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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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Saturday, May 17, 2014

While collaborative" negotiating always is superior to" win/lose" high pressure deal making in getting to an outcome that both sides can feel reasonably good about, the Montana Parks and Wildlife folks came to a wrong conclusion in only letting hunters/outfitters/ranchers/trappers and sportsmen make the decision about how many Pumas could be killed this year in the western part of the state..............By not including a greater swath of the Montana population(doctors/lawyers/businessmen/hikers/campers/photographers/mountain bikers/housewives retired folks), the so-called "structured decision making process" was flawed........... There is no way a true democratic consensus could be reached...........Instead, it was default to a "kill quota" rather than perhaps to a "life quota"(had all stakeholders had their say)----------Also, there was no input of sound science by the Montana Biologists...................No input from them regarding the health of the land and perhaps the recommendation that there was no need to kill any Pumas in Western Montana...............Not that this outcome was ever going to be the road taken in Montana where hunting rules all,,,,,,,,,,,,,,but perhaps a far less kill quota could have been reached..................A good thing that more females will not be killed from a sheer "numbers" standpoint(breeding females always critical to population levels staying at equilibrium or growing) but should there not have been a decision reached to kill less mature male pumas which are so critical to maintaining social order among the "cats" by keeping male juveniles in line and therefore minimizing conflicts with humans in the process?????????? What say your Montana Parks and Wildlife???????????


Group helps FWP set mountain lion quota

May 13, 2014 8:20 pm  •  

When it comes to hunting, those pursuing animals with claws don’t always see eye to eye with those after hoofed creatures.
In the Bitterroot Valley, that’s been a hard challenge for state wildlife managers hoping to find a balance between houndsmen seeking to tree a mountain lion and those wanting to fill their freezer with deer or elk meat.
When Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife managers presented this year’s proposal for mountain lion quotas in western Montana to the state wildlife commission in April, they had already heard a good deal of grumbling.

“We felt like we needed to find a way to communicate better,” said FWP Region 2 wildlife manager Mike Thompson. “We thought we better be sure to hear what all people on all sides of the issue have to say.”
And so last month, they asked a group of 12 houndsmen, outfitters, longtime ranchers, trappers and sportsmen to pull up a chair at the table and work toward quotas for all of western Montana’s hunting districts that everyone could live with.
They would use something called the Structured Decision Making Process to get there.
The decision would come directly from the members of the group.
Longtime Ravalli County houndsman Casey Richardson and Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association board member Bob Driggers were part of the group.
“The process was something new for me,” Richardson said. “I figured that the biologists would steer us in the direction that they thought we should go.”
Instead, FWP biologists and others sat at the back of the room and only offered information when asked by members of the working group.
“What we found was that in the long run, we all wanted the same thing,” Richardson said. “If you want lots of lions, they have to have lots of deer and elk to eat. Everyone at that table shared deep concern for wildlife in general and an equally deep concern on how that balance works.”
Everyone in the group agreed that they couldn’t find consensus unless they were willing to give here and there.
“There was a recognition from everyone that lions and ungulates both need to be protected and managed with sound biology,” Richardson said. “It was really interesting to see everyone work through that process and come up a new alternative.”

The new alternative developed by the group recommends a total quota of 161 mountain lions for the 2014-15 season. That’s only three less than what FWP proposed in its initial offering to the commission in April.
But the total number isn’t the most important number.
The group’s alternative scales back the harvest of female lions by 20, from 85 to 65.
“Everyone in the group didn’t agree with what we came up with, but we accepted it,” Driggers said. “We hope that it will establish a foundation that we can use to move forward.”
Both men agree that the FWP needs to develop a statewide plan to manage mountain lions just like it already has in place for elk and deer.
While the state has a century of recovering big-game animals like deer and elk, it wasn’t that many years ago that mountain lions had a bounty on them.
The state recognized mountain lions as big-game animals in the 1970s. It wasn’t until the 1980s that it began to limit the number that could be killed each year.
“The mountain lion’s restoration story is pretty fresh and new in the history of wildlife management,” Thompson said. “And now we have the wolf that has been added to the more complete system that is now living on our fragmented landscape.
“We’re now attempting to balance the books and moderate carnivore numbers in consideration to prey,” he said. “We are trying to strike that balance, which is really hard to find.”
Thompson was happy with the product of four days of hard work by a group of diverse stakeholders. FWP will support the new alternative developed by the group.
The public can offer its comments by going to FWP’s website.
“We’re very satisfied,” Thompson said. “FWP came into this knowing we could trust the public if we have a fair representation at the table.”

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