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    Default Abundance management.

    I'm studying to take the Master Hunter test in Washington State and stumbled across a couple gems in the manual that relate to the Abundance Management scheme being pushed by SFW and the AOC and other groups. These two items explain why abundance based management may be doomed from the start or certainly after a short time frame and it has nothing to do with predators and everything to do with carrying capacity. It also explains why someone who is being paid to manage wildlife should have an education into the dynamics of wildlife.

    The first is called the Principle of Inversity. Basically it means, as the numbers of breeders of a species increases, the survival of the young decreases. It's one of natures ways of controlling populations barring a catastrophic event such as a bad winter, or a fire, or even something man made such as clearcut logging. These events can tip the scales for a time in one direction or another. But because of inversity, more adults mean more strain on the habitat. Nature compensates for this by causing the females to have less offspring for starters. If you want to see it in a short time scale, look at artic hares. They go from boom to bust and back to boom on a regular basis. When the peak comes, the females start having less and smaller litters and the population suddenly crashes. Then while the population is climbing again, they have multiple litters with multiple offspring and the population grows at an astounding rate.

    What this principle suggests is that, by increasing the breeding population of say moose for example, we will actually be bringing down birth rates which doesn't exactly mesh with the theory of Abundance Based Management. Because the whole purpose of more breeders is to create more offspring which will grow into more breeders and huntable animals. But what happens is when you get the number of adult animals up close to carrying capacity, you reduce the number of young animals being born.

    My friend yukon254 has complained about low calf numbers in various herds and declared it means you needs to take out the predators. I might suggest to him that to increase calf production, what they really need to take out is more adult animals of those herds to stimulate calf production. It seems the moose population is at close to all time highs in the Yukon, probably at max carrying capacity, and by all accounts I can find, hunters put a relatively small dent in the herd. So a relatively small amount are needed to be born to keep the herd at the optimal number for carrying capacity. It could also be that by suppressing predators, (since hunters don't take many animals) they are also suppressing calf production.

    The graph that accompanies this principle shows two triangles. One with the pointed end up and the other with the pointed end down. The top represents breeders, and the bottom represents young. The point it is making is, few breeders, many young,...... many breeders, few young. Having many older animals and fewer young animals is called an inverted population.

    The second principle is called the "Law of Compensation". The basic tenant of this Law is, If one or more factors affecting the death rate of a population declines, others will take up the slack and the overall death rate will stay basically the same. Over time, the same number of animals will die from one cause or another. But when the death rate exceeds the birth rate, the population will drop.

    What does this mean in terms of Abundance Management? It means, sure, you can take out predators and let hunters take up the slack in trimming the herd for example. But if you increase the herd to grow extra animals for hunters, it all soon backfires, because when the herd gets to a certain point and the birth rate drops. So if you don't cut hunting too, the herds will shrink. That isn't what Abundance Based Management proponents tell you tho. They tell you that they can increase the herds and keep them there so everybody gets more and better hunting. They don't mention that it's just temporary, but they use the increase to justify their existence. They also don't mention that habitat isn't static. It changes from year to year and decade to decade depending on natural events, and so what was once the carrying capacity has now been reduced by half or in other areas doubled.

    I know that this seems counter productive to many. But look at this another way. Picture a 100 acre stand of trees that has grown to maturity. They all produce seeds, but how many of those seeds take and grow into another mature tree? Not very darn many, because the mature trees block the light needed to grow. That is why in a true old growth forest, you don't find much vegetation on the forest floor. Now say you clearcut the 100 acres or a fire takes it out. What happens next? An explosion of growth. Grass, shrubs and seeds that get blown in from surrounding stands of trees all compete for the available space and sunlight. Thousands of young trees suddenly get a chance to grow to maturity. Many more than are needed, and they will crowd each other out and grow, with many, if not most dying along the way until there is a mature stand of timber again.
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    Default And

    I might also add that protecting cows by not hunting them also increases the problems created by the Principle of Inversion especially when you had the old any bull hunting. You end up with a large herd of breeding cows, but few bulls because you are hammering them, and few calves because of not enough bulls, but also because the birth rate has fallen because the herd, even though it is mostly female, has reached the carrying capacity of their range. We all saw how that worked. Reasonably controlled cow hunting allows the herd to be culled, protects a few more bulls, and increases the birth rate so you have more new animals joining the herd each year. Yet some head in the sand groups want to end cow hunting because "they don't feel comfortable" about it, or they are protesting something else. They are really cutting off their noses to spite their faces.
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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Yeppers!!!!!!

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    Default nature is constantly seeking stabilty, right down to the atom

    Quote Originally Posted by twodux View Post
    Nature compensates for this by causing the females to have less offspring for starters. If you want to see it in a short time scale, look at artic hares. They go from boom to bust and back to boom on a regular basis. When the peak comes, the females start having less and smaller litters and the population suddenly crashes. Then while the population is climbing again, they have multiple litters with multiple offspring and the population grows at an astounding rate.

    .
    i have seen more examples than i can count of stabilty in nature. the idea that they have more offspring is in more food to eat. less food to eat means more mortality. mortality (weakness) means scavengers and preditors rise. the biggest preditors mortality feeds smaller scavengers, preditors and even insects. all the death and poo means fertile soil. repeat-

    but in the earth it goes deeper. plants (eaten by the) rabbitt's cycle the air in it's own cycle. a lot of plants mean good oxygen, and the rise of such which will return it. even plants have boom and bust. nature always seeks balance. the preditors are over populated right now in our current cycle. i think that goes without question. or someone please correct me? just how much preditor control is the right amount of preditor control? the best educated guess is a pimple on the hind of mother nature.

    it goes against human nature to even voice that the people explosion on the planet is far beyond out of balance with nature. to our very core we have a built in animalistic mechanism, designed to preserve humanity, and ensure our own species- same as any other species- so, it is par for the course to struggle with this. against our very own human nature. it seems as if we refuse to accept that we are only a part of the natural world.

    the shake up for me goes beyond alaska fish and game. for whatever reason goverment remains intent upon breeding tax payers. the incentives at tax time, pfd time, breaks for being married show they're breedin tax payers. how to married people with incomes need a break is beyond me. power people want more power, that is the agenda, one world goverment- fill the planet. and, in our society it is so foul to say so. people who choose not to procreate, not to marry are stigmitized as some kind of loser. now, in this last great place on earth, here to we are no longer dealing with a frontier. go ahead and throw away your last frontier tee shirts and hats, ect. unless you can tell me exactly where the frontier starts.

    consequently, reguardless of abundance managment or the lack of it, one day mother nature (i.e. the earth-for those of you who know i'm nutz), she will balance things. but what we have here with game populations will never be as it was 20, maybe even 10 years ago. they can run but they can't hide. cities must be built upward and not outward. but i don't want to climb stairs. i'm old.

    the term abundance managment is imcomplete, incorrect and a falicy because if there is an abundance of anything nature will .......eventually.........absorb it!

    every goose in anchorage gets a band! every caribou gets collered. we have this under control. nature is no match for almighty man

    let the beatings begin!

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    Thumbs up Finally!!!

    Hooternanny, you said it. Most people are afaid to see it much less say it. There are too many of us.

    What we really need is more predators not fewer. Predators that eat humans. Let's thin um out.

    Just think what a sustainable paridise we would have if there were only ,... say 10 or 20 % of the humans living on this planet. The problem is,... it wil require a paradigm shift that the now living dinosaurs can't grasp.

    Twodux, your inteligent comments are prbobly beyond those that need to hear them The cycle will most likely continue floudering along.

    Here is a light at the end of the tunnel thought tho,.... Rossi will do his job and screw things up. Before it is toally obvious what has / is happenning he will be lured away by some bigger calling (like $ or fame or more power) and the Plalin Principle will kick in and he will be gone.

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    Talk to any rancher in the world and you will learn you can only raise so many cows on any given number of acres. Our hunters now days say I only have three days to kill a sheep and don't have time to hunt wolf or bears so let the state do it

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    Default another thought

    Another thought for the anti cow hunting crowd. If you aren't going to hunt them, what good is it doing to protect a bunch of barren old cows? Because that is what you'll end up with in the long run. Cows past breeding age who take up space and food from young animals. This situation is what is happening in many areas where cow calf ratio's are down. "Don't kill the females!" is the cry. So they live past their prime and crowd out the up and coming animals. And you hear hunters complaining, "I saw 50 cows, but no bulls, and only a couple calves."

    The states with the best results as far as abundance wildlife management are probably in the mid-west. And if you look, they all work really hard to harvest females of the species. In some states, you have to take a female before you are allowed to take a male.

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    Great posts twodux. I have to spread the rep points first though...

    I too think that alot of that logic will be lost on the MSY crowd...


    Ok, I'm going to further Saltwaters thoughts and compare Rossi to Obama...both will screw things up until there is a critical mass to reject them and throw out. IOW, Their accomplishments will be what gets them canned...

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    Man twodux, you're on fire with your posts lately. Thank you. I appreciate your insight.

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    hooternanny- boom and bust is not a "balance" it is actually the opposite of balanced. Sustained yield is "balance" and is obtained through active management.

    There a many holes in your post twodux... I hate multi-quoting so I will just try and summarize.

    The "principal of Inversity" in itself is a seemingly well thought out and is ultimately accurate if you take a very long swath of time and eliminate most of the variables. The problem is your application assumes that all game animals are at or near carrying capacity all the time and any outside influence will cause them to somehow stop breeding or producing calves. Yes there are areas in AK that are near or even potentially over capacity. There are numerous ways to distinguish if this is the case and modify game management to keep it from crashing. The flip side is that there are numerous areas where the predators are the ones at or over carrying capacity and the prey species are thus significantly repressed. In these areas predator control can shallow the hole in which the population will fall and help to bring about a faster recovery.

    The hare boom and bust is very complex but it is most closely tied to the natural defense of felt leaf willow to high levels of snowshoe hare browsing during the winter. I can't find the complete study right now but here is a link to an excerpt: http://www.jstor.org/pss/1938018 The lower branches of the willow generally under .5 meter builds up a high level of a toxic substance which makes the plant inedible to the hares so they die. It makes sense then that the few remaining less healthy sexually mature hare would have a repressed reproductive rate. If another sustainable food source was introduced this would not be the case. So ultimately hares are a bad example there is not a magical earth god that makes all the hares decide to join planned parenthood it is a simple cause and effect.

    Interesting enough that the effect of the hare cycle on the ungulate recovery can be significant. If timing is right and it has been in some areas large biomass prey species can be depleted due to over predation but when the large ungulate population is very low the during a high hare cycle it is possible for the predators to continue to survive at above mean carrying capacity for several years until the hare cycle crashes. One study on ovis dali predation showed that predation on lambs, by coyotes especially, was significantly increased during the peak years of the hare cycle. If this cycle peaks during a period of repressed sheep population the additional heavy predation during years where the predators themselves should have been getting "inversed" by nature can be catastrophic and take decades to recover anywhere near carrying capacity. The same can and does happen with wolves and larger ungulates. Bears have similar boom resources namely fish and berries that can keep their numbers elevated despite a horribly repressed ungulate population and thus continue to cause extremely repressed calf recruitment.

    You seem to take evidence for your stance based on calf recruitment (defined as a number or percentage of animals that survives to breeding age) which is not the same as birth rates and more importantly in twinning rates amongst AK ungulates. Not seeing young animals in the fall is not necessarily a sign that they are not being born but is a sign that they are not surviving. It is very possible that an area can be no where near carrying capacity, be producing very high twinning rates and still have very low calf recruitment and is thus being repressed by some other force most notably over predation.

    The "law of compensation" as you paraphrased it basically says that the death rate will remain constant unless it goes up then more animals will die. You mention nothing about populations increasing but I assume it is fair to say that if the death rate goes down that more animals will live? How can someone espouse something as a "law" if it not absolute? Newton is well known for his laws and they are true laws, not a theory which is what this proposed "law of compensation" is and not even a very good one since within the theory itself is an admission that it is only accurate when it is accurate

    Sustained yield is a whole environment approach with the goal of keeping animals within the sustainable carrying capacity of the land and preferably toward the upper end of that with a reasonable margin for error to prevent habitat damage and the subsequent "natural" bust. The idea that the natural boom and bust of animal populations cant be mitigated by active management is simply flawed and generally is only able to be "proven impossible" by those who choose to take a very small excerpt from the bigger picture, eliminate all variables or just ignore them and paint it up as proof positive of their stance.

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    twodux you are so far off I cant even comment on everything you said... I will focus on only one.... you think our moose population is at an all time high... your nuts friend... total BS wherever you got that info. I have lived, trapped hunted in southeast yukon for almost 25 years most years I am in the bush for an average of 7 months each year.... in all those years exactly twice I have seen F/G personal out in that country. I have SEEN our moose population crash... to many adults.... you have heard to many fairy tales.... Look into the wildlife management that northern BC does... then look at their sustained high populations despite hunter numbers that would make Alaskans cringe... then explain your theory to me..... you wont cause you cant. All you have done here is to show how naive you really are when it comes to wildlife.

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    Default rabbits

    Lujon I was contacted last fall by the lady doing the rabbit study near Haines Junction, (this has been a long term study) she wanted info on the Southeast cycles. Anyway after talking to her at length she told me she just didnt know exactly what has been happening with the hare cycle... last real high cycle here was in 98. She has suspisions it could be predators (in her study area) I guess the marten are coming back strong and the red squirrel population is high??

    I know one very experienced trapper that claims he can control his hare population, hence his lynx population by trapping red squirrels hard?

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    Thumbs down

    How can one argue that Managing for Abundance is harder than Playing Catch Up as we have done and are doing now? This simply does not pass the Common Sense Test.

    One only has to wonder about someone wanting to start out on a journey with a half tank of fuel. Unless they just don't want to go very far in the first place. Which I suspect might be the case with those that advocate the Minimalistic View. Very shallow thinking these guys.
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    Twodux,

    I'm not sure that the hare cycle translates to other species, but your comments about taking cows makes sense to me. I hunted on a Texas deer lease for about 6 years. We had about 7500 acres in our lease. We instituted a QDM (Quality Deer Management) Program. We could only shoot one buck, eight point or better and were encouraged to shoot as many does as our tags allowed - and bring on guests who could shoot does. We never shot our goal of does, but tried. Over the years the problem became exactly what you say: the does started having twins and triplets, which made more does to shoot the next year.

    Before our QDM program, we usually saw only single fawns with does. And, the bucks all got bigger. It also was standing policy to shoot any coyotes we saw (tricky buggers) - we weren't too successful there.

    However, I don't have a problem with predator control as long as it is scientifically based. Nature has a lot of bust and boom cycles in it (just like Wall St). Since we are managing the resource (Moose/caribou/sheep, etc) I don't see a problem managing the predators. But, I think it is "our" job to to the work, not paying F&G employees to shoot wolves from aircraft or other methods. If we are so concerned about wolves/bears hammering the moose calves and caribou, lets go! Let's load up the AR-15s with some good ammo and get some wolves!

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    Default directly copied from mr. rossi's article sunday ADN

    "
    Reducing wolves should never become a war on wolves any more than harvesting moose should become a war on moose. It is important to remember that moose are to wolves what vegetation is to moose -- food.

    As we manage for abundance, we must realize that if we have more moose than the habitat can support, we must reduce the number of moose or increase the habitat or both. The same is true of moose and wolves. All are important components within the abundance management concept."


    twodux heres another 2 cents-
    all things in moderation, and nothing to excess. value wisom of experience and the newest information from fresh education. one is nothing without the other- same as we are all nothing in the big picture, yet we are all everything in our own little world.

    again, the people are the problem, and no conservation or management at their best could ever stop man from the dinasour ending he deserves. the overpopulation of the planet shows no inkling of changing as the ultimate preditor by his own very nature is incapable of thwoarting his will to stop planting his seed, reaching for more and forever bound to the attempt of assert dominance and control over all things possible.

    a circumvention of the world's truest higher power(s) to assume the position of guardian of the land and manipulator of the universe.

    abundance of one, equals shortage of another. moreover, it is a state of temporariness and forever remains as such. natural laws seeks to stabilize energy no matter how man attempts or wishes or says or feels he has control.

    say for example, the idea of cows(in the lower 48). eating plenty full grasses and the result of abundant cow pies, cow pies in place of the old grasses that used to create oxygen, cow pies that now create methane. the rabbitt's and the grasses relationship is no different than the mooses and the wolves. man's relationship's are in things like that dog poo smell that is perfuming the town of anchorage right now. as the winter snow melts and six months worth of dog crap thaw's out, some parts of that town are currently being blessed with an odiferous delight that is a testament to man and his abilties as creator. it's in the times of the dust bowl, ect. history is full of man's effect on nature, and natures effect on man.

    the positive side is individually we can all make a difference, as the little actions make up the sum. and i hope more young people will seek and get educated and involved, and love alaska. a need to find better ways to represent alaskan's to the rest of the world without explain all to them or tell them any more than need be told, and only when required. all this is needed now and in immediate future as palin has put us on the map in the eyes of many who were oblivious of our exisitance before. we need people to represent us to them correctly, and help us try to get back to being something that unfortunately i know we will never get back to again

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    Default texas

    yankee we are not talking about Texas..... big difference as a matter of fact you cant compare the two places or the animals that live there.

    I dont know why some find it so hard to comprehend.... predators kill ungulates..... if you have to many predators your ungulate population will suffer its that simple..... if we could ever get past that fact, then we could discuss how or if we should do anything about it. But instead there are so many on here that want everyone to believe that predators are not the problem and they want to blame it on hunters other than themselves....

    Ridiculous wolves eat only meat and contrary to the movie never cry wolf by hardly no it wolves can NOT survive on mice.... they need ungulates! Wolf population gets to high.... guess what happens??

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    I think we need more abundance management. Most of Alaska the fish and game populations exist at levels far below what the habitat can support due to abundance of predators and fish and game has been saying this for years. But, I also agree that the relationships are complex as stated in twoduxs post and that appointing a commissioner who cannot understand these theories and complex statistical relationships is why the department biologists are are disgusted with the situation.
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    Hooternanny: While you say we have more Moose than the habitat will support, maybe you do in the area where you live. But there is areas where there is virtually no Moose. Last year I went into the White Mtns and spent two days riding around. I saw lots of wolf tracks, one set of fox tracks, and one set of Moose tracks. 30 years ago I would have seen hundreds of sets of Moose tracks. I also did not see any Caribou tracks. Therefore there is areas of the state that needs Intensive Management. I don't like riding around an area and not seeing game, just mile after mile of prime habitat with nothing on it, and no signs of any thing on it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon254 View Post
    there are so many on here that want everyone to believe that predators are not the problem and they want to blame it on hunters other than themselves....

    I don't know of any hunter who does not comprehend that predators kill game. However, there is a difference between reasonable predator control programs to boost game populations and the current SFW-dominated abundance management mentality which seems to place all of the blame on wolves and bears, with none of the focus on the top predator in the system and how we might need to better control the impacts of that predator to ensure sustainable, high quality hunting opportunities.


    Yes, I am that predator, and so are you.


    In populated parts of Alaska, the largest detriment to our hunting is not a lack of game due to high levels of wolf/bear predation.

    The largest detriment is destruction of High Quality Habitat. This has been caused primarily by urban expansion and suppression of fires in the mat-su / anchorage / kenai pen / fairbanks areas.


    Another substantial factor is that many large swaths of land, which formerly recieved dispersed and sporadic hunting pressures, are now intensively hunted by Urbanites on ATVs and snow machines.


    When these vehicles can disperse hunters then the habitat is not much degraded and the quality of hunting opportunity is high.

    However, with the boom of our human population (time for predator control, anyone?) and the absolute resistance by narrow-minded hunting/outdoor advocates to restrict ATV and Snowmachine access to designated trails, we have seen over the last twnty years that Large tracts of habitat are being degraded by the intensive human presence.

    No amount of wolf/bear reduction will address this issue.
    Low quality game hunting in formerly high quality areas is only a SYMPTOM and if you think the solution is just to "bake more pie" then you are not looking at the big picture.

    To address this symptom ignores the fundamental problem of increasingly Urban hunters (yes, living 20 minutes from Palmer I count myself as urban) who are demanding the quality of game hunting opportunity available in rural areas. It ain't gonna happen. No amount of intensive management will reverse the deteriorating quality of hunting opportunities because we are trying to treat pneumonia with cough drops.


    The pie-eaters will try to bake pie until the cupboards are bare. If this group is allowed to dominate the stage then we will all (or our children) end up shopping at Fred Meyer.

    Selfish, selfish, selfish.


    Yes, I think we need to kill wolves and bears. But when we have a wildlife conservation director who doesn't understand which predator requires the most intensive management, it frightens me. To suggest that with the number of hunters in Alaska, we can't do our own predator control in most instances, that is sad and fostering dependence on the nanny-state.


    I want to preserve quality fishing and hunting for my and your grandchildren's grandchildren. Baking more pie and sticking our heads in the sand when confronted with larger problems just isn't going to cut it.

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    Default sorry-

    Quote Originally Posted by Graybeard View Post
    Hooternanny: While you say we have more Moose than the habitat will support, maybe you do in the area where you live. But there is areas where there is virtually no Moose. Last year I went into the White Mtns and spent two days riding around. I saw lots of wolf tracks, one set of fox tracks, and one set of Moose tracks. 30 years ago I would have seen hundreds of sets of Moose tracks. I also did not see any Caribou tracks. Therefore there is areas of the state that needs Intensive Management. I don't like riding around an area and not seeing game, just mile after mile of prime habitat with nothing on it, and no signs of any thing on it.
    grey, i didn't say that "more moose than habitat will support" nor did i try to imply that and i am not sure where you got that. just wanted to point that out.

    and yes i too have hunted the white mountains north of square-banks. last time i was there maybe 4 years ago was going after that elusive white mountain caribou herd in some 40 below febuary weather via snow machine. we couldn't find any wind blown slopes thus we couldn't find any bou. we did see some moose though but just a few. they were often standing in snow that was so deep it almost came up to the tops of there backs. you should have seen it. moose necks and heads sticking out at ground level. sitting on the snow machine your eye level was higher than their's. the area they were choosing to browsing in- any preditors could have got em easy. they had no chance. it was like the moose were burried in the snow and bulldozing paths in 5 to 6 foot deep snow. real weird to see.

    and yes there were wolf tracks near the cabin we stated at. we went in the elliott side, but don't remember the exact trail. went about 40 miles in. couldn't get wolves, and yes i am familiar with the lack of needed ungulates (or as we say in ak -dinner) in that area. not sure where you got the idea as my area too could use a few more too. but in that point, there is also a time that too many is too many and bad for the habitat.

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