T.R. Michels

T.R. Michels is a professional guide who specializes in trophy whitetail, turkey and bear hunts in Minnesota. He has guided in the Rocky Mountains for elk and mule deer, too. He publishes the Trinity Mountain Outdoors website at www.TRMichels.com.

Posts about Recreation

It was only a Bear!

Posted by: T.R. Michels Updated: October 1, 2011 - 12:51 PM

It was only a Bear!

People may argue that Hope was only a bear. But, she was arguably, the most famous black bear of all time, because of her presence on the internet. Because of the impact she had on young students and adults around the world, Because of the interest in bears, bear research, bear conservation, and conservation in general. And because of her trials and tribulations, as a cub. She, above all else, was a survivor, until her life was cut short by a hunter. Her contribution to the role of conservation, world wide, is inestimable.

If I had written a story for a book, or for film, as a medium for reaching the humanity of the world, championing the desperate need of conservation now, before we strip the earth of the trees we need for our own vital oxygen, and the loss of the beautiful flora and fauna of the wild places that are left, I could not have written a better script. She was born in struggles and turmoil - as we watched. She was coddled and played with by her mother - as we watched. She was abandoned by her mother, only to struggle and survive on her on in the harsh wilderness - as we watched, She was reunited with her mother, fed and played with once again - as we watched. She was there when her mother gave birth again – as we watched. And she played with her young siblings - as we watched. She was there when one of her siblings died – as we watched. Only to be killed before the age of two.,

The part of the story that has not been written yet, is that her exposure to the world (thanks to Dr. Lynn Rogers and his staff for their foresight), and her fame, was not in vain. Let us not forget what she meant to us, with the Hope (geez, even her name lends itself to a story or movie) that her death will bring about an awareness of the need for research, but more importantly conservation, on all continents and for all species. Please people unite in her memory, for the sake of conservation. Please join me on my two Facebook pages; "Protect Minnesota Research Bears" and "Citizens for Legislation on Conservation" (CLAC).

Thank you Hope, for all you have given us, and for all you have done for us. You certainly will not be forgotten.

And let us not forget (especially you Legislators) that it was the act of Dr. Rogers, that put internet cameras in the dens of some bears, and in and around their habitat - that is the reason for all of the publicity generated by Lily and Hope. Which, will, if you now allow it to continue, bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars to Ely and the surrounding areas, and to the State of Minnesota. This is not just about research anymore, it is about conservation, and the economy of Minnesota. Why not, instead of restricting how much Dr. Rogers is allowed to do, help him, help the citizens and State of Minnesota.

Thank you Dr Rogers and Staff

 

Really?

Before I get into rest of this post, I’d like to first address the negative feelings several people have, claiming that you should not name a wild animal. Any of you who hunt whitetails know that we often name our favorite bucks, or any deer that has some special meaning to us or has a peculiarity. I just watched Midwest Whitetail on Channel 45, on which the hunter shot a nice 8 point buck named "Wishbone". He had named another buck in the area too, but I forget its name. In the area north of Kenyon, Minnesota several year ago, where I hunted and studied deer, the locals had a name for a massive, broad beamed 10 point buck, which I was actually able to pattern during my studies. Due to the fact that his antlers were semi-palmated they named him "Bullwinkle" for the moose from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon show. As a guide from Minnesota to Montana to New Mexico and Iowa, I know that either I or the locals have named many animals, bears, mountain lions, deer and elk. For hunters in Minnesota to name deer, and then turn around and criticize researchers for naming their research subjects, is hypocritical.

The Loss of Hope

As Dr. Rogers and I contemplated the killing and death of Hope, I pointed out that some good might come of her death. It might generate enough interest and other feelings, in people from all walks of life, even hunters, that they might be able to convince the Legislature, Commissioner Landwehr and Governor Dayton. That some type of protection be granted to the bears the he is researching. The only other thing I could think of tht one migh put in the positive column, is the fact that the bear that was killed might hae been one that he had invested several years of research in, whereby he had a lot of previous data, but would not gain any future data.

As to, "What have we lost by the death of Hope", I don’t’ believe either he or I could list all of the negatives right now. Some of the questions Dr. Rogers had in mind for his research, and possible future research papers, are; would Hope and Lily compete for the attention of a male next spring, when Hope would be in breeding condition. How would Hope, Faith and Lily’s future cubs interact with each other? Where would Hope setup her own home range. Would Hope den with Lily and Faith this year, or would she seek out her own den, And so many more questions, that might never be answered, because the number of mixed aged bear families is so low.

The death of Hope has taken away the ability of the research community, and the public, the opportunity to learn so much about black bear biology n behavior. If nothing else, it is a very unfortunate death.

Hunters & The $5000 Jackpot

As far as I know no other research bears have been shot by hunters. That may be because no research bear gave a hunter the opportunity to kill it, But, I’d like to believe that those hunters who understand how important black bear research is, did not either set up in are known to contain research bears, which Dr Rogers tells me that the bear guides in the areas did not do, They purposely did not set up in or near areas known to contain research bears. All of those guides should be highly commended for their restraint. Or it might be that any hunter who did have a chance to kill a research bear, put his name in for the $5000 Jackpot, and did not jeopardize his chance of winning the $5000. In any case, Minnesota Bear hunters should be also be commended for not killing any research bears (wearing a collar). I’ve talked to the people who pt up the funds for the $5000 Jackpot. They ar3e deeply saddened by the death of Hope. But, as far as they are concerned, the Jackpot is still in effect, until and if a research bear is killed.

Thank you to Minnesota’s Hunters

As a hunter, I know how many hunters feel as the season end draws near. They feel that with time getting short, and all the time and effort they have spent scouting, putting out baits, freshening baits, and sitting in their stands, plus the money they have invested in a bear hunt, they sure would like to go home with a bear, for the meat, for a mount or for a rug. All I can say to them is, if you put in for the jackpot, or know someone who did, for the sake of every hunter who did put in for the jackpot, now is not the time to get antsy and kill a research bear. Please use all the restraint you can, and pass up all research bears. And thank you for doing it.

To the hunter who shot Hope, I'd real like to hear your side of tht story, so feel free to log on here and post it. I will not comment on it, except in a positive way.  

If any bear hunter has seen a radio collared research bear, and passed on it, plese log on here and tell us why you did not shoot it.  

May God bless all of you,

T.R.

 

 

 

 

 

On Another Note:

 

Who is T.R. Michels anyhow?

Posted by: T.R. Michels Updated: September 30, 2011 - 2:45 PM

Someone was asking for my credentials. I believe it is the same person who is trying to get me banned from  speaking af the hunting shows, so he must already know my credentials, or he would not be trying to do that. Instead of typing it all out, I’ll paste and copy the biography from (I believe it was) the Minnesota Deer Classic a few years ago.

T.R. Michels has been called, "The most versatile hunting seminar speaker in North America." He is nationally recognized for his action-packed, informative seminars, which are based on his experience as a wildlife researcher and professional guide. As a speaker for nineteen (twenty-two) years he has provided seminars at the Deer and Turkey Classics, Expos and shows in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin; and at the Chicago Sport Show, Chicagoland Sport Show, Denver Sportsmen's Show, Eastern Iowa Sport Show, Gulf South Hunting and Fishing Show, Louisiana Sportsmen's Show, Michigan Outdoorama, Milwaukee Sentinel Sport Show, Minneapolis Sport Show, Minnesota Game Fair and the Quad Cities Outdoor Show, He has also been the featured speaker at the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association banquet, the Iowa Bowhunters Association banquet and the Christian Deer Hunters Association banquet.

T.R. began researching game animal behavior, including communication through vocalization, scents and visual stimuli; and ways to use this knowledge to attract game in 1990. He conducted a seven-year study to determine how weather and lunar factors affect deer movement and rut related activity; and the effectiveness of using scrape activity to determine when and where to hunt whitetail bucks. He conducted a four-year study to determine how seasonal and current weather conditions and lunar factors affect turkey movement, gobbling, and breeding activity. He has also conducted a three year study to determine how elk activity is affected by meteorological conditions and lunar factors; what calls elk use and how they use them; and how daily and seasonal bugling are affected by age, dominance and competition among bull elk. (currently in my third year of black bear research in Arkansas) 

As a professional guide, and owner of T.R. Michels Guide Service, T.R. specializes in trophy whitetail, turkey and bear hunts in Minnesota, and has guided in the Rocky Mountains for elk and mule deer. His clients include former Federal Cartridge Corporation owner Alan Newcomb, Trebark Camouflage designer Jim Crumley, former Feather Flex Decoys manager Dave Berkley, retired Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant, retired professional wrestlers Vern Gagne and Paul Ellering, and outdoor writers Kathy Etling, Mark La Barbara former Editor North American Bowhunter, Mike Strandlund former editor of Bowhunting World, Norman Strung former writer for Field & stream and John Zent former editor of the NRA’s American Hunter.

As an outdoor writer for eighteen (twenty-two) years, T.R. has written articles for the National Rifle Association's American Hunter and InSights, the National Wild Turkey Federation's Turkey Call, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Bow & Arrow Hunting, Buckmasters, Fur-Fish-Game; the Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin Sportsman; and North American Whitetail. In addition, he has had columns in the Rub Lines and Whitetail Fanatic magazines; is a regular contributor to Adventure Sports Outdoors, Badger Sportsman, Dakota Outdoors, Fish and Game Finder, Fishing and Hunting News and Midwest Outdoors; and has written for Bird Dog News, Dakota Country, Wildfowl, Waterfowl USA, the Christian Bowhunters Association's Speaking Out magazine and the Christian Deer Hunters Association newsletter. He also writes for several hunting related Internet services: HuntingNet, Bowhunitng.Net, BowZone.CA, Fish and Game Finder, NAOutdoors, The Midwest Hunter, HuntOnly.com, Whitetail Fever, Trinity Mountain Outdoors, and Up North Outdoors.

As a result if his research and guiding experience T.R. has authored several books, including Whitetail Addict's Manual, Parts 1 & 2, Complete Whitetail Addict's Manual, Elk Addict's Manual, Duck & Goose Addict's Manual, and Turkey Addict’s Manual, Hunting Northern and Western Game; the seven volume Deer Addict’s Manual series; the Scrape Hunters Manual, Hunting the Whitetail Rut Phases, The Science of Predicting Deer Activity & The Art of Hunting Trophy Bucks, the Deer Manager's Manual; and three Outdoorsman’s Cookbooks.

As the owner of Trinity Mountain Outdoors T.R. is also active in the design of hunting products. He devised the Daily Deer Movement Indicator, the Moon Indicator, the Rut Phase Indicator and the Rut Indicator, which predict deer movement based on weather conditions, lunar factors, and rut activity. He also devised the Turkey Activity Indicator, which predicts daily turkey activity based on weather conditions; and the Turkey Breeding Phase Indicator, which describes the various phases of the turkey breeding season, and when they should occur. He is the innovator of the Feather Flex Upwind goose decoy, their bedded deer/elk/antelope decoys, their rabbit decoy, and the influence behind their strutting turkey decoy. His research on goose behavior is the influence behind the white crescent found on many goose flags and goose decoys. He has also consulted on the design of elk, goose and turkey calls.

T.R. is also the owner and webmaster of the Trinity Mountain Outdoors website at www.TRMichels.com, which hosts his hunting articles and tips in the Trinity Mountain Outdoors Magazine, his "T.R's Hunting Tips", the "T.R's Hunting Tips" message board and talk forum, and his wildlife viewing and photography tips in the Trinity Mountain Outdoor Adventures Natural History and Travel Magazine.

 

Did a Hunter Purposely Kill Hope the Black Bear?

Posted by: T.R. Michels Updated: September 30, 2011 - 11:51 AM

Let's set this straight right now. I never said that the hunter who killed Hope broke the law, what he did was legal, but, unles there are some mitigating factors in killing her, he did do somehting wrong. And the way I feel about him, does not express my feelings about hunting or all of the other hunters out there. I am pro hunting all of the way, and I'd like to think that most hunters woudl not have killed a yearling bear in this situation. they woud have made sure of what they were shooting at - before they shot.

 

I’ve been accused of condemning this hunter, without getting the facts. Much of what I laid out in my post about the killing of Hope, is in fact - fact. I have talked to someone who knows the facts, as much as I have divulged. The rest of what I have laid out, comes from deductive reasoning.

Lets look at how I laid out my argument;

I think there are way too many indicators that show this to be a purposeful killing. I just do not see how - with all the publicity this has received, in hunting publications, including magazines and newspapers, in this blog, on 3-4 pages on Facebook, including the Lily the Black Bear page, Lily; Bear with a Bounty page, and my own Protect Minnesota's Research Bears page, and on several TV stations in Minnesota – that this hunter either did not know he was setting up within Lily and Hope’s home range, where the bears most likely to come in to a bait station would be Lily with her cub, and Hope, a one-year-old bear; or that this hunter could not tell that Lily was a female.

1. Arguably conjecture. One could argue that he knew nothing about any publicity, although it is extremely likely. I am told that he did in fact talk to Dr. Lynn Rogers, he did know where Hopes home range was.

So – taking all that information into account we can conclude:

that - any hunter (not necessarily a black bear hunter) would know that the units around Ely contained bears that were being researched, and that those bears were accustomed to humans and food scraps more than most bears, and that the bears most likely to come into a new food source were juveniles (1-3 year olds), because juveniles are not generally with their mothers (who might warn them away from a new food source, or they might have trouble finding food because they are not with their mother), and that the probability of a one-year-old bear coming in to a bait station in that area would be Hope, was high, and that the probability that any female yearling to come to a bait station in that are was extremely high.

2, in all probability Fact.

and - this hunter purposefully moved from another area to the area that contained the home ranges of at least three radio collared females, including Lily and Hope's home range, and - that hunting ethics hold that shooting a cub (under one year) or a sow with cubs - is taboo

3. Fact

then - the only conclusion we can come up with is that - this hunter moved to the Ely area in order to be within a famous research bear's home range, where he expected to see a one-years-old famous black bear, that was accustomed to seeing, hearing and smelling humans, an accustomed to being fed by them (making it easy to bait and to kill)

4. in all probability Fact.

and - that he intended to kill that black bear named Hope.- for some yet unknown reason (I'm not buying the "they taste better" explanation, because I do not know a bear hunter, who is not looking for a large bear with a great pelt, or a record book bear). Besides, I do not think they taste all that good. And I know other hunters who feel the same way.

5. Arguably conjecture, but in all probablity Fact. He might have wanted to see one of the two or three big boars in the area. But then why did he shoot a yearling?

If this hunter sincerely did not want to shoot Hope, all he had to do was not shoot any yearling bear that came to his bait station. It was that simple.

6. Fact. We have been told that this hunter e-mailed the NABC and wrote that he did not want to shot Hope.

I’ve been told that this hunter is a seasoned hunter, who should know how to sex a bear,

7. Fact

and that he saw Hope at approximately 7:05 PM, which would leave him with enough light to shoot the bear, or he would not have shot it in the first place. So, he should have known it was a female yearling black bear that he was looking at,

8.Fact. This was posted in the Updates on the NABC website

and he went ahead and shot it. If he is a seasoned hunter, who knew there were yearling males in the area and 2-3 adult boars, then why didn’t he wait to see if he could get one of them to come to his bait?

9. Fact

If this hunter says he did not want to shoot Hope

10.Fact

all he had to do to avoid killing her was to not shoot any yearling that came to his bait.

11. Fact

I cannot believe that he did not know which bear he was shooting, or who it was.

 

I may be wrong about this hunter, if so I apologize, but I do not think I am. The scenario I have laid out, makes it doubtful that the killing of Hope was not a purposeful act. If he did not want to shoot Hope, a bear that he know was a yearling female bear, and knew (from all the publicity about it) that she had slipped her collar -  all he had to do to avoid even the slimmest chance of killing Hope, was pass up on every yearling bear  that came to his bait (Dr. Rogers tells me there were only two other yearlings in that area, both were males). And if he knew there were two to three large males in that area (I’ve been told that he did know that), why would he not wait for one of them. I’m not sure about believing the "young ones taste better". Even if that is the case --- he says he did not want to shoot Hope, then why did he not wait until one of the yearling males came in?

If I was in his place, and did move my hunting are because I was not seeing any bears, I would not move to an area within the home range of Hope, because I would not want to shoot her, especially if I was signed up for the $5000 Jackpot. I would not set up there, because I would think that most of the bears I saw there were either sows with cubs (which hunter ethics say you should not shoot) or they were research bears. Why would I want to hunt there, if there were so many bears that I should not be shoot?

I would want to hunt in an area where there were bears I could shoot in good conscience.

If I did (for some unknown reason) set up in an area known to contain research bears, including the yearling named Hope (who I claim I did not want to shoot) why would I shoot any yearling bear, just on the off chance that the bear was Hope?

If I knew that Hope was female, and I did not want to shoot Hope, I would take "extreme caution to make sure that the yearling bear I was looking at, possibly through a scope, was not a female. Especially if I knew that thousands of people around the world would be extremely upset because I had killed Hope - the little bear they had watched with interest as she was born, played with her mother, was abandoned, survived as a cub on her own in the wilderness, was eventually reunited with her mother, and was again raised by her mother, along with her new brother and sister, only to have her brother die.

If this person did not know how mad and sad, people around the world would be, if she was killed by him - I am sure he knows know.

All this person had to do, to avoid killing Hope, was pass up all yearling bears, and there would be no chance that he would shoot Hope. If it was an accident, either this person has very little skill determining the age and sex of bears, or they had very little self control.

When people defend this person, they often say that he did nothing wrong, due to the fact that this bear did not have a collar on, and what he did was legal, which it was. However, when they use that as a defense, they invariably forget the fact that this hunter says he did not want to shoot Hope, and yet he did shoot Hope.

This person saying that he did not want to shoot Hope, after he did shoot her, and after he saw the public feelings about it after she had already been killed, sounds more than anything else, like an excuse for actually killing her. Is it a way of trying to minimize what happened, or a way of getting out of it? I’ll let you decide. 

Unfortunately, this incident does a lot of harm to hunting and hunters, who are some of the most ethical conservation minded people I know. My feelings about this hunter do not, and should not, refect on the way I feel about my fellow hunters, or hunting in general. I enjoy hunting as much as the next hunter, and probably more than many hunters. 

I'd guess that about ninetyfive percent of all hunters are ehtical, lawabiding citzens who are very nice people.Unfortunately there a a few hunters who do not adhere to the laws, or do other things which refledt badly on all hnter, and unfortunately the person who killed Hope - has done somethig that does reflect badly on all hunters. It does not matter what anyone says, this is and incident that, if this perosn had taken the time to think about the ramifications on other hunters, and not shot a yearling bear, on the off chance that it was Hope, could have been avoided, by simply not shooting a yearling bear.

Hunters in many cases, do humanity a great service by helping to keep many game species within the carrying capacity of the habitat, and provide much of the funding needed for wildlife management and conservation. I shudder to think where conservation would be if it were not for the hunters. We need hunters and hunting. so - thank you to all of my fellow hunters - keep up the good work.  

I'd also like to thank all of the conservation officers and employees out ther, wihout them wildlfe management and conservation would not be waht it is in Minnesota. I've met many CO's over the yeas, and aswith all people, most of them are nice people, who care about the enviromnent of Minnesota. Thank you for all your hard work.  

 

God bless, and hunt safe

 

T.R.

 

A Hunter Admits to Killing Hope the Black Bear

Posted by: T.R. Michels Updated: September 28, 2011 - 9:22 PM

 

Finally, after dasy of waiting, a person contacted the Bear Center through an e-mail, and stated he that had passed up Jo and her cub and Ursula and her two cubs - bears whose GPS locations showed them at his bait - but he didn’t mention Lily or say whether or not he had killed Hope. Later on he admitted to killing Hope. e

While this seems to imply that this person was not looking to kill young bears (as in cubs), and that he was kind enough to pass up shooting a sow with cubs, it is standard hunting ethics that you do not shoot a female game animal that still has her young with her, because the young still need nutrition from their mother (as in milk), and guidance (so they learn how to survive) on how to live in a harsh wilderness environment.

So, this hunter did not do anything heroic when he passed up sows with cubs, he just followed one of the rules of hunter ethics. But, he did turn around and shoot a yearling female bear.

If this hunter had talked to Dr. Rogers in the past (Dr. Rogers says he has talked to this hunter in the past), he knew that the area he wanted to set up in was within the home range of at least three radio collared bears, not just two radio collared bear, but two female radio collared bears, which each had cubs, and one of them having a yearling cub. If he got enough information from Dr. Rogers, he would also know that there were also 1-2 other yearlings in the area, both of which were males, and three adult males. He also probably knew that hunting ethics frowned on killing female bears with cubs. That left him with the possibility of killing three adult males, two yearling male and one female yearling (because Hope was not wearing a collar.

So – lets look at some facts as we know them. And do some deductive reasoning:

A hunter admits to shooting a 1-year-old female black bear near the feeding stations with Lily and Hope’s home range. He claims he did not know it was Lily. As I outlined in my last post, no matter what some people say, I think there are way too many indicators that show this to be a purposeful killing. I just do not see how - with all the publicity this has received, in hunting publications, including magazines and newspapers, in this blog, on 3-4 pages on Facebook, including the Lily the Black Bear page, Lily; Bear with a Bounty page, and my own Protect Minnesota's Research Bears page, and on several TV stations in Minnesota - that this hunter either did not know he was setting up within Lily and Hope’s home range, where the bears most likely to come in to a bait station, would be Lily with her cub, and Hope, a one-year-old bear; or that this hunter could not tell that Lily was a female.

So – taking all that information into account we can conclude:

that - any hunter(not necessarily a black bear hunter) would know that the units around Ely contained bears that were being researched, and that those bears were accustomed to humans and food scraps more than most bears, and that the bears most likely to come into a new food source were juveniles (1-3 year olds), because juveniles are not with their mothers (who might warn them away from a new food source, or they might have trouble finding food because they are not with their mother),and that the probability of a one-year-old bear coming into a bait station in that area would be Hope was high, and that the probability that any female yearling to come to a bait station in that are was extremely high.

and - this hunter purposefully moved from another area to the area that contained the home ranges of at least three radio collared females, including Lily and Hope's home range,

and - that hunting ethics hold that shooting a cub (under one year) or a sow with cubs - is taboo

then - the only conclusion we can come up with is that - this hunter moved to the Ely area in order to be within a famous research bear's home range, where he expected to see a one-years-old famous black bear, that was accustomed to seeing, hearing and smelling humans, an accustomed to being fed by them (making it easy to bait and to kill)

and - that he intended to kill that black bear named Hope.- for some yet unknown reason (I'm not buying the "they taste better" explanation, because I do not know a bear hunter, who is not looking for a large bear with a great pelt, or a record book bear). Besides, I do not think they taste all that good. And I know other hunters who feel the same way.

If this hunter sincerely did not want to shoot Hope, all he had to do was not shoot any yearling bear that came to his bait station. It was that simple. I’ve been told that this hunter is a seasoned hunter, who should know how to sex a bear, and that he saw Hope at approximately 7:05 PM, which would leave him with enough light to shoot the bear, or he would not have shot it in the first place. So, he should have known it was a female yearling black bear that he was looking at, and he went ahead and shot it. If he is a seasoned hunter, who knew there were yearling males in the are, and 2-3 adult boars, then why didn’t he wait to see if he could get one of them to come to his bait?

I cannot believe that he did not know which bear he was shooting, or who it was.

 

Other Notes:

One paragraph on an update page from the WRI website may tell us a different story than the politically correct one we are getting in the other media.

The only reason I can think of that they do not want anyone expressing their feelings is because some people at the WRI might feel the same way, and do not want those types of feelings posted – because they might create friction and animosity between the WRI and the hunter, and between bear admirers and hunters in general. What they are saying is, "please do not stir the pot" no matter how we feel.

 

I’m not connected with the WRI, and I have serious doubts that this was an accident, because the facts just do not add up. This makes me very angry. – If the hunter did not want to take the chance of shooting Hope, he would not have killed any 1-2 years old bear near his bait station – but he did. I do not believe this was an accident, no matter what he wrote to the WRI.

 

A lady e-mailed me this evening, and stated that due to the threats that ha sbeen mde to this hunter, she was concerned for his safety. She then states that she had called the DNR office to inquire whether or not the name of the person was public record, She then states this,

"I called the St. Paul, MN DNR somewhere around 2 pm MN time and a woman answered the phone (after hitting option 4 on their voice recorded phone message). She did not identify herself. I asked her if the hunters name would/could be made public and expressed my worry about the hunter's safety. She assured me the information was private and then proceeded to tell me that the DNR's belief was that Dr. Rogers had shot the bear to gain publicity and monetary gain. She started to laugh and as I felt disheartened by her callousness I just thanked her and hung up.

I'm told other people called to ask the same information from the DNR after I (in very poor judgement) left a message on the Lily A Bear With A Bounty's Facebook page. They, of course, were told that was not the DNR's stance, after what I'm sure, were many phone calls. "

 

She then stated this,

"I sent an email to and received a response from the NABC about my conversation, but I am left with the sinking feeling that the NABC doesn't truly understand the hostility the DNR holds against Dr. Rogers and his research.

I don't know what, if anything will come of this email, or if anything should come of it, but I did want someone with a bigger voice than me to know what the researchers are up against."

 

When I asked Dr. Rogers if he knew what some DNR employees thought about him, he said he knew that some of them hated him. There is something wrong if this mentality is pervasive within the DNR. Hopefully something will change the way those DNR employees think of Dr. Rogers, because he is doing important work. .

May Glod bless all of you,

T.R.

 

 

 

Do We Really Need to Hunt?

Posted by: T.R. Michels Updated: September 28, 2011 - 8:13 AM

Non-hunters, animal lovers and animal rights activists are beginning to rely heavily on the animal humane societies to help defend their belief that hunting, fishing and trapping are inhumane - because they believe that if it is - they can use it as a means of stopping all hunting. But what is humane?

The dictionary describes humane as kind, merciful or considerate. What is considered humane by one person, may not be by another. To an animal rightist (who may know very little about predator/prey relationships or carrying capacity) banning hunting and allowing an animal to overpopulate and destroy the habitat (causing them to suffer malnutrition, stress and starvation) is more humane than removing enough animals through hunting that the remaining animals will have enough forage to survive. To an outdoorsman this scenario is not merciful, kind or considerate, and it is not humane.

Predator/Prey/Carrying Capacity Relationships

If a person understands predator/prey relationships and carrying capacityof the habitat, they know that when animal numbers exceed the carrying capacity of the land - habitat destruction, low reproduction rates, stress, malnutrition and starvation are the results. However, most animal rightists have no knowledge of the way things really are in nature. They relate everything to a Utopian world where they believe all animals should be free to live like humans. And they may believe that there is some unknown welfare system in nature that will take care of the animals so they will never suffer. Or they relate wild animals to their lap dog, which they take care of.

I have watched animals in overpopulated areas search for food. At first they lose weight, then they become emaciated, with every rib showing. In their search for food they begin to move at times and places when they wouldn't normally. They travel in the open during daylight hours, where they may be chased by wolves, coyotes and stray dogs, and possibly humans - which costs them so much energy that they cannot recover, and they eventually die. If they escape the predators or humans they may be wounded, and die later. They may travel greater distances in their search for food and may be hit by vehicles and die a slow death. I have watched a deer hit by a car die. It is not a sight for the weak hearted. If the animal is severely wounded, with one or more broken legs, as is often the case, it may drag itself to the side of the road, where it may take hours to die.

Anyone who has spent enough time in the outdoors has seen a wounded animal. Whether it has been a rabbit or squirrel hit by a car, a duck, pheasant or deer that has been shot, or a fish that has swallowed the hook, most outdoorsman have seen an animal that may or may not recover from it's wounds. How do you decide if the animal will survive or not? Where do you draw the line as to what is an acceptable injury for the animal to live with and what isn't? What injury will eventually lead to the animal's inability to move and cause it to die of exposure, malnutrition or lack of water? The question inevitably rises, "What is the humane thing to do?" When it is a game animal that has been shot, or a fish hooked too deep, the answer for most of us is simple; dispatch it as quickly as possible. To an animal rights person a blow to the head of a fish, breaking the neck of a bird, or a finishing shot to a deer or predator, might be inhumane and cruel, but to an outdoorsman it is an act of kindness, mercy and consideration.

The real world for wild animals is a harsh, cruel one, where an animal must eat to live, and avoid danger to survive. There are both prey species and predators, and they are interdependent on each other and their habitat. If there are too many prey species they will destroy the habitat and eventually some will die. And it may take years for the habitat to recover. If prey species move into habitats where there is not enough forage to sustain them they must either move out or some will die.

Predators 

In the real world there have always been predators, and man was one of them. The predators evolved with the prey species, and the predators' existence depended on the numbers of the prey. Where there were numerous prey species, numerous predators could exist. After thousands of years of coexistence a balance was met between the prey species, the habitat and the predators. The predators kept the prey species at or below the carrying capacity of the habitat, so that habitat destruction by the prey species did not occur, and malnutrition, stress, disease and starvation where kept to a minimum. But, without the predators this balance of nature could not occur.

Human Interference

Another reality is that man has altered the predator/prey relationship and habitat carrying capacity wherever he goes. In many places man has improved the habitat through agricultural practices so that more prey species can survive. But, man has also eliminated the natural predators by hunting; because they feared the predators, because the predators competed with man for the prey species, or the predators left the area because of their unwillingness or inability to survive in the vicinity of man. The result is that in most areas there are far more prey species than the habitat would normally hold, but fewer predators than should be present. This is not bad as long as man continues to be a predator. But, when human populations stop or ban hunting, the prey species is not kept in check, and with the absence of other predators, the prey species overpopulates and suffers.

Because many predators are dangerous to man, most humans do not tolerate their presence, and the predators are removed through hunting (this hunting seems to be acceptable, especially if human lives are at stake). Thus, the predators can not, and do not, keep the prey species in balance with the carrying capacity of the land, because they are no longer part of the equation. The only alternativethere is, is for man to continue to hunt in order to keep the predators in balance with the prey species and the prey species in balance with the social carrying capacity of the habitat (what humans will put up with), or find other ways to remove the over abundance of predators, and prey species, and treat them in a humane manner, by taking excess animals and using them responsibly as a renewable food resource, so they do not destroy the other renewable resources (prey species) that they rely on to survive.

Hunting

Hunting, as a means of survival, and as a way of recreation, has been practiced by humans for thousands of years. There are several references to hunting, and which wild animals were hunted, in the Bible. In Genesis 1:26 God gave man dominion over the animals and plants. One of the definitions of dominion is "to give authority over", which means we humans are the masters of the animals and plants, and we can do what we want with them. That authority carries with it the responsibility to manage our natural, renewable resources. If man is to exercise his authority, and his management responsibility in a humane fashion, he must remove excess game animals from the habitat, so that the habitat is not destroyed. The question is, "Is it better to let the animals die a long drawn out death after they have already destroyed the habitat? Or is it better to remove excess animals through hunting and use them as the food source that they are, therefore keeping both the animals and the habitat healthy?" Anyone who has not lost touch with the outdoors will agree that hunting is the more humane alternative.

A Personal Note:

As a Christian I didn’t have to go very far into the Bible to find out that humans not only have the right to utilize animals and plants (Genesis 1: 29-30), but that we also have the responsibility to manage the animals as well. Genesis 1: 26 states that God gave man dominion, or mastery, over the animals, which means we can do anything we want with them. But, along with the right to do want we want, we also have the responsibility to manage. We have to control the numbers of animals in many areas through hunting, because the natural checks and balances are no longer in place. Man has decreased the natural habitat through destruction of forests and the building of cities and roads; increased the natural food source through farming; and reduced the natural predation by eliminating or displacing many of the larger carnivores like wolves, mountain lions, bears etc.

Man as a Predator

Through fossil records we know that man at some point in the past, mnwas a scavenger of meat. This is clearly evdienced by several physical feaures of humns- which we hve in common with predators. Terrestrial predators generally have widely spaced ears, so hat they can determine which direction and approximately how far a way a sound is coming from; humans hve widely spaced arm, on the sides of their heads. Terrestrial predators generally have eyes on the front of their head, so that they can determine the relative distance of an object from them; namely a prey species. Predators generally have incisor and caninde teeth,for grabbing, ripping and tearing meat; which humans have Humns evolved as predators, eatin meat on the savannahs of Africa.

Man was one of earth's natural predators from his beginning, and he will continue to be a natural predator, in the United States, Canada and many other countries, because hunting is one of the rights of the people. If we wish to keep that right we all need to become involved with the hunting organizations and conservation clubs that are devoted to proper management of animals and habitat, and are devoted to hunting rights.

 

On Another Note:

Evidently the DNR is talking about restricting, or lowering, the number of bears that can be collared by Dr. Lynn Rogers and his research team. This may not seem like anything important, but if you are following the lineage or familial relationship of bears to other bears of there own family, or to their extended family, - you need to collar more cubs, to find out if more familial breeding does or will occur. Or will there be breeding of non-related bears. And what effects will relational breeding have on the physiological makeup of the bears. Will offspring of related bears have birth defects or health problems later in life.

I think this could be important, because traditionally, female cubs either setup home ranges close to their neonatal (mother/daughter) home range, or the mother may give up some of her home range to give the cub a home range that it is familiar with - so it gets a head start on life. Males typically do what is referred to as "pioneering) - they leave the neonatal home range, and seek new home ranges that are not close to their neonatal home range. When they do this, it lessens the chance that they will not breed with their mother, sister or aunts- resulting in in-breeding or line-breeding, which can result in birth defects of cubs and poor health of the bears in the later years. So, we need to know much more about bears - which is why people like Dr. Lynn Rogers and myself do animal research – to lean more about the intricacies of the biology and behavior of the animals.

Why is Dr. Roger's Research Important?

One of the reasons why Dr. Rogers and my own research are important, is the we can do it without funds from the State of Minnesota or Arkansas (in my case on my bear research). We either foot the bill for our research ourselves (as in my case), or we raise funds through the public sector (like Dr. Rogers) so that we can continue long-term studies, which provide more information than short term studies. Due to budgetary restraints, especially during the recession, biologists (that are associated with State run Universities), only receive grants that will allow them to only do three years of research.

Privatly FundedResearch

We need to find a way to convince Commissioner Landwehr of the importance of Dr. Rogers research, and get the DNR to allow Dr. Rogers to conduct his studies in the ways that he sees fit, and not restrict how many bears he can place collars on, and how large of an area he can use for his research project – at no cost to the State. 

I,for the life of me, cannot understan why Commissioner Landwehr is not willing to allow Dr. Rogers to continue his research, because he is able to supply answers to wildlife management questions, that the State cannot afford to fund research projects for in order to get the answers to those questions. 

 

In these hard economic times, why not supplement your store bought foods with food from you own garden and wild game, that you harveted yourself? 

When you are out there hunting, think about safety first, and take a kid (your own, or the child of an acquaintance) along with you.

If you are out in our great State's woods, waters, CRP or agricultural lands,take a faily membe or friend along, and don't  a camer or binoculars,so you can remember and ehance your experience.

Pleas pick up all trash you see, for the sake of wildness.

 

May God bless all of you, and your families and friends, 

T.R.

 

PS: Next UP - more on the person who shot Hope - our beloved bear

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