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


“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: