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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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Monday, October 31, 2016

Looks like a Puma was located strolling in a field in Grand Falls, New Brunswick(Canada) just over the Maine border...........Watch the video below of this seemingly October 5 sighting!!!...............However, up until now, despite what many "Downeasters" claim, there is no evidence of a breeding population of Pumas in Maine or New Brunswick..............."The last confirmed report of a cougar in New Brunswick was in 1932"......................... "A hunter in Kent County shot a cougar while it was resting in a tree"...................... "Furthermore, the last confirmed report of a cougar in Eastern Canada was in 1938"................ "A large tawny colored cat (suspected to be a cougar) was trapped in Quebec near the Maine border"................ "Since then there have been numerous reported sightings, but the lack of substantial evidence questions the existence of this animal in these forests"


mountain lion

 filmed near

 Maine border

Presidential candidates may come and go from
 Maine, but there
 is one debate that is likely to persist here long
after the election
 is over and the campaign signs are uprooted
 and hauled away:
Are there mountain lions in Maine?
watch the video of the Puma

Does the video resemble resemble a real
  I think so!
Image result for mountain lion spotted in new brunswick canada on october 5, 2016
We get frequent reports (well, John Holyoke
 does, anyway) about 
mountain lion or cougar sightings in our
 state, and always they 
seem to be met with doubt or outright
 debunking. Waldoboro
Corea, and Ellsworth are some of the
places where claims of wild
 cat wanderings, sometimes
accompanied by dubious photographic
 evidence, have cropped up in recent years.
Now, it seems, there is some fairly
 compelling (but unconfirmed)
 video evidence of a cougar sighting near
 the Maine-New Brunswick 
border — only it’s on the other side of
the border. According to
 this CBC report, Michele McLaughlin,
a resident of Grand Falls,
 N.B., used her cellphone on Oct. 5
to record the feline walking
 through a field by her home.

I’m not a wildlife expert,
 but it sure does look like a
 mountain lion or something
similar to me. And, based
 on where McLaughlin says
she shot the video, the animal
 was only two miles from Maine.

Reporting Eastern Cougar & Wolf Sightings

Are there Cougars in Maine? Having spent a great deal of time in the Maine woods and on the waters of our great State, without reasonable doubt I believe that both species (wolf and cougar) exist in our state. While they maybe wandering, dispersed or released I don't have that answer. We do however encourage reintroduction of both species, either natural or with the help of Fish and Game. Studies clearly show that wolf would reduce our coyote populations and help increase our deer herd. If you have sighted a wolf or coyote I would like to know about it. I for one attempted to protect the last known wolf that was killed in Maine near Alligator Lake - we had seen and tracked the animal for over a year, yet it was taken by a trapper in 1996. So drop me a note, I do maintain a record and pass the information along to friends at IFW. Please give date, location, and information relative to what you saw and description of sighting to

For decades, the presence of eastern cougar (Felis concolor couguar) in Maine and New Brunswick has been debated among biologists and the public. The eastern cougar was placed on the endangered species list, but its status is unknown. Due to the lack of evidence in the past, biologists are now wondering if there was ever a subspecies of eastern cougar or maybe that there was just an eastern population of cougar (same species as found in the west). Taxonomically biologists now refer to eastern cougar as cougar (Felis concolor).

Since the mid 1970’s to the present day there have been several hundred reported sightings. In addition, there are a considerable amount of sightings that have not been reported.

The last confirmed report of a cougar in New Brunswick was in 1932. A hunter in Kent County shot a cougar while it was resting in a tree. Furthermore, the last confirmed report of a cougar in Eastern Canada was in 1938. A large tawny colored cat (suspected to be a cougar) was trapped in Quebec near the Maine border. Since then there have been numerous reported sightings, but the lack of substantial evidence questions the existence of this animal in our forests.

The cougar can be described as being 6-9 feet (1.8-2.7 m) in length (from nose to tip of tail), 100-150 pounds (45.5-68.2 kg) and a shoulder height of 26-30 inches (65-75 cm). The track is large (4 inches (10 cm) in width) and resembles a large bobcat or lynx track. Cougars are typically most active at night and are tawny brown to gray in color.

Each year there are approximately 40 reported sightings of cougar. The most common sightings are from cars or while people are walking. The observer typically sees a large cat-size animal jump out of the woods and run across the road. The length of time the animal is in the field of view is normally for a few seconds.

When people believe they have seen a cougar one of the questions to ask is: "what color was the animal that you saw?" If the individual states the animal they saw was dark brown or black, the "red flags" go up to game officials.

There has never been a reported black cougar in North America. There are a number of animals that can be confused as being a "black" cat. There are fisher (Martes pennanti), dark colored coyotes (Canis latrans), black bears (Ursus americanus) and not to mention domestic dogs and cats. All of these when glanced at could resemble a large dark-colored cat.

Although the existence of cougar looks uncertain, there have been a few convincing stories and some credible evidence in both Maine and New Brunswick that officials investigated.

If a cougar is found, will be several questions that have to be addressed. DNA testing will have to be completed to determine if the animal is an actual eastern cougar or an escaped western cougar. The evidence will also allow us to determine if the cougars are part of an eastern population of cougar. Until we get the evidence that is necessary to confirm cougars, the biologists and the public will continue to debate the status of cougar in Maine and New Brunswick.

Another problem that is surfacing regarding reporting endangered or strange wildlife is the concern that officials or groups will want special restrictions on the forests, hunting or trapping. Or that the person reporting will be considered somewhat a strange loon. This has proven out a number of recent attempts by so called wildlife groups to stop trapping and other harvesting in Maine, along with restrictions on timber cutting. I would point out that things must be going well if the wildlife is able to sustain itself currently, so why would special protections be required? This is another debate that will not be resolved any time soon. I for one side with Maine Trappers, SAM and others, all can co-exist in our forests and woods. But I would ask you to report any sightings or findings.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

With both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump calling out the "rigged" D.C.beltway insiders during this election cycle, biologist John Laundre today calls out the "rigged/insider" wildlife management policies of our state Game Agencies..............John points out that the NORTH AMERICAN MODEL FOR WILDLIFE CONSERVATION proclaims that wildlife belong to the public trust(meaning you, me and every U.S. citizen)..........However, he vividly points out in his treatise below that "Wildlife ownership and management in most of the U.S. is no longer the providence of the many but of the few"..................... "Every day decisions being made that influence the fate not only of game species but all wildlife and the ecosystems they live in are made not by the democratic process but by a small self-appointed class of citizens---hunters"......................... "This small class of citizens only comprises 6% of the adult population in the U.S.".................. "Yet they and the state game commissions they own have the only and final say regarding wildlife, at the exclusion of the other 94% of the citizens and 99% of the wildlife" ..............."Wildlife are not managed for all but for the enjoyment and benefit of this elite class".................. "As long as this system exists, we have indeed created the same type of feudal ownership and management of wildlife that our ancestors tried to avoid"............. "We have created the beast that they abhorred"

We have created the monster we feared

by John Laundre

A part of the oppressive feudal system that was inflicted on Europe during the late Middle ages, 12th Century and onward, was the enforcement of a strict ownership system. It was a system where the few elite rich landlords, all the way up to the king, not only owned the land but all the wildlife on it. These wildlife resources were deemed only for the enjoyment and benefit of this elite class. There were strict laws forbidding common people from hunting or using this wildlife, with severe penalties imposed on those that broke those laws. The feudal landlords hired special game managers to propagate the desired species they wanted to hunt and to rid the lands of those that interfered with that goal, mainly predators. 

Hunters should not be the only voice dictating the management of wildlife

Such a system left most people of the land on the outside looking in. Left them no say in the management of these animals. Left them to be scorned and punished if they interfered in any way with the overriding goal of providing abundant wildlife for the sport bags of the nobility.
Needless to say when colonialists, escaping the oppression of such a feudal land/wildlife ownership system, started their new life in what was to become the United States, they vowed to not repeat the past mistakes of this old feudal system, especially with regards to wildlife ownership. In the budding revolution of democracy, The U.S. was likely the first country since before the 12th century where ownership and control of wildlife was not the privilege of a small elite class but a sovereign right of all citizens. It is upon this foundation that the management and conservation of our wildlife resources are supposed to be based. I contend however, that though initial intentions were good, the present-day descendants of these freedom loving colonialists have come full circle and have created the same type of wildlife management system their ancestors detested. 

Hikers should have a voice managing our wildlife

Because of efforts by some to abolish this democratic ownership of wildlife, relatively recent legal decisions in the late 1800'shave reaffirmed that wildlife resources belong to the "state", meaning all its citizens. The words in these decisions are egalitarian words to be sure, sounding as to if enshrine the democratic process in the management of this resource supposedly owned by all. The first "sister" of the North American Model for wildlife conservation (NAM) repeats these words proclaiming that wildlife belong to the public trust. The third sister declares "Democratic rule of law" in their management. However, it is only in words does it sound like wildlife in this country belong to all citizens or that there is any form of democracy in their management.

This is because the people wanting wildlife to be for the few rather than the many have won! They have found a surreptitiousway to do circumvent these words. To make wildlife again the dominion of the few, the elite. Despite the laws, the in practice the democracy of ownership has been eroded, perverted, changed to the very system of wildlife ownership and management that our forefathers abhorred. 

Campers should have a say managing our wildlife

Wildlife ownership and management in most of the U.S. is no longer the providence of the many but of the few. Every day decisions being made that influence the fate not only of game species but all wildlife and the ecosystems they live in are made not by the democratic process but by a small self-appointed class of citizens….huntersThis small class of citizens only comprise6% of the adult population in the U.S. Yet they and the state game commissions they own have the only and final say regarding wildlife, at the exclusion of the other 94% of the citizens and 99% of the wildlife.

Like the feudal system, this small class of citizens feel entitled to "ownership" of wildlife. This entitlement comes from a hunter created system in which by decree, the only financial resources to be used for the management of wildlife comes from…hunters. Thus, though by law all wildlife belong to everyone, in most states, the understood rule of thumb is: "Those who pay, get the say". Hunters do not deny and even brag about the fact that because they pay the salaries, the operations of state game agencies, they should be the only ones that have a say in how this wildlife is managed.  They say they take pride in the fact that they do not get money from the general funds, having us believe it is to keep politics out of game management. But what they really mean is that as long as they only use hunters' fees, they don't need to listen to the other 94%, the non-hunting citizens of the state. 

Bird Watchers should have a say in managing our wildlife

This exclusion of the "serfs" from decision making regarding wildlife effectively strips the rest of us of any "ownership" supposedly bestowed by the laws that hunters like to flaunt. The exclusive use of hunting fees for the management of wildlife then is the single most important 
justification that hunters use to defend their monopoly on wildlife and thus maintains the feudal system. A system where hunters are the "lords" and they and only they have a say over wildlife.
Like the feudal system of old, the management of wildlife is dictated by this small elite class through their hand-picked managers.

 The hunting industry would like the rest of us to think that these managers are public servants, beholding to all. However, because many state game agencies operate solely on the revenue of license fees, they are NOT public entities. They are in a sense large private hunting clubs run under the illusion of being public. They are bought and paid for by the 6% of the population, mostly white male, well to do elite class that feels they own the game.  And the game "managers" of these agencies are not public servants. They are paid servants of this elite class and as such, are bound to do the bidding of hunters. Thus like the game managers of the kings and lords, their sole job, as described by a past Fish and Game director in Idaho is to: provide more game for the bag…period. 

City folks should have a say in how we manage our wildlife

The one reprehensible difference of this system from the old European feudal system is that most of this private management and hunting is done on public land! Though we all pay for the maintenance of these lands and thus the wildlife on them, this does not seem to bestow any level of ownership or say in the management of the wildlife there. Hunters and their minions make unilateral decisions on these lands, many of them federal lands so belonging to all citizens, that include massive removal of certain species to protect favored game species of the hunting "lords".  They instigate a policy of "more game for the bag" without regard to the impact of these policies on the rest of the ecosystems nor to human health.  In a sense our public lands have become the private hunting clubs for the hunting industry where they make the rules regarding wildlife.

Rural folks should have a say in how we manage our wildlife

Lastly, like the system of old, if anyone raises their voice against this modern day feudal hierarchy, they are "punished" with public ridicule as not knowing enough about how nature works to make these decisions. Their efforts are marginalized and at times they are even threatened for questioning what hunters believe is their inalienable right to be the lords of nature.

As long as hunters continue to insist that they and they alone have the majority say in wildlife decisions and game agencies continue to only receive revenue from hunters, we do not have a democracy concerning wildlife resources as hollowly proclaimed in the NAM. Wildlife are not held in the public trust but are the "property" of the members of a small, elite, wealthy class. Wildlife are not managed for all but for the enjoyment and benefit of this elite class. As long as this system exists, we have indeed created the same type of feudal ownership and management of wildlife that our ancestors tried to avoid. We have created the beast that they abhorred. 

Read John Laundre's most recent book

John Laundre is one of the three scientists
who put forth the storied LANDSCAPE OF FEAR paradigm

The Landscape of Fear: Ecological Implications of Being Afraid

The Open Ecology Journal2010, 3: 1-7

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

“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.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Panthera Teton Cougar Project commenting today on one of the more resilient Pumas that they have studied over the past 15 years, Puma F109................"In 2013, she was the first and only mountain lion among those studied to successfully kill and consume a wolf" ..............."Historically thought to be a "solitude carnivore", she was the first mountain lion the Project caught on video interacting socially with another mountain lion and in recent years she interacted with other mountain lions some 28 times"...........Living virtually as long in the wild as mother nature allows(12 years), old age caught up to her this month, and as such, "she gave her heart to the hawks"..................... F109 reinforces the fact that just like we human animals, Pumas are individuals with a variety of living and problem solving abilities............"Some are traditional Elk hunters, some prefer smaller fare",,,,,,,,,,,,,"Some are productive, successful mothers, others never raise a single kitten to independence"......Click on the link below to watch a video of F109 caching an Elk kill

The Passing of a Titan

An intimate portrait of F109, an adult female mountain lion tracked by Panthera's Teton Cougar Project in northwest Wyoming.
Puma F109

Contrary to popular belief, mountain lions are not all the same. They are as distinctive in personality as we are. Some are bold, others stick to the shadows. Some are social, others avoid interactions. Some hunt elk, some prefer smaller fare. Some are productive, successful mothers that rear numerous kittens to young adults, and others never raise a single kitten to independence. It’s productive females like F109 that are so important to the future of mountain lion populations.
F109, an adult female mountain lion followed by Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project, was exceptional by every standard. She was near impossible to catch with hounds. She was a master of interwoven fallen trees and would leap to mount them, weaving loops across trunks without ever touching the ground. She would climb trees when dogs were close, and leap from one canopy to another, only to descend some distance away. We reveled in the fact that she was safe from hunters; her intelligent evasive strategies left their hounds (and ours!) in drooling befuddlement. F109 was the cat we’d tell stories about around the fire; we revered her tenacity and her indomitable spirit. Whenever a hike was long and hard, we’d say to ourselves, “at least we’re not on a 109 capture!”
F109 raised several litters of bouncing kittens to independence, all the while traversing the highest, most rugged terrain our study area in northwest Wyoming had to offer. She survived encounters with bears and wolves, as well as encounters with humans and bull elk. She endured bitter cold and landslides. She showed us exactly what a fortified den looks like (See A Fortress for Kittens). In 2013, she was the first and only mountain lion among those we’ve followed to successfully kill and consume a wolf (See Hunters or Hunted? Wolves Vs. Mountain Lions).

 Each winter, she also killed several bull elk, which can weigh greater than 700 lbs— more than 8 times her size. She was the first mountain lion we caught on video interacting socially with another mountain lion (See Solitary is not Asocial: Social Interactions Among Mountain Lions), and in recent years she interacted with other mountain lions some 28 times. Over the 6 years we studied her, we gathered data on 195 prey she killed and consumed. Twenty of those kills provided us the opportunity to film and study vertebrate scavengers and document more mountain lion social interactions. F109 taught us what it means to be a successful mountain lion, and as we continue to analyze data and reflect upon our time in northwest Wyoming, she will continue to teach us more.
F109 died this month of natural causes, old age and disease, at an incredible 12 years of age. In a hunted population such as this one, her long life is worthy of recognition. Her collar betrayed her final resting place, and we ascended 2,500 feet to find her high on Sheep Mountain, in the center of her territory. On high, we crossed a final snow-covered meadow to enter the copse of trees she’d chosen.
The mountain was quiet when we arrived, the air crisp and cool. There were nearby signs of a red squirrel, but it did not chatter at our approach or as we lingered over F109’s frozen body. F109’s death will go unnoticed by most, but her absence leaves a hole in the Jackson ecosystem. The local mountain lion community is more diminished for her passing. Our lives, I’m convinced, are more impoverished as well. Thank you, F109.

About Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project

Cougar peering down from a treeLocated in northwestern Wyoming on 2,300 km2 of the most ecologically-intact ecosystems in the lower United States, Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project is one of very few long-term cougar projects operated in North America. Today, the project spans the Grand Teton National Park, National Elk Refuge, and Teton Wilderness Area in the Bridger-Teton National Forest – exquisite landscapes that boast diverse wildlife populations, including cougars, grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, bison, and occasional wolverines, bobcats and Canada lynx.
Now in its fifteenth year, Panthera's Teton Cougar Project was co-founded by Dr. Howard Quigley, Executive Director of Panthera’s Puma and Jaguar Programs, and Dr. Maurice Hornocker, one of the original pioneers in cougar research. The project’s focus includes cougar population dynamics, such as the effects of recolonizing wolves and human hunting on cougar survivorship; cougar habitat selection; foraging ecology; and cougar interactions with other carnivores.

Friday, October 28, 2016

The buckeye state, Ohio once again is the home of a breeding Black Bear population,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Eastern Coyotes and Bobcats have gotten the most "rewilding fanfare" in Ohio over the past couple of years as they have spread across the state..............Now, Black Bears are getting their "moment in the sun" as the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources has verified that a Sow with two cubs are alive and well in Ashtabula County(far northeastern Ohio adjacent to NY State).............Prospecting bears from neighboring New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia first started showing up in the state in 1993 and since that time, half of Ohio's 88 counties have witnessed Bruins...........It is one thing for bears to wander into Ohio and it is quite another to have females rearing Cubs----a true sign of revitalization showing that Ohio's forests and fields are on the mend after virtual extirpation of trophic carnivores occurred by 1850.........Click on the link below to watch the Ohio Bear family waltzing across a local Ashtabula road


Fish and wildlife doing well in Ohio

Water and Wings by Ken Parrott
Cubs crossing the road in Ashtabula, Ohio

Image result for ashtabula county bears

The first clear photographic evidence of a black bear sow with cubs in Ohio has been recorded in Ashtabula County, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The historic footage of a mother black bear (called a sow) safely crossing a roadway with at least two cubs was captured by Colleen Porfillio and her daughter Jenna as they were driving.

Ashtabula, County Ohio is adjacent to New York States thriving Black Bear population

The ODNR Division of Wildlife began formally keeping records of black bear observations in 1993. Since that time, bears have been confirmed in over half of Ohio’s 88 counties. Most observations occur in northeast and southern Ohio. Ashtabula County is a leading county for reported bear activity. Confirmed sightings include such details as photographs, tracks, scat, and reports directly from wildlife officials.
Efforts to monitor the black bear have been supported by the Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species fund, which receives donations from Ohioans through the state income tax check-off program and by the purchase of cardinal license plates and Wildlife Legacy Stamps. Individuals interested in donating to the fund can also donate online at

Black Bear sightings in Ohio(most in darker shades
and lesser sightings in paler shades

Historically, black bears roamed the Buckeye State, but unregulated hunting and habitat loss rendered bears extirpated from Ohio by 1850. Today, Ohio is again home to a small but growing population of black bears. Ohio’s resident bear population is estimated to be anywhere from 50-100 individual bears.
A black bear presents no danger to humans when it is given the proper space. Black bears are usually fearful of people, therefore bear attacks are a rare occurrence. Bears do not attack or kill children or pets as long as the bear is given its space and is not cornered. The first thing to do when you see a bear is to remain calm.
Generally, black bears are non-aggressive and prefer to flee from the area as soon as they are aware human presence. If you encounter a bear and it is not aware of your presence, simply back away from the area slowly. If the bear is aware of your presence and it does not leave the area, avoid direct eye contact with the animal, give the bear an easy escape route, and simply back slowly away from the area. Always avoid running or climbing trees, which may provoke a chase.
Also last week, a male bobcat was hit by a car near Bellville. Although the injuries were serious, they were not life threatening and he is expected to make a full recovery and eventually be returned to the wild. On top of that, a friend showed me video footage of a badger living on his property.
These rare and awesome wildlife events made me think of an article I wrote back in 2002 titled the Good Old Days. I thought I would share parts of it again: “…. Back in the good in the good old days.” How many times have you heard that phrase? If you are the youngest of much older seven children and older parents, you hear that phrase a lot. Seems a lot of things we enjoy use to be a lot better way back when.
Last week, I opened my mailbox and found the winter issue of Wild Ohio, a great publication put out by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, had arrived. I love getting this magazine because it always has some great articles and pictures about Ohio’s wildlife and what is going on with ODNR. This issue’s main article was the year in review of ODNR’s activities. While I was reading this great publication, it got me to thinking. In terms of Ohio’s fish and wildlife, we may be living in the good old days right now.
Sure, Ohio has lost a lot of habitat compared to what we use to have 200 years ago. We have certainly lost a majority of our wetlands. We are also witnessing a lot of growth in our county and throughout the state that appears to be gobbling up farmland and wildlife habitat. But, through a lot of hard work and effort by a lot of folks, things are a whole lot better for our wildlife than they use to be just a few short decades ago. With the leadership of ODNR, our sportsmen‘s dollars have gone a long way to ensuring our Ohio’s wildlife continues to strive.
Yes, it is the sportsmen that funds most of ODNR’s budget. Every fishing and hunting license purchase sends money back to ODNR. Every outdoor sports equipment purchase sends money back to wildlife thanks to the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act and the Dingle-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act. Did you know that every waterfowl hunter has to purchase an Ohio and federal wetlands stamp that goes strictly to the purchase of wetlands?
Along with some timely farm programs like Conservation Reserve Program and Wetlands Reserve Program that had a side benefit of replenishing wildlife habitat, things are a whole lot better. Add to the mixture the efforts of groups like Ducks Unlimited, DELTA, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Pheasants Forever (just to name a few) who spends their money on purchasing more land for wildlife, things are looking a lot brighter.
Don’t believe me when I say we are witnessing the best of the good old days? Let’s look at some great success stories in our state’s wildlife. How about Canada geese? It wasn’t too long ago when we used to actually talk about a sighting of these birds migrating through the state, as it was such a rare treat. Now they are a nuisance to golf courses and pond owners. These highly adaptable birds went from being introduced back into Ohio by ODNR in 1956 to our state’s most populated waterfowl. Along the same lines, thanks to a very wet year and some great available habitat, continental duck numbers reached an all time modern day high just two years ago.
How about wild turkeys? These birds were practically nonexistent in our county just a few short years ago. Through the work of ODNR, these birds have bounced back to revolutionary day numbers and will be hunted in all 88 counties this coming spring. What about our state’s most famous game animal, the whitetail deer? Did you know that at one time their numbers were so low that seeing one in the early 1900’s was considered a rare event? Now, Buckeye hunters successful harvest over 100,000 deer annually with all the different seasons and last year a hunter from Xenia harvested the third largest set of antlers of all time in the world.
Fishing continues to be the best it has been for a long time. I can remember when I was a kid stories of lake Erie being one of our most polluted waterways. Now it is arguably the best small mouth bass and walleye fisheries in the world. Local lakes around here offer some great angling as well. Many species are stocked and monitored in our lakes and streams by ODNR to ensure quality fishing opportunities throughout the state.
ODNR’s efforts help non-game species as well. River otters have been successfully introduced and were just removed from the state’s endangered species list last month. Bald Eagles are now back and doing well in Ohio since they’re near decimation of the 1970’s. Just last year alone 73 pairs of eagles nested successfully in Ohio with pairs close by in Delaware, Knox, and Marion counties. Nearly 260 eagles are wintering in Ohio right now. Ospreys, trumpeter swans, snowshoe hares and peregrine falcons are back as well, thanks to ODNR.
The success stories go on and on, but the battle isn’t over. Quail and pheasants are still struggling (but doing better) from the loss of habitat and the harsh blizzards of the late 1970’s. Wetlands are no longer protected and our farmland and habitat is disappearing quickly.
Thankfully, the sportsmen and women who use the resource also help pay for the resource. Hunters and fishermen, feel good that every time you buy a license or purchase a permit, the money you are spending goes back to help those resources that you love. If you are not a hunter a fisherman but enjoy nature and wildlife, you can help out too. You can purchase waterfowl stamps that buy wetlands.
Yes, some things may have been better in the good old days like homemade ice cream and grandma’s apple pie, but Ohio wildlife is living the good old days right now.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School

Thursday, October 27, 2016

We have reported on the frustration of Environmentalists trying to amend and improve the manner of how State Game Agencies are funded..............Historically, Hunter license tags have been the "first and foremost" method of funding with the here and there use of $$ generated by conservation license plate sales................The result of this type funding has been that the State Agencies that "manage" wildlife do so with hunting as the first and foremost objective, followed by the political dictates of well-off farming and ranching interests...........Both of these "interest groups" dictate that carnivores be limited in the interest of optimizing prey animals like deer and elk for the benefit of hunters and livestock raisers.............Now, British Columbia, Canada has introduced the paradigm of "compensation funds", whereas money would flow from industry into wildlife management based on the damage that a particular industrial firm causes wildlife............Examples include trains that kill wildlife as they cross tracks, oil and mineral degradation of habitat................The general outdoor enthusiast who is not a hunter would also get involved in funding via a tax on "outdoor recreation gear" purchased at retail stores

How a moose tax can help B.C. wildlife conservation

Is it time for a moose tax?
Faced with declining game populations and the increasing complexities of wildlife management, people are starting to look at new funding models.
And a tax to help moose and other game animals might be one way to go.

A few years ago, in response to growing concerns that British Columbia’s moose numbers were in decline, the provincial government conducted 20 population surveys. The results were troubling. While in some places numbers were stable, in many regions moose numbers had declined by 50 per cent to 70 per cent.
Word quickly spread among the hunting community about which areas held the fewest moose, and soon there was a pile-on in regions that still had good numbers. That caused alarm in some First Nations communities, where people saw outsiders coming in to shoot moose that local families needed for winter food.
Some aboriginal hunters responded to the dwindling amount of moose by abandoning cultural practices. Instead of only harvesting bulls, they started shooting cows.
All of this, of course, combined to make the situation worse.
In response, the province launched a five-year moose study, which is expected to provide valuable information on the reasons some moose populations are crashing. Hunting is just one factor; logging practices in the wake of the pine beetle epidemic and a proliferation of resource roads are also thought to be contributing causes.
But B.C. isn’t waiting until the study is complete to act. Last week Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Minister Steve Thomson announced he is putting $1.2-million into moose management immediately.
That expenditure came in response to a report by consultant Al Gorley, who outlined the need for broad policy reforms to help restore moose populations.
In a statement, Mr. Thomson said the government would act on all 21 recommendations made by Mr. Gorley, a registered professional forester with Triangle Resources Inc.
Many of Mr. Gorley’s proposals were so general that it is hard to imagine anyone objecting to them. Such as one that calls on government to adopt a policy goal “that recognizes the importance of moose to British Columbians.”
But embedded in some of Mr. Gorley’s recommendations are options that, if adopted, would cause fundamental changes to the way wildlife is managed in the province – and to the way that management is funded.
For example, in addressing the problem of moose being killed in train and vehicle collisions, Mr. Gorley notes some stakeholders “have suggested a compensation program, whereby a fee would be paid for each animal killed and the money invested in wildlife management.”
That could be a significant amount. Data on wildlife strikes is inconsistent, but one study of a 200-kilometre stretch of railway between Telkwa and Smithers found about 500 moose were killed over a five-year period. Extrapolated across the province, that could be thousands of moose lost.
Mr. Gorley also points out that not all industries provide “compensation funds” when their activities damage moose habitat. BC Hydro makes such payments, as do some natural gas projects.
But Mr. Gorley states that “moose population enhancement objectives [should be] applicable to all industries.”
Such compensation payments wouldn’t amount to a direct tax, but the result would be much the same, with more money flowing from industry into wildlife management.
The BC Wildlife Federation goes a step farther in a paper in which the organization calls for a tax on “outdoor recreation gear,” which would broaden the funding base to non-hunters.
The BCWF also points out that while hunting licences and fees bring the province $14.5-million, only $2.6-million of that is dedicated to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, which funds fish and wildlife conservation projects. The BCWF wants all those hunting licence fees to be spent on wildlife.
“Nearly every jurisdiction in North America has a dedicated funding model for fish and wildlife management: BC does not,” the BCWF states. “BC needs a new, innovative approach to wildlife management which is financially stable, and results based.”
New taxes are never popular. But in B.C., a wildlife tax would likely find broad support, especially if it helped produce more moose.