If you've previously missed this story, here's a link to the back story.
The Catalina Island Conservancy's proposal for deer eradication is facing significant opposition due to several concerns. Much has happened over the last month. The change.org petition has gained significant traction. Catalina Island residents have organized, hired lawyers, and pushed their town council to set up measures to help resist the conservancy's plan. And much more! What we need to do now, as sportsmen or otherwise, is reach out to CDFW officials to urge them to deny the permit to exterminate the mule deer on the island as the "conservancy" has requested.
There are many issues surrounding this proposal, and we've laid out a few below.
Key points include:
- The lack of credible scientific backing for the extermination, with no evident oversight or involvement from the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) in study design or execution.
- Despite DFW having new scientists in their deer and big game program, they have not been consulted by its leadership or involved in creating a Deer Management Plan for Catalina Island.
- The Conservancy's plant stress documentation appears selective and outdated, mostly gathered when deer populations were higher.
- There has not been any attempt to ascertain the sustainable deer population on the island that could co-exist in harmony with native plant life.
- Deer population estimates by experts significantly contradict the Conservancy's figures, indicating the lowest deer levels in decades.
- DFW's offer of more liberal deer hunting seasons and harvest of deer on Catalina hasn't been utilized by the Conservancy, missing an opportunity for a potential deer management solution.
- The Conservancy aims to use a "Scientific Collection Permit" (SCP) for eradication, straying from the intended and appropriate purpose of an SCP.
- In 2016 DFW denied a similar request for an SCP to eradicate deer on Catalina due to lack of any scientific study or documentation, and no advance outreach to the impacted public. Those reasons for DFW's denial in 2016 remain in fully in place today.
- The local community and wider public have shown overwhelming opposition to the eradication proposal, with a growing petition and national media coverage.
- Recent actions by the Avalon City Council to prevent deer eradication within city limits reflect local opposition.
- The Conservancy's claims regarding the availability and lack of hunter demand for Private Land Management (PLM) hunting tags are not accurate as there is a waiting list of interested hunters - suggesting more hunting opportunities could be made available.
- The methodology used in deer population surveys by the Conservancy has been criticized as flawed, with outside estimates suggesting much lower deer populations on the island.
- There's been a lack of engagement between the DFW and the Conservancy on past studies, and moving forward without a proper study could lead to a backlash for both entities.
- The proposal jumps from zero management to complete eradication without exploring interim steps, which is seen as unacceptable.
- The call for action suggests promoting greater hunting access and harvest, considering deer relocation, erecting protective fencing as just some of the alternative solutions to manage the deer population on Catalina Island.
The opposition stems from a perceived lack of thorough investigation, consultation, and exploration of alternative deer management solutions, along with concerns over the transparency and accuracy of the data and methodology used to justify the extermination proposal.
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