(Reposted from the old forum)
Facts and figures about deer and mountain lions
Jason and Mike, don’t worry about thinning the deer population; the mountain lions may soon take care of the problem.
This web site sheds some insight on the predacious habits of the mountain lion and a possible scenario for our deer overpopulation problem. Of particular interest is the paragraph about a small fraction of the lion populations who do not migrate with the general deer population and have chosen to live on the edge of populated areas such as Rancho Murieta. With our landscaping providing a year-round food supply (some residents even put out food) and our lakes providing a ready water source, our community has essentially domesticated these animals, providing a deer feed-lot for a host of predators.
The main thrust of the study implies that when a deer population expands rapidly, the predator population follows. In this study however, as the prey population decreases from predation, the predator population does not follow. It seems that the fertility of the herd is effectively decreased by infant predation (the most vulnerable new members of the herd).
From the above-cited study, the population for the western slopes of the Sierra is 6.1 animals per 100 square miles. If Jason’s comment that our local deer population is six times normal, one can assume that at least this number of predators are presently operating in our prey-rich environment. The rarely seen mountain lion uses stealth, camouflage and their feline patience in an ambushing strategy. These animals are “twilight” hunters, and attack from over-watching positions. The fact that they are sighted at all indicates that there are several lions amongst us.
Bunky is correct in his analysis of the probability of death from lion attack being close to that of a lighting strike. The actual odds (for a 13-year period) of being killed by a mountain lion in California are one death every five years; the odds of being attacked are one every other year. These odds can be tilted in the lions' favor however, if one is accompanied by the family dog and jogging.
This web site presents information about lion attacks, their frequency and survival strategies.
-- George Roper, August 5, 2007
When someone doesn't share your opinion, why do you tell them to move?
Why do you recommend people move out of the community when their opinions differ from yours? In this tight-knit community, where we live in close proximity to others, isn't tolerance a value we should try and practice? For one thing, it's not a crazy idea that a mountain lion would attack a human. It happens. Taking precautions is wise. Do you think the reported sightings are false?
-- Becky Miller, August 5, 2007
We should be more concerned about being hit by lightning
Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my! People, please, get a grip! If you don't like the wildlife (deer, etc.) in Rancho Murieta, maybe you'd better move your scared little selves to some other "safe" locale and give the rest of us that enjoy the wildlife a break. I have yet to see a mountain lion, and most likely, neither you nor I will encounter one in our lifetimes. You are more likely to be struck and killed by lightning. Get over it.
-- Bunky Svendsen, August 4, 2007
I agree -- to address mountain lions, we need to curb the amount of prey within RM
I totally agree with you. To quote one RM resident, “It's time to lock 'n' load, then marinate well!” Remember Bubba from "Forrest Gump"? Well, you can cook venison in almost as many different ways and it tastes great with shrimp. :-)
Seriously, though, the only way we are going to control the mountain lion threat is to curb the amount of prey within RM. RM provides shelter, food and water. The deer know this and that is why they are always in and around our properties. To accomplish this would require landscape changes that most people would object to.
I spoke with the RM veterinarian a few years ago and at one point he was tracking the locations on a map that were reporting missing cats. It was obvious that the predators were bobcats and coyotes. The majority of the missing cats were along Pera, Guadalupe and Puerto. Basically to the north and west. I believe this is similar to several mountain lion sightings.
Your suggestion of moving the carcass dump is a no-brainer. The rendering plant down Jackson Highway may take these carcasses.
-- Michael F. Burnett, August 1, 2007
We need to cull the deer population to discourage mountain lions
Others may characterize my statement here as alarmist, but I think we must all have short memories about the dangers of mountain lion proximity. Two fellow mountain bikers were killed just a year or so ago, full grown adults on bikes riding trails in Northern California.
The deer population in RM is the key factor, they are already extraordinarily destructive to landscaping, and Fish and Game has made it clear that the deer population is 600 percent above normal. Do we really have to have a tragedy of one of our neighbors mauled or a small child killed before we act to deal with the problem! Thin out the deer now! It can be done humanely and quickly. RM is not a lion preserve, it's a community of people.
RM places carcasses of dead animals -- i.e., deer, raccoons, whatever -- a few hundred yards past Lake Clementia. This obviously attracts the lions as well. I'm sure there is a better way to dispose of these carcasses, I'm sure others do not appreciate the smell either as we try to enjoy that area for hiking and biking.
-- Jason Zenker, August 1, 2007