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KSL Outdoors a few episodes back, were out with the Biologists following them around as the studies were being performed. Very interesting to see the technology they had come up with to find fawns just born in real time. They (Bio's) are dumbfounded at to why the fawns and calf elk are dying at birth. They suspect it is from the heat.
 

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swbuckmaster, didn’t a recent Book Cliffs study just show that something like 80% of fawns are being killed by a predator? I will readily admit I’m pulling all that from the memory bank and could be misremembering, but something in my mind says we have a study out there in the last couple years that showed a pretty dire fawn situation due to predation.

And Tom, antler point restrictions do jack squat for long term herd health improvement. That’s been established pretty conclusively. You might see a short term increase in buck numbers, but the available information is it does nothing to improve overall health, especially over time.
Antler restrictions do not improve long term herd health. In fact it slightly increases the deer herd allowing more bucks to survive. AR reduces the buck kill rate allowing more tags to be issued. The deer herd was on a severe long term decline before this severe drought started. I live in the Boulder unit and spend a lot of time out there and with cameras. I observed a 15 year increase in coyotes, bears and lions concurrent with the deer decline. Since the lion removal, I observe more deer and more fawns even under this extreme drought. This recovery seems too fast but I heard 40 to 50 lions were removed from the Boulder. At a deer per week not taken that's a lot of deer surviving.
 

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Super interesting video about the declining deer herds in the Book Cliffs!!

Super interesting video about the declining deer herds in the Book Cliffs!!
This study is admittedly inconclusive and is probably skewed by high heat and extreme drought. I wonder if all the disruptive human activity and the implant itself can interfere with vital post birth functions? Fawn survival is only part and maybe a small part of deer herd decline particularly with respect to year round lion predation that continues after fawning season.
 

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This study is admittedly inconclusive and is probably skewed by high heat and extreme drought. I wonder if all the disruptive human activity and the implant itself can interfere with vital post birth functions? Fawn survival is only part and maybe a small part of deer herd decline particularly with respect to year round lion predation that continues after fawning season.
High heat and extreme drought may be outliners in the equation of why the mule deer herds are struggling, but I don't think they should be thrown out. Colorado did an interesting study on the human disruption that is occurring from the continuous hikers/bikers in elk calving areas, which shows that human activity does play a huge role in post birth functions and survival.

Fawn/calf survival is a HUGE, repeat HUGE, part of the herd decline. Hard to keep a population sustainable and/or growing without new additions every year.
 

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Yeah, there was a study not too long ago that showed human traffic disturbed ungulates more than motorized travel. They believe it had more to do with the length of disturbance as motorized traffic tends to move through an area faster. That being said, it really upset traditional wisdom (assumptions), including my own.
 

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Then there is the fact that most hikers anymore have a couple of dogs along with them that are unleashed to bother the animals.
 

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High heat and extreme drought may be outliners in the equation of why the mule deer herds are struggling, but I don't think they would be should out. Colorado did an interesting study on the human disruption that is occurring from the continuous hikers/bikers in elk calving areas, which shows that human activity does play a huge role in post birth functions and survival.

Fawn/calf survival is a HUGE, repeat HUGE, part of the herd decline. Hard to keep a population sustainable and/or growing without new additions every year.
Hikers and bikers are not as intrusive as 4 students chasing off mom and leaving a huge amount of human scent on and around the baby. Human scent is a powerful flight signal for deer and elk that may hinder the mothers treatment of the baby. Can she act normally around all that human scent? We were taught not to handle or disturb new born fawns for a reason. The study does not need to examine the live babies to ascertain survival. They should not disturb some of the births to see if survival is altered by their intervention which I suspect it is.
 

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Sometimes, the act of trying to observe and study impacts and changes what you’re trying to observe
 

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Some more reading material:


Quoting from the article, "To measure the impact on calves, he deliberately sent eight people hiking into calving areas until radio-collared elk showed signs of disturbance, such as standing up or walking away. The consequences were startling. About 30% of the elk calves died when their mothers were disturbed an average of seven times during calving. Models showed that if each cow elk was bothered 10 times during calving, all their calves would die."

Surely with being disturbed and human scent all around the fawn/calf would deter a mother, but we keep hitting the "kill all the predators" button as the save-all for our herds. It hasn't seemed to be working.
 

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Sometimes, the act of trying to observe and study impacts and changes what you’re trying to observe

Perhaps, but the researchers are able to also track the fawns/calves after the collar placement and see if the mother went right back to the baby and subsequently traveled with it. If post intervention mother rejection were a big problem, the researchers would be able to tell. I'm not saying there is zero effect but considering the importance of identifying why fawn mortality is so high, I don't see viable alternatives to getting the information needed. I suspect a lot of criticism to the study is because it disagrees with many folks preferred narrative for "saving the deer herd".

2 more parting shots.

1. In my little corner of the Boulder, the deer herd is doing great next to alfalfa fields (no nutrition problems there) but is dismal "up on the mountain" and everywhere else. IMO, the Boulder at large still has a long ways to go to even get to baseline. (and yes, I've hunted there 40 years, so I have some experience there)

2. It never ceases to amaze me how gullible many of us are in believing that one magic solution will "save the deer herd". Option 2 was supposed to save the herd. Killing all the yotes with the bounty program was supposed to save the herd. Giving away all our tags for expo and conservation drawings or purchase was supposed to do it. Kill all the predators will do it. And then we are surprised when it doesn't work.
 

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Kill all the predators will do it. And then we are surprised when it doesn't work.
Have we ever really put a dent in the predator population recently? I feel like this is a gross misstatement of the facts and what is really in play here. They are starting to increase the killing of lions and bears, but only starting that process.

I found the statement I was referring to above. January 2020 wildlife board meeting the representation was that 71% of deer fawns were killed by a bear or a lion on the Book Cliffs. I am still trying to find the supporting data. Standby...
 

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I’m sure the researchers are doing what they can but there’s no way it has zero impact. Look up the term “observer effect” it’s a well documented phenomenon in science that occurs even on a subatomic level, where the act of observing influences what is being observed.
 

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Have we ever really put a dent in the predator population recently? I feel like this is a gross misstatement of the facts and what is really in play here. They are starting to increase the killing of lions and bears, but only starting that process.

I found the statement I was referring to above. January 2020 wildlife board meeting the representation was that 71% of deer fawns were killed by a bear or a lion on the Book Cliffs. I am still trying to find the supporting data. Standby...

Did you watch the Adam Eakle episode we posted? Covy Jones himself gave the statistics for this years study results that showed that predator mortality was nowhere close to what you said. Now maybe a previous year was but this years results were definitely not.

Tags for cats went up. If HunterTom is correct, a large number of cats were removed from the Boulder. (Waiting for confirmation on that too) We have had the bounty program on yotes for what, 7 years? I'm not saying there is no place for predator control, but it, like so many things, is just a small part of the puzzle. The video talked about that too. The belief that if we kill all the yotes, or cats, or whatever, it will fix all our problems is what I'm arguing is naive.
 

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I’m sure the researchers are doing what they can but there’s no way it has zero impact. Look up the term “observer effect” it’s a well documented phenomenon in science that occurs even on a subatomic level, where the act of observing influences what is being observed.
The Hiezenberg principal
 

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Did you watch the Adam Eakle episode we posted? Covy Jones himself gave the statistics for this years study results that showed that predator mortality was nowhere close to what you said. Now maybe a previous year was but this years results were definitely not.

Tags for cats went up. If HunterTom is correct, a large number of cats were removed from the Boulder. (Waiting for confirmation on that too) We have had the bounty program on yotes for what, 7 years? I'm not saying there is no place for predator control, but it, like so many things, is just a small part of the puzzle. The video talked about that too. The belief that if we kill all the yotes, or cats, or whatever, it will fix all our problems is what I'm arguing is naive.
I did watch it. I had to laugh at the "14 deaths with 8 unknown," and then think about the the comments above about stressing the animals and having it be human caused deaths.

My comment to you was simply that we have never killed all the predators. So it's not naïve, but simply factually inaccurate to make the assertion that you did above that I quoted. A very strawman type statement, actually. We have not killed all the predators, so we don't know if that will work. This isn't really an opinion, that is a pretty objective fact that we still have a crap ton of bears and lions running around. What the exact number is can be debated, but nobody can say those populations are super low with a straight face.

I don't think many people argue that all predators need to be killed. I think lots of people, including me, argue that predator control is a piece of the puzzle, and one we can control more easily than many of the other pieces in play. I don't know why this year's study in the video linked is showing no predation when the one Covey and the division also talks about in January 2020 at the wildlife board meeting says 71% of the fawns died not just from a predator, but specifically from a lion or bear kill. Sounds like we ought to be questioning the researchers if they are finding such vastly different results on the same unit in a 2 year period. The recent video mentioned the team was from BYU, right? Highly suspect, for sure.... :ROFLMAO:
 

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Perhaps, but the researchers are able to also track the fawns/calves after the collar placement and see if the mother went right back to the baby and subsequently traveled with it. If post intervention mother rejection were a big problem, the researchers would be able to tell. I'm not saying there is zero effect but considering the importance of identifying why fawn mortality is so high, I don't see viable alternatives to getting the information needed. I suspect a lot of criticism to the study is because it disagrees with many folks preferred narrative for "saving the deer herd".

2 more parting shots.

1. In my little corner of the Boulder, the deer herd is doing great next to alfalfa fields (no nutrition problems there) but is dismal "up on the mountain" and everywhere else. IMO, the Boulder at large still has a long ways to go to even get to baseline. (and yes, I've hunted there 40 years, so I have some experience there)

2. It never ceases to amaze me how gullible many of us are in believing that one magic solution will "save the deer herd". Option 2 was supposed to save the herd. Killing all the yotes with the bounty program was supposed to save the herd. Giving away all our tags for expo and conservation drawings or purchase was supposed to do it. Kill all the predators will do it. And then we are surprised when it doesn't work.
My Bicknell neighbors trap and shoot many yotes around the fields and the state flys this area to kill yotes. One guy got 79 in one year. Another got nearly that many. Coyotes are rough on fawns but not hard on older deer. Different story with lion who kill deer all year- some sources say ONE PER WEEK. Lions aren't a big factor around the fields they work higher up. The Boulder lion reduction appears to be working. Easy math- 50 lions gone times 52 weeks per year equals 2600 deer saved on the Boulder per year plus the removed female lions are not producing deer eating kittens. It is not gullible to think that too many lions can kill off a deer herd. No different than holding open season for hunters to kill does. Dead either way.
Also, deer are browsers and do not heavily compete with cattle like elk do. I think deer carrying capacity may be way higher than the current herd size. Predators do not effect elk calves as much as deer fawns. Check out the earlier post of the elk cow attacking the dog trainer. She was not attacking the human -she was attacking the wolf impersonator-his dog. Elk calve loss is not as high as the cow elk are good protectors-they will fight deer wont-does will try to lure you away from their fawns. The deer decline issue is complex but excessive lion kill tends to over ride other factors.
 

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The Hiezenberg principal

It's Heisenberg. :rolleyes:

And FWIW, I have more books in my personal library about it than most folks could imagine to read on the subject.

Vanilla, the lawyer in you gravitated to my "all" statement. Fair enough, I should have known not to use hyperbole when debating you. ;) However, that type of hyperbole is exactly what we hear in these debates. The point am making is that an all out war on predators like we hear advocated here is not going to save the herds. The coyote bounty program was instituted before the recent population decline. Did it save the herds and prevent the recent decline? Nope. Have we gotten our moneys worth? I have to wonder. I have no problem increasing cat and bear harvest. That has been done too. But what good will it do if the fawns/calves are starving?

As for the differences in the study, yes, that is a viable question to ask. Maybe both are accurate. Maybe the 71% predation one was too high. Maybe this years study is more rigorous and is more accurate. As for your "14 dead, 8 unknown" notation, that is important too. It is pretty easy to see if something has been gnawing on a carcass. The "unknown" ones will be clearly non predation deaths. And hey, don't bash the (BYU) cougars. They do a few things right, like on last Saturday night. ;)
 

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I did watch it. I had to laugh at the "14 deaths with 8 unknown," and then think about the the comments above about stressing the animals and having it be human caused deaths.

My comment to you was simply that we have never killed all the predators. So it's not naïve, but simply factually inaccurate to make the assertion that you did above that I quoted. A very strawman type statement, actually. We have not killed all the predators, so we don't know if that will work. This isn't really an opinion, that is a pretty objective fact that we still have a crap ton of bears and lions running around. What the exact number is can be debated, but nobody can say those populations are super low with a straight face.

I don't think many people argue that all predators need to be killed. I think lots of people, including me, argue that predator control is a piece of the puzzle, and one we can control more easily than many of the other pieces in play. I don't know why this year's study in the video linked is showing no predation when the one Covey and the division also talks about in January 2020 at the wildlife board meeting says 71% of the fawns died not just from a predator, but specifically from a lion or bear kill. Sounds like we ought to be questioning the researchers if they are finding such vastly different results on the same unit in a 2 year period. The recent video mentioned the team was from BYU, right? Highly suspect, for sure.... :ROFLMAO:
Fawn loss is only part of the predator problem. A bigger problem is lions killing deer all year.
 
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