Upon request White Buffalo Inc. designed a deer management population reduction program using sharpshooting techniques that integrated local law enforcement personnel and other Park staff for support roles. Before any management action was taken, we successfully advised the Park Administration on how to navigate the intense media scrutiny and operate in an environment where animal rights opposition was threatening to intervene and undermine field operations. We then trained Park law enforcement personnel in field methods including shot selection and proper shooting techniques through direct demonstration.
Specifically, our law enforcement training included safety considerations, proper firearm/ammunition selection, suppressors, shooting vehicle design, target selection, shooting proficiency and night-time range practice, site policing during operations, shot placement to meet AVMA standards, and how to cull efficiently and humanely. We also instructed Park staff on site assessment strategies, baiting strategies, bait site selection, carcass retrieval, and meat donation.
Before culling efforts began we also conducted field instruction on how to observe and understand wildlife behavior so that they could be manipulated for optimal efficiency. This included selecting animals for priority shooting, when not to shoot, deer posture and position within a group, head orientation, and patterns of head movement to determine when to shoot. We emphasized how critical is it that no animal that is engaged escapes and becomes “educated,” that no shots are missed, or that no animal is wounded for humaneness and shooter confidence considerations.
After the initial training and practice period, each shooter was transitioned into all aspects of the shooting team under direct supervision while demonstrating proper methods and techniques. This phase is part of the participants “micro-apprenticeship” that transitioned participants rapidly to full competence in a complex, team-oriented task. The demonstration phase created greater confidence and ensured the safety, humaneness, and efficiency of the program.
White Buffalo Inc. removed 313 deer in 3 nights using our refined sharpshooting techniques. Two years later (2012) the Park implemented a secondary cull using our trainees based on the objective to reduce densities to under 25 deer/mile2 and removed 237 deer without incident.
Shawnee Mission Park // Training
Shawnee Mission Park is located in Shawnee, Kansas. It is a 1,236-acre suburban park with a high user-base. The Park was experiencing extreme overbrowsing by the locally overabundant deer population. The Park administration recognized that they needed to substantially reduce the local deer densities and wanted to use their law enforcement personnel to develop the long-term internal management capacity. They recognized that they could bring their personnel up to professional standards more quickly through training with White Buffalo Inc., which would decrease overall costs, reduce the potential for direct or legal intervention by shortening the removal phase, limit the number of deer that learn to avoid the deer management action, and ensure that the remaining deer were not leery of humans and still visible to visitors.