Province says no closed season, no bag limit, on feral Gabriola turkeys

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, December 12 2018

As of 2018, it is open season with no bag limit for turkeys on Gabriola.

That according to Sgt. Stuart Bates with the BC Conversation Service in Nanaimo.

“There is no closed season, and no bag limit, because they are considered invasive.

“Gabriola is one of the few places that has a known turkey population - there’s a few other places with feral turkeys, but those places also have predators.”

Bates said all the standard hunting regulations apply - a license is required; hunters need to have landowners’ permission; have to be 100m away from residences; and no going into parks or other protected areas. “Because this is a new regulation, no one’s really picked up on it yet, but I bet we’ll see people hunting turkeys on Gabriola in the spring.”

When it comes to the question of whether this year’s deer season included does, Bates said there was doe hunting allowed on Gabriola effective this year.

Deer season ended on December 10.

Bates said the only time the biologists allow does to be harvested is when there is a population problem - Gabriola’s population is considered high.

“A single male deer can get fifty females pregnant. Removing a buck from a population removes one deer. Removing a doe removes her as well as any fawns she may have had. Does usually have two fawns a year.”

The bag limit of three applies on island, of which only two may be anterless or two may be bucks.

Bates did not provide any information as to how many does may have been harvested this year on Gabriola.

If the biologists determine the Gabriola population will not support it, the doe season could be closed in the future.

Bates said he doesn’t believe that will happen, given how healthy the Gabriola deer population is, how infrequent natural predators are; and how many places (public and private) there are on the island where hunting is not permitted.

Bates said there may have been some confusion for hunters on how the anterless/doe season was worded in the 2018-2020 regulations, and he will be speaking to the designers and writers to make it clearer to understand.