The following article from a Northern Minnesota newspaper describes a 40-year US Fish and Wildlife Service (retired) Wolf Biologist admitting that wolves in Minnesota have indeed decimated the Minnesota moose population and that, undoubtedly, any attempt to increase moose numbers in Minnesota would be akin to introducing impalas into a lion cage at the zoo.
Since retiring here 8 years ago, no other subject caused the shunning and downright rudeness I experienced than my saying or writing that the moose were declining due to wolf predation. Newspaper reporters said I was stupid and the Minnesota DNR and the University of Minnesota authored article after article in the papers that went on at great length about “ticks”, “global warming” and “unspecified diseases” being the cause for the moose decline and the loss of the moose hunting season. Such articles always carried the following disclaimer that I paraphrase, “While some claim wolf predation is a factor, the one thing we are certain about is that wolf predation does not diminish moose populations”.
Many of my colleagues today are cheering the fact that Dr. Mech has “seen the light” and is “man enough to admit it” regarding the suddenly discovered fact that wolves are THE cause of the demise of moose in Minnesota. I offer no such cheer.
The federal wolves are here in Minnesota in great densities. Mech and the DNR and all the University “experts” have profited in great measure from protecting wolves that have been destroying moose populations, moose watching and creating many, many other negative impacts from their actions and lies performed in league with very evil (the correct word) environmentalists and animal rights radicals with broad agendas associated with wolf dangers and destruction.
Now I try to practice forgiveness but the following explanation by the “good” doctor and his cronies is simply further dissembling and meant to only keep the hunters, ranchers, dog owners and rural Minnesota in their state of perpetual subservience to Mech and the DNR and the University and their federal sugardaddy, the USFWS.
After reading all the “science” and “discovery” humbug I ask you to consider:
- “Assuming the legal issues are resolved soon” is the caveat given for any solution. Any biologist with the least understanding of and appreciation for the US Constitution and the North American Wildlife Management model would not give this meaningless pap as a necessary beginning. Federal seizure of state wildlife management authority and jurisdiction is THE reason moose hunting, moose and other things like wolf attacks on campers and dog deaths are happening throughout northern Minnesota. While Mech warbles about court decisions and working with the radicals that control USFWS and have made the DNR and the University federal lapdogs, federal impositions driven by national and international politics and corruption will keep rearing its ugly head whenever bureaucrats and politicians see a benefit to themselves. Anything that does not start with the complete removal of any federal opportunity (like repeal of the Endangered Species ACT) to reassert federal jurisdiction over non-treaty Minnesota wildlife is simply a pipedream.
- “Mech recommends that the state focus more of its wolf harvest quota in future years in the primary moose range, to give the moose population some breathing room.” Any future wolf control that would give ANY “breathing room” would (thanks again to Mech, the DNR, the “U” and USFWS) require reducing the wolf population drastically over many years and then keeping it at the lower level forever. Even if the progressive urban Minnesotans understood and agreed; it would require shooting, trapping, snaring, aerial hunting, poison (?) etc. to attain and sustain the lower wolf levels. Would government do it? Would rural Minnesotans do it? What is the cost? Who would pay? Are rural Minnesotans anymore able to do such things? Are the staffs of the DNR or USFWS or even USDA any longer capable or willing to do what would have to be done?
- His assertion that, “if moose continue to decline, wolf numbers will decline as well” is pure poppycock. If you believe that, there is a bridge for sale in Brooklyn. Wolves decline when moose decline as described on little islands like Isle Royale NP in Lake Superior. Wolves in NW Canada, Siberia and Alaska switch to other wildlife and even humans when a main food source like moose decline. In the settled landscapes of the Lower 48 States when moose decline, wolves shift to deer, elk, cows, calves, sheep, lambs, dogs (when they are not breeding them), kids at bus stops, old ladies in gardens, old men checking the mail, toddlers in the back yard, garbage, hunters’ game, livestock discards, and more than I have room to describe here. Between their doing “what they never did before” in areas they were “never in before” and hybridizing with every coyote and dog they don’t eat: I guess I am just making an otherwise “double arabesque and pirouette off stage right” retirement for this Bozo into a “get out and stay out” exit by a failed bureaucrat as he deserves.
- He concludes, “There’s really little reason to delay. The evidence is increasingly clear. While climate factors may play some indirect roles in the moose decline (such as making moose less healthy and more vulnerable to wolf predation), wolves are the primary direct factor behind the disappearance of this northwoods icon. That’s a scientific conclusion that’s hard to refute”.
He still keeps his foot in the radical canoe with, “climate factors may play some indirect roles in the moose decline (such as making moose less healthy and more vulnerable to wolf predation” something with no evidence and no more than a fairy tale to sell snake oil.
He goes on with, “wolves are the primary direct factor behind the disappearance of this northwoods icon”. No Doctor; You and the USFWS and the DNR and your University cronies are responsible and you offer no solution other than a glass of warm milk before retiring.
Your nostrums from your retirement villa for the debacle and losses you wrought are too little and too late. It will take men doing what men do best, to undo what you and your cronies once sold and offered as testimonials to justify imposing them on rural Americans.
To quote a Boatswain Mate I once knew, “put a cork in it!”
15 Sep. 2016
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Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.
Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.
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Below I emboldened part of a statement found in the article I linked to. Anyone who has maybe just slightly more than a basic understanding of how and when coyotes prey on fawn deer, would know that this killing occurs within moments of birth. Coyotes are bright animals and territorial. They know their habitat. They learn where deer, a creature of habit, often fawn. They will, at times, lay and wait. Coyotes have a keen sense of smell and can often “smell” when a fawn is born and move in for the kill. These same senses can be attributed to other predators that prey on deer, especially fawns – bear, bobcat, lynx, etc.
I have a camp in Maine. Around that camp, for many, many years I have been witness to a female deer that has given birth to a fawn(s). I’m quite certain the current resident doe is a descendant of the first mother deer I saw years ago.
It is on more occasions than not, that I see her in the early summer, “fawnless,” but is a treat to spot her with little ones.
When I first built the camp, shortly after spending some time there, I learned where this particular doe would go to drop her fawn. So did the coyotes. Over time, the deer have made several attempts to find a place to fawn that is safer. What may surprise some people is that the doe moves to within feet of my camp and hides her fawn there. After a week or two, when the fawn is quite capable of getting around, they disappear into the deeper forest, seldom to be seen again.
In association with this event, I am now seeing coyotes around my camp lot where I never did before. This is not a coincidence.
“These studies used a method that allowed fawns to be captured and collared at birth. Researchers did this by capturing adult does in the summer or fall and implanting a vaginal transmitter. When she gives birth to the fawn, she also gives birth to this implant and it signals the researchers to run in and mark the newborn fawn. With this approach, researchers discovered a lot of predation takes place that first week. In fact, the first week is the worst for fawn mortality from predators, especially coyotes. They concluded that all studies done with captured fawns that missed the first week underestimated the total fawn mortality due to coyotes.”<<<Read More>>>
It has been widely assumed that coyotes (Canis latrans Say, 1823) are incapable of killing adult moose (Alces alces (L., 1758)) and previous studies of coyote predation support this assumption. However, eastern coyotes and eastern coyote × eastern wolf (Canis lycaon Schreber, 1775) are larger than western coyotes and appear to rely on larger prey in some areas. We used a combination of GPS telemetry, genetic analysis, and field investigation to test the hypothesis that eastern coyotes and coyote × wolf hybrids are capable of preying on adult moose in central Ontario. Our hypothesis was supported, as we documented four definitive cases of eastern coyotes and (or) eastern coyote × eastern wolf hybrids killing moose ?1.5 years old. Predation by coyotes and coyote × wolf hybrids probably does not represent a threat to moose population viability in central Ontario, but our results suggest that researchers and managers in other areas with declining moose populations that are sympatric with eastern coyotes and (or) coyote × wolf hybrids should consider coyote predation as a potential source of mortality.<<<Read the full Study>>>
Then the coyote arrived and, oddly enough, became the state’s de facto deer manager — killing fawns at a rate of more than 50 percent in some places. Since the coyote started to prey, the number of deer statewide has fallen about 30 percent, biologists and hunters say.
The Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Monday that “A group of 5 to 6 coyotes entered the paddock area and attacked the horse while it was eating. The horse was brought to the ground during the attack.”
I was sent a series of photographs of a bobcat attempting to get a meal made out of deer meat. The pictures are remarkable if for no other reason than someone was able to capture on film a bobcat, one that appears to be of some size, attempting to get a grip on a deer and haul it away for safe munching.
It is obvious from the first of just two photos that I will include, that the photos were taken from inside a vehicle. Thus, this event took place roadside.
I’m not an animal forensic expert and don’t want to pretend to be one. I would like however to at least raise a couple of questions, not to somehow discredit the photographer or the little bit of information contained in the email I received, but to help understand exactly what this event is.
When I received the photos, in one of the many “forwarded” emails, it was written that these were pictures of a bobcat taking down a deer. I have some doubts that that is what is going on – not that I don’t think a bobcat is capable of taking down an adult deer.
If this was an attack site, I would expect to find blood – at least some. On snow, and this snow appears rather fresh, red blood would easily show up. In looking at all the pictures, it seems that the deer might have been at this location for awhile as at least some degree of stiffness has set in.
The photos indicate this is beside a road, at least a road that is plowed which leaves me to think maybe this is road kill and the bobcat is being opportunistic.
There could be reasonable explanations for the questions I have provided and would like to hear them if readers would like to share. Things I don’t know about is what the temperature was outside at this time, whether there are drag marks through the snow to indicate if this deer was dragged to this point by the bobcat, or something else, before he was caught on camera.
Regardless, these are quite remarkable pictures and I am grateful for being the recipient of the sharing.
Perhaps the take away from this is another example of why bobcats should be classified as viable, large predators.
“It appears coyotes negatively influence deer populations. The elimination of coyotes have been known to double the survival of fawns. The removal of predators, especially coyotes can significantly increase the deer population. Do your part to put these fawn slayers in check by trapping and hunting and to bring back a thriving deer herd, but be sure to check your states laws before you go out!”<<<Read More>>>
This research was initiated to assess the abundance of coyote populations in New York State and evaluate potential impacts of coyote predation on deer populations. Additional monies were secured separately to investigate other aspects of coyote ecology relevant to the DEC’s interests, and that research is also summarized herein. Despite deer dominating coyote diets in space and time, coyote use of deer reflects
alternate prey availability – driven by snowshoe hare and beaver in the Adirondacks and the composite availability of small mammals and carrion in the southern tier. Predation on adult deer in the southern tier was rare and considered largely compensatory during the relatively mild winters of our study. Fawn predation levels, as assessed by their occurrence in scats, were consistent over time and space – indicative of a uniform functional response across the deer densities observed in the Northeast. Based on GPS backtracking, fawn predation dropped precipitously through June and was greatest for male coyotes, at night, and under certain landcover conditions. Coyote density varied across heterogeneous NY State from 0.5 coyote pairs/10 km2 in the Lake Plains to 1 pair/10 km2 across the Adirondacks and northern river valleys. Vocalization surveys combined with distance sampling or a standalone detection model provides an efficient and reliable means of tracking changes in coyote density over time and space.<<<Read Entire Study Update>>>