Mule deer populations in southern British Columbia are widely believed to be in decline. However, the causes of this decline are not clear due to multiple, simultaneous changes on the landscape including increasing competition with other ungulates, human development, predator densities, and wildfire management (suppression and burned areas).
The Southern Interior mule deer project (SIMDeer) began in March 2018 to help disentangle which mechanisms are driving deer populations in southern BC using remote cameras and GPS collars in 3 study areas (Bonaparte Plateau, West Okanagan, and Boundary regions).
SIMDeer is a large-scale, collaborative research project between the BC Wildlife Federation, Bonaparte Indian Band, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Okanagan Nations Alliance, University of British Columbia – Okanagan, and the University of Idaho.
To date the SIMDeer team has deployed 151 collars on adult females, 158 collars on 6-month-old fawns, and 72 collars on neonates, which have collected >900,000 locations. The team has also collected > 1,000,000 pictures from 170 remote cameras that are placed on mule deer summer and winter range. The project will continue at least through 2022.