Before I get into that, a little history in is in order. Catalina lies off the coast of southern California in the vicinity of Long Beach. For years, hunters - especially bowhunters - enjoyed visiting this unique place and plying their skills in its rugged terrain. In recent years, a group called Santa Catalina Conservancy, a private, non-profit foundation whose agenda is to restore and protect the island's natural resources, mandated that all the goats and sheep be removed. That left only the mule deer.
In 1997, some sporadic hunting for mule deer took place. Then, in 1998, an operator obtained a five-year agreement with the Conservancy and conducted guided hunts until the year 2000, at which time his agreement was terminated due to differences that arose between him and the Conservancy. This outfitter was taking perhaps 100 deer a year, and local hunters took 50 or so more. The important point is, after 2000, the island remained commercially unhunted until 2003, though about 35 locals were permitted to hunt in 2002. During this period, due to outstanding food conditions and ideal habitat, the deer population exploded to an estimated 1,500.
Concerned about the welfare of the native plant life on the island, the Conservancy, which derives needed income from the deer hunting, contacted Ben Myhre and Jim Settle, of Wildlife West and asked them if they were interested in resuming a hunting program on the island. Myhre and Settle accepted the offer, and management objectives were established. Their agreement allows them to hunt almost all of the Conservancy ground - approximately 41,000 acres. Their hunts began in 2003 and were eagerly sought out by those hunters who knew about them. Especially attractive was the pricing. A two-day management hunt, with the hunter........(continued)