Tuesday, January 13, 2015

#17 - Overlooking the Obvious - Declining Deer Populations

Here we are going to examine the blindness of Political Correctness.
As you may have gathered - those States listed below are the territories
In which the Grey Wolf has spread:

Disappearing Mule Deer A New Reality Throughout Western US January 4, 2013 NPR, Audio Discussion
Scientists throughout the West are trying to figure out the mystery of the disappearing mule deer. Since the 1970s, biologists in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah have seen deer populations drop by 50 percent.  The potential causes vary. Oil and gas development and the growth in coyote populations top the list.

The Deer Debate, decline of black tail deer May 1, 2014 Oregon, Jefferson Public Radio
... , the black-tailed deer has been in decline across its range since the late 1970s. A state-wide survey in 1979 estimated the total population at 452,000; the 2004 estimate pegged it at only 320,000. ODFW cites a number of reasons for the decline, loss of habitat and disease chief among them...

The Decline of Deer Populations
Deer populations in the western United States and some other regions are in significant decline.  Total U.S. population has been declining in recent years based on an analysis illustrated by the graph below which shows total U.S. deer harvest as reported by each state.  Links to harvest data appear in the box on the right of this page and the right column contains recent news reports about the decline.  Given that harvest (deer killed by hunting) approximately trends with population, the data suggest that there was about a 12.3 percent decline in the deer population from  2006 to 2012.  Preliminary data for 2013 indicate a significant increase in the rate of decline.  The number of deer hunters has been approximately constant since 2000 at about 14.5 to 15 million.

How long will it take to do the math?
For example - the Red Wolf reintroduction
Program has been around since 1987.
Yet ever year since 2007 it has stated that
Only 100 Red Wolves have been released.
These - apparently some how are known
To have stayed in the 5 Counties in which
The release has boardering it.  Right!  Yet,
The program whined that 33 pups were born
Last year - an all time low.  Let's see 33 times
40 year = 1320 wolves!  Now add those breeding
In the wild...  That's just the Red Wolf, now add
In the Grey Wolves up north & the Mexican Grey
wolves being reintroduced in the southern states
And bang!  There goes your deer population!
That is the wolves primary food source after all.

I mean really...

Tough times for our white-tailed deer

As most of us have feared, this winter looks like it could be a doozy for our white-tailed deer population.  I suppose after a handful of mild winters we are now paying our dues, so to speak.
And bitter cold temperatures this year are the least of the deer’s problem. They can handle the cold but it’s the snow I’m worried about!
Snow conditions, with a weak crust formed by our mid-winter melt and pack, make travel and escape more difficult than usual. So far, we are a long way off the massive snow depth experienced back in 2008- 2009, but with higher than average snowfall this winter and a meagre crust unable to support a deer’s weight, times are tough indeed!
Our friend imacdon has witnessed the results first-hand in these graphic deer kill images taken around his property:

It is very disappointing to think that after more than 5 years of a population on the rebound, our whitetail herd could be in store for another big hit.
And with a healthy, relatively uncontrolled, predator population in eastern ON and western QC our whitetails will need to pull out all the stops this year in order to survive. Since December  my trailcams have captured scant few deer images, even in the whitetail wintering area. The number of coyote images captured has; however, remained steady.
I know I am crossing my fingers for the deer this year….and my toes too!

Range: The Eastern Wolf is found in Canada, from the Sault Ste. Marie area in Ontario to the Havre-Saint-Pierre region in Quebec. Historically, it is thought to have ranged from Nova Scotia west to Michigan, south to New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. 

Get Involved
This is a reminder to all of us that the whitetail deer populations are a precious commodity and must not be taken for granted. Get involved in a local or national conservation organization. Take time to educate others so they can help make intelligent choices. Learn how to hunt coyotes and give thanks for every deer killed. Whitetails are amazing animals, which is why they must be protected and managed in the face of all these obstacles.

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