Article. CWD: No Shortage of Deer Bones and Bodies

Discussion in 'Whitetail Deer Disease' started by Luv2hunteup, Apr 29, 2020.

  1. LabtechLewis

    LabtechLewis

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    Here's my immediate reaction to what you said: I think that's a weak position and too narrowly focused in a free-ranging herd. The whole state is a potential "disease zone" by continuity. Either a younger herd is a benefit to disease management or it is not. I'd like to see some specifics attached to the narrative, or the message starts to fall on its face. Did I miss your point?
     
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  2. Waif

    Waif

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    As continuous as the state is , (without debating upper or lower peninsulas needed as they're both contiguous from a hunter on either's perception.) it is diverse in herd make up.

    A better balanced sex ratio in the herd should be first. And doing that by broad brushing it reduces success in going forward after that to try working on herd age.

    When data shows one buck per three doe for example, no I don't have a paper here stating such , and a field shows twenty plus doe (including buck fawns) and no antlered bucks in Oct. I'm not convinced it's a good ratio.

    Liberalized doe kills across the board is not the same as killing doe in areas that have a great imbalance , when transferred to areas with better ratios.
    I know that reads wrong when the focus is on the states herd having too many doe.
    But when you see the results of too many doe being killed , it makes more sense.

    Doe regulation where kills are involved should be stand alone , and employed where imbalance is greatest first.
    Recognizing and addressing that imbalance's cause by management and hunters ;combined with supportive participation by both parties matters if a going forward (as in herd age by sex) is even being considered.
    Else-wise complacency follows and certain practices that caused the imbalance will continue by those who do not cooperate , and be resumed by many of those who did cooperate.
     
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  3. mbrewer

    mbrewer

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    A weak position is the little of this, little of that, no rhyme, no reason style of disease management we have now.
     
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  4. Dish7

    Dish7

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    I agree. What do made up lines on a map mean really? The disease zone should be the entire state.
     
  5. motdean

    motdean

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    You caught my point.
    If the Department deems the whole state or even a peninsula as a disease zone, so be it.

    I also believe that it should be defined by the biologists, but not haphazardly..i.e.bait vs APRs.
     
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  6. LabtechLewis

    LabtechLewis

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    Dare I say...True story. :(:mad:
     
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  7. Justsayin

    Justsayin

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    I think I understand, you are recognizing the value of this pilot more on a conceptual level using goals with feedback to drive action. Setting aside the validity & rationale of the goal and reward component, I can see where the goal to increase antlerless harvest resulted in promoting effort to attain it in measured areas.

    I see the response was not so much refreshing as it was expected. Place a high value reward contingent on achieving a goal and it is usually sufficient incentive to drive action at least until reward is granted. Do bargained goals drive sustained behavior change? Only so long as the reward remains contingent and is valued higher than the cost of achieving it.

    Eat all your vegetables and you can have a scoop of ice cream, is a powerful motivator but only if the desire for ice cream is greater than the aversion to vegetables. The bargain though creates a reward expectation attached to future meals and often becomes a negotiation, I will only eat my vegetables if I get something for doing so. Lost in the bargain is the lesson, the goal itself is the reward, eating vegetables is good for one’s health. The unhealthy reward is counter and obscures the objective.

    When the right goals are tied to specific objectives, are SMART(specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time based), and contingent rewards support vs conflict with objectives, they can move the needle closer to achieving the objective.

    In this example, the objective to mitigate disease via a goal to increase antlerless harvest fails the objective when the reward in effect, increases buck population, age structure and overall disease susceptibility of the remaining herd. Here the motivation for action is in direct and detrimental conflict with the original objective and achieving less than nothing.

    Appreciate the dialogue... what rewards would be effective without compromising the objective?

     
  8. LabtechLewis

    LabtechLewis

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    Agree. Well said.

    I’ve never been a fan of extrinsic reward systems for this exact reason. The desire is to change a culture (develop intrinsic value as the means to behavior modification) because extrinsic motivators are fleeting. That happens when education and experience impacts your worldview. Experience --> Beliefs --> Actions --> Results. One could argue that you can shortcut the process by legislating “action” without the experience or belief, but I don’t think the unintended consequences are worth it, personally. In your example, if the goal was to increase vegetable intake, the reward did actually work, provided the subject was previously eating none. But, to your point, it is only truly a "diet" if you can eventually cut out the ice cream. Another way to look at it, though, is that some vegetables are better than none even if still eating ice cream (which actually sounds a lot like MAPR, if you think about it). I get your point, though.

    I can see that perspective. Which is what led me to my new line of questioning about % of bucks in the population in each age class and, really, at what age class the hierarchy should top out. I think there’s some middle ground in there that is necessary to consider at this point as more and more individuals are passing yearling bucks and allowing them to reach age 2. Then what? Mandate the killing of a certain % of 1YOs? That doesn’t seem realistic. I think there’s room to kill yearlings and I think there will always be individuals willing to kill them. But that percentage is decreasing with or without MAPR. If you tell me that, from a disease perspective, you’re ok with huntable numbers of 3YO bucks (i.e. can kill one almost every year) and the occasional 4YO, then I’d tell you that’s achievable sans MAPR, and many are already experiencing it. If you tell me that, from a disease perspective, the hierarchy must top out at huntable numbers of 2YO bucks and the occasional 3YO, then what? The answers to those questions help me frame the discussion in my mind and illustrate just how similar or dissimilar we are to the county in the OP. In other words, do we really need to change anything? Or is it resistance for the sake of resistance? Are hunter numbers and success rates enough to keep the age structure pyramid chopped off, as long as ample opportunity is granted?

    In your mind, what is the desire of MAPR supporters in terms of a top-end, huntable numbers age-class?

    Thanks, me too. Rewards? I suppose the ones that create connection with those of various styles. For some, knowing he/she helped achieve a stated goal might be reward enough if that message is delivered in a fire-stoking manner by the appropriate oversight group (for some that might be QDMA, for some DNR, or perhaps another organization). For others, they want to know they've helped create a world class deer management program (not just for trophies, not just as a destination, not just as a disease-free herd, but the best combination of all of these). Maybe some like being around other people and want to be part of a social scene (can't understand those types...;)) and the "reward" could be of that nature, but more than just a patch. And, yes, there are others that want the power grab and to dominate. Could it be that the rewards scale is currently favoring that sect? And that's why those of other styles are so easily irritated by it?

    I suppose altering the tag fees is another way to motivate/reward some. That could be used in some way, also.

    Edit:
    Some of this goes back to clear communication. The entities we’re describing have Missions and Values. Individual members’ behaviors should generally follow suit. There should be no need for coercion or carrots. “If you are, then you should be…”. Lead by example, teach others to do the same. What are the current leaders teaching the masses by what they say and do individually? Is it aligned with their organizations’ purposes? Is it logical and defendable? Or is it veiled in narrative as a power grab or to drive revenue?
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
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  9. Justsayin

    Justsayin

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    Much to consider here…

    On ice cream and harvest choices… choosing to eat a bowl of Traverse City Cherry fudge is a personal decision carrying strictly personal health consequences. If health issues were realized, healthier choices could reverse the risks. My indulgence has no negative impact to the health of family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, etc. unless I pushed for MICC (mandatory ice cream consumption), though the opportunity to reverse the effects remain. The same cannot be said for harvest selection choices. The health consequences extend outward, are permanent, irreversible and compounding. If only, CWD was more like ice cream we would have this licked! ;)

    It just isn’t plausible to propose a free-ranging herd could be explicitly managed to a targeted age structure level. Especially when you consider the lack of data on total numbers of hooves on the ground, let alone by age/sex.

    It seems that ones’ APR stance is often viewed as a binary choice focused on yearlings, to protect or to target. In actuality, there are a whole host of reasons why one might be for or opposed to APRs. A desire to target and kill more yearlings though is not among them. My own views on APRs have evolved with changing circumstances. There are unintended consequences resulting under APRs which impact disease mitigation which have been shared previously.

    Do we need to change anything? It depends if we are accountable to the short-term or long-term; to hunters or the resource. Eventually, as Wisconsin is experiencing, huntable numbers of mature deer will be self limiting as CWD prevalence increases and spreads. The longer we obstruct and deny the application of science, the quicker that day will come for us. From a long term view, acting today to limit CWD within the herd can buy time, perhaps long enough for greater understanding or options.

    The growing cultural influence, as you noted, has largely achieved the stated goals under VAPRs yet a push to apply MAPRs statewide continues. We know 50% isn’t the end goal, it is just the start to enable a culture shift toward protecting 2.5 yr olds and more. The “buck pass” & “better next year” mantras are consistently reinforced socially and with visuals depicting progression of buck fawn to maturity (3.5 - 6.5 yrs old). These images speak volumes beyond what is publicly portrayed. What is the top-end, depends on if you consider what is said over what is shown & demonstrated, but generally older and more of them.

    We know antler restrictions by themselves are not age specific resulting in restricting all sub-par bucks regardless of age. Without a clear, discernible method to identify desired age, management by age class ultimately falls short of intended purpose. Even if antler points were coupled with other physical characteristics to guide subjective field judging, it is still limited by subjectivity, genetic influences and/or impact of disease.

    What if a growing number of bucks being passed are actually older than they appear due to the impacts of CWD? Consider the impact if the prevailing assumption that advancing age yields increased size (body/antlers) just isn’t accurate when CWD is at play. This is why I believe any age based management is a risky proposition. Deer don’t carry flashing neon signs declaring age & disease status.

    CWD is a great deceiver. It challenges prior belief and understanding. More and more hunters identify with a tribe mentality which readily confirms beliefs, provides a warm blanket and assures us no change is required. Rather than reflecting, learning and adapting, precious time is spent seeking every/any justification not to change. Keeping our eyes shut won’t change what is happening around us, it only keeps us in the dark and reduces our opportunity to make a difference.

    The article from the op has been held up as a reason for MI hunters to act. However, the actions being promoted very closely mirror hunter actions from Wisconsin so many years ago. If we want a different result, perhaps we should seek a different path…
     
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  10. LabtechLewis

    LabtechLewis

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    :rolleyes:

    No, maybe not. But, age structure as represented in the harvest data is a good surrogate indicator of management practices, wouldn't you say? If so, what top-end age is desirable in a well-managed herd? I'm not talking the rare outlier, I'm talking huntable numbers that would be evident in harvest data. If it's 4YO, then we could probably tolerate some more surviving bucks locally. If it's 2YO, then we've got to start killing some more bucks locally. Yes, I understand that it's not an exact science. But, I feel like it's at least something measurable that could be employed and outcomes leading to course correction for the next season.

    Agree with you on this and that's why I seek some middle ground here on which to base a discussion and legitimate action plan. It does no good within our ranks to poke and snipe about others' choices when so much is unknown. If one believes that the dirty dispersers are public enemy number one, then he/she better have a "desire to target and kill more yearlings", else falls flat with me (remember my point about leadership). If we can agree that Wisconsin's model is a problem and they've been hunting 6YO bucks, then we at least know we need to stay somewhere below that maximum or risk turning out just like them.

    I prefer to be accountable to the resource. So, back to one of my questions...what is an acceptable population size? X number of deer/car collisions? X amount of browse pressure or crop damage? X amount of 4YO bucks in the harvest? These indicators are available. Are they worthwhile? Aren't we paying the resource management professionals to come up with these types of plans? Concepts and ideas are wonderful for brainstorming. Well-defined and communicated plans are best for motivating action. So, what do the demographics of a well-managed herd look like? Where's the standard? Who's the model? Which state/DMU?

    Understood. I'm not speaking about "in the moment of truth" trigger-pull management. I'm talking about the deer managers reflecting on the most recent harvest data and adjusting the subsequent year's goals / laws according to trends. Maybe it's not just a one-year point in time. Maybe it's the combination of 3-year average and single point in time. I don't know. Whatever it takes to avoid over-reaction to an outlier of some sort.

    Yep.

    I thought I heard that the EAB was actually providing a benefit, if it hadn't been derailed by hunters? Not true?

    In general, it seems to me that our best chance to control spread and prevalence is to have a herd below carrying capacity and generally on the younger side. If the DNR was able to communicate to hunters that they want to promulgate rules that allow for huntable numbers of 3YO bucks AND kill enough does to keep the population under control, I think individual hunters would buy in to that. But then the DNR needs to prove it with the harvest reports. If the 3YOs aren't represented? Then either let the population grow to provide a dilution effect or restrict the total number of bucks killed.

    What if population is growing? Drop the bag limit to 1 buck only and reduce the price of the doe tag. Could the regulations/regulators be that nimble? Would hunters like DMU-specific rules that change quite often? Probably not.

    The more we discuss this, the more it looks like the answer to this complicated problem is more complex than the current "system" is comfortable with or designed for. Wow. Maybe being a "leader" in this fight means totally rethinking the way we approach deer management. Who's got next? :confused:
     
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  11. mbrewer

    mbrewer

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    That, per usual, is a really good post. But I think with the exception of this part "In general, it seems to me that our best chance to control spread and prevalence is to have a herd below carrying capacity and generally on the younger side" you got it backwards.

    If we're going to approach this from your perspective, there are only 2 measurables - spread and prevalence. How you manage that is how you manage the herd.

    My priority is eliminate spread to the greatest extent possible, think Whitmer. Then you manage prevalence, think LabtechLewis.
     
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  12. LabtechLewis

    LabtechLewis

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    Thanks.

    Ok, so forcing individuals to stay at home means two things off the top of my head:

    1. Reduce those individuals with a propensity to wander
    2. Eliminate voids in the landscape which promote diffusion (a perspective introduced by HMW long ago, I believe)
    3. Improve habitat so less travel is required to find essentials

    And point 2 runs contrary, in some ways, to my herd reduction philosophy. Ahhh. Perhaps the best plan is one that avoids any rapid increases or decreases to local populations. What do you think? DNR could use this to communicate how "shoot 'em all" is not the best approach and reinforce that with their tag allocations. It would at least support the notion that they have a plan (and we've already covered current optics in post #48).

    Reducing prevalence is an age-structure thing. So, what is the desired top-end age? Is it the same for both sexes?
     
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  13. Waif

    Waif

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    Cripes you write long posts...:whistle:

    Desired top end age vs number of hunters holding tags for desired top end age.
    Yes , I'm isolated and micro in scope , but with an estimated several deer (deer , not just bucks) and more than a dozen hunters , odds of success need to be realistically forecast.
    No more of claiming what will result. What exists is what can be worked with.
    Yes recruitment is required at times but until what exists is measured and hunter desires/goals accounted for the denominator will still be the seasons tally of dead deer.
    Do we manage by what we count removed? Or by what exists to remove from?
    Yes , we can say both , but a four year old removed tells me what about what remains?


    A top end of six year old bucks in my scenario? How outside of highly restrictive (low odd) draws for buck tags will bucks be passed/protected after they are three years old?
    (Three years of age chosen as an example as they don't usually mirror yearlings or two year olds in appearance making discrimination easier,in theory.)

    The easy /but logical former Q.D.M.A. standard of choosing heads before A.P.R. became the mantra was simply targeting the "top ten%".
    That falls short of goals where more older bucks are desired.
    Yet with accurate (by site ,which is why the state can't manage as such) inventory a sites management knows what exists.

    Trick is , managing hunters in regards to that ten percent.
    Where hunter numbers are controlled as well as kill choices it's easier than unlimited hunters . More so if part of a sites top ten are desired as future stock of kills beyond current season.

    Reducing kills by A.P.R. is different that reducing kills by restricting tags allowing kills.
    If we have more bucks beyond yearling age than hunters , it's easier to encourage holding off on the younger ones.

    Not knowing what exists , would hunters be alright in moderate to low deer populations (and those populations need to be accepted too , vs high numbers of deer in certain areas)with less buck kills in exchange for older buck goals?

    Easy to say my private would be better. Yet there remains plenty of hunters around me.
    Regulating to get bucks beyond two tears old with any consistency will require either less hunters , or less buck tags allowing a four on a side or better buck.
    And a two buck limit is not an incentive to kill doe where needed.
    And regardless of the number of hunters filling two tags ,that's another less buck when it's in my neighborhood.
    And yes , I've done so .
    In addition , that does not track how many guests or other hunters replace (by design ,invitation,sharing ,or happenstance) that hunter and more bucks get killed.
    I've an example of a site the landowner keeps a seat warmed by family members tagging out in turn as far as they can, while scolding a nearby hunter not to kill young bucks.
    While the hunter was thinking , maybe if you were not taking so many bucks out of this area , I'd see more choices...
     
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  14. LabtechLewis

    LabtechLewis

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    upload_2020-6-6_20-18-3.jpeg


    I think it's reasonable to assume the harvest data demographics describe the population at large. Models are built on assumptions. You've got to start somewhere and maybe it could eventually be refined over time.

    I don't know. This question is only applicable if the harvest data reveal a huntable poplution of 6YO bucks. Until then, it's moot and distracts from the greater question, are we hunters doing a poor job of managing for CWD or not? Is our current population as problematic as its made out to be (either for having too many deer or having too many older bucks on the landscape)?

    I'm viewing this topic from a herd perspective, not a hunter perspective. A moderate-to-low population seems to be preferred (current SOTA) over a heavy-to-overcrowded population. So that's satisfies an answer to question one. Question two is what age do we want at the top of the age pyramid? I totally get (and agree with) your refrain that when the population is reduced, there are fewer individuals of all age classes on the landscape (including older bucks). The point of the OP was that CWD is going to eventually lower the population for us if we can't harness it to some extent. I don't know if we can or not (it seems unlikely), but I'd sure rather give it an honest, directed effort than to politicize it in the interest of furthering any agenda.

    I understand that's conventional wisdom in our existing setting. Is it possible that clearly communicated and measured goals might influence hunters' choices on these matters? I'm projecting here, but if I'm making harvest decisions on a second kill and am attempting to remove the oldest deer from the local landscape (in the interest of lowering the overall age structure), my decision is going to be to kill what appears to be an adult doe instead of what appears to be a 1YO or 2YO buck. Why? Because site-level data tell me there is a higher population of older does than older bucks (if you can trust the pile of jaw bones). I'm talking 2 and 3YOs, not 5YO+, because I think our local herd is generally on the younger side as a whole. Not to mention, if I leave the buck, someone else might go ahead and remove it anyway. Is that really so bad for the sake of the herd? Can I recalibrate my view of a successful season and check a different box than has been popularized? Yes, but there has to be someone providing the preparation and affirmation for that outcome. Who does that now? Sincerely, I mean.

    I would think that a deer population in good habitat could rebound quickly if given the chance, so I'm not afraid to overshoot the goal on the low side. You have more experience with that than do I. Would you be?
     
  15. Lumberman

    Lumberman Premium Member

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    It’s time for a reminder that all of the counties that have CWD had 0 APRs and basically unlimited doe tags.

    The is no CWD in the NW12 APR zone. ZERO!!!

    If I didn’t know better reading this thread I would think APRs cause CWD.
     
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