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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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Monday, January 13, 2014

First Wyoming brags about it's record Elk hunt and now Montana Wildlife Officials are touting solid Deer and Pronghorn populations...............After tough winter weather(2009-11 knocked down all of these populations by as much as 75%), Montana Parks reduced hunting pressures and the result has been a strong comeback..............Remember, that Wolves, Pumas, Bears and Coyotes have always "danced" with all of these hoofed browsers through the millenia without any of the species going extinct................There is no need to ante up the Carnivore kills,,,,,,,,,,,keep these important cogs in the system and the deer, Elk, Caribou and Pronghorn that stay the course are healthier for the predator interaction------Modulating the human kill based on each and every winter is the right ticket that State Game Agencies need to "punch", not killing carnivores

Surveys show rising numbers for deer, antelope - Sidney Herald: Sports

Surveys show rising numbers for deer, antelope

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Posted: Sunday, January 12, 2014 9:36 am
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife biologists are busy completing post hunting season deer surveys across the region. These surveys are conducted annually to assess deer population trends after the hunting season.
To date, half of the surveys have been completed and preliminary indicators point toward a good to excellent fawn crop this past summer for both mule deer and white tailed deer.  “Production” is the number of fawns observed per doe and any ratio more than 40 fawns per 100 does is indicative of increasing populations. Mule deer survey ratios so far range from 56-100 fawns per 100 does.  The while tailed ratios are mirroring those of the mule deer.
Mule Deer mortality spikes during severe and snowy winters

 This is good news for deer populations that have been beset in recent years by tough environmental conditions. In particular, mule deer populations across eastern Montana took a solid hit during the winters of 2009-10 and again in 2010-11. During which, eastern Montana measured over 110 inches of snow in parts with averages being around 50-60 inches; amounts not seen since the late 1970s. Mule deer populations suffered high mortality and by 2012 populations had declined 55 percent from population peaks noted in 2006-2008.  In response to these population declines, FWP reduced mule deer doe licenses by 90 percent from roughly 11,500 issued in 2009 to 1,200 issued in 2012 and 2013.
 After coming through a mild winter, deer surveys in the spring of 2013 indicated mule deer populations were beginning to rebound with good recruitment of 53 fawns for every 100 adult deer entering into the breeding population. Mule deer populations climbed from 60 percent of the long term average in 2011 to 68 percent of the long-term average in 2013. Populations are far from recovered but improved production and recruitment bode well for future population increases.
 Antelope populations suffered a similar fate to mule deer across the region. As a result of disease episodes and back-to-back tough winters in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 antelope populations suffered high mortality and declined 69 percent from population peaks noted in the mid 2000’s.
 In response to population declines either sex and doe fawn licenses were reduced by 75 percent and 99 percent respectively, with 3,000 either-sex and 100 doe-fawn licenses available for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
 Annual antelope surveys conducted this past summer indicate antelope populations, as with mule deer, are showing signs of recovery across the region. In the summer of 2013, antelope populations were noted to have increased from 42 percent of long term averages noted in 2012 to 50 percent in 2013. Populations in the southeast corner of the region appear to be responding better than populations in the northwest corner, but all in all even though populations are far from recovery, antelope populations are showing positive signs of rebounding.
As with deer, the fate of antelope populations rests on the severity of the winter  Montana is currently experiencing.

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