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May 4th, 2010
The proposed White-tailed deer season has been a bit of a news generator over the last few weeks in the newspapers and on the radio, particularly last week on the radio about the “hunters and environmentalists” teaming up to protest against the proposed White-tailed deer seasons in British Columbia, most notably in the Region 8 Okanogan – Boundary area of British Columbia as ……… not being sustainable.
A white-tailed deer GOS is not sustainable??
Not only do I disagree, but I know it is sustainable.
White-tailed deer have proven to be very resilient to harvest throughout North America and I do not forsee the proposed GOS to have any detrimental effect on BC’s growing white-tailed deer population, which, incidentally has risen to an estimated 81,000 to approximately 128, 500 white-tailed deer.
The area where contentious issues have arisen within the Okanogan – Boundary area has an estimated 31,000 to 44, 000 white-tailed deer. A high white-tailed deer population can have a negative impact on other species, in particular mule deer. Especially when you’re dealing with predators such as cougar.
In a recent Times Colonist article, BC Guides Balk at plan to open season on white-tailed deer, an outfitter was quoted as saying the following:
“Clear-cuts bring in the wolves, the wolves prey on the mule deer, the mule deer is in trouble and now the whitetail have become prey.”
………. believes a general open season on whitetails is not sustainable and that irreparable harm could occur.
This is a wrong and misleading statement. To quickly sum up research in the north Washington / Boundary – Okanogan area into laymans terms: mule deer populations were on the decline when no predator harvests were conducted (cougar) and the white-tailed population remained the same. Once cougar harvests were increased, both white-tailed deer and mule deer populations increased. Essentially showing cougars to be density dependant on white-tailed deer populations!!
This now brings us to the whole GOS scenario for white-tailed deer. In many areas, we stand to benefit with the proposed GOS. I personally feel with the hunter demographic and hunter mindset in BC….its nearly impossible to impact white-tailed deer given the resiliency and the habitat they tend to utilize as compared to a species like mule deer.
White-tailed deer by their very nature, are one of North America’s most prolific ungulates with the highest growth rate of all large game species. They are highly adaptable and resilient and take up residence in a wide variety of habitat types, be it within town / city limits, agricultural areas, vineyards, river / creek bottom lowlands and through to high elevation alpine areas.
One only needs to look at other jurisdictions with long and successful GOS on white-tailed deer populations for ‘antlerless’ and ‘either sex’ seasons. Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Idaho and Montana all have ‘antlerless’ GOS as well as ‘either sex’ seasons with the exception of Idaho. BC’s proposed GOS is also in part, based on the sound management principles from these jurisdictions.
Benefits of the proposed white-tailed deer season are many, such as:
- simplifying the provincial framework for regulating white-tailed deer hunting
- increase the recruitment and retention of hunters (which is further enhanced by the removal of LEH to a GOS antlerless season)
- increased hunter opportunity
- helps maintain a healthy and viable population (especially if combined with sound habitat management)
The proposed white-tailed deer GOS season is a step in the right direction and I look forward to seeing people out there to take advantage of the added opportunity.Filed under Hunting News | Comment (0)