Is it culling or exterminating?
By Rodger Holscher
In the late 1920’s mule deer were introduced onto Catalina Island. They have done well as a population and that has allowed California DFW to manage the herd for hunting. Through a PLM (Private Land Management) tag, you can go to that beautiful island and hunt mule deer.
There has been a recent attempt by the Catalina Island Conservancy (a group that manages 90% of that Island) to “cull” the mule deer population. They “ONLY” want to kill 2000 mule deer. This would be the animals getting shot from a helicopter and none of the meat being taken. Those deer would be left to rot on the hillside instead of being consumed.
Even though they call this a “cull”, is it really cull? With the population on the Island being estimated under 2000, this would be more of an extermination rather than a cull. So why not call it that? The Catalina Island Conservancy doesn’t want deer on the Island PERIOD! To them, the deer are an invasive species (which they technically are) that are destroying the traditional landscape. The Catalina Island Conservancy says they are mandated to return the island to its natural state. So, does that mean all the people are going to leave the island too? I don’t think so, they just want the deer gone.
They are also sighting the fact that the deer come into the town of Avalon. They are blaming “Global Warming” and saying that because of global warming, the deer are forced into the town of Avalon in search of water and food. There are many people that feel like that’s a bit much and that the deer come into town because the residents feed them. This causes some conflict with residents and their house plants. This is no different to the deer population in the Eagle Lake area of California. That community feeds the deer so much that you feed giant bucks from your hand. That leads to a lot of problems. This is not an isolated incident, however.
If the population needs to be set back to a more manageable level (according to science), then is culling really the answer? Why not increase the hunting opportunities for people? Why not door dedicated hunters to go in and kill some animals but pack out the meat? Why not trap the deer and relocate them? Lord knows there are plenty of areas in California that have a struggling mule deer population. There are a bunch of better ideas than the one the Catalina Island Conservancy is proposing.
This is actually bringing Sportsman and the Humane Society onto the same team for a change. This situation is getting attention from all sides. We need to all come together on this one. Make sure your voice is heard. What are your thoughts on this issue? Comment down below and let’s keep this conversation going.