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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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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

COUGAR REWILDING'S Helen Mcginnis followed up with California Fish & Game Deer Coordinator Craig Stowers to get his take on whether Deer are overbrowsing habitat...............Craig states that cattle, sheep and other livestock usage of public lands rather than native Mule and Blacktail Deer are the chief culprits in habitat overbrowsing............He also emphatically reinforces the fact that destruction and elimination of habitat is the chief reason for Deer declines in California-----THE 4-7000 PUMAS roaming the State do target deer as their primary foostuff,,,,,,but the Pumas are not the primary reason for the significant declines of Deer in California

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 1:06 PM
Subject: Re: Query re mountain lions and possible deer overbrowsing in California

Helen -

The primary cause of over-browsing of the vegetative components that make up deer habitat in this state (on the public lands anyway) is that done by livestock (mostly cattle and sheep but in some places wild horses as well). 

We do have some problems with deer in the urban/rural interface but that can best be dealt with by modifying human behavior instead of deer numbers. 
# 1 reason for overbrowsed land is domestic livestock

There are many, many mortality factors operating on the deer population in this state - predation, disease, accidents, etc - but it seems that the primary factor influencing our deer population has been the loss of important habitats (wintering grounds and migration corridors as two examples). 

Since mountain lions are a primary predator on deer, I think that if they are reintroduced in an area they would most definitely have an impact on deer populations.  It may not produce the entire intended result of deer population reduction (which is the only way to prevent the over-browsing situation) but it certainly would be a contributing factor towards reaching that goal. 

Pumas would help limit the overbrowsing of Deer

Hope that helps - let me know if you need anything else.

Craig Stowers
Ca. Dept. Fish and Game
Deer Program Coordinator
1812 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA  95811
(916) 445-3553

;> 4/11/2012 4:07 AM
Hello Mr. Stowers,

I read the recent article on the decline of deer populations in California because of habitat loss.  The article mentioned mountain lions are probably not a cause of the decline.

I am a member of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation.  We advocate restoration of cougars to their former range in the Midwest and East.  In the East, we have a major problem with overbrowsing by deer.  Is overbrowsing a problem in California, or at least in parts of California?  If not, do you believe mountain lions are preventing overbrowsing, at least in part?

Thanks for your help.

Helen McGinnis
Cougar Rewilding Foundation

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