Elk vs. Wolves

Sytes

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Ben... The topic is wolves and elk... not knapweed and ungulate

BTW - I despise knapweed... Pain in the ass to get rid of. burn time in late fall and now for my property.
 

Ben Lamb

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Absolute BS . They have so many elk on private they don't know what to do with them . The deer that are left are living in center pivots and sub divisions , they avoid the public like it's toxic . Do these weeds only exist on public land . Come up with some other BS excuse for your predators .

You really didn't get much love as a child, did you?
 

BuzzH

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Predators are a true impact but the amount of attention and anxiety they receive on a broad scale is amusing considering other impacts.

I don’t see regular threads titled “mule deer vs invasive weeds” for example. To date, I have not talked to a game biologist who is aware of successful large scale grassland restorations. These invasives such as cheatgrass and medusahead, which mule deer cannot utilize, are spreading at thousands of acres per day on federal lands, in some areas up to 15% a year, displacing native forage. Full blown deer killers. Is that not more terrifying than predators?

Totally agree...good post.

But, what isn't fair, on just the issue of predation, is that lions and often times bears are left completely out of the discussion...for that matter so is human predation often times.

I also agree that we would be better off improving habitat, but I don't think its a bad thing to control predators at a reasonable level as well as limit human predation to improve or increase big-game and even small game numbers either. Its a package deal.

Its foolish to focus on one part of a complex problem, but even when we focus/discuss one part, it makes only one thing, and that's sense to be fair with the facts.
 

BuzzH

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Spotted knapweed, toadflax, leafy spurge & over 40 other invasive plants & grasses do more to limit ungulate populations in Western MT than woofs, bears or lions.
I'd have to see some science on that and is probably true in some places, but assuming that's the case...

I agree, but I think the point I was trying to make is that if we want to discuss weed/invasive plants and how they impact big-game, we don't just want to talk/worry about 3 Dalmatian toadflax plants living in a sea of spotted knapweed.
 

Ben Lamb

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I'd have to see some science on that and is probably true in some places, but assuming that's the case...

I agree, but I think the point I was trying to make is that if we want to discuss weed/invasive plants and how they impact big-game, we don't just want to talk/worry about 3 Dalmatian toadflax plants living in a sea of spotted knapweed.

I'm not just looking at western MT. When you look at BLM lands across the great basin, Wyoming, CO, etc - the cheatgrass issue alone is reducing carrying capacity significantly.

In western MT, you have a mix of winter range development (All those sub-d deer & elk were down there when it was farmland but nobody noticed) while we ignore habitat issues relative to noxious weeds & changing forage quality on public lands.

predation impacts only become limiting for ungulates when the habitat isn't functioning well.

I'm sure all those haystack elk in eastern MT are sitting under pivots because of woofs though.
 

Hydrophilic

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I think the problem is most hunters really don't have an idea on how much habitat has actually been lost to invasive weeds so they can't understand it. They see lots of wide open country and assume it's fine because lets be honest, most people from my experience cannot identify basic invasive plants.
On the contrary, It's easy to understand that predators eat elk.

What we need is a new fear based strategy, perhaps renaming cheatgrass "Killer Al Queda poison grass".
 

tjones

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I think the problem is most hunters really don't have an idea on how much habitat has actually been lost to invasive weeds so they can't understand it. They see lots of wide open country and assume it's fine because lets be honest, most people from my experience cannot identify basic invasive plants.
On the contrary, It's easy to understand that predators eat elk.

What we need is a new fear based strategy, perhaps renaming cheatgrass "Killer Al Queda poison grass".
Ya, its just much easier for guys to blame the wolf when they can't fill a deer or elk tag.
 

MTTW

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I think the problem is that most keyboard jockeys don't spend enough time in Montana's huge expanses of game free country searching for a noxious weed.
 

Ben Lamb

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"Predation impacts only become limiting for ungulates when the habitat isn't functioning well" Straight outta Little Red Riding Hood right there . Predation by more than one species will hold prey numbers at minimal numbers as long as you stand by and watch it . If the prey start to rebound the predators will have more young and eat them .

If I were near you, I'd give you a hug and tell you that everyone deserves love, even you, tiny dancer.
 

Sytes

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Playing your strawman game, weeds... bad for the ungulates... Sure now ADD an apex predator... the ungulate activity is altered - further. pretty simple

People love to divert topics... This topic is on the effects caused by wolves found in an area where hunters hadn't encountered them in the past and curious how / what effects occur - not whether the ungulate population is effected by weeds.
 

Ben Lamb

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Playing your strawman game, weeds... bad for the ungulates... Sure now ADD an apex predator... the ungulate activity is altered - further. pretty simple

People love to divert topics... This topic is on the effects caused by wolves found in an area where hunters hadn't encountered them in the past and curious how / what effects occur - not whether the ungulate population is effected by weeds.

You are right, Charles. My apologies to the OP.
 

Hunting Wife

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Playing your strawman game, weeds... bad for the ungulates... Sure now ADD an apex predator... the ungulate activity is altered - further. pretty simple

People love to divert topics... This topic is on the effects caused by wolves found in an area where hunters hadn't encountered them in the past and curious how / what effects occur - not whether the ungulate population is effected by weeds.
People also like to try to blame a complex issue on a single boogeyman. It doesn’t work that way.
 

BuzzH

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I think the problem is most hunters really don't have an idea on how much habitat has actually been lost to invasive weeds so they can't understand it. They see lots of wide open country and assume it's fine because lets be honest, most people from my experience cannot identify basic invasive plants.
On the contrary, It's easy to understand that predators eat elk.

What we need is a new fear based strategy, perhaps renaming cheatgrass "Killer Al Queda poison grass".
Its partly an education problem and most botanists, foresters, biological scientists, habitat ecologists, etc. are introverts who just want to be left alone to study their sciences. They aren't that great at getting the message out and/or educating the public.

Can't put all that solely on the step of the "people" that they cant identify plants...they need education, they need to be presented with the facts, and shown the impacts.

Not everyone gets to spend their time in college and over 30 years slam-banging around the woods, prairies and plains, getting paid for identifying plants, collecting data, data analysis, etc. like I have...
 

Hydrophilic

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Its partly an education problem and most botanists, foresters, biological scientists, habitat ecologists, etc. are introverts who just want to be left alone to study their sciences. They aren't that great at getting the message out and/or educating the public.

Can't put all that solely on the step of the "people" that they cant identify plants...they need education, they need to be presented with the facts, and shown the impacts.

Not everyone gets to spend their time in college and over 30 years slam-banging around the woods, prairies and plains, getting paid for identifying plants, collecting data, data analysis, etc. like I have...

It’s definitely an education problem.
It’s also a society problem. You can’t teach people who don’t want to learn or don’t care. And where do you draw the line...just because someone can’t identify an invasive on their property, and they spread it to public lands or other private property. Is that still ok?

Anyway, I did not mean to for my cheatgrass comment to spread like cheatgrass. My main point is how frustrating it is to constantly see hunting forums full to the brim with angry wolf and predator threads while there are other impacts much more dire to big game populations, rarely discussed.
 
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