Our Southern Interior Mule Deer Project team was busy throughout December capturing more adult does and fawns in our study areas. They have captured deer via net-gunning from helicopters and ground darting. They will be moving to ground capture with clover traps in the coming weeks. Given this is a first effort at such a large-scale project for B.C. we are learning a lot about capturing and collaring deer.
Thank you to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation who provided funding for fawn collars for the project. This winter, the team plans on capturing and collaring 60 mule deer fawns spread throughout the three study areas.
Most of our collared adult does had returned to winter range by the middle of October, with some moving back as early as September. This may result in changes to the low elevation mule deer (non-migratory) limited entry hunting season which currently occurs in October in the central Okanagan region to ensure the season is in fact targeting non-migratory deer.
Volunteers, and team members from the Fish and Wildlife Branch, Okanagan Nation Alliance, UBC-O, and University of Idaho will continue to catch deer until March. We are hoping to get collars on 90 adult does, and 60 fawns for 2019.
Camera traps will be going out this spring once our research team has collected a full year of deer movement data. This data will then ensure that we are placing our camera traps in a variety of habitats used by mule deer in both their winter and summer ranges.
The team is meeting in early March to evaluate our progress to date and coordinate activities between our partners for the coming year. We will be conducting more mortality investigation training and hosting camera trap training for our volunteers as well.
The Southern Interior Mule Deer project is the largest collaborative mule deer research project in British Columbia history. We rely on the dedicated volunteers and team members of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, BCWF members and clubs, Fish and Wildlife Branch, UBCO and the University of Idaho. This project would not be possible without your help, nor would it be possible without the contributions from our various supporters. A big thanks goes out to our direct members who have donated to this project and to the following clubs and associations:
Kelowna and District Fish & Game Club, East Kootenay Hunters Association, Summerland Sportsmen’s Association, Traditional BowHunters of BC, G.F Wildlife Association, Okanagan Region BC Wildlife Federation, Vernon Fish & Game Club, Kamloops and District Fish & Game Association, Vernon Fish and Game Club, North Shore Fish & Game Club, Oceola Fish & Game Club, Kettle Wildlife Association, Southern Okanagan Sportsmen’s Association, the Pemberton Wildlife Association and the Mission and District Rod & Gun Club.