Hokkaido Ezo-jika

You cocky bastard!

Forget Iraq and all those la-di-da peacekeeping operations, yesterday a group of Ground Self-Defense Force members were deployed into the mountains of Eastern Hokkaido to face their most difficult foe yet: the Ezo deer.

40 servicemen from the 27th Infantry Regiment (Light) of the GSDF 5th Brigade were dispatched along with two helicopters and ten snowmobiles at the request of Kushiro in Eastern Hokkaido to assist 33 members of the Shiranuka branch of the Hokkaido Hunting Club in a cull of the deer. A further 32 staff from the prefectural government participated.

At around 08:30, hunters aboard the GSDF choppers spotted 40 deer in the area of operations, and led the ground-based hunting team onto the target area for a 10:00 start. Herding their quarry on snowmobile and by helicopter, the GSDF attempted to drive the deer towards the hunters, but found themselves out-maneuvered as the noise of the helicopters drove the deer up the mountain and away from the hunting force. The day’s operation ended at 12:15.

The hunters are expected to kill 100 deer over the course of the three-day operation, but on the first day the kill sheet was short – very short. In their first day of operations the hunters (it is unclear if the failed to kill a single doe, buck or even Bambi-like juvenile.

The hunters managed to kill 5 deer in their second day of operations, but it is hard to imagine that they’ll make their 100-head quota by the end of tomorrow.

The Ezo deer – Ezo being the old name of Hokkaido – are native to the island. Despite being on the brink of extinction in the early Meiji period, the deer population has grown significantly in recent years. The deployment is part of a cull of the deer who become traffic hazards and agricultural nuisances across Hokkaido.

There is a video of the first day of operations over at NHK [JP].

[H/T to JSW's own Kyle Mizokami]

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A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan. His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
James Simpson has 254 post(s) on Japan Security Watch