Wildlife are in trouble today. Big game, game birds and even song birds, in some areas, are becoming more and more scarce. WHY?
It's not loss of habitat. Most wild animals adjust well to man and his surroundings, in fact, many changes in the environment by man have helped wildlife. For example, when man settled the west, the land was often semiarid. Irrigation and reservoirs allow wildlife to flourish where few could previously survive.
Hunting is not the problem either. Songbirds which are not hunted are scarce. Many areas with no hunting have few animals to see and enjoy.
On the other hand, due to ability to control numbers of licenses, length of season and sex of animal taken, hunting has proven to be the best method for the control of game animals and birds. It keeps them abundant and yet controls them from excessive crop damage or habitat destruction.
Did you know hunting has been reduced in almost every area of North America? Yet wild game and birds are not to be seen or found in many areas. So what's the problem?
The problem is PREDATION. In recent years, predators have increased unchecked due to several reasons and the result is the destruction of multitudes of wild game and birds.
Popularity given the predator by groups who have promoted them extensively is one reason. For example, enormous parts of Washington and Oregon are being set aside as habitat for the Spotted Owl. This bird is a predator on small animals and birds.
Protection given the predator has increased its numbers. Northern Minnesota has always had wolves. The wolves were kept under control by trapping and hunting. The deer population was abundant and northern Minnesota was known for good hunting and viewing of wildlife. In 1973, wolves were federally protected. Now the deer population is only a small percentage of what it used to be.
Price of furs has plummeted. Thus few people can afford to trap with so little return. This is due to negative publicity and activities of animal rights groups. People, who used to regard fur as a status symbol, are now being persuaded that the taking of a predator for its fur is wrong.
Trapping is now under fire by many groups. It is the intent of these groups to completely outlaw trapping. If this happens, predators will increase at an even greater rate. Wildlife will simply disappear in many areas.
Predation is very hard on wildlife. Dr. Lester McCann, Ph.D has studied predation and wildlife for many years. He has found many interesting facts about predation.
Abundant Wildlife Society of North America in cooperation with Common Man Institute have researched wolves extensively for several years. Here are some findings about predators from this research:
PREDATION MUST BE ADDRESSED FOR WILDLIFE TO BE ABUNDANT FOR VIEWING OR HUNTING. THE PREDATOR IS TO WILDLIFE WHAT WEEDS ARE TO THE FARMER AND THE GARDNER. YOU CAN'T HAVE ABUNDANT WILDLIFE WITH ABUNDANT PREDATORS ANY MORE THAN YOU CAN HAVE AN ABUNDANT GARDEN OR CROPS WITH ABUNDANT WEEDS!