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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, September 29, 2016

Less Deer mean more vibrant forest regeneration and a healthier remaining deer herd both in terms of size and reduced incidence of diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease(CWD)...........Over the past several years, Ohio Wildlife Managers have responded to the Ohio Farm Bureau demand for there to be a smaller herd due to crop damage inflicted by the "Bambi" herd.............. A quarter-million deer taken during both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 hunting seasons suggested that a good part of the landscape held too many whitetails............... "In fact, the large number of deer competing for nourishment was having a measurable effect on deer size as well as “quality” of bucks, studies indicated"................And even the now established Eastern Coyote population(in all 88 Ohio Counties without official state population estimates) and the returning Bobcat(and a handful of Black Bears) is not denting the Whitetails negative impact on woodland and farmland...............As Dr. Thomas Rooney states(Professor of Wildlife at Wright State University)-----"Historically, wolves and cougars preyed on deer year-round(in Ohio)"............... "(As) Wolves and cougars are now absent from the eastern United States(save Florida's 100 Pumas), Black bears, Bobcats and Eastern Coyotes typically prey on fawns but not as routeinely on adult animals"

Outdoors | Ohio’s deer-season harvest could reach 200,000

Ironic humor might not be among things deer hunters expect to hear from a wildlife biologist approaching the cusp of the bow season.
“If you’re excited about the status quo,” said Mike Tonkovich, deer project leader for the Ohio Division of Wildlife, “you’ll be excited about this deer season.”
Not that the hunt doesn’t bring an authentic tingle. It’s more that Ohio deer, deer hunters and the wildlife division seem stuck in a holding pattern in terms of regulations, numbers and expectations.
After several years of jiggering deer zones, permit availability and season limits in order to knock down the deer population where needed and to increase numbers where desired, the 2016-17 deer season that begins Saturday with the kickoff of the archery hunt will, in many ways, be a reprise of last year.
For instance, while a hunter may take as many as six deer between the Sept. 24 opening day and the Feb. 5, 2017, final day of the bow season, individual Ohio counties are designated as four-, three- or two-deer counties.
In central Ohio, hunters may tag four deer in Franklin and Delaware counties, three in Licking and Union and two in Fairfield, Madison and Pickaway. To reach the six-deer annual total, hunters would have to take deer in a minimum of two counties, three if they hunt only in two-deer counties.
The use of antlerless permits continues to be limited. A single antlerless permit may be used in four-deer counties and in four northern Ohio counties with three-deer season limits. That breaks down in central Ohio as follows: Antlerless permits are not legal in Union, Licking, Fairfield, Pickaway and Madison. A single antlerless permit can be used before gun week in Franklin and Delaware counties.

Because of the recent regulatory tightening, moreover, deer populations in some counties have rebounded somewhat, Tonkovich said. As a result, the 2016-17 deer kill might increase as much as 5-10 percent from a year ago.
“That’s what we’re thinking,” he said.
Important variables, including weather during key hunting times, the size of the mast (nut) crop and hunter interest, are yet to be gauged and won’t really be apparent until the season gets underway, Tonkovich said.
Should the harvest forecast prove accurate, the 2016-17 kill would reach 200,000 whitetails give or take, a benchmark not reached since 218,910 deer were tagged during the 2012-13 hunt. The take was 188,239 last year, 175,801 in 2014-15 and 191,503 in 2013-14.
All those numbers indicate “we had achieved what we set out to do,” Tonkovich said.
What the wildlife managers wanted, at least partly in response to an Ohio Farm Bureau demand, was fewer deer in some areas. A quarter-million deer taken during both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 hunting seasons, coupled with numerous deer-damage complaints, strongly suggested that a good part of the landscape held too many whitetails.
In fact, the large number of deer competing for nourishment was having a measurable effect on deer size as well as “quality” of bucks, studies indicated.
The upward harvest trend suggested by this year’s forecast shouldn’t be interpreted as a signal that soon Ohio hunters again will be knocking down a quarter-million deer annually, Tonkovich said.
Efforts will continue to adjust regulations that keep the whitetail population at something like a happy medium for hunters as well as for those less than enthusiastic about the whitetail presence, he said.
The weeklong gun season runs Nov. 28-Dec. 4, and the weekend gun hunt will take place Dec. 17-18. The youth gun weekend is scheduled Nov. 19-20. The statewide muzzleloader hunt is set for Jan. 7-10.
The deer-hunting day begins 30 minutes before sunrise and ends 30 minutes after sunset.

It's difficult to measure the impact of coyote on the deer herd, said Hill. Some deer have learned how to ward off a coyote attack.

"A pack of coyotes can easily chase down an adult deer and attack its hind quarter, taking it to the ground," said Hill. "Deer simply can't run all out for very long. The stress of the chase results in 'capture myopathy,' which is like a heart attack.
"Rather than run from coyote, I've now seen a deer back up against a tree and hold its ground, not allowing coyotes to get behind it and attack its backside. Coyote are too smart to battle a deer and its sharp hooves face-to-face, even though a big male coyote can weigh more than 50 pounds."
Prange studied coyotes in Illinois before joining the Ohio Division of Wildlife. She was surprised coyotes were much larger in Ohio, averaging more than 40 pounds. She said coyotes have a surprisingly versatile diet. They kill rabbits, field mice and other rodents, but also eat vegetation and fruit, such as summertime berries. When the big pawpaws are ripe, they'll focus on that fruit in late summer and fall.
Prange also keeps an eye on bobcats and black bears, reporting both are doing well in Ohio. Bobcats disappeared in the heavily-farmed and timbered Ohio of the 1850s, but have been on the rebound over the last decade, or two.
"It's great bobcats could recover on their own," said Prange. "They're completely off the endangered list in Ohio, which is a good sign the habitat is healing. Strictly carnivores, bobcats eat smaller game, like rabbits and squirrels. They will feed on dead deer or deer gut piles in winter when food is in short supply."
Young black bear males often roam into Ohio from West Virginia or Pennsylvania, which has a statewide population of about 18,000 bruins and a hunting season that kills about 4,000 bears each year. Those young bruins are looking for a mate. After crossing highways and byways, stumbling through back yards, feeding in garbage cans and smashing bird feeders and beehives, they usually head back to their home state.
Every once in a while, a black bear has decided to stay. Prange estimates a few dozen black bears live year-round in the Buckeye State. Unlike the precocious young males with mating on their minds, resident black bears are rarely seen and will never be hunted


By Matt Stansberry, Illustrations by David Wilson
On a desolate January night last year, as the snow fell in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, I got up from the dinner table, threw my cross-country skis in the car and headed to theTowpath Trail.
About a mile into the trip, I heard them, coyotes calling off to my right. They must have been very close. It could have been a pair of animals, or maybe a dozenn’t easy to come by in Northeast Ohio.
Just two coyotes howling together can sound like a large group, an evolutionary strategy to keep intruders guessing on the size of the pack. A single animal makes a variety of howls, barks, and yips. Also, the sound distorts as it carries through the woods, echoing back on itself, changing pitch to sound like multilayered, multianimal calls. Biologists call it the Beau Geste Effect.

No one has assigned a number to the population in Northeast Ohio, but biologists assume it is large and growing. Native to the plains and deserts of the West, the coyotes have steadily migrated east across the North American continent, brilliant opportunists exploiting a range of habitats, including urban areas.
.The earliest documented coyote in Ohio was reported in 1919, and today they are everywhere, all 88 counties. “There was a time when there were no coyotes east of the Mississippi River,” said Suzi Prange, the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s furbearer biologist. “We did two things – we extirpated the wolves and opened the forests. That’s why they were able to colonize the entire United States. They are the most persecuted animal in the country, and yet they still expand their range. You knock their populations down and they just have more pups. They are incredibly adaptable and will eat anything. You can’t stop them.
. Ohio State University Associate Professor and Wildlife Specialist Stanley Gehrt guesses about two people get bitten by coyotes in Ohio each year. Compare that to the nearly 4.5 million Americans that are bitten by dogs annually.

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