Naturally Free and Wild Deer in Greater Los Angeles

Robert Jan "Roy" van de Hoek, President and Mammalogist
Ballona Institute
Los Angeles, California 90293
İMay 23, 2014

Robert "Roy" van de Hoek
May 23, 2014
         Naturally free and wild deer once lived in Los Angeles and San Francisco as reported by Chester Collins in LORQUINIA in 1917. Chester reported that deer occurred in the Baldwin Hills above Inglewood and west of Hollywood by the new electric trolley, as well as in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The disappearance of deer from a now urbanized Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other urban areas of California disturbed Chester Collins and the members of the Lorquin Natural History Club. Fortunately, Chester decided to write an article for LORQUINIA in 1917 which he entitled: THE CONSERVATION OF THE CALIFORNIA DEER. The name of the species of deer in Los Angeles is called Mule Deer. Featured below is the entire article by Chester Collins on California deer conservation.
Chester P. Collins
Voltaire, California
          There is a movement at present being started to close the deer hunting season in California. This is a very worthy object and one which should be generally encouraged and supported by those interested in the prevention of the extermination of our most beautiful wild animal.
          The passing of the bison and the passenger pigeon are well known themes dwelt upon at great length by advocates of game conservation. Still the lesson can never be learned too well and while under our present laws such disgraceful and criminal slaughter would be impossible, yet we are too prone to delay the needed legislation to avoid this same fate on the part of our game birds and animals.
          It is only natural that the deer should recede before the advance of civilization, but the automobile gives such quick access to distant points, and renders the long trip of a decade ago to one of but a few hours now, that slowly but surely the deer are being driven into the most inaccessible parts of the mountains.
          Old-timers have told the writer about shooting deer in the hills surrounding the present site of Inglewood and the writer has seen a small doe feeding within a few hundred yards of the Santa Monica car line, a mile or two west of Hollywood, when that road was first constructed.
          Dana records that in 1837 the hills of the present Golden Gate Park were fairly alive with deer that fearlessly stood and watched the sailing vessels passing through the Gate and that everywhere in California deer were in abundance.
          The ever increasing number of hunters and the modern high power rifles will soon spell the end of the deer hunting unless the season is closed for at least a term of years. Every year, preceding season, in a burst of wild enthusiasm, the newspapers invariably announce the deer as being more plentiful than they have been for years, but nevertheless the writer's personal observations show a terrible decrease in the last five years. Even should the letter of the law be observed and females killed, which sad to say is far from the actual case, yet a few years more will reduce the deer to that point where they will never permanently increase in their wild state, but can only be perpetuated in parks and reserves as are the bison of today.

Robert "Roy" van de Hoek
May 21, 2014
          The eloquent writing by Chester P. Collins on conservation of California deer approaches a 100th anniversary in three years. Incredible indeed in my opinion that a young man would write this great article in an urbanizing Los Angeles. Chester appears to be sad, angry and afraid at the same time over the loss of deer in Los Angeles. Fortunately, a very good government agency that was interested in conservation 100 years ago, or thereabouts, called the California Department of Fish and Game at that time did have a brief moratorium on hunting deer, followed by a strict regulation on hunting for a short period in Autumn, for male deer (bucks). Although this article by Chester in LORQUINIA is difficult to find in a library today, the Ballona Institute has a few photocopies of LORQUINIA in the archives of our library which is available for study by students in L.A. and members of the public that are interested in the naturally wild and free deer of Los Angeles, from the coast, to the mountains and deserts of southern California. Fortunately, everyone can now view this article on deer by a Los Angeles natural historian named Chester Collins from circa 100 years ago" by any computer with internet access, gratefully presented to you by the Ballona Institute in Los Angeles. 1