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Old 06-27-2011, 03:10 PM   #1
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Default Heppner cougar removal a success?

What do you guys think? How long will it last with out additional cougar removals?

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Old 06-27-2011, 03:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

Rank did you read this months OHA magazine the coast seems to be miraculously recovered. Buck ratios in saddle mountain are at 20/100 does but the Scappoose is 18/100. It sounded like the Bio's were giddy. It is good news that that it looks like we had a better winter according to them. What I found funny was they did not mention that the deer numbers were down. So what is the big deal if they are down to 1000 deer and the buck to doe ratios are normal?

They did say they cut elk tag numbers to get the bull to cow ratio up in the Saddle MT?



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What do you guys think? How long will it last with out additional cougar removals?
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

It will help the herd in the short term but i give it 4 or 5 years and the cougars will be back and the herd numbers will reflect it.
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

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It will help the herd in the short term but i give it 4 or 5 years and the cougars will be back and the herd numbers will reflect it.
Without regular "control" methods no doubt the cougar numbers will rise again. How long that will take...I can only guess.
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

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Originally Posted by daiello91 View Post
Without regular "control" methods no doubt the cougar numbers will rise again. How long that will take...I can only guess.
I give it 3, maybe 4 years
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

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I give it 3, maybe 4 years
i agree. it's my favorite unit to hunt. i've hunted it since the 70's with my family but i know it will never be the same. There are elk and deer but nothing like it use to be
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

I spend over a hundred days a year in the unit...I haven't seen any miraculous recovery.
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

How many were removed? How many are still there???? Dead cougars are a good thing but unless it was a substantial percentage of the population it will bring little relief as the neighboring units will backfill quickly.

Any numbers to share?
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

I can't remember exactly which three years the Cougar control project on the Heppner was conducted. 2006-2008? Anyway, calf ratios did rebound to 30/100 in 2008 after averaging in the teens the previous four years. Unfortunately, the ratio decreased to 26/100 in 2009 and 13/100 in 2010. No numbers published yet for 2011.

Mule deer fawn ratios were higher from 2007-2010 than they were from 2003-2006, but the overall population continued to decline.

Overall, the evidence is pretty clear that the cougar control projects being implemented by ODFW will NOT have a positive long term impact on populations. Makes sense when you think about the fact that young male Cougars relocate into vacant areas to avoid mature males. Seems pretty obvious that killing Cougars in a single area will most likely only result in a temporary improvement, with Cougars relocating from areas with no controls. A lot of money is being spent for the results being obtained.

Thought it was interesting that the update report for the MUle Deer Initiative completely published in January, 2011 completely ignored the Cougar control efforts on the Heppner unit, while reporting them for Steens and Warner.

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Old 06-28-2011, 07:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

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I give it 3, maybe 4 years
I have to agree with this time frame. Without a more permanent plan, the cycle will just come back around in a few years. I hope we can figure somethin out sooner then later.
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:09 AM   #11
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

when i was up there this winter looking for bobcat tracks i found cougar tracks on every road i drove down. granted there were lots more down lower where i didnt need chains but i saw more in 1 day up there than i did all season around central oregon. my .. lots of hound hunters in c.o. and not very many up there?
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:28 AM   #12
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

Heppner Elk harvest numbers-bulls harvested.

2005- Archery=57 Rifle=312 369 total

2006-Archery=67 Rifle=260 327 total

2007-Archery=130 Rifle=255 385 total

2008-Archery=163 Rifle=348 511 total

2009-Archery=207 Rifle=466 673 total

2010-Archery=130 Rifle=427 557 total

These are just the bull numbers and it is impossible to tell what is going on with any cow harvest since the department finds it too hard to publish that data.

Hunter numbers have also increased in these bull hunts, the rifle hunts by 151 hunters and the archers by 239 hunters.

Overall the cougar removal appears to be a success, but like all you have said, how long will it last. Is the 2010 data the beginning of the slide? Time will tell.

The cougar reduction was during the '06-'07, '07-'08 & '08-'09 winters. It was a shame the department did not stick to the goal of removing 30 cougars per year, they only took 53 over the three years.
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:38 AM   #13
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ehunter View Post
Rank did you read this months OHA magazine the coast seems to be miraculously recovered. Buck ratios in saddle mountain are at 20/100 does but the Scappoose is 18/100. It sounded like the Bio's were giddy. It is good news that that it looks like we had a better winter according to them. What I found funny was they did not mention that the deer numbers were down. So what is the big deal if they are down to 1000 deer and the buck to doe ratios are normal?

They did say they cut elk tag numbers to get the bull to cow ratio up in the Saddle MT?
Herman didn't seem giddy when I talked to him at the spring tag meeting! I think the buck ratio has remained high through out the deer population decline, which is interesting.

What would the buck counts have to do with the winter conditions? The counts are in the fall after the buck season. Can't count bucks in the spring with no antlers.

Ha! Yes, they reduced the rifle bull elk tag numbers, but actually the harvest increased during the last two years, so that reduction did NOT have the desired effect! Miraculously the bull ratio's increase, this only reflects the flaw with this survey methodology in my opinion.

Just another reason I am not a OHA member, they of all the media should be digging into the facts.
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:39 AM   #14
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

Was told they took 68 cats out in the 3 years.. hunt the unit every year and there is a major improvement! About 5 years ago we saw 3 cats in 2 days! One is on my wall now! I am sure they will rebound but can only hope it will take some time!
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:58 AM   #15
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

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Was told they took 68 cats out in the 3 years.. hunt the unit every year and there is a major improvement! About 5 years ago we saw 3 cats in 2 days! One is on my wall now! I am sure they will rebound but can only hope it will take some time!


Results

Between 20062009, 53 cougar (26 male, 27 female) were removed: (20, 22, and 11 for winter
2006-07, 2007-08, and 2008-09, respectively). Between 55 and 73 percent of the annual
bjective was removed. Most cougars (48) were removed using trained dogs but five were
using traps or snares. ODFW personnel removed all 53 cougars. Thirty-two cougars
ere removed from public land and 21 were removed from private lands. During the
implementation period, hunters killed an additional 28 cougars,


Published in October of '09 by ODF&W.
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:02 AM   #16
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rank Amateur View Post
Heppner Elk harvest numbers-bulls harvested.

2005- Archery=57 Rifle=312 369 total

2006-Archery=67 Rifle=260 327 total

2007-Archery=130 Rifle=255 385 total

2008-Archery=163 Rifle=348 511 total

2009-Archery=207 Rifle=466 673 total

2010-Archery=130 Rifle=427 557 total

These are just the bull numbers and it is impossible to tell what is going on with any cow harvest since the department finds it too hard to publish that data.

Hunter numbers have also increased in these bull hunts, the rifle hunts by 151 hunters and the archers by 239 hunters.

Overall the cougar removal appears to be a success, but like all you have said, how long will it last. Is the 2010 data the beginning of the slide? Time will tell.

The cougar reduction was during the '06-'07, '07-'08 & '08-'09 winters. It was a shame the department did not stick to the goal of removing 30 cougars per year, they only took 53 over the three years.
I think those #'s could be a little deceiving...what year did the hunter increase happen?
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:39 AM   #17
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

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Originally Posted by daiello91 View Post
I think those #'s could be a little deceiving...what year did the hunter increase happen?
Here is the total hunters bow, hunt 1 & 2 and the spike hunt. Success rates round up from.005

'05 3,443 hunters 369 bulls= 11% success rate.

'06 3,349 hunters 327 bulls= 10% success rate.

'07 3,765 hunters 385 bulls= 10% success rate.

'08 3,995 hunters 511 bulls= 13% success rate.

'09 4,371 hunters 673 bulls= 15% success rate.

'10 3,835 hunters 557 bulls= 15% success rate.


Archers #'s are the biggest fluctuating factor, from a low of 741 in '06 to 1492 in '09. As you can see though, total number of bulls taken has increased as has the success rates. You can see the big jump in bull numbers in '08, that is after two years of cougar removal. Hunter numbers may be a factor in '09, but one can see the bull numbers are still running high in '10 with fewer hunters which indicates bull recruitment is substantially increased over the past.
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:42 AM   #18
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

Was this removal done exclusively in the Heppner unit? If so, it would seem that the benefits will be short lived. While my knowledge is pretty limited, it seems cougars are both very territorial and over populated in most areas. Reduce the populations in one area and all that would seem to do is attract cougars from neighboring units (unless they somehow know the GMU boundaries and have been told to stay out ). So while the numbers do look to be providing some benefit, my guess is that it's short lived.
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:47 AM   #19
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

Not being familiar with this study, I'd like to know what the purpose was and what they plan on doing with the findings.

Yes, you remove a major predator and the prey expand, which can lead to an abundant population. I think that's biology 101......
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Old 06-28-2011, 12:10 PM   #20
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

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Not being familiar with this study, I'd like to know what the purpose was and what they plan on doing with the findings.

Yes, you remove a major predator and the prey expand, which can lead to an abundant population. I think that's biology 101......
One would think, but there are many doubters even on this site.

I believe the purpose was exactly as we have seen it play out, the calf recruitment in the Heppner unit was low and getting lower and after the cougar removal rebounded. Of coarse they gathered data to show the results, which makes a strong case for further cougar reductions in other units, which is now happening.

Blackdog, Heppner unit was one of the three original study areas that the state set up after the adoption of the last cougar plan. Yes, you are exactly right about the unit boundary aspect. I also believed it will be short lived, but it still does point out the problem though.

I believe they are now reducing the cougar population in the Ukiah unit which borders the Heppner unit, this will be a plus, but I still think that the Heppner unit will slide in a few more years.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:08 PM   #21
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

So, with the apparent success showing in the elk herds, does anyone want to venture a guess why the deer herds have not responded in like?
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:44 PM   #22
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The elk numbers are so high now in the Heppner Unit that the poor deer are displaced.
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Old 06-28-2011, 07:23 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Rank Amateur View Post
Here is the total hunters bow, hunt 1 & 2 and the spike hunt. Success rates round up from.005

'05 3,443 hunters 369 bulls= 11% success rate.

'06 3,349 hunters 327 bulls= 10% success rate.

'07 3,765 hunters 385 bulls= 10% success rate.

'08 3,995 hunters 511 bulls= 13% success rate.

'09 4,371 hunters 673 bulls= 15% success rate.

'10 3,835 hunters 557 bulls= 15% success rate.


Archers #'s are the biggest fluctuating factor, from a low of 741 in '06 to 1492 in '09. As you can see though, total number of bulls taken has increased as has the success rates. You can see the big jump in bull numbers in '08, that is after two years of cougar removal. Hunter numbers may be a factor in '09, but one can see the bull numbers are still running high in '10 with fewer hunters which indicates bull recruitment is substantially increased over the past.
Thanks. Good to see that tag increase doesnt account for the majority harvest increase.
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:24 PM   #24
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

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Thanks. Good to see that tag increase doesnt account for the majority harvest increase.
Yep, but it doesn't explain this.

Heppner buck harvest. Bow and regular rifle season.

'05 3203 total hunters 1138 buck harvest=36% success.

'06 3329 total hunters 990 buck harvest=30% success.

'07 3317 total hunters 1066 buck harvest=32% success.

'08 3299 total hunters 991 buck harvest=30% success.

'09 3536 total hunters 934 buck harvest=26% success.

'10 3471 total hunters 846 buck harvest=24% success.
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:25 PM   #25
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

to little to late...
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:42 PM   #26
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Yep, but it doesn't explain this.

Heppner buck harvest. Bow and regular rifle season.

'05 3203 total hunters 1138 buck harvest=36% success.

'06 3329 total hunters 990 buck harvest=30% success.

'07 3317 total hunters 1066 buck harvest=32% success.

'08 3299 total hunters 991 buck harvest=30% success.

'09 3536 total hunters 934 buck harvest=26% success.

'10 3471 total hunters 846 buck harvest=24% success.

Rank, I think sometimes the deer numbers are so dismal that the herd is essentially on life support. My suspicion is that almost any level of continued harvest just pushes the population lower. They can't sustain it at all. I have been saying for quite some time that a moratorium (sp?) or elimination of 100% of the tags for a period of time in some units may be necessary to bring them back from the brink. ODFW has a lot of fancy ideas and numbers, but non-harvest is the quickest way to put more deer on the ground and provide an upsurge of vitality to the herd. They seem to think that insignificant adjustments in the face of continual diminishing populations will eventually work management miracles.....no.
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:20 AM   #27
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

lets say the unit has 100 cougars.(im sure its more but?) the competition is so great the cats kill whatever they can,deer,elk,?. but when you take a certain number out,like 48 or whatever,the competition is less and maybe they go back to their easier and more preferred game,deer. less elk kills but the same number of deer?
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:42 AM   #28
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

Definitely some good theories guys. Can't say I disagree with them at all. I think a few more factors also come into play.

Lack of mature bucks in the population is causing late and under weight fawns which= poor fawn recruitment.

Deer are more susceptible to other predators like bobcats and yotes and with out a major correction in their populations the cougar mortality is simply compensatory.

I believe the last two winters during the cougar removal were high snow fall years and deer are most likely more susceptible to this type of over winter mortality. It was claimed by ODF&W that elk from other units moved into the Heppner unit during these snow events, so that could cause an additional factor.

Hunterdk1- I think there is some merit to your idea, cougars prefer deer 2/1 over elk when available. This is why I was dismayed to see ODF&W not full fill the goal of 30 cougars a year out of the study unit. Of coarse they will have to conduct another study and take the full kill out to see if that indeed is a factor. One thing we might take away from this study though, is that taking just cougars or taking cougars at a low level from any unit may not have any significant impact on deer recruitment. That is a sobering thought when we look at where we are in regards to cougar management and our deer herds.

It will be interesting to see how the cougar reduction programs in the Steens and Warner units reflect on the deer herds.
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:11 AM   #29
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

I don't think that there is any doubt it will improve the numbers for a few years but as long as the over all population of cats keeps increase in nearby units they will fill the gap with a new generation of cats. The problem is like putting a band aid on a big cut while the area under the band aid heals the outside festers.

We need to do this thought the state the temporary measures will show some improvements but within a few years the problem will arise again.

Its a government thing while I understand their hands have been tied by feel good measures we will keep throwing money at the problem every few years to get some good stats and then it will drop again.
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Old 06-29-2011, 02:39 PM   #30
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

My take on the study is it was a resounding success! It proved:

1) There are many many cougars out there - no problem with cougar numbers - if you take the total kill out of that area plus the estimate of live animals living there to get a base cougar population density and extrapalate that across how many square miles of cougar habitat in Oregon and you will see the current ODFW cougar population estimates seem very low.

2) Hunter success was good in the experimental hunt area. Cougar numbers can effectively be controlled to a manageble level by hunting with dogs.

3) Hunter success was dismal with mainly incidental opportunity cougar kills by hunters in areas where dogs are not allowed to hunt cougars. Cougar numbers can not be controlled without hound hunting.

4) Within the experimental area deer and elk populations rebounded dramatically once cougar numbers were managed. There are differences between deer vs elk recovery numbers but data shows herds increased significantly.

So let's draw a conclusion - should not be too difficult for all these college educated wilflife manages out there - IF YOU WANT TO MANAGE DEER AND ELK POPULATIONS YOU MUST MANAGE PREDATOR NUMBERS.

Seems simple enough to an old guy like me - I guess I like the old conservation method of managing wildlife populations for maximum sustainable yield and public benefit - still have not figured out this new preservation mentailty where we lock people out and let nature be so all the animals can commune in harmony.
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:02 PM   #31
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

So from what I can gather the only way we will have strong mule deer populations is to remove substantial numbers of cougars and we have learned we can only accomplish that by hound hunting. I guess we proved what we already knew!

Let's hope these pilot projects give some steam to a full blown effort to rebound mule deer populations! If we could kill a thousand cougars a year we might enjoy the kind of mule deer hunting Colorado has....
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:10 PM   #32
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

Now if the state would just issue tags to control poachers our mule deer herds could really rebound!
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Old 06-29-2011, 10:24 PM   #33
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

Some things to think about:

1. Utah's latest estimate of it's Cougar population is approximately 3,000 (low range of 2,500, high range of 3,900).

2. Utah harvests approximately 15% of their Cougar population each year. (average 440 over past years).

3. Utah's deer population is slightly more than 300,000, and decreasing.

4. Oregon's management objective for Cougars is 3,000, very close to the current Utah population.

5. Oregon's mule deer population is around 210,000, 70% of Utah's.

Now, assume that Oregon somehow reduces their Cougar population to MO, around 3,000, why do we think that will result in an increasing Mule Deer population? If that were to be true, it would seem likely that the Utah population would be increasing dramatically, given the much higher deer population as compared to the cougar population.

Obviously, there are other factors, coyote and other predators, habitat, poaching, etc. As points of information, Utah spends around $ 500,000 per year on helicopter coyote control, and has spent $ 70,000,000 dollars on habitat improvement projects over the past 5 years. In spite of all that, their deer population is in decline.

There is one area where Utah and Oregon are very similar: low buck ratios, and high buck harvest rates. Interestingly, Utah Wildlife Board has voted to cut 13,000 buck tags between 2011 and 2012, and raise the statewide buck ratio to 18 bucks/100 does. Assuming they follow through, it will be interesting to see what happens to their overall populations in a few years.

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Old 06-29-2011, 11:54 PM   #34
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

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Originally Posted by scoutdog5 View Post
Some things to think about:

1. Utah's latest estimate of it's Cougar population is approximately 3,000 (low range of 2,500, high range of 3,900).

2. Utah harvests approximately 15% of their Cougar population each year. (average 440 over past years).

3. Utah's deer population is slightly more than 300,000, and decreasing.

4. Oregon's management objective for Cougars is 3,000, very close to the current Utah population.

5. Oregon's mule deer population is around 210,000, 70% of Utah's.

Now, assume that Oregon somehow reduces their Cougar population to MO, around 3,000, why do we think that will result in an increasing Mule Deer population? If that were to be true, it would seem likely that the Utah population would be increasing dramatically, given the much higher deer population as compared to the cougar population.

Obviously, there are other factors, coyote and other predators, habitat, poaching, etc. As points of information, Utah spends around $ 500,000 per year on helicopter coyote control, and has spent $ 70,000,000 dollars on habitat improvement projects over the past 5 years. In spite of all that, their deer population is in decline.

There is one area where Utah and Oregon are very similar: low buck ratios, and high buck harvest rates. Interestingly, Utah Wildlife Board has voted to cut 13,000 buck tags between 2011 and 2012, and raise the statewide buck ratio to 18 bucks/100 does. Assuming they follow through, it will be interesting to see what happens to their overall populations in a few years.

Scoutdog
All very interesting. These discussions of predation, MO's, tag numbers, population structures, buck/doe ratios, hunter success, population modeling, disease, poaching, habitat, and so on are all topics worthy of review and discussion. I think we all realize that there are a myriad of interdependent factors that in some way adversley effect the dynamics of our wildlife polulations.

Oregon is not the only state that is experiencing difficulties with mule deer and other big game species. I sometimes wonder if there is not a 1000 lb gorilla in the corner that no one has seen yet. Is there some "unknown" being omittied from the equation that is impacting wildlife population dynamics throughout the west? I have to wonder ----- Are "we" missing something? And if so, what is it? I wish I could answer those questions.
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:03 AM   #35
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

Me and eagleclaw actually talked to the man himself who works for odfw who removed all those cougars from the heppner unit. After heppner was done he was going to the ukiah unit the next year and i know the first year of that hunt didnt go to well due to lack of snow for tracking.
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Old 06-30-2011, 04:01 AM   #36
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

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Originally Posted by scoutdog5 View Post
Some things to think about:

1. Utah's latest estimate of it's Cougar population is approximately 3,000 (low range of 2,500, high range of 3,900).

2. Utah harvests approximately 15% of their Cougar population each year. (average 440 over past years).

3. Utah's deer population is slightly more than 300,000, and decreasing.

4. Oregon's management objective for Cougars is 3,000, very close to the current Utah population.

5. Oregon's mule deer population is around 210,000, 70% of Utah's.

Now, assume that Oregon somehow reduces their Cougar population to MO, around 3,000, why do we think that will result in an increasing Mule Deer population? If that were to be true, it would seem likely that the Utah population would be increasing dramatically, given the much higher deer population as compared to the cougar population.

Obviously, there are other factors, coyote and other predators, habitat, poaching, etc. As points of information, Utah spends around $ 500,000 per year on helicopter coyote control, and has spent $ 70,000,000 dollars on habitat improvement projects over the past 5 years. In spite of all that, their deer population is in decline.

There is one area where Utah and Oregon are very similar: low buck ratios, and high buck harvest rates. Interestingly, Utah Wildlife Board has voted to cut 13,000 buck tags between 2011 and 2012, and raise the statewide buck ratio to 18 bucks/100 does. Assuming they follow through, it will be interesting to see what happens to their overall populations in a few years.

Scoutdog
Definitely all good points Scoutdog. Currently Oregon is at around 1 cougar for every 16 square miles on average. Utah at 3,000 cougars would be around one cougar for every 28 square miles. If we could get back down to 3,000 cougars in Oregon we would be at 1 in 31 square miles. I believe density of predators to prey has to be one of the corner stones in managing them. Right now we have around 70 deer per cougar on the east side.

I agree with the buck ratio thinking, frankly it would be very interesting to shut a unit down for 2-3 years and simply let the buck ratio increase, but more so the maturity of the bucks.
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Old 06-30-2011, 05:39 AM   #37
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

So, when I'm out scouting Heppner in August (while looking for a bear), and with the proper tags, I can shoot a cougar? I was pretty sure I could... Just clarification! I'd like to help out any way I can!
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Old 06-30-2011, 06:32 AM   #38
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

Part of the problem with a lot of these "population counts" of cougars is that there not real numbers. Nobody knows how many cougars Utah or Oregon really has.

One real number is the number of cougars Colorado kills every year which is about 3 times as many as here in Oregon. Seems to be working there! Clearly there are a lot of factors but I would bet a lot of money that if we could kill as many cats as Colorado we would see great improvements without reducing hunting opportunity.
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Old 06-30-2011, 08:43 AM   #39
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

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Me and eagleclaw actually talked to the man himself who works for odfw who removed all those cougars from the heppner unit. After heppner was done he was going to the ukiah unit the next year and i know the first year of that hunt didnt go to well due to lack of snow for tracking.
That was a heck of a conversation we had with him that afternoon. I learned alot about the ODFW that day. I only wish we could of found Cams bull that day
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:04 AM   #40
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Default Re: Heppner cougar removal a success?

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All very interesting. These discussions of predation, MO's, tag numbers, population structures, buck/doe ratios, hunter success, population modeling, disease, poaching, habitat, and so on are all topics worthy of review and discussion. I think we all realize that there are a myriad of interdependent factors that in some way adversley effect the dynamics of our wildlife polulations.

Oregon is not the only state that is experiencing difficulties with mule deer and other big game species. I sometimes wonder if there is not a 1000 lb gorilla in the corner that no one has seen yet. Is there some "unknown" being omittied from the equation that is impacting wildlife population dynamics throughout the west? I have to wonder ----- Are "we" missing something? And if so, what is it? I wish I could answer those questions.
A big factor in a lot of the muldeer range. Alfalfa center pivots. The deer over the last several decades have been trained to use these agriculture areas. Forsaking the natural habitat the muledeer evolved to live in. Simple really, The muledeer evolved to survive in the high desert habitat. Humans have altered this habitat to the point the muledeer has no natural place that they evolved to inhabit.
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