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Old 08-11-2008, 08:26 AM   #21
redhawk
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hawk-"Not really, Coyotes are more interested in the smaller animals, their natural prey, hars, rabbits, squirrels, etc"
Thats odd, why do I see all the deer hair in that coyote scat?
Because they occasionally take a whitetail. Just as a bear will take an elk calf or even an elk under the correct circumstances. However whitetail were never the coyoe's major prey. It's possible that they take more now that they have decimated the hare population, but with the over population of coyotes as well as coy dogs, there is a shortage of their normal prey. In other words, things are out of balance because the coyote's natural predator (which is actually the wolf) is for all intents and purposes nonexistant. And the whitetail population is not properly predated because of the lack of natural predators. And hunters cannot make up for natural predation.


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hawk-" And the reintroduction was flawed." The reintroduction was headed by a well known wildlife bioligist"
And "The Big Dig" was headed by structual engineers. I read that the people behind the reintrodution realized (aft6er the fact) that aspects of it were flawed. Whether it was the particular cats they released, inadequate numbers or placement, I don't really remember. Not sure, there may be a reference to it in another thread.

But, the point I am trying to make is that when we talk about what or who belongs here, if you arre talking about nature, it is man and mas's actions that have altered the habitat. Mostly by his presence, roads, villages, dams, etc.

Until we all realize that the natural world was meant to be inhabited by a great number of Gods creatures and is not for man to use, exploit and alter for his own comfort and enjoyment, then we will continue to lost other species. One day there will be none left but man and even man can't get along with himself.

Hawk
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:29 AM   #22
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That's interesting - I guess I had assumed that coyotes would have mostly scavenged dead deer they found, rather than bring them down themselves.

While I agree with Hawk that humans have had the most effect on any area, the problem/question is that now that those humnas have messed it up so badly, what is the new equilibrium state? In other words, once we've run a species out of an area, does it make sense many years later to re-introduce it just because it was once there? Hasn't the area readjusted over the years to adapt without it? I don't know the answer to that...

Whatever the case, doesn't bother knowing there may be cougars up there...I kinda like the idea myself.

Scott
I have always felt that when we alter or "manage" nature, we are . in all our arrogance, saying we can do a better job then God.

So, in answer to your question, in light of everything that is screwed up right now,:

Since our way isn't working, perhaps we should try to let it get back to what it was, possibly even help the process.

Hawk
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:33 AM   #23
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Larch,

Alpha predators in any given ecosystem, whether it's cougars, starfish, or spiders, exert pressure on the system, and not necessarily through direct predation. Their presence alone limits where and how other species behave, what they're calling the ecology of fear/avoidance observed by researchers with the return of wolves to Yellowstone, cougars to Zion and Yosemite, and with spiders in Connecticut. David Quammen explains this principle pretty succinctly in his book on alpha predators, Monster of God.

In those western national parks, the absence of wolves and cougars allowed deer and elk to graze whenever and wherever they pleased, resulting in the degradation of riparian areas along stream corridors, which became critically over-browsed, escalating severe erosion along stream corridors. With alphas back in the system, the ungulates had to start watching over their shoulders - they could no longer stop and browse and graze at will without cover - and riparian corridors have begun to regenerate.

In Southern California, coyotes pushed out by suburban sprawl resulted in the increase of middle-sized predators like raccoons, domestic cats, and opossums, which triggered a severe decline in ground-nesting birds.

In Washington State, an experiment removing starfish from the intertidal zone resulted in an an aggressive mussel crowding out nearly everything else: barnacles, sponges, sea slugs. Within a few years, the number of species in the experimental area declined from fifteen to eight. That kind of loss they call trophic cascade, when removing the top predator or keystone species cascades through and degrades the entire ecosystem.

Writes Quammen: "Lose the big predators, and there will come an overabundance of middle-sized predators, of herbivores, of seed predators - a pestilence of minor nibblers, cropping the vegetation down to stubs, interfering with tree reproduction, jeopardizing the long-term renewal of the forest canopy, exterminating populations of ground-nesting birds and probably of other creatures as well."

Down here in the Gunks, deer have over-browsed the understory, as they have throughout East, affecting forest succession and regeneration. Gunks' land managers are trying to remedy this by increasing hunting permits and deer bag limits, but that can only go so far. It won't affect over an entire year, every year, how deer browse, the way the return of wolves and cougars have altered deer and elk behavior out west.

Coyotes aren't doing it. I attended the eastern coyote conference in Albany back in April. Researchers from Trent University presented a talk comparing eastern coyote predation on deer to wolves, on whether coyotes have filled the same ecological niche in eastern ecosystems as wolves formerly did. They aren't. Except for severe winters and during the summer immediately after the birth of fawns, coyotes don't exert anywhere near the same pressure on deer populations as wolves would day in and day out. Unlike wolves or cougars, deer aren't their primary prey. There are far too many smaller game - moles, voles, shrews, squirrels, rabbits, opossums, raccoons, etc. they're evolved to take - and far too many deer carcasses to scavenge from roadkills and hunting season casualties, for coyotes to much bother with hunting them. The first year of a three-year SUNY ESF study on deer predation by coyotes so far is getting the same results.

Without wolves and cougars, and with seasonal hunting, we have pretty much the scenario of understory degradation and compromised tree reproduction in eastern forests that Quammen describes.

That's the ecology of why we need cougars. I won't burden you with what having them back means to our collective souls.
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:34 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by redhawk View Post

Until we all realize that the natural world was meant to be inhabited by a great number of Gods creatures and is not for man to use, exploit and alter for his own comfort and enjoyment, then we will continue to lost other species. One day there will be none left but man and even man can't get along with himself.

Hawk
Yep! But as I pointed out, sometimes man screws things up so badly, how do you ever fix it? Look at the dam in Hetch Hetchy - never should have been built, and altered the landscape dramatically once it was. Now they want to take it out - but fear that it's removal will be as damaging, or more so, than the original project was.

I just don't believe we can easily reverse something that is so screwed up - so whether it's dam removal, species re-introduction, elimination of invasive species, etc...at what point to you have to accept the current status quo? Further, why should we expect government efforts, which allowed the original problems, to be able to fix anything?
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:36 AM   #25
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David Quammen explains this principle pretty succinctly in his book on alpha predators, Monster of God.
Sounds like the next book on my list - thanks!
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:00 AM   #26
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Regarding the lynx reintroduction, it was headed by Rainer Brocke from SUNY ESF, who also did the first ADK cougar suitability study, with a history of cougars in the Northeast (where the New Brunswick and Quebec bounty records came from), back in the the early '80s.

Brocke failed to acclimate the lynx by keeping them in big enclosures to get used to the place. They brought them in from western Canada and just dropped them. With no experience of the habitat, the cats dispersed. Some ended up in Jersey and Pennsylvania. Half were roadkilled. None bred.

Brocke wanted to do a cougar reintroduction, but thought better of it after the lynx experiment. He also concluded that the Daks' road-density was too high to support cougars. The Black Hills, SD, with a similar road-density, has proven a few people wrong.
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:36 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by redhawk View Post
Because they occasionally take a whitetail. Just as a bear will take an elk calf or even an elk under the correct circumstances. However whitetail were never the coyoe's major prey. It's possible that they take more now that they have decimated the hare population, but with the over population of coyotes as well as coy dogs, there is a shortage of their normal prey. In other words, things are out of balance because the coyote's natural predator (which is actually the wolf) is for all intents and purposes nonexistant. And the whitetail population is not properly predated because of the lack of natural predators. And hunters cannot make up for natural predation.

Hawk
Hawk according to ESF:
Quote:
For the past 30 years deer have dominated winter diets (80-90%); spring and summer diets consisted mostly of deer (50-60%) with lesser amounts of beaver, snowshoe hare and insects and berries in late summer.
http://www.esf.edu/pubprog/brochure/coyote/coyote.htm
I will agree that snowshoe hare numbers are down, but there does seem to be an over abundance of cottontail's.

As for mountain lions, they are here and hopefully their numbers will continue to grow. I don't think they will have too large of an impact on the deer population do to the fact that lion numbers tend to be muck lower than other predictors (wolves & coyotes)
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Old 08-11-2008, 02:55 PM   #28
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... Rainer Brocke from SUNY ESF, who also did the first ADK cougar suitability study, with a history of cougars in the Northeast (where the New Brunswick and Quebec bounty records came from), back in the the early '80s....Brocke wanted to do a cougar reintroduction, but thought better of it after the lynx experiment. He also concluded that the Daks' road-density was too high to support cougars. The Black Hills, SD, with a similar road-density, has proven a few people wrong.
Brocke may have a different opinion on the matter today, but his previous conclusion on road-density seems flawed. Yeah, there might be roads, but many are lightly traveled and only used half the year. Between the roads there are thousands of square miles of land, some of which hasn't been walked on by humans for decades.

In the not too distant past, most biologists would have laughed at the notion that wild turkeys could live in the Adirondacks. Seems to me there is a thriving population of birds - even in the toughest areas. I bet those same biologists wish crow tasted as good as wild turkey.

Sometimes there are no experts, except for the critters themselves.
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:15 PM   #29
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Brocke may have a different opinion on the matter today, but his previous conclusion on road-density seems flawed. Yeah, there might be roads, but many are lightly traveled and only used half the year. Between the roads there are thousands of square miles of land, some of which hasn't been walked on by humans for decades.

In the not too distant past, most biologists would have laughed at the notion that wild turkeys could live in the Adirondacks. Seems to me there is a thriving population of birds - even in the toughest areas. I bet those same biologists wish crow tasted as good as wild turkey.

Sometimes there are no experts, except for the critters themselves.
I think that time has proven that the more we think we know about "managing" nature, the more we find we don't know much about ti at all.

There is only one "expert" on nature. that's the one who designed and created it. We are only fooling ourselves if we think we can improve on it.

Hawk
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:47 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Larch View Post
hawk-"Not really, Coyotes are more interested in the smaller animals, their natural prey, hars, rabbits, squirrels, etc"
Thats odd, why do I see all the deer hair in that coyote scat?

hawk-" And the reintroduction was flawed." The reintroduction was headed by a well known wildlife bioligist"
it may have been headed by a well known wildlife biologist, (many very well meaning and well respected biologists in fact) but it is now used in ecology courses as a cautionary tale of how [I]not[I] to do wildlife reintroductions. its a pretty famous example now.
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Old 08-11-2008, 05:23 PM   #31
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hawk-"Because they occasionally take a whitetail"

From lumberzac-"Hawk according to ESF:

Quote:
For the past 30 years deer have dominated winter diets (80-90%); spring and summer diets consisted mostly of deer (50-60%) with lesser amounts of beaver, snowshoe hare and insects and berries in late summer. "
That is why i rely on the professional biologists instead of the internet professionals.
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Old 08-11-2008, 06:55 PM   #32
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It's hard to deny that there's a strong tendency in our society to kill predators - to wipe them out basically.

I have read and unfortunately, personally heard, too many stories of how a 96 pound black bear shot at a distance in the rear half was killed out of fear for someone's life. People make black bears and even coyotes out to be bloodthirsty killers that need to be eradicated.

Where I live, and it's not around the adiriondacks, some coyotes were caught on video and all these people were on TV that night claiming that they needed to take up a posse basically and kill these coyotes for the safety of their families. The idiot news reporter didn't know any better either. A soon as people realize they had coyotes around, they wanted hunting parties taking to the hills to kill every last one.

I've lived in several places and everyone has been similar, if people see a snake, they must kill it. A heard a blast one evening and went outside and my neighbor had shot a possum. I looked at him shocked (the houses were way too close to be shooting there) and he said, I can't have those things around my house.

I've moved into neighborhoods when the developments were being built and we start out having some wildlife and then 5-8 years later, it's a sterile place with no wildlife. I've had people ask me how to poison woodpeckers and I've seen a man chop down a tree because his wife didn't want the flying squirrels in it. She heard they would come in her house eventually through the dryer vent.

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Old 08-11-2008, 07:53 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larch View Post
hawk-"Because they occasionally take a whitetail"

From lumberzac-"Hawk according to ESF:

Quote:
For the past 30 years deer have dominated winter diets (80-90%); spring and summer diets consisted mostly of deer (50-60%) with lesser amounts of beaver, snowshoe hare and insects and berries in late summer. "
That is why i rely on the professional biologists instead of the internet professionals.
But that number changed because the hare and smaller game population was decimated by the over population of coyote's.

And let me remind you once again that is was a "Professional Biologist" that mesed up on the Lynx reintroduction.

The internet is a great place to find the facts, whoever in order for it to be accurate, you need to do quite a bit of research and check the sources of the data. You also need to be looking for the truth and not then answer that fits what you think.

I'm don't want to blow my horn here, but everything that i stated about the cougars, as well as the lynx reintroduction being flawed was correct. As is the fact that the numbers changed as the smaller game became scarce as a result of over predation. The Coyote in fact prefers hares and small game over whitetail because they are easier to bring down. that's a fact, and any "professional biologist" will bear that out. the reasom they go for whitetail here is because the Adirondacks are out of balance as a result of a shortage of natural predators.

Which is the perfect example of why they should be reintroduced. Which was my point in the first place.

Hawk
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:50 PM   #34
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I was replying to your quote that coyotes "occasionally" take a whitetail and using Lumberzacs post of a scientific study that the whitetail comprises 80-90% of the winter diet. The scientific study is based on fact, your statement is only your opinion.
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:06 PM   #35
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I was replying to your quote that coyotes "occasionally" take a whitetail and using Lumberzacs post of a scientific study that the whitetail comprises 80-90% of the winter diet. The scientific study is based on fact, your statement is only your opinion.
That "opinion" is based on my research about coyotes. If you read Zach's statement, it says that "for the last 30 years". Why does it qualify it with that addendum?

Reason. As i stated, based again on research, the promary diet for coyote is hare and small game. Further research reveals that the snowshoe hare has all but disappeared from the Adirondacks as a result of over predation. So, since the coyote can no longer obtain it's primary food source (hare) and since other small game is equally scarce, then it take whitetail, but only out of need.

The coyote is not a skilled enough predator to keep the whitetail deer population in balance, and it has predated the small game out of balance.

So, I will argue that "my opinions" are valid because they are backed by scientific fact and studies.

If you define "research" it means "Look again".

I have not been defending a position, only stating facts pertaining to statements made here, some of which were in error.

Hawk
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:16 PM   #36
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Speaking of Cougars...
Coyotes are very adaptable and opportunistic, and different populations living in different habitats can have very different diets and lifestyles. Its very hard to generalize. And data from western coyotes doesnt really apply to eastern coyotes which can be almost twice the size. In suburban or urban areas they may survive almost entirely on rabbits and small mammals, and most may be solitary. a solitary coyote would have trouble bringing down adult deer, but its not impossible. in rural or wilderness areas they may "pack up" and cooperate to kill larger prey.
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:06 PM   #37
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I'm no scientist.

I thought that Cougars were specialized Deer killers and Lynx are linked closely to their primary prey - Snowshoe hares.

I thought Coyotes ate what was on the menu.

We stock lakes all the damn time. It wouldn't take much effort to "stock" parts of the Adirondacks with Moose and Cougar/wolves.

Many states reintroduced Elk. The Adirondacks is one of the relatively few places (in the continental US) cold enough for Moose.

There's no time like the present.

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Old 08-12-2008, 01:07 AM   #38
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.
I'm no scientist.

I thought that Cougars were specialized Deer killers and Lynx are linked closely to their primary prey - Snowshoe hares.

I thought Coyotes ate what was on the menu.

We stock lakes all the damn time. It wouldn't take much effort to "stock" parts of the Adirondacks with Moose and Cougar/wolves.

Many states reintroduced Elk. The Adirondacks is one of the relatively few places (in the continental US) cold enough for Moose.

There's no time like the present.

.
Don't need to stock any moose. The moose are thriving in the Adirondacks. In a few years people will deem them a "problem" because motorists will be running into them and wrecking their cars.

Elk have been reintroduced in the Catskills from what i understand so perhaps in the not to distant future they'll be in the Adirondacks.

Wolves, I'm for it, but unfortunately there are too many people opposed, for various reasons. Some people are afraid of them, still clinging to the old wives tales. Many hunters don't want the competition for the whitetail and some just don't want to share the wilderness.

Personally, as much as I would favor it, realistically I don't think it would be in the best interest of the wolf at this point.

And lets not get yet another wolf debate going, there are plenty here already for anyone who is interested.

Hawk
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Old 08-12-2008, 05:15 AM   #39
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Hawk, for all I know you've got every last detail and every last fact correct. I don't know. I think the problem that some people are trying to express (at least it is the problem that I am struggling with here) is that scientific studies that have been referenced in this thread (such as the one I first mentioned in post #18 and have copied in part here)

Quote:
"Based on the analysis of 2443 scats, deer and hare were the dominant food items. Other important food items included small mammals, and fruits during late summer. In areas where they were readily available, coyotes fed predominantly on hare during winter, with the use of deer declining as hare density increased. However, the functional response was not proportional to the changes in the relative densities of deer or hare. This was particularly evident at low deer densities, where coyotes continued to feed largely on deer, even in the presence of high hare densities."
seem to reach conclusions that are somewhat at odds with your statements, which are being presented to us in the form of an opinion by you (i.e. you are not referencing any scientific studies that back it up). For example, the above study seems to be concluding that coyotes continue to favor deer even when hare populations are high and deer populations are low. (Note: Just so nobody thinks I am hand-picking specific statements out of context of a larger report for the purpose of misusing them, in my original post #18 I made it clear that in order to be certain of my interpretation of the abstract I would have to read the entire study, not just the abstract, and probably also consult with an expert.)

I'm all for knowing the truth, I really am. And if your conclusions are correct then I would want to be able to pass that knowledge along to others in my circle of influence who might be interested. But when they ask me where I got the info I'd rather point to a scientific study than just say that I got it from some guy on an internet forum. As you yourself stated

Quote:
Originally Posted by hawk
The internet is a great place to find the facts, whoever in order for it to be accurate, you need to do quite a bit of research and check the sources of the data. You also need to be looking for the truth and not then answer that fits what you think.
I'm not suggesting that your information is incorrect, but IMO your case would be stronger if you could reference the specific studies that were involved.
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Old 08-12-2008, 06:34 AM   #40
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My point exactly!
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