The Island of Romance, etc. by Tom Reynolds
People my age will remember the hit song by the Four Preps about Santa Catalina Island (California): “The island of romance, romance, romance, romance…A tropical heaven out in the ocean covered with trees and girls.”
Apparently, Californians can even screw up a place like that!
Santa Catalina Island (or just plain Catalina Island) has a mule deer herd that was introduced on the island in the 1930's. The island has an extended hunting season but the mule deer are ‘over producing’.
The Catalina Island Conservancy which manages 90% of Catalina Island–says that the mule deer population has grown to around 1,800 deer and they are destroying the island’s ecosystem, causing soil erosion and threatening native species.
Deer hunting is legal on the island but the permitting process is very bureaucratic and expensive. SCOPE is told that, if you want to hunt the island you have to use non-lead ammo and be a member of the Conservancy, which costs $65 per year. You have to have firearms liability insurance in the amount of $500,000. You must hold a public lands management tag for a cost of $100 if you are a resident of the island, while nonresidents pay $200. Daily vehicle or camper use on the island costs $45. (It was easier to get there, back then, for the Four Preps: “40 kilometers in a leaky old boat, any old thing that'll stay afloat.”)
The hunting program allows 300-400 deer to be harvested, annually, but hunters only take about 244 deer. This isn’t enough to reduce the population to acceptable levels. And the deer that are taken tend to be older males. (Apparently, hunters prefer large Bucks rather than Does. What a surprise - to no one who hunts.)
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife backed a management plan that involves culling the herd, but it hasn’t been enough to stop population growth.
White Buffalo Inc. will begin shooting the deer next fall. Hunters will use AR-15 style rifles with non-lead bullets, and the hunted deer will be left where they lay. (They are using the hated ‘Assault Rifle, but in a sop to the Left they will use non lead bullets.)
It goes almost without saying that there are opponents of the hunt and they responded that the Conservancy should have done more to solve the barriers to successful hunts. (Ya think!)
The Coalition Against the Slaughter of Catalina Deer are circulating a petition to “Stop the Slaughter of Mule Deer on Catalina Island” which has gathered 15,863 signatures.
One group has proposed another option to the hunt; sterilizing the deer.
Before you laugh…
This option may sound familiar to New Yorkers as Cayuga Heights (Ithaca) had a huge deer problem and in 2012 they tried to address it by, primarily, sterilizing deer and they hired White Buffalo Inc. to also cull the herd. Ithacans, of course, objected to shooting the deer, but they were overruled.
According to the Village of Cayuga Heights report in 2019*: “Having professionals cull the deer is expensive. Since 2013, we have spent $117,100 on camera surveys and $304,616 on White Buffalo.” ($421,716 total.)
As best we can tell from the report, Cayuga Heights sterilized or culled about 225 deer, since the process began. That’s about $1,900 per deer.
At this point, SCOPE members are saying to themselves that there is another way to cull the herd that will, in addition, bring in revenue and also provide food. But the Democrat leadership is so anti-gun that they would rather bankrupt the state than admit that hunting is the answer to deer overpopulation. This is the mentality we (and Californians) are facing.
*Deer Management - Village Of Cayuga Heights (cayuga-heights.ny.us)