Has the science left wildlife management?

Oneye

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Over the past couple years, at another forum I debated the reasons mule deer populations are and have struggled over the years. I've now researched some of the information on the web and have come to a different idea of why our populations are struggling, compared to the normal reasons most wildlife agencies give (predators, habitat, etc).

After reading through many projects that have been carried out IMO one of the biggest problems all of our wildlife have is the use of pesticides on the land they live on. The problems these chemicals cause within wildlife is huge, and for some reason this is being ignored. We target "habitat improvement projects" as successes, and yet we are pouring poisons on our wildlife causing multiple problems from development to immune system issues.

I'm just wondering are we headed in the wrong direction with wildlife management and in everyone's opinion, what is the biggest problem with mule deer populations?


If you'd like to research the negative affects of pesticides on our wildlife this website has plenty of information:

http://westernwildlifeecology.org
 

RobG

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It's believed to be an issue with insect eaters like sage grouse, but I had never heard of this effect on big game. I couldn't find the research on the website you gave. Can you give us a summary of the reasons?
 

Oneye

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It's believed to be an issue with insect eaters like sage grouse, but I had never heard of this effect on big game. I couldn't find the research on the website you gave. Can you give us a summary of the reasons?

Here is some better links on the site, any of the blue text are links to research on the page

http://westernwildlifeecology.org/service/wildlife-malforamations/

http://westernwildlifeecology.org/service/ecosystem-effects/

The operator of the site has conducted much of his own research, most of it within Utah. These issues occur anywhere you have "habitat improvements" and re-seedings where pesticides are used, also along roadways, as well as power line clearings where pesticides are used. The affects have been seen greatly in bighorn sheep that suffer from pnemonia. The pnemonia is a secondary cause from a reduced immune problems, caused by mineral deficiencies, which are caused by pesticides affects on the bodies functions. That's a very short and compact explanation of things.

Mule deer are affected and there are many photos on this site taken within Utah that show serious under-bite problems that would be caused by pesticide exposure.You can also see this in things like increases in cactus bucks, males incapable of breeding.

Pesticide use is a huge problem in big game and can be traced back to bighorn problems, mule deer problems, and moose issues we see today. Yet for some reason even with all this research, it is being ignored by fish and game agencies across the west, and we are pouring on pesticides at a larger scale rate than ever before. See the big down turn of mule deer when they crashed before came right after pesticides had been used heavily. Right now we are seeing mule deer numbers stabilizing or growing because of the economic down turn we saw in 2008-09, when agencies did not have the budgets to widely use these deadly chemicals.

Here's a few more links with research, I know they are a bit lengthy at times, but reading them can be beneficial:

http://www.researchgate.net/publica..._colonization_of_arbuscular_mycorrhizal_fungi

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1874179/

http://www.pesticide.org/get-the-facts/pesticide-factsheets/factsheets/chlorothalonil

http://www.bitterrootstar.com/2011/...ished-on-developmental-malformations-in-deer/

http://rutalocura.com/files/CFH_SYMPTOMS_IN_MULE_DEER.pdf



All the blue links on this site are great information. I would recommend going through as much as you can an learning from it. We as sportsmen, as well as sportsmen organizations, and fish and wildlife agencies have to start accepting that the same flawed and failed things like predator control have not answered the questions we want answered. The answer to our mule deer problems, bighorn problems, and moose problems would be greatly helped if we could accept that these answers and problems are scary but very real, and we have to stop avoided the fact these are serious problems that exist. Wildlife management as a whole has gone completely off track IMO, we have headed down the wrong path and are ignoring the issues that actually exist. So now we are using these deadly chemicals at a higher rate than before and building our deer herds up for the next big collapse without learning from mistakes we already made.
 

SnowyMountaineer

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Could be a factor. Not saying you're doing this here, but I think one of the main reason for the decline is that biologists, hunters, and public have often thought it's one single reason. Natural systems don't work that way.
 

Oneye

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Could be a factor. Not saying you're doing this here, but I think one of the main reason for the decline is that biologists, hunters, and public have often thought it's one single reason. Natural systems don't work that way.

Pesticides are not a natural part of the environment, see people have a way of introducing unnatural things into the environment which ends up throwing out what would naturally occur. When you introduce these deadly chemicals on our wildlifes food it is the main cause for many of the other reasons you are talking about. It causes immune problems which causes disease ridden animals with mineral deficiencies and that in turn makes for easier predation. It causes endocrine system problems that result in problems in young wildlife, reproducing, and birthing issues. The problem is we are always looking for the things we can see and not the primary problems causing these issues.
 

JLS

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I am with SnowyMountaineer. Certainly pesticides can and likely do cause localized issues at times. However, to try and isolate pesticides as the reason for long term mule deer declines is folly.

Are you suggesting that collusion exists amongst fish and wildlife agencies, and that they are turning a blind eye to this issue?

What is the mechanism by which the next great collapse is going to happen as a result of pesticides?

Why are ungulates so susceptible to these issues but not domestic cattle?
 

mtmuley

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There's a gal here in the Bitterroot that has been all over the pesticide issue concerning wildlife for a long time. Localized issues, maybe. As a cause for the decline in ungulates as a whole, doubt it. mtmuley
 

Eric Albus

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Pesticides? Really? I bet the studies are funded by some greenie groups. The mule deer in S.E., and N.E. Mt were declining and there is little to no agriculture in the areas, hence no pesticides. Now numbers are rebounding nicely. Last 2 fawn crops have been the best in several years. I attribute the increase in fawn survival to the super high numbers of cotton tails and mice(coyotes are eating them instead of mule deer fawns).
 

antlerradar

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The vast majority of pesticides are applied to crop land. Whitetail deer are doing just fine in these areas. If it wasn't for EHD whitetails would likely displace mule deer from much of Eastern Montana. A lot of things have contributed to the decline of mule deer. Pesticides are likely not even a small contributor.
Most likely this is people and a website trying to get people worked up so they give money to there cause.
 

VAspeedgoat

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As others have posted whitetails seem to be doing just fine. If there was a pesticide that could keep deer numbers in check, most eastern farmers would be buying it by the tanker truck.
 

RobG

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There's a gal here in the Bitterroot that has been all over the pesticide issue concerning wildlife for a long time. Localized issues, maybe. As a cause for the decline in ungulates as a whole, doubt it. mtmuley

The documents on the first link in reply #3 are from Judy Hoy, Stevensville, MT. The other materials by Josh Levitt seem focused on herbicides like glyphosate (roundup). Apparently roundup attaches to the soil and can get swept into the air. This NatGeo article says 70 percent of rain samples contained it - but it doesn't say where the samples were taken. I guess it is interesting and plausible that herbicides are an issue in mule deer, but better controlled tests should be constructed instead of just showing pictures of misplaced hemiscrota and overbites.

The sage grouse problem I alluded to earlier was from insecticide killing the food the chicks depended on, but I don't know what came of that research. It doesn't seem applicable to this.
 

Oneye

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Well let me start out by saying that NO the website I have linked you to is not any "greeny" organization, it is not an organization with an agenda. It is actually a person off another forum that has done much of their own research, made sure to study other research that has been conducted, and is an avid hunter and sportsmen.

Next, lets talk about where pesticides are used. If you believe they are only used on mostly agricultural lands, you haven't thought it through enough. Almost every asphalt roadside gets sprayed, powerline right of ways, habitat projects by RMEF, MDF, and others all use things to keep cheat grass and such from growing. Countless government agencies spray invasive and noxious weeds on public and private lands on thousands of acres every day. If you don't believe these chemicals are being used on a wide scale you should step back and look at the bigger picture.

Eric, maybe we should talk about the research on noxious and invasive weeds that are heavily funded by major chemical companies to make their product seem useful and necessary? As for attributing fawn survival to cottontails, the difference is with pesticides there is proven research, proven physical abnormalities, and things you can actually see among several different species that make that same argument that so many use to deny science irrelevant.

Now for me, I've read through most of these studies and others that aren't on that website, I am no expert in the field of it. If you would like it completely explained to you and for someone to belittle your understanding of the subject and "school" you on the issue, contact the person of that site. He can explain it in much deeper and scientifically responsive ways than I can. I more or less brought the subject up to see how many sportsmen had looked into or even care on any level to learn about it.

As for more information, I hope this okay to post a link to another forum but here is a few threads from the other forum, the members name is "Lonetree" that is the operator of that site and he gives enough information to make anyone, including me scratch my head at times. He does give good information though, and understands the issue better than me, so if you would like to read through them in his posts he explains a lot of things:

This is probably the longest thread:
http://utahwildlife.net/forum/12-big-game/112321-more-deer-tags.html

Then here's a couple more, there are plenty of others where he talks about the issue, but if you really want an in depth explanation, or for every one of your questions/criticisms of this to be throttled just give him a question or criticism and I guarantee he will have you an answer for either.
http://utahwildlife.net/forum/12-big-game/89978-big-game-pesticides.html
http://utahwildlife.net/forum/12-big-game/122169-how-do-i-know-if-they-have-eaten-pesticides.html
 

Oneye

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If you have questions read the first thread in my first link, Lonetree answers all the criticisms and questions you'll have.
 

RobG

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If you have questions read the first thread in my first link, Lonetree answers all the criticisms and questions you'll have.

Well I read the first link. I'm not going to say herbicides aren't the problem because I don't know, but Lonetree isn't answering criticisms or questions, he is just stating his beliefs and avoiding the facts that fly in the face of them - like WT deer and elk numbers that are way up. Maybe he is onto something, but he needs to be more professional (and scientific) if he wants to be taken seriously.

The Josh Levitt article (is this lonetree?) that you linked to claims as part of his foundation for the argument against roundup that
Glyphosate is a chelator, meaning it binds up and makes minerals unavailable. That is how it kills plants. It deprives them of nutrients and they succumb to disease.
While it does appear to bind up minerals, this isn't the main way roundup kills plants. Those sorts of errors cast doubt on all the other claims he makes. I peer review articles for journals and if I see errors like that in the introduction I have to hit the reject button. Science starts by having your facts straight.
 

kenton

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The pesticides that were used back in the 60's and 70's are far more harmful than what they are using today. If ungulates were really that susceptible, many areas of the country wouldn't have any now. One of the most heavily polluted areas in ohio is also host to an amazing deer population.
 

antlerradar

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noxious weeds are sprayed with herbicides not pesticides. Very little pesticide is used on range land. If the people publishing the articles don't know the difference I would not put much faith in them.
 

kenton

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herbicides are a type of pesticides, along with insecticides, fungicides, algicides, ect. But your point is taken.
 

roknHS

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Common sense tells me weather events and climate trends (drought) coupled with habitat quality, predation and disease are far more important factors in wildlife population trends than chemicals. There are millions of acres in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming that have never had chemical applications.......ever.
 

Gr8bawana

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It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the long term drought we are experiencing, or urban sprawl into winter range areas and people building cabins in summer range. Fracking in the winter range areas I'm sure have an impact.
 
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Oneye

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noxious weeds are sprayed with herbicides not pesticides. Very little pesticide is used on range land. If the people publishing the articles don't know the difference I would not put much faith in them.

Pesticides is a term that covers them all. Most chemicals that are used in treating areas are herbicides but there are a few that aren't considered herbicides that are used so pesticide is a correct term for the issue. I wouldn't put much faith in someone who doesn't even understand the terms of the issue.
 
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