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We’re continuing to see an alarming trend in Western wildlife management. I am calling it the “Predator Death Spiral.” The underlying cause of this phenomina is when a wildlife agency attempts to hide or “pad” their big game population estimates when over predation begins to take hold. This in turn creates a downward spiral that cannot easily be avoided, and is often not even noticed until the state hits both a financial and PR rock bottom. Idaho was the first state to hit the wall with the “Spiral” followed by Montana and now Wyoming has begun to slip into the Spiral’s grip. The wolf situation has caused these three Western states to slide down the jagged slope of diminishing herds, shrinking revenues and bad PR among their customers and financial lifeline…out-of-state hunters.
Good read, seems like whats taking place today in game management.

http://blog.eastmans.com/the-predator-death-spiral/
 

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He nailed it, I think we struggled here at home with out the predator problems due to the revenue influence upon ODF&W.
 

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He nailed it, I think we struggled here at home with out the predator problems due to the revenue influence upon ODF&W.

Rank,

From where I sit I'd have to agree. Pretty much right on the money. Sure explains the unsupportable game management decisions made by ODFW. You know....the ones that fall into the 'you've got to be kidding me, right?' category. Game management vs. funding management. It all comes home to roost.
 

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It seems they push for us to hunt predators hard, but make it even harder with our hands tied behind our backs. Between the dismay of our forests and skyrocketing predator population it seems we are taking it on the chin very hard.
 

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I would read these two pieces in conjunction with the above:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2664.12044/abstract

http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1538&context=icwdm_usdanwrc

The predation equation is a complicated one and not something that lends itself to anecdotal observations or cursory analyses.
Mr. Ferris
I read the second reference, but only the summary of the first one. The complete text of first article is not viewable without jumping through some hoops. But in paragraph 2 of the first article's summary, a statement was made that cougars are "unrelated" to the baseline mortality of the prey species. I'd like to know their foundation for making that statement.

The second article seemed like more of a generalized primer on methods for evaluating predator-prey relationships. While informative, their thrust was directed at the scientific perspectives. But where do us humans fall into broad scheme when making predator/prey management decisions? Do we come in last?

Thank you sir
T
 

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Mr. Ferris
I read the second reference, but only the summary of the first one. The complete text of first article is not viewable without jumping through some hoops. But in paragraph 2 of the first article's summary, a statement was made that cougars are "unrelated" to the baseline mortality of the prey species. I'd like to know their foundation for making that statement.

The second article seemed like more of a generalized primer on methods for evaluating predator-prey relationships. While informative, their thrust was directed at the scientific perspectives. But where do us humans fall into broad scheme when making predator/prey management decisions? Do we come in last?

Thank you sir
T
I think the primer is important because it reviews for folks what is known about what drives populations up and what knocks them down. There are a lot of factors at work and hunters need to be vigilant and aware because the results of all of them look the same and they can also be the result of multiple factors. Clearly the general thinking here is that predators are the single factor and that is simply not true.

The analysis in the first article involved looking at 2746 adult female elk in 45 populations spread across the West under a variety of weather, predator and harvest conditions. From looking at this many female elk under these varying conditions they were able to tease out the relative impacts of the factors.

As to who has priority on these animals? That is a complicated question and probably a series of questions. For me it is simple, I am a hunter who believes that the hunting experience is enhanced by the presence of a multitude of species not just the species that I may be targeting. I suspect there are even times that I might miss a shot because I was so engrossed in watching some other critter carry on their business. Allowing for the presence of the full-spectrum of native wildlife helps that experience happen. Is the cost of that significant? The answer to that is: No.
 

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For me it's as simple as this;

I'm not ashamed that I'm the top predator in the food chain.

That's great that the experience is better for you knowing that lots of wolves and cougars are somewhere in the woods around you, but wolves and cougars don't pay the DFW's bills. They create them, along with reducing the amount of sellable product (elk tags, deer tags, moose tags, etc.) the DFW's do have.

While I certainly have a significant appreciation for scientific data, I'm also a strong believer in two points;

1.) There is no such thing as unbiased science
2.) More often than not the simplest answer is the right answer.

I've hunted at least one of ID-MT-WY every year for over 20 years(since before re-introduction), and most years it was two of those states. 95% of those hunts were near ground zero or within 50 miles of it. I just don't need a study to tell me what my eyes have seen and what my friends that live there have witnessed.

Anyone with a little common sense can figure out why there's so much information floating around about why it's not the wolves fault...

The perplexing thing about this whole deal is how the DFW's couldn't see this would eventually cut their own funding throat? Then again, this is America in the 21st century. The agencies want what they want, and they're gonna get it right now, regardless of what it costs. Besides, someone else will pay for it, right?

More often than not the simplest answer...
 

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For me it's as simple as this;

I'm not ashamed that I'm the top predator in the food chain.

That's great that the experience is better for you knowing that lots of wolves and cougars are somewhere in the woods around you, but wolves and cougars don't pay the DFW's bills. They create them, along with reducing the amount of sellable product (elk tags, deer tags, moose tags, etc.) the DFW's do have.

While I certainly have a significant appreciation for scientific data, I'm also a strong believer in two points;

1.) There is no such thing as unbiased science
2.) More often than not the simplest answer is the right answer.

I've hunted at least one of ID-MT-WY every year for over 20 years(since before re-introduction), and most years it was two of those states. 95% of those hunts were near ground zero or within 50 miles of it. I just don't need a study to tell me what my eyes have seen and what my friends that live there have witnessed.

Anyone with a little common sense can figure out why there's so much information floating around about why it's not the wolves fault...

The perplexing thing about this whole deal is how the DFW's couldn't see this would eventually cut their own funding throat? Then again, this is America in the 21st century. The agencies want what they want, and they're gonna get it right now, regardless of what it costs. Besides, someone else will pay for it, right?

More often than not the simplest answer...


You left the track on number 2, says who you?

Seldom if ever, do complex problems have simple answers that fit on a bumper sticker.
 

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You left the track on number 2, says who you?
Yeah, says me. This is a forum where people state their opinions, and that's mine.

Who says I left the track? You?

Pot? Kettle?

Seldom if ever, do complex problems have simple answers that fit on a bumper sticker.
Sometimes true. Sometimes complex problems aren't as complex as people like you make them out to be.


Here's a simple exercise for you Freespool;

You have 10 salmon.

You harvest 6 salmon.

What is the largest number of salmon that can return to spawn?
 

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................
The analysis in the first article involved looking at 2746 adult female elk in 45 populations spread across the West under a variety of weather, predator and harvest conditions. From looking at this many female elk under these varying conditions they were able to tease out the relative impacts of the factors...................
Mr. Ferris:
Thank you for the additional detail on the elk mortality article. While I was unable to read the actual article (partly my fault), their conclusion about cougar seems, at the least, illogical. I struggle with the concept that impacts from a very adept and deadly large predator such as cougar would be "unrelated" to the baseline mortality of 2746 elk. Perhaps my perspective of "baseline mortality" differs from theirs. But I realize it is their conclusion .... not yours ..... to justify and/or defend.

As I'm headed out of town soon, I will finish my reply later. When confronted with the choice of iFish banter or taking my grandkids to McDonald's ........ I'll choose McDonald's every time. :meme:

Have a happy and healthy New Year,
T
 

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I think the primer is important because it reviews for folks what is known about what drives populations up and what knocks them down. There are a lot of factors at work and hunters need to be vigilant and aware because the results of all of them look the same and they can also be the result of multiple factors. Clearly the general thinking here is that predators are the single factor and that is simply not true.

The analysis in the first article involved looking at 2746 adult female elk in 45 populations spread across the West under a variety of weather, predator and harvest conditions. From looking at this many female elk under these varying conditions they were able to tease out the relative impacts of the factors.

As to who has priority on these animals? That is a complicated question and probably a series of questions. For me it is simple, I am a hunter who believes that the hunting experience is enhanced by the presence of a multitude of species not just the species that I may be targeting. I suspect there are even times that I might miss a shot because I was so engrossed in watching some other critter carry on their business. Allowing for the presence of the full-spectrum of native wildlife helps that experience happen. Is the cost of that significant? The answer to that is: No.
What a bunch of B.S. So you were looking at a cat, and shot at a deer? B.S. Your a bino hunter. Your a "hunter" that I would bet hasn't pulled the trigger on so much as a sage rat in 10 years. Please don't pretend to be one of us with a concience. Your one of them that's been handed a paycheck justifying the mantra... humans are evil.
 

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Thanks for the link. Interesting, but not surprising. Why do I say this?

1. They were studying adult cows, yet mortality from cougars and wolves are proportionally far higher on elk < 2 years of age. The Mt. Emily study documented 86% of cougar kills on elk were less than 2 years of age. Wolves have been documented up to 68% of their kills being calves and again proportionally higher than occurrence in the herds. When calves are not available, wolves prey on cows and bulls.

2. Cougar populations in all but one state in this study (guess which one that is) are managed and most likely not at levels to be a significant factor. It would be interesting to split out the Oregon data and see if the difference is significant.

Notice the last few paragraphs of this study, they are speculating that the calf/yearling factor may be the main driver in herd declines. Did any of us think otherwise???
 

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"Predator death spiral" sounds pretty hysterical to me. The deer, elk, and predators managed to work it out for millions of years before humans came along. If folks put half the effort into conserving habitat from over-grazing by livestock, oil and gas development, road building, etc... that they put into whining about critters they see as competition to filling a tag, our herds would be in a heck of a lot better shape. :twocents:
 

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"Predator death spiral" sounds pretty hysterical to me. The deer, elk, and predators managed to work it out for millions of years before humans came along. If folks put half the effort into conserving habitat from over-grazing by livestock, oil and gas development, road building, etc... that they put into whining about critters they see as competition to filling a tag, our herds would be in a heck of a lot better shape. :twocents:

Yep, that explains the northern yellowstone herd.

Why would we want to expend all the energy, time and money to address your mentioned factors, just to feed the predators???? This makes no sense.
 

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Mr. Ferris:
The more I read the article, the less impressed I became. In their own words:

"Our results only assessed a single vital rate for a segment of the population, and thus do not necessarily scale up to population-level trends."

"Overall, our results help elucidate the relative influence of humans and native carnivores, along with weather and habitat factors, on adult female elk mortality. Variation in carnivore-induced mortality rates had no effect on overall (‘total’) annual survival rates of adult female elk because managers accounted for increasing carnivore induced mortality by reducing adult female harvest, thus offsetting the impacts of changing ecological conditions. We caution, however, that carnivores could have stronger influences on juvenile ungulate survival and recruitment than we found on adult survival (Griffin et al. 2011); further research is needed to determine whether adjusting human harvest can offset the effects of predation on overall ungulate population dynamics."

Source: http://www.umt.edu/mcwru/personnel/M...vival_2013.pdf

One last comment: If the authors truly wanted to "elucidate", they might consider avoiding $20 words when more common terms would suffice. (Yes .... I know what "elucidate" means.)

T

BTW - Thanks Blacktail Slayer for the link. And thanks Rank for your insight.
 
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