Tag Archives: Management

NEWSLETTER July 1, 2017

The May 9, 2017 BC provincial election results were dramatically different than the results predicted by the pundits, the deep thinkers in the media.

Can a NDP Government of 41 members supported by 3 Green Party Members opposed by 43 BC Liberals survive long enough to start a healing process on our mountains that embraces democratic process that will examine in depth the negative side of every stakeholder’s behavior that is a challenge to the future of the province’s wildlife resource?

Civil debate conveniently ignores the real problems and therefore the TERMS of REFERENCE typically have no intention of casting a shadow over third rate behavior of stakeholders, bureaucrats and our political masters.

That point is made by Rob Clark whose memoirs of his 30 year career as an officer of Corrections Service Canada, Down Inside says it all: “I have no idea what lies in store for the Correctional Service of Canada.  Although I would like to believe that significant positive changes are possible, I have my doubts. The culture of this organization is so deeply entrenched and so pervasive that I remain skeptical of its capacity for genuine introspection”.

Wildlife management must be the mandate of the Ministry of Environment and the minister has to be a warrior who will not be ignored by cabinet colleagues contrary to our sorry history of treating the wildlife resource as chattel goods. (an item or article of goods)

Whatever our destiny democratic process is imperative, no walls every stakeholder who values the province’s wildlife resource has a right to participate. A Roundtable cannot be driven by consensus or failure will be immediate.

The immediate problem is to make it clear to every 87 MLA- Member of our Legislative Assembly in Victoria and their rabid supporter’s to-day and in the future that democratic process is not expensive. The fight for freedom on the other hand is mighty expensive, point made by the fact that well over 100,000 young Canadian men and more than a few women while members of our Canadian Armed Forces paid the ultimate price for the ultimate principle in a democratic society-FREEDOM.

Do your homework and you will find 66,000 plus died in the Great War 1914-1918 and 45,000 plus in the Second World War 1939-1945. The kicker- the day our heroes crossed the Bar they didn’t take counsel from their fear.

A good story to remember when you are at a crossroad in your journey!

I have been involved in three processes, two were blessed with Chairman of Measure the third was a dismal affair not a surprise when you consider Range Staff had no qualifications to chair meetings, a problem exacerbated by their rejoinder that consensus was the game.

The Okanagan/Boundary Region 8 Wildlife Advisory chaired by Dr. John Gibson and the 1992-94 West Kootenay/Boundary Commission on Resources and Environment Roundtable chaired by Bruce Fraser is a reminder that the chair is by far and away the most important figure overseeing public process.

The Okanagan/Boundary Wildlife Advisory collapsed in 1988 when the Okanagan B.C. Wildlife Federation Clubs walked away because of a Limited Eatery Hunt on the whitetail doe. A classic example of the Shifting Baseline Syndrome when you consider the endless demands of BC Wildlife Federation Clubs for more Hunting Opportunity.

Although the Rancher/Agrologist Co-Ordinated Resource Management Process was doomed to a short shelf life, a point made by declining public participation, the minutes from the Overton/Moody CRMP meetings (the bookend watersheds of Gilpin) are a reminder that even a third rate process has merit because you get to know the players and issues.

Terms of Reference the backbone of process that will direct the Chair where he/she can go and still get support from the provincial government of the day will have trouble accepting my vision i.e. a thorough review of the firewall used by every stakeholder to justify their behavior.

Should we be blessed with a democratic process I would preface meetings with President Ronald Regan’s popular quote; “Trust but Verify a product of negotiating a reduction of nuclear warhead missiles with Michail Gorbachev”.

I would also remind stakeholders of a message in of all places; “Range Management Handbook for British Columbia” edited by Dr. Alastair McLean 1979:

The importance of wildlife in the province is difficult to assess since it must be measured not only in direct economic terms but also in the well being of the citizens through recreation and quiet enjoyment.”

Recreation and quiet enjoyment is certainly not what it was a generation ago- you can travel for days in the East Boundary; Greenwood, Grand Forks and Christina Lake and other than bighorns adjacent to Highway #3 east of Grand Forks and the odd bear or deer on private property, quiet enjoyment in any serious way is a phenomenon of the past. A serious indictment of every politician, bureaucrat and stakeholder who has their sorry foot print on the Hunting Opportunity Agenda.

Dr. McLean’s vision of cows on Ungulate Winter Ranges is polar opposite and the backdrop critiquing the ugly Gilpin Grassland Saga.

How does a credible process deal with the major wildlife management issues without indicting stakeholders?

 

 

Wildlife Management

  1. The Sightability Index used by our provincial government biologists has no connection to reality in many British Columbia Ungulate Species Regional Population Estimates and Status Preseason Hunting 2011 and 2014.

 

The mule and whitetail pop. Estimates for Region 8 Okanagan/Boundary are over the top. Preseason 2011 and 2014- mule deer 28,000-42,000- pop. Stable

-whitetail    31,000-44,000- pop. Stable

 

Preseason 2017 ungulate estimates will be available soon.

 

I have two Freedom of Information packages that offer insight to Ungulate Population Estimates in Region 4 and 8. Tactically the work appears square-up but regional population estimates cast a dark shadow over the whole exercise for large ungulate populations.

 

To spike your curiosity I will send you a few pages that introduce you to the game: Naïve Extrapolated, sightability-corrected estimate, 90% confidence interval, density-deer per km, Sightability Correction Factor. I will also send you preseason ungulate population estima

Should you be bold or have a statistical expert contact to help us unravel the mystery of how some estimates have no connection to reality let us know and we will forward the Freedom of Information attachment.

Will it be a hopeless peeing contest paying qualified academics to critique what is quite frankly, pathetic dribble?

 

  1. Hunting Opportunity Agenda

 

The Hunting Opportunity Agenda dramatically increased the political footprint on our mountains and conveniently ignored our sorry history of long hunting seasons and generous bag limits; a point made by the collapse of the critical mass of the mule deer in the late fifties and early sixties in Region 8 Okanagan/Boundary. They were never seen again in groups of 30-40.

 

“Thus, the over-all mule deer population in MU 8 has probably experienced a slow decline during the last several decades”. The Boundary Deer Herd by D.J.Spalding-1968

 

Weak wildlife management started its steep descent with the 1996 Glen Clark NDP Government which demanded more money from the province’s wildlife resource followed by the BC Liberal Government.

 

A few years ago trying to connect with former Director of Wildlife, Jim Walker because he was a Director on the Nature Trust Board, my wife found a letter written by Jim in which he made the point that the NDP Glen Clark Government wanted more money from wildlife. When we finally connected he aptly described the BC Liberal Government-“they don’t care”.

 

Sadly he just crossed the BAR but he did leave a mesage for his former Nature Truct colleagues.

 

“However as public appreciation of nature continues to erode, it is important we and  our conservation partners refocus our direction and make it a priority to educate the urban majority about our lands and the values they represent. It is not enough to acquire land alone.”

 

I will sign off and continue a deep examination of Hunting Opportunity in the near future by highlighting the major seasons for the downward spiral of mule, whitetail and black bear populations in the Boundary, our backyard.

 

I will also send you pictures as an aid in explaining the Ranchers/Range Staff Firewall- Biodiversity and Pre-conditioning and describe how one of the first and finest Wildlife/Grassland initiatives lost every fight to the cow- the 1470 acres Ed Boothman Ranch purchase August 17, 1972 and the purchase of 475 acres by the 2nd Century Fund of BC renamed Nature Trust in 1984.

 

Barry Brandow Sr.

 

 

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NEWSLETTER January 28, 2016

 

Every year I pray there is evidence that the statistical arguments that have resulted in increased hunting opportunity that is one of the major reasons why many wildlife populations in BC have collapsed, shows signs our wildlife managers and their political masters realize the magnitude of their failure to honor their statutory responsibility to ensure our wildlife resource is passed on to future generations as it was received!

I received a disturbing e-mail a few days ago from Fred Marshall recommending a dramatic increase in hunting opportunity of the whitetail doe in Region 8- Okanagan/Boundary. I urge all of you who care about the province’s wildlife resource to protest by demanding this outrageous statistical argument be immediately discarded.

The rationale for the increased harvest of the whitetail doe makes the point that “over 20 years of surveys in the Boundary Game Management Zone (GMZ) show stable or increasing numbers of whitetail deer”.

The reality is that wildlife population numbers are only accurate if a sightability index is used, in other words the animals are counted using aerial and ground surveys. If you extrapolate the numbers as our wildlife managers are doing then you are making a crude guess on animal populations that cannot be validated and have consistently ignored the weight of anecdotal evidence.

It is important that we find out who the author of this e-mail is because there is an alarming trend of the BC Wildlife Federation hiring retired provincial wildlife managers and biologists to speak for their interest of increasing hunting opportunity.

The current behavior of the BCWF has no connection to their past history, a point made by former Region 8 Biologist, Bob Lincoln in his Dec. 1987 report; Deer harvest management in the Okanagan: Past Results and Future Directions-“A prime concern of these Federation members is that the deer resource not be over-exploited. They have lobbied hard for very conservative harvests of deer”.

Remember it is the collective vision of a very small percentage of hunters and guides who have the knowledge and experience to validate population trends and that does not include wildlife managers or biologists with very few exceptions.

How is it possible to square up comments from two provincial biologists a generation apart?

Bob Lincoln’s quote in his Dec. 1987 report was valid then as it is to-day; “In the Okanagan where roads are abundant, suggesting a potential for localized over-harvest and where the wildlife management staffing capacity does not allow for careful monitoring of local deer herd status, it is prudent to be fairly conservative in harvest strategy”.

In a recent phone conversation Nelson provincial biologist, Aaron Reid made the point the province’s whitetail deer population has gone from 40,000 plus decades ago to 110,000  to-day. How many whitetail deer were actually counted versus extrapolation theory?

In the near future I will send you a newsletter that will shed more light on the cautionary approach to wildlife population estimates based on conversations with two Washington State biologists and important quotes from the State of Washington 2014 Game Status and Trend Report.

The letter will also include quotes from the Management Plan White-tailed Deer in Alberta.

The bottom line does not change-uncorroborated wildlife management theory is putting a hole in the province’s wildlife resource and the credibility of many wildlife managers and biologists.

Barry Brandow Sr.

PLEASE NOTE

Any intelligent discussion by British Columbians concerned with the current sorry state of wildlife management in BC to-day is well advised to remember the following comments found on page 100 of the Management Plan for White-tailed Deer in Alberta:

Population inventory involves direct methods where the deer are actually observed (eg. , aerial survey) and indirect methods ( eg., jaw collection, harvest questionnaires). Direct methods can provide all the necessary population information but are often impractical because of cost or poor visibility of animals in dense cover types. Indirect methods supplement direct methods or replace them in areas where direct methods are not feasible but their usefulness is limited. They can provide information on distribution and age/sex ratios but only crude estimates of population size.

Here is the link to a proposal for a regional deer bag limit increase:  http://apps.nrs.gov.bc.ca/pub/ahte/hunting/regional-deer-bag-limit-increase

 

 

Lincoln Report – 1988

In 1988 Lincoln, with the Ministry of Environment and Parks, came out with a report for the Okanagan Sportsment called: Okanagan Deer Harvest Report

Here is Barry’s copy

Lincoln_report

Below is an OCR’ed version of the report. While we try to recreate the contents as closely as possible please refer to the original document in the PDF (click on link above to download and read the complete document)


DEER HARVEST MANAGEMENT IN THE OKANAGAN
PAST RESULTS AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS

by R.C. Lincoln
Wildlife Section Head
Wildlife Management Program
December 1987

SUMMARY OF PAST OKANAGAN DEER MANAGEMENT RESULTS

At the B.C. Wildlife Federation meeting of December 12, 1987, Okanagan deer harvest strategies were discussed at length. Some club representatives expressed an interest in reviewing past results of the Okanagan deer harvest strategy. We have summarized the currently available data in the following graphs. (to see the full size diagrams click on the pictures)

click to view larger image Figure #1 shows an increasing harvest of deer. On statistical analysis this amounts to an average increase in harvest of about 4% to 7% per year over the years represented. A reader might initially think this was because the numbers of Okanagan deer hunters might have been increasing.

However, Figure #2lincoln_report_figure_2 suggests the numbers of these hunters was more or less stable at about 16,000 per year.

 

 

 

 

lincoln_report_figure_3In contrast, Figure #3 suggests the harvest increase is because deer hunters in the Okanagan have been increasingly successful in bagging deer. This increasing success rate was apparently a result of increased availability of deer in the areas hunted.

lincoln_report_figure_4Figure #4 suggests the amount of effort to harvest a deer has been decreasing. The primary reason for the increased ease with which a deer can be bagged seems to be increasing deer density. Therefore, the total number of deer seems to have been increasing by about 4% to 7% per year through the last 10 years. This is a fairly rapid rate of increase in Okanagan deer.

It could be speculated that the increasing harvest was due to coincidental factors such as proliferation of access roads into “deer country’ or weather affecting hunter success, etc. Comparison of deer harvest data to parallel data of the two adjacent management regions was used to assess these types of factors. Our interpretation presumes that many of the coincidental factors would prevail over more than just one administrative region.

lincoln_report_figure_5Figure #5 illustrates the increasing Okanagan harvest in relation to the deer harvests in the Thompson-Nicola and Kootenay regions. The Okanagan shows a relatively consistent and stable increase. On average, deer harvests in all three regions have increased significantly over the period.

lincoln_report_figure_6As in Figure #2, Figure #6 illustrates the more or less stable numbers of Okanagan deer hunters in relation to these adjacent regions.

lincoln_report_figure_7Figure #7 shows a general trend towards increasing deer hunter success in all three regions. In recent years, the Okanagan deer hunter success rate has been notably good.

Figure #8lincoln_report_figure_8 shows that throughout almost the entire span of the data, it has required fewer days to bag a deer in the Okanagan than adjacent regions.

In composite, these comparisons support the interpretation of a rapidly increasing deer population in the Okanagan. Incidentally, they suggest that deer hunters in the Okanagan have enjoyed comparatively high success rates. However, Okanagan deer habitat capacity will not allow for continuing improvements in deer hunter success indicators solely through continuing increases in deer population density. Instead, further improvements will come, 1n large part, through improved deer harvest efficiency and population management.

FUTURE DIRECTION OF OKANAGAN DEER MANAGEMENT

Okanagan B.C. Wildlife Federation representatives are committed to the wildlife resource conservation ethic. Deer are a major game species in the Okanagan. This resource is under substantial and increasing pressure from a host of factors such as habitat loss, habitat degradation, road kills, poaching, etc., etc. A prime concern of these Federation members is that the deer resource not be over-exploited. They have lobbied hard for very conservative harvests of deer.

This conservation objective has been accommodated in the Okanagan deer management strategy. In the Okanagan where roads are abundant, suggesting a potential for localized over-harvest, and where the wildlife management staffing capacity does not allow for careful monitoring of local deer herd status, it is prudent to be fairly conservative in harvest strategy. “Buck-only” seasons are very conservative. We believe that this conservative deer harvest strategy has accurately reflected the wishes of Okanagan BCWF representatives. The Okanagan region has the most conservative deer hunting seasons in British Columbia.

Conservative deer harvests have advantages in addition to assurances that local, un-monitored deer herds where access roads are abundant, are not being over-exploited. One of these additional advantages is that hunters seem very pleased with the quality of their hunting experience in the Okanagan. Whether or not an individual deer hunter was successful, we have received many reports suggesting the hunt was of high quality and enjoyable based on the number of deer seen. Other advantages are naturalists, tourists, sportsmen and others who enjoy the many deer viewing opportunities throughout all seasons of the year. Cougar and other predatory wildlife also benefit from these conservative deer seasons.

Conservative deer harvests also have substantial disadvantages. Increased road-kills, orchard conflicts, and possible range over-crowding resulting in reduced productivity or winter mortalities, are but a few. Conservative Okanagan seasons have been suggested as being inefficient and wasteful of deer harvest potential. They have been suggested as contributing to the apparent province-wide decline in hunter licence sales though discouragement of unsuccessful hunters.

Liberalization of our deer seasons has been suggested. There is a broad spectrum of legitimate deer harvest strategies between the current conservative regime through to intensive harvest at the so called “maximum sustained yield”. Within this spectrum, we believe there is adequate latitude to moderately increase deer harvest while continuing to meet the wishes of the B.C. wildlife Federation to maintain Okanagan deer population productivity. Conservative increases in deer harvest are on the near horizon for the Okanagan.

They will include improved apportionment of the harvest:

  • between our two species of deer;
  • between the two sexes of deer; and
  • later perhaps between different age classes of deer
    (e.g. minimum or maximum antler size restrictions).

Separate seasons for mule deer versus whitetailed deer are already effect in some management units. The next major change will be a moderate harvest of female deer. The immediate objective will be to decrease the numbers of hunter days to harvest a deer (“hunter effort”) with the expectation that the proportion of hunters who are successful should increase (“success rate”). This in turn will hopefully encourage more deer hunters to participate in Okanagan deer seasons resulting in an increased harvest. The harvest reg~me will not reduce deer productivity but will maintain or more likely, increase deer productivity. An increased public participation in deer hunting will aid in more clearly illustrating the value of the deer resource to society. Hunter surveys are one of the few quantitative ways by which a social need can be shown for continuing habitat and population management.

A.D. Peatt of this office is developing a plan to increase deer harvest. Using data from a number of intensive deer harvest studies, it can be shown that such an increase in harvest can be obtained at the same time as increasing deer productivity in terms of fawn production and total sustainable harvest. However, in recognition of B.C. Wildlife Federation’s apparent satisfaction with past results of our deer harvest strategy, Mr. Peatt’s recommendations will be moderate and cautious. The proposal will entail conservative harvests of antlerless deer starting in 1988. Details will be forwarded to you soon.

(IN ORIGINAL REPORT FIGURES WERE HERE)


AN IMPROVED DEER HARVEST STRATEGY
FOR THE MAIN OKANAGAN VALLEY

A.D. Peatt
Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Management Program
January 1988

1 – INTRODUCTION

New management programs, however beneficial, will sometimes be met with skepticism amongst the users simply because it is a change from past practice. New programs must be introduced in moderation, with caution, and with accountability to demonstrate that the choices made were the correct ones. The strategy outlined here is conservative. It will not lead to over-exploitation of the deer resource. It will serve to improve deer herd productivity and condition, increase harvest, and reduce negative aspects of roadkills and crop damage. Higher deer density may not always be a good thing -for the deer resource or the hunters. Our agency still suffers public criticism caused by the poorly conceived antlerless kills in the 1950s and 1960s. This proposal is far from that situation, and is deserving of your full support because it will benefit both deer and hunter.

2 – A BIT OF DEER BIOLOGY

Deer are density dependent creatures, which is to say that they have “built-in” responses to environmental factors affecting the resources available to them. In most circumstances, these responses serve to stabilize population flucuations brought about by harvest, catastrophe, or environmental variation. A population can be described in terms of reproduction, mortality, immigration and emigration. Reproduction, the recruitment of young animals into the popUlation and mortality, the deaths of animals in the population are of greatest concern in deer management. It is important to note that, as a deer population grows and approaches its carrying capacity (representing the maximum number of deer an area will sustain without destruction of habitat), the population’s productivity (the number of new animals entering the population) declines. This is usually controlled by two mechanisms. As forage availability declines, competition for food results in substantially increased winter mortalities (of adults and juveniles) and in substantially decreased production of fawns. Therefore, larger populations are less productive of young animals (per adult) than smaller populations restricted by mortality to some optimum level. The major mortality, in this case, should ideally be hunter harvest. Hunter harvest can be managed to substitute for other types of mortality such as roadkills, certain diseases and predation. Maintaining a high harvest from a population somewhat below its carrying capacity has been shown to be the most productive and efficient means of managing a deer herd where hunter harvest is the primary demand. If one is to affect the population in a manner which will make that population more productive, then one must manage those animals producing the recruits (and ultimately the harvest), that is, the does.

The figure below is a graph of a deer population studied by Dr. Dale McCullough for the past 20 years. In addition to his work, data was available for the enclosed herd dating from 1928. Dr. McCullough’s work represents the most comprehensive deer management data available anywhere. As can be seen, as the population grows from zero, the number of recruits to the population grows as well. At point ‘I’ the population is at its greatest productivity. Point ‘I’ 1S also where the population supports its Maximum Sustained Yield (MSY), that is, the point at which the greatest (but not necessarily the most desirable) harvest can be maintained. Beyond MSY, as the population grows nearer the limit of its resource availability (K), recruitment declines. From a practical management standpoint, the best place to be is somewhere to the right of ‘I’, but to the left of ‘K’. Such a location will give a moderately high population, yielding a high degree of harvestable animals.

Owing to the density-dependent responses of the deer, the size of a population at such a level is self-adjusting, and thereby remains fairly stable in the face of environmental variation or unregulated losses such as poaching and disease. Maintaining a population at MSY or lower (the left side of ‘I’) is much more hazardous because errors and catastrophes are de-stabilizing, rather than self-correcting.

peatt_report_figure_1

The main Okanagan Valley (and other areas of the region) has escalating problems associated with increasing deer density. Habitat degradation, increasing deer/agriculture damage and a high incidence of roadkills are a few of the obvious symptoms. But think further, how many times have you heard or said; “Gosh (or words to that effect), I saw plenty of does out there, but no bucks.” or, “Golly, there are a lot of does without fawns -something must be wrong!”. Unless deer management adjustments are made, these symptoms will get worse.

Deer seasons restricted to bucks-only is one way of ensuring a minimum harvest. Because does are spared under buck-only hunting, the post-hunt population grows toward its carrying capacity. Our population is growing at a rate of up to 7% per year! As the population approaches carrying capacity, productivity declines due to the deer’s density dependent responses. This results in a reduction of all recruitment, including the recruitment of bucks. Since the harvest is dependent on recruitment, a harvest of only bucks assures a low recruitment of bucks to be harvested. According to McCullough, buck-only hunting invariably results in:

  • high residual populations of predominately females
  • low overall recruitment rates, and
  • legal (antlered) bucks comprising 10% or less of the population.

Intuition tells you that a large population means a large harvest, so very restrictive seasons must be best. It is unfortunate that this appealing presumption works in the opposite manner. Everyone is concerned with conserving the deer resource, in particular with assuring that hunting activity does not harm that resource. None-the-less, the primary justification for deer hunting is the harvest that results. The failing of buck-only hunting for yielding bucks, much less total deer, can be seen 1n the figure below, where the potential harvest curve is separated by sex as based on Dr. McCullough’s studies.

peatt_report_figure_2

III THE PROGRAM

By cautiously harvesting antlerless animals, we can hold the deer population at a higher level of productivity and thereby reap many benefits. We can, over time, achieve:

  1. higher total deer harvest
  2. higher buck harvest
  3. improved hunter success
  4. more deer hunting participation
  5. a broader degree of hunter satisfaction
  6. fewer deer-vehicle collisions
  7. reduced deer damage complaints
  8. improved deer health (larger body S1ze, larger antlers, better condition)
  9. lowered deer age distribution
  10. lowered vulnerability to predation
  11. some measure of habitat recovery in degraded areas, and
  12. less likelihood of population fluctuation due to environmental catastrophe.

Hunters will be able to demonstrate that their activity can be used to scientifically manipulate the deer population to meet the desired criteria of maximal human benefit through optimal use of the deer resource. Who is to be served by this strategy? Primarily hunters, but also agriculturists, the general public, and the deer themselves.

This strategy is more efficient, and a more beneficial use of the deer resource than our traditional buck-only seasons. The cost? To achieve these goals means that post-hunt (fall and winter) there will be fewer deer than what could currently be seen. To increase productivity and thus harvest, means the population density must be held somewhat below the carrying capacity.

The goals of the program will therefore be:

  1. To improve hunter success, deer herd condition, and hopefully hunter participation by increasing harvest of both bucks and does.
  2. To reduce post-hunt populations to effect a reduction in roadkills and crop damage.
  3. To ensure that deer are used wisely and efficiently, achieving optimal human benefit and demonstrating that hunter harvest can be used to effectively manage the deer resource to its benefit.

The criteria for success of the program will be:

  1. Increased total harvest of deer, including an increase in the buck harvest.
  2. Increased deer hunter participation and success.
  3. Perceptive improvement in hunter satisfaction (more animals available for harvest, greater proportion of bucks in the population).
  4. Decreased roadkills and crop damage complaints.

Very conservative antlerless harvests will be implemented under the Limited Entry Hunting Program. Because this will present a major new opportunity to deer hunters, LEH is initially important to avoid the possibility of localized over-harvest, which might occur through unregulated concentrations of hunters. Also, LEH will allow for better assessment of hunter demand for antlerless deer and assessment of success rates. Over time, if the program is successful in meeting the established objectives, the harvest could be opened to a very short general open season. Thereafter, if the public wishes to further extend the demonstrated benefits of a proven management strategy, the harvest of does can be slowly increased. Increases would have to be made cautiously, based on the responses of harvest and deer population productivity resulting from previous seasons. Although remaining very conservative, increasing the take of ant1erless deer should serve to increase total buck-kill, reproductive rates, individual weights and antler size.

Because we, as managers, do not have the staff resources to devote our time exclusively to deer management, we must maintain the deer population at a point yielding moderately high deer density below carrying capacity and yet providing enough of a harvest to meet public demand. Much higher harvests than what is proposed are sustainable, but are not practical, nor desirable. Extensive liberalization of the deer seasons would create a much greater need to more closely monitor the deer population. We do not have the staff or the resources to accommodate such a program. Maintaining a moderately high population with slightly more liberal seasons than at present provides us with an appropriate management buffer, well within our workload capability.

From our perception of public demand, the best place to maintain the deer herd would be, on the first graph, somewhat to the left of ‘K’ , but well below ‘I’. At such a point, the population would remain at moderately high density, be more productive of young animals, support a higher harvest, and most important, would tend to be self-stabilizing in the face of unforeseen fluctuation.

Post-season monitoring will consist of:

  1. Obtaining reasonably precise estimates of the buck and doe harvests from the LEH survey and Hunter Sample. Modelling the buck harvest against the doe harvest, the buck harvest should increase.
  2. Monitoring hunter numbers, effort, and success.
  3. Cross-checking all data against other ancillary observations, such as change in DAPA value by winter range, incidence of fawn breeding (if any), age structure of harvest, spring carryovers, density transects, carcass weights, embryo rates, and antler size.

SEASON SPECIFICS

Season Area: Management Units 8-01, 8-02, 8-08, 8-09, 8-10, 8-22

Rationale: This is a good area to evaluate the strategy owing to the presence of both deer species, the high incidence of deer damage to crops, high roadkills, and the proximity of a large number of hunters. Entire Management Units are required so as to affect the populations on a herd basis and to permit monitoring through our current data system (LEH survey and Hunter Sample).

Logistics: Antlerless harvest will be controlled by LEH authorization. Antlerless deer taken will be part of the current regional bag limit (i.e. no change). The number of antlerless deer harvested will be based on the current average buck harvest, proportioned by Management Unit. Annual adjustment of the number of authorizations can be made by assessment of the previous year’s number of authorizations and the proportion of hunters who are successful. The number of authorizations issued 1n the first year will cautiously assume a high success rate (50% of authorizations issued) to test the actual number of authorizations required. (Comparable West Kootenay success rates range from 25% to 36%)

  • Current harvest in these M.U.’s is about 1400 bucks
  • Estimated population (pre-hunt) is 13000 -15000
  • Buck harvest currently is 9.3% to 10.8% of the pre-hunt population.

From McCullough’s studies, MSY (both sexes) for mule deer constitutes 27% of the pre-hunt population. For whitetailed deer, MSY constitutes 49% of the pre-hunt population. Being more conservative, we will attempt to increase total harvest only moderately to perhaps 15% of the estimated pre-hunt population.

At 15% total harvest (both sexes):

  • target harvest (total) will be approximately 1950 animals
    (based on the minimum pre-hunt population estimate of 13000)
  • 1400 of these will be bucks (unchanged in first year)
  • about 550 will therefore be antlerless animals, proportioned between the 6 Units and the two deer species.

Authorizations to be issued by species by Management Unit:

peatt_report_figure_3

Season Date: October 10 to November 15 (late opening to ensure fawns are at their heaviest for harvest) .

* M.U. 8-08 reduced from 260 due to possible influence of Thompson-Nicola antler1ess season.

 

Riparian Area Management

The problem continues both in the bush and in the halls of decision making power.
And again we have collected testimonials of hunters and others related to this. Check them out in the ‘testimonials 2015‘ page.

But this year we also invited a Biologist, Mike Pearson, to come and take a look at some of the places nearby which are of concern. Mike specializes in Aquatic and Riparian habitats.

Barry Brandow Sr. also has some words on that topic