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

 

“One cannot evaluate this recommendation in a vacuum…”

Yesterday’s post included links to two articles regarding the recent decision to postpone the use of USDA sharpshooters to cull deer on Jekyll Island. The first article mentioned “opinions from outside experts that cast doubt on estimates that the island has 76 to 146 deer per square mile”. The following quote is from a letter written by the aforementioned outside experts, addressed to the Jekyll Island Authority:

Population density estimates from 2011-2013 conducted by GaDNR/JIA and from 2014 conducted by USDA Wildlife Services (WS) vary quite widely from year to year, and are derived from surveys with questionable assumptions. Spotlighting deer at night in areas of known concentration (e.g., popular nocturnal feeding areas in “edge” habitat such as golf courses) does not provide a random sample of overall deer abundance (nor necessarily of buck/doe ratios) as they are distributed across all habitats. Basing density estimates on observed abundance in these areas where deer cluster and then extrapolating across all habitats provides an overestimate of the island-wide deer population. WS even acknowledges in its memo of 15 May 2014 that this method should be used only to compare year-to-year trends, and not as a reliable estimate of actual population. Yet, apparently ignoring that caveat (not to mention the fact that density estimates declined from 146/mi2 in 2012 to 123 in 2013 to 76 in 2014!), WS leaps directly to the conclusion of “over-population” and the need for immediate lethal control. One cannot evaluate this recommendation in a vacuum, that is, without considering that lethal control is primarily what WS specializes in, and that half of their operating budget comes from contributions by groups and individuals that overwhelmingly favor lethal control as a preferred (and often, only) option” – Brad Bergstorm, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, Valdosta State University and Sid Painter, M.S., Wildlife Biologist, retired, Georgia Dept of Natural Resources. September 16, 2014 letter to Jekyll Island Authority.

 

 

Jekyll Island Deer

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

Orange Requirement

Firearms hunting season (for both whitetail deer and black bear) starts today in Georgia. Primitive weapons season started last week. Quoting from the Georgia deer hunting regulations: Archery hunters must wear at least 500 square inches of hunter orange during primitive weapons and firearms deer seasons except in Archery-Only Counties. As of last week, any bowhunters in Bent Tree should be abiding by the hunter orange requirement.

Rehabilitated Owl circa 1970

This post isn’t about Bent Tree, but does say something about my interest in wildlife (one of the reasons I wound up here). In the early 1970’s an injured owl turned up in our yard. I took care of it for a couple of weeks, and it was able to fly away. I recently came across photos from my one and only wildlife rehabilitation adventure (shown below). Today, a quick internet search shows that caring for an injured raptor, without proper permits, is illegal.

Here is a current quote from the Georgia DNR website: “INJURED RAPTORS – Should you encounter an injured or dead raptor, it is important to know that both federal and state laws render it illegal to harm or possess these birds. The best solution is to contact the Wildlife Resources Division or a certified wildlife rehabilitation center. These agencies have the proper credentials, such as licensing, and the experience to handle, transport and assist these birds.”

Oops. Hopefully, after 40+ years, any statute of limitations has run its course. According to several internet sources, an injured wild bird should never be put in a wire cage. Forty years ago, there was no World Wide Web. Luckily, somehow, it all worked out for the owl.

Click for larger image

Successful owl rehab in the early 1970's