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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, January 30, 2017

"LANDSCAPE OF FEAR" Biologist John Laundre is back with us again today,,,,,,,,,,,,,,This time, taking all of us further "up the mountain of logic" on why the non-hunter, indeed the "wildlife watcher" should outweigh the hunters in determining how wildlife is managed across the states and at the national level.................Using hunters " THOSE WHO PAY GET TO SAY POLICY", John emphatically declares the following----"If the hunters' voice is representative of what they pay, according to the figures(see statistics below), the hunters' voice should be a whisper in the back of the room"................. "Hunting interests should occupy the smallest office in wildlife agencies".................... "Hunters should be the LEAST represented on wildlife commissions!"......... "Hunters are just not that significant of an economic factor compared to wildlife watchers"................... "I agree with hunters, those who pay should say and it is time to manage wildlife for "those who DO pay"--the Wildlife Watchers"

Wildlife watching versus hunting

Came across a publication that has been out for a while (2013) titled Hunting in America, An Economic Force for Conservation. It is a glossy article both in pictures and words that is meant to emphasize how important hunting is, not as a force in conservation but economically. The data they use to try and justify the value of hunting economically come from the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation put out by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The main public reason of the publication is to point out that hunting is somehow great in that millions of people do it, they spend billions of dollars doing it, and support economies, jobs, and state and federal revenues by doing it. 

The hidden agenda in all this, however, is to justify the almost complete choke-hold control hunters have on wildlife management and conservation. It is a thinly vailed attempt by the hunters to say: See… because so many of us do it, spend so much money, and support so many of you "other" people, we have the right, the only right to say how wildlife are managed.

 Basically it is an extension of their, those who pay, get to say, policy.  As if somehow we, the other 95% of the population, based on the same 2011 report they used, first of all DON'T have a say and second if we continue to insist on having one in how wildlife are managed, all those "benefits" of hunters would somehow disappear. It is clearly an economic threat…too big to question!

But question it we must! Does the money that hunters spend justify their privileged status as the only "real" voice in wildlife management in the U.S.?  Are they the only ones who are supporting wildlife with their wallets?

As it turns out, there are a lot of people who seem to be able to enjoy wildlife simply by watching them…alive! They don't seem to need the potential gratification of actually killing an animal as a justification in participating in an outdoor activity. Collectively these individuals are referred to as "wildlife watchers".

The question then becomes how many of these wildlife watchers are there? How much do they spend? Do they create jobs, generate revenue? Do their numbers and spending justify them actually having a say in wildlife management? This is important because if hunters are using their numbers and economic contribution to justify their dominance in wildlife management, then if wildlife watchers are similar in numbers and economic input, should they not also be justified in having at least an equal say?

To answer that, let's make a comparison between hunters and wildlife watchers. There are many comparison to be made and so I limit here to just those the hunting publication singled out in their "By the Numbers" bullet section. Some additional comparisons come from the "Hunting Quick Facts" bullet presented in the hunting publication and thus deemed as extra important to consider! All sets of numbers come from the 2011 publication by the Fish and Wildlife Service and so are for that year.

By The Numbers

·        13.7 million hunters versus 71.8 wildlife watchers (over 5 times as many)
·        $38.3 billion expenditures by hunters vs $54.9 billion by wildlife watchers (1.4 times as much)
·        $ 86.9 billion in overall economic output by hunters vs $142.1 billion by wildlife watchers (1.6 times more)
·        $26.4 billion in salaries and wages from hunting vs $ 53.0 billion from wildlife watching (2 times more)
·        680,973 jobs created by hunting vs 1,379,282 by wildlife watching (more than 2 times as many)
·        $5.4 billion in state and local taxes from hunting vs $10.3 billion from wildlife watching (1.9 times more)
·        $ 6.4 billion in federal taxes from hunting vs $10.8 from wildlife watching (1.7 times more)

Now some comparisons with their "Hunting Quick Facts":

1)  Hunters outnumber populations of 46 states versus Wildlife watchers outnumber populations in ALL 50 states, having 1.8 times more members than the most populous state (California).
2)  Hunting brought in more revenue ($38.3 billion) than Google or Goldman Sachs group ($36.8 to 37.9 billion) vs Wildlife watching brought in more revenue ($54.9 billion) than Disney or Dow Chemical ($48.8-52.4 billion).  
3)  If hunting were a company, spending would place it # 73 on the Fortune 500 lists vs Wildlife watching which would come in at #52.  I might add that IF hunting were a subsidiary of wildlife watching, it would be a minor operation located in the remote corner of the factory!

These and more comparisons that can be made show that wildlife watching easily exceeds hunting on all levels. I might also add that these contributions by the wildlife watching industry are indeed for conservation of all species, not just a select group of favored species that hunters want to kill. And they will kill other species and disrupt whole ecosystems so that they can maximize the number of these favored species. Yet they call hunting a force for conservation? 

Both of these groups of folks should have impact on how we manage
wildife, not just hunters

In summary, a lot of us DO watch wildlife. A lot of us DO spend billions of dollars doing it. A lot of us DO support economies, jobs, and state and federal revenues. Based on the logic of the hunters, those who pay, get the say, we SHOULD have a representative say in how wildlife are managed. In fact, we should have the majority voice in what happens to wildlife! 

 If the hunters' voice is representative of what they pay, according to the figures, the hunters' voice should be a whisper in the back of the room. Hunting interests should occupy the smallest office in wildlife agencies. Hunters should be the LEAST represented on wildlife commissions! Hunters are just not that significant of an economic factor compared to wildlife watchers. I agree with hunters, those who pay should say and it is time to manage wildlife for "those who DO pay".  

The Landscape of Fear: Ecological Implications of Being Afraid: John W. Laundré*,1, Lucina Hernández1 and William J. Ripple2 1 Department of Biological Sciences, SUNY Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126, USA 2 Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, College of Forestry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA

 Abstract: “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. 

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