January 19, 2018

Do We Really Need More Collaring To Know Predators Kill?

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CollaredDeerWhile I understand interviews with media outlets and the perpetual screwing up of a story, sometimes readers must be left wondering all sorts of things. And yes, during those interviews, sometimes we are asked really stupid and/or questions that the answer is so obvious it doesn’t deserve an answer.

Depending on what region of the country you are from, would depend upon whether or not and how many and different species of large predators exist that are ripping into the whitetail deer populations. In a report filed in North American Whitetail, Kyle Rivana, Maine’s head deer biologist, says that Maine doesn’t have enough information to know whether coyotes are causing damage to the deer herd.

“We really don’t have a good handle on the relationship between predator and prey in Maine,” he notes. “And partly because of that, we’re getting ready to begin a survival study in which we’ll collar 40 whitetails. One of [the] things we’ll try to measure is cause-specific mortality. Are the coyotes really having the impact we think they’re having?”

Here’s a suggestion. Depending upon who you might talk with, coyotes have been filling up the forests of Maine since the 1950s, give or take a decade. I can remember back to the late 1960s and early 1970s listening to outdoor sportsmen complain about the negative impact of coyotes then. It’s been 40, 50, 60 years and Maine “don’t have a good handle on the relationship between predator and prey”?

It should be embarrassing the state has wiled away its time and resources, poorly managing the whitetail deer, and claiming they don’t have any idea if coyotes are having an impact, when much of everybody and everywhere else understands the problem.

So what’s the solution? Rivana says, “…we’re ready to begin a survival study…” Save your money. You don’t need to put collars on deer in hopes you might find out what’s killing them. Predators are killing the deer. Not all of them but predators kill deer. That’s why they are called predators. And besides, if Maine collars 40 deer and finds out that coyotes, or bears, or bobcats, or lynx or mountain lions or wolves, or Big Foot, or all of them combined, are killing off the deer herd, what is the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) going to do about it? NOTHING! Oh they might toss some money in the air and for a year or two pay $200-$300 a varmint to have them killed until such time as those making complaints are placated and forgotten. Then it’s back to business as usual.

Does the new deer biologist understand anything about the relationship of predators and deer in Maine? Here’s what he said:

“In some areas of the United States, bears can have more of an impact (on whitetails) than coyotes or wolves,” says Kyle Ravana, who heads up Maine’s deer management program. “In other areas, it could be coyotes or bobcats that are having the biggest impact. It kind of depends on where you are.

“When you’re in a state like Maine, that has a full suite of predators — coyotes and bears and bobcats and wolves — you can’t point your finger at any one predator. It could be all of them combined, including hunters.”

And notice that he had to, just had to, because that’s how he was indoctrinated in his educational institution, that it could be HUNTERS that are causing the reduction of deer in Maine. Really? So Rivana, and anyone else at MDIFW or across the country that wants to say that it is hunters that are destroying game herds, then what that REALLY means is that the fish and game departments of each state aren’t doing the job that their state mandated them to do. If Maine has a problem with too many deer being killed by hunters, that is the responsibility of deer managers to reduce that impact. So, let’s quit with the blaming the hunter BS. But I understand it’s impossible to lose that brainwashing, and it might be just as likely that some environmental groups are funding the collared deer study, which means….well, you figure it out.

I’m done buying vowels and so, I’d like to solve the puzzle: Predators exist in Maine and many, many other places. They have for many, many years and those predators are growing in numbers for a variety of reasons. Predators kill prey. Deer are prey. When there are more than one prey species for predators to kill, when they’ve depleted one, they will switch to another. Predators, like coyotes and wolves, keep growing in numbers partly because there is ample food – they just switch from one prey species to another. If nothing is done about controlling the predators, there’s a possibility that the predators, in combination with other things, such as severe winters, disease, etc., will reduce their prey base so low and keep it there, they will either move on, starve or resort to cannibalism. It isn’t the responsible way of managing wildlife.

Therefore, because it’s been 50, 60, 70 years that coyotes have been around in Maine and bears have always been here and now in historic high populations, bobcats as well and Canada lynx, my solution to the puzzle would be to implement predator control into the deer management program. It has to be part of any game plan – that is game that is a food source for large predators. What’s to get a handle on. DO SOMETHING!

But no. The answer is always one of two things; form a study group or put a collar on an animal. The results? NOTHING! (global warming) Another year goes by and then another and another and the only thing that has been taken care of is someone’s pension fund.

Save your damned money. You don’t need collars to find out if coyotes are having an impact on deer. All of Maine’s large predators are having an impact on deer. It’s what they do. It’s time to do something about it other than forming another study group and putting on collars.

  • alrem

    The “Department” of Maine Wildlife scarcity sings the same song as Idaho Department of Scarcity. It has never recognized, never admitted and never included the wild dogs running loose as blame for Anything.

    The Department’s own noose around their necks on this one but you know as well as I do, what will become of collaring deer. NAGDT. But one thing is guaranteed and that’s eventually no need to collar what’s not there. How pathetic. How Criminal.

    Why in Hell are they destroying the deer herds to Feed to the dogs? Simple; The little invisible innocent doggies running wild get the deer. The larger game is for the larger invisible wolf doggies coming to eat Maine’s pristine FOOD SUPPLY of bears, with hunters’ funds. Criminal.

    It is nice to know Maine’s Department raises game to feed to the dogs, all on hunters’ money. Criminals.

    And Mr. Rivana, is it? Killer Kyle. He can shove his collars up his ass and monitor them for all the good it will do.

    Jesus Kyle, If it’s the hunter’s fault I guess we’ll all quit the woods and stay the hell out, and purchase no more hunting gear. You won’t need collars. You won’t need to come to “work” either…… gd fools.

  • Jay_Gray

    Wow, that’s a totally unfair attack on a respected wildlife professional using a pretty standard wildlife science approach.

    Among the important issues that would be useful to know in parts of Maine are the relative importance of the different predators, impact on fawns vs adults, etc.
    While 40 deer isn’t a big study, it’s a start.

    I suspect that before Kyle goes spending a bunch of time (and your money) changing policy, he’d like to know the most effective thing(s) to be working on.

  • Rork1

    “my solution to the puzzle would be to implement predator control”.
    That’s pretty vague. In MI we have super-liberal coyote hunting and trapping regs. Is there evidence that it makes much difference? Not that I know of. I’d guess coyote-caused deer deaths are somewhat additive, but I can’t demonstrate that, and I know of no estimates of what the effect of killing more or fewer coyotes here (or in Maine) would be. I do know of studies where killing more coyotes increased deer densities over small areas, usually farther south, but the methods used are impractical for large areas (the number of coyotes you need to kill is too large). The only state I know of with coyote bounties is Utah, which shows that managers in almost every state with coyotes think that this is not a useful procedure.

    • Rork1

      I searched and found other previous articles where control methods were more spelled out. Pointers to any papers actually out from Maine’s recent experiments appreciated.

  • alrem

    Simple solution: Do you want Dogs, or do you want Deer? You can have both – for a short period of time until the DOGS ARE DONE FEEDING ON DEER, dear Mr. “game” manager. It’s called theft.

    “Well, I just don’t understand why some are so upset over dogs in the woods”. Having them in the woods at all is one thing, Doing something about it is quite another. Thieves. Crooks.

    “Hunters” are even brainwashed to think the “Department” is on target with this, another bullshit session of spending what money they steal.

    Get the gd dog out of the woods.

    • GoldDust

      I searched and searched for information by others with alleged experiences that they put down in articles which I found believable because it was what I wanted to hear, and it is popular amongst my friends.. While of course ignoring the numerous well documented positives of predator control articles published by governments and private sector business operations because I need you or somebody to find those documents for me. Whereupon I would claim those articles only represent bias against canines because it’s management I’m convinced=conned into believing doesn’t work.

      • TRemington

        This is precisely my point! Why spend more money (job security) to “study” what many before have tried. And in those studies (outcome-based) research, people take away from it what they wish.
        The truth is, but seldom acknowledged at any level, is that predators kill my food source. I am the apex predator and am in competition with the canine predators. Brainwashed non thinkers simply swallow the unsubstantiated claims that large predators are necessary to a healthy ecosystem – BULLSHIT!
        Predators’ effects on game animals is dependent upon many things. Maine doesn’t need a study to determine that bears, coyotes/wolves, bobcats etc. are chewing into a seriously depleted deer herd and it will only get worse.
        With multiple prey species for the predators, they will rapidly bring the woods into the proverbial predator pit.
        Having liberal hunting and trapping seasons on coyotes/wolves is not predator control.
        Dr. Val Geist spoke a few years ago to a group of hunters who were actually complaining that there were too many deer. He told them to enjoy their “too many deer” problem because the coyote/wolf was coming and their too many deer problem would morph into a too many coyote/deer problem.
        But don’t go look. Take what you like the sounds of and run with it.

  • GoldDust

    My solution is to keep promoting and doing what has worked consistently throughout history for mankind which has provided for renewable food resources used by mankind by protecting those resources from vermin that destroys those resources. We are not preserving dog food, we are preserving food for Men and Women and Children..