Tortoise salvation is as easy as shooting ravens.

spectr17

Administrator
Admin
Joined
Mar 11, 2001
Messages
69,496
Reaction score
387
TORTOISES VS. RAVENS -- Jim Matthews outdoor column 26sep01



Tortoise salvation is as easy as shooting ravens.

       Probably 100 or more press releases move across my desk into the circular file each week. One from the Nevada Division of Wildlife, however, caught my attention. That state recently approved a $46,000 series of predator control projects. Three of the six projects involve raven control measures to protect a variety of game species, including dwindling or introduced populations of sage grouse and sharptail grouse.

       Ravens are voracious predators on eggs and young of many species.

       The news made me think of the federal Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service staff who work in the Mojave Desert where the desert tortoise is of such critical concern. These so-called land managers have known for some time that the exploding population of ravens in the desert are one of the biggest factors why tortoises have declined to levels so low they are now endangered.

       Yet, these two agencies are unwilling to call for control measures on ravens to help tortoises. It would be simple, good science, and it might be a very simple fix to what has become a complex land use problem.

       I have read estimates that raven numbers, because of human influences, have skyrocketed in the desert by as much as 1,000 percent. Ravens do well in and around humans. They nest in planted trees in suburban areas, and eat dog food and trash off our porches and parking lots. They love fast food restaurants. But they are very mobile birds and when young tortoises hatch, the ravens head to the desert to get in on the feast. Where there once might have been one or two ravens, there are now one or two hundred. Under raven roosts, baby tortoise shells stack up like poker chips.

       But the land managers want to get rid of cattle, cars, and people in the desert instead of looking at the real problem. The is almost no documentation that cattle or vehicles are a detriment to tortoises. Cattle were grazed in the desert for 100 years or more before the decline started to occur in tortoise numbers. Most drivers will wreck their car before running over a tortoise. I know, I’ve about done that myself on Highway 395. No, more tortoises have been stolen by people who wanted them for unusual pets (pet rocks make about as much sense -- but I forget, we have those, don’t we) that have been injured or killed by cars and cattle.

       So instead of ravens, we become the targets.

       Raven control has never been seriously considered by the BLM or park staff. Why? Because in their minds, it’s “unnatural” to control predation on an endangered species. We have to remove the man-made influences first. Well, wake up. The raven population is unnaturally high -- and that is a man-made influence. Why is it that states like Nevada and Arizona recognize that predator control can be an effective tool to accomplish a goal.

       Some dispute the raven is the main problem for tortoises. They’d rather blame “hunters” or “shooters” (when what they really mean is “vandals with guns,” but they like to get a dig on legitimate hunters and recreational shooers whenever they can) or “trampling and destruction of critical habitat by cattle,” even though there is far less evidence to make those cases than to make a case against ravens.

       It would be a simple test, do serious raven control for three years and just see how tortoise survival improved. If it didn’t work, ravens numbers would bounce back quickly. If it did work, tortoise numbers could improve markedly as we kept ravens numbers in check. That’s the scary part for BLM and park biologists. The tortoise numbers could improve rapidly. Then what would they do, and what excuse would they use to keep the public off public lands.

       The park service, and increasingly the BLM staff, don’t want to actually have tortoises recover. They wouldn’t be able to recommend for the closures of roads, ending of cattle grazing, stopping of target shooting, and a host of other things that would keep people out of the desert.

       Heaven forbid we’d actually do a good thing for tortoises and the human users of those public lands.
 

JustBob

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 15, 2001
Messages
130
Reaction score
0
How about Jan 1 to Dec 31 season and maybe 100 a day limit.(gets expensive)
Dont know if that would make a dent in those suckers
 
B

BDOG

Guest
You have stated a complex problem and I think I have an answer."SHOOT THE BASTARDS." All kidding aside ,they are a hungry predator that needs to be controlled just like the coyote.I love to hunt quail and they prey on them also.Simple solution.Raven season is now open.
 

gtbait

Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2001
Messages
18
Reaction score
0
FINALLY, at least, those ebony maruaders have been identified for what they are. Ravens. Most in urban areas here in SoCal label them as Crows. No sir, they're Ravens. Feathered kin to Coyotes. Both bond when hunting or scavenging. I'd suspect what tortoises the Ravens don't devour, the Coyotes do. Ravens draw easy to bait, cock an ear quickly to a Crow call and are BIG targets. A bit of research and I'd imagine there's a place in Indian lore where wing feather donation would be as appreciated as a Turkey feather. Those Coyotes in the sky do have an advantage though, they're more resourceful due to their mobility. Shoot 'em all? No more a possibility than stopping commerce. Has the CA DFG heard of their impact yet. It's time they do.
 

songdog

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 5, 2001
Messages
2,054
Reaction score
1
Take all those old #4 and #5 lead duck loads that you can't use any more, go to Turner's and buy a fighting crow tape, take your kids boom box, wrap an old camo t-short around it and push play while you hide in the bushes near an area where you've seen the ravens/crows.  After 10-15 minutes you'll have them circling and working like ducks.  We've always called it poor mans duck hunting.  It's pretty similar... except that they don't taste as bad as some of the ducks that I've shot at Wister.
 

songdog

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 5, 2001
Messages
2,054
Reaction score
1
Tried it once, just like I tried coyote once.  Key word here "once".  Pretty bad to say the least.  You'd have to be pretty hungry to actually enjoy it (or consider taking a second bite).  

Now I can answer my non hunting friends when they ask "you don't eat those do you" and honestly respond "sure I have!" :wink-yellow:
 

huntducks

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 15, 2001
Messages
3,076
Reaction score
0
You should see what they look like after being hit with a 22-250 man do the feathers fly,hehehe.
 

paulc

Well-known member
Joined
May 3, 2001
Messages
2,398
Reaction score
0
in the local paper here in riverside i have been following the saga between the blm and local ranchers in the high desert... its a damn shame that some ultra minority of a environmentalist group can "lawyer" their way into ruining a 5 generation cattle business...  the story on the ravens does not suprise me nor does it suprise me that blame is placed on a rancher trying to make a living rather than a scavenging animal... it is painfully obvious that their ultimate goal is to exclude any use of the wilderness except their own...
it is interesting to see that dirt bikers and mountain bikers are now finding that their previously socially acceptable activities are now suspect...
 

Brian S

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2001
Messages
1,172
Reaction score
0
This weekend while scouting for deer in d-11 I wanted to check on lupine/sheep mountain wilderness valley. I don't know who exactly is responsible for closing it but closed it is, and has been for a year and a half. The story I hear is that its because of a red legged frog in the east fork river that is endangered. I was looking for a way to walk in to the valley, its 6 miles from the road closure to the camp and about a 60 degree valley wall. What does this have to do with Ravens you ask....
  I saw what I thought was a huge flock of pigeons way off in the valley floor. It was the biggest group of ravens I had ever seen at least 200 in three big groups circling the trees. Not to mention a steady stream of them over head on their way to the party. That got me to thinking about this post. If ravens are so ravenous to desert critters I'm willing to bet they have chugged more red legged frogs than I have ever ran over in my truck. I don't think those ravens bought adventure passes($5 pass for angeles,san bernadino, and clevland natl. forrests) or pay taxes, or anything else to alow them priority access to this valley. What do you think, could ravens in numbers like this pose a threat to the "endangered" frog. There is very little acces to the woods in the angeles national forrest as it is, and I'm sure there is another side to this story. Is anyone else familiar with this case.
Brian S
 

wildbirdhunter

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2001
Messages
1,340
Reaction score
0
The American Crow is about 18” long and the tip of the tail is square or slightly rounded and has a long descending caaaw call. The common Raven is about 24” long has a more massive bill and the tip of the tail is wedge-shaped with long shaggy feathers on the chin and throat. Its call is a very low gronk plus it often soars like a hawk. This was taken from my Stoker field guide to birds western region. Hope it helps  
 

dbeerman2000

Active member
Joined
Dec 5, 2001
Messages
35
Reaction score
0
So is it legal to hunt ravens?  I have been looking to find a season but with no luck.  I want to shoot them but I also want to make sure it is legal.
 

dazco

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2002
Messages
304
Reaction score
0
rlwright,

LOL !!! And i mean i REALLY DID LOL ! Good one. *S*

By the way. i wanted to get into shooting crows recently and in scouting around the 138 from the west end of palmdale all the way out almost to victorville, all i saw were tons of ravens. I've been wondering ever since then why crows would be ok, while ravens were protected. Seems to me there are a lot more of the latter in so cal at least.
If they ever do open up a season for them, theres gonna be a massacre out here, and i'll be leading the pack. *S*

-Dale
 

Marty

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Mar 12, 2001
Messages
6,327
Reaction score
39
I hear ya' Dale.

Unfortunately, if the DFG ever opened up a season, some lame-o would add into the reg that the only approved method of take would be .22 air rifle.
 

dazco

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2002
Messages
304
Reaction score
0
Either that or BB guns.....or maybe  slingshots *S*
 


Top Bottom