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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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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Co-Author of the LANDSCAPE OF FEAR PARADIGM, carnivore ecologist/biologist, former hunter and an always welcome contributor to this blog, John Laundre is with us and asking the following poignant wildlife management question............: "Did the Federal Government and non-hunter Conservation Groups bring .Wolves and Grizzly Bears back from the brink of extinction just so they can be hunted by those who didn't help restore them--Hunters?" ............"Were Hunters rewarded for their lack of help in restoring bald eagles by being allowed to kill them?"................ "As the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service turns over mangement of Wolves and Grizzlies to the states where they now reside(Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and perhaps the Great Lakes States and Oregon/Washington), should hunters be rewarded by being allowed to kill them?"........."Something is definitely wrong with(this point of view) and how wildife is managed in the USA".............."It smells of elitism, favoritism, and ignorance"............. "And, that smell stems from the misguided, self-serving idea that sport hunting should be the main, some argue, the only way to manage wildlife"..........."Sport hunting has led to the management for excess of certain favored species(e.g. white tailed deer, Elk, certain game birds, etc) to support the kill lust of hunters"............ "Apart from the ecological disaster of managing in excess, as seen in the East with deer, it has led to the management of ecological dysfunctionality in other species that appear to get in the way of producing the excess of desired species demanded by hunters"..............."Thus, the ancillary benefits of sport hunting to other non-game species that hunters brag about is ONLY if those other species don't get in the way of the prime directive of all state game agencies---"more game in the bag"................"If they do, they are seen as a problem and are managed as such----killed excessively"......................"This has never been clearer than in the "management" of predators by these agencies"............ "The science over the last 50 YEARS clearly demonstrates that ecosystems NEED their predators".............. "THAT is how nature works"................ "Yet, state agencies continue to wage war on predators"............... "Why? Because of the perverted egocentric view of hunters that nature is there only to give them something to kill".................. "As a consequence, it is this warped world view of "false facts" that controls the very agencies that are responsible to ecologically manage ALL our wildlife resources for ALL of us"

Why are hunters being rewarded for doing nothing?

by: John Laundre

There is something very wrong with wildlife management in the United States. This can be clearly seen in how state game agencies are "managing" wolves and now grizzly bears in the West. After long and persistent efforts of non-hunting conservation groups in both cases, wolves were returned to the West and grizzly bears have made a modest recovery. To many,these are ecological success stories. It is now widely known that top predators like wolves and grizzly bears are essential to ecosystem integrity. Bringing them back has led to the healing of ecological wounds inflicted by the ignorant mistakes of our ancestors in eliminating them in the first place. They have also been huge economic successes as hundreds of thousands of people have come to specifically see these species. Species THEY helped restore.

However, because of the moderate success of these restorations, the "management" of these two species have passed out of Federal hands on to the various state game agencies. My first question regarding this transfer is…why? What did state game agencies do regarding the restoration of these two species? In some cases…NOTHING! For example, the Idaho Fish and Game refused to do anything regarding wolf recovery. What crazy twisted logic concluded that now they should have ANY say in how they are managed, especially on Federal lands???  Overall, state game agencies did little in these efforts so why do they now get to manage them? 

Be that as it may, right or wrong, they now or soon will have control over these species. So, what did these supposed PUBLIC agencies do with species recuperated primarily by the non-hunting public? They figuratively spit in the face of these organizations that put the most effort and money into these species' restoration. They ignored overwhelming public opinion of the 95% of the public that does not hunt to continue to protect these species. 

 Instead of rewarding their efforts and recognizing the valuable role these species play with continued protection, these game agencies, the "guardians" of our wildlife, decided to reward hunters with the opportunity to kill wolves and bears! And not in a controlled "wildlife management" manner. The only way to describe the current hunting "regulations" on wolves is an all-out effort to slaughter them, to treat them as vermin, and, as it seems in Wyoming, the same fate is being scheduled for grizzly bears(

What is going on? Why are hunters being allowed to do this? What did they do to be given this "reward"? The answer is also…NOTHING! Hunters did absolutely nothing to bring back wolves, they too even fought against it. The same for grizzly bears, how much did hunters contribute to their restoration?  But yet ALL the benefits of the restoration of these species are being given to those who paid the least! Those who worked hard and long to bring them back get "rewarded" by seeing their efforts be gunned down in face of all the scientific data and public opinion to the contraryDid we try and bring back species just so they can be hunted by those who didn't help? Were hunters "rewarded" for their lack of help in restoring bald eagles by being allowed to kill them? Why are they being rewarded now?

What ever happened to those who pay, have the say? Is that not the mantra that hunters use to justify the use of their ill-informed and misguided ideas on how to manage wildlife? Hunters paid nothing or very little toward the restoration of these two species.Why do they then get a say in wolf and grizzly bear management? These species were restored by the PEOPLE of the U.S. and the PEOPLE, all of them, should have a say in how they are managed. And the resounding response, backed up by science, is DON'T HUNT THEM! Yet the game agencies continue to ignore their desire, ignore the science, and reward the small fraction of the population that did the least!

So yes, there definitely IS something wrong with how wildlife are managed in this country! It smells of elitism, favoritism, and…ignorance. And, that smell stems from the misguided, self-serving idea that sport hunting should be the main, some argue, the only, way to manage wildlife. 

Contrarily, it is becoming more and more evident to many that sport hunting is probably the worse way to "manage" wildlife in this country. Though sport hunting as a management tool is constantly heralded by hunters as being a great success, it is only a success to them and their own personal selfish wants and desires. Yes, it helped bring back deer and elk…so hunters could kill them. Yes, it helped recuperate waterfowl…so hunters could kill them.  Sport hunting as a management tool has helped the small number of favored species… that hunters could kill but….For the other 95% of us who don't hunt and 99.9% of the wildlife out there that is not hunted, using sport hunting as the management model has been nothing but a disaster.

The main reason for this is that sport hunting has led to the management for excess of these certain favored species to support the kill lust of hunters. Apart from the ecological disaster of managing in excess, as seen in the East with deer, it has led to the management of ecological dysfunctionality in other species that appear to get in the way of producing the excess of desired species demanded by hunters. Thus, the ancillary benefits of sport hunting to other non-game species that hunters brag about is ONLY if those other species don't get in the way of the prime directive of all state game agencies…more game in the bag. If they do, they are seen as a problem and are managed as such…killed excessively.

This has never been clearer than in the "management" of predators by these agencies. The science over the last 50 YEARS clearly demonstrates that ecosystems NEED their predators. THAT is how nature works.  Yet, state agencies continue to wage war on predators. Why? Because of theperverted egocentric view of hunters that nature is there only to give them something to kill.  As a consequence, it is this warped world view of "false facts" that controls the very agencies that are responsible to ecologically manage ALL our wildlife resources for ALL of us

Why do sport hunters wield such power over these agencies that should be managing all wildlife for all Americans? Why do these supposed public agencies cater to what is now only 5% of the U.S. population? This stems from another error our ancestors made. Contrary to what hunters say, there were as many active non-hunting people and organizations arguing for sanity back in the days of the wildlife killing spree perpetuated by hunters

 However, the powers that be at the time, again, decided to reward only the hunters, absurdly the same ones who caused the problem. They did this by creating state agencies primarily funded by hunting fees or licenses.  They initially, on purpose, set up and funded state agencies that were specifically designed to cater to huntersat the exclusion of everyone else. This persists to this day where many of these state agencies are 100% funded by hunting licenses. Some, such as the Idaho Fish and Game, even proudly point out that fact, bragging that "politics", meaning the other 86% of the citizens of that state, won't interfere with their goal to cater to hunters' desires…more game in the bag.

As far as I am concerned, agencies like Idaho Fish and Game that are limited to being totally or principally funded by PRIVATE membership fees (hunting licenses), are NOT public agencies. They are private hunting club managers reminiscent of the game keepers of the royalty in Europe, managing selectwildlife species for the few at the exclusion of the many. As such, they should not be in charge of publicly owned wildlife because they don't represent the public! But yet they are and their decisions concerning all wildlife are dictated not by what the public wants but by what their clients (hunters) want. And as I have stressed in past posts, hunters don't know anything about how nature works! Why then should they be allowed to influence decisions on managing wildlife, not based on science but on their own personal selfish desires???

Until state agencies are funded primarily by public funds and their management activities proportionately reflect the desire of all users, these agencies do not have the right to make management decisions on predators in general and wolves and grizzly bears specifically. Because they receive most or all of their funding from a small percentage of the population, hunters, their management decisions will be biased toward the non-scientifically justifiable desires of this group. As such, thistotally negates the tenets of wildlife being held in the public trust and the democratic rule of law of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation that these agencies are supposedly bound to.  As such, this totally negates their justification for management of these species!

Only when a majority of the funding of these agencies comes from PUBLIC funds can they be considered to be PUBIC agencies serving all of the public to manage ALL the wildlifeUntil then they should only manage what they are paid for…ducks and deer!
How this public funding of what should be public agencies is accomplished, I will address in a future post.  

Q&A: John Laundre, ecologist, on the landscape of fear

by:Christie Nicholson;7/26/13

In predator-prey relationships it's not the actual killing that has the most influence on prey behavior -- it's living in constant fear.

John Laundre in the field

You coined the ecological term, “landscape of fear.” What does that mean?
*Predators have what we call “level of lethality,” which is the fact that the level of ability to catch varies with habitat. No predator is an expert in all habitats.
*Wolves are more lethal in open areas because they run them down. Cougars on the other hand sneak up on their prey and so they’re more lethal on forest edges.
*So the landscape contains levels of varying risk for prey. So the level of fear within the prey changes across the landscape as the vegetation changes. And this also changes what we call the lethality of the predator

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