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Thank you for this thoughtful overview of wildlife conservation funding. More inclusive wildlife governance is definitely needed. The state game departments and commissions make an effort to exclude non-consumptive attitudes. This is a crisis in governance. As with most issues, these problems will likely be ignored as long as they possibly can be.
You talk about reducing the deer density, but how would you do that without hunting? You could always reintroduce more predators, but I don’t think that would be wildly popular. Especially considering the highest deer densities typically occur in urban environments.
If you increase the amount of deer taken by hunters every year to reduce the population you would as said reduce the demand for hunting due to lack of good hunting opportunity. This would eventually lead to an increase in deer population due to lack of hunting. Creating a cyclical effect. Maybe the deer herd is managed to keep the density fairly stable with stable hunting pressure.
Spot on. Moreover, as wildlife management agencies continue to be funded primarily from hunting and fishing licenses, non-game species get the shaft. Worse, big carnivores like mountain lions and wolves are viewed as enemies. So, you end up with situations like we now have in Colorado, where wolf reintroduction is supported by science and popular opinion, but the state Parks & Wildlife Department won’t get behind it, so now there’s a ballot question slated for November.
No, wolf reintroduction is supported by out of state and out of country donors. There is simply not the geography or the elk/deer herd to support full-scale wolf reintroduction on the Western Slope of Colorado. The science is not there.
Additionally, depradation reimbursements given to ranchers to due the inevitable wolf-lifeatock interactions will destroy the budget of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Also if you look at MDIFW’s latest budget, quite a large share of their funding comes from the General fund-I don’t recall the exact figure , but I believe it was around 60%
The spread of Lyme is also closely related to turkey populations, and the original stock used to reintroduce turkeys came from Connecticut-ground zero for Lyme.
Black legged ticks use birds and small mammals as one of the vectors, and unlimited possession allowed by MDIFW on predators of that vector (fox, coyote, skunk, raccoon) is also having an affect on the spread of the disease.
For starters, “Now, everyone seems to know someone who has contracted Lyme disease, one of several tick-borne diseases rolling northward across the region as the climate warms.” can be taken with several grains of salt. Lyme Disease seems to be the “disease du jour” these days,with people relaying dramatic stories of misdiagnosis, “chronic Lyme”, etc. Many of these cases are figments of the imagination, with no proof existing of this infection.
I lived in Maine for 8 yrs., and know full well just how entrenched the gun/killing lobby is. Many of us in New Mexico are also fighting this battle with the antiquated pro-hunting/trapping & ranching mentality. We will not give up, we are growing in number, and those who continue to slaughter wild animals for fun & profit are dwindling. The “rural lifestyle” argument is often used to perpetuate so-called “traditions” which came out of the massive bloodbath of the 1800’s in the West. Dan Flores, in his book “The American Serengeti said “it was a slaughterhouse.” Not only were the great herds of bison, elk, pronghorn almost driven to extinction, but those wildlife who followed them for food (mountain lion, grizzly, wolves, coyotes, etc., were hunted and tortured as well. Wolves and coyotes are still ignorantly called “varmints.”
So glad to see this article. It is time to Abolish the game agencies, who continue to cater to the minority special interests.
This is an excellent article, but I disagree with the analysis of Pittman-Robertson funding. Hunters may be in decline, but shooters are not, and the sale of both guns and ammunition are higher than ever. Funds are derived from these sales, not from hunting.