Biologist Speaks Out ¯ Bear, Deer, Young Forest - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
The Man
 
grundsow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Berks County, PA
Posts: 6,615
Back To Top
Biologist Speaks Out – Bear, Deer, Young Forest

The Dec 2013/Jan2014 issue of Quality Whitetails has another good article ”Black Bear Battles” about the current state of bear- deer – young forest. I got my butchering out of the way, so now I can get back to some fun on huntingpa Here are some quotes:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cody Altizer
…for those managing properties in the Appalachian Mountains, they’re quickly learning that list includes big, belligerent black bears.

…the black bear population has been growing exponentially… while black bears and whitetails have naturally coexisted quite well for thousands of years, the correlation between the increase in black bear populations and decrease in deer numbers and quality whitetail habitat is crystal clear.

The problem black bears present to deer managers aren’t complicated. Simply put, because they’re the apex predator, black bears have nothing to fear in the Appalachians and roam the woods as such.
He spoke to a biologist who had this to say:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Bourgeois, Biologist Virginia Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries
”The more young forest and early successional habitat there is on a property, the better the escape cover there is for deer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cody Altizer
Increasing the amount of early successional habitat on your property could lessen the impact black bears and other predators have on fawns, but it will benefit your deer year round as well.

The authors of the 2004 Pennsylvania fawn survival study wrote that they believed poor habitat conditions on one of their study sites combined with high predator densities likely contributed to higher fawn predation rates.

Like any species of animal, properly managing bears through hunting is also an effective solution where hunting regulations allow.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Bourgeois, Biologist Virginia Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries
I’d encourage landowners to take some bears on their property. Deer hunters have a higher chance of harvesting a female bear thereby helping to reduce the bear population on their property. The main point though, is improving the young forest habitat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cody Altizer
The take home message for deer managers is clear: combat the detrimental effects of bears by building better deer habitat. Specifically, create as much early successional habitat as you can…

Just as having too many deer for the habitat is unhealthy, too many bears can be unhealthy too. As with deer, bear numbers need to be managed by hunters.

I can't complain but sometimes I still do - Joe Walsh
grundsow is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 11:40 AM
Diehard Outdoorsman
 
Clearfield12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Pa
Posts: 3,620
Back To Top
Re: Biologist Speaks Out – Bear, Deer, Young Forest

You mean hunting for bears when as much as 75% of them are already denNed up is not helping to control their population?

1 week archery bear seasons aren't helping either?
Clearfield12 is offline  
post #3 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 01:14 PM
Senior Member
 
jimbridger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: kunkle, pa
Posts: 16,204
Back To Top
Re: Biologist Speaks Out – Bear, Deer, Young Forest

Done with your butchering? What were you using a butter knife and hanging it in the sun to dry? What took so long?

Quote:
… while black bears and whitetails have naturally coexisted quite well for thousands of years, the correlation between the increase in black bear populations and decrease in deer numbers and quality whitetail habitat is crystal clear.
So he agrees that having too many deer for the habitat was holding back the bear population all these years.

Quote:
The authors of the 2004 Pennsylvania fawn survival study wrote that they believed poor habitat conditions on one of their study sites combined with high predator densities likely contributed to higher fawn predation rates.
Who would have thunk it?

Quote:
Just as having too many deer for the habitat is unhealthy, too many bears can be unhealthy too. As with deer, bear numbers need to be managed by hunters.
. We have a bear season thus bears are managed by hunting.

Same could be said about most animals The bigger the animal the more noticeable the damage to the habitat. But even small animals in great numbers will do damage. Take the lesson learned in Australia with rabbits.
As we remove more and more of the wildlife habitat and turn it into human habitat we must accept the fewer number of animals that can exist with any degree of sustainability on the remaining habitat. Something has to give no matter how much we micro manage the remaining habitat. If we make the habitat preferable for a few species we choose, we eliminate habitat that supports some species we don't hold is such high regard. Also as we attract the species we choose we also attract species that feed upon the same chosen species.

The question is are we now attracting predators in greater numbers to the area we are concentrating the deer making the deer easer targets for both us and the wild predators? Are the ever so popular food plots setting the deer up for harvest or setting them up to survive. The sword cuts both ways. Waugh!

AR is only a pacifier.You will never grow if it's not in your genes.
jimbridger is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 04:39 PM
Diehard Outdoorsman
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Northern PA
Posts: 2,529
Back To Top
Re: Biologist Speaks Out – Bear, Deer, Young Forest

Jim - I agree with your point about concentrating prey species around one food source.
My food plots are scattered widely across my land. In the winter when I'm doing TSI, releasing soft mast trees/shrubs, hinge cutting for thicker cover, or even making firewood I scatter my activities to give wildlife several active food sources.
And just for grins, and to say it first for the upcoming post hunting winter season - I don't artificially feed wildlife.

I miss my hunting partner
HomeintheWoods is offline  
post #5 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 02:13 AM
Wiz
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,619
Back To Top
Re: Biologist Speaks Out – Bear, Deer, Young Forest

One of the things I've noticed about several of the recent posts on more cutting for wildlife habitat, Woodcock, etc. is that all of the emphasis has focused on creating more early successional habitat but there is no discussion of the more important part of maintaining it once it is created.

Most of these recent posts on the subject reminds me of a Chris Matthews or Rush Limbaugh show where the parts that support the poster's argument are brought up and taken out of context while the other important details from the articles are ignored. A good case in point from the Woodcock article is that after the author states "Early successional habitat is in short supply across Pennsylvania", the author then states that "...simply cutting old forest may not produce Woodcock habitat". The next 3 3/4 pages of the 6 page article then discusses some things that can be done to restore Woodcock habitat that really have nothing to do with timber harvest before summarizing that the different habitat uses of Woodcocks throughout the year and their lives should be considered as well.

So, this made me think of a few important questions related to the Woodcock article and posts as well as this post :

1.) Once all of this early successional habitat is created from meeting the annual timber harvest goals, which are not close to being met now, how is this early successional habitat going to be maintained?

Most early successional habitat (ESH) research has suggested that the only way it stays ESH is if it is frequently disturbed, whether it be fire, herbicides, tilled, etc. Some of the most recent research suggests that this needs to be done on less than 5 year intervals with even some studies suggesting no more than 2 year intervals.

2.) Why would it not be better for the long-term management goals for <span style="text-decoration: underline">ALL</span> wildlife on SGL's, to focus on providing a smaller proportion of high quality and permanent ESH rather than a large quantity of temporary ESH which would be achieved by meeting timber harvest goals. In a perfect world, all SGL's would be meet timber harvest goals and maintained as ESH but if the PGC cannot currently meet timber harvest goals, then they surely won't be able to maintain ESH on all of these properties as it requires far more work and manpower than timber harvest.

Interestingly, I noticed that the parts of the Quality Whitetails article cited failed to mention that Black Bears also thrive in ESH. Based on my observations and discussions with biologists doing ESH work in mountain bogs, Black Bears seem to be drawn to ESH for the same reasons deer are drawn to it. In fact, much of the restoration work being done in these bogs is undone in a matter of days by bears and hogs. With this said, creating more ESH is going to not only benefit deer populations but also benefit bear populations which could also increase predation since bears are apex predators. It is important to note that the quote of Mr. Altizer uses the same operative word when he speculates: "Increasing the amount of early successional habitat on your property <span style="text-decoration: underline">could</span> lessen the impact black bears and other predators have on fawns..."

Its really kind of hard to get much out of the lines that are quoted because we really have no idea of the context of quotes without the full article but one thing that I will acknowledge is that if ESH is managed properly, the effects of predation are can be negligible. The problem is it is much harder to manage ESH on a large scale than it is to create it for one short time by timber harvest.
Wiz is offline  
post #6 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
The Man
 
grundsow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Berks County, PA
Posts: 6,615
Back To Top
Re: Biologist Speaks Out – Bear, Deer, Young Forest

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiz
One of the things I've noticed about several of the recent posts on more cutting for wildlife habitat, Woodcock, etc. is that all of the emphasis has focused on creating more early successional habitat but there is no discussion of the more important part of maintaining it once it is created.
While PGC does prescribe “maintaining” some particular areas as young forest into perpetuity, I do not advocate this, as far as I’m concerned that is luxury we cannot afford at this time. No, I would just like to see the recommended % of young forest achieved. THAT, in and of itself would be reason enough to dance a jig. If we could ever make it to that point of reaching timber harvest goal on SGL, then such discussions that you mention could be had to say… take it up a notch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiz
Interestingly, I noticed that the parts of the Quality Whitetails article cited failed to mention that Black Bears also thrive in ESH. Based on my observations and discussions with biologists doing ESH work in mountain bogs, Black Bears seem to be drawn to ESH for the same reasons deer are drawn to it.
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiz
With this said, creating more ESH is going to not only benefit deer populations but also benefit bear populations which could also increase predation since bears are apex predators
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiz
Why would it not be better for the long-term management goals for ALL wildlife on SGL's, to focus on providing a smaller proportion of high quality and permanent ESH rather than a large quantity of temporary ESH which would be achieved by meeting timber harvest goals.
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.

I can't complain but sometimes I still do - Joe Walsh
grundsow is offline  
post #7 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 01:07 PM
Wiz
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,619
Back To Top
Re: Biologist Speaks Out – Bear, Deer, Young Forest

Quote:
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.


Quote:
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?

Quote:
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.
Wiz is offline  
post #8 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 01:40 PM
Diehard Outdoorsman
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Carbon County, PA
Posts: 3,434
Back To Top
Re: Biologist Speaks Out – Bear, Deer, Young Forest

ESH provides ideal habitat for about 15 years or so before it starts getting too mature for the species that depend on ESH. I don't know why you would want to try to permanently maintain the same area as ESH? Rather I think it's important to try to maintain the same percentage of ESH in a region. ESH should probably be allowed to mature and as it does new areas of ESH need to be created to maintain the overall percentage goal.

Hunt, Fish, Vote! I support AR and Sunday hunting. Life Member of NRA and TU.
RyanR is online now  
post #9 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 09:01 PM
WOL
Diehard Outdoorsman
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Lopez, Sullivan County
Posts: 4,079
Back To Top
Re: Biologist Speaks Out – Bear, Deer, Young Forest

Quote:
I’d encourage landowners to take some bears on their property.
Well, you're allowed 1 bear a year and the success rate is 3%. Most people never even see a bear in the woods. How do we take some bears on our property. So far, I've taken two off the property I've hunted for 30 years.
WOL is offline  
post #10 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-11-2014, 01:38 AM
Diehard Outdoorsman
 
Clearfield12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Pa
Posts: 3,620
Back To Top
Re: Biologist Speaks Out – Bear, Deer, Young Forest

Quote:
Originally Posted by WOL
Quote:
I’d encourage landowners to take some bears on their property.
Well, you're allowed 1 bear a year and the success rate is 3%. Most people never even see a bear in the woods. How do we take some bears on our property. So far, I've taken two off the property I've hunted for 30 years.
Maybe your property is under hunted? It takes quite a few guys to get bear on their feet when they don't want to be. I'm sure there are guys in your area who would be happy to help with the bear problem
Clearfield12 is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome