FWC to close portion of Big Cypress National Preserve to deer hunting
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Media contact: Tony Young (FWC), 850-488-7867;Bob DeGross (Big Cypress National Preserve), 239-695-1107
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) has issued an executive order, which will close
zones 3 and 4 of the Stairsteps Unit of the Big Cypress Wildlife
Management Area to the harvest of deer for the 2010-2011 hunting
season. The order will be effective prior to the archery season and
will remain in place for one year.
The FWC, in cooperation with the National Park
Service (NPS), continues to monitor the deer population in the Big
Cypress National Preserve. Biologists from both agencies have
observed a dramatic decline in the number of deer in zones 3 and 4
of the Stairsteps Unit (south and west of Loop Road).
During recent surveys, when biologists flew over
the area to count deer, very few were observed. This trend
also has been reported by hunters using the area. The reason
for the decline is unknown, but a joint taskforce is investigating
potential causes such as disease, predation, hydrological changes
and other changes in habitat.
Access to all areas will remain open, subject to
NPS regulations, and all other hunting will be permitted.
The FWC and NPS are committed to addressing the
decline of deer in this area and ask that hunters bring
live-weight-harvested deer from zones 1 and 2 of the Stairsteps
Unit and adjacent units to a FWC check station so they may be
examined. Hunters may call the FWC's Naples Field office at
239-417-6352 for directions and information on check stations.