Deer Herd Fall To Their Death At Bishop Pass

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kpeter
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Re: Deer Herd Fall To Their Death At Bishop Pass

Post by kpeter » Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:23 pm

This is really interesting stuff. I guess mule deer have a little bit of caribou-like behavior in them. I've never thought of deer like that before but I'm not sure why not. I know that elk and other similar creatures have herd behavior.

Meanwhile, I assume that every vulture from the entire range joined the conclave at Bishop Pass. That would be an impressive sight in its own right.








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rlown
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Re: Deer Herd Fall To Their Death At Bishop Pass

Post by rlown » Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:43 pm


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Re: Deer Herd Fall To Their Death At Bishop Pass

Post by robow8 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:03 am


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kpeter
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Re: Deer Herd Fall To Their Death At Bishop Pass

Post by kpeter » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:25 am

Thank you robow, that is the most informative yet. Interesting that this happened in Shepherd pass too, and also that it is a small fraction of the herd. Also interesting that this happens after each big-snow year.

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Re: Deer Herd Fall To Their Death At Bishop Pass

Post by Vaca Russ » Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:13 am

kpeter wrote:Thank you robow, that is the most informative yet. Interesting that this happened in Shepherd pass too, and also that it is a small fraction of the herd. Also interesting that this happens after each big-snow year.

Here is another report as well.

http://thesheetnews.com/2017/11/22/a-slippery-slope/

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Re: Deer Herd Fall To Their Death At Bishop Pass

Post by gdurkee » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:32 pm

I'd heard about this but only just came across this thread. I'd seen the same thing -- though with only maybe 6 deer -- about 15 years ago. Came up there on a snow survey (base of the Bishop Pass switchbacks) and coyote had dug down through ~12+ feet of snow and were feeding on the carcasses. As for the deer migration routes, many in that area come out over Bishop Pass though some head down the Middle Fork.
Don't know why but would guess it's kinda like Salmon -- point of origin and they return each year. Deer (and Mountain Lion) from Round Valley (just north of Bishop) make their way over to McClure though many there head down the San Joaquin for winter. SSSDave's report from 1954 is really interesting, showing that it's fairly common.

That slope with the switchbacks definitely gets icy in fall. Covered with snow, then freeze/thaw it's really, really bad. There might be an argument for deer following the trail because were they to go about 1/2 mile north of the Pass, there's a gully that's safer to descend. Well, the Coyote will be happy this winter anyway.

Regarding the comments on why trails are where they are. In most all cases in the Sierra, the major passes were all Native American routes and many were trading routes. You'll find huge areas of obsidian shards where big chunks were divided up on-site into smaller blanks for points (Bishop, Piute, Taboose, Shepard, Kearsarge, Cottonwood). Many of those were useful to Euro-Americans coming in but all had histories of Native Americans using them for thousands of years.

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