Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Do predators really feed on the weak and sick?

I find it hard to believe that a coyote would be anything other than in top condition in and around the Mt. St. Helens area with all the starving and dead elk that was in this valley during the spring and early summer. I have never been a firm believer with the claim that predators kill only the young and weak and from all my experience with predators I have found it not to be the case and it shows in my studies.
When I participated in one of the mortality counts in this area several years ago I was suprised to find no predation on any of the elk carcasses by predators, and there were over one hundred dead elk. This year the mortality count was even higher and with all the predators in the area I wish I would have been given the chance to study this problem on the lack of predation. Maybe next year the Game Department will allow me to study this problem with the use of my game cameras and find out why cougars, bobcats, birds and coyotes do not feed on these dead elk.


At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your photos. My only game camera experience was with a cheap shelf winding camera triggered with a spring and trip wire. Despite the low tech approach I did get some great shots of fox, woodrat, skunk and raccoon. Now I want to learn more about game camera set up. Thank you for all your contributions to the site. It really does seem like a great way to study animal behavior.
Regarding the lack of predation: Are you saying dead elk aren't being scavenged, or that living elk aren't being predated? As for the coyote, could this be a youngster, still gangly?


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