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Lack of hunting is destroying BC's Gulf Islands #4833034 01/18/11
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BCBrian Offline OP
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Salt Spring Island is the last place one would expect to face a silent spring, but a new study points to dramatic changes taking place on the beautiful Gulf Islands, which are scattered across southern Georgia Strait.

Because of the fierce vigilance of local residents, the natural splendor of the islands has been preserved in the face of decades of development pressures. The protection of nature is so important, land owners who set aside wild habitat get tax breaks, and a poll a few years ago found 90 per cent of residents favoured preserving the islands as they are.

The University of British Columbia have found that deer populations – which have grown dramatically because of hunting restrictions – are causing extensive environmental damage on the Gulf Islands.

There are now more deer on most islands than there were before European contact. As deer browse by the quiet roads that wind across the islands, they make for lovely nature pictures – but in reality they are destroying plants upon which many birds depend.

Tara Martin, an adjunct professor and her colleague, Prof. Peter Arcese, looked at birds, native plants and the density of black-tailed deer on 18 islands, including some, known as the San Juan Islands, on the U.S. side of the border.

What they found was an astonishing correlation between the number of deer browsing on any given island and the number of birds. Islands with high numbers of deer had half as many birds as those islands with low deer densities.

The researchers recorded 53 bird species on the islands and, of those they identified, 10 that were dependent on the understory vegetation deer like to feed on. When they did density estimates for those 10 species, they found all of them were more numerous on islands with low deer densities.

So, simply put, if you have lots of deer on an island, your song birds dramatically decline. Protecting deer by banning hunters may seem like a way to preserve nature. In fact it is the opposite. Bird species such as the fox and song sparrow, rufous hummingbird, spotted towhee, Bewick’s wren and orange-crowned warbler are driven away from forests where the lush undergrowth has been mowed down by deer.

In some places, such as on Sidney Island, where fallow deer were set loose when a game ranch failed, the forest floor has been browsed down to dirt.

Even on islands where the understory seems healthy, the research indicates a sudden collapse of key plant species, such as ocean spray, could be coming. Deer focus on eating young plants. So while a quick inventory suggests a healthy ocean-spray population, in fact the plants that are there are all old. When the shrubs providing the seeds die, there will be a sudden collapse of the species.

“Indeed, our observations suggest that most if not all ocean spray on islands with high deer densities are relatively old and … [they] represent evidence of the island’s outstanding extinction debt,” states the report, published in the journal Biological Conservation.

“Given the mythical status of deer and antipathy towards hunting by many humans, a general sense of stewardship for plant and bird communities will need to be developed alongside a public awareness of the deleterious impacts of deer,” the researchers conclude. “At present … deer in the San Juan and Gulf Island archipelago are browsing down our natural heritage. In the absence of active management, high browsing pressure by deer can be expected to result in local extinctions of herbaceous flora as well as iconic island birds.”

Prof. Arcese was on Mayne Island on the weekend, talking at a public meeting about “the deer issue” in the hopes Gulf Islanders will start to understand the need for action.

“In particular, we’re hoping that our work will help demonstrate to the public that failing to deal with [the deer overpopulation problem] … is in fact a de facto vote in favour of the potential extirpation of iconic native plants and birds,” he said in an e-mail.

Hunting is banned on Mayne Island, and the current Denman Island official community plan calls for all parks and vacant Crown land to be closed to hunting. On other islands, large areas are closed to hunters, and anyone who does hunt needs to have two licences (a hunting licence and a Gulf Islands special-area licence) and $100,000 in public liability and property damage insurance. All of that is meant, of course, to discourage a ‘blood sport’ that many feel is not in keeping with the bucolic nature of the Gulf Islands.

In their dedication to preserving nature, Gulf Islanders have largely driven out hunters, creating an overabundance of deer. And now they are losing their song birds.


Brian

Vernon BC Canada

"Nothing in life - can compare to seeing smiles on your children's faces."
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Re: Lack of hunting is destroying BC's Gulf Islands [Re: BCBrian] #4833047 01/18/11
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Import a few wolf packs to each island. grin


"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence". John Adams

"A dishonest man can always be trusted to be dishonest". Captain Jack Sparrow
Re: Lack of hunting is destroying BC's Gulf Islands [Re: NeBassman] #4833062 01/18/11
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BCBrian Offline OP
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Ironically - within 10 to 20 miles of all these smaller Gulf Islands - lies Vancouver Island, complete with huge deer, black bear and elk populations - and, oh, I forgot to mention - coincidentally, home to B.C.'s most densely concentrated wolf population.

So much for those old-fashioned big bad wolf stories - eh?


Brian

Vernon BC Canada

"Nothing in life - can compare to seeing smiles on your children's faces."
Re: Lack of hunting is destroying BC's Gulf Islands [Re: BCBrian] #4833106 01/18/11
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Liberalism and Tree Huggers, provide us with another one of their 'success' stories...

amazing how those idiots think they are smarter than mother nature.. and the environment is being destroyed by mankind...

for some reason, they forget they are part of mankind themselves..what makes people so stupid??




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Re: Lack of hunting is destroying BC's Gulf Islands [Re: BCBrian] #4833203 01/18/11
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Originally Posted by BCBrian
Ironically - within 10 to 20 miles of all these smaller Gulf Islands - lies Vancouver Island, complete with huge deer, black bear and elk populations - and, oh, I forgot to mention - coincidentally, home to B.C.'s most densely concentrated wolf population.

So much for those old-fashioned big bad wolf stories - eh?


The simply thing to do would be to transplant some Vancouver Island wolf packs but that would be too simple. Or you could transplant some from northern Alberta like the US did, or just encourage more hunting. My vote is for transplanting wolves from northern Alberta as it is the best solution in my opinion. grin


"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence". John Adams

"A dishonest man can always be trusted to be dishonest". Captain Jack Sparrow
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Re: Lack of hunting is destroying BC's Gulf Islands [Re: NeBassman] #4833273 01/18/11
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BCBrian did you hear about the sheep farmers wanting to put a bounty on coyotes. They had a town meeting an the tree hugger organizations were in full force from every corner they came with projectors and power points in hand and prepared studies all too overwhelm and confuse the local sheep farmers. They started in the debate wearing their fancy suites showing the numbers and what would happen etcc.... all the regular hogwash. The tree huggers all decided that the male coyotes should all be castrated and released. One old farmer at the back, had heard about enough and jumped up and said "Excuse me sir but them coyotes aren't humping my sheep, they're eating them". The meeting never did return to order.

Last edited by 378Canuck; 01/19/11. Reason: spelling

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Re: Lack of hunting is destroying BC's Gulf Islands [Re: NeBassman] #4833345 01/18/11
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BCBrian Offline OP
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The islands in question, range in size pretty dramatically.

On the smaller ones I can see not wanting rifle hunting. Perhaps, I could even understand not wanting shotgun hunting, but banning archery hunting is indefensible.

Once man decides to be the top predator on an island - he's got to step up to the plate, and do the job. Inaction only leads to environmental collapse and starvation.

Man has to take back the top-predator role on these islands.


Brian

Vernon BC Canada

"Nothing in life - can compare to seeing smiles on your children's faces."
Re: Lack of hunting is destroying BC's Gulf Islands [Re: BCBrian] #4835982 01/19/11
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The tree huggers will have all the studies and numbers to rebuttal the editorial. They may convince the islanders to castrate the males and release them??????LOL


It is better to be judged by 12 than to be carried by 6.
Re: Lack of hunting is destroying BC's Gulf Islands [Re: 378Canuck] #4836003 01/19/11
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Ok, so castrate the males, spay the females and then release all of the tree huggers. Should solve the problem. At least there won't be many hands raised the next time they ask for a tree hugger count.

Alan


Food is at the core of Hunting and Fishing - Rebecca Gray

Re: Lack of hunting is destroying BC's Gulf Islands [Re: Seafire] #4836168 01/19/11
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Originally Posted by Seafire
Liberalism and Tree Huggers, provide us with another one of their 'success' stories...

amazing how those idiots think they are smarter than mother nature.. and the environment is being destroyed by mankind...

for some reason, they forget they are part of mankind themselves..what makes people so stupid??


They're not stupid, they're deceived. It's when they cling to their deception with a bullheadedness and forcefulness that they enter the realm of stupidity. A better word would be 'brutish'. (you bible scholars be watching for that word from the translations).

When they kick God out of their lives they discard their first authority (dominion) and their first assignment (tend and keep). The result will always be destruction of everything they try to save. Always.

Sometimes even the lost can see it...

Originally Posted by BCBrian

Once man decides to be the top predator on an island - he's got to step up to the plate, and do the job. Inaction only leads to environmental collapse and starvation.

Man has to take back the top-predator role on these islands.

Preach it, Brother!
laugh



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