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post #1 of 83 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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Predator Study Questions?

PGC staff and some commissioners keep asking: What questions should the predation study answer? Let’s hear what YOU think.

Here are 3 off the top of my head:

1) What is the predation rate of fawns today (in Clinton, Cameron, & Tioga Counties) when derived from non-harvest data? Does it coincide with the predation rate derived from harvest data?

2) What density of predators causes the different predation rates (between the Penn’s Valley area and the Quehanna Wild Area) that were found during the PGC fawn survival study?

3) Have predation rates changed (in Clinton, Cameron, & Tioga Counties) in the 10 years since the PGC fawn study - in light of the facts that predator density has increased, deer density has decreased, and/or the improved habitat conditions of today.

http://www.livestream.com/pagamecommissi...medium=ui-thumb
Date Stamp 53:56
Quote:
Originally Posted by PGC Commissioner Ralph Martone
I have some basic concerns with this. Is that, first of all, if we find out what’s killing them [fawns] and it’s bear or coyote, what are we willing to do? Those are game animals. Those coyotes are targeted by a lot of hunters that have dogs and they … that’s their activity for the year. Bear hunters do not want to see us re-… significantly reduce bear numbers just so we can have more deer. This board has the ability - if the bottom line is you want more deer, that they’re killing deer and deer numbers aren’t sufficient - this board has the ability to make that change right now at a zero cost, just change the [doe] allocation. If you decide you want more deer - that the deer numbers aren’t sufficient - then you don’t need to know where those fawns went. And my question is: Are you willing - if the results comes out that bear are killing a significant number of fawns, coyotes are killing a significant number of fawns - are you willing to change the bear management plan to accommodate deer? Trading one game animal for another? I don’t think so. I mean, if we really think deer numbers aren’t sufficient, we can solve that at zero dollars.
I am shocked to hear Martone suggest INCREASING the over-winter deer density goal in response to increased predation. And even more shocked that no one challenged his assertion. Putnam even agreed with him!

Is this something that is even on the table? Or do Martone & Putnam just not know what they are talking about?

Diefenbach’s answer to increased predation was to reduce doe harvest to match the lower yield of deer. But Martone is suggesting reduce doe harvest to the point where OW deer density rises so that more deer are seen by hunters.

Do our decision-making commissioners not understand the concept of yield?

I can't complain but sometimes I still do - Joe Walsh
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post #2 of 83 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 11:22 AM
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Re: Predator Study Questions?

I think they definitely understand yield but are reluctant to increase predator(bear) harvest to help with the deer numbers. So there answer is a reduction in doe allocations.
The problem with that is we end up back in that vicious cycle of degraded habitat and boom and bust cycles of deer again.
Im thinking the real answer is a max population of bear that we will allow that is not expanding and utilizing a quick efficient targeted approach to keeping the bear population in check.
Maybe we go to an earlier season to increase the harvest a bit so there are not so many dened up by the traditional bear season.
Maybe force the focus of hunters into targeted areas by closing seasons in others?
The herd and habitat has been stabilized in our area of 2G. No more state forest dmaps. The habitat responded to less deer. An earlier rifle bear season would help alot with numbers. If to many are taken the season could just be shut down.
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post #3 of 83 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 01:09 PM
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Re: Predator Study Questions?

i'm not sure how they'd increase the harvest of coyotes signifigantly.

trading bears for deer is a very one sided concept, i'm glad thats understood and not being concidered.

IF the habitat can handle more deer, increasing deer numbers seems like a reasonable suggestion.

just cus you're on the boc doesn't mean you understand wildlife management.

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post #4 of 83 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 02:06 PM
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Re: Predator Study Questions?

Martones take was accurate on many sub issues.

They can overcome any predation anywhere (WMU) in the state with yearly allocations. Easy and the system is in place.

I do have to agree that trading off one game animal (bear) for deer would not be popular with hunters and certainly not with a large segment of the general state population.

However, for the last couple of years the GC has increased the bear season beyond the what has become traditional rifle bear season adding, archery, extended seasons, and now extending those extended season into more areas across the state. Te goal, to reduce bear numbers in certain areas and in the case of WMU's 2C and 2B this year.


I do think a study is needed (thought that for several years).

As for what the study should look at is:

Population estimates and reproduction numbers for coyotes. Along with harvest rates reported and unreported.

We have precious little information on coyotes in this state. We will never be able to improve on the take of coyotes over what is done now - basically hunting 24 /7/365 in one form or another.

Bears are being addressed and could have more aggressive seasons generally, or by WMU or has already been done sub WMU's. Length of season can and has also been modified.


End of the day, the farm harvest rate and recruitment rate are "known" and both are stable. So after that, yes, deer population as to predation by wildlife or Detroit Iron can be compensated for. I actually think Detroit Iron accounts for more death than the wildlife side. But even that is accounted for in the models.


The thing about the study I have issues with is two fold.

It is area / wmu / county specific for many again centering on the NC regions.

Second, it is more of a political question now rather than an addressable wildlife management issue.

As stated, we can control bears by removing <span style="text-decoration: underline">more than</span> 25% of the population yearly. As always, season length and opportunity are the keys to increasing harvest.


Though I support a study of coyotes, that support is less about impacts on deer as on the animal in our state in general. Add bobcats as well into the study as the population has grown and is still growing across the state. Something very different than from the last predator study. But with the bobcats, we have substantial information due to the efforts to bring them back over the years. In that information is included how many deer they take or don't take.

The impetus for all this was the Kip Adams article where he complained about predators on his property. But we have Commissioner Fox making a statement that after a long protracted conversation with kip:

' Kip has a significant sized property'

'Only 15 people hunt the property'

'Kip agrees nothing can be done to control coyotes (more than is being done)'

'Kip has and is complaining about the bear population'

So there you have it, and can listen and watch the above be stated clearly in the working group video (posted in outdoor issues with exact time stamp on the video for the statement).

This study is political now rather than real wildlife management.


What really needs done is a hard look at the bear management plan and bob cat plan. Set seasons accordingly with the additional encouragement to harvest more coyotes.

End of the day, it is up to hunters to be successful on the above mentioned critters during the available season. But, it will also take those landowners restricting access and complaining about the problem opening their land to those having the ability to resolve the population problem. Not just kip, but statewide.

Is your position a short term gain - or a long term loss? Separate the issues.
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post #5 of 83 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 02:08 PM
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Re: Predator Study Questions?

Working Group Video with time stamp

https://www.huntingpa.com/forums/ubbt...90#Post3378390

Is your position a short term gain - or a long term loss? Separate the issues.
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post #6 of 83 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 02:22 PM
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Re: Predator Study Questions?

You will find no objection to that.

The current bear seasons are extensive and include several never before expanded seasons.

In all this, we do have to remember the social side has to be addressed as well. Not just hunters, but the general public. Like any other species, their is a limit as well as an acceptable means.

Is your position a short term gain - or a long term loss? Separate the issues.
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post #7 of 83 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 02:25 PM
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Re: Predator Study Questions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluetick
The impetus for all this was the Kip Adams article where he complained about predators on his property. But we have Commissioner Fox making a statement that after a long protracted conversation with kip:
i find this rediculous, if indeed it is true. kip has a little over a sq mile of land, simply a snapshot of a problem, real or perceived. not argueing that we don't need more info on predators, but using info of such a small area as the reason for needing it?

no different than using the statistics on my farm to drive an agenda. good thing kip doesn't have property here in 1A or he'd still be asking for more hr, and he'd again be the devil, instead of his more recent status as the saviour.

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post #8 of 83 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 02:40 PM
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Re: Predator Study Questions?

Video 2 follow the time stamps.


Working Group Video with time stamp

https://www.huntingpa.com/forums/ubbt...90#Post3378390


We can go back to the March working Group video to refresh details of the need for the study again also. If you want the exact point staff was directed to look at this, go to new business from the January meeting. Video is also posted with time stamps in Outdoor Issues.


Remember, a state rep still has a bill in for bounties on coyotes and he has it moving through the legislature. If I recall correctly, it passed the house with the typical 197 - 0 vote game bills usually get.


While I support a yote study as they relate in PA, I still maintain this is a political issue generated by the no deer sect. Unified and associated have been yelling for years about this. This session, they got support as the push is on to take total control of the GC, it's lands, and land generated revenue, regulation, and oversight costing the gas industry big money.

Nothing is a singular issue with this issue. It really has nothing to do with Unified other than they are the cheer leaders for the action. Convenient foils for the powers that be in their quest for more political control, contributions, and influence.

Is your position a short term gain - or a long term loss? Separate the issues.
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post #9 of 83 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 02:58 PM
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Re: Predator Study Questions?

<span style="font-weight: bold">Specifics of predatory study still up in air</span>



Pennsylvania game commissioners and members of their staff have plenty of questions when it comes to predators and what to do about them.

Answers? Those are in shorter supply.

Since April, commissioners have talked about doing a predator study. The idea, they've suggested, would be to see what, if any, impact they are having on deer populations and what might be done about it.

Such a study also would show sportsmen and lawmakers that the agency takes the issue seriously, commissioner Jay Delaney of Luzerne County said.

“I think the perception out there is that we don't care,” agreed commissioner Brian Hoover of Delaware County.

But specifics are proving hard to come by.

At their work group meeting Monday, commissioners disagreed about whether the study even needs to be done or what questions they want answered.

Chris Rosenberry, chief deer biologist for the agency, offered three options. One would be to do a “bare bones” study examining fawn survival and mortality, looking at how many fawns die each year and what kills them, he said.

Option two builds on that, examining what role habitat plays in whether fawns are more or less likely to survive.

Option three would take things one step further and see how predator densities influence deer deaths.

Cost for the work would range from $125,000 to $355,000 per study area per year, with multiple study areas planned for three years, he said.

Biologists asked board members what they wanted to do.

“We're at the point where we need some guidance,” said Matt Lovallo, head of the game mammals section.

Board members weren't ready to give it.

Commissioner Dave Putnam of Centre County said the board could not offer a preference for a study proposal or a possible budget until after a “scoping meeting” with other experts from inside and outside the state.

“I'd vote for a study. But I wouldn't even know what I'm voting for” until then, he said.

Others said they believe a study is pointless.

Commissioner Ron Weaner of Adams County said there's no evidence predators are impacting deer on a population scale. That precludes the need for a study that won't change the “public relations problem” surrounding the commission's deer program, he said.

Commissioner Ralph Martone also said he's opposed to spending millions on a study, in large part because it's unlikely the board can or will do anything with any answers it gets.

“First of all, if we find out what's killing these fawns, be it bears or coyotes, what would we really be willing to do? Those are game animals, too,” he said.

Martone also said if the commission wants to save more deer, it should just reduce the number of doe licenses available, something it can do at no cost.

Ultimately, commissioners directed staff to set up the scoping meeting, with the idea of making decisions afterward.





http://triblive.com/sports/outdoors/...#ixzz3AHd0bwHg

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post #10 of 83 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 03:03 PM
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Re: Predator Study Questions?

It's great to expand archery seasons for bear but it's having very little impact in the areas of the state with high bear pops.
What's needed maybe on a limited basis is an earlier rifle season before close to 70% of the bear population has denned up.
Coyotes are a whole different ball game. A study is needed but there is not much more that can be done to control populations.
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