Wolves

wack
 
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RE: Wolves

Postby wack » Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:38 pm

Whitetailaddict, I mean no offense, but I really think you should read some of the links I posted. No, we are not used to the idea of elk in Wisconsin, but believe me, they ARE supposed to be here. Northern Wisconsin wasn't the best elk habitat 200 years ago, Wisconsin had the most elk in the prairie/Savannah lands of the southern portion of the state. Not the place to get elk started now days. The herd in Clam Lake started with only 25 elk with the first 2 winters were very bad winters. They're over 150 now. They've grown on average of 10-15% a year. Like a small bank account, 10% is a good return. If we started with 250 instead of 25 we'd be hunting elk in a few years. It only took Kentucky 10 years to go from 0 to hunting.

 Lets say we get a new fatal disease that kills all the deer. Let's call this disease Loneliness, but it could be anything. What then? Why would anyone believe that it couldn't happen? That deer can survive anything and everything? The elk didn't survive, moose, bison, caribou, wolf, bear, even deer left for awhile, all left Wisconsin. We let deer back first, then bears, now wolves. What's wrong with this food chain? What's going to happen to the deer? By time you get the deer population back up high enough to support wolves and bears, even at minimal wolf and bear numbers, you run back into over browsed forests, over populated deer. We have as hunters taken all the excess deer in the past, now we have to share with 40,000 bears and 500-1400 wolves. Deer and Elk eat different things so the land can support more deer and elk combined than just deer alone. If 1 square mile can feed 25 deer, that same square mile can also support 25 (?) elk, and do it much better than if we put 50 deer back on that square mile. We've tried , it didn't work. Like it or not, we are at or below 25 deer per square mile, the DNR is working to get the rest of the state that low, IT IS THE DNR GOAL. It was also DNR's goal to have hundred more elk by now. It's not too late but time's a wasting. The deer goals, the bear goals, and the wolf goals all depend on what happens next with the elk. If we loose our deer in wolf and bear territory, we either loose the bears and wolves too, or they move south. We already have the number of bears in question, big difference between how many deer get eaten by 13,000 bears or 40,000+ bears. It's a big difference on how many deer 530 wolves eat now compared to 1000-1400 wolves next fall minus what the DNR and Dept of Ag kill off this year. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. The DNR's range for error is greater than there goal number. 350-500 wolves will be a very big challenge, anything short we risk the deer herd, anything too much we risk Fed control again. Elk is the insurance policy every Northern Wisconsin deer hunter needs. and that account is nearly empty, barely started.

 The only things standing in the way is the Dept of Ags ban on transporting elk. I don't care if they keep the ban for domestic elk, all I want is for the DNR to move wild elk as they see fit to move. The other thing stopping the elk is ignorance. People don't know elk were here, don't know all the studies that have been done on the Clam Lake herd, don't know the details of the proposed Black River Falls herd, and people don't know about or how to deal with wolves. This is all new to all of us, we've been in this man made deer factory for so long.

  Another thig, have you ever tasted elk meat? YUMMMMMMMMY! Or hear an elk bugle? There's nothing like it! Do NOT condemn elk until you've eaten some elk and herd a wild bull elk bugle. It's buck fever times 2! Bigger target a lot  more meat and most say better than venison.

 No, this isn't CO or WY, it's Wisconsin and it's time we learn from the big game states and put Wisconsin back on the big game map. If not for us, then for our children.  
American by birth, hunter by choice.

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gunther89
 
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RE: Wolves

Postby gunther89 » Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:29 pm

Wack you say that the land can support more deer and elk combined then just deer, but really if we have more elk around then wouldn't the habitat be over-browsed.  Elk are big animals as you stated in your post which means they need more food to survive.  You put 25 elk and 25 whitetails in a 1 square mile area and I am guessing there is going to be over-browsed.  But yet it would be better then having 50 whitetails and no elk.  That just doesn't make sense when whitetails are a smaller animal meaning they need less food to survive.  
Scott

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RE: Wolves

Postby Whitetailaddict » Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:38 pm

It would be really nice to be able to hunt elk here i suppose, and i know that all the things your saying are true and i agree witht them now, it's just that for the forseeable future elk won't be able to support many wolves and really won't be huntable for years. Now if more elk were to be brought in, well it would be a different story, but... i don't see that happening any time soon. Our kids will will have a huntable elk population someday though, i can tell you that.

And about the deer; i just wanted to say i'd actually be happy with 25 deer per square mile where i am, even 15 would be alright haha. i know the goals, and i think that 25 deer per square mile is actually a good goal for the whole state, but much below that, and were at where we are now. It's much better for the deer to have lower densities, but when they're mismanaged due to inadequate counts on the herd, too many deer are taken out and hunters become upset.

Lastly, about the wolves; i just wanted to point out that everyone keeps saying that the wolf numbers will be close to 1400, but unless the dnr miscounted them too (which is probable) the numbers will probably remain close to where they are this year. Wolves have litters that are based on the shape of the wolves, if the wolves don't have food, they won't have pups, or will have very small pup litters (1 or 2). They probably still feed pretty well even with lower deer numbers, and typically when well fed they have six to eight pups. But what i wanted to point out is that in most litters, 1 or 2 pups live, three if they're lucky. Only the strongest pups live, and their parents aren't gonna wait around for them. Some pups die right away, or soon after birth, and then another few may die because they aren't strong enough to compete for food from their siblings, and more may die because they can't keep up with the pack as they get older, or can't fend for themselves. All in all 1 or 2 survive to adult hood or make it to the fall. then they either stay with the pack (most do for a year) as a subordinate or leave to join another pack or make their own. Some packs might have no pups that survive as well. I'm just saying this because last year there were an estimated 530 wolves, and the year before it was about the same, so either no packs had pups, or... The populations will never double like that. I'm just trying to clarify that there won't be 1400 wolves or even 1000 next year. it will probably be more like 600 at most (If estimations are correct right now), or maybe less. Wolf populations don't grow exceedingly fast. Also WI has said that the carrying capacity for for wolves is something like 550 or 570, with a qoal to stay above 300 wolves, so i think sooner rather than later would be a good time to start a controlled wolf season. Just thought i'd clarify, don't mean to sound like a blow hard.[;)]

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bigwisconsinbucks
 
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RE: Wolves

Postby bigwisconsinbucks » Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:48 pm

I agree with you about the wolves and their litters Whitetailaddict. I recently had the opportunity to talk to the Wildlife Biologist at the Sandhill Wildlife Area and he said the same thing. Only 1 or 2 pups of a litter survive because of the many factors that you listed.
Kyle

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mtnman
 
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RE: Wolves

Postby mtnman » Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:21 pm

The thought that overbrowsing will occur if elk are present is a misnomer. Elk are grazers, not browsers. More like cattle than deer. Their consumption is about 1/3rd that of cattle per same weight. But they also have a very adaptable digestive system. A big favorite is aspen...alot of which is in great abundance in the northern part of the state where it is usually the first tree that is regenerated after logging. The clam lake herd could have been larger providing a better spot would have been chosen to reintroduce the herd.
(Florence Co., WI)

islandcafe2005
 
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RE: Wolves

Postby islandcafe2005 » Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:10 am

HELLO EVERYONE. IF YOU HAVE A MINUTE TO READ THIS, YOU SHOULD IT IS A FIRST HAND ACCOUNT ON HOW TO DESTROY A DEERHERD AND HUNTING COMMUNITY. I would like to tell EVERYONE what wolves do, as i have witnessed it firsthand. I own a small cafe in crivitz wi. I have grown up here for 22 years and I am very proficient at hunting everything from ducks to deer to turkeys. In 1987 when my family moved to crivitz from st germain wisconsin, deer were plentiful in crivitz. the businesses were booming during deer season and there were lots of deer, 50 deer seen and a few bucks were the norm for opening day for everyone, even the out of town hunter. this was before qdm and nobody shot does, there were no wolves and there were few bears. i started hunting in 1996, and on opening day i saw 167 deer!!!! too many. farm tags were introduced, and lots of bonus permits were given out like candy. (prior to 1995 it was like pulling teeth to get a bonus tag). lots of deer were shot in the next four years brining our management unit down to a sustainable number of deer. 35-40 deer a day with some nice bucks followed for about 5 years, all the hunting groups around us were shooting nice stuff, every group shot at least one 130 class buck with some 170s bieng added in our area. then the dnr got involved and we started seeing wolves.WOW! pets were disapearing, loggers were getting followed out of the woods to there truck doors by wolves, wolves were attacking livestock( remember the ladys horse in suring wi)and deer were disapearing, of course we would find the carcases in the spring, a couple bones scattered in about a 30 foot circle. i once found fourteen different bone piles in a 300 acre cedar swamp. my father would not allow me to go shed hunting without a gun, and many maple syrup gatherers were also packing pistols in the spring when the wolves were most desperate for food. my father in law is a big bear hunter with hounds and in the area that he hunts (armstrong creek/goodman park/pembine) with a bunch of other guys they lost seven different bear hounds attacked by WOLVES CONFIRMED BY THE DNR. I have seen three myself and they are huge!!! killing machines twice the size of the biggest german sheperd you have ever seen! even the biggest human would be no match for one of these let alone a pack, thank god nobody got killed. there were no deer at for the last three seasons. My father and i hunt dark to dark all nine days of rifle season and over the last three years COMBINED i have not seen over 50 deer. The wolves were heavy during the last three years but they have moved farther south, easier pickins, lena, coleman, beaver are getting there first taste of wolves over the last two years. THIS IS A PRE WARNING TO ANYONE WHO MIGHT HAVE A SNEAKY SUSPICIOUN THAT A WOLF MAY B IN THE AREA DO NOT SHOOT AS MANY DOES AS THE DNR IS TELLING YOU TO!!!! It destroys your hunting and business, the community businesses are down 50 percent or more during deer hunting week, and
last year we just gave up hunting after 5 days on stand, we saw one 5 point buck and a fork between my dad and myself and i talked to about 100 hunters in my cafe, I can tell you right now at least sixty of them did not see more than five deer during the whole season!! let alone a decent buck. only 208 deer were registered at the t and b one stop. i can remember when there were 800 registered on opening day!!! the dnr would not even let the gas stations post the registration numbers from years past. deer are comming back over the last two years, mostly because the wolves helped get rid of a lot of hunters, so the harvest has not been so hard on the deer but it still is a shadow of what it once was everything will come back in time but if you kill lots of the deer and the wolves kill the rest you have nothing to hunt, and no tourism!  you cant put the tips back in the waitresses pocket and you cant go back and get the revenue from those lost customers because they didnt see a deer during there one week of vacation per year!!!! i wrote this post to warn everyone about what wolves can do to a deer herd and a community, dont listen to those madison left wing liberals. lay off the does if you think you have wolves!! dont make the mistake that northeast wisconsin did 5-7 years ago!!!!!!!!!  
leave the land better than you found it, and take a kid hunting!!

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mtnman
 
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RE: Wolves

Postby mtnman » Tue Mar 24, 2009 4:43 am

Thanks for your view. Wolves are not a new thing...here in Florence Co., they have been around since the early seventies, long before the DNR said they were here. I live and hunt the hre and see day in and day out the herd and other critters in my local. The DNR did not reintroduce wolves...they came here on their own via MN and soe from the UP. Bearsand coyotes take a far larger toll than wolves ever will. But let's get to the main point of contention here. The reason we have fewer deer now is overharvest based on incorrect deer estimates. We have had to severe winters, and the fawn drop has been later than normal, far after the bears are out of their dens. Just the receipe for huge fawn/doe predation numbers. The DNR figured that we had 400,000 fawns that made into the herd last spring...now they tell us that they were off by an easy 200,000. In '07, we had a herd goal of 6500 for our area. The DNR issued 9500 bonus tags, along with the archery and reg gun tags. Deer were slaughtered..and the kill numbers were at record highs. The following year we had another tough winter,,spring brought high predation, and herd numbers were way down. We saw a 49.3% decrease in harvest just in gun harvest from the year before. Besides hunters, predators, winter kill, and such take deer....when herd numbers get to sustainable levels by natural means without human intervention(hunting), we will see far fewere deer.
Part of this is on our shoulders..we are supposed to care for the resource. I know folks that take as many deer as they can because they have the tags to do so. But if the herd cannot take that kind of culling...we as ethical hunters and stewards of the resource, should not do it. When has deer hunting ever become more the killing rather than the experience?
Each of us have to take this into our own hands to manage the herd as best we can...for us and our children.
(Florence Co., WI)

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RE: Wolves

Postby MDV WI hunter » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:35 am

I edited this based on it was not adding to the discussion regarding wolves.  I have been hunting for 18 years and hunt some the "BIGGEST" woods in the state.  I hunt 68,000 acres in Jackson county and have come across black bear, wolves, coyotes, wild dogs and a horse....  I too have seen first had what EVERYBODY else has that hunts in WI.  It's not isolated to wolves either.  Now that I'm in southwestern WI, we have a coyote problem.  As is posted on the DNR website, coyote hunting is now a 24/7 endeavor to help keep them in check...  Much like bear and what I believe will be soon wolves. 
 
I would love the opportunity to hunt elk and bison in WI, I plan to do it elsewhere and would prefer to keep my hard earned cash here in the state.  The arguements have been clearly outlined already and that is elk and bison were once native to WI.  We are not.  Re-introducing them would and is a good idea.  They can coexist and I hope I live long enough to see it. 
Do or do not, there is no try - Yoda

wack
 
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RE: Wolves

Postby wack » Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:30 am

I see some very good questions here and I'm glad that we're getting people to think about our situation. Gunther, I pulled 25 elk and 25 deer kind of out of the air just for an example. How many elk and deer combine a square mile can handle depends on the land and habitat. The idea is that deer and elk eat different things, they help each other and do not compete against each other for food. Maybe a certain piece of property is better suited for 5 elk or 30 elk, 45 deer or 15. I do not think we can say our goal is x amount of elk per square mile. We have to put them back and study them carefully to find the balance that the land can handle best.

Mntnm The Clam Lake area is 700 square miles. The elk have occupied about 40 square miles. The Clam Lake herd has a lot of growing room left and this is just one of several areas for elk reintroduction in our state. Black River Falls is the second area chosen for elk reintroduction. It wasn't Clam Lake Area that was too small, it was 25 elk wasn't enough.

 Another point I'd like to hit on is invasive plant species. The studies of the Clam Lake herd and other states show that each species in the food chain has a "job" to do. Deer eat certain plants, and like mowing a lawn, this makes the plants stronger. Elk eat cretain plants and eating them, makes them stronger. Bison eat certain plants, and those plants get stronger. Take elk out of the picture, they don't eat cretain plants, those plants get weaker, leaving room for invasive species to come in and choke out the native plants. Many plants depend on there seeds to be eaten and then dropped someplace else to start new growth. If those seeds don't get eaten and dropped, they don't reproduce. Too many of one species, like deer, stresses out the plants they need to survive. The plants get week and leave room for invasive plants to take over. A lot of what we've called "damage" is actually good for the land. Elk trim lower branches of the aspen trees, and this lets more sun in for undergrowth that benifit another species of plant or animal. The natural food chain is not only animals eating animals, it's also animals eating plants. Plants need animals, animals need plants and the closer we get to mother natures balance, the healthier the land will be and the more it will produce.

Wolf population. Anyone who has owned a dog should know that dogs can breed at least 2 times per year. Wisconsin wolf biologists claim we have 143 wolf packs that average 5-6 puppies per year, IN WISCONSIN. That Wisconsin's average. That maybe 3 pups in spring 3 in fall, 5 in spring 0 in fall or any combination.  A wolf pack looses it's pups, they try again. If the pups survive, they may not breed twice in one year.  WORST case scenario is 143 packs X 6 puppies = 858 puppies added to 530 = 1388. This would be the worst case senario and although unlikely, we have to be prepared for the worst. The wolves aren't going to hang around if living is tough, they're going to spread out and find what deer are left and that means they will move south as starving to death isn't in the wolves nature. No deer, they'll turn on domestic animals and small game as Islandcafe has witnessed.

 For those who say the wolf population hasn't grown much in the past few years, I've seen DNR counts as high as 560. The DNR took out 38 wolves last year when they were delisted for those few months. The DNR has no idea how many wolves have already moved south, there were a number of wolves killed by hunters illegally, and mother nature will take her toll too. The problem is the DNR says we have habitat for only 500 wolves, we are above that already and it's doing damage to the deer herd. It would be very easy to take out too many, and just as easy to not take out enough. 530-1400, we have to take out some but how many? Errors either way could be disasterous. The DNR has a very fine line to walk and our deer herd hangs in the balance. We could sure use an insurance policy here. That was the whole idea behind putting elk in Clam Lake in 1995. To insure our deer, bear and wolf populations for the future, to shore up the food chain so bears wolves and hunters will all have game to hunt.

 Let's focus on winter for a minute. As is, deer are pretty much on there own. They have to dig through the snow, cut there own paths, and they have to depend on each other to gaurd against predators. Now add elk and bison. Deer can use bison and elk trails to travel on easier, they can use bison and elk tracks as a head stert for digging up food, and with every elk, bison and deer having 2 eyes, 2 ears and a nose, they can and do warn each other of predators. Ever see turkey's in a cow pasture? Turkey's eat see from cow dung and do the same from bison dung. Just more examples of how each species has a job to do and how that benifits other species.

 I'll admit that I tend to be an extremist when it comes to these issues. I want the very best for Wisconsin and I want places like Crivits to once again be a great hunting destination. Since we have enemies that are even more extreme, I believe in fighting fire with fire. Extreme anti hunters want the wolves to go crazy on our deer herd and ruin hunting forever. I say we use the wolves to our advantage. It's our turn to save the wolves and ourselves by adding elk and bison. They saved the wolves, it's up to us to feed them. We can feed them our deer, or we can feed them deer elk and bison and we can eat well right along side of them. Without elk and bison, we can only share our deer and when they're gone, hunting is over. I do not believe that without adding more elk, we will ever be able to hunt elk. The bear and wolf populations going up, the deer numbers going down, wolves being protected, and every year our elk are seeing more and more pressure from wolves and bears. As it stands, we don't have enough elk, the elk don't have enough new blood and genetics to start a healthy population even without predators. Keep in mind that the original 25 elk were all from Michigan and most of those elk were related to each other (same genetics). This was a test herd, not a reintroduction herd. Big difference. 150 elk reproducing at 10% increase every year will take a very long time to become a huntable herd and was never expected to be. They were a test herd and we were supposed to add more elk in 2002 to make it reintroduction herd. The plan was to bring bears, wolves and elk up together, but that plan, the elk are years behind still in the test herd phase and the bears and wolves are years ahead in the maximum numbers stage. I'd like to see more elk added before all the deer are gone but if hunters don't see this now and get more elk soon, we may just have to start completely over with empty woods. We are not too far from that now. On the other hand, we're not far from fixing the problem and turning an iffy deer hunting future into stronger big game hunting future, Whether it's in time for us to get the chance to hunt elk and Bison in Wisconsin, or our great grandchildren get that chance all depends on what we do right now. We could get elk restored in 10 years like Kentucky, more realistically, 20 years. If we do nothing it may never happen and, at best we're looking at 50 years and our herd will have to reach the Michigan herd for genetics and won't do much for Wisconsin's economy. NOW IS THE TIME.
American by birth, hunter by choice.

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Goose
 
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RE: Wolves

Postby Goose » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:58 am

You all bring up good and valid points but, from what I have read on predation on deer I can not honestly blame wolves for where the deer herd is at. Yes predators do have a impact on deer and it varies every year based on fawn drop and winter severity.
I really believe that WE are the ones responsible for the lack of deer that is reported by most hunters.
WE are the ones that should manage the deer in our local.
WE are the ones pulling the trigger.
WE should take on the role of being conservationists not killers,who just because we have the tags to kill 6 deer should go out and  kill 6 deer.
 
I feel that if you think the numbers are way down and there are less deer in the woods, when you point at somebody or something to blame, you have 3 fingers pointing back at yourself.
 
Don't take this post the wrong way...it's just too easy to blame everything else IMO.
Jake

Genesis 27:3 Take your bow and quiver full of arrows out into the open country, and hunt some wild game.....

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