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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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Thursday, January 2, 2014

If the 687 Wolf count in Michigan was true going into this years hunt (the first in 40 years since the Wolves were Federally protected), then at least based on sheer numbers, the 23 animals killed by hunters in the Upper Peninsula is not at levels that would threaten the population there.....................The question is why a hunt was necessary at all when there are a healthy 270,000 deer in the UP,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,The Dept. of Natural Resources Agency staff have long said that wolves play a small role in deer mortality............... Cars and hunters kill roughly 64,000............. Wolves kill 17,000 to 29,000 deer.........Coyotes do take fawns in the Spring but no matter the histrionics of some Southeastern state biologists, Coyotes are not putting Deer numbers in a death spiral...............What I continue to ask folks to think about is that all of these animals have co-existed for millenia in various parts of North America without extinguishing each other................And if recent snowy winters have kept deer numbers less than BLOATED, those in the know are aware that less deer mean healthier and larger trophy deer,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,as well as healthier and more diverse forest flora---A two point win for both true hunters,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and all who want our forests and fields as healthy as possible

Final Michigan Wolf Hunt Kill 23, Short Of Quota « CBS Detroit

Final Michigan Wolf Hunt Kill 23, Short Of Quota

MARQUETTE (AP) - Twenty-three wolves were killed in the Upper Peninsula during Michigan’s first wolf hunt in four decades, the state reported Wednesday.
One kill was reported on the hunt’s final day Tuesday, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said. The department had a quota of 43 for the hunt. Officials said that unusually cold weather probably kept the hunt in check.
DNR Wildlife biologist Brian Roell, in the Marquette office, said the hunt was a success, citing what he said was the state’s first use of a call-in system to keep track of animals killed. Decades ago, Michigan simply offered a bounty for wolves killed. When their numbers declined significantly, they were listed as a federally protected endangered species for four decades, ending in 2012.

The hunt took place in three Upper Peninsula zones where the animal has been deemed problematic, Roell told He said there could be several reasons for the few number of wolves killed, including that they are a new species being hunted, the cold temperatures and relatively small hunting zones.
Hunters also have told Roell that there were dramatic changes in how wolves behave after hunters entered the woods.
“It’s hard to make any declarative statement with one year’s worth of data,” Roell said.
Five of the maximum 16 wolves were killed in the far western U.P., 14 of 19 in four central counties and four of eight in the eastern U.P.
The wolf hunting season opened Nov. 15. Before the season, the DNR estimated that Michigan had 658 wolves.
Wolf hunt supporters say it addresses a problem of attacks on livestock and pets.
Opponents say the hunt was poorly planned and endangers the wolf’s recovery.
“This whole hunt is happening because of tall tales and fear mongering,” said Jill Fritz, Michigan director for The Humane Society of the United States and the director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. Pro- and anti-wolf hunt ballot petition drives are underway.
The DNR and the sate National Resources Commission will study the 2013 hunt in the first half of 2014 and decide if there should be a hunt this year.


Michigan hunters have been known to say that 

state’s growing

 wolf population is bad for deer. Their lament is 

about the

 diminished Upper Peninsula whitetail population.

 It’s not

 unusual to hear someone claim: “Wolf are eating 

all the deer.”

But 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. Belant oversees student
 researchers who
are working in partnership with the Michigan
Department of
Natural Resources. He said coyotes were more
prevalent than
expected. There were also few rabbits and
 hares to feed upon.

Researchers got their data from 142 fawns
 fitted with GPS
collars. The devices transmitted their location
every 15 minutes.
 Eighty collared fawns died during the three
 year first phase of
the study. Predators killed 73 percent of the deer.

The study aims to identify just what is killing
 UP deer. Phase
 1 took place in a region known for “low snow”
 depths. Phase
 2 and 3 will look at mid- and high-snow zones.
“We wanted to look at the role of predation and
winter habitat
on fawn survival,” said Dean Beyer, a wildlife
 researcher with
 Michigan’s DNR.

Agency staff have long said that wolves play
a small role in
deer mortality. Biologists estimate the UP
 deer population
at 270,000. Cars and hunters kill roughly
64,000. Wolves
kill 17,000 to 29,000 deer. An estimated
687 gray wolves
 live in the Upper Peninsula, according to
 the DNR’s website.

“We jumped into the UP because of the
deer population
 trends,” Beyer said. “The herd did well
 in the early '90s.
 Then we had two severe winters back
 to back (in the mid 90s)
 and the population dropped and stayed
 flat and hasn’t rebounded.

“Winter weather is a driver up there.
Lake Superior is a snow
 making machine. It creates deep snows
close to the lake and
the snow depths decline as you move away.”
Severe UP winters can kill 30 percent or
 more of the deer
population. So researchers collared both
 fawns and predators.
The GPS data was plotted on a map. When
 a cluster appeared,
students went out to the site to see what
 they could find.
Belant and Beyer discovered two packs of
 wolves in the area.
But they also found something else: nine
 livestock pits where
 farmers dumped dead cattle.

“They (wolves) were hitting carcasses,”
Beyer said. “That
 influenced the predation on fawns and
might have reduced it.
 It will be interesting to see what happens
in the mid-snow zone
where there is no agriculture or cattle dump.”

Phase 2 begins next winter in Iron County,
 Phase 1, in Delta
and Menominee counties, collected predator
 data points for
 650,000 locations, Beyer said.

“We’re pretty pleased with how things worked
 out. The one
 thing that surprised us a little was finding that
 bobcats were
 very efficient predators. Their kill rate was
 higher than we

Wolves, on the other hand, were expected
 to score higher.
That they didn’t has researchers wondering
 what will show
 up next year.
Brent Rudolph, the DNR’s deer program
manager, said he
expects wolves will play a bigger role in
 deer predation.

“We went into an area not as heavily
 used by wolves,” he
said. “As we shift study sites into areas
 with more wolves
there will be more wolf mortality. Coyotes
 won’t be as
effective in those areas because wolves
 will outright exclude
 coyotes on the kill.”
It is fair to say that having wolves on the
landscape stirs
emotions for many. Wolves are feared,
 reviled and revered;
the root of all that would take up another
column — maybe two.

So let me say I am glad to see this study
moving forward.
The first phase results are enlightening.
The rest will tell us
 what we need to know.

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