Hilarious “Study” About Deer, Wolves, and Cars in the Montana Press
I don't scan The Drudge Report as much as I used to, but earlier this week I figured I would go check it out. That's when I saw this national news headline: "Wolves scare deer and reduce auto collisions 24%, study says."
Oh brother. I gotta check this one out. Before I even clicked on the link and read the story, I was already saying, "yeah sure...the wolves are scaring the deer...it's not that the wolves are eating the deer or anything."
Isn't funny how every story about wolves, it seems, in the mainstream media is always skewed to make wolves look better?
So I clicked the link, and yes this "study" featured at Phys.Org is just as bad as the headline would lead you to believe.
"In a pretty short period of time, once wolves colonize a county, deer vehicle collisions go down about 24%," said Dominic Parker, a natural resources economist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and co-author of their new study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"When you have a major predator around, it impacts how the prey behave," he said. "Wolves use linear features of a landscape as travel corridors, like roads, pipelines and stream beds. Deer learn this and can adapt by staying away."
Ah yes. When you wondered what happened to the Northern Yellowstone Elk herd after the reintroduction of wolves, it turns out this whole time they weren't eaten by wolves....the elk were just scared away from the road so you couldn't see them. That theory, of course, doesn't explain why those of you who explore the backcountry far away from any roads also didn't see as many elk.
Apparently it wasn't only obvious to me. I noticed several Montana news publications picked up the story. The Missoulian and the Billings Gazette both featured it on their Facebook pages. There were some hilarious comments:
Ryan: I once saw a deer run right into a pack of wolves to avoid a car.Jay: Forgot to mention wolves have killed over 24% more deer. A lot less deer and elk so of course accidents are reduced.
Well, the study got one thing right. The wolves will scare the deer/elk alright. Right into the road.