I enjoyed reading the different posts and points of view that we all have on the topic. It's actually quite fun to argue on it when nobody starts flaming- so this thread II is enjoyable!
I hear you, rbbrew- I certainly don't mean to imply that I am disbelieving any of the prima facie evidence you all described. And, btw, Desertscout, you are right, I am a city boy, born and raised in a bunch of Naval bases. Not having an economic interest in predator control is definitely impacting my point of view. My wife and I love trekking and camping in the wild parts of California and spend much time observing the wild life. I actually look forward to observing predators in the wild, I find it thrilling- it makes one of our trips when we are able to spend 2-3 days observing a den of foxes or spying on a coyote patrolling a high grass belt next to a mountain stream.
Where we live (Berkeley hills, CA right next to a large wilderness area) we can see bunches of deer all the time coming into my neighbor's yard, as well as the usual raccoons, possums etc., but no predators of significant size - although there have been a few lion sightings, they are coming back into the parks around the house. I would love to be able to do some cool wildlife obs in the wilderness area in the back of my house but it still is too close to too much city... So we have to drive 3 to 6 hours to find good places. Thanks for your wonderful descriptions, Art- I can almost see it as I read them! They evoked some of our most fun trips. You are right btw, "Never Cry Wolf" is a great book- it (along with Mowat's other books) has led me to a different attitude towards wildlife.
Mind you, given how I feel about squirrels after having led a 4 year war against them (the little pests were eating the frame of my house when we lived in Wisconsin), I can see how I could quickly change my point of view if I started raising goats or sheep...
Take care all - mckysdad
[This message has been edited by mckysdad (edited February 15, 2000).]