Massive Deer Herd Fell To Death Near Bishop Pass

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rwedgee

Ice climber
CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 20, 2017 - 07:48am PT
Repost

"Brad was down at Mac's Sporting Goods and got the whole story on this. Apparently last night, these deer and many, many others (around 100 deer) were trying to make their way to their wintering grounds on this side of the mountains and hit ice on very steep areas. From below Lone Pine to Bishop Pass these deer hit the ice and tumbled down the steep boulders to their deaths, or to mortal injury. Brad was told that the couple in the picture were actually slitting the throats of the mortally injured in order to put them out of their pain. In the nearly 40 years I've been in this Valley, I have never heard of such a terrible tragedy happening to our deer herds. They suffered 4 years of drought, then a terrible winter with a devastating winter die-off, and now this. It will take many years for our herds to rebuild from this loss."




Credit: rwedgee










High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Nov 20, 2017 - 07:50am PT
Wow.

Any other pics showing more of the scene?
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Nov 20, 2017 - 07:53am PT
Wow, 100 dead, sad.
Lennox

climber
in the land of the blind
Nov 20, 2017 - 08:01am PT

From below Lone Pine to Bishop Pass . . .


What doe this mean? We’re there multiple incidents?
hossjulia

Trad climber
Carson City, NV
Nov 20, 2017 - 08:01am PT
The bucks tend to hang back and wait till hunting season is over before heading out of the high country. I suspect it's cause/effect but really don't know.
Does anyone know if the hunting permits for this zone were reduced after last winters die off?
What a tragedy. Mule deer are a favorite of mine. I often have had the desire to study them and they seem to like me.
Does especially seem to like bedding down near me while backpacking. Had one follow me for 2 days in Le Conte canyon.
Very sad news.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Nov 20, 2017 - 08:11am PT
This happened at the same spot back in the 80s ... are you sure this isn't fake news?
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Nov 20, 2017 - 08:11am PT
Pretty common.......I'd say "tragedy" or is pretty strong language. Migration is dangerous business. We "spectators" find these events hard to see but it truly is part of the cycle of life. Its like watching a rabbit flee from a bobcat on Nat Geo. We find ourselves cheering for the pretty little rabbit rather than the hungry bobcat. If we had a birds-eye view of an entire migration we might find it quite startling to watch the decay rate from point A to point B. Large parts of herds die swimming, slipping, starving, all year every year. Welcome to the wild.
ionlyski

Trad climber
Polebridge, Montana
Nov 20, 2017 - 08:18am PT
We wouldn't have wolverines without those kinds of accidents, including avalanches. Life and death.
canyoncat

Social climber
SoCal
Nov 20, 2017 - 08:29am PT
The homeless will be having venison for Thanksgiving.
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Nov 20, 2017 - 08:32am PT
How large are the herds?
I have seen herds of hundreds of antelope but never such large numbers of deer together
10b4me

Mountain climber
Retired
Nov 20, 2017 - 08:44am PT
I've read other reports saying that forty died, and it was caused by rockfall.
Edit: the guy, seen in the picture, was one of two people who were supposedly slitting the throats of the survivors( to put them out of their misery).
Jody

climber
Occupied Territory
Nov 20, 2017 - 09:04am PT
Edit: the guy, seen in the picture, was one of two people who were supposedly slitting the throats of the survivors( to put them out of their misery).

Gee 10b...we can read...that info is in the OP.

Darn climate change killing off all our deer now.
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Nov 20, 2017 - 09:17am PT

Nov 20, 2017 - 08:32am PT
How large are the herds?
I don't have numbers from scientific studies, but on a slope in the SW edge of SEKI I lost count at 160 one year. My friends and I kept watching and estimate we lost count at less than half of the total number that walked by. It was pretty awesome.
Jody

climber
Occupied Territory
Nov 20, 2017 - 09:22am PT
I can't find anything on the most recent "incident". Apparently this is a fairly regular occurrence though.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=9&ved=0ahUKEwi0nLXV1M3XAhVXGGMKHft-AsAQFghIMAg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fscholarsarchive.byu.edu%2Fcgi%2Fviewcontent.cgi%3Farticle%3D1257%26context%3Dwnan&usg=AOvVaw0UyopOpaPhYUENuDC7Y3Pu
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 20, 2017 - 09:23am PT
^^^^ That sounds a great experience, Limpie. To put it in perspective when Lewis and Clark
were floating down the Missouri they passed a bison herd they estimated to be 7 miles long
and up to a mile wide, and densely packed!
rwedgee

Ice climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 20, 2017 - 09:36am PT
This year the tags in both X9a & X9B were cut from ~600 each to about 200 in each zone, tags are bucks only. It previously took 4 or 5 years to draw a tag in one of those zones so times that by 3 so about 12 years to draw. The deer didn't go back up this year until July because of heavy snow and they will stay up until the weather chases them down, not the hunters. Conditions were perfect for this type of tragedy, a late winter and an iced up migration route. It happens every year to some extent but never this bad.
Highway 168 is the border with X9A to the North & X9B to the South.
https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=83674&inline
https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=83675&inline
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Nov 20, 2017 - 09:41am PT
That would be a lot scarier, Reilly
rwedgee

Ice climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 20, 2017 - 10:36am PT
Credit: rwedgee
The place in question is like the main trail on Mt Whitney switchbacks where they put the cable up, if it's icy you're going over the side.
87 deer didn't get caught in a rockfall as it wasn't a single event in a single day. Have you ever been to Bishop pass ?

"I imagine the herd was standing on the edge of a cliff that collapsed"

please think this through
(historical photo)

drF

Trad climber
usa
Nov 20, 2017 - 01:09pm PT
Found a small pile(3-4 deer) at the ORG one time near Pick Pocket if memory serves me correctly. Something prolly spooked them and they followed the leader the wrong way over the edge.
xCon

Social climber
909
Nov 20, 2017 - 01:30pm PT
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-we-really-need-to-cull-deer-herds/
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