There’s no more “back woods”

A recent story about hunting pressure on the deer population brought in a response from a reader.

Re: Deer populations and hunting regulations in the Boundary

Why are the local deer populations in trouble? Many people believe the main problem is that hunting seasons are too long and far too lenient with wide open seasons on small mulie bucks and whitetail does. To a degree this is true.

However, there are several other factors contributing to the population declines. Even though the number of hunters is less than half what it was 20 years ago, the overall hunting pressure is greater. How so? In B.C. there are approximately 500,000 kilometers of bush roads with hundreds if not thousands of kilometers more being built every year. Thirty years ago the road systems went into the bush and hunters walked from there. Now they go through the bush and the hunters drive everywhere. These roads provide nearly unlimited access to virtually all areas of the province with the Boundary area likely having more roads/unit area than most other areas in the province.

With such good access, the deer no longer have any refuge areas where they are safe and can be at peace; and even though the particular hunting season, say on mulie does, may be closed, as the whitetail season is open for much longer, all animals experience increased stress because of the constant traffic through their “back yards”.

Added to this are the ever-present ATVs the owners of which build trails off the ends of the roads so they can access every nook and cranny of what were once respectfully called the “back woods” areas. All of these ATV riders are well armed. Some carry both rifles and shotguns; many have winches and carry chainsaws in the back so they can, and often do, go anywhere they want.

Because of such blatant disrespect for B.C.’s forest and rangelands, there are no more “back woods” areas and hence far fewer deer.

Fred Marshall, Midway

 

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