Deer Season Check Station Results

Deer Season Check Station Results
Numbers at the top are from deer taken in WMU 36.

Rifle season for deer closed this weekend in WMU 45 and 36.  We stopped by the deer check station late Saturday afternoon to see what data had been collected for 2019.

First year Sault College student operating the check station on St. Joseph Island.
First year Sault College student operating the check station on St. Joseph Island.

The deer check station is run by Sault College Natural Environment students. Hunters volunteer to stop and have data collected from their kill to help with herd management in the area.

Deer are weighed, and the lower jaw removed to collect information on the health and age of the deer. Antlers are also measured on bucks brought to the station.

This year a pilot study for WMU 36 was included, with check stations open in Echo Bay and Desbarats for 2 days each to obtain biological data on deer harvested in those areas.

Sault College instructor Teri Winter said, "The additional check stations will need to be promoted more next year, to get a better turn out." An other change she'd like to see implemented next season is a rebranding of the project. "Some hunters are intimidated by the name check station and are not stopping. Personal information on the hunter or details of where the deer was taken, will not be collected. The purpose of the check stations are strictly for collecting biological data and are not in any way associated with enforcement, and we need to get that message out."

In general hunters commented that they were seeing fewer deer this season, most likely due to the extremely long and harsh winter. Deer feeding programs were put into action in both WMU's 45 and 36 late last winter by the St. Joseph Island Hunters & Anglers and the Algoma Fish & Game Club, as the depth of snow made feeding very difficult and deer were dying as a result.