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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, March 31, 2014

Our friend John Laundre giving further credence to the fact that the modern American Hunter is not more qualified than other Americans to dictate how we manage wildlife................The myth of the hunter as modern day "Jeremiah Johnson mountain man" is anything but factual..............As John points out, "only 20% of the hunters 16 years and older(5% of the population of the USA) came from non-metropolitan areas"........ "Around 42% of the hunters come from metropolitan areas with greater than 250,000 people"..............."Conversely, 30% of the American population spend time outdoors watching wildlife"..........."They are just not out to shoot something and then go home!".......... “They” actually take an interest in what a live animal is doing, not just trying to find one as quick as possible and shoot it"................Once again, we reiterate that we must change how we fund state Game Commissions so that hunter tags are not the only source of revenue,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Only then, will the largest segment of outdoor enthusiasts(non hunters) be truly represented in how our wildlife is managed

Do hunters know best?
by: John Laundre

I am sure we have all heard it over and over again.  It has become the mantra of the hunting industry:  hunter, presumably because they spend time in the field hunting something to kill, know more about how nature and wildlife work than non-hunters.  They chide non-hunters, city slickers, tree huggers, who they say have an unrealistic, “Bambi” understanding of nature, one where bunnies cavort with foxes, in a Disneyland atmosphere.  It is because of this “vast” knowledge that hunters smugly contend that they have the inside track on what is best for wildlife, conveniently this means hunting them!  And so, what they say goes.

Are there really still mountain men outdoorsmen(portrayed in the classic film, JEREMIAH JOHNSONS) who are experts
on wildlife in the 21st century?........How many modern hunters
understand and agree with the following: “Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of the wolf.”--
Aldo Leopold--Blogger Rick

But do they?  Do hunters have this innate all-knowing understanding of how nature works?  Let’s look at the facts.
First, where do most hunters come from?  The hunting industry would have you think that most hunters come from a rural background, living off the land, rugged individualists who use hunting to supplement their food stores.

 Images of Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett come to mind.  But in reality where do most hunters come from?   According to the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, only 20% of the hunters 16 years and older came from non-metropolitan areas.  Around 42% of the hunters come from metropolitan areas with greater than 250,000 people. 

 Most hunters, then, are city dwellers.  In fact, when we consider the number of non-metropolitan residents, only 18% of them hunt.  Also, if we look at the average income of people who hunt, over half (57%) earn more than $50,000 per year (66% of these make over $75,000), compared to the national average of $42,500 and a national median of $27,500.  They are also predominantly male (89%), white (94%), between the age of 18 and 54 (65%), and well educated (63% with post high school education). 

  So the average hunter is an economically well off white, young to middle age metropolitan male.  Not the typical rugged mountain man type depicted by the industry!  Also at $50,000 + a year, we can kiss goodbye the image of the struggling individualist out there hunting to keep alive!

Ok, maybe they don’t come from a rural, close to nature background but they do spend a lot of time out in nature, don’t they?  And they ARE highly educated!  Maybe if they spend so much time afield, they could have unique insights into how nature works?    However, again, according to the national survey, the average days spent afield per year was 21 days!  Three weeks out of 52!  This means that all these savvy hunters that know so much about wildlife and how nature works, come from their metropolitan lives and spend just 5.7% of their time “in the wild”!  Most, especially big game hunters, only spend opening day, yes, one day, in the field.  And from this vast experience afield, they propose that they, more than others, know how nature works???

Is the modern day hunter equipped with space age killing technology truly the best informed on woodland diversity?-blogger Rick

You might say, well, three weeks is more than what non-hunters spend out there!  Let’s look at those others, which by the way make up 95% of the rest of the population.  Do these “tree huggers” spend any time out there?  And who are they?  “They” constitute 30% of the population 16 years and older (71.8 million of them, compared to a mere 13.6 million hunters).  “They” makeup over 40% of the non-metropolitan population (compared to 18% that hunt).  “They” are a balance of women (54%) and men.  “They” are as white (91%) and educated (62% with post high school training) as hunters. 

 “They” are more experienced with almost half of them (48%) being over 55 years old.  How much time do “they” spend watching wildlife?   On average, “They” spent 77 days per year, intensively observing wildlife!     And the key to all this is that “they” intensively observe wildlife.   They are just not out to shoot something and then go home!  “They” actually take an interest in what a live animal is doing, not just trying to find one as quick as possible and shoot it.

So who should know more about wildlife and how nature works?  Is it the single focused hunter who spends a minimal time out in the nature he purports to know so much about?  Or the people who actually spends over 25% more time going out to observe wildlife? 

 You tell me.............................
So the knowledge base of hunters is a lot more limited than the wildlife observers…those “tree huggers”.  In the next post I will look at the vision that hunters say they have of wildlife and nature, based on their extensive outdoor experiences, and just see how close it is to reality. 
John Laundre is an ecologist at the State University of New York at Oswego, noticed the impact of fear on animals' behavior after the re-introduction of grey wolves in Yellowstone National Park while he was studying elk. And he has found that the greatest impact predators can have over their prey is not by killing but rather by instilling fear in them. He coined the term for this: landscape of fear.

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