Can PM really make a difference at a large scale?
All conservation starts at a local level. The key question is whether or not a given tool or approach has the potential to become regionally or nationally important to duck populations. Over the coming years, we will continue to develop the potential of predator management to significantly increase duck production in the US and Canadian Prairie Pothole Region. We also believe that no single tool can carry the burden of producing all of the incremental ducks we desire.
Is it not better to put all our efforts into buying grasslands/wetlands?
Whether you’re talking in the context of predator management or not—we strongly believe that as a waterfowl management community, we do not have the collective funds to purchase enough habitat in order to maintain or achieve our duck production objectives. The prairie breeding grounds are simply too large and land is simply too expensive. A broad suite of waterfowl management programs must be complimented by outside sources of funds—like government supported programs such as the US Conservation Reserve Program and the proposed Alternative Land Use Services program in Canada.
How many trap sites does Delta have?
The total number of trap sites has varied annually since 1994. In our commitment to develop a tool that raises the most ducks possible—under ever-changing habitat conditions and predator communities—the total number of sites trapped each year has been dictated by our research objectives. As many as 15 sites have been in operation during a given year—most recently in 2009, we operated two sites each in four important breeding ground jurisdictions: North Dakota, South Dakota, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
How big are the trap sites?
For the past 8 years, all predator management sites have been 36-mi2 or 23,040 acres in size—the largest size block we feel a trapper can significantly impact. We have also conducted research on blocks of 1-mi2 and 4-mi2 in size.
Who are the ducks’ biggest predators?
Due to factors such as weather, disease and food abundance—predator communities and populations vary by year and by region. Over the long term, predators such as red fox, raccoon, and striped-skunk tend to top the list of predators that impact nesting ducks.
What do you do with the animals after you trap them?
Whenever possible, trappers sell the furs of the animals that still have market value. In addition, skunk “spray” is often collected and sold to various deer lure and cover scent manufacturers. Over the history of our predator management efforts, we have participated in numerous predator ecology studies, where individual animals are collected to determine factors such as age or sex structure and the presence or absence of disease.