Ruben Cantu on Predator Control
Ruben is the West Texas TPWD Regional Director . He offered his personal opinion on predator control:
“May I ask you what kind of fawn crop you are seeing on your mule deer surveys? I think that many times when folks want to do predator control for “deer management” it is because they feel deer numbers are too low.
Are they on the Circle in relation to the amount of quality food available to them? If the numbers are low is it because of the lack of recruitment at the youngest age class?
Back to my original question…if the fawn crop is low can you pinpoint the reason why? Knowing why may be the weakest link and may in turn point you to another weak link. If the fawn crop is low what does fawning cover look like? If there is adequate fawning cover are the fawns in a weakened condition and just can’t survive, i.e. they die despite having good fawn cover and coyotes just happen to come across the dead fawns and thus the coyotes are being blamed for killing an already dead fawn.
The next question, why are they weak? What condition is the doe in? Is she producing enough milk? If not, why not? And on and on and on. Personally, I’m for predator control ifthereis a real good reason for doing it, e.g. jump starting a species restoration program, but otherwise my thinking is to not make the coyote or mountain lion a scapegoat and targeted for killing if he is just out there making a living. But that is just my opinion.”
– Ruben Cantu
Ruben, I agree with the ‘temporary’ part. At SDWMA, these policies to kill all mountain lions are now in their 5th decade. Would you disagree that this practice is permanent not temporary?We may have too many bighorn there. Elk, aoudad, and even now deer are either being removed, or considered for removal. So why not let the natural system, i.e. cougars, work?