Federal Government About to Undo Wolf Recovery

Elly_NJ(NJ z6)February 24, 2008

I am heartsick. I have been following the recovery of the Grey wolf in Yellowstone for the past decade. Removing protection will not just destroy wolves, but the ecosystem that depends upon them.

Another score for business (this time the cattle business, that has been petitioning for this for years).

Here is a link that might be useful: End to Grey wolf as a protected species

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Elly, you need to be open minded and when reading an article like this. Your comment has no credibility because you ignored facts. Just because they are making them an unprotected species does not mean there going extinct. Making the wolf an unprotected species is just a way to make sure their population doesn't get out of control. There is nothing to worry about. Infact, if there were too many wolves there wouldn't be enough food for them so they would starve to death. This can be seen in california mountain lions. They made the mountain lion a protected species and now there is an over population of them. This has had an ADVERSE effect on the ecosystem. A full grown mountain lion kills deer every week. Wolves kill more. Ecosystem dont particularly depend on wolves. For example, we don't need wolves to have a balanced ecosystem; humans can be suffice, probably better. I think humans are better, more ethical ecosystem balancers because wolves kill more baby animals then they do sick, old ones. They prefer a cute little bambi, because they are easier to catch and kill then the older ones. But the reason for removing them as a protected species doesn't seem to do with any of the above because this article is about wolves affecting the cattle industry. Pardon me if i sounded too blunt for you, take it with a grain of sugar.

Naturally yours, Mac

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 10:54PM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

That is an uninformed response. An ecosystem has been revived because of this species. Read more about it before you pontificate.

One of the major elements of change in the ecosystem brought by the wolves is the new-found abundance of protein in the form of red meat. Grizzly bears, mountain lions, and coyotes don't kill many adult elk. Until the wolves arrived back, most elk were available only in the spring, after winter die-off. Now elk meat is available all year long. Once wolves have made a kill and fill their bellies, they become "meat drunk" and disappear to sleep it off. Other species that have been waiting move in. "A lot of other predators and scavengers have a seat at the wolf kill table," says John Varley, Chief Scientist for the park.

The year-round abundance of protein has increased the number of scavengers. The number of ravens sighted on carcasses has gone from four per carcass before the wolves, to eight per carcass now. The number of eagles has gone from one for every four carcasses to five for every four carcasses. "I'm suspicious that ravens and eagles are following wolves around," says Crabtree.

"When the sun comes up on a kill it can be stunning. You can see a grizzly bear, four or five ravens, coyotes, a fox, bald eagles, and golden eagles on the carcass. All at once. It's amazing to see how fast 900 pounds of meat goes," he says. "All that's left is a puff of fur." The wolves also take an occasional moose, deer, pronghorn antelope, and, surprisingly, killed one mountain goat that had left the mountains and wandered into the wrong place.

Other changes are taking place in the ecosystem, according to Crabtree, although they have not yet been quantified. He believes wolves have been an indirect boon to predators such as foxes, hawks, owls, eagles, badgers, and pine martens. Until the wolves came along, coyotes were eating 75 percent of the total number of microtine rodents, or voles, a third of the ground squirrels, and a quarter of the pocket gophers. With far fewer coyotes round, many more rodents are available to other predators. "Wolves are causing an explosion in species richness," said Crabtree. "They are a great way to increase biodiversity." Crabtree doesn't mean that there are more species around, but that there is a better balance of all species.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wolves change an ecosystem

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 8:11PM
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Hi Elly. I read you're quote and I don't understand why you're against my input. Please be specific on what you're in disagreement with. In reading your comment, it appears you're impyling i said " wolves devastate the ecosystem", when I said "they devstate the deer population". These are two different things.

Here's my response to your comment anyways...

Wolves aren't needed if humans control deer populations by hunting. Here's one way humans are excellent predators like wolves in keeping the ecosystem diverse. As you quoted, Wolves leave behind the carcass as leftovers. But, after harvesting the deer (or what ever animal), humans leave behind a gut pile (which is the best part of the animal to scavengers because when a wild animal finds a dead mammal e.g. cat eating a gohper, they usually go for the guts first). This is similar to the wolf. Maybe better then what wolves do. And don't say there's lead in the guts because lead slugs are not allowed anymore. The art of hunting offers HUGE benefits to the our society (too many to name but if you want I will name some) and parallel (if not better) benefits that the wolf offers to the ecosystem thus showing that the wolf is not necessary IF humans are allowed to be the predator.

Naturally Yours, Mac

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 1:10AM
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megajas(z7 VA)

Sorry, I just couldn't resist ... "IF humans are allowed to be the predator"? OMG ... humans are the only thing out there that kills for sport... we'll kill just for the thrill and joy of it, not to use it,not to protect. We will strip down trees because it is quicker to go thru them then around them, we will tear out animals nests, not because they are a danger, but because they are "inconvenient". We will release non-native animals into an area "for the hunters" or for whatever whim that strikes us, and low and behold, it becomes a problem. Personally, I LIKE seeing the animals IN THE WILD, not in zoos, not in preserves.

But I got a kick out of the whole "allow man to be the predator" thing.

And honestly, I have no problem with hunters that follow the rules and USE what they kill or even donate it, but be honest, if you are out hunting and haven't seen anything to shoot at all day ... tell me you're going to let that big ole 8 point healthy buck walk on buy w/o a shot on the off chance of coming across an "old and sick" deer. Please...

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 10:54AM
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bean_counter_z4(Zone 4, Rkfd,IL)

Mac is totally focused on the human hunter point of view. We are all too familiar with that point of view. A lot of argument can be made that man has hunted several species to the point of extinction and beyond. The wolf was one such species man almost succeeded in wiping off the face of the earth. Seems like he will get the chance to finish them off sooner than later.

Many people feel man is not an acceptable predator or controller of animal populations. If allowed man will continue to hunt wolves, apes, elephants, whales, etc to extinction--because killing is fun and profitable too.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 1:49PM
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Hello Mega and Beancounter. Mega, you have a misconception about hunters if you classify them into "just for the thrill and joy of it, not to use it, not to protect." Sadly, there are people out there who do kill wild animals for no reason. I imagine these people are RARE, so rare, that to classify them as hunters is not only ignorant, but also a insult to hunters. Actually mega, It seems like you hate humans by the content of your rant.

I'm glad you like to see animals in the wild, so do hunters. In fact, the coolest hunting story I have doesn't involve harvesting a deer but when I was sitting in my blind waiting for deer. I was about to get up and leave since it was getting approaching 11 AM then suddenly a bobcat with her baby bobcats (kittens?) walked by. They must have been 5 yards away from me, and they didn't notice me!

Anyways, Mega, I don't understand why you mocked my idea of humans being the predator- please be specific.

Bean, hunters have no problem when there are natural predators like wolves/coyotes/foxs/cougars in the woods, but when they aren't allowed to control their population, it becomes a problem. I don't mean "KILL THEM ALL" but keep there numbers from getting too out of control EITHER too little or too many! The point i'm trying to make is why are deer/quail/ducks/ect allowed to be hunted but wolfs/foxs/cougars aren't? There is a obvious inbalance there.

I have no real life experiences regarding wolves, but however I can attest to what i've seen happen in the wildlife of california. Ever since they banned cougar hunting, the deer population has dropped significantly. - sidetrack- cougars aren't the biggest threat to deer, the biggest threat is loss of habitat-. Recently, they banned fox hunting, and yes, the fox population is at an all time high, but guess what, it's REALLY hard to find quail/bunnies/squirrels in the california now! Do you see where i'm going here?

Thanks, -less insults, more logic


    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 6:10PM
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bean_counter_z4(Zone 4, Rkfd,IL)

Mac, there is no imbalance except what man creates. Wolves, gorillas, cougars, etc can't be hunted because they are endangered. Men have already hunted them to near extinction. Deer and bunnies on the other hand are doing quite well and therefore are allowed to be slaughtered for sport. That's not imbalance, that's a 'too little, too late' attempt to keep some species from being wiped out completely.

As Elly pointed out, ecosystems control themselves very well. Too many deer create growing populations of wolves to control them. Too many wolves, their numbers decline because prey is scarce. It has worked out very well for millions of years.

In the current case of the wolves, it is a matter of big business vs poor, dumb creatures. The wolves don't stand a chance.

And by the way, Mac, I have no misconception about hunters and their agendas. And there is no danger that deer and bunnies are over predated.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 4:27PM
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I wasn't aware hunting was allowed in yellowstone. Controlled areas will still have healthy wolf populations. I am sure game laws will dictate what is a healthy population in areas that allow hunting. For those that kill wolves that are not supposed to be they are called poachers, and will do so no matter what the law states. A simple solution is putting a high price tag on wolf hunting permits. Use the money generated to conserve more refuges and public education on the benefits of wolves. Dont quote me on this but I think they do something similiar with elephants in Africa. The biggest threat to wolves is loss of habitat, not loss of a "protected" status. Some places sadly just aren't suited for wolves anymore. Any place humans exist upsets the "balance". The ecosystem cannot control itself in these situations. The human predator is effective in controlling the damage already done.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 11:11PM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

Ironic: I just read that the brilliant minds behind conservation in Yellowstone "need to cull" the buffalo herds there.

Duh. I wonder why.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 9:45AM
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"Ironic: I just read that the brilliant minds behind conservation in Yellowstone "need to cull" the buffalo herds there.
Duh. I wonder why."

I would guess the buffalo have outgrown yellowstone and are now grazing farmland/pasture land and impacting cattle. Thus the reason for culling. Not enough room!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 5:10PM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

But they want to "cull" wolves, too.

Duh again. Dumb "management."

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 8:50PM
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"But they want to "cull" wolves, too.
Duh again. Dumb "management.""

I was hoping you would say that. Before European settlers came here the buffalo had huge roaming herds. The wolves and Native Americans hunted them for years. So, we have a natural balance at this time. We have an unchecked population of wolves and buffalo on a large scale(The Plains). The buffalo still proliferated. These and many other ungulates live in massive herds. Despite the WOLVES, the buffalo STILL had large herds. The problem today is we no longer have the "great plains". So we have to manage it on a smaller scale. Having more wolves will lessen the population of buffalo to a small extent, no doubt in my mind. However, the buffalo will continue to grow. We cannot change the past, the land to support massive herds is gone.

Hypothetically, lets say yellowstone was fenced off. Nothing going in or out. We let mother nature take its course. So we have two species that are already relatively genetically unstable in my opinion. What happens when buffalo/wolves are overpopulated in a confined area? Disease, with which we may or may not be able to control.

Considering we can't support massive herds of buffalo in the United States maybe it isn't so hypothetical.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 2:23AM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

All emotional facets of this discussion aside, with regards at least to deer (you do mean whitetail, right?) the human-as-superior-control method will fail.
Hunters are neither numerous enough nor efficient enough to keep up with the current reproductive rate.
Deer, at least in the Midwest, are thriving in an environment of nutritional excess in the form of row-crop agriculture, and reduced predation since we removed everything except cars, dogs, and the odd human with a weapon a few weeks out of a year. Even in states such as Alabama where tag limits and seasons are incredibly generous, the numbers are steadily increasing.

Regardless of the fact that humans have hunted and killed for thousands of years, there seems to be a slow shift in society towards regarding hunting as barbaric and horrific, ignoring our hypocrisy even as we peel our tidy blocks of hamburger from styrofoam plates. It can be barbaric and bloodsport, or it can be a wholesome way of feeding yourself. But wait, I had put emotions aside...At any rate and regardless of what our opinions are on hunting itself, the number of people hunting is in slow decline. Without the return of natural predators, what kinds of population control will there be??

I am to the point of requesting that any hunter taking deer from my property must fill a few tags with does FIRST before they even consider a buck because my acreage is overbrowsed and each of those corn-fattened does is likely to drop twins or even triplets in May.

I have my first bobcats living here now and wolves would be welcome as well if there is space enough for all. We humans set the pendulum in motion and we are foolish to think we control its tempo.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 2:42AM
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I realize you aren't talking to me dirtgirl, but i had to comment,:)

"I am to the point of requesting that any hunter taking deer from my property must fill a few tags with does FIRST before they even consider a buck because my acreage is overbrowsed and each of those corn-fattened does is likely to drop twins or even triplets in May."

That is a great idea! Hunting is slowly evolving. It was once considered "unmanly" to take a doe. Everyone wanted that big buck. You end up with 20:1 ratio of does to bucks. Which in fact doesn't help with size of big bucks if that is your goal. Reducing the herd to say a 2:1 ratio is beneficial to deer as well as the "big buck hunter". The earn a buck, is an excellent idea. That is the approach we try to do on our land.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 4:23PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

Hunter, I'm hoping you are correct with the 'evolving' claim, because then I'll feel better knowing that the the majority of my hunting neighbors will someday grow into more ethical, informed people and treat game animals with more dignity than they do now.
Some of the behavior and attitudes I've seen...if I thought it was truly representative of all hunters I would ban it on my property as well.
But the truth is, if my husband weren't so accustomed to beef and pork, I would never buy another cut of industrialized meat again and instead fill my freezer with what is offered naturally all around me. It just troubles me to see the disregard and disrespect with which some people treat this process.

But I must apologize for even posting my thoughts on this subject here...there are certain topics which are simply too volatile and complex and hunting is one of them. I certainly don't intend to inflame or offend anyone with my views on such a theme, and I have drifted a bit from my original point, which is that hunting by humans alone will not keep certain populations of animals, in this case deer, at healthy levels.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 9:13PM
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Dirtgirl, I'm jealous! I wish I had a over-population, erm, population* of deer where I live! I have forgotten what it's like to have venison in the freezer. Heck an overpopulation of deer seems like it's good for the economy too!... at least the hunting and car repair industries. Uncontrolled prey is a lot better then having an uncontrolled predator population.. or do people eat mountain lions ?(Im too afraid to google that). Here, in southern cali, we have an uncontrolled mountain lion population ever since it was banned in the 70s. Yeah, it will get balanced in nature's system of checks and balances when the mountain lions get sick and starve to a agonizing death from killing all their food..

Anyways...I think a more important point was brought up then this predator talk.. that is the loss of habitat. Were all talking about keeping wildlife population in check when we, ourselves are gettting overpopulated. I know it's not over populated in rural areas (duh) where some of you live but here in los angeles there's getting to be so many people that were going to have to start rationing water! IMHO I would vote for a birth limit b4 we turn into china.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 7:32PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

I am not that familiar with Cal deer...guess that would be mule deer?
"Control" of any population is a hazy notion, isn't it? I mean, it brings to mind human intervention on some scale. If humans were out of the picture entirely, you would see constant shifts between populations of prey and predator animals...fat years and lean years alike.

We removed the major carnivores to suit our needs (control) and then brought back game species such as deer and turkeys (more control) after the market hunters drove them to near extinction by the 1900s (yet more control).

Things seem to be in a pretty big mess, but it's hard to think we can take steps to "fix" the system when we are only just now getting a real feel for how it all fits together.

And yes, there are a lot fewer humans packed in together here in the Midwest-or at least the more rural areas- but we can't keep making the same mistake of thinking we aren't still having a big effect. We may be separated from you in SoCal by a thousand miles, but our effects on the planet as a whole are cumulative.

here's a thought: maybe the numbers of cougars in your area will keep the numbers of free-range poodles and chihuahuas under "control"

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 10:39PM
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I happened across this thread by accident and was thinking long and hard before posting anything.

OK first issue. Wolves. So what!! they are being taken off the federal endangered species list. Its that a good thing. doesnt that mean that the population has recovered?? Whan a species comes off the list that does still mean that they are not longer a endangered species correct?????

Yes market hunters but a big hurt to all wildlife population in the early 1900s. Why was that you ask? Well it was because it was easier and cheaper to go kill many deer then raise a herd of cattle. There was no department of natural resources, no bag limits, no minimum size limits. People were left to do what they wanted. They also killed off the predetors becasue they wee seen as competition for their "cash crop".

This has not been an issue for ummm about 50 years now. most of all game populations have recovered since then.

Most people forget that man has hutned since the beginning of time. We have always been meat eaters. Just look at you teeth. do they look more like a carnivore or a herbavore???

BTW cali should be black tail deer. Might be some whitetails and mulies, but mostly black tail.
FYI mule deer are a cross between whitetails and blacktails.

People are all for predator re-introduction until they go outside and see their dog, cat or kid being attacked by one.

Im all for the wolves, bears, big cats and whatever else was here before us.

Addressing the elephant statment above. Yes there is a huge market for hutning them. Why??? They are severely overpopulated in some areas. There are more elephants in Africa then there are Elk in Norht America several times

Yes I am a hunter. I love it. I love being in nature. I love taking part in it everyway. My family and I eat everything I harvest. Deer, doves, rabbits, squirrels. I would be happy if I never had to eat that geneticly alterred, hormone infested store bought meat again. Dont even get me started on hot dogs and lunch meat. I dont even understand how they call that meat at all.

that is all!!!!! :)

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 1:20PM
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malorn(7 S.E. Mass)

National Geogrphic has a wonderful series showing the outcome of eliminating a "top predator" which would be lions, tigers, cougars, wolves etc.. and the impact on ecosystems..

Basically, everytime a top predator is removed from an area, the ecosystem will eventually die..

My area has been without the grey wolf forever, they have finally made there way down here from Canada and we are rejoicing...

Without this top predator in our area, the coyote has taken over..the only natural predator to the coyote is the wolf..the coyote overpopulated and starving has made many enemies here (although not me...I'm not silly enough to let my cat out and I rarely let my 95 pound rottweiller out alone)..you see, this ecoystem is dying, the coyote no longer has a natural food supply, they've eaten most of it, so they attack things they really don't want too..

I guess my question would be..Can humans survive without an ecosystem?

If interested..check out http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/04/0426_050426_strangedays2_2.html


    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 2:55PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

thanks for the links, malorn. I think I have seen the NG...Strange Days on Planet Earth?? Had a striking image of a small seedling sprouting through parched earth if I recall.

I guess we will find out about the survival without an ecosystem question. Humanity seems to be totally dedicated to either destroying it for our own gain or "controlling it" ...which often has the same motives -and results- as the former.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 12:43PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

also...to set the record straight on mule deer vs. whitetails vs. blacktail:

from Wikipedia (I can't copy paste from Mammals of North America and don't feel like typing much more at the moment anyway)

(the Mule deer)..."It gets its name from its large mule-like ears. Its closest relative is the black-tailed deer (considered a subspecies of mule deer). Unlike its cousin, the white-tailed deer, mule deer are generally more associated with the land west of the Missouri River. "

genetically related, but not the product of a cross...

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 11:46PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

Or maybe not...?
I checked out a few more interesting links and have found that apparently there is a debate brewing over this very issue and that it was only recently that DNA studies suggest a link between white/blacks = mules.
Well, this sure outdates a lot of the reference materials, huh.
From what I read so far, not everybody is satisfied with these findings...to be continued. How interesting! read about an alternate POV at the following address:


And now, back to our regularly scheduled thread, already in progress....

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 11:57PM
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I have recently read that the whitetail are such prolific breaders and can diverisify to suit their habitit so well that the mule deer might be breed out of existance.

just some food for thought

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 4:22PM
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texas seems to have a great ecosystem w/ no wolves/mtn lions.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 11:13PM
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I'm pretty sure that part of Texas has a mountain lion population. On another note, I live in one of the most prized Whitetail hunting areas in the country. One night a buddy of mine took me on a drive down a gravel road at dusk to show me the deer we had in the area. We drove for less than three miles and counted over 200 deer. I've got to disagree that humans can do the job of predator than the above listed animals.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 8:27PM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

See below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to Earthjustice about Grey Wolf delisting

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 1:41PM
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Give me a break. Nice tidbit about wolf "253". Seriously, they were reaching with that story. He fought up hill his whole life etc etc.... Playing the sympathy card is a good call though, Bambi comes to mind.(rolls eyes).

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 8:31AM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

I will have to re-read the story...still not sure WHY they shot 253.
All you need is a gun and a steady hand? Even after delisting I am sure you would need a permit or a wolf tag, or at least be losing stock or other property before it's legal.

One thing that has ALWAYS troubled me about predator reintroduction is the nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that it's all done to eventually create another hunting/trapping season and the revenues that go with it. Bringing in trophy hunters to bag our "legendary" whitetail is a multi-million dollar affair in Illinois, just like grizzly hunts are in Alaska.
If I ever thought for certain that revenues were a primary driving force behind reintroduction I'd totally change my opinions on the process.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 1:35PM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

I want more hunters in western NY. The white tail deer are out of control. This year alone my brother and sister hit a deer that jumped in front of their car at night. Verrrry expensive to have the car fixed. That's just this year. In years past many other accidents have occurred. I

Article in the newspaper that car insurance companies are raising rates here because the deer/vehicle encounters have skyrocketed in the last few years. Many people lose their lives in these accidents.

The local parks and wildlife refuges hate the deer because they eat everything in sight. Deer do not let any new trees grow unless they are fenced off and this is stopping the forests from regenerating. The lack of small trees and undergrowth has further reduced the rest of wildlife. Deer are displacing just about everything else. This is wildlife and conservation people that hate the deer, not big business.

Hunting is declining as a sport. Not enough hunters anymore to keep them under control and young people find new electronic hobbies more interesting than hunting. No wolves or other predators either.

Hunting and other license fees fund wildlife services. With hunting on the decline, revenue to our wildlife services is on the decline.

If you're a hunter, come to western NY where the hunting is easy. Everyone that I know is a hunter has found it pretty easy to bag their limit.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 4:41PM
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