Deer kills reported in Cambria residential areas

Unknown if coyotes, mountain lions or dogs are responsible

ktanner@thetribunenews.comNovember 15, 2012 

— Several residents in the Marine Terrace area on the southwest, oceanside corner of Cambria have reported seeing, up close and personal, the consequences of recent attacks on deer.

There have been lots of deer on the North Coast this year, which draws predators to the area. Kills happen where the prey is, and when deer can feast on lavish buffets in neighborhood gardens, that’s where many of the ruminants will be.

Todd Tognazzini, longtime warden for the state Department of Fish and Game, said Nov. 12 that “we have not had reports of fresh deer kills in the area and would be more than happy” to investigate similar, current situations, once someone reports them.

Report “any unusual wildlife issues to either CalTip at (888) 334-2258 or our Monterey dialer system at (831) 649-2801,” Tognazzini recommended. “That way the dispatcher can contact whomever is working that day and closest to the area.”

Such attacks on deer are not unusual, Tognazzini said. “Over the years I have seen predator take, domestic dog take, and human take (crossbow) in that area.”

There are hallmarks that help determine after the fact which species killed the deer, he said. A mountain lion customarily would drag the carcass to cover, open the chest and eat some of the organs. The lion often will cover the deer “with leaves and branches to continue to eat it over the next several days.”

Not surprisingly, “coyote take is very similar to domestic dog take, which usually means the animal is ‘hamstringed’ or taken down by its back end.” The predator doesn’t always eat the meat, but if it does, it will usually take the tissue from the rear of the carcass.

If little of the meat has been consumed, the hunters frequently are determined to have been domestic dogs that are “often well fed and killing for amusement.”

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