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WaveRunner
member (14)member
 
11/27/2020 02:42PM  
Hi, just a question for all you biologists and/or mouse experts. On an early October trip this year I noticed many more mice at campsites than I have normally seen in past years at about the same time. In fact, I even slept with one in the tent one night (no food or otherwise odiferous items in the tent). Neither me nor my intrepid dog realized it until the next morning. I have seen a few posts about the number of mice this fall, and ran into a few folks on portages who commented as well. I’m just wondering if mouse populations run in cycles, or if this is just a normal year and I just happened upon sites with more numerous creatures.
 
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11/27/2020 06:01PM  
Not an expert, but I would say you have been running on borrowed time in this regard.
 
Cloznuff
senior member (82)senior membersenior member
 
11/27/2020 07:05PM  
I noticed the same thing around the Winchell lake area this Fall. Have been there many times around the same time of year and there were noticeably more mice this year.
 
MichiganMan
distinguished member (142)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/27/2020 09:53PM  
Had many mice at two campsites in late September, one on Little Knife and another on the South Arm of Knife. Running all round and even on the tent while I was trying to sleep. Thankfully not IN the tent!

Had a saw-whet owl come into camp and roost right above me on the S Arm campsite. The next night, magically- no mice!
 
Fearlessleader
distinguished member (142)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/27/2020 10:13PM  
Back in 2001 my wife and I went from Snake River up through Little Gabbro and then the numbered lakes. This was during 9/11. Almost every campsite seemed to be overrun with mice. Many other years almost the same time we saw very few.
 
JATFOMike
distinguished member (331)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/28/2020 06:04AM  
I've been going up the 2nd/3rd week of September every year for the past 10 years......never saw anything like this year when it came to mice.....we went in thru Brant lake ep52 and did a lazy half loop and out thru Seagull. every campsite was over run with mice. We had a beautiful island campsite on Ogish one night, I was last one to bed in my hammock, hadn't laid down more than two minutes and heard a commotion back over by the fire pit, got up turned on headlamp and there were mice everywhere! I'm guessing 30-40! We keep a clean camp and put all food away properly at the end of the evening....never seen anything like it.

Mike
 
11/28/2020 07:46AM  
Several studies online (here's one) suggest that rodent populations are very sensitive to food supply. Lots of fall mouse observations might be the result of a great summer food supply. Whether the increase in available food was due to natural cycles or the result of more BWCA visitors who were less cautious with their food packs is up for debate! I saw one study (New Zealand, I think) that indicated a year of good beechnut quantities would be followed by a year of increased mouse populations, and that the third year would see a bump in predator populations.

TZ
 
11/28/2020 08:31AM  
In September we were on Alder. Mice would climb on the stove table while we were cooking. For the first time I brought a mouse trap. I placed it under the table while we were cooking and got six of them. Then the trap broke. We then used sticks to hit them. I don't know how many we got, but it was like they never stopped coming, Worst I have seen.
 
11/28/2020 11:13AM  
I didn't see any mice, but I was besieged by "chipmunks from hell" . . .

I've never seen more than one or two mice in all my trips.
 
tomo
distinguished member (110)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/28/2020 11:24AM  
Don't know how this year compares to others, but last fall on the Flambeau river I had mice running between the rainfly and tent. This last summer, I had mice issues in the middle of my campsite. Cooking dinner there were mice scurrying in and out of the fireplace rocks.
 
KawnipiKid
member (11)member
 
11/28/2020 12:37PM  
We had a noticiable increase over previous years around Otto, Henson, Gaskin, and Winchell in mid-September. Less so south and west in Brule, the Temperances, Long Island.
 
h20
distinguished member(2998)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/28/2020 03:15PM  
Caught seven in my house this fall...three more than the average,
 
TuscaroraBorealis
distinguished member(4766)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
11/28/2020 07:12PM  
Just a thought....

I see mice on virtually every trip but, usually only in the evening. Maybe you were up more (and relaxing by fire) in the evening hours?

I also agree with what's been said about food at campsites. You can always tell when previous campers left food around as chipmunks, squirrels, Canadian Jay's as well as mice are very social upon arrival.
 
Stimpy
distinguished member (134)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/28/2020 09:05PM  
The difference in experiences is interesting. In my 10 trips I’ve seen a total of one mouse. It was a pathetic, slow moving thing at a site on Kekekabic. I probably just jinxed myself and will be overrun next year...
 
JWilder
distinguished member (247)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/29/2020 07:35AM  
Over the last several years I have paddled the number lakes and those adjacent. Most sites with the kitchen area left filthy after meal time. Theoretically, you would think I would have experiences with lots of mice. Really, only one or two at the most and they were not under foot or between my rain fly and tent.

Chipmunks on the other were very hospitable. They would meet me at the landing, shake my hand and introduce themselves.

J
 
ockycamper
distinguished member(553)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/29/2020 10:56AM  
There as one year we stayed on an island on Seagull. After night fell we would literally waves of mice (eyes reflecting the fire) pouring over all our gear.
 
johnnyg08
member (29)member
 
11/29/2020 01:52PM  
Honestly, that sounds awful. I'm not sure I could do it. I feel like that's all I would hear at night. Is it a predator issue?
 
ockycamper
distinguished member(553)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/29/2020 01:55PM  
Not sure what caused all the mice. That is the only campsite we have ever stayed at that had that many mice. Last year, the problem was chipmunks and ground squirrels. Frankly, I think it’s from people feeding the chipmunks. I don’t What any buddy in our campsites feed the chipmunks for that reason
 
brp
distinguished member (139)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/29/2020 02:46PM  
Here is a link to WTIP’s story about the booming mouse population in northeastern MN.

https://www.wtip.org/rodents-run-rampant-north-shore-fall-2020
 
11/29/2020 03:11PM  
ockycamper: "Not sure what caused all the mice. That is the only campsite we have ever stayed at that had that many mice. Last year, the problem was chipmunks and ground squirrels. Frankly, I think it’s from people feeding the chipmunks. I don’t What any buddy in our campsites feed the chipmunks for that reason"

Yes, I think people feed them, sometimes purposely, sometimes inadvertently. It probably doesn't take many crumbs . . .
 
WaveRunner
member (14)member
 
11/29/2020 05:36PM  
Interesting to hear everyone’s comments, thanks. The interviews with the DNR representative and the pest control person were very interesting. Seems to indicate that there is, indeed, an increase in the mouse population this year. Thinking I’ll maybe get a pet owl to travel with on my next trip. That may be the best solution I’ve heard so far!
 
ockycamper
distinguished member(553)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/29/2020 06:00PM  
If campers would stop feeding the chipmunks and squirrels that would help. This last year , no mice but chipmunks were massing
 
Portage99
distinguished member(553)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/29/2020 08:32PM  
JATFOMike: I'm guessing 30-40! We keep a clean camp and put all food away properly at the end of the evening....never seen anything like it.


Mike"


That's a lot of meeces! I can't really picture that many running about. I like mice. But, I know they are destructive little bastards.
 
afromaniac
member (38)member
 
11/30/2020 11:45AM  
This is the first year in 20 years I've ever had mice actually up in the bear tree chewing through the plastic bags in my food pack. I'm finally ready to ditch the Duluth Food pack as a result and go with something more rodent-proof. Every single night we had an issue until we finally decided to put the food up in the dry sack instead of the Duluth pack. They truly were everywhere. I even found a couple hanging out in the latrine on a late night visit. Interesting to see others feedback here!
 
11/30/2020 12:15PM  
a lot more cover for the little critters in the blow down area's
 
mschi772
distinguished member(575)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/30/2020 12:15PM  
I won't be able to give you THE answer for why your experience was what is was THIS year, but as an ecologist I can tell you that booms and busts in populations are a normal occurrence, and mice are one of the examples literally used in textbooks (textbook examples you might say). Rodent populations will fluctuate based on food availability and harshness of winters or droughts. They will also fluctuate based on the populations of their predators whose populations are influenced by the populations of the rodents. Lots of rodents one year feeds predators which can lead to a boom in the predator population which will later lead to heavy predation and a decline in the rodent population. Rodent populations are also quite strongly related to what goes on with the fluctuations in tick populations year-to-year.

Basically, ecology is complex. Way more complex than most people take the time to realize. Literally everything is connected. Everything influences everything else, and there are feedback loops and cascade effects all over the place.

Having also focused just as much of my studies on animal behavior, I would also point-out that in a year with such sloppy behavior on the part of humans (who are just as much a player in the ecological system as animals themselves despite what so many people wish to believe) leading to a predictable abundance of food surrounding human activity, it is to be expected that local fauna would quickly learn to pay attention to the activities of humans and to stay close to the campsites where humans spend their time.
 
NotLight
distinguished member(1239)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/30/2020 02:03PM  
TrailZen: "Several studies online (here's one) suggest that rodent populations are very sensitive to food supply. Lots of fall mouse observations might be the result of a great summer food supply. Whether the increase in available food was due to natural cycles or the result of more BWCA visitors who were less cautious with their food packs is up for debate! I saw one study (New Zealand, I think) that indicated a year of good beechnut quantities would be followed by a year of increased mouse populations, and that the third year would see a bump in predator populations.

TZ"


And then deer ticks, cuz the tiny ticks love the mice, supposedly.

 
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