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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, March 2, 2017

Always insightful, logical and no nonsense in his perspectives and writing communication, "THE LANDSCAPE OF FEAR" co-author and our good friend biologist John Laundre is back with us following up on his plea for "the 30% of the American voting population who are Wildlife Watchers to become a political force and demand that state legislatures around the USA utilize a % of sales tax receipts be reinvested into wildlife conservation"............"Most existing wildlife agencies are NOT managing wildlife for all the citizens and so should be either restructured or let them keep the ducks and the deer for hunters (that is what they are paying for anyway) and all the rest of the wildlife, including those currently being killed but not eaten, be managed for the other 94% of us"............. "We need to do this to save the wildlife we want to watch…alive, from the killers, whose only use of wildlife is for them to suffer the consequences of the “boom” of the rifle, the “schoo” of the bolt"

Another article from Grand View Outdoors!
by John Laundre

In a short article titled: “What the wildlife-viewing trend means for hunting’s future”, this ragazine attempts to dismiss this “trend”. Just by the tone of the subtitle “…the “click” of a camera should never replace the ”boom” of a rifle or the “schoo” of a bolt”, you can guess that hunters do not look favorably on those who want to watch rather than kill wildlife!  The main thrust of the article is to address a much lengthier one that appeared in Backcountry Journal titles “Is wildlife viewing the new hunting”, which though accurate, was still written to downplay wildlife watching and play up the “boom” of the rifle and the “schoo” of the bolt as still being the one and only true way of “enjoying” wildlife.

Hunters should not occupy every seat at the table regarding wildlife mgmt

 This piece of deceptive journalism attempts to do this further. I see it as an attempt to discount the obvious, there are a lot more wildlife watchers than wildlife killers and they spend more than the killers, they generate more state and local taxes than the killers and they favor more scientifically sound wildlife conservation than the killers. It is also true that wildlife watchers are more egalitarian, with almost half of them being women as opposed to less than ten percent for hunters.

Hikers need a seat at the wildlife management table

However, all that needs to be downplayed, diminished in importance, marginalized, by the killers. This is done several ways in this article in the supposition: “why just looking at wildlife isn’t enough”. First, not missing a trick, this article in Grand View was written by a woman! Secondly, she refers to the timeworn politically correct misconception that people hunt to “put meat on their table”. Again, it has been amply shown that first, this would be some of the most expensive meat they could “buy” and secondly, most hunters are well off white males who don’t need to “put meat on the table” and thirdly probably 80% or more of the animals that hunters kill are not eaten…”varmints” and predators. So I wish they would give that fable a rest…hunters hunt to kill. If they cannot be honest about that but instead have to wrap it up in some pseudo-self-justifying myths of subsistence hunting or camaraderie, or any of the other crap they bring up, then maybe they should not hunt! Hunting is about killing animals…period.

Birders merit a seat at the wildlife mgmt table

I am surprised that the author did not also bring up the time-worn and again false idea that somehow hunters know best about how nature works and so should be relied on by the rest of us feeble minded people (94% of the population) that they will do what is best for wildlife. Maybe, just maybe, with all the bad press lately, Cecil the lion, hunters still moving destructive wild boars everywhere, senseless predator killing contests, out of control ungulate populations, maybe they are getting the idea that they don’t know crap about the conservation of wildlife. I doubt it however, because, as the author mentions, they do not need to admit they are wrong on issues such as Cecil, they just need to “shape and tell their story”.  I am convinced hunters are incapable of self-criticism or even self-reflection. I truly believe they fell they can do no wrong and so like the con-artists they are, they feel the need to “spin” all the negative press they receive. 

The upside of this article is that the Backcountry article does have hunters thinking and, hopefully a bit more nervous, as they should be.  As pointed out in both articles, the increasing number of wildlife watchers raises the question raised: “Will land managers and fish and wildlife agencies feel pressured to implements a less consumptive approach to conservation to accommodate the growing number of people who would rather simply photograph wildlife…?  This of course gets at the biggest fear of hunters, losing control of the personalized management of wildlife solely for their benefit. When we do cut through all the bull, the real issue is just that, who SHOULD have control over how wildlife are managed in this country. It has nothing to do with the ethics of hunting or the “need” to use hunting as a, for some, only management tool. Hunters have had a stranglehold on the quasi-private agencies that cater to their whims…not enough deer to kill, kill predators. Too many deer? Impossible!

Recreationalists merit a seat at the wildlife mgmt table

The article ends by reassuring hunters that because they delude themselves and the wildlife agencies, and unfortunately, the public, that they are the only ones who pay for wildlife, their diminishing numbers will continue to have a stranglehold over “public” agencies that should be accommodating the growing number of people who would rather photograph wildlife. It is a not so subtle reminder of the overall game plan of hunters, maintain those purse strings and you maintain control. And that is the one kernel of truth that this article repeats from the original one: the funding mechanism are not set up to favor the wildlife watcher. Part of it is the fault of the wildlife watching industry that has refused to support direct tax structures that support their business, to reinvest into the exact thing that has made them successful…wildlife. But a large part of it is the resistance of hunting groups and their quasi-private game agencies to resist non-hunting” revenues…exactly for fear of losing control.  Some state agencies point with pride that they do not accept a single penny from general tax funds! And you can be sure hunters will fight tooth and nail to keep it that way. 

What do we as wildlife watcher need to do? Nationally, we make up 30% of the voting population, with some states being more than 40%.  We need to prove the hunters wrong, we need to prove we can be a political force sufficient to demonstrate that “relying on …state legislatures to appropriate (funds) wisely…” is NOT wildly optimistic but realistic, AND MUST BE DONE. We as a group need to DEMAND that a part of our sales tax, general taxes that were generated by US by watching wildlife, be reinvested into wildlife conservation, NOT management, which equates to killing them. It is one of the largest revenue generators in most states and it only makes good business sense that states reinvest in it. States reinvest lottery revenue as “winnings” to keep that revenue growing. We need the same for wildlife watching. If we need new agencies to do this, so be it! Most existing wildlife agencies are NOT managing wildlife for all the citizens and so should be either restructured or let them keep the ducks and the deer for hunters (that is what they are paying for anyway) and all the rest of the wildlife, including those currently being killed but not eaten, be managed for the other 94% of us. We need to do this to save the wildlife we want to watch…alive, from the killers, whose only use of wildlife is for them to suffer the consequences of the “boom” of the rifle, the “schoo” of the bolt.

The landscape of fear: the missing link to understand top-down and bottom-up controls of prey abundance?


Identifying factors that may be responsible for regulating the size of animal populations is a cornerstone in understanding population ecology. The main factors that are thought to influence population size are either resources (bottom-up), or predation (top-down), or interspecific competition (parallel). However, there are highly variable and often contradictory results regarding their relative strengths and influence. These varied results are often interpreted as indicating "shifting control" among the three main factors, or a complex, nonlinear relationship among environmental variables, resource availability, predation, and competition.

 We argue here that there is a "missing link" in our understanding of predator-prey dynamics. We explore whether the landscape-of-fear model can help us clarify the inconsistencies and increase our understanding of the roles, extent, and possible interactions of top-down, bottom-up, and parallel factors on prey population abundance. We propose two main predictions derived from the landscape-of-fear model: (1) for a single species, we suggest that as the makeup of the landscape of fear changes from relatively safe to relatively risky, bottom-up impacts switch from strong to weak as top-down impacts go from weak to strong; (2) for two or more species, interspecific competitive interactions produce various combinations of bottom-up, top-down, and parallel impacts depending on the dominant competing species and whether the landscapes of fear are shared or distinctive among competing species.

 We contend that these predictions could successfully explain many of the complex and contradictory results of current research. We test some of these predictions based on long-term data for small mammals from the Chihuahuan Desert in the United States, and Mexico. We conclude that the landscape-of-fear model does provide reasonable explanations for many of the reported studies and should be tested further to better understand the effects of bottom-up, top-down, and parallel factors on population dynamics.

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