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Old 08-21-2015, 07:09 AM   #1
vtflyfish
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humans as supe predators

I just read this interesting article that studied the difference between humans and other predators in hunting and fishing. In summary, we go after the adults of the species we hunt and fish while other predators concentrate on the young. The author makes a comparison to finance: we are consuming our capital instead of living off the interest.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34011026

I thought others might be interested and have some thoughts about why we universally behave this way and what the implications are for wildlife and fish management here in the Adirondacks.
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Old 08-21-2015, 08:22 AM   #2
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Book recommendation

I read David Quammen's "Monster of God" a few years ago, which addressed the role of primary predators, and man as super predator (but I don't believe he used that term at the time)...worth reading if this topic is of interest.
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Old 08-21-2015, 09:15 AM   #3
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I thought others might be interested and have some thoughts about why we universally behave this way and what the implications are for wildlife and fish management here in the Adirondacks.
Greed, and short memories. As far as the Adirondacks, due to lack of a meaningful enforcement presence, many of the DEC's efforts take two steps forward and one step back.
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Old 08-21-2015, 09:53 AM   #4
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It always perplexed me why humans behave moreso as a cancer behaves than animals do but it has made me reach the conclusions that until humans mature as a collective their freedom to behave as a cancer must be limited or else it's game over for the species itself and for many other species. I'm sure the Earth will be fine but it may not be a habitable place for humans if they keep on the unsustainable path they are on, consuming the capital instead of living off the interest as vtflyfish said. Earth Overshoot Day this year was earlier than ever before, falling on August 13th. This is a grim foretelling of what the future holds if humans don't significantly modify their behavior
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Old 08-21-2015, 10:14 AM   #5
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It always perplexed me why humans behave moreso as a cancer behaves
Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.

Edward Abbey
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Old 08-21-2015, 10:36 AM   #6
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Interesting thoughts, guys.

I've been thinking about this all morning. Even as sportsmen we're somehow drawn to the deer with the biggest rack, the biggest bear, the biggest brookie and I've never met anyone who celebrated the small. Imagine Glen posing with 4" brookies or the hunter with a 50 pound fawn.

One thing that draws me to fly fishing is that you can be a predator and let tyour prey safely go. That said, I'm apparrently wired like everyone else in always pursuing the largest.
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Old 08-21-2015, 10:52 AM   #7
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I think that most predators go for the young because they are easy prey and pose the least risk to the pursuer. Man isn't really threatened by the adults. Most predators are hunting because they need to eat and will seek out the easiest meal they can get. Man is seldom hunting (or fishing) because we need to eat, we have options elsewhere. Hunting and fishing are not (in general) a need for man, it is entertainment--much different than other predators.
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Old 08-21-2015, 05:51 PM   #8
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We humans,since we have the world at are our disposal, have developed egos.
Sad to say.
We need to catch the biggest fish, kill the biggest bucks and run the wildest rivers to stoke our egos.
I am or have been right along with the rest of us.
I ran fishing charters on Lake Ontario for years.
When a client hooked and landed a lake trout when fishing for salmon, they'd look at it in distain. "another slime ball".
Forgetting that the fish was fighting for its life, just as a King Salmon.
Let's remember that taking the life of any wild creature is a significant act.
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Old 08-21-2015, 08:26 PM   #9
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It's nothing new. It's a theory of course, like the Theory of Evolution or the Theory of Relativity, but most anthropologists figure that the demise of the mega fauna on both the North American continent and Australia happened within a few thousand years of the presence of humans.

So don't feel guilty it is naturally in our DNA. But don't worry , we haven't been around all that long, a few million years in the history of the world, and we won' be around much longer , then everything will be back to normal, and some other species will become the supreme predator.

Oh yeah, unfortunately, I'm the one catching all those tiny trout , no photos though, there to small to show up in the picture.

John M.
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Old 08-22-2015, 11:12 PM   #10
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I'm with 'Crag. Some of us go for the biggest and the best because we can, not because we have to. If we did have to I'm sure it would take a lot less to please many sports-persons. I like a big buck as much as anyone, but I've been pretty pleased with smaller bucks and even does, a day of catching 10-inch smallmouths, and a day when I catch or shoot nothing as long as I spend it with great people or in a surreal place like many of those in the ADKs, or both.
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Old 08-23-2015, 02:17 AM   #11
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Interesting thoughts, guys.

I've been thinking about this all morning. Even as sportsmen we're somehow drawn to the deer with the biggest rack, the biggest bear, the biggest brookie and I've never met anyone who celebrated the small. .
I guess you haven't met me yet.

It all about location location location. I enjoy catching and the people I'm with. If that happens to be 5" trout in a very small stream; I'm ok with it. I will treat everything I catch with the respect it deserves. I don't need fins nor feathers on the wall to impress anyone. I'm ok with what I catch (and release) or kill; to eat.

You can't eat the antlers; as they say. I'm not a trophy hunter. I've never "needed" that to feel satisfied or happy. I'm absolutely ok with going home with nothing; just enjoying being outdoors; time spent with my brothers; figuratively, not having any by birth. I guess that's why I'll never have a TV show; folks might get tired of seeing my smile while catching small fish, or walking out of the woods without having bagged "the big one."
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Old 08-23-2015, 04:34 PM   #12
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Greed, and short memories. As far as the Adirondacks, due to lack of a meaningful enforcement presence, many of the DEC's efforts take two steps forward and one step back.
Interesting Glen,
How do you come to that conclusion??
I'll take the side of the "State Boys", Forest Rangers, Game Wardens, etc.
Their budget has been consistently cut for decades and as result, there are fewer on the ground people.
The problem is not with the DEC, it's with the politicians who we elect.
Jim
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Old 08-23-2015, 04:44 PM   #13
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The actual scientific article this BBC report is referencing is fascinating and worth the read. It can be found in this month's issue of Science

It really focuses on the genetic harm that killing healthy, large adults in a population can have over time. As we all know, natural predators generally focus on the young, the weak, the sick, or the old. Because they are easier, safer prey. The healthy and fit are able to pass on their genes to offspring and the population remains healthy overall.

Human hunters/fishers, however, have been doing just the opposite. Killing off the healthy and fit (which are usually the larger adult individuals) which then leaves the less healthy and fit to reproduce and pass on their genes.

My personal opinion is that this was mostly well-intentioned mismanagement on the part of those in charge of setting hunting and fishing policy. It "seems" to make sense at first. Kill the bigger adult animals and allow the younger, smaller individuals to live so they can grow up to replace them. But unfortunately this tactic doesn't take into account the science of genetics and how gene pools operate. Over a long enough period of time, the culling of healthy adult animals will begin to have very negative affects on that species, and its environment.
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Old 08-23-2015, 04:47 PM   #14
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The old saying is that the biggest bucks have lived out their reproductive years and should be harvested by the hunters before they wear out their teeth and fall to other predators or starve to death in the severe winters.
That's the human side of me.
But I'll do my dardnest to take a trophy buck.
Only because it presents to me, the difficulty of outwitting the most wary animal in the N.E.
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:07 AM   #15
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Interesting Glen,
How do you come to that conclusion??
I'll take the side of the "State Boys", Forest Rangers, Game Wardens, etc.
Their budget has been consistently cut for decades and as result, there are fewer on the ground people.
The problem is not with the DEC, it's with the politicians who we elect.
Jim

Jim- I don't disagree. The individuals on the ground are, for the most part, doing their job, but there are not enough of them for the reasons you cited.
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Old 08-24-2015, 12:42 PM   #16
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I don't know. I suppose on the whole the article has some truth to it, and I can't speak for the rest of the population, but for myself as a hunter and fisherman, I practice conservation, and consider myself an ethical hunter and fisherman.

I rarely use anything other than my longbow anymore. To me, and many of the others I know, hunting isn't about killing, It's about the hunt. It's about enjoying my time in the woods, and getting within very close range of an animal or bird, whose senses and reaction time are much better than mine, and then making a clean, humane kill. I like wild game, and eat it on a regular basis, but I consider any time that I can get within 5 - 15 yards of a whitetail, or wild turkey undetected, a successful hunt, whether I choose to shoot or not.

I won't shoot a doe deer if she has fawns. When I fill a doe tag, I always try to shoot the older dry does, that are no longer benefitting the herd. I like to shoot bigger bucks, but to me they're all beautiful animals. Whether they have a big rack and weigh 200 pounds, or they have spikes and weigh a 100 pounds dressed.

When I fish, I tend to release the larger fish, if I can do so without harming them, and keep a few smaller ones to eat now and then. I grew up fishing small streams for native Brook Trout, and they're my favorite fish to catch. I get more satisfaction out of catching a few 6 - 10" brookies, than I do 5 pound bass.

I didn't always look at things the way I do now, but I've come to see our wild game and fish, as a precious resource over the years. I want my Grandsons, and theirs, to be able to enjoy the things that have meant so much to me in my lifetime. IMHO, It's more about experiencing these things, and the outdoors in general, than it is about numbers, and bragging rights. Again, just my opinion.
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Old 08-24-2015, 02:02 PM   #17
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I won't shoot a doe deer if she has fawns. When I fill a doe tag, I always try to shoot the older dry does, that are no longer benefitting the herd.
I have to admit I didn't know this either, until a DEC biologist pointed it out to me in recent years, but it turns out that does give birth well into their twilight years. They can even give birth in their 20s (if they were to survive that long, of course)

Field and Stream ran a short piece on this called 'The Myth of the Old Dry Doe', you can find it here: http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/...y-doe%E2%80%9D

So older does are in fact still benefiting the herd, and as this new article in Science points out, they are probably benefiting the herd MORE because they are the ones that likely have the healthier, fitter genes to pass on. The genes that allowed them to live to an older age in the first place.
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Old 08-24-2015, 03:08 PM   #18
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Maybe the does I mentioned are older than I thought Holdstrong. I've killed several that I know hadn't had fawns in several years.

I do agree that the ones that are still producing shouldn't be taken. Many of them have two, and sometimes three fawns per year.

Thank you for the link too, by the way.
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Old 08-24-2015, 03:47 PM   #19
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After reading my last post, I wanted to clear something up. I'm new here, and I don't want to start off on the wrong foot. Like I said, I do agree with you, and I hope I didn't come across as a know it all. I don't think every doe I shoot is a dry doe. Though some I'm sure have been, after seeing them almost daily for a couple years. I just don't shoot any that I know for sure have fawns.
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Old 08-24-2015, 06:02 PM   #20
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I have to admit I didn't know this either, until a DEC biologist pointed it out to me in recent years, but it turns out that does give birth well into their twilight years. They can even give birth in their 20s (if they were to survive that long, of course)

Field and Stream ran a short piece on this called 'The Myth of the Old Dry Doe', you can find it here: http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/...y-doe%E2%80%9D

So older does are in fact still benefiting the herd, and as this new article in Science points out, they are probably benefiting the herd MORE because they are the ones that likely have the healthier, fitter genes to pass on. The genes that allowed them to live to an older age in the first place.
Wild does in their twenties??!!
I would have to dispute that.
Jim
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