Thought about starting a new thread, but since this one was baisically highjacked from the get go, well......and by the way Mullmann03, congradulations to your uncle. He should feel very comfortable in his own skin knowing that he alone saved somewhere in the area of 20 elk in the coming year alone.
I have been in support of hunting and the eradication of the Canadian Gray Wolf in the United States as the Canadian Gray was not the wolf indigenious to the United States but was the Eastern Gray Wolf, a much smaller and somewhat less aggressive wolf with numbers approximately 7000 at the introduction of the Canadian Gray. Had the Canadian gray wolf been an aquatic specie the Invasive Species Act would have been all over them.
With that said I'll get to the point. What has been evident for some time but what most wildlife biologist/managers keep a blind eye toward and almost refuse to admit until its too late is a PREDATOR PIT.
A predator pit is defined as; when ungulate populations have been reduced for various reasons and existing key predators, like wolves, coyotes, bears, cougars, and bobcats, can drive those numbers into an abyss, perhaps prohibiting regrowth of the herd unless there is a drastic reduction in the number of predators.
The situation results from how predators affect prey numbers in two different ways.
One is the manner in which predators, especially wolves, kill far more adult prey animals than needed to survive, commonly referred to as “surplus killing, sport killing, or reflex killing”. The second is the destruction of the prey age class, due to the loss of newborn young of the year.
In the classic predator pit situation, a rising number of predators results in a constant decline in prey numbers, with the average age of surviving prey animals becoming older and older with each passing year – to the point that reproductive growth becomes impossible and the prey base begins to die off from old age. And this most accurately describes the situation you folks are in today.
The elk herds in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho are dying and the entire area is well into a predator pit situation. The elk are not the only specie with diminishing numbers but the mule deer, bighorn ram and mountain goat numbers are in serious decline and the problem is wolf predation!
We here in the south also have several areas that have fallen into a predator pit. A predator pit here is usually here in the south is usually determined by fawn recruitment as coyotes don't tend toward reflex killing and will often times return to a carcass until it has nothing more to offer. I have personally presented evidence of fawn recruitment rates less than 3% to a couple of state wildlife managers only to have fallen on deaf ears and blind eyes in advocation of a predator bounty, although I don't believe that increased hunting alone will have much of an affect. Couldn't hurt though. I am also in touch with a couple of personal friends that are ranch managers and have wildlife biology degrees to try to get them to take notice.
Whether in the northern rockies, the northeast or the south there are many bombs that are ready to explode and the fuse is just getting shorter.