The criticisms of Rominger et al. (2008) of our retrospective analysis of desert bighorn sheep (DBS; Ovis canadensis mexicana) dynamics in the San Andres Mountains of south-central New Mexico, USA, contained many biological errors and analytical oversights. Herein, we show that Rominger et al. (2008) 1) overstated both magnitude and potential effect of predator removal; 2) incorrectly claimed that our total precipitation (TP) model did not fit the data when TP correctly classed ≥66% of subsequent population increases and declines (P ≤ 0.063); 3) presented a necessary prerequisite of the exponential model (serial correlation between Nt and Nt 1) as the key relationship in the DBS data, when it merely reflected that DBS are strongly K-selected and was irrelevant to our hypothesis tests specific to factors affecting the instantaneous rate of population increase (r); 4) greatly oversimplified relationships among precipitation, arid environments, and DBS; and 5) advocated a time for collection of lamb/female (L/F) ratio data that was unrelated to any meaningful period in the biological year of DBS and consequently presented L/F ratio data unrelated to observed dynamics of DBS. In contrast, the L/F ratios used in Bender and Weisenberger (2005) correctly predicted annual changes and were correlated with long-term population rates of change.
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Vol. 73 • No. 5