Posts Tagged ‘Georgia Outdoor News’

An Otter Slide Somewhere in Georgia

March 7, 2015

I’m not opposed to hunting and fishing for food.  If it wasn’t for hunters, there would be few wild places left. Wildlife management areas contain some of the best wildlife habitat in Georgia and often support more faunal diversity than parks.  It’s a shame, though, that the only reason many animals are protected and kept alive is so humans can then go kill them during hunting season.  I suppose there are many hunters who do appreciate the beauty and wonder of the great outdoors, but there are too many who simply take joy in the killing of animals. Psychologists understand this as substitution.  I’m not claiming all hunters are substituting a sadistic desire to torture and kill other people by torturing and killing animals instead, but hunting does attract lots of sadists.  A brief perusal of hunting message boards will confirm this.

Despite my disgust for some of the dumb brutes who post there, I regularly check the trail cam photo section of the Georgia Outdoor News Forum.  I like to know what kind of wildlife still occurs in Georgia.  (Imagine if we could send a trail cam back in time to the Pleistocene.  How entertaining would that be?) I found a really impressive series of pictures taken from a trail cam placed next to an otter slide.  Otters and beavers like to slide down toward a body of water.  This particular slide is on the backside of an earthen dam.  I’ve only encountered 1 otter slide.  When my parents moved to Athens, Georgia in 1976, there was a vast stretch of piney woods behind our house.  I found an otter slide in the woods leading to a creek.  I never did see the otters, probably because they were nocturnal.  So it was a real treat to come across these photos.  This trail cam also took photos of raccoon, deer, possum, and a great blue heron.

Location in Cherokee County and the state of Georgia

Cherokee County, Georgia.  The following pics were likely taken somewhere in this county.  The man who posted the photos is from Woodstock, Georgia located in Cherokee County.  I found them on the Georgia Outdoor News Message Board.

When I first saw this photo, I thought for sure 6 people had misidentified it as a catfish.  It looked like a pickerel from this angle.  But when I examined it further, I did recognize it as a catfish.  It’s a skinny catfish.

According to the guy who posted these pics, the sadistic redneck landowner set a trap at the bottom of the slide and killed an otter…probably this one.

Beavers also like to use slides.

Bobcat and otter.

Source for Pics:

http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=602922

More Pics from a different slide in Georgia:

http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=833355

Killing Coyotes is Futile

June 1, 2013

The title of an article published in a recent issue of Georgia Outdoor News was “Save a Fawn, Kill a Coyote.”  This is the first line of that article–“Killing coyotes is fun.”  I just have to comment on this sadistic stupidity.

Ranchers have been trying to exterminate coyotes in the western states for 150 years.  Trapping, shooting, and poisoning have all failed.  Instead, coyote populations have increased, and they’ve recolonized the eastern states where they had been absent for about 10,000 years.  Wildlife management scientists understand why hunting coyotes has little impact on their long term numbers.  F.F. Knowles studied coyotes in Texas during the early 1970’s.  He found that in south Texas, where coyotes are abundant and under little hunting pressure, female coyotes produce an average litter size of 4.3, while in north Texas, where coyotes are extensively hunted, female coyotes produce an average litter size of 6.9.

Coyotes under human hunting pressure produce larger litters.  This mother has at least 9 pups.

Coyotes that are under human hunting pressure produce larger litters.  So when these stupid hunters kill a coyote, they are helping to increase the coyote population in the long term, thereby increasing fawn mortality.  They are not saving fawns as the title to the GON article falsely claims.  Another study examined the differences between populations of hunted and not hunted coyotes in Montana.  This study also found that female coyotes of the hunted population produced larger litters.  Moreover, pups from the hunted populations had a higher survival rate than pups from non hunted populations because the number of rodents and rabbits had increased from the previous year after some coyotes had been removed from the environment.  Coyote populations did temporarily dip immediately after they were hunted but completely rebounded to their former abundance in about 9 months.  Coyotes eat an average of 5 rodents a day.  Populations of mice, rats, and rabbits naturally increased until coyote numbers bounced back.  One can obviously assume from these studies that hunting coyotes serves no practical purpose for wildlife management.  Hunters should just be honest with themselves and admit they want to shoot coyotes for the hell of it because they like to kill animals, not because they are saving the deer herd.  (Note: I do believe there’s nothing wrong with farmers killing coyotes they catch in the act of attacking their livestock.)

I think anybody who kills coyotes for fun is a sadistic sociopath.  It’s like shooting your neighbor’s dog.  I’m not against hunting for food, but many hunters don’t shoot animals for food, they kill animals because they like to hurt living things.  These guys are the same kind of people who made good concentration camp guards during the holocaust.  They’re the same kind of people who participated in the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War.  And they live amongst us.

I used to post on the Georgia Outdoor News message board, but 1 of the moderators threatened to ban me every time I expressed my opinion.  Rednecks don’t have much tolerance for people with different opinions than their own.  Nevertheless, I couldn’t resist rubbing it in after the last election.  They all think Obama is some kind of socialist anti-christ.  I think Obama and the democrats are marginally better than the republicans, but they are both bad for the environment–the 1 issue I really care about.  I posted a topic on their political forums entitled “Hicks and Haters Lost the Election.”  The moderator banned me again (I’ve come back under different aliases).  I also got banned from SEC Rant for using the word, hick.  Hicks really don’t like to be called hicks.

******

I believe the species of wolf that lived in southeastern North America until the 19th century is extinct.  Genetic studies suggest the red wolves that wildlife biologists re-introduced are coywolves–hybrid coyote (Canis latrans) and gray wolf (Canis lupus) mixes.  We will never know if there was a distinct southeastern species of wolf unless scientists examine the DNA of the fossil specimen found in Fern Cave (See https://markgelbart.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/the-truth-about-the-red-wolfs-status-as-a-species/ ).  Dire wolves were the dominant canid across the south during the Rancho La Brean land mammal age of the late Pleistocene, but coyotes did occur in the region then, occupying a scavenging, rodent-killing niche.  I hypothesize that when dire wolves became extinct, southeastern coyotes evolved into a larger canid that lived across the southeast until man wiped them out.  Whether they deserved full species status is debatable.

Coyote near Atlanta, Georgia.  Looks like a wolf to me.

Red wolf.  Looks like a coyote to me.

I see coyotes quite often in Richmond County, Georgia–both live and road-killed specimens.  Coyotes patrol state highways looking for other road-killed animal to eat and often become victims of motor vehicles as well.  I’ve seen a large reddish coyote that resembles the red wolf in the above photo.  On one occasion a coyote trotted across the vacant lot on the opposite side of the street from my house and exhibited the pouncing behavior they use to catch mice.

References:

Gese

“Demographic and Spatial Responses of Coyotes to Changes in Food and Exploitation”

Wildlife Damage Management Conference 1-1-2005

Knowlton, F.F.

“Preliminary Interpetations of Coyote Population Mechanics with some Management Implications”

Journal of Wildlife Management 36 1972