Hank Shelley

Column: Project keeping tabs on deer populations

Shuswap Outdoors/Hank Shelley

A few hunting seasons back, just past the general store at Cherryville, a young gal was holding up an antenna at the bridge over Cherry creek.

I pulled over and asked her what she was tracking. There was an owl study being done, and one of her banded GPS birds lived in that location.

For a number of years now, government wildlife biologists, in conjunction with universities and First Nations, have been collaring and tracking different species, including wolverines, moose, grizzly, black bears and wolves.

In the big picture, forest fires, increased timber harvest and more roads into the backcountry have resulted in a loss of prime habitat that many species call home. Over-harvest of game animals has been the downside in many cases, and disturbance of natural setting the other, with high numbers of predators, cougars and wolves, taking down populations of deer, moose and elk in particular.

Related: Column: Healthy hunting and our four-legged friends

From the Kootenays to the North, to the Okanagan, the past hunting season has seen a diminished number of game animals taken.

I presume, for most of the above reasons, one of the most sought-after game animals is the white tail deer. But, in Region #8 and #3, most ethical hunters are very angry that biologists for the past few seasons have allowed extended doe seasons. It now shows very few animals in either region. Coupled with high predator numbers, it’s been devastating.

Mule deer numbers are also in trouble. Graduate student Chloe Wright, who took her master’s degree on whitetail deer in the U.S., is now tracking 65 mule deer in three region’s here in B.C. Where whitetail deer move very little, mule deer travelled up to 85 kilometres in May then, late September to October, migrated back to winter range. The deer are highly motivated for high-quality food. In March-April, does were captured and collared at Peachland and Summerland (11), Kettle and Granby (21) and Elephant Hill north of Kamloops (32). The results of the study so far shows human development and forestry is making animals less mobile, and therefore not able to obtain desirable foods.

Adam Ford, assistant professor with UBC Okanagan’s faculty of science, found does captured in spring had very little body fat. Meantime, Wright has recorded 73,584 GPS locations from the collared deer, with 1,136 locations each.

The project is sponsored by the B.C. government/Okanagan Nation Alliance/Habitat Conservation Trust Fund and the University of Idaho. Go to projects@bcwf.bc.ca.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Rock slide forces rural Keremeos residents to leave their homes

Witness describes boulders bigger than her car

Okanagan College to develop wellness strategy for drug use

The Kelowna campus has 28 employees trained in the use of naloxone.

Ranch’s plan to use processed human waste fertilizer prompts concern in Turtle Valley

Turtle Valley residents invited to hear facts around biosolids

Downed powerline delaying Highway 1 traffic

Traffic heading west from Salmon Arm slowed at Squilax-Anglemont bridge

BREAKING: Highway 3 near Keremeos closed due to rockslide

Highway 3 just west of Keremeos is closed as of 8:44 p.m.… Continue reading

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

UPDATE: Destructive blaze in West Kelowna

A unit of a condo complex is on fire in West Kelowna

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Pet Planet picks up Okanagan’s cannabis for pets

True Leaf Medicine International expands retail distribution to 3,500 stores worldwide

AquaVan comes to Okanagan Science Centre

200-litre mobile touch tank allows you to get up-close with marine invertebrates

Army of support behind Black Press saleswoman battling cancer

GoFundMe helps empower Sue Folliott’s fight

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

No joke: Kelowna’s first zero-waste grocery store to open April 1

Farm Bound Zero Waste has announced its opening date

Most Read