Espanola deer check shows healthy mature deer

Deer at a feeder in Sunsite Estates - photo by John Savage

Smaller yearlings reflect last year’s harsh winter

ESPANOLA—The biannual deer check station in Espanola, held by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MERNA) in conjunction with College Boreal, last week showed healthy mature deer and fauns, but skinny yearlings, the MERNA reports.

MERNA technicians and biologists were on hand, along with College Boreal students from the school’s resource technical program, to conduct the voluntary check station in the Espanola Mall parking lot from Wednesday, November 19 to Saturday, November 22.

“The objective of the deer check station is to collect biological data on harvested deer so we can make better determinations on the number of deer tags that are going to be available for next year’s hunt season,” said Brian Riche, area supervisor with the MERNA. “We checked a total of 330 deer, but the data hasn’t been analyzed yet so we can’t say what the results are compared to previous years. The general impression was that mature deer and fauns were in good condition and that yearlings weren’t as robust as in previous years, possibly a reflection of last winter’s severity.”

The data will be analyzed over the next few months for the deer management meeting in the spring.

The Expositor compared the check to the last one conducted in 2012, seeing a large decrease from 622 in 2012 down to 330 this year. What this means for Manitoulin’s deer herd is unclear, but hopefully answers will become apparent after this year’s data is analyzed.