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Thread: The fallacy and reality of intensive management

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    Default The fallacy and reality of intensive management

    http://www.adn.com/2012/01/23/227905...ord-moose.html

    So you kill predators and get lucky with some easy winters, then a winter like this hits. Some people are going to learn a lesson this year. This lesson has been learned before. But, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Unfortunately they will take everybody else with them.
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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    It's an article about moose on roadways in anchorage and matsu. There is no predator control in anchorage and not much if any on the road system in the valley.

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    twodux is right, people will see a repeat of history and people will ignore it til it catchs up with them.

    This winter will take its toll on the moose as the cars, the trains, the hunters, and NATURE will put it into another view next yer.

    Keep on hunting the easy hunts all.

    Lets see this play out.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Rock, I struggle to pin down your stance on moose management. In many posts you speak out agains cow hunts then in others like this you seem to feel that moose populations are too high and that they will have a mass die off due to the harsher winter.

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    Lujon, the Point I'm try to get across is that you can have a cow hunt but don't take it to the extreme just to fill the frezzer.

    The extreme that they did here in Delta was a repeat and if we get a big snowfall in feburay after this cold snap the moose are going to be in a bad way and could really have an affect on the population.

    It took decades for this population to come back and I don't want to see it happen again.

    Hell Shoot a few, but don't over do it. The management numbers that are reported here in Delta are based on the numbers of 20A.

    When they do the counts they are counting the migratiol moose along the residential moose, and the moose that are shot in the winter, nobody knows which they are shooting because they are all bunched up in the winter.

    So here's the point, Moose are like fish, Moose go back to thier breeding grounds in the spring then come down to the flats with a bull herding them and mix with the flatlanders, lol , til the next spring, then they head back to thier birthing grounds.

    So now you have a hunters shooting a bunch of moose and for every one that they shoot, it could be one less that came from the hills.

    I was up at my cabin about 5 miles out of town in late april a few years ago, and it has a tasty water hole and I happened to be there and counted 8 cows feeding, the next day there was 1 left the rest went futher up the river.

    I don't know how to make this clear to you all, but I have watched these moose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    It's an article about moose on roadways in anchorage and matsu. There is no predator control in anchorage and not much if any on the road system in the valley.
    It's not just the roads and trains that kill them in the bad winters. There's also going to be a lot of starvation going on. But the train kills them all the way to Fairbanks through some of the predator control units. The point isn't even really about predator control except for the fact that it will never be any more than a temporary short term fix. The point is that trying to manage for the maximum amount of animals you can produce isn't realistic. The summer range is a lot larger than the winter range. As the snow gets deeper, there is less and less "winter range". The more animals you put on it, the more damage they do. Then they start dying. The more you start the winter with, the more that will die and the worse the damage is. Then you have a second bad winter which often happens and even if you reduce predators and shrink hunting seasons, you are just putting more animals on already damaged habitat that hasn't had a chance to recover, so the second winter it is even more marginal. Animals are looking for food that was stripped clean the previous winter and it compounds.

    From an article about predator prey relationships I found this.

    "Studies have shown that cyclic declines in snowshoe hare populations in Northern boreal forests are linked to excessive browsing during population increases, which creates a food shortage. The high mortality caused by nutritional deficiency reduces hare populations and, thus, impairs reproduction the following breeding season."

    The same happens with other prey animals including moose. With hares it's more dramatic as the highs are higher and the lows are lower. But what the example with hares shows is that revving the population eventually leads to a crash. It's just a matter of time. And the ironic part is, after the prey animals crash, so do the predators that depend on them. Nature will control them without expensive predator control programs. The best we can hope for is that managers/bios keep the herds in a good balance for their range and female/male ratios within reasonable limits. This makes the high peaks and the low valleys less likely. The problem with greed is you get people saying stuff like, "We used to have 30,000 moose in that unit and we should be able to get it there and keep it there". They don't mention that soon after the historic highs, there were probably historic lows.

    I want to see game populations managed scientifically, not politically. Just as I'd rather not see voting decide how animals are managed and hunting is done (Ie. the vote in lower 48 states to outlaw hunting with hounds and outlawing body grip and leghold traps) , I'd also rather not see hunters manipulating the BOG process to try to get unscientific practices injected into management because someone is greedy or just has a hair up their rear that they don't like the idea of predators competing with them. The real solution is to let the professionals do their job and hold them accountable, not to interfere with them.

    Lets keep an eye on how many moose get killed on the Kenai Peninsula roads and train tracks this winter too. If the winter gets any worse, I doubt their aerial wolf hunt will make much of an impact.
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodux View Post
    http://www.adn.com/2012/01/23/227905...ord-moose.html

    So you kill predators and get lucky with some easy winters, then a winter like this hits. Some people are going to learn a lesson this year. This lesson has been learned before. But, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Unfortunately they will take everybody else with them.
    TAKE EVERYBODY ELSE?!?!?!? Whaaat? That can't be good. Wow, 'wodu'! Chicken Little is ON the loose!!

    So maybe consider this: IF predator control increases the number of moose (and that is not so in GMU 14A or C because there is no PC there) then we should harvest more moose.

    Furthermore, taking more moose is the object of PC and habitat enhancement. GMU 14 A & C is prime moose habitat due to browse created by Ag, homesteads, subdivisions, plantings, logging with regeneration, roadsides and a general fragmenting of the habitat. Moose love diversity. Check out the Big Lake burn. Tons of browse there. The rest of the GMU not so much. Check out the Moose Range. In the small cuts required years ago ALL the browse is hammered and there will be no new birch forest in those small cuts.

    Despite what the Mat-Su Fish & Game Advisory Committee suggests, there are way too many moose being carried on range that is way over browsed around Wasilla, Houston, Palmer & Sutton. When it snows like this (similar now to the late 80's and 90's) moose that live in the mountains winter in willow canyons until they have their food source (natural) covered by the deep snow. Suddenly, the carrying capacity of the habitat is drastically reduced and those moose move down to the valley where the habitat is much more diverse, and moving around is easier. They join those moose that are already there.

    Mountain moose migrate down, moose across the Big Su migrate (move) to Big Lake, Knik, and Pt. Mackenzie and now there are moose everywhere, especially where there is readily available browse, like in your yard, along the roads, in old timber sales that have been hammered by too much browsing for years. Pretty soon (in weeks) the valley bottom habitat gets hammered bad and degraded, and the general condition of the habitat can be harmed for more years than taking out more moose now with a rifle before the habitat is degraded. Moose will come back faster from too many shot than from a degraded habitat.

    In the Mat-Su due to heavy snow, NOW would be a good time to take moose by emergency order. Kill them with a rifle for best use or have the hungry moose hit by cars or spred for 200 yards down the highway by a double truck so messed up even the dogs won't eat it. NOW people will be able to shoot a moose in better condition than in March. Lets shoot some moose now!

    More and better habitat needs to be created to provide for the extra moose the AC insists ADF&G should carry on too little habitat. You want more moose to hunt during "the season", then don't let the habitat be destroyed NOW by too many moose.

    Ms. Coletrain is right...slow down.

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    ****, enough is enough on the browse, lol you guys are testing the patiance, the AL Gore of climante change.

    Just a snipit in the local paper showed how the moose moved to a location to where they had better feed.

    I get so tired of those that buy into this crap, grrrr.

    PEOPLE if you were starving, would you stay in one place and die?

    And I will say this, there are a lot of places in the interior that the moose have come and gone in many years.

    I'm sorry all this topic just piss's me off.

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    Good post twodux, but I don't agree with the way you see things or how you enterpret what you're looking at. I see the value of Predator Control as part of a whole Intensive Management Program. I am in favor of IM where appropriate.

    Your way was tried and we truly almost lost it all with large wolf packs decimating moose populations in large areas. Land and shoot taking of wolf and other furbearers hurt the feelings of those that didn't do it. An ethics issue thing. If you don't like something don't do it. It's not like "they" were making "you" hunt that way. The fruit of imposing YOUR ethic on others was tons more wolves running around, a greenie governor that couldn't remember your lunch order telling us now that such and such is unethical and poor science. What a joke.

    ...The point isn't even really about predator control except for the fact that it will never be any more than a temporary short term fix. The point is that trying to manage for the maximum amount of animals you can produce isn't realistic...

    Not true, managing for sustained yield is totally doable if done scientifically instead of at the whim of the political pendulum. It would work even in deep snow years if applied with flexibility that actual "management" demands. If the professionals could respond professionally instead of at the whim of a politically appointed second or third party then it has the best chance to work.

    ...The more animals you put on it, the more damage they do. Then they start dying. The more you start the winter with, the more that will die and the worse the damage is. Then you have a second bad winter which often happens and even if you reduce predators and shrink hunting seasons, you are just putting more animals on already damaged habitat that hasn't had a chance to recover, so the second winter it is even more marginal. Animals are looking for food that was stripped clean the previous winter and it compounds...

    Your premiss is that every season is the same. More often than not, 2 or 3 severe winters in a row are not the norm. In the face of inadequate habitat, reduce the number of animals on that range quickly...the predator control payoff takes place sooner than later...before significant damage occurs.

    Remember, THAT part of the habitat protected by deep snows is retained on the range and available when weather conditions change to reveal the undamaged part of the range... In the long run it may be better to over harvest the moose than to allow the habitat to degrade by over utilization.

    From an article about predator prey relationships I found this.

    "Studies have shown that cyclic declines in snowshoe hare populations in Northern boreal forests are linked to excessive browsing during population increases, which creates a food shortage. The high mortality caused by nutritional deficiency reduces hare populations and, thus, impairs reproduction the following breeding season."

    It's tough to equate highly cyclic snowshoe hare populations with those of large animal ungulates like moose. If one were to "rev" the population of moose by producing more habitat through enhancement and maintaining those animals by predator control then one would need the ability to quickly respond to situations where winter range is drastically limited by heavy snows.

    Moose can move much further than hare so they are able to move and concentrate browsing possibly damaging a portion of their more susceptible winter range and to find unutilized range as they do during seasonal movements.

    I don't want just 'nature' to control wildlife management. I know that habitat enhancement and predator control can help set the stage for improved populations of wildlife like moose for people to use for subsistence, sport hunting and economic development. It is a science that has been proven to work.

    The real solution is to let the professionals do their job and hold them accountable, not to interfere with them.

    Then do so. Your agenda is "no predator control", wouldn't matter who told you it was ok. Your politics demand things to be left natural. I don't agree with you, I think management can help improve populations of moose for human consumption. In this instance I have science to back me up too. Read the scientific documents made available at the top of the Alaska Game Managment thread.

    Neither PC or habitat enhancement is appropriate all over Alaska nor should it be in my oppinion.

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    Well TD, since everyone else is taking exception with you, I figure I'll jump on the bandwagon...

    This statement right here:
    Quote Originally Posted by twodux View Post
    Some people are going to learn a lesson this year.
    ...WAY too optimistic!
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    I would be very interested to see a survey of the upper kashwitna right now. I wonder just how many of those moose are actually wintering up there right now. I have a feeling most of them are down in the susitna valley. This may explain the higher density found in the recent surveys. Browse studies are in order and if there is a problem then a winter registration hunt is in order. I spent a lot of time in the field this year and there is a lot of viable browse down low. I think this is primarily due to the recent long run of mild winters. I would guess that we will see fairly low winter kill outside of moose/vehicle accidents this season. I would also suggest that we need to increase harvest next year to provide some assurance that a second heavy snow year doesn't cause real problems.

    Without realtime info from our bios in the field specifically regarding browse condition and twinning rates we are left only anecdotal information and conjecture. That is antithesis to active (or intensive) management.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Woodsman View Post
    [SIZE=3]
    Your way was tried and we truly almost lost it all with large wolf packs decimating moose populations in large areas.
    Really? Reference please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Woodsman View Post
    [SIZE=3]
    managing for sustained yield is totally doable if done scientifically instead of at the whim of the political pendulum.
    I totally agree, managing for sustained yield is doable and shouldn't be attempted at the end of a political pendulum. This is where I disagree with intensive management. MAXIMUM sustained yield is not sustained yield. It's a recipe for disaster.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Woodsman View Post
    [SIZE=3]
    It would work even in deep snow years if applied with flexibility that actual "management" demands. If the professionals could respond professionally instead of at the whim of a politically appointed second or third party then it has the best chance to work.
    Again I agree, scientifically applied sustained yield would work in all except the worst case scenario.


    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Woodsman View Post
    [SIZE=3]Your premiss is that every season is the same. More often than not, 2 or 3 severe winters in a row are not the norm. In the face of inadequate habitat, reduce the number of animals on that range quickly.
    This is where I believe you are mistaken. My premise is not that every year is the same. My premise is in fact that every year is not the same and that there can be dramatic differences, and that during a bad winter, you can't have the same numbers of animals on the range and get them through in good shape.

    It is intensive management that assumes all winters are the same. Intensive management assumes that because during one or more mild winters you can get herd numbers up, that you can keep them up even in bad winters. In fact that is the PROMISE of intensive management. "We can increase the number of animals for sportsmen to hunt in perpetuity." That is the promise those espousing intensive management make to get hunters to go along with them and support them in undermining the people who know what they are doing. They don't tell you "We can increase the numbers to historic highs for a few years, then there will be a drop off and a few years of bad to no hunting." Because then no one would go along with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Woodsman View Post
    [SIZE=3]
    Remember, THAT part of the habitat protected by deep snows is retained on the range and available when weather conditions change to reveal the undamaged part of the range... In the long run it may be better to over harvest the moose than to allow the habitat to degrade by over utilization.
    That part of the range protected by the deep snows is called "summer range" and has nothing to do with how well animals get through the winter except for how fat they are when winter arrives. Summer range is always much greater than winter range, especially in a place like Alaska. But here is another risk with intensive management......say you are successful for a few years and really build the herd up as there is a series of mild winters. Finally, the herd gets so large that they even stress the summer range. Or a cataclysmic event happens that reduces the summer range. Then the animals go into winter already in a stressed condition.

    Here's a case in point. A few years ago, the Mt St Helens herd in Washington was having problems on the wintering grounds. In one of the wintering areas, elk were dying mysteriously and it was reported to the Game Dept. but they seemed to be ignoring the reports. Then a hunter from the area contacted a television station and got a crew to come up with him and they documented a large die off. Whole herds were tipping over and dying. I saw one clip that showed animals laying on the ground, still alive, and others that could hardly stand up only to tip over themselves and lay there like they were paralyzed and to finally die. When this report hit the airways there was finally a quick response from the Game Dept. First, they closed roads in the area supposedly to protect the herd from "shed hunters and others" who used the area. Supposedly their activity was stressing the herd. More likely it was done to prevent any more documenting of the problem. The second thing they did add to a winter feeding program going on in the area. That would seem like a prudent thing to do in the face of apparently starving animals, right? Well, about that time I was very curious as to what was going on so I did some research and read some bio reports. Guess what, it turns out that in the aftermath of the St Helens eruption back in 1980, the summer range for this herd had been severely damaged and reduced. It was marginal at best and as the herd grew, it only made the problem worse. And the feeding program that was designed to help more elk make it through the winter COMPOUNDED the problem by putting ever more animals on the summer range. These animals were starving coming off the summer range. Eventually it was decided that the best thing to do was reduce the herd in the area and many cow permits were given out. But this case points out the hidden dangers of doing something for the good of the herd (winter feeding program) and how it can have unintended consequences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Woodsman View Post
    [SIZE=3]Moose can move much further than hare so they are able to move and concentrate browsing possibly damaging a portion of their more susceptible winter range and to find unutilized range as they do during seasonal movements.
    Yes and when the snow gets deep what are the trails they use to conserve energy as they travel? Roads and railroad tracks. And where are the areas they head to in South Central Alaska? Well right into the same areas humans live. The result of this is many more collisions with autos and trains. This means the damage caused on roads and tracks can be wide felt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Woodsman View Post
    [SIZE=3]I don't want just 'nature' to control wildlife management.
    You and Wally Hickel....... Managing by sustained yield principles is not "letting nature control wildlife management." But managers do have to be cognizant of natural limits. Intensive management ignores natural limits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Woodsman View Post
    [SIZE=3]Your agenda is "no predator control", wouldn't matter who told you it was ok. Your politics demand things to be left natural.
    I have no agenda of "no predator control." I have no problem with predators being hunted or trapped. Any predator program needs to be temporary and aimed strictly at getting herds up to a sustainable level which needs to be strictly defined. What shouldn't happen is that predator control becomes an ongoing, ill defined program, aimed at increasing herds to unsustainable levels. This is a self perpetuating scenario, because every time a herd outgrows it's habitat and dies off you blame the predators and waste time and money and give hunters a black eye with ongoing predator control measures.

    My politics don't have anything to do with managing game, other than keeping politics out of game management.
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    Twodux - I would agree with your statements IF a lot of these areas were already at or near the max capacity for things like moose. If we were near the max capacity, then predator control practices would likely result in too many animals and overgrazing of the range, resulting in the problems you are referring to. The issue now is that we are not anywhere near the max for most areas. We are trying to bring the numbers back up closer to those values. Right now, the ranges can handle a lot more animals than they currently have without threat of overgrazing (in most areas). Being that there are more animals, you will have a bigger die-off when you have a harder winter such as this, but it isn't necessarily a result of overgrazing, but rather just a matter of odds when you have more animals, more will end up on roads/tracks/etc...

    Edit - reading through more of your posts, it does look like you are saying similar things. I just wasn't getting that feeling from your earlier posts on the subject. Sorry if I misinterpreted what you meant.

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    twodux,

    Where is the science and the studies showing the lack of browse right now in the Mat-Su area? And which biologist(s) led the charge (and please, no stories or c&p from craig medrid from akdispatch, lmao) I find it hard to believe that using a heavy snowfall that we are having this year (like the first one that I can remember in 10+ years or so and having been born and lived here my whole life) as a example that we are in a for a "lesson"? You make it sound like this is something new.

    You just might be on to a good science project for yourself.

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    According to the info I have received we are over target population by 2000+ moose in the mat-su valley right now according to the recent aerial survey. Whether this is due to an actual increase in resident moose or just showing that there were high density moose areas that were under counted in past surveys and have been pushed into areas that made them easier to find is info I don't have.

    It seems that we have a "how close to the river to build" scenario. Some would say only build 50' above the highest water line ever recorded. Others would build much closer, some even inside the 100 year flood zone. My take is that the closer you build to the river the better you need to be able to shore up against disaster. To put it back into moose terms we can manage for a higher density but we MUST keep our finger on the pulse of the animals and have tools to rapidly reduce numbers if needed. This seems feasible near the major population centers but not really the further away you get. Travel is about as easy as it gets here in the valley, even air travel is prevalent and far cheaper than most other areas in the state. There is a great snowmachine trail system that covers most of the region. If the Bio's cant afford to keep up with the data here then they either need to retool their financing or modify the management goal to a level with more leeway.

    My vote is to fund the intensive management that was promised in the areas that it will do the most good to the most people. Kenai pen and units 14, 13, and 20

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    Two years ago, Andy Couch and myself crafted a proposal while both serving on the AC to increase Cow Moose tags by 100 here in the Valley. The Bio's said the herd could handle the extra tags and still be viable. We thought if opportunity could be increased and not hurt the Moose population, why not? Once it went to the BOG, the chair made the mistake of saying this was put in by special interests and was the deciding factor in killing that proposal. We both wondered how he could infer Joe Public was a special interest. Go figure? The numbers and Bio's backed it and it still went down in flames. I live down KGB road here in the valley and yesterday my front yard had three moose and my back yard had three moose, at the same time. I can't even let my own dogs out in their own fenced in back yard anymore because of the shear numbers. I'm starting to think it is the cow to bull ratio that needs to be revisited, not the total number of moose all together.
    As for the habitat being able to handle the numbers lately, I have not kept up like maybe I should have on what are the numbers. Lujon, where did you get your numbers from?
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    Quote Originally Posted by twodux View Post
    http://www.adn.com/2012/01/23/227905...ord-moose.html

    So you kill predators and get lucky with some easy winters, then a winter like this hits. Some people are going to learn a lesson this year. This lesson has been learned before. But, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Unfortunately they will take everybody else with them.
    I am so Glad to see you Finally found a GOOD scientific source to gleen information from on this subject... The Anchorage Daily News is A FINE OUT STANDING and credited source..

    think i will wander over to the Fishing pages, and listen to people scream for Intensive management so the salmon can spawn in pike country...

    YAWN ...
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    Well whop, you can't grow the herd if you're killing the cows. That would be against all the principles of intensive management. Of course they shot it down. This isn't really about getting more animals converted to human use, or they'd have given out those 100 cow tags.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    twodux,

    Where is the science and the studies showing the lack of browse right now in the Mat-Su area? And which biologist(s) led the charge (and please, no stories or c&p from craig medrid from akdispatch, lmao) I find it hard to believe that using a heavy snowfall that we are having this year (like the first one that I can remember in 10+ years or so and having been born and lived here my whole life) as a example that we are in a for a "lesson"? You make it sound like this is something new.

    You just might be on to a good science project for yourself.
    HE can't neither can the others... Mean While across the street are several hundred Biologist and ADFG staff, interns and students working on exactly that sceince.... and since the only ones who refute it are Bitter EX- Bios ( many of them Fish Counters.. See stood on bank.. 1,2,3,4,... oh wait trout not salmon..3...)EX bios... many of whom caused the problems to begin with...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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