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Advancing mule deer management

A new advisory committee will modernize Alberta’s mule deer management plan to reflect current issues facing mule deer populations across the province.

Alberta’s current management plan is more than 30 years old and does not address the realities facing the species today.

“It’s clear that action needs to be taken to address concerns with the mule deer population in Alberta. Advisory committee members, whether First Nations and Métis communities or wildlife conservation and recreation members, all have a deep knowledge and interest in mule deer management in Alberta. I’m happy to advance this important wildlife management commitment and work towards collaborative solutions that will balance conservation, economic and recreational and Indigenous goals. Alberta Environment and Parks has a robust conservation agenda, which includes updating management plans for other species. I am optimistic that this committee will lay the foundation for this important work to continue.” Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

One of the key issues the Alberta Mule Deer Management Plan Advisory Committee will examine is the sustainable use of the mule deer population. Some areas of Alberta are seeing a decline in mule deer populations, causing conservation concerns. Other areas have an overpopulation of mule deer, causing issues with human-wildlife conflicts and vehicle collisions.

The spiritual and cultural importance of mule deer to Indigenous Peoples will also influence the committee’s work.

The committee will include representatives from key stakeholder organizations, as well as Alberta Environment and Parks science experts and Fish and Wildlife staff. A parallel process will take place to engage with Indigenous communities. Government recognizes the importance of maintaining healthy mule deer populations for the continued practice of Indigenous harvesting rights and traditional uses. The committee will be in place until spring 2021.

“The mule deer advisory committee is an important, stakeholder-driven process to develop a robust management plan for mule deer in the future. Given the important conservation value the ACA and all Albertans place upon this species, we look forward to being involved in this important process.” Todd Zimmerling, president and CEO, Alberta Conservation Association

“Alberta Beef Producers was pleased to be asked by Alberta Environment and Parks to participate on the committee tasked with updating the mule deer management plan for Alberta. We look forward to representing the interests of Alberta beef producers on this very important subject to safeguard the health of Alberta’s wildlife and domestic livestock populations, while maintaining recreational opportunities associated with mule deer.” Kelly Smith-Fraser, chair, Alberta Beef Producers

“I am looking forward to working with other stakeholders and government staff on the mule deer advisory committee. Mule deer are a very important game animal in our province and are facing some very real challenges. By involving groups like the Alberta Bowhunters Association and others, it brings a broad representation to the table to address these challenges and ensure we have a healthy mule deer herd in Alberta.” Brent Watson, president, Alberta Bowhunters Association

“The Alberta Fish and Game Association (AFGA) is pleased that a new mule deer management plan is being developed by Alberta Environment and Parks. The AFGA hunting chair, Jim Clarke, is happy to serve on the stakeholder advisory committee responsible for providing recommendations on the sustainable harvest of this important Alberta species.” Brian Dingreville, president, Alberta Fish and Game Association

“The updating of the various provincial wildlife management plans is long overdue. This government has been very forward-thinking and proactive in addressing these outdated plans and we are very pleased and excited to join in this collaborative effort with the other stakeholders on this Mule Deer Management Plan Advisory Committee. This government continues to show its interest in our wildlife resources for the protection and benefit of all Albertans.” Corey Jarvis, president, Alberta Professional Outfitters Society

“Many Metis Settlement members rely on the fish and game of this province to feed their families. As an Indigenous government, we have a vested interest in Alberta’s wildlife management policies and approach. I am pleased that Alberta is reaching out to us and other Indigenous organizations to discuss the management of Alberta’s mule deer population and am hopeful this leads to improved outcomes for this important species.” Roechelle Gaudet, vice-president, Metis Settlements General Council

An updated mule deer management plan will be posted for public feedback in spring 2021 before the plan is finalized and implemented.

Quick facts

  • The Stakeholder advisory committee will include:

    • Alberta Professional Outfitters Society

    • Alberta Fish and Game Association

    • Alberta Bowhunters Association

    • Alberta Beef Producers

    • Alberta Conservation Association

  • Mule deer populations in southern and eastern Alberta are abundant.

  • Mule deer populations in west central, mountain and foothills Wildlife Management Units are declining.

  • Mule deer hunting continues to increase in popularity among hunters.

  • A management plan for mule deer assists wildlife managers with setting objectives for sustainable harvest rates.

  • Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a prion disease that infects members of the deer family, notably mule deer in Alberta. It is fatal in all cases.

    • Once established, CWD is difficult to control.

    • CWD prevalence in Alberta is an average of 11 per cent.

Provincial Press Release August 12, 2020 3:27 pm


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