Winter Visitor in Leadore

Okay, no carcasses this time. Just an old mule deer doe with the maze-running skills of a champion lab rat. We looked out the kitchen window one afternoon and she had worked her way past Bob’s gauntlet of fence panels toward the prize: the bird feeder. Once at the center of the puzzle, she has to avoid the guy wires that prevent the post from falling over. But the reward comes as she inhales the fallen millet and sunflower seeds. Problem is, it doesn’t stop there. She has been known to knock the bird feeder clear off and stomp on it.

We were careful not to go outside the house or let the dogs out while she was inside, lest she panic and hurt herself. Bob actually thought he had her outfoxed with this assembly, but no. Next day he had to improve it, which has finally done the trick. No soup for you, Muley! Bird food is for birds, chipmunks, Ratatosk the squirrel, voles and deer mice. I know, I know: we are already working on a better design so this doesn’t happen next winter. We need a taller, sturdier post that will put the feeder out of reach of a deer on its hind legs. Or something.

Next day: Outside and pissed off about it! 

Severe winter causes big die-off of big game in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming

The never-ending winter in the Northern Rockies hits deer, elk, moose, pronghorn hard-

During the winter, I made a number of posts about the hard conditions for ungulates in the Northern Rockies. The failure of spring to arrive is causing deaths to continue and grow.

Record wildlife die-offs reported in Northern Rockies. Reuters. By Laura Zuckerman.

Idaho Fish and Game feeding wildife in SE Idaho

Elk, deer, and pronghorn being fed since January 1-

Idaho Fish and Game doesn’t like to feed, but deep snow and frozen snow after a melt has prompted off and on feeding.  Some of it is to keep the wild animals away from farms.

Idaho Fish and Game news release.

Posted in Deer, Elk, pronghorn. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Idaho Fish and Game feeding wildife in SE Idaho

Deer prions could jump to humans, study says

Currently Chronic Wasting Disease does not infect humans, but . . .

Chronic wasting disease is spreading more and more widely.  Our anti-conservation friends in the Department of Livestock and the various anti-wolf groups worry about brucellosis and dog tapeworms, but here is something that would be truly terrifying. Prions jumped from sheep probably to cows to cause “mad cow disease.”  Then it jumped to humans.  Scientists worry the same could happen to the prions that destroy the brains of deer, elk, and moose and remain in the soil, infectious, for so long it might as well be forever.

Deer prions could jump, study says. Scientists fear chronic wasting disease protein could spawn new human illness. By John Fauber of the Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI)

Winter takes toll on northeastern Montana wildlife

Pronghorn and mule deer hit hard-

Winter takes a toll on northeastern Montana wildlife. By Brett French. Billings Gazette.

I posted a news release from ID Fish and Game the other day about winter conditions and wildlife in Eastern Idaho, but hardly anyone read it.  I took it down. I’ll watch this one to see if there is a true lack of  interest in the subject.

MT Fish, Wildlife Parks aerial survey shows increase in Bitterroot mule deer

Result might be due to change in hunting rules-

Eyes in the sky: FWP aerial survey counts Bitterroot deer on the ground. By Perry Backus. Ravalli Republic.

The figures look good.

Elk numbers said to be down . . . is it really wolves?

How about slob hunters?

The story below has been getting a lot of attention.

Wolves, Elk, and Slob-Hunting. What’s a bigger threat to elk: wolves or slob-hunters? By Matt Skoglund, Guest Writer in New West. 12-17-10

With in the condition of the economy and the traditional lack of wildlife ethics in some areas, I think we have to also add flat-out poaching.  For example, when they say “elk numbers have plunged in the West Fork of the Bitteroot, it must wolves,” how about an investigation of the number of convicted poachers in the Bitterroot Valley too.  Before you settle on an answer, a smart person considers all the possible reasonable answers.

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And here is a related story from Montana’s Madison Valley. In the Hunt: (Slob) Hunters play wolf blame game. by Nick Gevock.  mtstandard.com |