Big Canoe’s 2015 Deer Cull

Big Canoe (Bent Tree’s neighboring community) had 45 deer culled in February 2015. This was the lowest number of deer killed in Big Canoe’s 14 years of culling. The following quote is from an article on Big Canoe’s website (click here to link to the article): “Because of the bumper acorn crop this past fall the number taken was lower than the previous year of 78 taken out. The number of deer removed varies based on their presence at removal sites and weather conditions at the time. Over previous years this number has ranged from a high of 105 to a low this year of 45. The amount of effort and expense each year is the same…”

In 2010, Big Canoe paid the USDA $12,500 to have 94 deer culled ($133 per deer). Even if there was no price increase in the last five years, the cost of $12,500 would come to $278 per deer culled this year. Click here to read a recent Big Canoe “Letter to the Editor”.

Lake & Wildlife Meeting This Morning – 9:30 at Club Tamarack

Leslie Barker Thomas is the scheduled guest speaker for the program “Native American Influence in North Georgia”. She is the current president of the Georgia Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association.

P.S. Lake & Wildlife is organizing a new committee to study the environment of Bent Tree. It is called the Conservation Project.

The New Ad Hoc Committee

A previous post was about the dissolution of the Ad Hoc Financial Advisory Committee. A new ad hoc committee has been established. This one is called the Assessment Analysis Committee. The mission, according to the new board president, is to advise the Bent Tree Board of Directors on the “…feasibility of seeking a CC&R amendment to alter lot assessments in Bent Tree. And, if an amendment is viable, what solution(s) does the committee recommend, and what would be an appropriate timeline.”

A Bent Tree Bullet was sent out a few days ago with a link to the committee’s initial report. The report can be found on Bent Tree’s official website (property owner login required).

Spotlight Survey in Bent Tree

Click here to read yesterday’s post.

The following is from the unofficial Bent Tree grapevine.

A spotlight survey was conducted in Bent Tree (by BTCI employees) two months ago. Here are the results:

  • 12/01/2014   30 deer counted
  • 12/02/2014   24 deer counted
  • 12/03/2014     8 deer counted

Based on these counts, the estimated deer density = 21 deer per square mile.
Note: the visibility index used in Bent Tree is 1


“Although recommended by many state, federal, and non-governmental agencies…”

“…our results suggest that the benefit of spotlight survey data for monitoring deer populations is limited and likely represents a waste of resources with no appreciable management information gained.” – Collier, Bret A., Stephen S. Ditchkoff, Charles R. Ruth, Jr., and Joshua B. Raglin, “Spotlight Surveys for White-Tailed Deer: Monitoring Panacea or Exercise in Futility?”, The Journal of Wildlife Management 77(1):165-171;2013

The article referenced above was not written about the Jekyll Island deer situation, but is certainly pertinent. The article was written based on five years of collected data of thermal-image and spotlight survey data, to determine the reliability of such surveys. Following are the credentials of the authors:

  • Bret A. Collier, Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, Texas A&M University
  • Stephen S. Ditchkoff, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University
  • Charles R. Ruth, Jr. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
  • Joshua B. Raglin, Norfolk Southern Railway, Brosnan Forest


Jekyll Island Deer

Click the links below to read a couple of recent articles regarding deer on Jekyll Island:

Corn-fed Deer

Click here to read Friday’s post, which shared a quote from a local hunter. The hunter makes an interesting point. The following is from the January 22, 2013 General Manager’s Report to the Board, summarizing the SWMNGA activity in Bent Tree from September 8, 2012 – January 1, 2013 (last year’s hunting season):

Suburban Whitetail Management of North Georgia (Bow hunter’s) final
report- The SWMNGA has submitted their final report as follows:
- 60 total deer removed (58 doe and 2 buck)
- 2,550 lbs of meat donated to Georgia food banks
- 17% contained shelled corn in the stomach indicating feeding is ongoing
- 3 deer had pellets from a pellet gun indicating shooting is ongoing

It’s possible that corn-fed deer are sitting ducks. It’s food for thought.

Given the data about declining fawn recruitment and the need to reduce the doe “harvest”…

…will the USDA be allowed to continue to contract with neighborhoods in north Georgia to cull deer?

Currently, the USDA Aphis-Wildlife Services maintains a “Memorandum of Understanding” with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources that allows lethal control of deer.  Big Canoe and Bent Tree have utilized the USDA for culling services in the past.  What is the general sentiment among hunters regarding the USDA deer culls, given the knowledge that the deer population is declining in many areas of the state?  Will the Georgia DNR withdraw the “Memorandum of Understanding”, at least until the deer population rebounds?

Cat Fight with the USDA

Over the last few years, the Bent Tree Board of Directors has voluntarily entered into several contractual agreements with the USDA.  The contracted projects included deer spotlight surveys, deer culls, and Canada Goose removal.

  • Lately, the USDA has been in the news for another animal management issue.
  • Click here for the story.
  • Click here for the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling.

Note: The cat in the photo above has nothing to do with the Hemingway cats story.  It just showed up on a trailcam in Bent Tree in November…never saw the cat before, and have not seen it since.