July 19, 2019

Coyotes Devour Deer Fawns: Picture and Story Authenticated

It was June 14, 2013 when I posted a short story with picture of nothing but a fawn deer’s head. I received the photo and brief story second hand but stated that the person sending me the information was a very reliable source. Here’s the link to the original story and the picture is posted below.

fawnhead

Photo by Christopher Bartlett

Just yesterday I received an email from Christopher Bartlett stating that he had discovered my blog post and wanted to verify that it was his experience the photo was his as well. His email read:

Hi Tom,

I recently saw your blog post where you directly quoted an email that I sent to friends on June 11, 2013 that included my photo of a fawn’s head. The story is authentic. I was conducting breeding bird surveys in Jonesport when I found the fawn remains and coyote tracks. It was a sobering sight as dusk set in. You’re welcome to freely share my photo. Please consider giving me photo credit when possible. And thanks for sharing great information about hunting and fishing in Maine.

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Discussion on Impacts by Wolves on Game

This is a 3-hour video, if interested, of officials from Idaho, Montana and Washington discussing what impacts wolves have on game species.

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Idaho Bill Proposed Would Tap Hunters to Pay for Wolf Depredation

Rep. Judy Boyle of Idaho has sponsored a bill that would add $4.00 to the purchase price of a wolf hunting permit and then take $8.00 from each wolf tag sold to be placed into a fund to help pay the cost of livestock losses to ranchers.

Are you kidding me?

Such a bill has to be either the most in-your-face, brassy and ballsy act a politician can muster against hunters or the complete opposite; a display of unselfish charity, the kind most seldom ever seen on this earth anymore!

In your face? In Idaho there is a situation that exists in which many, if not most, hunters are so angry about wolves, and many of the same consider the action taken in the mid-90s to (re)introduce wolves into the state a criminal enterprise, resulting in the greatest destructive act against wildlife and game hunting opportunities. And now, a bill proposes to tap hunters to pay for the destruction of the game animals they hunt. Isn’t this just about as ridiculous as you can get?

Charity? Perhaps I have been so angered and frustrated over the years of deliberate game destruction, the loss of hunting opportunities, threats of the harmful spread of deadly disease, reduced public safety and loss of property, all because of wolves, that it’s difficult to muster up a real Christian attitude and overlook all of this and direct my love and devotion to the losses having been suffered by the ranchers. I’m not Christ. I’m human!

I have nothing against ranchers and have certainly spent my share of time defending them and supporting the idea of reimbursing them for losses. But I fail to understand why this responsibility to pay ranchers for their losses should fall to the hands of those who want to buy a license to hunt a wolf. Surely the majority of hunters don’t hunt wolves out of the love of the sport. Isn’t it more out of a want to get rid of the damned animals in order to bring back elk, deer and moose populations in those areas where the wolf has had a field day? Why not tax every dollar donated to the environmental groups mostly responsible for wolf introduction? Isn’t that justice?

When you think about this bill, isn’t it akin to asking members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving to pay for property damage caused by drunks behind the wheel of a car? What am I failing to see here?

If my sense of charity is so terribly diminished that I can’t and should be eager to pay another $4.00, that I have little confidence the government isn’t going to steal for other purposes, then I pray to God He will show me that I am wrong.

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Wolf Attacking Bull Elk in Water

Looking at the photo below, it appears the wolf has his feet on the ground while in the water. Generally speaking elk, moose and deer seek refuge in the water as it becomes next to impossible for wolves to attack and kill prey if the wolves are having to “swim” in the water.

The photo was sent to me in my email without any information as to who took the photo or where it was taken so I can’t credit the photographer.

wolfeatingelk

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Debunk: Predators Kill Only Lame, Sick and Weak Prey Species

I have finally found a written explanation about predator/prey relationships that is easy to sink your teeth into and understand and written by an authority on the subject; Dr. Charles Kay, Wildlife Ecology-Range Management Specialist Utah State University. His article can be found in Muley Crazy Magazine, Jan./Feb. Edition 2013.

Anyone paying any attention to the emotional debates about large predators – wolves and coyotes seem to carry the most irrational emotions – have heard someone, even those supposedly who are authorities, say that wolves/coyotes/large predators are necessary for our ecosystems because they kill only the lame, sick, weak and/or substandard members of the prey species. With the mindless perpetuation of such drivel, we are also told this “sanitary” engineering by predators provides for “healthy” prey species, some even claiming this natural phenomenon limits and reduces certain wildlife diseases because these predators are killing the sick among the prey.

I have always contended that if large predators were intelligent enough to determine the sickly of the species, why aren’t they equally intelligent to pick a good meal rather than one that might taste bad and be full of worms and disease? But I guess maybe that’s another discussion.

What studies that do exist, clearly show that large predators kill their prey/food depending upon several factors, none of which are the result of a predator recognizing they have a sick animal on their hands. Factors include: How easy it is for predators to kill their prey species under normal conditions; the size and killing ability of the predator versus the size and defense capabilities of the prey; how the predator hunts and environmental conditions. Seriously, is this something new? Of course not.

Dr. Kay explains that any prey species that is easily captured and killed, there is no difference in the proportionate killing of healthy vs. ill prey species. As the size and defense capabilities of the predator animal increases, the incidence of prey killed increases mostly do to a reduction of defensive capability.

Kay uses an example of lynx in Europe that will feed on both roe deer and red deer. He explains that roe deer, “are less than half the size of mule deer, while red deer are the same species as our elk.” Roe deer are easier to catch for the lynx and kill without evidence of taking a disproportionate number of sick roe deer. As far as the red deer are concerned, because the animal is bigger and more difficult to catch and take down, lynx tend to target red deer calves in disproportionate numbers to the overall red deer population. A bigger predator, such as a wolf, isn’t choosy between roe deer and red deer and will take either species that is available when hunted with little or no regard to seeking out a sick member of the herd.

All predators hunt differently; some are ambush hunters, some are stalkers that run down their prey, for examples. An ambush hunter isn’t particular or concerned over whether an animal is sick or lame. Essentially they have one shot at their prey, healthy or not. On the other hand, a predator, like a wolf or coyote, track down their prey, sometimes running them down, or perhaps surrounding their target. In this case, opportunism will likely afford the predator a better chance at catching up to and killing a sick or lame prey species. This only makes sense.

As any good scientist would do, Dr. Kay points out information he provided in other research work written about in “Predation and the Ecology of Fear” [see Muley Crazy 10(5): 23-28; 2010]. In this work and subsequent reporting, Kay points out that often times the substandard prey species can become this way due to harassment by predators and humans. Predators torment and harass prey species constantly. Battle weary prey animals then become an easier target and thus the ill health mythology exploited by the predator protectors is not so because it is caused by natural conditions such as physical defects and disease.

And if predators, such as wolves, exist for the function of killing only the lame, diseased and infirm of prey animals, while yielding us a “healthy” ecosystem, how does one explain surplus killing? Surplus killing, which is readily recorded, is when wolves move into a herd of prey and just kill everything they can until they have had enough killing, for no apparent reason than to kill. Some think of it as a learning adventure for the immature dogs in the pack. What I can tell you is that those who protect predators will deny that surplus killing is real.

Depending upon the region in which predator and prey relationships are being examined, one can find many environmental conditions that will effect a predator’s ability to hunt and a prey’s ability to defend themselves or escape. Deep and crusty snow comes to mind, as often prey species such as deer and moose, that use running as an escape, cannot flee so easily and wolves and coyotes easily run them down.

Dr. Kay also debunks the notions that large predators are good to limit or reduce wildlife disease because they pick on the sick prey and not the healthy. He points out that, “Wolf predation has not lowered the incidence of brucellosis in elk within the Yellowstone ecosystem.” Also, “In Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park, bison are infected with both brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis. Yet more than 50 years of wolf predation has not lowered the incidence of either disease.” Again, “Cape buffalo are preyed upon by African lions and spotted hyenas, both formidable predators, yet predation has not slowed the spread of bovine tuberculosis in Kruger’s cape buffalo population.” Finally, “predation by black bears, mountain lions, and coyotes has not slowed the spread of chronic wasting disease.”

In addition to revealing that predation is not changing the incidences of disease, Dr. Kay tells his readers that some predators, such as wolves and coyotes, carry more than 30 diseases that they are infecting ungulate populations with, and creating for potential harm and possible death to humans. Certainly a predator spreading so many diseases cannot and is not making for a healthy prey population, but an unhealthy one.

Proper control of predators is the proven and scientific method of keeping healthy prey and predator species, not some myth that these predators are like trained physicians making house calls to keep all their food supply healthy. Let’s not pretend.

It is certainly one thing to want to protect your favorite wild animal but at what expense? Do we risk the health of humans while hiding behind some notion that predators are sanitation engineers? As Dr. Kay says, “the next time some wolf biologist or pro-wolf advocate tries to tell you that predators only kill the lame, the sick, and the infirm, or that predators help control disease, listen politely, or not, and then have a good laugh! What you do next is up to you, but remember, the federal government has warned all its employees, who normally handle wolves or wolf scat, about Echincoccus granulosus, but has yet to pass a similar warning on to the general public.”

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How Do Wolves Affect You?

upsidebackwardsFor me a key statement made in this movie pretty much tells the story. A man says, and I’m paraphrasing, that our laws in this country provide for a person to use whatever means they think necessary to protect themselves, their family and their property from human predators but they are left helpless through Government protection of an animal.

How and why did we ever get to this point?

Wallowa County Wolves from OregonWolfEducation.Org on Vimeo.

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Gasp! Wolves Eat Moose

A Tip of the Hat to Ya!Hat Tip to Critter News for the link.

This is a riot! According to the Jackson Hole News & Guide, a recent study showed that wolves enjoy the fine cuisine of moose ala snow in the North Teton area.

Gosh though! I wonder what is killing off the moose in Minnesota. Evidently wolves in Minnesota have not acquired a taste for fresh moose on a cold winter night.

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Cougar Takes Down Mature Mule Deer Buck

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20 Dead Maine Coyotes

I am told that these dead coyotes are at least part of efforts by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s attempt at targeting coyotes in deer wintering areas.

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Wolves in Maine in the 1800s – Part IV (Community Efforts to Exterminate)

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI

“Early Maine Wildlife” – Historical Accounts of Canada lynx, Moose, Mountain Lion, White-Tailed Deer, Wolverine, Wolves, and Woodland Caribou, 1603 – 1930 – by William B. Krohn and Christopher L. Hoving can tell us many things about how wildlife was perceived, treated, abused and misunderstood. From the early 1600s, it should really come as no surprise that settlers and commercial trappers and game harvesters thought of wildlife as an endless resource. We learned that was not true and it resulted in the formulation of a wildlife management scheme that has proven immensely successful over the past century.

Wolves in Maine, much the same as in many spots across the U.S., were seen as a useless animal, one that competed directly with the hunters and gatherers and as we learned in Part III, when available prey for the wolf diminished, attacks on humans and livestock became more common. As a result, demands from people grew to get rid of the wolf.

In most all of the previous parts of this serial examination, seldom was anything good about the wolf reported, other than perhaps their pelts made for good decoration and available cover to go on the back of the seat in a sleigh.

Our repeated history and education in this country has mostly been centered on the notion that it were hunters and trappers that bore the responsibility for the extirpation of the wolf countrywide. History has shown us this is not true. In addition, those whose interests lie in the over-protection of the wolf are unrelenting in their talking points that humans were unjustifiably frightened of the wolf, embellished through made-up scary tales, and that people simply misunderstood the animal.

I don’t believe any of that to be true at all. World history clearly shows that in those regions of the world were wolves were allowed to flourish, hundreds and even thousands of people were killed by wolves. I don’t know about you but if I lost a family member to a large animal predator, it would only seem normal to develop a fear, or at least a healthy level of respect for the beast, and would more than likely promote the idea to get rid of the darn things. This isn’t fairy tale stuff as some might believe.

People saw little or no real value in wolves and why should they have. They competed directly for the very same resources man wanted and needed to survive, they threatened livestock, which for many was their life line, carried and spread disease and became a real threat to the health and safety of humans. As such, efforts to rid the landscape of the varmints became entire community efforts.

In “Early Maine Wildlife”, the authors reference the writings of E.E. Bourne, in 1875. Bourne’s work is the telling of the history of the Wells and Kennebunk area of Maine. Bourne recalls this area as early as the early 1600s, when the people were obviously still under the rule of England. In 1640, wolves appeared to be most everywhere along the seacoast of Maine and settlers were anxious for the King to offer some financial assistance to the communities to rid the countryside of wolves. Here’s what Bourne wrote:

“The new Government, Gorges’ general court, being legislative as well as judicial in its action, did not confine itself to the moral improvement of the people only, but at the same time looked carefully to their physical economy. It may seem a small matter to have made any enactments in regard to wolves. But to settlers it was much more important that they should be extirpated than it has been at any time since that of salmon, shad, and alewives should be preserved from destruction, or that the agriculture of the country should be protected from the ravages of the crow. Wolves then [~1640] abounded along the coast…….Every settler was interested in their extermination, and at this court it was “ordered that every family between Piscataqua and Kennebunk River should pay twelve pence for every wolf that should be killed.” This, it will be seen, was in the whole a large bounty.

“In 1730, five pounds were paid; a few years afterward, eight pounds. In 1747, it was voted that eight pounds should be paid to every person who should kill one; if he killed two, he should have twelve pounds each; if three, sixteen pounds each….. The action of the town for the destruction of wolves continued till about 1770, after which the municipal war against them was abandoned.”

It’s important to note here that it appears from what is written that the people were a bit frustrated because efforts had been made to preserve the salmon, shad and alewives population, along with efforts to protect crops from crows, while nothing was being done to get rid of the wolf, a problem that obviously the communities saw as large enough to demand something be done to help.

So from what appears to be around 1640 until 1770, bounties were put together as an incentive for more people to kill wolves. Those bounties grew to be quite handsome. But mind you this was an entire community that was taxed in order that bounties be paid to rid the area of wolves. It must have been important to them in every way.

During that 130-year period of time, read what happens to the deer population.

Bourne writes: “Until about the commencement of the Revolutionary war, deer were very abundant in Wells. Herds of them, from ten to twenty, were very frequently seen. They were in the habit of visiting the marshes in great numbers……

“As late as the year 1770, a deer was started by a dog, and in chase he ran into the parlor of Joseph Storer in Kennebunk, and went out through the window.”

Does any of this relate to modern times?

But I don’t believe it was simply the efforts of communities and governments to pay bounties and put out poison that led to the extirpation of the wolf. Even utilizing all of those and other tools to achieve that goal, it is still a daunting task to actually completely rid a state or country of a species. I would also suppose that disease, along with changes in the prey base for the wolves and changes in climate, population growth and destruction of habitat all played a factor.

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