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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

THE WISCONSIN DEER RESEARCH STUDIES ANNUAL REPORT 2013-14 was just published on December 10............It stated that during this past year, 133 adult and juvenile deer in the northern and eastern part of the state were radio collared along with 50 "holdover" deer from the past three years of the project ...........As we heard last year from this same team of Researchers(Wiconsin DNR and, U. of Wisconsin), human hunting accounts for 67% of adult deer and 33% of juvenile deer mortality in the northern sections of the state.................In the east, 70% of adult bucks and 50% of juvenile deaths were human hunter caused.............The health of deer habitat is a crucial factor in fawn survival percentages as one would expect.............More food on the ground, the stronger the fawns, the better equipped they are to avoid predation.....................The 2013 fawn data showed 45% survival through six months in the north and 58% survival in the east........... The leading cause of fawn mortality in the north was bobcat predation (25%), hunter harvest (19%), bear predation (12%), coyote predation (12%), unknown predator (12%) and wolf predation, poaching and road kill (6% each).............In the east, starvation (47%) was the leading cause of fawn mortality, followed by disease (21%), coyote predation (10%) and domestic dog, hunter harvest, unrecovered harvest and bobcat (5% each)................And of course, when winters are severe, as they were in 2013-14 in northern Wisconsin, Deer die often.............From Jan-May 2014, , 52% of juvenile deer died in the northern study area(the most severe winter winter since records kept in this state).............. That contrasts with the eastern study area(less severe winter weather), where 14% of juvenile deer died over the same time period.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  

Team produces detailed look at deer mortality in state

Andrew Norton (left) and other researchers prepare to place a radio collar on a white-tailed deer caught in a box trap near Winter as part of a study on deer mortality.

Paul A. Smith

Andrew Norton (left) and other researchers prepare to place a radio collar on a white-tailed deer caught in a box trap near Winter as part of a study on deer mortality.

If you care about Wisconsin deer, — and if you're human, I'd say you ought to — you'll be interested in the latest update on state whitetail projects.
It was issued Dec. 10 and is titled "Wisconsin Deer Research Studies, Annual Report 2013-'14."
The report summarizes the last two years of work to assess survival and causes of mortality in white-tailed deer.
I was particularly interested in the last years of data to see if the severe winter weather the last two years is reflected in higher deer mortality.
And the previous installments showed human hunting as the leading cause — by a wide margin — of mortality among adult and yearling deer.
Would that continue to be true?
And among fawns, would survival in northern Wisconsin continue to lag that recorded in the eastern part of the state?
We'll get to the results shortly. First some background.
The projects began in 2010 and represent Wisconsin's largest investment in deer research.
The work is a partnership of the Department of Natural Resources and University of Wisconsin. UW graduate students Andrew Norton and Camille Warbington have led the studies of adult deer and fawns, respectively.
Dan Storm, DNR ungulate research ecologist, is coordinating the work for the agency.

The projects are being paid for with $2 million from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Fund, an excise tax on firearms, ammunition and other hunting and archery supplies.
The research was launched at the request of the public. There has always been a curiosity about the leading causes of deer mortality.
Some in the public would argue that wolves are killing all the deer in Wisconsin. Others know that isn't literally true but want research to inform their views on deer management.
A push for the research came, too, from those who wanted an improvement to the Sex-Age-Kill model of estimating deer numbers. A factor called "buck recovery rate" is important to the accuracy of the model. Norton, the UW graduate student, also is using the work to study an alternate means of estimating deer numbers.
This study is providing Wisconsin data from two study areas: near Winter in Sawyer County to represent the northern forest and near Shiocton in Outagamie County to represent the eastern farmland.
The projects use radio collars to track deer. If a "mortality signal" is received, researchers travel to the site as quickly as possible in an effort to determine the cause of death.
Earlier this year, 133 adult and juvenile deer in the north and 122 in the east were trapped, fitted with GPS collars and released for the study. More than 50 other "carry-overs" remain part of the study.
More than 1,000 volunteers participated in the projects over the last four years.
The fawn collaring and monitoring ended in 2013. Adults and yearlings will be monitored through early 2015.
So what do the latest results show?
In the big picture, human hunting trumps all other causes of adult and juvenile deer mortality in Wisconsin.
For the most recent full year (2013) of the study that includes hunting data, 67% of adult deer and 33% of juvenile deer mortality in the northern study areas was caused by hunters.
In the east, hunters were responsible for 70% of adult buck mortality and 50% of juvenile male deaths.
The data reinforce a long-held tenet: Hunting is key when considering harvest pressures on a deer population.
So, too, is habitat. In fact the role of habitat in deer survival is woven through all the results, said DNR researcher Storm.
Biologists refer to it as "energetics," or the amount of energy an animal can obtain from its environment.
"So much of deer survival comes down to how much fat they have," Storm said. "It all starts with the condition of the doe coming through winter."
Higher birth weights are linked to higher survival rates of fawns.
Further, if a doe is able to provide enough milk to its offspring, the fawn isn't likely to "bleat" as much and may be less vulnerable to predators. A well-fed fawn also is more likely to be stronger and better able to elude predators, especially bears, earlier in life than fawns in poorer condition.
The 2013 fawn data showed 45% survival through six months in the north and 58% survival in the east. The leading cause of fawn mortality in the north was bobcat predation (25%), hunter harvest (19%), bear predation (12%), coyote predation (12%), unknown predator (12%) and wolf predation, poaching and road kill (6% each).
In the east, starvation (47%) was the leading cause of fawn mortality, followed by disease (21%), coyote predation (10%) and domestic dog, hunter harvest, unrecovered harvest and bobcat (5% each).
The high rate of fawn starvation in the eastern farmland region — generally considered good deer habitat — leads to questions about the quality and availability of browse.
Habitat also is critical as shelter and cover for deer, including from the elements and from predators.
The winter of 2013-'14 was the most severe on record for Wisconsin. How did the state's deer fare?
From Jan. 1 to May 31 this year, 52% of juvenile deer died in the northern study area. That contrasts with the eastern study area, where 14% of juvenile deer died over the same time period.
While it's commonly said that adult bucks get so run down during the rut that they are more prone to succumb to winter weather, the study shows something else.
In fact, only one of 128 adult bucks monitored through May died of starvation. It was in the northern study area.
Here's what the study showed about last winter: In the north, six of 67 adult and 34 of 102 juvenile males died between Jan. 6 (end of hunting season) and May 31, 2014.

Causes of mortality

Over the five-month period, adult bucks in the northern study area were claimed by road kill (2), bobcat predation (1), coyote predation (1), wolf predation (1) and starvation (1).
Over the same time, juvenile bucks in the north were killed by coyote predation (14), starvation (6), wolf predation (6), bobcat predation (5), bear predation (1), illegal harvest (1) and road kill (1).
In the east, five of 61 adult and 12 of 104 juvenile males died from Jan. 6 through May 31.
For adult males in the east, road kill (3 deaths) claimed the most deer, followed by poaching (1) and wounding (1). Among the juveniles, starvation took nine deer, followed by road kill (2) and coyote predation (1).
The field work will wrap up in early 2015 and the researchers will begin compiling final reports. Although the DNR has contemplated doing similar studies in other parts of the state, no decision has been made, Storm said.
Although the final chapter hasn't been written, I consider the projects a good investment in the management of our state's single most valuable wildlife species.

New Jersey, North Carolina and Florida State Game Commissions---Take heed of what is happening in Montana where theh town of BIG SKY is providing residents with bear proof garbage cans so as to cut down on bear/human conflicts.................As all who read this blog know, human food habituation for bears, wolves, coyotes and in fact nearly all carnivores leads to the death of those animals and problems for us humans........We could reduce the killing quotas and have more wildlife on the land doing their good part to keep it healthy if we would do our part in the food/garbage disposal aspect of our daily lives

Big Sky homeowners buy bear-aware garbage containers

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When it comes to being bear aware, Big Sky is more than halfway there.
This week, thanks to homeowners associations, a sanitation company and the Wildlife Conservation Society, a second cluster of bear-proof garbage containers were delivered to Big Sky homeowners.
So far, Republic Services, a regional sanitation company, has distributed Kodiac-brand containers to 325 homes. By the time they’re finished, 60 percent of Big Sky residents will have made it more difficult for bears to scrounge through their garbage.
“Our goal is to get to 100 percent,” said WCS scientist Kris Inman. “Since the order of containers was so big, it had to happen in three shipments. The second shipment came at the beginning of December so it’s a slow rollout. But that’s OK because the bears are sleeping.”
Black bears have always wandered through Big Sky and the surrounding area. In recent years, they’ve been joined by grizzly bears as the grizzly bear population in Yellowstone National Park has grown and expanded.
That means more bears could come into conflict with Big Sky’s growing population if people aren’t aware of the things that attract bears, such as fruit trees, pet food, bird feeders, and of course, easily accessible garbage.
Human-bear conflicts have already tripled in the past 20 years, Inman said.
In 2013, a dozen black bears ran into problems in the Big Sky area. Nine were relocated, two were hit by vehicles, and one was shot illegally.
In the worst case, if bears become habituated to human food, agencies have to kill them.
But as more people became aware, they formed the Bear Smart Big Sky Council in early 2013 to address the problem and WCS facilitated the effort.
Initially, the transition to bear-proof cans was voluntary and eventually 20 percent of the community signed up.
Then the Big Sky, Town Center and Spanish Peaks homeowners associations voted to join the effort.
Republic Services made an initial capital investment of $300,000 to purchase Kodiac bear-proof containers, which resemble the regular blue garbage containers but have lid catches that bears can’t open.
“They worked really hard at getting the lowest rate possible for folks to change over to bear-proof cans. So depending on the service, it will add anywhere between $4 and $6 to their monthly fee.”
Jason Beach of Republic Services said the benefit of the Kodiac containers is their high-tech, lightweight construction that allows drivers to dump them automatically using adapted trucks.
“There’s a benefit to us because it keeps our drivers safe. In the past, a few drivers have come up on bears at the garbage cans. The Kodiacs have about a 70-percent dump success rate so drivers don’t have to get out,” Beach said. “This is the first time a community approached us and we try to stay responsive to the community.”
Inman knows that bear-proof garbage cans won’t help if people don’t use them properly. Sometimes people overfill them, forget to lock them or allow food stains and debris to build up on the outside.
So the Bear Smart Council will continue to educate people.
“Trash is the No. 1 attractant for bears. The hope is that we’ll see a reduction in conflicts once less trash is available,” Inman said. “Where there’s success with bears, it’s been community-led, and that’s what’s happened here.”

Saturday, December 20, 2014

With Wolves, Bears, Wolverines and Lynx on the rebound in Europe, Researchers are making the case that even in people dominated small landscapes, Carnivores can adapt to human presence and fulfill their historical ecosystem services benefits to the land............114 years ago at the turn of the 20th century, large carnivores had been exterminated from most of Europe, with just relict populations persisting............Contrast that today in 2014 when we have increasing or stable populations of brown bears, wolves, Eurasian lynx and wolverines sharing the land with humans........And they do not live in a remote wilderness but rather are showing an ability to adapt to human-dominated landscapes..............As a point of fact, Europe has twice as many wolves as the USA (excluding Alaska) in spite of being half the size and more than twice as densely populated

Europe shows that humans and large

 predators can share the same landscape

December 19, 2014
ExpertAnswer, Sweden

  1. European Grey Wolves in Snow, Bayerischer Wald Np, Germany Premium ...

    Animal killed by a car was 98% certain a wolf, say experts

Rachel Tilseth's blog, WOLVES OF DOUGLAS COUNTY WISCONSIN.COM put forth an excellent follow up on the Federal Court's decision to put Wolves back on the Endangered Species List in the Great Lakes States..........Rachel cites the fine work of THE HUMANE SOCIETY, THE CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, HELP OUR WOLVES LIVE, FRIENDS OF ANIMALS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT and BORN FREE USA in making the case to the D.C. Federal Judge that Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan were severely off course in their KILLING PARADIGMS for Wolves as they took control of their management upon Federal Delisting two years ago...........Every once in a while, sane thinking, best science and just plain common sense is the basis for our Courts decision making................I cheer and applaud their commentary: “In its 111-page ruling, the court chided the USFWS for failing to explain why it ignored the potential for further recovery of wolves into areas of its historic range that remain viable habitat for the species".............. "The court also noted that the USFWS has failed to explain how the “virtually unregulated” killing of wolves by states in the Great Lakes region does not constitute a continued threat to the species"

Recreational Hunting of Great Lakes Wolves is Stopped: Wolves are back on the federal Endangered species list immediately…

(Photograph by Mike Crowley a Wisconsinite)
It’s about time the Fish and game agencies are made

accountable for their reckless trophy hunting of wolves.

When wolves were delisted in 2012 states , like WI,

jumped in to hunt them. This was a deplorable

decision to hunt an endangered species just fresh of

f of federal protection.
Now thanks to several organizations that challenged

a rule to remove wolves from the endangered species

act, wolves are now back under federal protection.

The following are the organizations that followed

ethics and fought to put wolves back on the

endangered species protection:
“The Humane Society of the United States is the

nation’s largest animal protection organization

— backed by 11 million Americans, or one of

every 28. For more than a half-century, The

HSUS has been fighting for the protection of

all animals through advocacy, education and

hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and

confronting cruelty — On the web at”
“The Center for Biological Diversity is a

non-profit organization dedicated to securing

a future for all species hovering on the brink

of extinction. More information is available

“Help Our Wolves Live is a Minnesota nonprofit

organization, dedicated to the protection and

preservation of the gray wolf, lynx, and other

endangered or threatened predator species.

HOWL has over 200 members, many of

whom live in the State of Minnesota.”
“Friends of Animals and Their Environment

is a Minnesota nonprofit organization

committed to the protection of animals and

the ecosystems on which they depend.

FATE has approximately 200 members and

supporters who regularly advocate on behalf

of animals, and in particular wolves.”
“Born Free USA is a national nonprofit animal

advocacy organization working to conserve

and protect wildlife in the US and globally.

More information is available at bornfreeusa

WI fringe hunters like WI Bear Hunters

Association, WI Trappers Association and

along with WI Cattlemen’s Association went

all out in their efforts to eradicate wolves.

Fringe hunters like these insisted WI Keep

populations down to an exact number of 350.
These reckless acts towards an endangered

species alarmed many organizations so they

combined forces and filed a lawsuit. Read

more on this from previous blog here: http://wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.

From HSUS website: “February 2013 –

Wildlife protection groups, including The

HSUS, file suit against the USFWS over

its decision to remove the protections of

the Endangered Species Act from gray

wolves living in the western Great Lakes region.”

(Photograph is from Ted Nugent’s FB page where

he openly states, “Wolf jackets ROCK!!!”)
Wolf hounding is a barbaric, in- humane and archaic

method that has no place in a civilized society. Use

of dogs to hunt wolves in WI is one of several

reasons why wolves needed to be put back on

Federal Endangered Species protection.
“In the short time since federal protections have

been removed, trophy hunters and trappers have

killed hundreds of Great Lakes wolves under

hostile state management programs that encourage

dramatic reductions in wolf populations,” said

Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief

counsel for animal protection litigation at The HSUS.

“This decision rolls back the only line of defense

for wolf populations, and paves the way for the

same state-sponsored eradication policies that

pushed this species to the brink of extinction in

One of the best holiday presents “Great Lakes wolves

are now back on the Endangered Species List.”

(photograph owner unknown)
The news came out yesterday, Friday December 19,

2014 that Great Lakes wolves were put back on the

Federal Endangered Species Act, Immediately.
The following are excerpts from the Humane Societies

press release:
“Sport hunting and trapping of wolves in the Great

Lakes region must end immediately, a federal

District Court has ruled. The court overturned

a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision that

removed Endangered Species Act protections

for gray wolves living in the western Great Lakes

region, which includes Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.”

(Photograph belongs to HSUS)
More excerpts from the ruling:
“In its 111-page ruling, the court chided the

USFWS for failing to explain why it ignored

the potential for further recovery of wolves into

areas of its historic range that remain viable

habitat for the species. The court also noted

that the USFWS has failed to explain how the

“virtually unregulated” killing of wolves by

states in the Great Lakes region does not

constitute a continued threat to the species.”

Hunting wolves is not a tool for management

and only causes more problems.
“Despite rhetoric from state politicians about

wolf depredation of livestock, a new study of 25

years of wolf data has shown that hunting wolves

may increase livestock losses. Michigan

lawmakers relied on false stories about wolves

to push through a hunting season, and had to

apologize for misleading statements.”http://

This decision can be challenged in an appeal

by the states and the USF&WS.
Historical Range William J. Ripple, Robert L.

Beschta, Trophic cascades in Yellowstone:

The first 15 years after wolf reintroduction.
There’s more work to be done. WODCW will

continue to educate the general public about

the wolf’s role in keeping our ecosystems healthy.
(Photograph belongs to owner)