The goat killed by the mountain lion
If the ranch owner had kept his windows open that night, he might have heard something. He awoke the next morning to find his goat dead. The mountain lion that had done it was so young, probably pushed out of its range by a competing larger lion; the cougar didn’t even have the knowledge gained through experience to go for the neck and throat. It instead it got lucky and broke a leg. Then, while the helpless, and very much still alive the little white goat became weaker, the lion worked its way, eating up from the rear.
There is an important place for major predators in the ecosystem, but when the population becomes so large, that the young are pushed out of their traditional grounds into areas more heavily populated zones like downtown Los Angeles and San Jose, something’s amiss.
In California, it’s because Department of Fish and Game has been pistol-whipped in the court by cash-cow non-profit organizations, like the Mountain Lion Foundation, to be afraid of implementing solid tools of wildlife conservation like hunting seasons. Instead, the Fish and Game sticks with issuing depredation permits, which have killed more lions in a year than a regulated hunting season would ever have. All this for an animal that is not only not in any way endangered in the Western States, but really overpopulated in states such as California and Oregon: where they’ve dramatically thinned populations of elk and deer so much that Oregon has tried to bring back the use of hounding hunting. Use of hounds for hunting cats and bears has been outlawed in California since 1994, when Measure 18 was voted in, and so in response, Oregon Fish and Game offers mountain lion tags for the same price to both resident and non-resident hunters.
Why? Because their Fish and Game knows they’ve got a problem and haven’t been hamstrung by something like California’s Proposition 117, placing a total moratorium on a cougar hunting season.
MLF and their type have been so successful working the political system to their own private agendas using mumbo-jumbo biological research, that they probably think Oregon’s Fish and Game has done something similarly by raising the numbers mountain lions and implemented more government hound hunters for political reasons, other than the very fact that mountain lion numbers have risen to record levels along the Pacific coast. This is why deer and elk numbers have fallen so drastically, while human hunter numbers have also dropped.
Now it’s easy to say deer and elk numbers have dropped only because of mountain lions and the increasing numbers of wolves in Oregon, but it’s also because of the elephant in the room that no one wants to touch: and that’s logging. Because companies don’t log the way they used to, and the Native American tribes aren’t here in numbers to burn the way they used to, terrain now provides less food for ungulates, and creates more hiding areas for predators. When launching an attack for food, wolves and cougars are sprinters, not marathon runners.
In Wyoming, because the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Park Service in Yellowstone had also been so pistol-whipped by emotionally stirred demonstrators and litigation, instead of continuing to use the effective tools of controlled hunting, they imported the Canadian timber wolf. Mind you, this wasn’t a wolf that normally hunts the bison and elk calf that overpopulates Yellowstone. This is a wolf that successfully takes down moose. US Fish and Wildlife told all not to worry, that the wolves would remain locally within boundaries of the park and the effects outside on cattle and wildlife would be miniscule, because the wolves would be fat and happy with the all the overpopulated game waiting for them in the park.
With a total federal moratorium on thinning the packs once they exploded, only a person without any common sense whatsoever would think that wolves would stay in the park, and not explode in numbers that so badly impacted ungulates. They’ve pretty much decimated the moose population not only in the park, but latest reports are that the Shiras moose, which was well on its way to thriving again, is now very threatened.
Here are some numbers to ponder from 2010 statistics: In Montana, the Lolo elk herd of has dropped from 20,000 down to 1,700; the Jackson Hole area Shiras moose population has dropped from 1,700 to 117.
How in the world did this happen? It happened because wildlife action plans that should be designed and applied by local biologists, actually in the field doing the research, and planning based on centuries-old proven tools of management, such as trapping and hunting, are crippled through popular vote by a majority of well-meaning, but misinformed city-dwelling voters, and Washington DC legislatures and federal wildlife agency directors, whose closest brush with “the wild” was a park tour.
It’s based on the fact that people decide on emotional stimulus, and qualify that decision by using logical information: successful sales and marketing campaigns are all driven by this scientific fact, something that MLF has used to resounding success in Washington, Oregon and California, states where the majority of voters increasingly live in urban and suburban areas, with less “real-world” experience with wildlife, in great contrast to voters and residents of Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Idaho, and Utah.
So along with targeting areas that have little true experience with wildlife, other than the pet putty-cat in their apartment, how do groups like MLF work their campaigns to success? They use outdated information, and insane logic, to qualify their ventures. They focus on statistics from the 1930s to 1960s, when the wolf and mountain lion had dipped to truly dangerously low numbers, but inaccurately reflects the present situation. Then, they use mumbo-jumbo numbers for their present-day reasoning.
What are mumbo-jumbo numbers? It’s like when MLF selectively uses their low-numbered statistics from pre-protection years (like biology teachers in the late 1970s, using outdated films, with low predators numbers from the 1950s and 1960s, showing tactics never used these days, such as shooting of coyotes and mountain lion from airplanes and helicopters in Wyoming and California), to focus on mountain lion numbers and then ignore solid statistics on disappearing of predator food: deer, elk and moose, or in the case of California, the truly endangered desert bighorn, such as one herd in Southern California which was almost extirpated by just two mountain lions. Use of mumbo-jumbo numbers is like lawyers running through expert witness after expert witness to find the one that supports the lawyer’s case, or like MLF that finds the perfect biologist for theirs. This is in contrast to a properly run department of fish and game that sends out its biologists to find out what’s happening, then creates a program based on the field collected information to keep a good healthy balance between all species, not just those that are cuddly.
What purports to be sound science by “Protect all predators at all cost” groups, is simply a larger manifestation of the “don’t eat, or kill, anything that has a face a mother would love” anti-hunting groups. This is one of the reasons why the steelhead and salmon without that lovable face is endangered: everyone focuses on loss of water to agriculture, which is an accurate idea, but ignores the fact that the seal population has increased so greatly since creation of the Endangered Species Act. True, a major problem is all the dams that prevent fry survivability, but also add in major seal and sea lion numbers, the drop in their greatest predator, the great white shark, and the salmon and steelhead population can only go down.
All one has to do is see one seal at the mouth of the Russian River in California rip out the nutrient-rich, egg-laden bellies of a dozen steelhead, tossing the carcasses to the side, to know this can’t be good, especially when you multiply that seal by 200,000 according to last count. Again the question comes up, is the public really willing to help wildlife, take the time to actually read accurate research, or simply continue to offer lip service based on which species pulls at their heartstrings, or not?
Ironically, for groups that like to quote famous Native Americans, such Chief Seattle, they’re at the same time ignorant of the fact that Native Americans understood the balance of life and culled not only the deer for food, but also mountain lion and bear, while also conducting heavy burning.
Perhaps as more hunters and true conservationists, stand up to the very unnatural dream of the preservationists, hiding under the cloak of “conservationist,” and educate those not as willing to leave the luxury of urban life and learn for themselves the horrible effects of their support of wacky science, wildlife might be saved from the meddling of politically induced federal government agencies, and let local wildlife agencies do their job. It’ll also remove a number of money-sink holes that big government has relished throwing tax dollars into for the last twenty years.
Culling Mountain Lions to Protect Ungulate Populations—
Big Game Forever
The example of the heavily slanted MLF press release that totally ignores increased effects of larger Oregon mountain lion populations on dwindling ungulate populations: