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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, August 13, 2014

.The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is the most popular big game animal in Oklahoma............... Accounts from early explorers venturing into Oklahoma were filled with descriptions of white-tailed deer in abundance(alongside sizeable Wolf, Puma and Black Bear Populations)............. Deer remained relatively abundant through 1876............ However, shortly after Oklahoma Territory was opened for settlement in 1889, unregulated market and subsistence hunting and changes in land use practices drastically reduced size of the deer population.............. By 1916, Oklahoma’s deer population was relegated to four isolated pockets and barely totaled 500 animals................ Deer season was closed in that year and was not reopened until 1933............... Currently, white-tailed deer occur in every county, with an estimated statewide population of about 325,000 which has average deer density around the state at 19 deer per square mile.................Important to note that pre European contact(AD 1500) deer density that allowed for optimum biological diversity of Oklahoma's forests and prairies was 6 to 12 deer per square mile............With this in mind, you quickly see that when Outdoror Writers in Oklahoma newspapers print articles about the decline of the states deer herd, they reveal their ignorance about habitat health and the adverse impacts of deer on the land.............Instead of the 88,000-110,000 deer killed by hunters annually over the past 14 years, Oklahoma hunters would have to kill twice that number to once again return diversity to the land.............Human hunters will never achieve those levels so it is time to encourage the return of the Wolf and Puma(Black Bears are back in the state currently as well as Coyotes) and restore the age old dance that had pioneers calling Oklahoma "flush" with wildlife of all kinds

Deer numbers in Oklahoma
expected to bounce back
Monday, 11 August 2014 08:48
• Tulsa World

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Calling factors that
 affected the 2013-14 deer-hunting season
 a “perfect storm” in many ways, the big-game
 biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
 Conservation said this year’s 18.4 percent decline 
in deer harvest numbers should turn around this
 coming season.
“If you look back at the numbers over time, we have 
had years where there is a dip in numbers and it will
 grow again, and there will be a dip and it will grow
 again,” biologist Erik Bartholomew said.
Over the long term, the 2013-14 season should 
eventually stand out as an anomaly, the Tulsa World
“It’s not something we expect will continue,” he said.

Deer hunters claimed a total of 88,009 deer kills for 
2013-14, 52,197 bucks (59.3 percent) and 35,812 
(40.7 percent) does. It is an 18.4 percent decrease
 from the 107,848 killed the previous year, and 26 
percent lower than the record harvest of 119,349 taken
 during the 2006-07 season.

Factors contributing to the decline are continued
 drought in much of the state, difficult hunting 
conditions in parts of the state springing from the 
drought, and severe weather events at key points.
With fewer deer born in 2011 and 2012 the population
 in some areas is the smallest it has been in many years.
 Places continuing to suffer from drought had poor food 
sources and even fewer deer available. Parts of the 
state that did have a moist summer and fall had fewer
 deer that were moved around less because of an
 abundance of natural food sources like acorns and 
persimmons. When the deer did move they were well
 hidden because the return to a moist environment
 spurred growth of dense vegetation and tall grasses.
“In many areas they weren’t coming to feeders and 
food plots,” Bartholomew said. He hunted an area
 with persimmon trees “so full they were bending 
over to the ground.” Hunters had to adjust accordingly. 
“You had to target the available food sources,” he said.
Bad weather also played a direct part in reducing
 the deer harvest in 2013-14. The gun season was
 affected by two major winter storm events over its 
16-day run, along with several days of heavy fog in 
many areas of the state. Significant winter weather 
also affected the opening few days of the holiday
 antlerless season.

A lesser factor may include the inaugural year of the 
Department’s “Hunters In The Know Let Bucks Grow,”
 program, which encourages hunters to pass up shots 
on younger bucks in favor of taking only mature bucks.
Some hunters have worried openly that the online e-check
system is to blame for a part of the decrease because they 
believe it is easier for hunters to cheat the system now that 
all reporting is done online. Bartholomew said he doesn’t
 believe that is the case.
“It is more convenient now than ever to check your deer,” 
he said. “It is just as easy to drive past a check station 
and not physically check a deer as it is to fail to report it online.”
The system aids biologists and game wardens, who have
 instant access to all reports.

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