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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, March 28, 2017

Our continuing publication of biologist (LANDSCAPE OF FEAR co-author) John Laundre continues today with his unmasking just how much fake news is coming out of the Outdoor Magazine Industry...............Simultaneously headlining articles about TICK-BORNE DISEASES PROLIFERATING as well as LANDOWNERS GRANTING PERMISSION TO HUNTERS TO KILL MORE CARNIVORES ON THEIR LAND in the latest issue of GRAND VIEW OUTDOORS MAGAZINE has John debunking the hypocrisy revealed ................You cannot have it both ways meaning that "as deer populations go up(ticks depend on deer in part of their life cycle), so do tick populations and so do incidences of tick-borne diseases"...............As an example, "Pennsylvania currently has 1.5 million deer, around 32 deer per square mile!".............. "And surprise surprise, Pennsylvania is one of the states with the highest incidence of these tick-borne diseases!"........... "What should be done? That number of deer should be reduced by at least half!"............." A density of 15 deer per square mile is still high but better than 32!"................ And there would still be plenty of deer for hunters to stalk!"............. "There would still be over 750,000 deer in the state(and most probably, a significant reduction in tick borne diseases like Lyme)."

Interesting parallel headlines

by: John Laundre

Well the ragazine Grand View Outdoors (GVO) has done it again! In complete innocence and I might add, ignorance, these two headlines appeared together on their website: "New tick-borne diseases are sweeping the U.S". and "4 tips for securing predator hunting permission"Unfortunately, they didn't even see the irony, the hypocrisy of this placement! I really do sometimes wonder about their name "Grand View Outdoors" when they obviously have a pretty narrow view of the outdoors and how nature works. Such things make me realize that they and hunters just don't get it! So let's draw the lines, connect the dots for them! 

There are currently an estimated 30 million deer in the U.S.Many states have over a million deer with densities as high as 100 deer per square mile!  Now a hunter would say…GREAT! Better chance of me killing one!  But the rest of us and the science clearly see that THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY DEER OUT THERE. AND, line to first dot…most of those tick-borne diseases are transmitted by the…deer tick! Yes, a tick that depends on deer in their life cycle. 

Next line, next dot. As deer populations go up, so do tick populations and so do incidences of tick-borne diseases. It is simple epidemiology of disease transmission. We have known for a long time now that as a population increases, so does the transmission of diseases. This is what has happened to the deer population and…to us! There are just too many deer!
 Graphic showing the life cycle of blacklegged ticks frfom eggs to larva to nymph to adult and back to eggs.

Next line, next dot…the solution? Duh, this is a no-brainer, or it should be. Significantly reduce the deer population! And I mean significant! For example, Pennsylvania currently has 1.5 million deer, around 32 deer per square mile! And surprise surprise, Pennsylvania is one of the states with the highest incidence of these tick-borne diseases! What should be done? That number of deer should be reduced by at least half! A density of 15 deer per square mile is still high but better than 32! And there would still be plenty of deer for hunters to stalk! There would still be over 750,000 deer in the state! 

Next dot…how do we do it?  We know it has to be done, we know it should be done, at least most of us! But how? It is obvious that the hunters have the answer…they can do it! They are always saying let them manage the wildlife with the gun. They know best. They know how nature works, blah blah blah.In fact, some states are advocating that hunting be the ONLY way to manage wildlife, but that is another topic for another day

The simple question, howeverCan hunters do it? Can game agencies significantly reduce deer numbers through hunting, for public safety? It turns out this line does NOT connect to that dot! The reason is that there is a minor detail the agencies and the hunters fail to mention. They don't want lower deer numbers. They want more! Through their "satisfaction surveys" agencies know what deer hunters want and what they want are more deer! In fact, the whole deer hunting industry is built around maintaining too many deer on the landscape. So even if the hunters could do it, they can't because they don't want to do it. They would continue to sacrifice public safety for "harvest opportunities", for "hunter satisfaction".
 Graphic showing relative sizes of several ticks at different life stages.
This can be seen in all the "management objectives" MO's, for deer of the game agencies. In most cases, they are set at current levels of deer or even higher! And if they dip below those levels, the hunters begin to howl! Up until the last couple of years, states were wringing their hands, pointing their fingers, writing dire headlines, "Deer Declines" oh my, oh deer! Hunters started complaining, even more than usual.  In efforts to stem the tide of declining deer numbers and increasing complaints, agencies reduced hunting, increased killing predators, to get those deer numbers back up again. But even at their lowest numbers, there were still over 30 million deer! By all accounts, THERE WERE STILL TOO MANY DEER! But the hunters wanted more! And now, because of better weather, the numbers are back up again, much to the pleasure of the agencies and the hunters! So no, that line does not connect, hunters nor the agencies they control will ever agree to significant reductions in deer numbers. They will continue to sacrifice public health for their "hunter satisfaction".

Ticks obliterating Deer's face

And now the final line, the final dot…the predators. The one connection hunters just don't seem to make. Why would someone who professes to know how nature works, who understands that there are too many deer, who accepts thathunters can never reduce deer numbers sufficiently, turn around and want to kill predators who eat deer? This is the irony of the two articles. It is obvious that the main driving force behind hunters wanting to gain access to private lands is to kill more predators. It is also apparent through other articles in GVO that one cannot kill enough predators. As the readers of Grand View Outdoors, hunters, obviously don't make the connection, let me briefly explain.  IF as hunters proclaim, predators are so good at killing deer, then we need more predators, not less! This is the hypocrisy of the two articles. Remember for the health of us all, to stop the sweep of tick-borne diseases, we need to reduce the number of deer…a lot! And predators can provide that service! But hunters not only refuse to make that connection, but continue to encouraging the excessive killing of predators.Why? To protect the deer of course, to protect their "hunting opportunities". To hell with public health!

Ticks overwhelming Fawn's eyes and ears

The best thing to happen for human health safety in the East for example is for wolves and cougars to return! Unlike hunters, they work 24/7, 365! Their life depends on catching deer!  And the nice thing, as the science indicates, it is all self-regulating, there is no need for human management! For a variety of reasons with not enough space here to explain, predators CANNOT, WILL NOT kill all their prey. What happens is they reach a balance, a balance that has been honed evolutionarily through time. A balance that allows for deer and their predators to coexist at ecologically sustainable levels, levels that promote human health safety, not hinder it.  

Wolves are needed in our woodlands to reduce deer herds and tick-borne diseases

So, that is the irony, the hypocrisy of the side by side articles in Grand View Outdoor. Raising the alarm of a growing health epidemic while actively promoting the thwarting of the only true solution to that epidemic, convinces me that hunters know nothing about how nature works nor do they care about how much society has to pay for their "hunting opportunities". That is also a topic for another time.

Pumas are needed in our woodlands to reduce deer herds and tick-borne diseases

Game agencies, catering to the desires of hunters of "more game for the bag", have made it unhealthy, unsafe for the rest of us to go into the woods! And they will continue to do this with their MO's that promote hunter satisfaction at the expense of public human health. Until these agencies "connect the dots", more than the lip service they give it in their propaganda, and seriously address significant reductions of deer numbers, we will continue to see not only tick-borne diseases sweeping across the U.S. but also increasing incidences of deer diseases like Chronic Wasting disease. Only when we see game agencies and hunter organizations actually advocate for the protection, the reintroduction of predators to these systems will I see hope that they have finally begun to connect the dots. Finally begin to understand how nature works.

The Landscape of Fear: Ecological Implications of Being Afraid

The Open Ecology Journal2010, 3: 1-7

John W. Laundre, Lucina Hernandez, William J. Ripple

Department of Biological Sciences, SUNY Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126, USA.

Electronic publication date 3/2/2010

“Predation risk” and “fear” are concepts well established in animal behavior literature. We expand these concepts to develop the model of the “landscape of fear”. The landscape of fear represents relative levels of predation risk as peaks and valleys that reflect the level of fear of predation a prey experiences in different parts of its area of use. We provide observations in support of this model regarding changes in predation risk with respect to habitat types, and terrain characteristics. We postulate that animals have the ability to learn and can respond to differing levels of predation risk. We propose that the landscape of fear can be quantified with the use of well documented existing methods such as givingup densities, vigilance observations, and foraging surveys of plants. We conclude that the landscape of fear is a useful visual model and has the potential to become a unifying ecological concept.


Life cycle of Hard Ticks that Spread Disease

Most ticks go through four life stages: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph, and adult. After hatching from the eggs, ticks must eat blood at every stage to survive. Ticks that require this many hosts can take up to 3 years to complete their full life cycle
 Graphic showing relative sizes of several ticks at different life stages.

 Graphic showing the life cycle of blacklegged ticks frfom eggs to larva to nymph to adult and back to eggs.

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