Deer concerns spur second meeting

“We are here tonight to strengthen our arguments and to challenge this
three-week doe season” Barry Brandow

Westbridge resident Glen Millar offers data from spring deer counts in the Kettle River watershed over the past decade to a meeting of hunters concerned about

Westbridge resident Glen Millar offers data from spring deer counts in the Kettle River watershed over the past decade to a meeting of hunters concerned about

A second meeting of concerned Boundary hunters was held last Friday night to talk about how to get the government to change course on its’ proposed three-week open white tail doe season.

The hunters feel that the herd count is dangerously low and want the government to listen.

Geoff Fern, president of the Kettle Wildlife Association, opened the meeting. He immediately turned the meeting over to Kettle Valley resident Les Best and retired guide-outfitter Barry Brandow from Grand Forks.

“In our own valley we lost the critical mass of the mule deer by the later ’90s,” said Brandow. “This three-week open doe season has hammered the animal.

“Wildlife resources have been ruthlessly mismanaged.”

Brandow gave numbers from a ‘Status of Mule Deer 2013’ report. Doing the math the way Brandow laid it out there should be 14,000 to 21,000 mule deer and 20,000 to 30,000 white tail deer in the Boundary.

“This is prior to the hunting season of 2011,” noted Brandow. “If you travel the roads and live the lifestyle, these numbers are an absurdity.”

Brandow asserts that the province keeps the hunt in place as a way to increase opportunities for the hunting community and thereby keep the revenue (estimated at $20 million) flowing in to the government coffers.

The meeting was told that B.C. has the longest hunting seasons in all of North America.

Present at the meeting was Ken Sward, President of Region 8, Okanagan of the BC Wildlife Federation. Sward was also present at the November meeting and he told the 23 people who came out for the second meeting that he had included the concerns from that first meeting in his reports. He noted that the KWA is not a member of the BCWF but that he was attending to, “Hear your story – and relate it. Your concerns are conveyed.”

Westbridge resident Glen Millar has been involved with the spring deer count since 2003.

“I would encourage everybody to get involved in the count. If you have local people involved then you have something to put your weight behind when you make a comment.”

He also suggested getting access to data on road kill losses to the deer herd.

While MLA Linda Larson was not able to attend she did send a message with Oliver Town Councillor Dave Mattes.

She had a number of suggestions for the group to help them better convey their message. “She is interested in the issue,” said Mattes. “There are some things you can do to improve your message and the way that you put your message across.”

While some at the meeting expressed frustration that, to date, no politician has attended a meeting; Larson reminded Brandow and the group that her schedule is made up weeks in advance, but if she had early notice of a meeting she would try to schedule around that.

She also offered a critique of some of the documents given her by the group—noting that in some cases they were undated and did not reference who they were addressed to—diminishing their worth as part of the record needed to win this argument.

Mattes reiterated that Larson wants to attend a meeting but needs to know ahead of time. She said she could be of service by referring constituents to appropriate ministers’ offices and asked to be copied on all letters.

“The idea of our meeting is to get the government to realize that the white tailed doe season should be closed because the white tail deer count is down,” said Brandow.

Millar told the meeting that on average his count has recorded about 1,500 white tail deer over the last few years.

It was suggested that a careful eye be kept on the count this spring and, if the count is way down on muleys and white tail, then close the white tail doe season.

“We are here tonight to strengthen our arguments and to challenge this three-week doe season,” said Brandow.

Brandow said he wants to increase the number of testimonials on the web site (wildlifeheritageforever.com), then sent it out across the province and get the