SATURDAY AUGUST 7TH 2010
Whitetail Deer (Odocoileus Virginianus) Cootes Paradise Hamilton
Whitetail Deer are the OLDEST DEER, having evolved about 3 million years ago. They have been characterized as emblematic of the countryside. But, they were nearly extinct just one hundred years ago. Population Density is today’s conservation concern. Currently there are 30 million whitetails in North America. Conversely, 6,250,000 are harvested annually which is more than any large animal in the world.
Density in Deer Populations. A 1920 study indicated one deer per 32 acres of land. Recently, a biology researcher calculated density as one deer per hectacre (100 deer per sq. km). Conservation issues arise as in a study of Red Deer they were concerned about too many mature stags being shot in September: therefore breeding was left to the young stags. This unnatural spiral in breeding can reverse population growth and eventually put the deer in danger of extinction. In Canada, numbers of whitetails have increased 25%, notably in Southern Ontario. The Minister of Natural Resources wants to expand the Autumn deer hunt. And, Dalton McQuinty, Premier of Ontario, has proposed a cull or whitetail deer.
Flagging. Whitetail deer communicate by visualsignals, such as , flagging. They are named for its most distinctive feature, the large whitetail or “flag” that is often all you see when the whitetail bounds away. The upper tail surface is usually brown, but the hairs may also be partially or all black. Whitetails raise their tails to a verticalposition and flare the hairs up to 11 inches ( 279mm) when alert or frightened. This action allows the tail to flop loosely , from side to side. It is also a “Beacon” to follow for young fawns.
Coats of Hair. On Tuesday August 3rd, as I was hiking on a trail in the Westdale area, the hair on the deer fascinated me. Whitetails have two annual coats of hair. Ironically, the Summer hair isfrom mid-May to mid-August. Since this was August 3rd, it was at the end of the Summer coat of hair. This Summer coat is short, solid hair with 5,200 hairs per square inch. The whitetails require this coat of hair which is water repellent, to protect them from insects, and deflect the sun’s rays allowing whitetails to be cooler. The Winter coat is from mid-August tomid-May and has 2,600 guard hairs. These guard hairs are long, hollow, kinky and filled with air with a wooly undercoat for additional warmth. Colour of the coat can be tan to dark brown , to almost gray. The Summer coat of hair is more a russet-red tone.
Gender Dimorphism. There are 38 subspecies of whitetail deer. But, gender dimorphism in northern subspecies is more distinctive, the male larger usually with antlers and female smaller. But, in the tropics, both sexes are the same size. Whitetails in head and body length are 850 – 2,100 mm. Their famous tail is 100 – 350mm. Whitetails stand 550-1,100 mm in height at the shoulder. Their weight normally is 18 – 215 kg.
Conservation vs Control in Coote’s Paradise Hamilton
FRIDAY JULY 23 2010
In 1974, a request came form RGB for control of Coote’s Paradise. But, the Hamilton Harbor Commission held tightly to the control it claims it had under the 1912 Act Of Parliament by which it was created. In fact, the 1912 Act of Parliament …supercedes the 28 year-old RGB legislation.
Now, the conservation issue in 1974, was the preservation of Coote’s Paradise being in doubt because of a recommendation that would doublethe release of sewage into Coote’sParadise. It was suggested to construct a sewage line along the base of Coote’s Paradise and Burlington Bay to the east-end Woodward plant. Then RGB director, Leslie Laking, had great concerns about the decision. he said “The RGB would have no effluent in Coote’s Paradise from here on in.” And, chairman of the Harbor Board, Ed Tharen, ” pointed an accusing finger at the Dundas sewage treatment plant as the major polluter responsible for that gunk being poured into Coote’s Paradise.”
Stewart Morison, Ducks Unlimited Canada which is an offshoot of the U.S. group, in 1987, expects to spend $43 million in 1988 to build and restore wetland habitat for waterfowl. Morison looked at prospects for involvement in a Coote’s Paradise project proposed by RGB biologist Len Simer. From the high level bridge, Simer described the marshland’s problems and potential underlining three issues that hamper growth of plants needed for good wildlife habitat. Perceptual opportunities for current difficulties hampering wildlife habitat in Coote’s are a justaposition of elements and how they relate to each other, such as :: (1) wind-stirred mud; (2) bottom-feeding carp, and, (3) changing water levels. Carp and other invasive species continue to be an issue, even in 2,010 , Reduction of Carp is due to the Fishway operation. This allows other fish and plants to return to the marshland.
In 1988, Ducks unlimited Canada said “Half of Coote’s Paradise can be restored to the wetlandwildlife preserveit was earlier this century. DUC, provincial manager John Blain told RGB board of directors. The now flooded swamp and surrounding wetlandsat the far west end of Hamilton Harbor are part of RGB property. Blain said “Coote’s Paradise restoration – We believe it’s feasible in terms of both biology and engineering and asked the conservationgroup to investigate.
In 1988, DUC would build more than 3 km (2 miles of earthen dikes to wall off 3 km (250 acres) of open water below the McMaster UniversityCampus. This exciting initiative included: (1) Water depth would be lowered to foster the growth of natural marsh plants needed for good wildlife habitate; (2) There would be NO CARP to uproot young plants; and, (3) There would be less wind-stirred MUD to block sunlight.
Coote’s Paradise had another concern in 1988 because the region set sites on a Perimeter Road (now hwy. 403). The north-side alternative was cheapest to build at $48 million. Planners backed the north-south site because it would offer drivers an attractive view of the waterfront. The Hamilton Harbor Commission would have to approve the scheme. Now the negative side is beastly ugly because it includes three issues:
(1) Noise would affect the western harbour and
proposed waterfront park. ( Now in 2,010 we
have a beautiful waterfont part with little
(2) The harbor’s surface area, volume and fish
habitat would be reduced.
(3)Fill would be needed in Coote’s Paradise. And, thank goodness for former Alderman Mary Kiss, who recommened “to build 403 hwy WITHOUT PUTTING FILL IN COOTE’SPARADISE – one of the most ecologically important areas
Memory is like Jazz. Life jazz, memory has more to do with now than then. Then is just fiction now.
in Two Sides of a Centre
Robert Clark Yates
Would like to thank Robert Yates for his inspirational books and watchful eye on Cootes paradise.
Enjoy the pictures and information today and have a great weekend.