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Thread: how hunting effects game populations

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    Default how hunting effects game populations

    I have read a lot of posts on here regarding how over hunting effects game populations, and am curious as to how many really understand how hunting does effect the population of some species here in the north. How about moose, and bear (black or Grizzly). Im not trying to start a war, just be interesting to know what some think. This might be food for another thread but have you ever wondered how fish/game come up with population numbers for bears?? (the answer is kind of interesting to say the least!) How about the collaring of Caribou?? Do many hunters know how many caribou die due to stress from this?? (the numbers would stagger most guys!) We are trying to adopt another method for collaring down here, hope it passes! I know this post is rambling! sorry! its -35 out and Im delaying going out and building fence! and these issues never get discussed at least not that Ive seen.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default

    Dave (Yukon254),

    If you haven't already, check out the pdf files in the sticky above on ADFG mgmt and Intensive Mgmt presentations. Particulary, the one from the Fairbanks moose workshop...it has a lot of good studies included on ungulate populations, talks about carrying capacity, twinning rates, sustainable harvests etc.

    I recommend everyone take the time to go through those files for a better understanding of moose mgmt and effects hunting can have.

  3. #3

    Default A Huge Question!

    The question, "How does hunting affect a game population?", is gonna return a different answer for pretty much every individual case.

    Think about the difficulty of controlling out all the variables of ecosystem, Predator/prey population dynamics and health, hunting methods and means, etc to get a precise picture of hunting pressure on a particular game population in a specific ecosystem.

    The picture is never gonna be in perfect focus.
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    Killin' it!




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    Default yes

    Mark yes I have read those files (not completely) it is a huge question for sure. My point is we should all be educated on these issues so we can respond intelligently when these issues come up in the political arena. It is not rocket science, there are for example a certain number of bull caribou required per 100 cows to sustain a healthy herd. Of course there are other considerations, weather, feed and predators. I think if you will look at the effects hunters really have, it will give you another opinion of how much the other factors effect populations. I know biologists and fish/game do good work, I just have a real problem with some of their studies. Heres an example this year we invited our new regional Biologist to come into our hunting camp and spend a couple weeks. He did and let me tell you it was an eye opener!! Nice guy for sure, not knocking him personaly!! There were many examples I could give, here is only one. we were rideing thru an area with a lot of short "moose willow" with a ground cover of lichen, he was amazed!! Ocording to him this area had been mapped from the air years ago and was not supposed to have any lichen!!!! hence any caribou! He surmised that the "moose willow" must have blocked the lichen from the mapping process. We have been hunting caribou there for over 30 years, we knew there was lichen there. So whats my point? Its this I have seen things like this so many times Im skeptical of any of thier studies. Bear populations, the numbers they give in the boreal forests are the biggest joke in wildlife management!! You ever try to count bears from the air in bush country?? cant be done, they dont even try. I was told by an alaskan F/G fellow 10 years ago that they pretty much guess!! Why not get together with the people who spend more time in the bush in one year than they will in 10. I know Ive said this before but, if you look at northen bc, (i know there are some diferences but by and large things are not that different) It has a huge number of hunters, resident and non, and more game than anywhere in North Americia. So what makes it different, to me the main thing is ongoing predator control, and managed fires in the spring. Who do we have to thank for that? Outfitters thats who, there is a core group there that works together, I talked to an outfitter there just before xmas, he had just put out over 200 wolf snares, by chopper he takes it serious and all BC hunters benifit whether they know it or not. Think predator control dont work?? you are just kidding yourself, look back in history at Northern BC, game populations, then read about Alaskas wolf man in the 20s and 30s. Is predator control the only thing? hell no it isnt there are other things to like overhunting, harsh weather ect. F/G departments, wildlife bioligists ect. are Govt. employees there opinions will be politicly motivated always to some degree at least in public. So i think we should all look at how we as hunters impact the land, but also look at how other factors impact them to. Mark i respect you and your opinions,I really do I just dont always agree, I was going to join the group you are involved in (backcountry hunters and anglers) but after talking to a fellow in CO. just couldnt do it, it seemed the org. was so opposed to ANY predator control i just could not support them. That was my impression if it is wrong please let me know! Dave

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    Default

    Statistically speaking it has been pretty well proven that you can't over hunt a population as long as you abide by the SF50 and full curl regulations. There is a good argument that you may be destroying the trophy quality by not culling weaker less dominant bulls and rams, but I have not seen any conclusive data on that. Now when you add in winter kill, disease and over predation then you have a lot more variables!

    As far as the bears go, there have been some improvements made in estimating population density of bears.

    http://www.wildlifenews.alaska.gov/i...rticles_id=129

    http://www.wildlifenews.alaska.gov/i...=55&issue_id=6

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    Default Dave...here is my long-winded reply <grin>

    Dave,

    With all due respect, you tend to mix apples and oranges in discussions like this on game management. Colorado isn't Alaska. And neither is British Columbia or the Yukon. Candians do things far differently than we do here in Alaska cuz our laws are different. You guys have exclusive guide use areas, for example, like we used to have. Your laws governing how predator management can be done differ as well. The public perception in the Yukon about hunting and predator control are so different (in a good way) than the general public perception here in Alaska that it is like two different worlds really. Population and lifestyle are just so different...but you know this already.

    The science of wildlife biology and management is a science. It is not an exact science, may not be "rocket science," but I think it is more complicated than you make it out to be. That's why I push for more hunters to talk with biologists and managers and read the reports and the presentations and get better educated on these issues.

    Each place is different. Each unit here in Alaska is different. What works one place or unit doesn't always work in another. There are often a slew of repercussions, some good, some bad, to any management strategy. What the org I co-chair espouses is long-term management strategies that lead to stable sustainable populations and harvests and opportunities, rather than some of the boom/bust strategies we've used or are using. Sometimes that involves predator control. Sometimes predator control goes to extremes that aren't warranted, doesn't have any efficacy, and that can lead to negative repercussions down the line in a variety of ways.

    I always try to look at the big picture, and look well into the future too on game management. Wildlife mgmt has indeed become much too politicized for my liking. But it isn't being polticized by the biologists really...most bios I know do good objective science because that is their job. They attempt to carry out population studies and research with what funds they have available...they then present that info to whatever governing agency or Board is in place that sets regulations and seasons etc.

    I don't know any bios who don't talk with hunters or long-time residents like myself to also get some anecdotal information on trends etc. There is always stories about some nimwit biologist who doesn't know that lichen grows pretty much everywhere in the boreal forest <grin>...and such examples are a bit extreme for my liking and don't at all represent wildlife biology or biologists. So I don't care for the use of those examples when discussing game management...there will always be some bad apples in any group of people or workers and nothing can prevent that.

    I think, Dave, that you do yourself a disservice in some of your dialogue, like that about gauging bear densities from the air, and comments like "can't be done, they don't even try." On the one hand you are encouraging hunters to become better informed before discussing some wildlife management issues...but statements like that are borne out of not being informed or doing a bit of research first. I've been talking with biometricians at ADFG for a few years now; they are the math geek types who design density estimate surveys. Inre bears, I'd prefer we always did the bear hair-snag dna density estimates, as they can be done for around the same price and they provide more reliable quantitative and qualitative data. The work of Craig Gardner, for example, on the 20E grizzly population densities was just fantastic. And the aerial bear estimates Earl Becker designed and used in Unit 16 was amazing as well.

    So I guess what I'm getting at is to keep asking questions, keep reading, but please don't make it out that biologists aren't doing good work or that what they do isn't a complicated science. I've been hunting, trapping, and fishing here for a long while now, but what I know and have learned doesn't compare to what I have learned, and continue to learn by talking to a lot of fish and game biologists about what I've seen, what I'm currently seeing, etc. I have some pieces of the puzzle in my head...but it's only a part of the overall puzzle.

    Like me, Dave, you have a wealth of long-time hunting and fishing and trapping experience over there in the Yukon. And I have mucho respect for both you and your experience and history etc. I just don't want you to surmise that your experience and longevity equates to a degree in wildlife science or biology and that somehow you know more than those whose job it is to do the studies and research and write reports and papers etc. Frankly, I used to think that...and it wasn't til I got involved in my position with Alaska Backcountry Hunters that I realized how little I really knew. It's even more true with fisheries too.

    Happy new year to you and the family!

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    Default Yukon

    Mark, nice pics on the trappers thread!! I think somtimes I dont relate well when writeing as I didnt mean things the way you thought I did. First off I know I dont know it all!! far from it! When talking about CO. I didnt mean how they did things there!! The guy I talked to (i think you know who) told me that this org. doesnt support predator control period, he wasnt talking about just in CO. Sorry if that is not the case but its what he said. And I dont agree with you in regards to AK. being different than here or BC. Sure the politics are different, but the game, country are very much the same. Of the 3 places BC has the highest hunting pressure by far. When talking about bear counts, I have talked at length with Bio. that have spent 25 years studing bears, they say themselves that bear populations are almost impossible to get in heavily forested areas, and they dont to my understanding use aircraft. In regards to F/G Bio. ect. opinions not being politicly motivated to a large degree I strongly disagree with you, at least here in Canada. And when I guided on our border in the early 90s, and the caribou herd we share was in deep do do I got to meet and talk with some of your boys at length, I know what thier opinion was in camp, however that opinion never made it on paper, look what happened 6 years later!! The herd went down to almost nothing! AK and the Yukon spent who knows how many thousands of dollars trying to come up with why the cow/calf ratio was so low that the herd was disappearing. well in the end they had to agree it was calf mortality ie. wolves/bears that was the problem so now they put the cows in a big fence at Twasamon Lk in the spring. That has helped for sure, but I know the outfitter on both sides of the line and they went after the wolves big time and that helped too. Im not trying to imply that Bio. dont do good work, they do! Its just that the way I see it if we are going to manage wildlife we have to manage all wildlife includeing bears/wolves. We have a huge problem here right now, and our fish and wildlife management board have been having meeting after meeting, at those meetings they all agree it is a predator problem but at the same time they also agree that the policy makers will NEVER allow a F/G sponsered wolf control program ever again here so they are all over themselves trying to come up with a solution. Our very own wolf Bio. gave a class on snareing wolves here last year (I took it) he told the class he would like to see a 50% harvest of wolves on every trapline!!!! This is a guy who IS a bio. and has spent 25 years studieing them, he has also spent months at a time with your guys up there learning from them. So some of my information comes from bio. and I know from talking with a lot of people who spend lots of time in the bush on both sides of the line that a whole bunch share much the same opinion. At one of the last meetings here an elder native spoke and he told the board, that in the old days they did thier on wolf control by finding dens in the spring and killing the pups, (think we hear about the seal hunt!! imagine trying that now!) he also said in those days fires would often start on the south (dry side) of the hills where wolfs den that would kill some too, so even back then there was a form of predator control. With this thread I was just looking for our (hunters) effect on game populations, I have read tons of data, bottom line yes hunters can effect populations!! But they kill BULLS! (for the most part) If an area is overhunted here or in AK. the normal first sign is a lack of bigger bulls (most hunters look for mature animials) NOT a low cow/calf ratio. A low cow calf ratio, can be a number of things, no question just dont overlook predators. Here our hunter numbers are very low, yet as of next year we will probably not have a caribou herd that is not on permit!! That my good friend is insane, look up the number of hunters we have then remember the complete southeast Yukon from the Campbel Hwy east sees no more than 25 hunters a year!! The extreme northern Yukon is the same! Yet what do our finest say in the public areana, they lead the public to believe its the hunters fault!! sorry for the length of this post but this issue is a real pet peeve of mine! Dave

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    Default

    Dave, we'll just have to agree to disagree on some things. You're just kinda all over the map on some of this and any back and forth exchange isn't going to be productive.

    Hope you and family have a great new year and 2009...back to work on malfunctioning generator in hopes I can stay online <grin>.
    Cheers,


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    hey Jon i was looking for similar articles one barbed wire they did in unit 20 around 02-05... up here they put out stink pots to attract them since the range is so much greater.. and catalog them over the entire summer and following summer.. then using DNA figure out who is who.. they however still have to do an estimate on over all populations. based on a few sites and numbers. my experience the last few years is that bears are much higher in numbers then anticipated
    "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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    Hunting keeps wild animals wild. It makes the surviving ones deathly afraid of us humans. That's a good thing.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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