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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, July 18, 2012

As we know, successive severe winters can raise mortality levels of all hoofed browsers including Pronghorns...........In North Dakota, 2008-10 back/to/back harsh winter weather knocked out prime breeding age females causing virtually no fawn recruitment ............The milder winter that North Dakota just experienced has fostered some fawn recruitment,,,,,,,,,, but Fish & Game Officials are suggesting that there be no hunting season again in 2012.....There are no Wolves in North Dakota so I believe that wildlife officials need to re-examine the landscape to determine how to improve the habitat in the Dakotas...........There has always been periods of harsh winters,,,,,,,,,,,,,there also used to be Wolves chasing Pronghorn 150 years ago in this region............Both species thrived then,,,,,,,,,,,,,so, beyond the cold and snow, it would be a good guess to suggest that degradation of the landscape is key to the Pronghorn downward spiral.

North Dakota Pronghorn Population Continues to Decline

source--North Dakota Outdoors

North Dakota Game and Fish Department biologists recently completed the 2012 pronghorn population survey, which revealed the statewide population is 20 percent lower than last year. Therefore, the Game and Fish Department is recommending the pronghorn hunting season remain closed in 2012. Bruce Stillings, big game supervisor in Dickinson, said the statewide population estimate has dropped to approximately 3,600 pronghorn. "Pronghorn in all four management regions decreased in numbers from last year and are well below population objectives," he said.

According to Stillings, three severe winters from 2008-10, and virtually no fawn recruitment during 2009-11, left an aging population with few prime-aged breeding females. "The result was another poor fawn crop, but there were signs of recruitment with more yearlings being observed this year," he added.
The recent scenario is similar to the large-scale pronghorn decline in the late 1970s. Three consecutive harsh winters beginning in 1977 prompted Game and Fish to close the season for four years, finally reopening in 1982.

The aerial survey is flown in late June/early July after young-of-the-year are born and visible. Five airplanes covered more than 11,000 square miles of aerial transects within pronghorn habitat.
Biologists will continue to monitor pronghorn numbers in the future, and will reopen the season when the population returns to a level capable of withstanding a harvest.

The 2012 pronghorn season will be closed to both gun and archery hunters. Applicants who have accumulated preference points will maintain their current points

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