dept of Fish & Wildlife. Anytime one comes any where close to a town the cops or DF&W freak out and shoot it instead of trapping and release in the mountains. Little do you know!
Steve Hayes December 04, 2011 at 04:50 PM
I have seen many deer in headlights - mostly on slow country roads. However I did have one memorable experience on 280 in the mid 70's. It was about 12:30 AM and I was headed southbound, on my way home from work going at least 75 on a completely empty freeway. I came over a small rise near Sand Hill Road and there was a small group of deer right in front of me. My thought at the time was "oh crap" (or something like that) - there was no way I could avoid the big doe standing directly between my headlights. I jerked the wheel to the left (very dangerous) and went into an uncontrolled 360 and ended up in the center divide, nearly in the northbound lanes. Somehow I missed the doe and fortunately there was no center divide to slam into. My little Mustang and I survived (just a sore neck) but I never want to try that again. Back in those days the freeway was new and the road was constantly littered with carnage..
Dogbert December 04, 2011 at 07:51 PM
Hey, I've got a really novel idea that would most definitely save the state/taxpayers some serious coinage: Q. "Why are the deer crossing 280?" A. To get to the other side. Good. You now have permission to send all of the high-priced UC Davis scientists back to their academic habitat to study why people don't feel very good when they are sprayed with toxic chemicals. You know, it's really you extreme enviro-mentals who are the problem here.. The more property you guys return to nature and the more you lock people out of said property (as evidenced by the huge POST and GGNRA land grabs in the NW Peninsula) the more you can expect to be dodging the cast members from Wild Kingdom (except for that Marlin Perkins guy- tragic!) in your $60,000. Prius. The extremists know all this but they love to play dead on it. Woof!
wolfone December 04, 2011 at 08:08 PM
From most of the above comments (Not all) on the article including yours Dogbert, I rather like the idea of appropriating more land for more animals and less people. People are over breeding and effing up the land. Especially those gas guzzling SUV's! I would love to live with nature all around all animals no people. You know like Eden!
JJB December 04, 2011 at 08:10 PM
You state. "Well maybe if we didn't shoot all the Mt. Lions around here, there wouldn't be so many deer"? My question to you ? is "who are shooting ALL the mountain Lions along 280? No one can hunt these cats anymore. The hunters never passed a law to ban hunting of them. It was the People of Calif that voted on that law.. There are more lions today than there ever was in this state.
wolfone December 04, 2011 at 08:17 PM
JB- The cops come and shoot the lions. DF&W come and shoot them. Everyone is so skeered of a cat barely bigger than my German shepherd! All the Big men get out their Big Guns and get all trigger happy to shoot a treed mountain lion. Really quite gross. This has happened time & time again. Not one has ever tranq the cat and transported it way up there where all these deer roam.
Reality Check December 05, 2011 at 02:49 AM
"A woman in Santa Cruz County recently called Fish and Game for a depredation permit after a mountain lion killed four of her goats, Capt. Kelly said. At 2 p.m. she had the permit and by 5:15 p.m., she had shot and killed the lion ..." http://www.almanacnews.com/news/show_story.php?id=10134
Reality Check December 05, 2011 at 02:52 AM
Many years ago, I recall a horrible crash in which someone swerving to avoid a deer on Page Mill Road near 280 crossed over and hit another car head on. Both drivers were killed. The deer ran off unscathed.
JJB December 07, 2011 at 05:40 AM
I think this has only happened a couple of times here in San Mateo County. and Yes I do agree they could be trapped and moved without any harm to anyone.
Chris Corbett December 07, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Two years ago, while in a 2-ton pest control work truck, I hit a bobcat on 280 in San Bruno. This was at 2:30 in the afternoon. I crushed it instantly, and if it were not for the size and weight of my truck, I major accident could have incurred. The bobcat found itself all the way in lane 2, believe it or not! That is one lane from the fast lane...to this day, I feel very lucky to have survived that incident.
alice July 19, 2012 at 04:26 PM
please tell me the last time a deer was hit on 280 and someone was injured. a serious question as i am having a debate with a friend.
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) July 19, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I just talked to the CHP spokesperson. He's looking it up. More soon.
Francie August 01, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Very pleased with the study. I drive Interstate 280 everyday; it's heartbreaking seeing all the roadkill of these innocent beautiful creatures. This is their home; we are invading their territory. Thank you for all concerned, it's about time.
Highway 280 Steward November 21, 2012 at 06:05 AM
High priced? I realize my comment is late, but my portion of the grant was 20k. I piloted this project to spur Caltrans to move to fix it in....2009. It's 2012. 3 years, 20k. You do the math. UC Davis employee responsible for study intended to reduce collisions.
Highway 280 Steward November 21, 2012 at 06:08 AM
Google it. Sept 2011, may he RIP poor boy.

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