Monday, 28 February 1994 17:00

W. Ladd Johnson

Written by W. Ladd Johnson, President, Resources Management Inc.
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The following letter was written by W. Ladd Johnson, President, Resources Management Inc. Mr. Johnson has fifteen years experience in duck release and habitat development

In response to your inquiry about predator control and is effect on waterfowl, someone must have the courage to present this important management procedure to those interested in preserving waterfowl. When I travel the country and explain how to create waterfowl and wildlife habitat, predator control becomes an important function of the management plan.

Waterfowl in North America are in real trouble. Agricultural practices in the prairies and Canada have narrowed the nesting cover to small fringes around the potholes. Here the ducks must nest, but also, it s where the predators must seek shelter. So in fact, we have "placed the predator in the hen house". This practice coupled with avian predation results in total nest destruction and the tiling of the hen, the only one that can replenish populations. This trend cannot continue.

The US. Fish and Wildlife Service is fully aware of the situation and ignores it because it is not politically expedient to address it The "Bunny Huggers" have placed so much pressure on the Service on banning trapping of predators that their position has been changed. Tests have shown, where predation is controlled, nest success and recruitment is outstandingly successful; so we have the knowledge on what to do. Secondly and rather extreme, we could use oral contraceptives to humanly control predators. A female fox will kill only to support herself, if she is feeding a litter, this is increased greatly.

As previously stated, we know what must be done. It will take courage to do so. The world of waterfowl and wildlife is simple. When wildlife is placed in a shrinking habitat, the weakest do not survive. Proper balanced removal of excess predator populations can lead to the recovery of the lower chain of wildlife and waterfowl The saying of "Save a duck by wearing a fur coat" is not out of line. A proper balance can be maintained through management--we must take that posture and be prepared for the battles to follow. Good Luck.

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