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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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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The headline of the article below insinuates that Coyotes are the biggest cause of Whitetail Deer death in Michigan...... The truth is that the biggest factors impacting deer survival in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan are the intensity of both timber harvesting(protective winter deer yards strripped from the forest) and winter severity........Human Hunting and auto collisions cause 3 times as many deer mortalities than does Wolf predation............Coyotes and Bobcats also enter into the predation matrix with their roles to be accounted for more fully as the final results of the 3 year Mississippi State study are tallied

Study: Role of coyotes on deer population in the UP

by Mark Brush
In the last few years, illegal wolf kills in the Upper Peninsula have been going up as more sportsman become convinced that wolves are harming the deer population.

The antipathy toward wolves might change now that the species is no longer federally protected, but it also might change as more research is done on other predators in the UP.

Coyote with deer kill

Howard Meyerson of the Grand Rapid Press, reports on deer predation research being conducted in Michigan's Upper Peninsula by Mississippi State University students.
So far, the research is showing a somewhat surprising result: that coyotes are a top predator of fawns in parts of the western UP.

car collisions kill Deer

From the Grand Rapids Press:
...what researchers found this past winter, the third year of a western U.P. deer mortality study, is that coyotes were the No. 1 predator followed by bobcats. Wolves came in fourth after a three-way tie among hunters, unknown predators and undetermined causes.
"I was somewhat surprised to see coyotes play as large a role in fawn predation as they did...," said Jerry Belant, an associate professor of Wildlife Ecology and Management at Mississippi State University.
Researchers say predation by coyotes, bobcats, wolves, and people play a role in deer survival, but weather and habitat can play a bigger role.

The Mississippi State researchers write that "historically, deer abundance in the UP has been affected by the intensity of timber harvesting and winter severity."

Hunter with his killed buck

The Michigan DNR says the deer population in the UP is around 270,000. And officials estimate that winter weather and humans can kill more deer than wolves.

Bobcat killing fawn

Here are the numbers they have posted:
  • ~ 64,000 deaths - humans (hunting and car collisions)
  • ~ 17,000 - 29,000 deaths - wolves
  • ~ 35,000 deaths - mild winter weather
  • ~ 70,000 deaths  - moderate winter weather
  • ~ 105,000 deaths - severe winter weather
Once more research is done, the MDNR might be able to add more predation numbers from species other than wolves.

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