S.d. "predator control" program

I think DU or Delta waterfowl (?) did a study on this a few years ago and found it to be effective, but labor intensive. Might be worth a shot, could give some high school kids some spare change and a little outdoor skills. (until their parents deal with the skunk smell)
 

A5 Sweet 16

Active member
I think DU or Delta waterfowl (?) did a study on this a few years ago and found it to be effective, but labor intensive. Might be worth a shot, could give some high school kids some spare change and a little outdoor skills. (until their parents deal with the skunk smell)
One thing it's doing is giving people practice cutting tails off road killed coons. I wonder if the study factored that into its results.
 

termo

New member
And what PETA CHAPTER is it that you belong too—:confused:
Funny.
Hunting since 1974.
B.S. Fish and Wildlife Management Montana State Univ. 1991
30+ years in the wildlife management profession.
21 long guns in the safe.
2 pointers.
Pan fried Crusted rooster breasts dipped in honey, broccoli, and garlic fettuccine for dinner tonight. Grilled elk backstraps last night.

Predator control and bounties are a great 1937 idea.

Carry on.
 
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Prairie Drifter

Active member
On a number of occasions I have fallen back to mathematics on this forum to explain difficult situations. This is easily one of those. Yes, predator control has been found effective in a number of situations. Those situations had mathematics on their side. These experiments used an extreme effort of predator control on a manageable sized tract of land. The removal overlapped the nesting season and was carefully planned and monitored. The shotgun approach being used will not mimic those conditions and don't do either the hunting of fur-harvesting sports any favors by diminishing the value of one wildlife resource over another. In fact, in many people's eyes it will cast a dark shadow over both pursuits and give hunters and trappers a black eye no matter whether it is slightly successful or not! Management takes proven methods to address a measured problem. This is a political cash cow that will do nothing more than disperse many of the limited funds available for wildlife management out to an effort that is a failure even before it is enacted! Welcome to the Forum Termo!!!
 

watermen

Member
I agree with you on the perceived political fallout Troy. I am curious how removal of predators will not benefit the prey species. The time of year they are removed has little impact on their overall population provided they reach a tipping point and are not replaced at a higher rate than their removal. Mathematically it would not matter the timing of the removal, just that the total biomass of mesopredators was reduced. A reduction of predator population individuals in the fall or spring before their own reproduction cycle, has little affect on the number of predators on the landscape during nesting season. I don't agree with the methods, however I can assure you it is very effective after a year like this where the cover has been squashed to drive around South Dakota and shoot coons and especially skunks on their daylight treks during their own mating. I am not advocating shooting them, I can't offer an opinion on their current landscape populations compared to historical records. I can offer that their population is increasing in MO and has done so since the fur crash of the 80's. If you can find me a trapper that made money last year at $6 average for coons, I will kiss your ####. I don't know for sure that South Dakota had intentions to do so, but I feel they might have just been trying to put some gas money in the pockets of their trappers and predator guys. Otherwise, any body that knows anything about trapping knows you currently can't get most to participate in an expensive hobby. Strictly trying to use math to understand the issue. I do agree it will likely give trappers a bad name, Both of them.
 

hunter94

Active member
On a number of occasions I have fallen back to mathematics on this forum to explain difficult situations. This is easily one of those. Yes, predator control has been found effective in a number of situations. Those situations had mathematics on their side. These experiments used an extreme effort of predator control on a manageable sized tract of land. The removal overlapped the nesting season and was carefully planned and monitored. The shotgun approach being used will not mimic those conditions and don't do either the hunting of fur-harvesting sports any favors by diminishing the value of one wildlife resource over another. In fact, in many people's eyes it will cast a dark shadow over both pursuits and give hunters and trappers a black eye no matter whether it is slightly successful or not! Management takes proven methods to address a measured problem. This is a political cash cow that will do nothing more than disperse many of the limited funds available for wildlife management out to an effort that is a failure even before it is enacted! Welcome to the Forum Termo!!!
not an effective plan......no sense in sponsoring more habitat? always another tactic, more bad publicity than it's worth!
 

Prairie Drifter

Active member
Watermen, I have trapped since 1993. I have read many of the studies on quail, pheasant, and waterfowl concerning predator removal and nesting success. On a small scale, the removal of meso-predators can be successful, however the manpower needed to do this on a landscape level makes this an unreasonable expectation of success. Meso-predators move into open habitat almost as quickly as it becomes empty. That is why the projects that were successful continued their trapping/removal efforts throughout the nesting season. Much of the benefit is from reduction of nest predation, not adult predation, so the important timing corresponds with the nesting season. Another way to look at that is that is also during the time that the overall population is at it's lowest and the loss of a nest or hen may well cost the population an entire clutch or more. On the other side of the coin, any time we devalue a wildlife species, and support the same, we devalue ourselves and our sport. Yes, "modern" America is trending toward better meso-predator habitat and less upland bird habitat. However, these furbearers keep reproducing and have done so the entire time we have lived on this continent. We haven't eradicated any of them sans wolves and grizzlies and this program will have the same end. If a predator control program was going to work, we wouldn't have coyotes in good ole USA with all the effort that has been directed at them over time. It's just a lose/lose proposition. For trappers to be profitable going forward, someone is going to have to supplement them for their work. I just don't think that this is the right way.
 

watermen

Member
I agree with you, something has to be done to support or subsidize removal. There are no trappers left,you can't even pay for gas. I quit trapping in about 84. Things are out of whack and need to be put back in. I don't have the answers, other than the impact of populations is not related to a calendar. A hen removed at any time will not breed the following spring. This is not a solution to reducing predator numbers, fine, propose another one and I will wholeheartedly support it if in good faith. I find it surprising for professionals to criticize another's efforts and offer no solution or counter theory to solve the problem. I ain't the professional, it's not my job to come up with the solution. I believe in a risk, benefit, reward calculation the people you worry about offending will be offended no matter what, and they ain't gonna pony up for conservation in the future either. Lose?lose
 

termo

New member
Watermen,
I am in no way criticizing SD's wildlife professionals. This appears to be a politically driven initiative - not management agency driven. Everything I have read (via googling SD media outlets on the issue) points to this. A lot of public comment seems to have been ignored by the commission - a classic indicator.
There is an ever increasing and more and more alarming trend nationwide - especially in the West - of management agencies being saddled with questionable directives via the legislative process. Instead of management folks telling legislatures (and Guv's) what they need to do their jobs, the politicians are telling the agencies how to do them.
The only way to remedy (for sportsmen) this is to vote for politicians who will give the "pro's" the support and an opportunity to do their jobs. That's a tough one - maybe no clear answer there.
If any SD'ers can show the evidence that this is an agency driven initiative - have at it. I'll bet a fair amount I know exactly how this came to fruition. If I'm wrong, I'll readily eat the %$#& deserved....
 

Prairie Drifter

Active member
One of the points here is that this was a political proposal, not a biological one. It's taking limited wildlife management resources and throwing them toward effort that is almost guaranteed to fail. Much better planned, managed, and constructed efforts in the past have failed. Almost every problem with our upland game numbers is directly tied to the farm bill, farm economy, and land use. Paying for road kill and haphazard predator removal won't touch it. What it does do is take money away from more effective management that now will not be accomplished. It's like a noted quail researcher once said, make me king and give me all the money I need to fix the problem, and it will be fixed. The world/economy/government/whatever just doesn't work that way.
 

watermen

Member
Thank you for the erudite civil discourse, I have nothing to say on the political front. We are getting unprecedented pressure form both sides with logic and reason thrown out the window. I understand your frustration of being trained and spending your career trying to do the intelligent knowledgeable thing for the resource. The mesoscale predator is a problem on a large scale for game birds as well as song and native birds. We either manage as the Apex predator we are, or approach with hands off ideology. I think we all would agree a hands off approach is not beneficial. I still don't understand how we can manage ducks successfully on a continental scale and turn around and claim management of another animal is not part of the large equation. Not the best use of the resources available? I defer to you two. We need another finger in the dyke I believe. In treed country they are getting ridiculously overpopulated. They are to ominvoristic and opportunistic. Good luck and keep the faith.
Sean
 

Prairie Drifter

Active member
This is one of those places where it can be good to interject Google Earth. It's too bad that it doesn't go back 50-100 years. The problem we have with predators is related to the problem we have with forestation, the problem we have with disappearing upland game cover, the problem we have with changing land use. More than the farming has changed. People now live more in the city than on the farm. They don't have small holdings and they often don't use wood and other "resources" as we did in the past. We have become Smokey Bear graduates when we need to become fire bosses and burn help. The shift to make the past the present won't be an easy one, and may never happen at all. It's much like the older gent I trapped on in college. He granted us permission then wanted us to leave after 2 nights. I asked him what we had done to cause the change. He indicated that he was worried we would hurt his muskrat population as he was concerned he wasn't seeing them like he did when he trapped there as a kid. I told him all we were trapping was raccoon and bobcat. Then I asked him if he knew where muskrats lived and what they ate. He gave me a good description of their needs. I then asked him if his father kept his cattle in a lot on the creek. You could see the clouds parting in his eyes as he looked at the stream bank pocked with 10 inch deep cow tracks and devoid of all vegetation. All too often we know no what we sow. Some times we have to relearn the lessons of the past in order to teach the lessons for today and the future. Humans are far to easily swayed to the shiny, quick fix that is dangled before us. Rarely are those anything but a waste of time, effort, and limited resources! Do the right thing once and you have a fix. Do the wrong thing over and over and you face the same problem with a much smaller budget and with fewer people listening to you!
 

termo

New member
Having nothing to say on the political front, Watermen - although far more diplomatic and easier on one's emotional well being - is the very way problems [we as sportsmen/women] face today go unsolved. Don't forget -"gov't for the people, by the people".
Politics, having crept it's insidious way into wildlife management, play a huge part in the systematic dismantling of the North American Model of Wildlife Management.
We are watching it go away before our very eyes - my opinion and observation(s) based on a lifetime involved in it - work and play.
I actually fear we are at a tipping point, as it pertains to how good we as American outdoorsfolk have had it and how long "it" will last.
Although maybe inevitable, it is nonethless discouraging - to someone who has spent a career attempting to serve "us" -to see what I believe to be the very people who have been the beneficiaries of a great story
sit idly by and watch it slip away............................................
Good thing I have two wire faced girlfriends who act as a buffer to my otherwise dour outlook - we three will be traipsing around the Montana mountains tomorrow. Experiencing a trace of sanity and hope.......
 

sdviking

Member
I guess I favor the predator bounty, but look forward to seeing if it leads to some success in reducing them and increasing pheasant numbers. We have a lot of raccoons, a fair amount of skunks and the Coyotes seem to be on the increase. Our Pro Pheasants chapter sold a lot of live traps lately and I am curious to see if they get put to good use. I wonder if the big farmers will allow increase access to go after the predators? Another observation, when the snow geese where migrating through there sure seemed to be a large following of hawks. The hawk numbers dropped once the geese passed which is good. Any idea how much of a Hawks diet is made up of pheasants? SDviking
 
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