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Author Topic: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves  (Read 1950 times)

Offline jackelope

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Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« on: August 08, 2019, 04:19:36 PM »
https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2019/aug/04/study-in-idaho-cougars-kill-slightly-more-elk-than/?fbclid=IwAR21YxzwrIJkmxsLJWBefCUh-qU0T2PmgLCt43uPrUgCXuDsCsocuYOGXSw


An expansive study of elk mortality in Idaho’s wolf country did what most good science does: challenged ideas held as gospel by wolf partisans and wolf antagonists.

Namely, wolves kill elk, but mountain lions kill more. And, food availability and winter severity are the most important factors for elk calf survival.


Discuss!!
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Offline BeerBugler

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2019, 04:44:21 PM »
No real info in this article or the gohunt.com version. Just a couple of cherrypicked stats and quotes. However, I would be interested in reading the study in its entirety.

Offline bulldogs40

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2019, 05:09:13 PM »
What’s the ratio of mountain lions to wolves? Article says that wolves account for 32% of identified female elk mortality while lions for 35%. If there are far less wolves in then lions then it shows that they are a far more effective killer. I would like to see the number of elk killed per one wolf to one lion

Offline Cougartail

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2019, 05:21:16 PM »
Per animal (wolf/cougar) I would say wolves kill more elk. Cougars are a more versatile hunter.
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Offline idahohuntr

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2019, 05:34:26 PM »
Nothing really that surprising IMO.  I think wolves often disrupt or run elk completely out of drainages, which is much more noticeable (at least to hunters)...even though cougars account for a greater portion of overall elk mortality.

Habitat and weather being the most important component of survival is also not at all surprising.

I'm sure the crazies on both sides of the wolf rheotric will shriek like clowns at these otherwise boring results. 
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Offline idaho guy

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2019, 05:54:40 PM »
 They did a panhandle study a few years ago saying the same thing. lions were killing more elk than wolves.( I don't know if this is new one or just old news?) A few involved also shared that lions were killing way more because the wolves were stealing the lion kills forcing the lions to hunt more. Its fake news  :chuckle: I used to see at least twice as many lion tracks in the 90s hound hunting as I do now and there were way more elk in the more remote areas (not next to town). The elk around town have probably doubled but the areas where they should live numbers have gone way down. It doesn't matter now that Idaho has aggressive wolf management a lot of areas have stabilized. Its the wilderness that will never be the same since trapping and hunting wolves in that area is too difficult to be effective. I mean it is done, but not to the extent that will actually reduce wolf numbers or even stabilize them.

Offline meatwhack

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2019, 06:43:02 PM »
This must be why the elk population in Yellowstone plummeted after wolf introduction apparently the cougar population exploded at the same time.

Offline Dan-o

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2019, 07:26:35 PM »
This must be why the elk population in Yellowstone plummeted after wolf introduction apparently the cougar population exploded at the same time.

I actually watched a really interesting documentary that was trying to make the case that LAKE TROUT were a big factor in the decline of elk in Yellowstone.

No joke.

Somebody dumped Lake Trout into Yellowstone lake.   The Lake Trout decimated the Brook Trout......
Those Brook Trout spawning in the Spring were THE big protien source for Grizzlies....
Now they are basically gone.
The Griz that used to eat them had to switch to something else in the Spring and many of them switched to elk calves.

So went the Wildlife Biologists theory.

I'm not saying I buy it or I don't, because I don't know enough to know.

But....  I was 100% in the camp of "wolves wiped out Yellowstone elk", and after watching that documentary, I am no longer sure.....

Please don't call me a wolf lover.....
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Offline Bob33

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2019, 07:42:28 PM »
Just because one predator kills fewer game animals than another predator doesn't make it a "good" animal. Both wolves and cougars kill game animals that could have been killed by hunters. Both need to be aggressively managed.
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Offline Timberstalker

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2019, 07:45:40 PM »
Amen. Lock the thread.
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Offline Dan-o

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2019, 07:53:24 PM »
Just because one predator kills fewer game animals than another predator doesn't make it a "good" animal. Both wolves and cougars kill game animals that could have been killed by hunters. Both need to be aggressively managed.

Agreed.

Also, it makes sense to me that if an ecosystem has reach equilibrium, if you add another apex predator, the new equilibrium will not look the same.
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Offline Bob33

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2019, 07:58:20 PM »
Just because one predator kills fewer game animals than another predator doesn't make it a "good" animal. Both wolves and cougars kill game animals that could have been killed by hunters. Both need to be aggressively managed.

Agreed.

Also, it makes sense to me that if an ecosystem has reach equilibrium, if you add another apex predator, the new equilibrium will not look the same.
Besides thrilling some with their howls, I cant see any value to having more wolves or understanding how they benefit our ecosystem.
Nature. It's cheaper than therapy.

Offline Stein

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2019, 07:59:17 PM »
Perfect, let's open cougar season to all year any means then.

Offline nwwanderer

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2019, 08:42:00 PM »
The cutthroat are coming back in Yellowstone as are the elk.  The over 200 wolves that ran the place decimated the elk so they dispersed.  Now the park has less than 100 and surrounding areas, us, are the lucky recipients of the wolf.  An artificial system, killing as many lake trout as possible helped the cutthroat and doing the same with the wolf would help the wolf prey.  They are far above any level ever proposed for delisting.  Give them the same status as a coyote and pay for the damages they cause to domestics.  They will be fine.  They are not going away.  With the tools afforded us they can not be significantly reduced in number.  Sorry for the diversion from cat studies.  It is apples and rhino steak. why would any agency spend money on this?  I know, to paint a rosy picture of the wolf.

Offline DOUBLELUNG

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2019, 09:15:41 AM »
This must be why the elk population in Yellowstone plummeted after wolf introduction apparently the cougar population exploded at the same time.

I actually watched a really interesting documentary that was trying to make the case that LAKE TROUT were a big factor in the decline of elk in Yellowstone.

No joke.

Somebody dumped Lake Trout into Yellowstone lake.   The Lake Trout decimated the Brook Trout......
Those Brook Trout spawning in the Spring were THE big protien source for Grizzlies....
Now they are basically gone.
The Griz that used to eat them had to switch to something else in the Spring and many of them switched to elk calves.

So went the Wildlife Biologists theory.

I'm not saying I buy it or I don't, because I don't know enough to know.

But....  I was 100% in the camp of "wolves wiped out Yellowstone elk", and after watching that documentary, I am no longer sure.....

Please don't call me a wolf lover.....
I've never known of any spring spawning brook trout, all fall spawners.  Not saying they don't exist just never known of any.  Maybe they were postulating about Yellowstone cutthroats?  The Yellowstone lake population is severely impacted by lake trout, but there are still abundant Yellowstone cuts in the rivers and tributary streams. 
As long as we have the habitat, we can argue forever about who gets to kill what and when.  No habitat = no game.

Offline pianoman9701

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2019, 12:33:39 PM »
Just because one predator kills fewer game animals than another predator doesn't make it a "good" animal. Both wolves and cougars kill game animals that could have been killed by hunters. Both need to be aggressively managed.

 :yeah: 100%. It's a slight of hand to point this out. I would also say that however many elk that wolves kill, it's in addition to elk mortality before wolves were introduced into the GYA. We should introduce even more predators and justify their existence because cougars kill more.  8)
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Offline jackelope

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2019, 12:50:15 PM »
There's a crap ton more logic in this thread than the one on Facebook, which I greatly appreciate.

There's a guy over there arguing with a wildlife biologist insisting cougars are not capable of killing adult elk.

:fire.:

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Offline Cervus

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2019, 02:00:54 PM »
For anyone who would like to read the *actual journal article* not just the summary from the newspaper you can find it here:

https://wildlife.org/jwm-wolves-reduce-elk-survival-but-theyre-not-alone/      (link embedded in first paragraph)

or here:

https://wildlife.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jwmg.21689  (direct link to view text & download PDF)

Offline meatwhack

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2019, 02:11:22 PM »
There’s a flaw in the logic of looking at this as 1 cougar vs 1 wolf. The one cougar has a home range as large as a pack of 10 to 12 wolfs so that 10 to 12 wolfs are going to be killing 10 times as many animals as the 1 cougar that is in the area. Wolfs are much more likely to kill just for the sport of it also while cougars will generally stick with their kill until they’ve eaten it and then continue hunting. They both are hard on wildlife but wolfs have had a much larger and quicker effect on the reduction of mule deer, elk, and moose numbers in a very short time.

Offline Bango skank

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2019, 04:29:01 PM »
There’s a flaw in the logic of looking at this as 1 cougar vs 1 wolf. The one cougar has a home range as large as a pack of 10 to 12 wolfs so that 10 to 12 wolfs are going to be killing 10 times as many animals as the 1 cougar that is in the area.

Its never just the 1 cougar in hhe area.  Wdfw saying theres 1 cougar per 10 sq miles is absolute *censored*.  Females share territory for one thing. If you think a wolf packs territory only has 1 cougar in it youve been smoking something.

Offline Stein

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2019, 05:50:51 PM »
Bears probably kill more deer than wolves or cougar, who cares?  The point is that the wolves are completely unmanaged in places (like WA and Yellowstone Park) and that's the issue.  I'm not sure how we get sucked down these rabbit holes all the time. :dunno:

Unless we go back to when there weren't people, highways, houses and the like, we really need to manage predators as human activity gives them advantages by limiting where their prey can live, travel and escape through.

Offline Dan-o

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2019, 06:40:57 PM »
This must be why the elk population in Yellowstone plummeted after wolf introduction apparently the cougar population exploded at the same time.

I actually watched a really interesting documentary that was trying to make the case that LAKE TROUT were a big factor in the decline of elk in Yellowstone.

No joke.

Somebody dumped Lake Trout into Yellowstone lake.   The Lake Trout decimated the Brook Trout......
Those Brook Trout spawning in the Spring were THE big protien source for Grizzlies....
Now they are basically gone.
The Griz that used to eat them had to switch to something else in the Spring and many of them switched to elk calves.

So went the Wildlife Biologists theory.

I'm not saying I buy it or I don't, because I don't know enough to know.

But....  I was 100% in the camp of "wolves wiped out Yellowstone elk", and after watching that documentary, I am no longer sure.....

Please don't call me a wolf lover.....
I've never known of any spring spawning brook trout, all fall spawners.  Not saying they don't exist just never known of any.  Maybe they were postulating about Yellowstone cutthroats?  The Yellowstone lake population is severely impacted by lake trout, but there are still abundant Yellowstone cuts in the rivers and tributary streams.

@DOUBLELUNG

Sorry for my carelessness.
Yes, their postulation involved Cutthrouts.

It was interesting.

They showed streams that used to have thousands of spawning trout for the bears, and the streams were barren of spawners.

They said Griz fattened up on trout like salmon, but had to switch and that many of them switched to elk calves.

Again.....  IDK what is truth, but it was interesting.
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Offline bearpaw

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #22 on: August 09, 2019, 10:41:05 PM »
Just because one predator kills fewer game animals than another predator doesn't make it a "good" animal. Both wolves and cougars kill game animals that could have been killed by hunters. Both need to be aggressively managed.

 :yeah:  BINGO!

For the last 50 years there were only cougar on the landscape. Now that wolves are taking an additional 32% that means the overall predator take of elk, deer, and moose is much higher, specifically a reason seasons have been shortened or need to be shortened in areas impacted by wolves and cougars.
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Offline buckfvr

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2019, 09:43:58 AM »
wdfw needs to get back to calling predators predators rather than big game animals.  They need to be managed in the same manner as coyotes, even then, they will thrive.

Offline HillHound

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2019, 10:15:31 AM »
 :yeah:
wdfw needs to get back to calling predators predators rather than big game animals.  They need to be managed in the same manner as coyotes, even then, they will thrive.

Offline buglebrush

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #25 on: August 10, 2019, 10:41:16 AM »
Wolves were INTRODUCED and protected.  They are what pushed us into a predator pit.  Prior to wolves, our populations were growing.  Post wolves, they're shrinking.  Why don't these obviously biased studies about this? They also take away lots of lion kills thereby forcing the Lions to kill more than they used to.  It's all propaganda...  Trying to assuage the righteous anger over what they INTRODUCED.   :bash:

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2019, 08:58:57 AM »
Wolves were INTRODUCED and protected.  They are what pushed us into a predator pit.  Prior to wolves, our populations were growing.  Post wolves, they're shrinking.  Why don't these obviously biased studies about this? They also take away lots of lion kills thereby forcing the Lions to kill more than they used to.  It's all propaganda...  Trying to assuage the righteous anger over what they INTRODUCED.   :bash:
   

 :yeah: waaay more lions in the panhandle in the 90s and early 2000 and there were twice as many elk. The honest f & G people said that wolves were stealing lion kills and forcing lions to hunt more often- another big factor in the study often left out. I am good with Idaho's management of wolves so far I think we will enjoy good elk hunting for a long time but it will never be as good as it was and some areas will probably never recover. I just hate the dishonesty of trying to point the figure at another predator when everyone that has hunted Idaho elk for a long time know for a fact that herds dwindled when WOLVES showed up in large numbers.I don't care why-maybe it was just stacking a new predator on top of the ones already here or wolves are just killing machines. It doesn't matter they just need to acknowledge that they introduced wolves and in many areas elk collapsed. I am sick of all the misdirection in these "studies" Bears and Lions were always here in larger numbers than they are today. IDFG declared war on lions and bears and they were not the problem. Anybody that has hunted bears and lions for a long time in north Idaho I think would also tell you we have LESS bears and cougars than we did. Also the age structure of our cats and bears tends to get younger every year I think. Just what I see I don't know maybe Bearpaw and others have a different experience. I followed Bearpaw season and they knocked down some whopper bears. I know for a fact  we have less lions where I hunt and they as a general rule are younger   

Offline bearpaw

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Re: Idaho: cougars kill more elk than wolves
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2019, 12:39:05 PM »
Wolves were INTRODUCED and protected.  They are what pushed us into a predator pit.  Prior to wolves, our populations were growing.  Post wolves, they're shrinking.  Why don't these obviously biased studies about this? They also take away lots of lion kills thereby forcing the Lions to kill more than they used to.  It's all propaganda...  Trying to assuage the righteous anger over what they INTRODUCED.   :bash:
   

 :yeah: waaay more lions in the panhandle in the 90s and early 2000 and there were twice as many elk. The honest f & G people said that wolves were stealing lion kills and forcing lions to hunt more often- another big factor in the study often left out. I am good with Idaho's management of wolves so far I think we will enjoy good elk hunting for a long time but it will never be as good as it was and some areas will probably never recover. I just hate the dishonesty of trying to point the figure at another predator when everyone that has hunted Idaho elk for a long time know for a fact that herds dwindled when WOLVES showed up in large numbers.I don't care why-maybe it was just stacking a new predator on top of the ones already here or wolves are just killing machines. It doesn't matter they just need to acknowledge that they introduced wolves and in many areas elk collapsed. I am sick of all the misdirection in these "studies" Bears and Lions were always here in larger numbers than they are today. IDFG declared war on lions and bears and they were not the problem. Anybody that has hunted bears and lions for a long time in north Idaho I think would also tell you we have LESS bears and cougars than we did. Also the age structure of our cats and bears tends to get younger every year I think. Just what I see I don't know maybe Bearpaw and others have a different experience. I followed Bearpaw season and they knocked down some whopper bears. I know for a fact  we have less lions where I hunt and they as a general rule are younger   

I agree with you, overall there are far less lion and bear in many areas, especially the panhandle. I'm convinced the biggest problem is having another third of the elk being killed by wolves and kills being taken away from lions by wolves, so the lions have to kill again sooner to survive. That extra predation by wolves makes it hard for herds to maintain numbers. Thankfully the IDFG is also allowing hunting/trapping of wolves and efforts the last few years by F4WM is making a difference in helping to control wolf numbers. We are seeing decent elk reproduction, but I think the recent harsh winters were tougher on the deer, their numbers have been a couple years. Overall, Idaho has a much brighter outlook than WA due to the different political landscape.

Regarding the big bear we've been getting, I can't emphasize how hard my guides worked to find some of those big bear that we harvested. It would be much easier to shoot more medium sized bear, but they really worked hard to find bigger bear.
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2019 Blacktail Early Season activity reports - anybody seeing bucks? by fishnfur
[Yesterday at 10:25:15 PM]


Vortex Optics customer service by Lyons
[Yesterday at 10:24:57 PM]


2019 Deer Post em here by fishnfur
[Yesterday at 10:06:47 PM]


2019 Selkirk moose tag by benhuntin
[Yesterday at 09:45:37 PM]


Jetboil Zip by johns8168
[Yesterday at 09:44:26 PM]


Wife’s Idaho OTC elk hunt by WAcoueshunter
[Yesterday at 09:41:38 PM]


Mount Margaret Goat 2019 by Turner89
[Yesterday at 09:03:36 PM]


WTS Mossberg Patriot 30-06 Sub-moa $350 by kisfish
[Yesterday at 08:56:04 PM]


Huntin Hounds Idaho Deer by idaho guy
[Yesterday at 08:49:59 PM]