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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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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Whether it be Mule Deer populations in the Dakota's or Whitetail's in the East, weather-weather-weather followed by habitat-habitat-habitat quality are the key determinants of how large or small a state's herd will be..........Predation by Bears, Wolves(where existing), Coyotes, Pumas, Bobcats, Lynx is a factor but rarely a dampening factor unless horribly cold and snowy conditions are persistent over a series of Winters............In addition, predation is rarely a dampening factor on ungulate herds unless the quantity, quality and connectivity of the herds habitat is eroded by our man made roads, buildings, drilling, etc, etc, etc................Since the demise of the Mega-Fauna predator and prey matrix some 10,000 years ago, the modern,multiple predator suite that we know today(bears/wolves pumas et al. previously mentioned) has co-existed in rough equilibrium(except where we tamper extensively) with a multiple hoofed browser suite(Deer/Elk/Moose/Bison/Caribou)................There should be no reflexive actions by State Game Agencies to decimate predators because of the periodic tough Winter.............Best they be acquiring more habitat and rehabilitating existing lands for all our predator and prey to thrive within......................Our great mid 20th Century Naturalist, Aldo Leopold, said it best--------"Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land"............ … "Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left".................... "That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators; you cannot conserve the waters and waste the ranges; you cannot build the forest and mine the farm"............. "The land is one organism"......................."I personally believed, at least in 1914 when predator control began, that there could not be too much horned game, and that the extirpation of predators was a reasonable price to pay for better big game hunting"...................... "Some of us have learned since the tragic error of such a view, and acknowledged our mistake".................. "One must judge from the present volume that the Fish and Wildlife Service does not see any mistake"

North Dakota Spring Mule Deer Survey Up 21%

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department completed its annual spring mule deer survey in April, and results indicate western North Dakota’s mule deer population has increased 21 percent from last year

Mule Deer

Bruce Stillings, big game supervisor, said the increase is a result of higher adult doe survival in 2015, three consecutive years of good fawn production, and overwinter survival combined with milder winter weather conditions.
“These factors, along with no harvest of antlerless mule deer during the past four deer hunting seasons, have resulted in mule deer numbers doubling since we experienced our low in 2012,” Stillings said.
Biologists counted 2,880 mule deer in 306.3 square miles during this year’s survey. Overall mule deer density in the badlands was 9.4 deer per square mile, which is up from 7.8 deer per square mile in 2015.

The spring mule deer survey is used to assess mule deer abundance in the badlands. It is conducted after the snow has melted and before the trees begin to leaf out, providing the best conditions for aerial observation of deer. Biologists have completed aerial surveys of the same 24 study areas since the 1950s.
N.Y. OUTDOORS: 2015 deer take lower than expected
Hunters harvested an estimated 202,973 deer during the 2015 seasons, approximately 15 percent lower than the prior year. Of that number, 103,401 were antlerless animals and 99,572 were bucks — a 20.5 percent decline for antlerless deer and an 8.3 percent drop in animals with antlers.More than half the bucks harvested were 21⁄2 or older, continuing a shift toward older deer. In most of the state, hunters are making this happen by their own voluntary decisions to pass up young, small-antlered bucks in favor of older ones.

Whitetail Deer

Because of the severe winter in 2014-15 and a reduction in the number of permits available for antlerless deer in most Wildlife Management Units, a decline in deer harvest was anticipated. However, overall deer harvest was lower than expected, as hunting success apparently was reduced further by the unseasonably warm conditions and lack of snow during much of November and December. In fact, harvest reports were tracking on par with 2014 levels through early November, then started lagging once the firearms seasons began.
As usual, deer harvests and populations vary considerably across the state.In approximately 25 percent of New York, the numbers suggest that deer populations were unchanged or higher from prior years. Additionally, harvest data indicate that deer populations in portions of Central New York, the Finger Lakes and the Lake Plains of Western New York remain above desired levels, meaning further population reduction is necessary.
Harvest data is culled from two main sources: harvest reports required of all successful hunters, and state Department of Environmental Conservation staff’s examination of nearly 14,000 harvested deer at check stations and meat processors. Statewide harvest estimates are made by cross-referencing these two data sources and calculating the total harvest from the reporting rate for each zone and tag type.Read the full “White-Tailed Deer Harvest Summary


Anonymous said...

What so few people GET, is that the "balance of Nature" is really more of a series of FLUCTUATIONS, rather than a perfect 24/7 balance. Prey species increase in number, and predator numbers follow, eventually lowering prey numbers. And predator numbers then often drop, due to starvation and competition amongst themselves. Meanwhile, with prey numbers down, the LAND has a chance to recover--and the cycle begins all over again. And this cycle has been evolving and going on since--how long? The dinosaurs' era? Yeah, folks, it isn't gonna be apparent in ONE hunting season! We "modern" humans, with our "light switch" philosophies, need to learn to be PATIENT!.....If you haven't yet, you and all the blog readers here really need to either get the book "Wolf Totem", and/or see the fairly recent movie also titled "Wolf Totem", which covers this philosophy very well! It's all about the "Big Life"(the LAND), and the rest of us, humans and animals, are the "Little Life". Take this from Mongolian pastoral nomads who have lived with and competed with wolves for centuries! They will protect their flocks and herds from wolf attack, but they also revere the wolf, and have no desire to exterminate them. The book was a runaway bestseller in China, which I find heartening that there seems to be an environmental awakening there, at long last. The book is available very cheaply from Amazon; the movie is a bit more expensive(but well worth it, I think--BEAUTIFULLY filmed in Inner Mongolia, and they used REAL Mongolian wolves!)--and I think it can be viewed in it's entirety on Youtube, as well. One aspect the book and movie bring out, that wolves are often ignorantly vilified for in the West as being "wasteful", is surplus killing. As you'll discover from either the "Wolf Totem" movie or book, multiple killing of migratory ungulates in a cold climate is NOT wasteful, and is actually a very valuable survival strategy, as the wolves can feed on the preserved carcasses all Winter, long after the living prey has migrated out of their territory......

Anonymous said...

....oops; forgot to initial that "Wolf Totem" comment....L.B. here.....

Rick Meril said...

LB.............will look this book up and thanks for the reinforcement of the rough equilibrium paradigm that has worked well for millenia........