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-   -   Once upon a cougar in the Adirondacks. (http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=16105)

Gman 12-15-2011 11:09 AM

I don't see the issue of how many people live in the Black Hills vs the ADK's but rather how many live and what is beyond those areas. You cannot compare the western Dakota's, Wyoming and Montana to New York State.

geogymn 12-15-2011 12:34 PM

Being a honest hypocrite: I would love to see the apex predators reintroduced and would feel little fear, plenty of respect but little fear. If however I saw one creeping around where my grandchildren were playing I would blow it away. I know you can't have it both ways but "some people call me a dreamer and I'm not the only one"

redhawk 12-15-2011 12:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumpkin QAAD (Post 179291)
I could've predicted your response verbatum, scary.

Which do you think is more likely (assuming Cougars in both locations), a cougar attack at the sturgis motorcycle festival in a town or on solo hikers along the NPT trail.

There are many more people that use the Adirondack park than the Black Hills. The nature of the use is very, very different. In the Black Hills people congregate at specific locations like Rushmore, whereas in the Daks the usage leans more to hiking / outdoors in small groups. Yes that happens in the Black Hills as well but that is not the primary attraction of tourists in the area. You said so yourself: tourist trap towns.

I know why you picked the Black Hills to start your argument, but there are other areas where there have been problems with the mountain lion populations such as California and Vancouver. It may be that the Black Hills are a better environment for that type of animal and the type of human activities being done than in say California.

I would definately agree with the argument that mountain lions do not perceive Humans (or livestock) as prey and attacks are extremely rare and a proactive management policy would even reduce the very rare incidents. I.E. sick or young lions being monitored. However, because it's working well in the Black Hills does not mean it will work as well in the Daks.


You should check out the facts before you jump in wuth a conclusion. The Black hills is a very popular hiking, camping and backpacking area. Harney Peak alone gets more daily traffic then all of the high peaks. There are a number of trails and also a lot of hiking in the less populous area of the Black Hills in Wyoming including the area around the Devils tower.

I know because I have hiked extensively in South Dakota, as a child, a teen and an adult.

And yes, my response is predictable, every time someone states the danger of the Apex predators to humans I merely ask for the numbers, which are extremely low compared to deaths from any other form of outdoor recreation. Hunting has the highest fatality rate from accidental shootings and there are far more deaths from snowmobile and ATV accidents as well as rock climbing and yes, backpacking. In addition, people are far more likely to be attacked by a coyote, a dog, another human or a rabid raccoon or skunk then by a wolf, cougar or bear.

So, I like to keep things in perspective because all too often judgement of Apex predators is based on ignorance and fear then on the actual facts.

So, In the everending search for the truth, based on history and fact I will always ask, how many humans have been killed. More often then not it's not more then one every ten years or so, which is a fact that has to be considered in the argument.

So you undesrtand exactly where I stand on this issue of reintroduction, I would love to see the predators return to the areas they used to inhabit, at least the areas that are still left. However, I am really not keen on the introduction because of the highly likely fatalities that would be perpetrated by the most prolific apex predator on earth, humans. So I oppose the reintroduction because of the danger to the animal, not to humans.

redhawk 12-15-2011 12:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gman (Post 179293)
I don't see the issue of how many people live in the Black Hills vs the ADK's but rather how many live and what is beyond those areas. You cannot compare the western Dakota's, Wyoming and Montana to New York State.

The Paha Sapa (Black hills) are not in the Western Dakota's or Montana. They are located in Western SOUTH DAKOTA an western Wyoming.

And my "comparison" is the ratio of humans to Cougars. IF (and that is what we are discussing here) there were Cougars in the Adirondacks the density of the humans to cats would in all probability (unless there was a real horny breeding population of cougars) would be much less then in the Black Hills. So my argument is that since there are very few incidents between humans and cougars in the Black Hills there would be even less of a chance here.

As far as the habitat, the Adirondacks and the Catskills are both good habitat for the cats. Also with ample natural prey there is less liklihood of a cat attacking a human.

Pumpkin QAAD 12-15-2011 01:41 PM

That's an interesting way to keep things in perspective. There are 700,000 hunters in New York State alone, how many fatalities? Of those fatalities how many were people not participating in the act of hunting such as mountain biking or hiking? People practicing unsafe hunting practices and causing accidents are generally viewed differently in the public than someone getting killed by a wild animal. At least I do.

Using your twisted way of keeping things in perspective, if cougar populations mimic'd hunter populations there would be close to 1,000 human fatalities in New York State alone every year. Do you see how doing that in reverse doesn't make sense? Of course things that are more common lead to more instances of occurence, that's not keeping things in perspective that's called manipulation.

Here are the Adirondack facts, I'm sure things have changed since you were a boy but I would love to see your "facts" about the high density human population of southern South Dakota and surrounding area.

7-10 Million people visit the Adirondacks every year
130,000 year round residents and 200,000 seasonal.
60 Million people live within a days drive of the Adirondacks.

Gman 12-15-2011 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redhawk (Post 179296)
The Paha Sapa (Black hills) are not in the Western Dakota's or Montana. They are located in Western SOUTH DAKOTA an western Wyoming.

And my "comparison" is the ratio of humans to Cougars. IF (and that is what we are discussing here) there were Cougars in the Adirondacks the density of the humans to cats would in all probability (unless there was a real horny breeding population of cougars) would be much less then in the Black Hills. So my argument is that since there are very few incidents between humans and cougars in the Black Hills there would be even less of a chance here.

As far as the habitat, the Adirondacks and the Catskills are both good habitat for the cats. Also with ample natural prey there is less liklihood of a cat attacking a human.

I know the Black Hills are located in western South Dakota. Please re-read my message. Since a cougar does not know where the Black Hills or Adirondack Mts. begin and end you have to look at the greater region. In this case Western North Dakota, Eastern Wyoming, Montana and even Northwest Nebraska.

Population densities might matter if you could keep the cougars confined to the Adirondacks but you can't.

gulo 12-15-2011 03:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gman (Post 179302)
Population densities might matter if you could keep the cougars confined to the Adirondacks but you can't.

Why would you? They're at carrying capacity in California, the western state with the highest human density, the highest population of cougars, and the lowest ratio of cougar conflicts. Or look at Florida where the cats are hemmed in by Miami to the east, Naples to the west, and greater Orlando to the north - no human incidents.

Density doesn't equate to conflicts; hunting pressure and poor management does. Read Mattson et als report. Vancouver Island has by far the highest incidence of conflicts, where the hunting pressure has pounded the cats for decades.

Cougars could make it in Westchester.

Pumpkin QAAD 12-15-2011 04:07 PM

They hunt them in the Black Hills and there is very little instance of conflict. I read a really interesting piece regarding the subject, perhaps the confines of the island have forced the cougars to adapt in terms of the human conflict.

Maybe like a Tsavo lion deal whatever they normally eat is gone.

The ratio thing is interesting because if you look at it based on human density california is low but if you look at it in terms of cougar density california is higher than other places, like the Black Hills.

redhawk 12-15-2011 06:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumpkin QAAD (Post 179300)
That's an interesting way to keep things in perspective. There are 700,000 hunters in New York State alone, how many fatalities? Of those fatalities how many were people not participating in the act of hunting such as mountain biking or hiking? People practicing unsafe hunting practices and causing accidents are generally viewed differently in the public than someone getting killed by a wild animal. At least I do.

Using your twisted way of keeping things in perspective, if cougar populations mimic'd hunter populations there would be close to 1,000 human fatalities in New York State alone every year. Do you see how doing that in reverse doesn't make sense? Of course things that are more common lead to more instances of occurence, that's not keeping things in perspective that's called manipulation.

Here are the Adirondack facts, I'm sure things have changed since you were a boy but I would love to see your "facts" about the high density human population of southern South Dakota and surrounding area.

7-10 Million people visit the Adirondacks every year
130,000 year round residents and 200,000 seasonal.
60 Million people live within a days drive of the Adirondacks.

Actually your thinking is a little skewed. the cougar kills for food, not for sport. So to assume that if there were the same numbers of Cougars as hunters (which of course, nature would prevent) that there would be as many fatalities is baseless. Not indicting hunters here, just pointing out the differences.

On the flip side, just for arguments sake, since the solution to the predators when they seem to be getting too large in numbers (or prey for that matter) is to "cull" the population, then if other species, humans for instance are engaged in activities in such numbers that a lot of fatalities occur, then should the hunting be curtailed in some way?

You see where I am going with this? "Logic" gets implied in one case to justify human behavior, but on the other hand the logic doesn't apply when it is the humans who are he cause.

So, we should not have apex predators because they might cause a human fatality. BUT nothing needs to be done when humans are causing a lot of fatalities.

HMMM.

redhawk 12-15-2011 06:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gman (Post 179302)
I know the Black Hills are located in western South Dakota. Please re-read my message. Since a cougar does not know where the Black Hills or Adirondack Mts. begin and end you have to look at the greater region. In this case Western North Dakota, Eastern Wyoming, Montana and even Northwest Nebraska.

Population densities might matter if you could keep the cougars confined to the Adirondacks but you can't.

The Black hills of South Dakota and SW Wyoming have the highest ratio of Cougars to humans. North Dakota, the rest of Wyoming and Montana do not.

What I am talking about and the only real point that I am trying to make is that with that high density there are very few sightings by humans, forget about "incidents". So my point is that there is no reason to believe that if there were Cougars in the Adirondack that they would be a big threat to humans.

redhawk 12-15-2011 06:19 PM

[QUOTE=Pumpkin QAAD;179307]They hunt them in the Black Hills and there is very little instance of conflict. I read a really interesting piece regarding the subject, perhaps the confines of the island have forced the cougars to adapt in terms of the human conflict.

Maybe like a Tsavo lion deal whatever they normally eat is gone.

The ratio thing is interesting because if you look at it based on human density california is low but if you look at it in terms of cougar density california is higher than other places, like the Black Hills.[/QUOTE]

Right. the Black hills are a bit of an anomaly because they are an island of forest and mountains surrounded by plains which is not cougar habitat. Add to that the fact that the Black hills are a popular tourism spot, in fact the most popular in SD, and that the Black Hills are a much more compact area then say Yellowstone (Wyoming.Montana) or Glacier national park (Montana) there are more cougars and humans in limited space.

The hunting of cougars there is based on the numbers rising as well as the lobbying of the hunting interests as opposed to any proven threat.

I'm not saying that the hunting is wrong, only that proven threat to humans is not the reason.

Having said all this I will also ask many of you to remember that I have posted on being "stalked" by a Cougar in South Dakota. At least he was following me stealthily. By making myself "BIG" and yielding a fallen tree branch, charging in his direction and making a lot of noise discouraged him. So he certainly was not fixated on having me for dinner. Education of the habitat and the mannerisms and behavior of predators and the best way to avoid and/or deal with them is the most important factor in avoiding confrontations with any animal.

Pumpkin QAAD 12-15-2011 11:27 PM

I wouldn't exactly say nothing is done to address the dangers of hunting there are quite a few regs.

I think we should skip the cougar and moose and bring back the mastodon and sabre tooth tigers that our ancestors extirpated. There are no recorded saber tooth attacks on man.

We can't just pick a snapshot in time and say that is how it is supposed to be. Things have changed and unfortunately, while that habitat may support it, society isn't ready to deal with the issues a large population of big cats in the middle of a very popular tourism area would bring.

Oh smilodon why did they kill you off.......

redhawk 12-16-2011 01:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumpkin QAAD (Post 179333)
I wouldn't exactly say nothing is done to address the dangers of hunting there are quite a few regs.

I think we should skip the cougar and moose and bring back the mastodon and sabre tooth tigers that our ancestors extirpated. There are no recorded saber tooth attacks on man.

We can't just pick a snapshot in time and say that is how it is supposed to be. Things have changed and unfortunately, while that habitat may support it, society isn't ready to deal with the issues a large population of big cats in the middle of a very popular tourism area would bring.

Oh smilodon why did they kill you off.......

There are already large populations of big cats in the middle and the edges or a very popular tourism area. In fact an area with attractions that get several times more tourists then the high peaks.

Pumpkin QAAD 12-16-2011 09:41 AM

That's exactly my point Hawk, where you have concentrated tourism in the Black Hills around Rushmore and Custer's Peak, Adirondack tourism is much different and spread out. The facts show the Adirondacks receive more tourists per year but yet, as you note, Custer's Peak gets more Tourists per day than a very popular hiking destination the ADK High Peaks region.

Besides the high peaks don't have a very high deer population density. Good luck keeping a smart cat in that area. Then you are going to run into the farmers defending their cows issue so it cannot be illegal to shoot them. Or have some sort of compensation fund setup.

redhawk 12-16-2011 10:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumpkin QAAD (Post 179341)
That's exactly my point Hawk, where you have concentrated tourism in the Black Hills around Rushmore and Custer's Peak, Adirondack tourism is much different and spread out. The facts show the Adirondacks receive more tourists per year but yet, as you note, Custer's Peak gets more Tourists per day than a very popular hiking destination the ADK High Peaks region.

Besides the high peaks don't have a very high deer population density. Good luck keeping a smart cat in that area. Then you are going to run into the farmers defending their cows issue so it cannot be illegal to shoot them. Or have some sort of compensation fund setup.

We're talking about the Adirondacks. Last I checked the High peaks Wilderness was only a part of them. As for the Black Hills I mentioned some of the main tourist draws but it is also a very popular backpacking area from the Black Elk national Forest which includes Harney Peak, to Sand Creek in Wyoming which is an area that is more off the beaten path and where I and others have Bushwhacked.

In most other ways, the Black hills and the Adirondacks are different as far as the type of forest, etc but both areas would support Cougars. My main point in bringing up the Black Hills is because of the Cat to human ratio and the fact that in spite of that, there are no incidents of consequence.

As a person who has hiked extensively in both areas my opinion (and it's just an opinion) is that the Adirondacks has more remote, less populous area then the Black Hills. Oddly enough, even though South Dakota is much more sparsely populated then NY, about 60% of that population is located in Rapid City and the towns located within the Black Hills.

Hmm "more sparsely" is that an Oxymoron or what?:confused: Now we see why I'm not a writer!! :Peek:

BTW It's HARNEY Peak, Custer doesn't have one, he has a park.

Pumpkin QAAD 12-16-2011 10:54 AM

Harney only won a battle he didn't climb it like Custer ;)

I also spent quite a bit of time in the Black Hills. Both places are very remote but the Black Hills seemed to have a more abundant and larger body size deer population.

I don't have the stats on it but when I saw my first mule deer I was quite impressed.

redhawk 12-16-2011 11:26 AM

Call it Black Elk Peak then because he stood at the top of it before Custer ever did. In fact in the Book "Black Elk Speaks" he states the following about standing at the top of the mountain where he had his vision.

“I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world, And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.”

Or call it by it's Lakota name "Hinhan Kaga Paha" for it is to us a sacred place.

Incidently, Black Elk was nine years old when he ascended the mountain and had his Vision. Custer rode his horse up as far as he could go, The first WHITE person credited with ascending Harney Peak was Valentine McGillicuddy on July 24, 1975.

Pumpkin QAAD 12-16-2011 12:47 PM

What was the name of the tribe that occupied that area prior to the Sioux arrival in the late 1700's ?

redhawk 12-16-2011 02:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumpkin QAAD (Post 179368)
What was the name of the tribe that occupied that area prior to the Sioux arrival in the late 1700's ?

Hidasta, Awatsa and Awaxawi among others. the Crow who were a split off division of the Hidasta stll populated the areas of the Great plains as did the Northern Cheyenne. The Mandan occupied the area of the Missouri just North of the area that the Yankton Sioux populated.

The Lakota (Sioux) were actually displaced from the area of the Ohio Valley by the members of the Iroquois Confederation and later from the midwest by the Ojibwa or Chippiwa. They migrated just West of the Missouri River and broke up into 3 bands, the Lakota, Nankota and Dakota. That was all before the coming of the horse to the Great Plains.

NEranger21 01-11-2012 12:54 PM

Impacts
 
Hey all,

This is my first post so i guess it looks like I'll be baptized with fire:dance: I grew up in between Ticonderoga and Whitehall (Dresden)...I worked for the DEC many summers in the Lake George and Pharaoh Lakes areas. I've spent my life hunting fishing, hiking, trapping, paddling etc, and now work as a Law Enforcement Ranger in Yellowstone.

Back on topic...I'm not claiming to be an expert, just another person with time in the backcountry. I firmly beleive that the ADKs get some transient or dispersed cougars roaming through. Having a few resident kitty's is not out of the realm of possibility I just don't believe Northern NY has a big enough deer heard to sustain a population of cats.
That being said, cats thrive in the fringe areas around many California cities so maybe we'll just have to wait and see:)!

I will never believe that the DEC is "secretly releasing cats" or failing to deal with them...That is gross negligence and opening up severe legal issues from every angle.

As far as what would happen if NY did gain a viable cougar population well, I would suggest reading into the 1995 Yellowstone/Idaho reintroduction, that was a serious can of worms still loved and contested to this day...I know if NY gains a population then preservative measures would be introduced such as logging/developmental restrictions in viable habitat areas but in all truth that is the only hindrance I can think of. There's my 2 cents!

Stay safe out there!!

NEranger21 01-11-2012 12:59 PM

omitted the Yellowstone/Idaho "Wolf" reintroduction...good source of info into the politics and procedures and associated hoopla of gaining a new fluffy forest critter


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