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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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Friday, January 31, 2014

The fragile and at the moment finite 100 Pumas that are confined to the lower southern half of Florida need more room to roam and there should be a USFW rewilding effort to get a breeding pair into the northern part of state as well as into Georgia and surrounding states(Delisting will be considered when: 1. Three viable, self-sustaining populations of at least 240 individuals (adults and subadults) each have been established and subsequently maintained for a minimum of twelve years).........While these plans have been sidetracked and put into a holding plan for years, the Mining Industry(Lime Rock mining for concrete material) wants to excavate close to a 1000 acres in the heart of Puma habitat.............A loophole in land restoration laws allows these miners to walk away from their dig site and not restore the land in any way,,,,,,,,,,,,,leaving an opening for developers of suburban home lots to create an artificial lake at the dig site and then convert even more open space surrounding the lake(pit) into neighborhoods,,,,,,,,,,,,,Where are the Pumas to go???????

Miners blow up panther habitat, then build houses around new 'lakes'

Miners blow up panther habitat, then build houses around new 'lakes'

To get the rock needed for making pavement and concrete,
miners want to dynamite and dig up thousands of acres in Lee
 and Collier counties that's currently habitat for the Florida panther.
When Central Florida's phosphate miners are done digging up
their fertilizer ingredients, they're required to restore the land.
 Not limerock miners. Instead their pit is converted into an
 artificial lake and the property around it subdivided and turned
 into waterfront lots.
That makes the loss of panther habitat permanent.
"That's not the direction
 we want it to head," said
 Laurie Macdonald of
Defenders of Wildlife,
 who sits on the federal
 committee trying to
 figure out how to
 expand a panther
 population currently
 around 100 to 160.

To environmental
groups, the miners'
 suburban developments
are slipping in a back door,
creating sprawl and not
 getting a proper vetting.
"Many of these mines
are located in rural areas
where development may
not be appropriate,"
contended Amber Crooks
of the Conservancy of
Southwest Florida.
Usually the land is
farmland, swamp or forest before the mining begins — places
where development would likely get closer scrutiny for its impact
 on panthers if it weren't a mine first.

In December, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the permit for a 970-acre mine known as the Hogan Island Quarry, in part over the future development of the land.
Federal wildlife officials must review the mining proposals to gauge their impact on the future of the panther, which has been on the endangered species list since 1967. Records reviewed by the Times show the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Corps of Engineers, which issues permits for the loss of wetlands, have done nothing to stop the conversion of mining property to suburban development.
Permit reviewers say they're hampered by a lack of cooperation from some mining firms.
"Some mines will not give us their end plans," said Tori Foster of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "There are constraints on what we're able to ask."
Instead, she said, they have to figure it out from clues in the permit application, such as whether there's any land designated for preservation. If not, she said, "then we consider everything on the property to be impacted" by mining and development.
Tunis McElwain, chief of the corps regulatory section in Fort Myers, says his agency is focused solely on the wetlands. Even if development is slated for thousands of acres of uplands around where the mine would be, it's not something they ask about.
The fact that the rock mines will someday become deep lakes surrounded by new houses is hardly a secret.
"We were very cognizant of that," said Jim Beever, principal planner with the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council.
One Naples-area development on the site of a former mine is even called "The Quarry." Another mine recently approved by wildlife officials is owned by a builder, Lennar Homes, not a mining company. A third, the Hogan Island Quarry, is shown on a consultants' map at a spot labeled "Town Node."
"Development of the land could be the best use for the water and environmental resources there," said Matt Arbuckle, a land manager for Vulcan Materials, the nation's largest producer of rock and gravel for construction and owner of Florida Rock, a longtime miner in Florida.

Other options for the post-mining landscape include turning the mine into a reservoir or converting it into a golf course like the Quarry Course at Black Diamond in Lecanto, he said.
"We work with the regulatory agencies to minimize our impact on the environment as much as possible," he said.
But the main feature left by the mines, the artificial lakes, are no boon to the environment, Beever said. They go too deep to mimic natural Florida lakes and thus lack oxygen to support any aquatic life.
A further complication is that the mines — and the subdivisions that follow — are being built in an area important to recharging the aquifer, Beever pointed out. A Lee County study said there's no need for new mines for decades because the rock supply from existing mines is sufficient.
Nevertheless, a couple of years ago, property owners in Lee and Collier counties applied for a dozen permits for new mines, McElwain said. Florida's mortgage meltdown had left would-be developers unable to build, he explained. As a fallback they wanted to mine that 19,000 acres, figuring they could then develop it in the future.
But when the corps announced it would conduct an analysis of the cumulative impact of all those mines, all but four withdrew their applications, McElwain said. That ended talk of a cumulative study, although the Conservancy says mines totalling 14,000 acres of impacts still await permits.
In their lawsuit over the Hogan Island Quarry, the environmental groups argue the agencies should still try to gauge the cumulative impact. In 2004, a federal judge invalidated a permit for Florida Rock to dig a 6,000-acre mine over the same issue.
"When considered in isolation, most individual projects would impact only small portions of potential panther habitat," U.S. District Judge James Robertson wrote. "However, when multiplied by many projects over a long period of time, the cumulative impact on the panther might be significant."

The Fish and Wildlife Service biologist who reviewed the Florida Rock permit, Andy Eller, had tried to object to it but was overruled by his bosses and fired. Eller was vindicated by an independent scientific review and rehired, but reassigned to another part of the country with no panthers.
Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Craig Pittman can be reached at or follow him on Twitter @craigtimes.
Miners blow up panther habitat, then build houses around new 'lakes' 01/20/14 [Last modified: Monday, 
January 20, 2014 10:26pm]
U.S.F.W Service plans for Florida Puma Rewilding

The third area of emphasis in Florida panther recovery is to establish two
additional populations within the historic range of the panther (FWS 1987, FWS
1995). Population establishment involves site selection and use of surrogate
FLORIDA PANTHER Multi-Species Recovery Plan for South Florida
Page 4-133

One of two plans for population re-establishment discussed by Belden and
McCown (1996) involves the release of four to five wild-caught female Florida
panthers into a select area. Once they established home ranges a captive-raised
male would be introduced only long enough to breed the females. This plan has
the advantages of requiring fewer panthers from the South Florida population
and of allowing more control over where re-establishment occurs. Wild-caught
females with kittens could also be used.

Studies have concluded that Florida panther reintroduction is biologically
feasible (Belden and Hagedorn 1993, Belden and McCown 1996). Habitat and
prey available in north Florida and south Georgia are sufficient to support a
viable panther population. However, complex social issues must be addressed
prior to population reestablishment (Belden and McCown 1996). A study is
currently underway to identify these issues and ways to manage them

The recovery strategy for the Florida panther is to maintain, restore, and expand the pantherpopulation and its habitat in south Florida, expand this population into south-central Florida,reintroduce at least two additional viable populations within the historic range outside of southand south-central Florida, and facilitate panther recovery through public awareness andeducation. The panther depends upon habitat of sufficient quantity, quality, and spatialconfiguration for long-term persistence, therefore the plan is built upon habitat conservation andreducing habitat-related threats. Range expansion and reintroduction of additional populationsare recognized as essential for recovery. Similarly, fostering greater public understanding andsupport is necessary to achieve panther conservation and recovery.

Recovery Goal
The goal of this recovery plan is to achieve long-term viability of the Florida panther to a pointwhere it can be reclassified from endangered to threatened, and then removed from the Federal
Recovery Objectives
1. To maintain, restore, and expand the panther population and its habitat in south Florida andexpand the breeding portion of the population in south Florida to areas north of theCaloosahatchee River.

2. To identify, secure, maintain, and restore panther habitat in potential reintroduction areaswithin the historic range, and to establish viable populations of the panther outside south andsouth-central Florida.
3. To facilitate panther recovery through public awareness and education.

Recovery Criteria

Reclassification will be considered when:

1. Two viable populations of at least 240 individuals (adults and subadults) each have beenestablished and subsequently maintained for a minimum of twelve years (two panthergenerations; one panther generation is six years [Seal and Lacy 1989]).

2. Sufficient habitat quality, quantity, and spatial configuration to support these populations isretained / protected or secured for the long-term.A viable population, for purposes of Florida panther recovery, has been defined as one in which
there is a 95% probability of persistence for 100 years. This population may be distributed in ametapopulation structure composed of subpopulations that total 240 individuals. There must beexchange of individuals and gene flow among subpopulations. For reclassification, exchange ofindividuals and gene flow can be either natural or through management. If managed, a commitment to such management must be formally documented and funded. Habitat should bein relatively unfragmented blocks that provide for food, shelter, and characteristic movements
(e.g., hunting, breeding, dispersal, and territorial behavior) and support each metapopulation at aminimum density of 2 to 5 animals per 100 square miles (259 square kilometers) (Seidenstickeret al. 1973, Logan et al. 1986, Maehr et al. 1991a, Ross and Jalkotzy 1992, Spreadbury et al.1996, Logan and Sweanor 2001, Kautz et al. 2006), resulting in a minimum of 4,800 – 12,000square miles (12,432 – 31,080 square kilometers) per metapopulation of 240 panthers. 

The amount of area needed to support each metapopulation will depend upon the quality of available habitat and the density of panthers it can support.

Delisting will be considered when:

1. Three viable, self-sustaining populations of at least 240 individuals (adults and subadults)

each have been established and subsequently maintained for a minimum of twelve years.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

If you think that there is chaos and confusion in Washington D.C. with our Senate and House of Representatives, it is bi-polar mania in the State House in Pennsylvania where this truly clueless "Body Politic" is calling for there to be a bounty on Eastern Coyotes....................They use the excuse that deer are being decimated by Coyotes.........Then, this same group of clueless men and women want a bill that allows hunters to kill even more deer because as Jeff Grove, Director for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau said loudly the other day,,,,,,"THERE IS A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF DEER DAMAGE" taking place .....................Geez Louise!!!!!! Leave the Coyotes and Bears alone and bring in the Pumas and Wolves...............The Farmers of the "Keystone State" have it right,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Deer are decimating both our forests and our fields!!!!!!.....................These two articles below merit being turned into a Saturday Night Live skit on tv portraying the utter ignorance of our Politicians as it relates to wildlife issues and the outright manipulation of our elected leaders by folks who do not have the "greater good of America in mind"

Pa. game commission asked to expand deer hunting

Updated 9:21 am, Monday, January 27, 2014
LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — Members of thePennsylvania Game Commission are being urged to expand deer hunting opportunities in the commonwealth.
Deer were the game species most talked about Sunday at the start of the commission's annual winter meeting in Harrisburg, Lancaster Newspapers reported ( ).
Farmers complained in a survey about "a tremendous amount of deer damage," said Jeff Grove, local affairs director for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.
He asked commissioners to consider opening the firearms deer season on Thanksgiving weekend, rather than on the following Monday, saying it would allow more people — especially youngsters — the chance to hunt deer.

House bill would place bounty on coyotes

In cartoons, Wile E. Coyote never had a chance against The Roadrunner. In real life that bird is lunch.
"If the world was wiped out, cockroaches and coyotes would survive," quipped Game Commission furbearer biologist Tom Hardisky.
Uniquely equipped to prey on foods of almost every type and size, the coyote is considered by many biologists the most adaptive predator in North America. In the last 20 years, coyotes have spread to every county in Pennsylvania. Quietly, they've moved into urban neighborhoods, often without the knowledge of residents. There's no evidence of a direct threat to people, but many unwittingly let their pets roam outside in unfenced areas. Sometimes, Fluffy doesn't make it home, and although only 25 pet deaths due to coyote predation were confirmed in Pennsylvania in 2012, the actual number is probably huge.
Last month, with bipartisan support, the state House approved a bill that would pay hunters and trappers $25 for a coyote pelt. The Game Commission calls that a "bounty," however, and cites 100 years of wildlife management science claiming that bounties are a bad management tool.
"They've been proven to not work. At least 50 to 60 years ago we ended the bounty system [in Pennsylvania]," said Hardisky. "With bounties you don't manage a species, you wipe it out, and there are repercussions on every other species. It's happened over and over. There's often fraud and the waste of taxpayer money. There is no science behind wildlife bounties."
One of the most prolific voices against bounties was that of Roger Latham, Pittsburgh Press outdoors editor from 1957 until his death in 1979. With a Penn State doctorate in zoology and wildlife management, Latham worked as a Game Commission biologist from 1937 through 1957 and ran the agency's Division of Research for six years. In 1959, while working for the Press, Latham wrote a rebuke of the bounty system, "Bounties are Bunk," that was published in a National Wildlife Federation publication.
"According to the many, many surveys and studies made, the payment of bounties on the smaller predators is one of the most inefficient and ineffective methods of all," wrote Latham. [... Fraud is synonymous with all bounty systems. Animals are brought in from other states and even other countries and pawned off on untrained officials."
Hardisky backed Latham's assertion that the bounty-funded removal of one predator inevitably results in a population explosion of another, disrupting natural prey-species population cycles.
"The money spent [on bounties]," wrote Latham, "can usually be used to better advantage in other ways."
"But this isn't a bounty, it's an incentive," said state Rep. Mike Peifer, R-Honesdale, sponsor of House Bill 1534.
An avid outdoorsman from the Poconos and member of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, Peifer said the Game Commission's open-season, no-bag-limit approach to coyote control isn't working.
"Aside from during the February coyote derbies, nobody goes out hunting for coyotes," he said. "When a bow hunter sees one, he doesn't want to shoot it and ruin his chance to take a buck; bear hunters don't want to spoil the drive by stopping to shoot a coyote. Hunters like to eat what they kill, and you can't eat coyotes so they don't shoot them.
"What this [bill] does is incentivize the killing of more coyotes, get hunters to take an interest in hunting this species that has grown out of control."
It's true, the population of this extremely adaptive species has exceeded management goals, said Hardisky. In recent decades, eastern coyotes that were descended from wolf-coyote crossbreeding in Canada -- larger than their western cousins -- migrated south through New England into Eastern and Central Pennsylvania. New DNA research, he said, proves that most coyotes in Western Pennsylvania were descended from western coyotes that migrated eastward.
"Hunting can only do so much to control such an adaptive predator. But bounties fail on multiple levels -- there are better ways to do this," Hardisky said. "A lot of it is cultural. Farmers can reduce livestock predation through better husbandry practices -- good fencing, no free-ranging. And pet owners, they just have to accept that they can't let their pets out anymore."
House Bill 1534 has the support of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. Having passed the House, it has moved to the state Senate.
Read HB 1534 and Post-Gazette coyote articles at the PG Rod & Gun Club blog (

Read more:


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The state Division of Natural Resources conducted a poll to elect a state animal as a symbol for West Virginia in 1954.............. The students, teachers, and sportsmen of West Virginia chose the black bear as the the animal symbol for West Virgnia by a large margin.......... The bear population has been increasing since the 1960's when only 500 occupied the state to today where all 55 counties have a Bruin population that totals somewhere between 8000 to 10,000 animals.............25%-33% of the population have been killed annually by hunters over the past 4 years but state biologists continue to claim that the population is stable if not inching up..........Important to know that according to the peer reviewed paper entitled: MANAGEMENT OF BEARS IN NORTH AMERICA(see below for more information), a maximum hunter take of 14% can occur before a downward population slide begins to take place.............Is West Virginia killing a higher % of it's Bruins than is long term sustainable???????????????....................It is important to know in managing Black Bears that they are one of the slower reproducing large mammals in North America...............Black bear females typically produce cubs every two years once they become mature.............. The 2-year reproductive cycle is genetically timed to fit the annual cycle of plant growth and fruiting of the region with the typical litter of 2 or 3 cubs

West Virginia Hunters Harvest 2,682 Black Bears in 2013

Posted: Jan 20, 2014 10:01 AM PSTUpdated: Jan 20, 2014 10:12 AM PST

South Charleston, W.Va – West Virginia hunters harvested 2,682 black bears during the 2013 season. This is the second highest black bear harvest in West Virginia.  The harvest number is a combination from both archery and firearms seasons, according to Paul Johansen, from West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
The preliminary harvest data for 2013 is very similar to 2012's harvest of 2,691 bears.  This marks the fourth time in the past five years that the harvest has topped 2,000 bears.

"As always, mast conditions had a tremendous influence on the distribution of this year's bear harvest," said Johansen.
 Hunters took 851 bears during the 2013 archery season. The top five counties were Wyoming (75), Fayette (61), Raleigh (58), Logan (52) and Randolph (52).
Firearms hunters harvested 1,831 bears during 2013. Hunters took 679 bears in September and October, 361 during the concurrent buck/bear season, and 791 during the traditional December season. The top five counties were Randolph (245), Pendleton (201), Greenbrier (151), Webster (134) and Pocahontas (131)

Population Management of Bears in North America
Author(s): Sterling D. Miller
Source: Bears: Their Biology and Management, Vol. 8, A Selection of Papers from the Eighth
International Conference on Bear Research and Management, Victoria, British Columbia,
Canada, February 1989 (1990), pp. 357-373
Published by: International Association of Bear Research and Management

STERLING D. MILLER, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 333 Raspberry Rd., Anchorage, AK 99518-1599
Abstr-act: Population management for black bears (Utrsus amer-icanus), brown-grizzly bears (U. arctos) and polar bears (U. maritimus) in North America is reviewed.
In different areas bear populations are managed to achieve goals of population control, conservation, or sustained yield. Most North American bears are managed for
sustained yields and this topic is emphasized. The consequence of error in population management is high as bears reproduce slowly and reduced populations will require
many years to recover. Simulation results where reproductive rates were generous, natural mortality rates were low, and harvests were 75% of maximum sustainable rates indicated that populations reduced by half will require >40 years to recover for brown (grizzly) bears and >17 years for black bears. Under optimal conditions for reproduction natural mortality, and with males twice as vulnerable as females, maximum sustainable hunting mortality was estimated as 5.7% o f tota l population for grizzly
bears and 14.2% for black bears. In recent decades, all 3 species have obtained the status of game animals in most jurisdictions and management for control objectives
is increasingly uncommon. Management for conservation requires primary emphasis on habitat protection and on minimizing mortalities from any source. Managers
of hunted bear populations use information from hunters, from sex and age composition of killed bears, from research programs, and from computer simulation studies.
Non-criticalu ses of dataf rom any of these sources may lead to managemente rror. Data on age-at-harvesti s especially pronet o misinterpretationT. echniquesu sed to
limit harvests by managers of hunted bear populations are reviewed. The primary constraints facing bear population management derive from inadequate habitat
protection, political pressures. technological limitations of available population management techniques. and inadequate financial support for management.
Int.C onf.B earR es.a ndM anage8. :357-373


Q. What is the black bear population for West Virginia by counties? Are there any groups or organizations that support our state animal? Is there an estimate of the total population, and are they in all 55 counties?
A. The black bear is our largest animal in West Virginia and always of interest. The current statewide population of black bears in West Virginia is estimated at over 8,000. They occur in at least 38 counties. Detailed, ongoing studies were initiated in 1999 by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to determine age structure, population estimates, trends, causes of mortality, and behavior of our native black bear. These studies are being conducted in four southern counties (Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, and Raleigh) and five northern counties (Randolph, Tucker, and parts of Barbour, Grant and Webster). Results have shown an increase in growth of the southern population, with average litter sizes greater than those of the northern counties.

This research continues to give us the ability to conserve and properly manage the black bear within West Virginia. Many different conservation and user groups support black bear research across the nation. Three groups have specifically supported research in West Virginia-the Campfire Conservation Fund, Inc., the West Virginia Bowhunters Association, and the West Virginia Trophy Hunters Association.

Kentucky displaying none of the tenets of the North America Model of Conservation in allowing Coyotes to be hunted at night with spotlights, during the birthing season of pups(Feb-March)---as well as year round..........."Hi Ho, HI ho",,,,lets all go and strap on our night vision goggles in Kentucky(sounds like a Navy Seal "Search and Destroy" mission) and go blow away as many Coyotes as possible................Without any remorse or questioning of whether this "kill baby kill" policy is just, the article below closes with-------"We wish all good luck(to you hunters) and be careful while afield"--------Mind numbing how wrong this policy is...................."When a man has pity on all living creatures then only is he noble"----- The Buddha (6th cent BCE)....................."There will come a day when such men as myself will view the slaughter of innocent creatures as horrible a crime as the murder of his fellow man"---- "Our task must to be free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty"-------. Albert Einstein (1879-1955.

This is an e-mail from ( sent by rick meril ( You may also find the following link interesting:

KENTUCKY (1/24/14) — With the end of January coming around and Kentucky's Deer Season now has ended, several outdoorsmen are wondering, “What can I do now that deer season is over and waterfowl season also will be ending soon?”  

Well just change gears to your varmint gun.
Get geared up to get out and try coyote hunting.

With the State of Kentucky making it a new law starting on Feb. 1 that a hunter may now hunt coyotes after daylight hours and into the night time in this season ending on May 31.

  • Coyotes may be hunted year round in Kentucky by a legal hunter, with this new season of hunting coyotes at night time Feb. 1 through May 31, you may only use a shotgun with shot shells only.
  • No single projectile shells "slugs" are allowed.
  • You may legally use hand calls and electronic calls at any time.
  • At night, you may use artificial lights but lights may not be hooked up to a mechanized vehicle such as a truck, car, ATV or golf carts.  
  • Night vision equipment may be used by hunters at night.
  • As always a hunter must abide by all state regulations and ask for permission to hunt private land by the land owners.
  • This new night time coyote hunting is new to all hunters across the State of Kentucky.

It will be harder to accomplish to kill Coyotes than most think.

Coyotes are a very smart and wary animals with a keen sense of smell. They may come to your calling but may hang up at there at a distance of 100 yards roughly due to their wariness.  
If you do decide to hunt at night and try this hunt sport, have a good game plan with your hunting partner and be very careful due to the darkness. It may place you at risk of an accident if you're not careful.  
Always hunt safe and remember to be extra safe with your firearms especially at night.
Due to the very high population of coyotes throughout the suburbs and rural areas of Kentucky, there have been several reports of coyotes coming up to houses and barns to look for an easy meal such as house cats, small house dogs and small house pets, and farm animals such as ducks and chickens. There has been a ruling to make this new night season a go.

This time of year, the coyote has said to be easier to hunt.

It's their breeding season and the coyotes are more vocal especially at night.

According to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, there is no night hunting in the Federal U.S. Forest Service areas such as Daniel Boone National Forest, Land Between the Lakes, Beaver Creek, Cane Creek, Redbird, Mill Creek and Pioneer Weapons WMA's in Kentucky.

We wish all good luck and be careful while afield.
For more information on this new coyote season, check out Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife website.
SurfKY News
Randy Adams “Outdoors with Big Country”