November 25, 2017

It’s Always About Habitat: It’s What’s Easiest to See

Several years ago I asked the question that if Maine’s loss of a deer herd was mostly to be blamed on loss of habitat, including so-called “Deer Wintering Areas” (DWA), then why are there many acres of DWAs throughout Maine that are now empty during the winter months or have reduced numbers of deer in them? One would think that if there’s less habitat/DWA that more deer would be crowded into available space.

I’ve never received an honest answer and know that I never will.

It’s much easier to bitch and complain about loss of habitat. Why? People can look out the windows of their climate-controlled SUVs and see trees that have been cut down. That equates to man is a destructive, non caring, greedy SOB and their actions are killing all the animals and plant life.

Of course I am forced to attempt to explain to the emotional, mental midgets, that habitat is vitally important for all living things…that is ALL LIVING THINGS. Last time I checked I was a living thing, although some mornings I wonder.

Realizing also that there are many who don’t understand that good habitat for a yellow warbler isn’t necessarily the same as good habitat for a Canada lynx. In addition, because habitat changes or is changed deliberately by the actions of man, does not necessarily mean some animals and plants die or are in danger of going extinct, as media and environmental groups state for the purpose of playing on our emotions.

In short, wildlife will adapt and in some cases certain species are more readily equipped to adapt than others.

A decade ago I wrote about predator/prey relationships, which included information about which negative influences had the most effect on prey. In other words, it is easy for most people, lacking any knowledge or understanding of facts, to continue their perverse hatred to the existence of man (excluding themselves of course) to say that hunting kills more deer, elk, moose, bear, etc. than any of the other influences. However, that’s not true, as you might discover if you bothered to take the time to learn.

If you take the time to read the article at the above link, you may learn something about those relationships. Along with your learning, you might discover that protecting habitat, believing the act will mitigate prey losses, is not going to achieve what most people think it will.

If it was a fact that loss of habitat was the major factor in the loss of deer in the State of Maine, then we might expect that protecting and or growing that habitat will help. Saying it is and proving that it is are not the same thing.

I applaud those major landowners who have volunteered to work with the fish and game people to come up with ways of protecting deer habitat, including DWAs, but doing so will not grow the deer herd because habitat is not the largest factor in the loss of deer. Understand loss of habitat may be the major contributor in some areas, but statewide it is not the major problem.

According to all the excuses, climate change and severe winters are the two items that kill the most deer. Are they? Climate change be damned. To believe that climate change is killing deer is to believe that deer cannot survive in warmer climates, when the facts are the opposite. So, then, the deer herd should be growing, right? It is also to believe that such effects happen overnight. Why don’t more people ask deer managers why, if climate change is killing our deer, that severe winters are still killing deer?

When deer managers fall heavily on these excuses, toss in the sob story of how loss of habitat is putting management over the edge, why bother to even have a fish and wildlife management department? According to what we hear, nothing about deer management is within their control. We’re all going to die!

Evidently, while all this is going on, we’ve come to be taught that whitetail deer are worthless creatures incapable of adapting to a changing environment. There is hope, however, when one of Maine’s wildlife biologists was caught saying that there is a “new normal” when it comes to understanding deer behavior. Essentially he stated that increased predator pressure, combined with the public’s deer feeding programs, have changed how deer are spending their winters. Could this be the answer I’m looking for as to why many, many acres of traditional DWAs are going unused? It appears perhaps the deer have adapted but the deer managers are many years behind.

Expending effort to protect habitat for deer and other wildlife can be a good thing. Placing all your markers on forcing land owners to protect the king’s deer, will do nothing except anger a lot of landowners.

The “new normal” theory makes good sense. The wild canines in Maine’s woods are a hybrid of coyote, wolf, domestic dog and just about any and all kinds of dogs, wild or domestic. Their numbers are probably the highest they have ever been. Combine this with a very large bear population and it makes sense that deer must adapt or die. One has to wonder what the mortality rate in those DWAs would be minus the coyotes, and what the fawn recruitment would be like minus a couple thousand black bears? Perhaps those “severe” winters wouldn’t be quite so severe on the deer.

Habitat is not everything and it is not THE answer. Get over it. Time to move on.

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Logging, intentional fires planned in Superior National Forest to improve moose habitat

*Editor’s Note* – Well, I’m confused but that probably doesn’t surprise many of you. Last time I checked Minnesota officials said there was little to be done about saving the state’s moose herd because “global warming” was causing everything imaginable that might work against the moose herd…including the defeat of Hillary Clinton last November.

Using the circular reasoning of unreasoned circular nonsensical clap-trap, isn’t cutting down forests contributing to global warming which in turn kills off the moose herd?

“Twenty years ago the Superior National Forest was criticized for allowing loggers to cut too many trees, especially too many large swaths of forest.

Environmental groups and others contended that so-called clear-cuts were more than just an aesthetic eyesore, but that they contributed to monocultures of small aspen trees and disrupted wildlife that depended on thick, mature forests of big, old trees.

The Forest Service responded by cutting back on cutting.

Flash-forward a couple decades, however, and plans to cut more and larger swaths of trees are getting high praise. Wildlife biologists and others say more logging and more fire are the only hope for Minnesota’s dwindling moose herd.”<<<Read More>>>

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Wildlife Habitat Protected, Access Improved in Nevada

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worked with a conservation-minded landowner, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to protect 4,500 acres of key wildlife habitat in northeast Nevada via a voluntary conservation easement agreement. The project also improves access to nearly 19,000 acres of adjacent public land.

“We appreciate Bryan Masini and his partner owners of the Wildhorse Ranch in recognizing the importance of protecting and conserving the wildlife values of their land,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.

Located approximately 70 miles north of Elko, the property lies within the Owyhee River watershed just east of the Independence Mountain Range.

As part of the transaction, the NDOW holds an access agreement that allows public access for hunting and other recreational activities to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands which border the ranch.

“We are grateful for all the partners in this effort and find great hope in innovative approaches such as this conservation easement,” said Tony Wasley, NDOW director. “This is a great solution that protects private land, while also maintaining the land’s benefits for the wildlife species that depend on it.”

“This specific area is year-round habitat and crucial summer range for up to 100 elk. It’s also a key area for mule deer and antelope, crucial habitat for Greater sage-grouse and it features riparian habitat for fish and other species,” added Henning.

Current range conditions consist of enough forage for cattle and wildlife and a plan has been implemented to ensure that best management practices maintain quality habitat going forward.

“This project is a great example of the private and public partnership efforts that exist to protect critical habitats and preserve agricultural working lands for future generations,” stated Ray Dotson, NRCS state conservationist.

The Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program and the Nevada Department of Wildlife provided funding for the project.

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Wildlife, Riparian Habitat Protected, Access Improved in Oregon

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The largest private inholding in Oregon’s most popular and biggest wilderness area is now in public hands and open to public access thanks to a collaborative effort between the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service.

The project permanently protects 471 acres adjacent to the Eagle Cap Wilderness in northeast Oregon and improves access to nearly 23,000 additional acres of surrounding public land.

“This area contains vital habitat for elk and a myriad of other wildlife and fish species,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.

Located southwest of the town of Joseph and directly west of Wallowa Lake, the narrow property runs approximately two miles in length. It serves as an important elk transition area as it lies between elk summer range in the high country and winter range in the lowlands. Mule deer, white-tailed deer, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats are also present within the surrounding area.

Additionally, Little Granite Creek and Falls Creek, two major tributaries to Hurricane Creek, cross the property. Spring Chinook salmon use the waterways for spawning. The creeks also provide crucial riparian habitat for other wildlife.

“In addition to improving public access for hunters, this project also ensures unimpeded access to Hurricane Creek and Falls Creek Trails, two of the most popular trails that provide access to the Eagle Cap Wilderness, including access to Legore Lake, said to be the highest true lake in Oregon at 8,950 feet in elevation,” added Henning.

RMEF conveyed the 471 acres to the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest which now oversees its management.

Vital funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund helped complete the project.

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Wildlife Habitat Permanently Protected in Colorado

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation teamed up with conservation-minded landowners and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to permanently protect 1,742 acres of prime elk and greater sage grouse habitat in northwest Colorado. The project also improves public hunting in a limited draw unit.

“We appreciate landowners who look outside of themselves and recognize the vital importance of protecting their land,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Protecting this property will maintain its wildlife, agricultural and habitat values while also benefitting nearby public lands.”

The tract is nearly surrounded by public lands. It is also adjacent to the Diamond Breaks Wilderness Study Area and just a few miles away from Dinosaur National Monument and Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge.

“Projects like this protect migration corridors and enhance the connectivity of wildlife habitat. In this particular case, more than 238,000 acres of landscape are now knitted together for the benefit of wildlife and its habitat,” added Henning.

Located in the Pot Creek and Dry Creek watersheds, tributaries of the Green River, the property is key summer and winter range for big game and home to more than 500 elk as well as mule deer and other bird and animal life. It is also core greater sage grouse range and lies within a two-mile radius of leks in both Colorado and Utah, one of which contains more than 60 males.

Though the conservation easement is on private property, the landowner granted a public access easement to CPW allowing public elk hunts every year going forward in the highly limited draw unit of Game Management Unit 1.

“CPW will manage the hunts and public hunters will be allowed to access the landlocked BLM-administered lands,” said Bill de Vergie, CPW’s area wildlife manager from Meeker. “This is very beneficial for wildlife and our sportsmen and I’m glad to see it happen.”

The landowner previously placed a RMEF conservation easement on a 796-acre plot of adjacent ranch land immediately across the border in Utah.

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Wildlife Habitat, Hunters Win Thanks to RMEF Project

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—A wildlife management area in west-central Montana is now 33 percent larger thanks to collaborative conservation work by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), Montana Fish & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Lewis and Clark County Open Space Program and the Cinnabar Foundation.

The project permanently protects and opens access to 720 acres of wildlife habitat while also improving access to more than 5,000 acres of nearby public lands.

“This transaction spawns a myriad of benefits,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Prime wildlife and riparian habitat is protected in perpetuity which benefits many different species, public access is created and greatly improved, and the threat of private residential development is gone forever.”

RMEF purchased the two tracts from Stimson Lumber and immediately conveyed them at no cost to FWP which added the acreage to expand the Canyon Creek Wildlife Management Area.

“We are very grateful to the RMEF for brokering this deal and Montana Fish & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Lewis and Clark County Open Space Program and the Cinnabar Foundation for their funding support,” said Ken McDonald, FWP Wildlife Division administrator “This is a great addition to the Canyon Creek Wildlife Management Area that protects some key wildlife habitat and that Montana citizens will be able to forever enjoy.”

The property is an important wildlife corridor and provides key habitat for elk, moose, whitetail deer, grizzly and black bear, mountain lion, Canada lynx and wolverine as well raptors, upland game birds and other species. It is also home to Specimen, Canyon and Weino Creeks which make up more than two miles of riparian habitat –key to brown, eastern brook, rainbow and westslope cutthroat trout– that fall within the Missouri River Watershed.

The public can also access the Continental Divide Trailhead via the property across adjacent National Forest land.

The Montana Fish &Wildlife Conservation Trust, Lewis and Clark County Open Lands Program, Cinnabar Foundation and RMEF’s Torstenson Family Endowment provided funding for the project.

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False Worship of Natural Restoration

Natural restoration, much like natural regulation is a false god. There can never be this idealistic existence so long as man shares “nature” with….well, nature. It was never intended that nature be left alone to its own devices. The plan has always been that man would “manage” the resources within nature for sustainable uses. From this perspective, man manipulates “nature,” sometimes very well and sometimes not so well, in order to make use of the resources our Creator provided for us.

The worship of false gods and Paganism has caused man to evolve into a blinded instrument used against the very existence of man. Centuries later, out of this Paganism, came Environmentalism, a false belief that man destroys everything and the only way resources (nature) can be preserved and protected is to prohibit man access to land and the resources within that land.

This is part of the lie of natural restoration. It is often that we hear the call for “natural restoration.” The blind irony of the false idol of, so-called, natural restoration is that there is nothing natural about it. On the one hand we have man manipulating the resource to provide sustainable use of the bounty provided within the land. On the other hand, we have man manipulating the resource in order to achieve a personal perspective of how the resource should be. The only difference is the personal agendas of each person or group of persons.

One has to ask of what use is locked up land and resources? What good can actually become of it? The resources provided to us by our Creator were intended to sustain man’s existence. To deny use of these resources, while hiding behind some false claim of restoring the land to something that resembles its “natural state,” is to deny the sustainability of man on this planet, and perhaps that is the ultimate goal.

Blind idolatry at every level results in the destruction of man.

Today I read of one man’s idea of what he thinks a certain parcel of land should be and one way in which to accomplish that desire. It involves the recent land grab, by the U.S. Government and environmentalists, of land in Maine, designated by President Obama as a National Monument, and now called Katahdin Woods and Waters.

The author of the opinion piece I was reading, said that he hoped that the primary focus of the National Park Service would be “habitat restoration.” It is but this one person’s perspective that anything needs restoring – and to what should it be “restored” to?

To accomplish this restoration, he calls for the use and protection of beavers, believing that beavers only accomplish good things in the “restoration of habitat.”

If the objective of Roxanne Quimby, former owner of the land, is habitat restoration, then why did she propose turning the land into a park? Surely a park will do more to destroy the existing habitat than multi-use without a park.

The author states that beavers, “engineer bio-diverse habitats, something they are specially evolved to do.” Where is it written that bio-diverse habitats, created by beavers, is a “natural restoration?” And who gets to say that beavers “evolved” to “engineer bio-diverse habitats?” Beavers were created, by the Almighty, as a resource for His creation of man. What’s presented by this author is but one man’s perspective on how he thinks things should be.

Of the decades I have spent in the fields and forests, I have seen places where beavers have created a different habitat over the years and often simple utter destruction. From my perspective, the destruction far out-weighs any good a so-called habitat restoration as called for would be.

There is dishonesty in all this, claiming the Scientism high ground, that keeping man off the land, benefits the land due to man’s nature to destroy everything, unless it is the man holding one’s preferred science and perspective on what the land should be used for. This is part of the destruction of the idolatry of Environmentalism. Shifting the paradigm to create a belief that man should not use and have access to natural resources makes little sense and appears as nothing but a commitment in idol worship.

So we, as a people, have to decide whether we should continue to take advantage of our resources in a responsible way, or simply shut off access and let the land be what the environmentalists want it to be? Either way requires man’s manipulation to accomplish the desired feat and thus there is absolutely nothing natural about the false claim of “natural restoration/regulation.”

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Ohio’s Black Bears

We know that since forever, man has been blamed for everything. This action is akin to how, along with the evil man, a fabricated “Global Warming” is the convenient excuse or blame for everything and anything. Often – very often – almost always – loss of habitat is the excuse of why game and/or wildlife managers can’t do their jobs.

So, if loss of habitat was one of the contributing factors in why Ohio lost its black bear population, as is stated, then the return of the bear must be attributed to the efforts of hunters and “regulated” hunting. For surely, according to the hateful and blind, once habitat is lost there is no returning of it – well, of course unless returning habitat fits the bill of convenience in the ongoing exemplification of Romance Biology, Voodoo Science and overall hatred toward man.

ohiobear

astabulacountyohio

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3,800 Acres of Public Land Opened to Utah Hunters, Others

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worked with the U.S. Forest Service to purchase a 10-acre tract that permanently protects access to 3,800 acres of public lands in central Utah.

“Opening and securing public access is core to our conservation mission,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “This small transaction has a funnel-like effect in helping hunters, hikers and other people reach a much larger publicly-administered landscape.”

The project is located approximately 25 miles west of Price in the Electric Lake area of the Manti-LaSal National Forest. It secures permanent public access from a parking area on Highway 31 to a trailhead used by elk and deer hunters, many of whom use it to pack in and set up camps.

The area accessed by the trailhead is primarily elk spring through fall habitat, including calving areas, and is used by more than 1,000 elk. It is also home to mule deer, bear, mountain lions and a host of bird and animal life.

Because of liability concerns, there was a very real concern the area may be closed by the previous landowner, but RMEF purchased and plans to convey the property to the Forest Service. RMEF purchase of the property ensures this trailhead will remain open for hunters and recreationists.

RMEF’s Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) provided funding for the project. TFE funding is used solely to further RMEF’s core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

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Major Landscape Project to Benefit Wyoming Wildlife Habitat

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation committed $365,000 toward a multi-year aspen and forest restoration project on Wyoming’s Shoshone National Forest.

“This is what the RMEF is all about,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This collaborative landscape-scale partnership will implement a series of strategic projects using active vegetation management that will have a positive impact on elk populations, habitat and hunting opportunity.”

The two targeted areas within the Shoshone National Forest are in Long Creek west of Dubois and in the South Pass area south of Lander which is on the southern end of the Wind River Mountain Range.

“The Shoshone National Forest is very fortunate to have an outstanding partnership with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation,” said Joe Alexander, Shoshone National Forest supervisor. “We are working to leverage funds from additional partners in an attempt to better utilize the RMEF grants to perform landscape scale projects on previously identified elk migration corridors on the Shoshone National Forest. We would not be able to appropriately manage the Shoshone National Forest resources at this scale without this key partner.”

Habitat stewardship projects include aspen enhancement, prescribed fire, fence removal, timber harvest and thinning, and noxious weed control across a targeted landscape covering approximately 260,000 acres. The individual treatments begin in 2016 and, depending on the specific approach and acreage to be covered, will take place over the next five to ten years.

“It’s a big win for elk on the Shoshone National Forest because it’s a key migration route in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. And it’s a big win for the overall health of the forest which benefits moose, mule deer, ruffed grouse and many other non-game species that live there too,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “The interagency cooperation to pull this all together has been somewhat rare and exemplary.”

In addition to RMEF, other project members include the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Game and Fish, state forest personnel and other groups and organizations.

Planning for this landscape project has been in the works for about five years. It will benefit more than 12,000 elk and a wide variety of other species.

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