Take away from the meeting.
He had an incredible power point summarizing his findings. Overall gist of the study and the data. Prior to the early 90s deer in the area were running at or close to the habitat carrying capacity. Fawn rates were low, over all fawn to doe numbers were lower and winter starvation was significantly higher.
Currently fawn weights are higher, pregnancy rates are very high (over 90%). Birth weights are higher and in many cases due to habitat work the habitat in the area is as good or better. The birth rate for the area is 1.75 fawns per doe, but the fawn survival rate is really low, especially early in the year.
Mortality of collared fawns showed lions and bears both at an even rate in the teens. Mortality from coyotes on the collared fawns were significantly lower than both lions and bears. His data showed that bears are neck in neck with each other on fawn mortality. Bobcats were also small. They even had a 1% recorded loss to depredation by an eagle.
That being said the actually study is really cool. The study is selecting one small area and intensively removing the bears and lions from that area in the weeks immediately before and during the majority of fawning times in the area where the majority of deer fawn. They will have a government trapper perform all removal with dogs being the primary methods followed by cage traps and possible leg snares.
Best estimates from the "fawning grounds" they will remove approximately 10 bears and 10 lions. More if they can find them. The entire focus is what will this effect have on the early fawn survival rate and how might this help better understand the dynamics of the predator prey relationships.
Eye opening factors, in the 80s the fawn retention rate was incredible, even when we had a horrible winter the herd would bounce back to pre-winter numbers in 1 to 2 years. This was constant in the 80s. Then in 1992 there was a hard winter/drought and ever since the deer have never really recovered. It was assumed that maybe our current herds were the at the carrying capacity and that we would never have more, but his research shows that starvation and habitat are not the limiting factors in the area. They are a factor but when you compared weights, and health indicators we are not seeing deer starve any where close to the rates in the 80s.
He hinted at it, but took a politically smart position. In 1992, the herd numbers dropped and since then we have not really seen the recovery we saw prior too. It is easy to see why. The herd struggled in early 90s due to drought and in 1996 we were forced to end trapping, we were forced to drop spring bear hunts, we were forced to stop hunting bears with dogs. Since the population was not strong it never had a chance to recover and overtime we all know the bear population has exploded while the deer have been on a steady decline with the occasional heavy blow from the winter.
So in summary they are targeting a very small specific deer population and a very small specific predator population. They are hoping that by removing the large predators right before and during fawning time they create a window for the animals to mature and develop the sense to better avoid the predators. Majority of fawns killed by bears were with in the first couple days after birth. Opening that window will hopefully result in an increase in fawn survival and a decrease in fawn mortality.
Off course no CPW meeting with regards to predators is not complete without the crazy anti hunter spilling their rhetoric.
One in particular cited California and specifically said that in California the lion ban has lead to healthy animals and significantly less lion and human conflict. She stated that by limiting lion hunting the Adult lions were able to better teach the young lions how to behave and thus fewer issues with humans.
She also attempted to use a study in WY on mule deer in the gas patch as evidence that it all has to be oil and gas. She failed to account for the difference in the Wyoming area and the difference in the Roan. Wyoming large huge flats of endless short growth sage, the Roan thick steep and a predators paradise.
One of the Journalist who was obviously very bias. Was surprised when she learned that the meat will go to needy families through a local church program. She seemed utterly astonished that anyone would eat lion. Let alone request it to feed their family. Luckily the CPW folks went on to cite the law that requires the meat be rendered for human consumption and that all lions be processed for such.
Crowd was about 90% pro/10% against. Unfortunately those against were pretty narrow minded.
my best, Paul
The study she was referring to, was when Scar killed Simba's father, Mufasa, causing Simba to have to run away and learn to fend for himself with a warthog and a meerkat.
I'm sure the antis will do everything they can to stop this. Just hope the DOW doesn't cower to them and continues on with the study.
I have no doubt they are doing the plan. In fact the regional manager stated very clearly that the meeting was not for public input. It was in fact, to provide information on what they are doing and why. He basically said there is no stopping.
Of course the humane society rep was all upset that shooting and animal was considered a humane way to kill it.
I asked her if she would volunteer to hug it to death... She did not comment after that...
All in all,I think,a sound plan.We are having a similar situation here,since a mule deer die off except no one is doing anything about it.People should be thankful that they are doing something.
Not sure how we could get either back in today's political climate in this state and should have never been able to come up for vote unless that vote was county by county rather than state-wide. Too many liberals on the Front Range and hard to compete with that mentality and the sheer numbers for the rest of us in the rural parts of the state.
Not to mention that lots of hunters actually voted down trapping and spring bear season as well. Can you say WTF?
Those liberals that say this or that is not "humane" need to open their eyes to the world around them. Humans do incredibly nasty things to one another as well as the world around them. Interestingly, we as hunters (and trappers) kill our target animals much more cleanly and efficiently than urban sprawl and cultivation indirectly caused by humans - not to mention how animals kill each other. Cats are pretty good at it, but coyotes and wolves are just unbelievably horrific.
The CPW meeting is a Public Input meeting open to all to hear and discuss these two studies.
A public announcement will be out three week prior.
my best, Paul