August 21, 2019

Predator-Prey Study: Wolves not threat to deer you may think

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*Editor’s Note* – I have not read the entire report referenced in the below link. Most of the information presented is sensible and seems to substantiate most all other real scientific studies on predator prey relationships.

However, it still amazes me that Mr. Beyer, one of the DNR researchers makes some puzzling and seemingly contradictory statements. First heĀ is quoted as saying that wolves will NOT decimate a deer herd. This is followed by: “What we know from the scientific literature is there are only two reports where wolves are believed to have contributed to a substantial reduction of deer … winter weather is still the driving factor, even in the low-snow zone,”

Even though the article begins by stating that there are several factors involved with trying to determine predator prey relationships, all of a sudden it now appears that none of that matters because “only two reports” suggest that wolves are believed to decimate deer herds.

I don’t know those reports but I’m willing to wager they are pro wolf, fake science reports.

I will not dispute that winter weather is a driving force of great influence on deer survival. Perhaps Beyer believes that 100 years from now there will be wolves, coyotes and deer sharing habit – and there may well be. But what happens in the interim? We cannot control the weather. We can only mitigate disease with good sound wildlife management. The possibility exists that wild swings in deer populations will be a reality. We also know through scientific studies that with the right combination of circumstances, uncontrolled large predators can easily destroy a deer herd and keep it at levels that are unsustainable. If this is the conditions in which the DNR believes will not decimate a deer herd, then one has to believe their goals will be the elimination of hunting as a management tool.

All this being said, the data being shared in this article reinforces what many of us have always known about the relationship of deer with weather and predators.

“We’ve been surprised by a few things in Phase I (low-snow study),” notes Dean Beyer, a researcher with the DNR. “We learned that adult does were avoiding core wolf areas and that coyotes were avoiding them, too. That put coyotes and does in the same area, which probably resulted in a greater mortality by coyotes. And we were all surprised by the rate at which bobcats killed fawns. The rate is much higher than other species.”

Source: Predator-Prey Study: Wolves not threat to deer you may think | MLive.com

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