DMTAG Minutes 24 July 2009 - Florida Fish and Wildlife by abstraks


									                         Deer Management Technical Assistance Group
                                 Steering Committee meeting
                     24 July 2009, Citrus County extension Center, Lecanto

The meeting opened at 10.30am with 12 members present and three represented by proxy (Lane
Stevens by Newton Cook, Barbara Jean Powel by Byron Maharrey, Steve Shea by Brigham
Mason) and was joined by three additional members making a full quorum. Apologies received
from Joe Hamilton, Bill Giuliano, Bill Wilson. Minutes of the meeting of 21 April 2009 were
reviewed, questions of clarification and emphasis discussed, and then approved. Byron
Maharrey will send a revised estimates of the number of participants at meetings in South

Chuck Enchenique was nominated (Newton Cook) and seconded (Danny Brantley) and after
discussion, was approved to represent west central coast region hunters on the steering
committee. Chuck stated that he would respect the committee’s governance and confine any
reports to publications to official statements and reports of DMTAG’s work.

A question was raised regarding whether members had acted inappropriately at public meetings
held by FWC to discuss proposed Deer zones and seasons. Two members volunteered that they
had spoken forcefully at these meetings, but did not feel they misrepresented themselves or
incorrectly suggested that they spoke for DMTAG. After discussion, the group agreed that
members were under the same constraints in public speech as any member of the public, that
deer issues were likely to continue to generate strong views, and that people would continue to
speak frankly and strongly to their issues.

Newton Cook advised the group of the Future of Hunting Florida initiative to attract
organizational membership and provided contact information, urging members to take a request
to join FHF to their respective organizations.

David Nicholson, FWC Turkey biologists, was introduced and reported on how FWC intended to
synchronize fall turkey seasons with the proposed changes to deer zones and seasons. This issue
was raised by DMTAG members at an earlier meeting, and David reassured the group that turkey
seasons could be easily brought into calibration with deer seasons and presented a proposal. The
group reviewed the proposal and agreed it was satisfactory. David cautioned that further
amendments to the deer zones and seasons may require additional tweaking to keep turkey
season syb=nchronized, but that FWC would do this as needed. The group thanked and
congratulated David and FWC for accommodating this concern.

Dianne Eggerman reported on a legislative initiative to direct funds raised from the new deer tag
approved in the last session. White-tailed Deer Management Program Enhancement 1 FTE,
$450,000 SGTF (R) This request for $450,000 from the SGTF is for deer management in
Florida. The specific programs and projects would be identified and guided by the Strategic Plan
for Deer Management, which was approved by the Commission in February 2008. Funds would
be used immediately to address two top priorities identified by the Commission and
stakeholders: establishing Deer Management Units to allow deer population management to be
tailored to specific regions of Florida and implementing a tag and reporting system for deer
harvested by hunters. This request also would allow the Commission to determine public
preferences for deer populations and hunting opportunities, monitor for Chronic Wasting Disease
and other important diseases, conduct an inventory and assessment of deer habitat, conduct
research necessary to develop a deer population model that is science-based and data-driven, and
evaluate existing deer hunting opportunities on public lands to improve and expand access and
opportunities. The Commission’s Deer Management Program currently has one FTE position.
The program would need an additional position to effectively implement these projects and the
goals and objectives identified in the deer management strategic plan. This request will be
supported by revenues generated from the new deer permit established during the 2009
legislative session. Conservative projections for the new revenues from the deer permit indicate
the trust fund can support this request.

Deer Zones and Seasons. The group then engaged in prolonged discussion of the current
(revised) proposal for deer zones and seasons. FWC staff presented a report on their outreach
and public workshop efforts reported in Deer Zone Seasons and Comments (see meeting folder).
Comments were received from 855 individuals at 4 public workshops and direct to staff and used
to revise the proposal. The revised proposal was presented (document Zone Summary in
meeting folder). Overall there was significant approval and little concern from a large number of
public commentators and from the committee. Lyle McCandless reported attending all six of the
Deer Management Meetings, by a show of hands 80 to 90% of those in attendance at the Palm
Beach Meeting indicated they would prefer the South Zone hunting season stay as is. From there
the count went from about 15% to about 30% across the state preferring to keep the hunting
season as is. However, there remain a number of core issues that received intense discussion.
These were:

      Boundary between Zones D and C
      The eastern and southern boundaries of Zone B
      Changes to the Southern Zone (A) seasons
      Continuing concern about the implementation of changed zones and seasons on private
       lands one year (or possibly more) before they were changed on public WMAs.
      Questions for clarification concerning season dates in several zones.

Major areas of discussion were:
    Do these accurately overlap rut areas and allow most hunters access to deer in the period?
      Are they simple and easy to enforce?
      What do hunters really want as expressed by their numerous comments?
      Will there be negative effects on specific landowners or groups of landowners?
      How should properties that straddle zone boundaries be handled?
      Is it useful to implement split seasons outside the panhandle(Zone D)

After receiving detailed input from members on these issues a motion was offered by Rusty
McKeithen, received friendly amendment and seconded by Newton Cook, and after discussion
and amendment for clarification, was unanimously approved as follows:

“Steering Committee of DMTAG unanimous requests FWC staff to consider the following
technical inputs regarding Zones and seasons:

   a) Zone D examine and consider the possibility of modifying the southern end of the
      boundary with Zone C eastward to follow SR 363.
   b) Zone B, examine and review the eastern and southern boundaries, consider moving the
      southern boundary northward to Rt 60 and consult with DMTAG members and affected
      large landowners to discuss moving the eastern boundary further east to either 441, the
      turnpike or the Kissimmee river.
   c) Urges staff to seek conditional approval of revised zones and dates on private lands and
      withhold implementation for one year to 2011-2012 season and use this time to bring
      public WMA seasons into alignment so that zone and season changes can be
      simultaneously implemented.
   d) Applauds and supports the proposed approach for aligning fall turkey season,
      understanding this may be modified to meet any additional changes to deer seasons.”

In regard to the exact recommendation for a the boundaries of Zone B, Brigham Mason would
contact affected landowners to seek their views and a small sub-committee of members with
specialist experience of this region (Danny Brantley, Steve Thompson, Chuck Enchenique,
Byron Maharrey) provide additional detail for DMTAG’s and FWC’s consideration.

The Group then agreed to meet again and proposed 28August, at a central Florida location
(possibly Lecanto is available) and to start at 10am. (Reporters note- this subsequently changed
to 27 August at----). The group hoped to conduct a review of the zone and season proposal as
submitted for the FWC Commissioners agenda and clarify its position in regard to additional
comment direct to the Commissioners at their meeting 9September in Howey in the Hills.

The meeting closed at 4.15pm.

    Committee: United Hunters FL - Jim Casselman. Traditional Bowhunters of Fl. – Greg
    Dudley , Florida Dog Hunters and Sportsmen’s Association - Rusty McKeithen, Kissimmee
Valley Sportsmens Assoc. Danny Brantley, Fl Sportsmen Conservation Association and
Everglades Coordinating Council . - Byron Maharrey, Future of Hunting in FL and Allied
Sportsmen’s Associations of FL - Newton Cook, Unaffiliated hunters - Steve Thompson,
Small lease hunters- Don Brown, Independent Hunters- Wayne Davis, Deseret Ranch and
St Joe Co. - Brigham Mason, Federal forests- Carl Petrick (US Forest Svc.), West Coast
Hunters Chuck Enchenique.
FWC: Diane Egglemann, Rolando Garcia, David Nicholson,
Public: Jane Cook, Lyle McCandless, Casey Elkins, Paul Jernigan
Facilitator- Perran Ross

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