Biologists keeping close eye on deer populations

As hunting season opens, local biologists continue to keep an eye on mule deer and whitetail deer numbers.

Wildlife biologists are keeping a close eye on mule and whitetail deer populations.

Wildlife biologists are keeping a close eye on mule and whitetail deer populations.

As the season turns into fall, hunters are hauling out their gear to head out into the backcountry to search for their elusive ungulates.

Hunting season, starting with an early archery phase, opened on Sept. 1st for elk, mule and whitetail deer, and moose.

For the most part, ungulate populations in the area seem to be doing alright, according to a wildlife biologist with the Fish and Wildlife branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

However, the government is keeping an eye on the mule deer population, as hunting regulations recently replaced an any mule deer buck season with a four-point mule deer buck season.

“That was mainly because of concerns about low buck-to-doe ratios in some areas,” said Tara Szkorupa, a wildlife biologist.

…And then we just have concerns about the mule deer population overall. We don’t believe that there was any correlation between the any buck season and the declines in the mule deer because there was still good fawn recruitment and breeding and there didn’t appear to be any effect on breeding.”

A combination of animal health and predation are potential factors to the population decline, she added.

“Those can interact and there can be less complicating factors around that, but those are the main two factors that we’re looking at,” Szkorupa said.

“So the health and the body condition of the animals—that would point to habitat potentially being limiting and then we have radio collars that a signal goes off when the animal dies and we can get in on the animal quickly and look at which predators—if it was predated on—which predator was involved.”

Wildlife biologists aren’t as concerned about Whitetail deer, but are still watching the populations very closely, she added.

Hunters have reported fewer whitetail sightings to the Fish and Wildlife branch in areas with good road access and heavy hunting pressure. However, based off the harvest records from 2014, hunters seem to be having a lot of success with Whitetails, she said.

“Whitetail, overall, appear to be doing quite well, but we’re watching the populations very closely and we’re discussing options for changing hunting regulations for the future as well.”

For both Whitetail and Mule Deer, the provincial government is also looking for hunters to bring in the heads of their animals to select butcher shops or the Ministry of Environment office to test for Chronic Wasting Disease.

According to a provincial online resource, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal disease of animals in the Cervid family, which include mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose.

CWD is not currently present in B.C. but is spreading west in free-ranging deer from Alberta. There has been a CWD surveillance program since 2002 that has tested over 2,500 deer, elk and moose.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) was first detected in captive mule deer in the 1960s in Colorado and Wyoming and was introduced to Canada from the United States by imported captive elk.

There is currently no evidence that CWD can infect humans. For more information on CWD, visit

In terms of changes to the Region 4 B.C. hunting regulations, there isn’t too much different from last year.

In select management units, there are expanded spike-fork moose hunting

opportunities, revised cougar seasons and female quota as well as modifications to agricultural zone elk hunting opportunities.

The cougar changes were made mainly in areas that are home to Caribou in the region.

“The bag limit was increased in mainly caribou areas—areas where we are concerned about predation on caribou and there’s not a whole lot of cougar hunting in those areas and so that was just another potential tool to increase the harvest in those areas a bit,” Szkorupa said.

For a complete synopsis of the hunting regulations, go online and visit:



Just Posted

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

Repaving of Victoria Ave (3rd St. S. to 11th St. S.) began on Monday, June 12. Drivers are asked to please avoid the area for the remainder of the day, if possible. Please watch for and obey directions from flaggers and signage, as the detours will be moving regularly. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Road construction, repaving programs well underway

Local road construction and repaving work continue apace, as summer programs get… Continue reading

Vendors and customers at one of the Cranbrook markets in 2020. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Cranbrook Farmers Market updates operating hours for the summer

Markets will continue to run from 10a.m. to 1p.m. until October 30th

City council passed first reading of a text amendment to a downtown zoning bylaw that would permit the land use for a craft brewery. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Downtown zoning amendment allowing craft brewery passes first reading

An application is moving forward that will tweak a downtown zoning bylaw… Continue reading

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Most Read