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Old 07-28-2016, 10:35 PM   #1
Walker
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Groups Urge USFWS to Protect Cougars Coast to Coast

Groups Urge USFWS to Protect Cougars Coast to Coast
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Old 07-30-2016, 08:48 PM   #2
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Was there supposed to be a point to this thread?

FWIW, cougar numbers are doing just fine in the states where they are managed.
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Old 07-30-2016, 11:22 PM   #3
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FWIW, cougar numbers are doing just fine in the states where they are managed.
Just fine where, based on what? Dispersers have been moving into the Midwest for 25 years. None have been found alive over the age of three; they all get killed or disappear. Females/kittens have not been documented east of the Missouri River.

The North Dakota population is on the decline.

South Dakota hasn't been anywhere near its hunting quota for four years; six for the female sub quota.

Nebraska stopped its hunt when 10 females from a state population estimated at 25 total were killed in 2014 (does "managed fine" include hunting a population of 25?).

The number of dispersers east of the prairie colonies as measured by mortalities/captures has been dropping since 2011. Cougars cannot recolonize the Midwest, let alone further east, without USFWS protections and a federal recovery plan, just as USFWS did for bald eagles and peregrine falcons: that would be part of the point.

Last edited by Walker; 07-31-2016 at 09:33 AM..
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Old 07-31-2016, 12:11 PM   #4
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Just fine where, based on what? Dispersers have been moving into the Midwest for 25 years. None have been found alive over the age of three; they all get killed or disappear. Females/kittens have not been documented east of the Missouri River.

The North Dakota population is on the decline.

South Dakota hasn't been anywhere near its hunting quota for four years; six for the female sub quota.

Nebraska stopped its hunt when 10 females from a state population estimated at 25 total were killed in 2014 (does "managed fine" include hunting a population of 25?).

The number of dispersers east of the prairie colonies as measured by mortalities/captures has been dropping since 2011. Cougars cannot recolonize the Midwest, let alone further east, without USFWS protections and a federal recovery plan, just as USFWS did for bald eagles and peregrine falcons: that would be part of the point.
It helps if you keep things in perspective.

Prior to the 1990's, there were hardly any mountain lions in certain places like North Dakota (they had been extirpated as they had in many other states back in the late 1800's and early 1900's). Due to the state's management efforts, the resident population grew from a pretty much negligible number to about 100-200 by 2005 (estimates vary based on the # of sightings and sign). At that point, the state started to allow hunting of a select number (quotas are set for every season).

Since ND's wildlife dept estimates that only 6% of the state actually offers suitable lion habitat, the quota numbers have been kept low (relative to other states). And they don't expect the lion population to ever reach the historical numbers nor have the historical range it once had because of that fact. Yes there has been a minor depression of lion numbers in ND, likely due to hunting in part. But as any wildlife biologist will tell you, there are a number of factors that influence animal population.

You can read ND's very own assessment on mountain lions here: https://gf.nd.gov/sites/default/file...status-rpt.pdf

You could also go read up on the situation in California, where after a passing some controversial legislation that banned lion hunting, the state now pays contract hunters to track down and cull ~150 lions each year for reasons of livestock depredation and general public safety. So basically, Cali outlawed the public from hunting mountain lions, despite the fact that the state's population was at least several thousand and not endangered, and now tax-payers finance the government's own efforts to control and manage the population...that doesn't seem logical in my book, but maybe that's just me.

In states with large resident mountain lion populations (Utah, Washington, New Mexico, Oregon) the numbers are doing just fine, in spite of the hunting, and are certainly in no danger of being extirpated. The state wildlife agencies and hunters alike have an incentive to manage, not wipe out mountain lions. Wiping out lions would remove a valuable animal from the ecosystem, and incidentally many hunters would have nothing to hunt. Letting their numbers go unchecked would have a huge impact on many ungulates, including populations of big-horned sheep, which are in fact endangered or low in number in some areas.

There is no threat to mountain lion populations where they currently exist. Now expecting them to reclaim all their old territory and have the same population numbers they once had throughout America is just plain unrealistic due to how agriculture and homes have spread. I've no doubt they'll eventually take up residence in remote parts of the ADK's, and elsewhere in the Northeast, but the numbers will likely never be as high as they once were.

Edit: as to Nebraska, that sounds like a state wildlife program adapting to its circumstances. Nebraska, it seems, is one of those states where the lion population has always been negligible (after the extirpation efforts in the late 1800's), so the rebound in numbers has been slow. The halt in hunting indicates that the state's wildlife agency recognizes that their population needs more time to grow. I've no idea what their target population is (you could probably look that up yourself); it may be 25, it might be higher. But just remember it's what the habitat can support, not animal rights activists' feelings, that should dictate that target #.

Last edited by Bounder45; 07-31-2016 at 12:22 PM..
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Old 07-31-2016, 12:34 PM   #5
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False! The deciding factor is not what the habitat can support, it's what the social acceptance of these animals that society will support that determines their ultimate range.
Please explain that.

I could go reference any number of management plans from state wildlife agencies which do in fact monitor and manage resident cougar populations to prove my point. But I would like to see the reasoning for your statement.
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Old 07-31-2016, 12:59 PM   #6
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Classic example; Martha's Vineyard refused to allow hunters to cull the deer herd, so disease and overcrowding could be controlled, for decades.
All of a sudden some 1%er's children get Lyme disease and a few BMW's get into collisions with deer, along with them munching on their expensive landscaping, and presto chango, hunting season starts with unlimited permits to kill as many deer as possible.
What the habitat can support plays a back seat to what society will support and the few powerful rich individuals that basically control the playing field.
You might find examples of that sort of thing happening in localized areas...though I am interested in hearing if there was more to that story (I doubt the deer are being totally hunted out of that area).

On a state or even federal level though, when wildlife agencies make decisions to protect, manage, de-list certain species, they are doing so based on target #'s they have set for those species, which in large part are determined by the amount of available habitat that can support said species.

I've no doubt that lobbyist groups have some measure of influence over government wildlife agencies (both animal rights groups and hunting groups). But most, if not all, of these agencies have resident biologists with boots-on-the-ground experience; their recommendations are based largely on what the habitat can support. Having too many of a certain species can be just as detrimental to the environment (as you pointed out with your deer example) as is having too few or none at all.
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Old 07-31-2016, 01:04 PM   #7
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Please reread my post about Mass.

If you cannot glean the premise, than I question your ability to think outside your particular bubble.

A plan by wildlife managers is just that; a plan. No one is questioning that there is room for lions. The point is that just because an area can support a species like lions, society can and will reject it depending on who controls the agenda, i.e., politicians and the rich that control them.

Politicians influenced by the rich and powerful people that control them, make the ultimate call on what the habitat will support.
I did read your post. You decided to add additional paragraphs to your original post after I had already responded to it. In the future, I would just write a new post in lieu of editing and adding to old ones.

I have already addressed the rest of what you discuss here. I agree politics and lobbying plays a part in wildlife management, but to say that field studies and biologist recommendations take a "back seat" to such influences is overly pessimistic, and unrealistic, on your part.

I'd highly recommend that you actually take the time to read the wildlife management plans, put out by NY's DEC, and other states before you accuse anyone here of being in a "bubble." Those management plans are some of the most detailed and informative studies you can find, and are very interesting to read, regardless of whether or not you hunt.
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Old 07-31-2016, 01:34 PM   #8
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Let me address your ignorance. I hunted that island in the 90's when the call to exterminate the deer went out. All one had to do was pick up a permit, kill a deer and get handed another permit on the spot. NO LIMIT!!! There were signs everywhere inviting hunters to go on private property to kill them!!
No tag limit hunting is not unheard of for certain species and in certain areas, nor is it indicative of a potential for localized extirpation. For example, when the season starts, there is no limit on coyote hunting in NY because their numbers are very high in this state and because they are very well capable of sustaining those numbers, or growing, in spite of hunting pressure.

You seemed to be implying in your earlier post that there was drastic, and overly reactive, swing from not hunting deer at all to killing them all off. My question to you is: is there still a resident deer population in Martha's Vineyard? I already know the answer to that, and I suspect you do too.


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Perhaps if you were not so focused on pushing your agenda you might have allowed the 90 seconds for me to add a sentence and clear a misspelling. Then you might have tried to seriously to comprehend my premise.
You weren't fixing a spelling error. You added a whole new paragraph that wasn't there when I originally responded to that post. Let's just leave it at that.

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Obviously you do not have that capacity, or are unable to think outside your limited bubble.

Now, I am not here to convince you of anything; if you want to deny reality and think biologists control the agenda, please feel free to continue to delude yourself. Your free to do so and I can care less.

By they way I did NOT say the plans by biologists are not worthwhile or a waste of time; AGAIN they DO NOT control the ultimate decision; POLITICIANS DO!
I think you should make the effort to be a bit more civil in this discussion. You're throwing around some fairly inflammatory phrases. I've taken the time to reference numerous examples on this issue and even link wildlife field reports to make my points.

You seem 100% certain that politicians control and dictate wildlife management and have yet to provide any proof, links or supporting evidence which demonstrates that. The state and federal legislatures do play a role in that they pass broad, generic wildlife and environmental regulations. However is it the federal and state wildlife agencies which actually determine many of the details (tag #'s, hunting seasons, zones, ect.).

I think there is overwhelming evidence to support my statement, but if you disagree please provide some of your own evidence so we can have a meaningful discussion.
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Old 07-31-2016, 02:02 PM   #9
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Sir, I have been around your types all of my life and know there is no way to have any kind of discourse that comes close to objective debates. If you think that politicians do not control what happens with these animals and only rely on the biologists, fine, have it your way and just keep deluding yourself and have a nice life.
A quick bit of advice: you're not going to last too long here if you insist on this kind of discourse. The mods here aren't too fond of personal attacks or derogatory comments. I realize that's entirely subjective, but stuff like "ignorance," "bubble," "your types," at least in the context that you were using them, are generally frowned upon here.

If you want to have a discussion on America's mountain lion population and the management techniques used by certain states, let's have at it. I thought I gave a well-articulated and well-supported response on how mountain lions have been managed. You chose to zero in on one specific sentence in that post, and all of your replies have been pure rhetoric thus far.

Do you have an opinion on the original topic, and if so what are the supporting facts and studies for that opinion?
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Old 07-31-2016, 02:25 PM   #10
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Again, pure non sequiturs and ad hominen attacks. The supporting facts; Reality!

Something tells me you will be lost with that. Kind of like people who say Islam is a religion of peace while body parts fly in the air. Again, please feel free to delude yourself, its a free country; sort of.

Suggestion; you may want to consider spewing your white noise in the direction where it will be received.
Well at this point, a locked thread is almost a given.

I'm fairly confused on which angle you are coming from with these posts. Not that it matters much now, but did you see what I wrote about California's lion-hunting policies? I've freely admitted that there are examples of wildlife agencies making questionable decisions (due to political pressure). I see such instances as exceptions to the norm, and not the norm, since most state agencies have a fairly common-sense and consistent approach to managing and safeguarding their resident animal populations.

Last edited by Bounder45; 07-31-2016 at 02:31 PM.. Reason: edited "states" to "state" and removed "likely"
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Old 07-31-2016, 03:07 PM   #11
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Since you seem to have changed your tone and admitted I was correct in how politicians control the habitat, at least in the example you referenced, if you feel offended by my strident position, I will take the high road and say "I'm sorry for your hurt feelings".
I haven't changed anything. And my feelings aren't hurt (my feedback on inflammatory posts was for your benefit, not mine).

You gave 1 example where people petitioned against re-introducing rattle snakes.

I gave 1 example of where CA's legislature outlawed lion hunting.

2 examples, one of which hasn't even been fully resolved yet, of politics dictating and/or influencing wildlife management.

Do you want to get in the weeds of how NY determines deer hunting seasons and harvest criteria for various parts of the state?
Do you want to discuss how Moose tags are allotted in states where they are hunted?
Do you want to talk about how target #'s are set for black bear in Maine.

Wildlife biology and field surveys play an influential role in all of the above. Just because you can cite examples where politics have had a disproportionate role in determining wildlife management, doesn't mean that is the norm. To be clear, I'm not saying field science and biology always dictates wildlife management, I'm saying that it should and, in most cases, it in fact does.
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