Originally Posted by grundsow
Baby steps, Wiz. There are still those here who proclaim it’s a “stupid idea” to cut more trees on SGL.
Yes. Bears benefit too, that is the “umbrella” effect, what the “riding on the backs of woodcock” title referred to (that jimbridger still doesn’t get) and why I place these threads in a deer forum. The author of this article does indeed mention it, I just didn’t quote because folks are not ready for it.
I think jimbridger gets it far more than you think. He has repeatedly said your argument is only about more deer and I would have to agree. The problem with your umbrella species benefit selling point is that most of the species outside of deer and bear don't need a patch of ESH for a few years to maintain their populations but need this habitat maintained in order to support all life stages. Some of this does indeed include nearby mature forests. Deer on the other hand are habitat generalists and are highly migratory which allows them to seek out adequate habitat.
Originally Posted by grundsow
You must remember that is the other change I’m advocating the PGC urgently needs to make, that is more liberal bear seasons/tools. But PGC is slow to change. The bear density is already/still climbing in PA due to under-harvest of bear from outdated seasons that have failed to control the bear population, even in traditional bear country.
For instance, based on PGC harvest numbers and harvest rate estimates, back when the fawn survival study was done in year 2000-01 at Quehanna Wild Area there were about 1.1 bear/sq mi, while today it’s risen to about 1.6 bear/sq mi. PGC can easily correct that and reduce bear density by making proper bear seasons. Localized tools would not affect the vast majority of bear hunters, or the popularity of bear hunting in PA.
So it is all about more deer again. It seems that PGC has greatly expanded bear hunting in PA over the past 15 years. The expansion is still ongoing and several WMU's have had additional days added to the season. Are you wanting the PGC to get as aggressive with bear population reduction as they did with the deer program? I suspect the PGC is taking a slower approach to this because bear populations are not nearly resilient as deer populations.
The predation argument is one that is a hot topic right now across the country and has received a lot of recent research. There have been two recent studies published on predation and fawn recruitment. While both focused on coyote predation, both also concluded that predator control is not very effective at increasing fawn recruitment. One study even went so far to reduce coyote populations by 75% and saw no increase in fawn recruitment. The other study concluded that managing deer harvest was a better method to increase fawn recruitment than predator control. Most of the experts say that predator control is only effective when control is done immediately before the fawning period because many predators are migratory and go where the food is. Perhaps PA needs a bear season in May or June to help fawn recruitment? On the flip side, maybe hunters just need to go to where the deer are?
Originally Posted by grundsow
Why? Because SMALL PORTIONS of quality habitat does not bring back WOODCOCK ETC. POPULATIONS on the landscape scale, it does not restore hunter numbers to keep the funding cycle (of American wildlife mngt.) going.
Do you have any documentation for this? ESH is important for many species at different times of the year, day, or even their life, but creating large quantities of ESH can be equally as bad as having too little. Most species require a healthy mix of ESH, open lands, and mature forests at differing times in order to maintain or increase their populations. Managing each of these habitat types is completely different and doesn't occur overnight but some require constant maintenance if you want these species to persist on the landscape scale. Cutting mature forests should be approached with a lot of caution. Unlike open lands and ESH which have to be maintained frequently to stay young, over cutting of mature forests can have long lasting effects that cannot be corrected.
Also, there has been a lot of studies done on hunter recruitment and retention across the country and lack of game or habitat rarely ranks in the top 50% of reasons why hunter numbers are dropping. It does however usually rank high among the older demographics. Unfortunately, cutting to create more ESH and ultimately increase game populations will not change this trend.
The problem with your reasoning about restoring hunter numbers is that it fails to acknowledge hunter tendencies, especially those of younger hunters that we are trying to recruit. Most have no clue about habitat but only tradition. Failing to maintain habitats once they are created will only create a boom and bust cycle for hunting where hunters will be spoiled by lots of deer for a few years until the deer move to better habitat. However, the hunters bound by tradition to sit or hunt in the same location on a SGL year after year will not follow the habitat like the game which will falsely influence their perception of game populations. This effect was seen a few years after HR began in PA when many PA hunters constantly grumbled about no deer anymore where they used to see 20+ per day. Could it be that the deer are still there in decent numbers but just not where these folks are sitting? Mostly likely. I know I didn't see many in my honey hole beginning in the mid 2000's. I ended up moving down the holler about 300 yards and have seen more deer annually than I ever had in the 1990's or early 2000's. Had the habitat where I initially hunted been maintained as ESH, I suspect I might not of had to move. With this said, continual maintenance of ESH will likely have far more impact on hunter success and attitude than just creating more that most hunters would likely not seek out when the game does. Again, this would be the creation of a temporary oasis that that doesn't address the landscape or long-term scale.