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Old February 14, 2000, 05:17 PM   #1
Al Thompson
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Hi folks - locked the other thread due to size.

Giz
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Old February 14, 2000, 07:20 PM   #2
Art Eatman
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One thing I've noticed about hunting, predator control, fair chase, and all the notional mixes which go into "the great outdoors" is the difference between those raised in cities, and those raised on the land.

It's the same sort of difference on finds between those who have raced cars and those who have only driven econoboxes at or below the speed limits.

Attitude about what is done, or how it's done. What's taken for granted as "normal".

If you're not in the livestock business, a coyote can be readily seen as a proper game animal, just like a deer--although not everybody has a taste for dogmeat. (And that's cultural; an old GI joke goes, "What's the Korean word for dog?" "Supper.")

When I go into the far back country, most of the coyotes there don't really know what people are. So, I sit in the truck and squall on the caller; here comes Ol' Wily. I've had them run around the truck, barking, in mid-afternoon. I imagine them saying, "Where's my rabbit, you %$##%$? You promised me a rabbit!" Now, how do you make yourself shoot a coyote at 10 yards, who's putting on a show like that? I'm usually laughing too hard to hit him, anyway...

When I was a kid, I and my friends tended to shoot at anything which moved. As we learned more about hunting ethics, we began to respect wildlife more. We began to consider "fairness" as part of the deal--which makes many of the game laws more understandable. Now, on the downhill side of the curve, I take more pleasure in helping younger folks learn and succeed in the hunt. This sequence has been going on as long as people have been writing about hunting--which goes back a long, long time.

I guess it's the old "been there, done that" bit. I still enjoy hunting, but the relative importance of campfire tales has become more important than it once was.

As for Ol' Wily, his range has expanded into all the lower 48--far beyond his original turf. In many areas, farming and ranching patterns have improved his choices and quantities in food supply. I've always liked Ian Tyson's song of the coyote: "The coyote is a survivor; I reckon he's got to be. He lives in the snow at 40 below, and Malibu-By-The-Sea." Well, lots of cats and dogs in Malibu.

But no matter how much you learn about him, no matter what method you use to kill him, nobody is ever going to kill "the last coyote".

, Art



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Old February 14, 2000, 08:43 PM   #3
mckysdad
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Hi all-

I have read many threads in this section w/ interest, but never posted yet. So this is my first.

I am not intending to participate into the debate that raged above - I am not much of a hunter, but I understand the fun of it - I am not a rancher, but I understand the pressures it puts on you. One argument, however, that cannot be used, is to mention that coyotes put pressure on herbivore populations. The same argument has been used in Canada, in the Northwest Territories, about the wolf and the caribou. This argument has been proved many times to be totally unfounded, in many different ways. The simplest and fastest one is to remember that, before Europeans came to America, there was low hunting pressure on carnivores by man, and there was high pressure on herbivores by man- yet the balance btween the two was excellent. So there is no way we can say that, if carnivores THEN were not putting excessive pressure on herbivores, NOW they do, when there are many fewer carnivores, and, in many cases, many more herbivores (deer population estimate, 1776, under 1M- 1996, over 11M).

In other words, it is pretty much impossible for present day carnivores to exert overly significant pressure on overall herbivore populations. What causes herbivore populations to go extinct is either 1) sudden, drastic, new epidemics (e.g. rabbits and myxomatosis, often released by man) and 2) man. Without us the world is pretty much in balance.

Btw, for the Northwest territories, the final culprit for caribou herd decrease turned out to be... man.

As I said, I don't mean to be a part of the debate- only to intervene on this point alone. No flames please!

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Old February 14, 2000, 11:01 PM   #4
Ankeny
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As a side light, there have been several articles in the Wyoming Wildlife News lately about why men hunt. It is a complicated issue indeed.

I agree whole heartedly with Art. As a fouth generation Wyoming native, with a heritage of ranching, shooting and hunting, I don't expect anyone who has not walked in my boot tracks to understand.

It is kind of like the stages I have gone through with my fishing. At first I wanted to catch every fish in the Lake. Then I just wanted to catch my limit, everytime. Then I just wanted to catch one fish, the biggest one in the lake. I guess you get the point.
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Old February 15, 2000, 12:02 AM   #5
muleshoe
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mckysdad, I'd agree that in "nature" the balances between herbivores and carnivores is near perfection. No, it is perfection. Man is the spoiler though. We have changed all the balances. My big old dumb fat polled herbivores have lost nearly all of their natural suvival instincts. So I reckon it's up to me to fend off the carnivores. Now I realize that my gang of herbivores is never going to be wiped out by them ole carnivores, but each one that I can't take to the salebarn is a pretty big chunk of change not going in my pocket. That takes food off the table, I've got my own carnivores to feed.

Even if they (the carnivores) aren't able to kill my herbivores, just running them around cost me money. Say a couple of coyotes or even stray dogs get into my pasture and chase my thirty five 500lb. calves around for a few minutes, long enough to lose 10lbs. each. (which doesn't take very long) This year that size calf is bringing about $1.00/lb., do the math. Yes Cleancut, the strays meet the same fate as the coyotes. In most cases the strays are worse, but that's a whole other debate. Can't wait for you to chime in on that one.

------------------
bullet placement is gun control

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Old February 15, 2000, 12:38 AM   #6
slymule
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Time for my .02 on this topic. The Colorado deer herd in general is down MAINLY because of the predators, in a few areas I'd say its a split between the predators and the Wasteing disease. It's definately not down because of man exterminating them. Granted you can also attribute hard winters to their decline in some areas. I know alot of outfitters, alot of lion hunters, and a few coyote hunters. NONE of these guys dispute the increase in the coyote, lion, and bear populations in this state. Just look at the difference in the deer herd from how it used to be twenty years ago to what it is now. If Colorado doesn't wake up about the predator problem we have, we won't have a deer herd in another 5 years. It'll be so desimmated it'll take who knows how many years to return to huntable numbers. Just take the lion, one adult lion will kill a deer a week for food, a female with kittens will kill more than that. Thats 52+ deer a year gone for each cat out there, and believe me we have ALOT of those big cats running around. The CO. DOW should bring back bear hunting with hounds to help dwindle down their increasing numbers, they should increase the number of lion permits issued, and definately should put a bounty on coyotes to thin them down since nobody is trapping them anymore because of hide prices. Ask anybody that lived in this state and hunted 20-30 years ago, what the deer herd used to be like. I'm telling you if the DOW doesn't start listening to somebody besides PETA and other "bleeding heart" groups like them, this state is gonna lose alot of out of state money, and the reason will be because we won't have a deer herd to hunt. It's getting ridiculous with all this anti-hunting crap thats going on. Bring back the poison, the government trappers, and put a bounty on coyotes til we have there numbers down to a level that will let the deer herds get back up. **** on the prairie dogs, shoot em all except the ones around Boulder, let those bleeding hearts enjoy em to their fullest ...and the rest of us will all sit back and see how long that lasts. Hey, I love to listen to coyotes on a moonlit night, but I shoot every one I can, because I like eating a nice venison steak better. We're gonna kill off our deer herds by sitting back and doing nothing, but on the other hand, it would take a monumental battle to kill the coyotes off to a respectable level. Like its been said many times before - you WON'T get rid of them all, they're just too damn smart. Flame on boys...I had my say!
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Old February 15, 2000, 12:39 AM   #7
mckysdad
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Hi Muleshoe-

Didn't mean to apply the argument to your tame herbivores I know that for you and your fellow ranchers each one of these incidents means a lot of $$, time and concern. I meant to address what a few posts early in the thread discussed, i.e. deer populations depleted by coyotes - I don't think that the coyote vs deer argument flies for the reasons above. With all due respect to Slymule, before we were around, there were many more coyotes (and other predators) per sq. mile than you see now and they were not killing off the deer herds. Coyote and deer, like wolf and caribou, work off of each other in a natural balance which makes selects the best genetics for both pools and optimizes the populations in each specie. In other words, if we weren't around to "control" the coyote the deer would be quite fine thank you! As they were, of course, before there were any humans in America, or before our population density started going up in N. America.

Just curious- I know that the Park Service is reintroducing wolves in a couple places. Has it happened in your area?

Take care- mckysdad

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Old February 15, 2000, 12:49 AM   #8
Desertscout
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mckysdad,
It would seem that most of your outdooor/biology experience comes from a book. Not that books are all bad but have to get up off of it and go see what REALLY takes place before you can decide that some idiotic survey written by anti-hunters is factual.
Here in NM, the fish & game dept is hiring some professional hunters to come in and kill a bunch of mountain lions because they are endangering the bighorn sheep popualtion in a couple of areas. The lions were so plentiful here last year that we had a 2 lion limit per tag. First time that I have ever seen that happen.
I have found more than one doe run into and entangled in barbed wire by coyotes. Some were pregnant. I have seen evidence where a pack of coyotes have surrounded a doe giving birth and killed the fawn immediately after birth, maybe during.
You can bet your a$$ that predators are a danger to the herbivore population if they are not kept in check. I will do everything that I can to help keep them in check. Also be assured that if wolves are successfully reintroduced here that they will all be killed......again. Same with grizzlies. They were all killed out of cattle country for a reason and the reason hasn't changed.
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Old February 15, 2000, 10:25 AM   #9
rbbrew
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mckysdad:

What information do you have that says there was low hunting pressure on carnviores by man prior to Europeans arriving in America? I disagree. Native Americans competed with carnivores, and any time they could get the upper hand, they eliminated them. This was to protect their families, and their "free-ranging" livestock--deer, buffalo, etc. Neither of us has any stats or proof, but my way makes more sense.

At a time when a couple of predators are expanding their ranges and populations, how can you say there are fewer carnivores now than in the "good ol' days" before the evil Europeans (my predominant ancestry, along with American Indian) showed up and slaughtered them all? Sure, there are less grizzly bears in the lower 48 than ever before, but that has to do more with habitat depletion than hunting.

What balance is there today in the wild that according to your statistics there are 11 times as many deer in the U.S. now than 200 years ago, and yet there is a considerable reduction in their habitat since then? If there is such a balance, then why do they get diseases? Could OVERpopulation be the answer?

You've played right into the argument by saying there are fewer carnivores and more herbivores today than ever before. Predator reduction=the flourishing of the prey. Besides, aren't there WAY more deer hunters than predator hunters out there? We want more deer, and less competition for them when we hunt.

I don't believe in eradicating predators totally. But I am especially unsympathetic to coyotes. Like I have said before, I live in a heavily populated area, and I am sure coyotes routinely pass within a quarter mile of my house.

If a rancher tells you that coyotes are killing his newborns, and packing up to kill full-grown cattle, believe him. Especially if he saw it with his own eyes. And you can bet the coyotes are doing the same thing in the woods where they don't "bother" anything. They are doing what they were designed to do--kill for food with the most efficient strategy.

Most anything published today on wildlife has a touchy-feely bias, remember that!

Man has learned some lessons in conservation since the big slaughters prior to the Depression. (Most of the increase in the deer population you mentioned has ocurred in the last 40 years, believe it or not.) Now we have to learn what to do with the plenty that we have...

Not a flame, just a cross-examination and rebuttal!

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Old February 15, 2000, 10:33 AM   #10
Art Eatman
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Hey, Mckysdad! Sounds like you read "Never Cry Wolf". Good book.

Between ranchers' anecdotal evidence over decades and some ten years' worth of wildlife biologists' study, it is reasonably concluded that in Texas, a mountain lion will take a deer every week to ten days, if the deer are available.

In my area, the lions move in, kill while the killing is good, and then move on. They take rabbits and quail, of course--I've seen them. One year, during a three-day hunt on some land I leased, I saw more mountain lion tracks than deer tracks. Three different sizes of lion tracks. I saw no deer and few tracks in an area where I usually killed a pretty nice buck...

All predators are opportunists--which is part of why it's fair to call homo sap a predator. In general, coyotes won't attack a half-grown calf, but if Maw & Paw Koyote and their half-grown pups find a cow giving birth, I'd bet on veal for supper. They will kill sheep and goats "for the fun of it". That's been seen too often to deny it. Day in, day out, coyotes and wolves are mostly found to subsist on mice and rabbit-type critters. The problem is weekends and holidays, when bigger critters are on the menu.

Some six weeks back, I had a coyote come into the front yard and make a half-hearted run toward the birds at the feeder. The doves all flew; the quail ran off, oh, eight or ten feet. The quail then started walking towards Ol' Wily, chik-chirring mightily, cussing him out, bigtime. He looked insulted, turned and stalked off...

No such thing as "too much" outdoors, I reckon.

slymule: I was reading an article a few years back about the residential development in the Front Range foothills of the Rockies. The west side of the I-25 corridor. When folks first moved into this winter range for deer and elk, they saw lots of deer and elk. The herd-numbers declined over time. Residents blamed hunters. Biologists blamed loss of habitat and impacts with cars, etc. If you fill up the winter dining table with people, critters go elsewhere, and over time their numbers match the carrying capacity of the land that's left to them. It's not just the amount of land that's covered up; it's the accompanying noise and hassle factor as well.

As a generality, white tails will move right indoors with you, or in the back yard, anyway. Mule deer and elk just aren't that social.

Later, Art
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Old February 15, 2000, 01:29 PM   #11
CleanCut
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Muleshoe. Hey, you can do whatever you want on your land. Likewise, I can do whatever I want on MY land.
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Old February 15, 2000, 06:14 PM   #12
Art Eatman
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CleanCut, you'll find somewhere between danged few and not any, on this forum, who would ever try to tell you how to run your business, how to think, or what to do on your own land.

I think most of the folks here don't believe that any one way is "THE" way to do anything.

I may be putting words in Muleshoe's mouth, but I read his post as meaning that your view is not wrong for you, but it would be wrong for him. And I sure don't think you'd want his kids to have a lesser standard of living.

Wildlife is really neat, but wildlife can do vast harm. Deer, raccoons, and crows can reduce a farmer's corn crop--and do. Crows can devastate a pecan orchard--and do. Weasels can kill a farm-house chicken flock in a few minutes--and do.

True story: A farmer bought a brand new 1997 Ford pickup truck. About a month or two later he crippled on back to the dealership; the truck barely ran. When they raised the hood, it looked like "an explosion in a spaghetti factory". Seems that vegetable-based insulation on all the wiring was mighty tasty to the mice in the farmer's barn. $1,500 later...

Sure, everybody does their own thing in their own way. But don't knock somebody else's way until after you've come to fully understand why they do it like that.

Regards, Art
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Old February 15, 2000, 07:25 PM   #13
mckysdad
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Hi all-

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

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