Wednesday, August 23, 2017

No, the wolves are not eating all the WI deer, data show

Glad to see Journal Sentinel outdoors writer Paul A. Smith noting that both the deer and wolf populations are up simultaneously,, which is another way of saying that wolves are not 'eating all the deer,' as some hunters and wolf opponents have alleged. 

Wrote Smith:
Wolves obviously eat deer...But when compared to other sources of deer mortality in Wisconsin, wolves rank down the list. 
I ran the numbers and trends past David Mech, senior research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey in St. Paul, Minn. Mech has studied wolves for 59 years and is considered an expert on the species and its effect on plant and animal communities.
"Under these current Wisconsin regulations and conditions, wolves are apparently not a competitor, or aren't really having that much of an impact (on deer)," Mech said.
The leading causes of deer mortality in the state, as Wisconsin wildlife managers have long said, are human hunters and severe winters.
For the record, this 'wolves-eat-all-the-deer' myth was knocked down four years ago, as did 2010 data, with, again, weather, hunters, car-deer collisions and other factors coming into play.
Whitetail doe.jpg
Let's hope science and facts take center stage, especially as pressure is building in Congress to remove federal protection from grey wolves, including those in Wisconsin, and to allow states to establish and manage their own hunts, of which Wisconsin's was particularly controversial because dogs were allowed in the fray and state-sanctioned wolf kills were substantial before a fresh federal ban was laid down.

The controversy in Wisconsin also extends to wolf-dog fighting during bear hound training season, with fresh legal implications.

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