July 05, 2013
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will host a series of public meetings in July to help shape the future of deer management in Zone A of south Florida.
“We are working on an exciting project to establish deer management units (DMUs) throughout Florida,” said Cory Morea, the FWC's Deer Management Program coordinator. “We are moving to a new model of deer management in the state in which hunters and other stakeholders will have a greater impact on deer management decisions.”
DMUs will, where needed, divide the state into smaller geographic areas where deer population characteristics are similar. Right now, the state is divided into four management zones that are used to set hunting season dates based on deer breeding chronology.
One DMU is proposed for Zone A, which would include all or portions of Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Miami-Dade, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Lee, Martin, Monroe, Okeechobee and Palm Beach counties. The new DMUs are intended to allow the FWC more flexibility with deer management based upon the deer population, habitat conditions and public preference within each of the units.
“We surveyed hunters, farmers and other members of the public to determine attitudes and opinions regarding deer management, and we will be sharing the results of that survey at the public meetings. We will present information on the DMU model and will be gathering public input on deer management preferences,” said Morea. “We are also proposing a change for the northern boundary of Zone A so that it better matches the breeding chronology of the deer.”
For people who cannot attend any of the meetings, there will be other opportunities to learn about this project and provide input.
“We have information on our website and we will be accepting comments online,” said Morea, adding that public input will determine what changes may be made in managing deer based on public preference.
“Of course, we wouldn't do anything to risk the sustainability of this valuable public resource, but deer densities and other deer management preferences, such as antler regulations, can be adjusted to accommodate public preferences using the DMU model.”
A technical assistance group (TAG), composed of members of the public, will be established to review all available public comments and make recommendations to the FWC on the DMU within Zone A. The public meetings and the TAG will be facilitated by a third-party vendor, Normandeau Associates, which will submit a summary report to the FWC.
TAG members will be chosen based upon their expertise, their representation of an important interest group, and their willingness to dedicate some time to better deer management in Zone A. Anyone interested will be able to apply for TAG membership at the public meetings or on the FWC's website.
More information about the meetings, the proposed DMUs and the Technical Assistance Group and meeting information is available online at MyFWC.com/Deer. Click on “Deer Management Units.”
Meeting Times and Locations:
- July 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the International Game Fish Association, 300 Gulf Stream Way, Dania Beach, FL 33004.
- July 16, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the John Boy Auditorium, 1200 South WC Owens Ave., Clewiston, FL 33440.
- July 17, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Edison State College, Building U, Room 102; 8099 College Parkway, Fort Myers, FL 33919.
If you cannot make the public meetings, you can attend a webinar that will provide information about the new DMU plans for south Florida. One webinar is July 23 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., and the other is July 25 from 1 to 2 p.m. Additional details will be posted online soon.
For more information, contact Cory Morea at 850-617-9487.