Big game hunting season ends

Recently, there has been a great deal of fanfare regarding the natural reestablishment of moose to the park. Additionally, New York leads the nation in the successful reintroduction of bald eagles, a project which began with a hacking site at Follensby Pond near Tupper Lake.

With the return of these natural natives such a qualified success, it isn't much of a stretch to believe that wolves and/or mountain lions are next on the list of returnees.

However, wolves and mountain lions are large predators that require remote environs which are rich in prey such as deer and small mammals. Although the park supports a healthy deer herd, the adjacent lands along the St. Lawrence River Valley, the Champlain Valley or the Mohawk River Valley would be much more conducive to suitable prey species.

As creatures of convenience, wolves and cougars would be likely to frequent such game rich environments rather than the harsh and inhospitable environment of the Adirondacks.

Both species are opportunistic predators. They would take advantage of opportunities to scavenge road kill, further exposing their presence and possibly ending up with the same fate. Surely, there would eventually have to be a carcass.

Additionally, as coyotes colonized the east in the early 20th century, data suggests they may have hybridized with remnant populations of wolves, most likely in Canada.

It is known that coyotes do not cohabit lands with wolf, which actually prey on coyotes.

Another common misconception is that the coyote is responsible for decimating the Adirondack deer herd. Again, the blame is misplaced.

While deer do comprise a major component of a coyote's diet, they tend to feed heavily on more available, less energy dependent prey such as rabbits, mice and grasshoppers. In the summer, they feed heavily on blueberries and raspberries which account for almost half their diet. Coyote prey mostly on fawns, though a pack can bring down an adult.

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