Bills raise debate on game damage to private land. Hearings scheduled next week in Helena. By Brett French. Billings Gazette Outdoor Writer.

Here is another example of why wolves are constantly used to divert sportsmen — so they don’t pay attention to things like this. The situation is kind of hard to explain if the wolves have killed most of the wildlife, but then they haven’t.

Here is a related story from USA Today. More towns putting deer in the cross hairs. Drivers are involved in about 1 million accidents a year involving deer.
By Charisse Jones, USA TODAY

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

20 Responses to Montana legislature to debate bills on game "damage" to private land

  1. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Actually, this approach is backwards. The Montana Legislature should be looking at the negative impact of agriculture on wildlife, with a view toward requiring landowners to pay compensation to the public for the damage that cattle do to land, water, and wildlife.

  2. avatar Alan Gregory says:

    Absolutely. This needs to be said again and again — in public!

  3. avatar JEFF E says:

    Is this not the biggest hoot you have ever seen. A bill out of Dillon, Mont. (wolf central in SW Mont.) to reduce elk herds to manageable levels?????????? And I’m sure right across the hall there is a room full gnashing their teeth and flailing their arms about how the wolfs are wiping out the elk in SW Montana. This is just too classic.

  4. avatar Rob-S says:

    Interesting! I worked on a ranch for almost 20 years until just several years ago. Before the wolves started making a presence we would see upwards to several hundred elk regularly during the summer months in the fields just after daylight then they would work themselves off the private land and up the public land ridges and into the timber. Cattle were also present on the public land and on the ranch itself. Over the years we saw more wildlife (deer and elk) on the public land mingling in the same areas as the cattle and then on the private land in the morning.

    Since the wolves have made a presence now we see upwards of only 15 – 20 elk sporadically on the private ranch and, if you are lucky, this many on the public land. For folks who like to watch the other wildlife, wolves have had a negative impact as that is all you see anymore is wolves and wolf sign.

    It is also ironic that Robert H and company claim that cattle have a negative impact on wildlife yet when cattle are present we saw more wildlife. Cattle and wildlife intermingled in the same feeding areas on the public land ridges with no observed negative impact. It is the introduction of the wolf that has had a negative impact on wildlife.

    We use to hunt within a mile of the private land and get our game almost every year….until three years ago. Since then we have not killed any game. In fact we have gone several miles back away from public roads, cattle, and other humans. All we see is wolf sign and little elk. So yes, wolves have a negative impact to wildlife. Since the hunter cannot get their wildlife as easily that leaves more for the wolves yet wolf advocates claim its the livestock that is having a negative impact on wildlife. In reality, the wolves have a negative impact on wildlife and a negative impact for hunters! I may not be able to get my elk or deer every year but when wolf tags are allowed I will just change from hunting elk/deer to wolves. That might even be more fun. The first one I get I will take a picture of and post it on this blog.

  5. avatar Steve says:

    Hey Rob,
    Wouldn’t you consider humans killing thousands of elk a “negative impact on wildlife”? It would be different if you actually had to hunt to eat…

  6. avatar Mike S. says:

    “Wouldn’t you consider humans killing thousands of elk a “negative impact on wildlife”? It would be different if you actually had to hunt to eat”

    Apparently you know very little of which you speak.
    If there were no hunters hunting Elk there would not be the money we have now for Wildlife management since people of your ilk do not donate one red cent for Wildlife Management.
    All your money goes to anti hunting groups like Sianpu, Sierra Club, Peta, Defenders etc.

    Without the great management hunting and State Wildlife programs have achieved over the years Elk herds would not be able to support the “introduction” of these Non Resident killing machines we now have to support so 1% of you wolf lovers may have the chance of seeing or hearing one in your lifetime.

    I guess it’s OK for your beloved Wolves to take Thousands of Elk and deer right?

  7. avatar Jean Ossorio says:

    Every year my husband and I donate voluntarily to New Mexico Game and Fish through a checkoff on our state income taxes. I know we are not alone among conservationists. When we lived in Missouri, voters approved a special mill levy devoted to supporting the Department of Conservation and placing wildlife management and habitat improvement on a more sound financial footing.

    Conservation groups in both states support volunteer habitat improvement efforts.

    As for the “1% of (you) wolf lovers,” several public opinion polls over the past 12 years have demonstrated support for wolf reintroduction by good sized majorities in both Arizona and New Mexico. Even in the rural counties of the recovery area, support hovers around 50%. There’s a link to the most recent such poll, conducted by Northern Arizona University in 2005, on the web site of Defenders of Wildlife.

    Our reasons for supporting the recovery of large carnivores have less to do with wanting to see or hear one (although hearing lobos howl in the evening, or finding tracks on a snowy road is definitely a great experience) and more to do with the promotion of healthy ecosystems. For a discussion of how large carnivores affect ecosystems, check out the carnivores page of the Rewilding Institute web site.

    http://rewilding.org/carnivoreconservation.html

  8. avatar Steve C. says:

    Mike gets to the heart of what is wrong with conservation finding in this country. As it stands it comes largely from hunting fees, causing states to bend over backwards to coddle hunters as opposed to the majority of the rest of us who don’t hunt who want to use public lands for other purposes. And before you shoot your mouth off about me and my “ilk”, i donate many red cents to defenders of wildlife, mainly because I am a supporter of their program to reimburse ranchers for wolf killed livestock. How much have you donated to reimbursement programs? Also, how did wolves and elk live together for thousands of years without your money funding precious “wildlife management”? If wolves couldnt kill all the elk in north america over a span of thousands of years what makes you think they will kill them all a few decades from now?

    And Rob, check with the bison north of yellowstone if you think there is no negative impact on wildlife from cattle grazing. I think hazing slaughtering a thousand bison a year to appease ranchers is an “observed negative impact”. Do you agree?

  9. avatar Jean Ossorio says:

    Just the other day we received a list of 19 service projects around New Mexico planned for this year and sponsored by a coalition of conservation groups, all of which support Mexican wolf recovery, including the Albuquerque Wildlife Federation, Amigos Bravos, Forest
    Guardians, Sky Island Alliance, Upper Gila Watershed Alliance, and New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.

    Sixteen out of the nineteen involve various forms of habitat restoration, with an emphasis on streams and springs. The remaining three are primarily trail maintenance and erosion control work. These are conservationists investing “sweat equity” in our state’s terrestrial and aquatic wildlife habitat.

    By the way, quite a few members of the above listed groups either hunt, fish, or both. I really get tired of hearing about how conservationists and “wolf lovers” do nothing to support wildlife and wildlife habitat. Nonsense!

  10. avatar Mike S. says:

    “I am a supporter of their program to reimburse ranchers for wolf killed livestock. How much have you donated to reimbursement programs? Also, how did wolves and elk live together for thousands of years without your money funding precious “wildlife management”? If wolves couldnt kill all the elk in north america over a span of thousands of years what makes you think they will kill them all a few decades from now?”

    I donate to Conservation groups that support Elk and Deer habitat and therfore that enables your beloved Wolves to exist in the West.

    Maybe if your Defenders would pay out on probable Wolf predations instead of just confirmed Elk predations the big bad “Welfare Ranchers” would be a little more open to Wolves eating their cattle.

    Wolves and Elk lived together for thousands of years because we didn’t have Hundreds of thousands of Hunters hunting these Elk.

    Sorry but Man is now the Apex predator and we have to manage Wildlife according to how we see fit.

    It seems like we are doing a pretty good job of it too.

  11. Mike

    Elk, wolves and all the rest are equally “beloved” here. Why would you think otherwise?

    What have you done to help conserve and improve elk habitat besides buying an elk tag and giving some money?

    Now cows are human created animals, and not much loved by many who post here.

    Defenders does pay half for probable wolf kills. Given the attitude of Idaho and Wyoming politicians (and the failure to give Defenders credit), I think they should abandon their reimbursement program. The subsidies to livestock (especially public land livestock) are already large enough to offset this minor source of loss.

  12. avatar Rob-S says:

    Mike,

    Do not waste your time. Wolf advocates know everthing even though several ranchers have commented on this sight stating the contrary to what Ralph and company says. There is a political agenda here. It is removal of all livestock off public lands so their beloved wolf will not face any competition or losses. It will not stop here. Once cattle are off public land then they will be pushing for laws to control how the land owner uses cattle on his own land. If it looks anything like the public land then they will sue the land owner. That is how radical this group of people are.

  13. avatar Steve C. says:

    Rob,
    Can’t you respond to any of my counterpoints without resorting to labeling and name calling? Out of the two of us only you want to poison/trap/kill hundreds of wolves to make it easier for you to kill thousands of elk. And my position is radical?

  14. Rob-S

    You are right, I have a political agenda, but it’s a bit different than you state.

    It is NOT removal of all livestock from public lands on behalf of “beloved wolves.”

    IT IS reduction and better management of livestock on public lands on behalf of all wildlife, not any one species of wildlife.

    This is a wildlife blog, not a wolf blog. Our native ungulates suffer far more than wolves do from the blight of mismanaged livestock.

  15. avatar JEFF E says:

    “no observed negative effect”:post4
    There is not an observed negative effect on the livestock because at the slightest hint thereof the livestock producers demand that, at public expense, the negative effect be removed, whatever it is perceived to be, carnivore or ungulate. As for observed negative effect of cows, what would have to happen is to completely remove all livestock grazing for a generation and then compare the before an after pictures. Copper Basin would be an ideal place to conduct such a exercise as it is little more than a livestock shit-hole presently.

  16. avatar Mike S. says:

    Ralph,
    Elk, wolves and all the rest are equally “beloved” here. Why would you think otherwise?”

    I have not seen many if any posts saying anything about the “Elk” that are being killed by Wolves, and especially anything regarding the sport killing and maiming of Elk , Deer and Sheep that are left to die and not eaten by Wolves.

    I know you people are going to say this doesn’t happen either right.

    Biologists are well aware of the claim of “surplus killing.” They can find little evidence of it. Do a paper search.

    Not only am I a member of several Hunting/ Wildlife Groups who I donate money to I have donated time to replanting Sagebrush and Bitterbrush in burned areas. My money + my time is more than 99% of the people on your side of the fence do for Wildlife.

    That’s great, now stop complaining about other people who do that too, but don’t support your views. In addition, the best thing that can happen for wildlife is often not giving money or planting habitat, but opposing powerful interests who want projects that destroy huge areas of wildlife. . . and it takes some balls to go up against these interests. They fight back, and one way they fight back is try to divide people who support wildlife by raising minor issues like wolves into major controversies.

    “Defenders does pay half for probable wolf kills. Given the attitude of Idaho and Wyoming politicians (and the failure to give Defenders credit), I think they should abandon their reimbursement program. The subsidies to livestock (especially public land livestock) are already large enough to offset this minor source of loss.”

    There you go, Half for Probable Wolf Kills but zero for Possible Wolf Kills even though there are tracks around the animal.
    Fair? maybe you think so. Ranchers feel differently.

    Idaho has a slush fund, courtesy of the federal government, for those who claim they have lost livestock but can’t provide any evidence. Do a search. I’m not going to repost it.

    There is an agenda on this site. Wolves are king let them eat all they want and lets keep suing to keep them from being delisted even though they are totally recovered to eliminate Hunting and while we are at it let’s remove Cattle from all Federal Lands.

    Have I got it right?

    No you don’t have it right. However, I am pleased you so baldly stated the conspiracy theory that wolves were restored to eliminate hunting. It’s good to have that red herring out there because it is one of those rumors that spreads (like the huge canadian wolves) unless it is confronted. If that were true, wolf restoration would be about the least efficient attack on hunting ever conceived because there is no evidence that wolves reduce big game populations, nor has anyone in favor of wolves suggested that hunting be reduced because of wolves.

    Do you have the courage to confront the livestock industry? Ralph

  17. avatar Mike S. says:

    “Biologists are well aware of the claim of “surplus killing.” They can find little evidence of it. Do a paper search”

    I guess the Burgdorf Massacre isn’t evidence enough for you.
    That statement is 100% B.S. Do some research and you can come up with plenty of pictures of Hamstrung Elk unable to move just waiting to bleed to death or Elk or Deer killed and not consumed.
    Don’t believe me? let me post some pictures here.

    I thought you were talking about deer and elk, not domestic sheep. Yes the Cook Pack did a number on the sheep at Burgdorf. I do think think wolves will kill more sheep than they plan to eat. Sheep are so easy to kill that the wolf doesn’t have to weigh the danger to itself. Sheep is a metaphor for defenseless, cowardly, weak.

    What do you think Wolves do when they are not hungry? Do you think they sit around watching soap operas or do their nails or do you think they continue to kill just for pleasure.

    You obviously have not watched wolves that are not hungry, but many thousands of people have in Yellowstone. They sleep, the socialize, they play, the patrol their territory. Every year thousands of hours of wolf behavior is logged and analyzed by wildlife biologists.

    “the best thing that can happen for wildlife is often not giving money or planting habitat, but opposing powerful interests who want projects that destroy huge areas of wildlife”

    strong>It is unfortunate that there hunters like you who don’t see industrial threats to wildlife habitat. I would say you are free rider on the work that other people do..

    That’s exactly what I’m doing here opposing the very people who threaten my right to hunt and the Wildlife I hunt.

    Your attitude toward wolves is really not against wolves. The attitude is, as I said in another post, “I hate conservationists.” That is really what much of the wolf debate is about, not wolves.

    The Cattle industry doesn’t bother me one bit. I like cheap beef when I choose to eat it. Cows have never bothered my Hunting nor do I think they are as much of a problem as you people think they are.

    Wolves are indeed evidence that they severly reduce big game populations. Lets look at Yellowstone as a prime example.
    Prior to this “Non Essential expiremental Wolf introduction” approximtely 19,000 Elk lived in the Area in and around Yellowstone 12 years later 6,000 Elk. Lets take a look at this equation one step further.
    Before Wolves 19,000 Elk with Bears and other Predators. Throw in Wolves and what happened?

    You don’t prove anything by cherry-picking one elk herd. Elk herds in Idaho are growing or declining in approximately equal numbers whether wolves are present or not. Whether wolves depress herds is a matter of statistical analysis, not a sample of one herd out of hundreds of herds.

    It’s not too hard to figure it out if you really want to.
    Late season Elk tags have been all but eliminated for the late hunt but gee wiz the stream beds are healthier and the willows are growing back. How neat is that?

    I know the Elk herd was way over objective anyways right?

    There is no numerical objective for any animal in Yellowstone Park except bison, which was imposed from the outside.

    So Wolves don’t affect Elk levels or hunting. Oh OK I’ believe you.
    At the current rate the Wolves will be out of Elk in the park in a few years, then what?

    If the elk disappear, the wolves will decline, but these elk are also preyed on by grizzly bears, black bears, coyotes, cougar. I think this large numbers of predation is a factor, but so is climate change. They did a two year study on what happened to radio collared elk calves in the Park. I guess you didn’t read that one either.

    I have posted many scientific studies, and you haven’t read any of them. Anecdote and opinion are important, especially as indicators of the views of various sub-cultures. Yours has now been fully expressed.

    Webmaster

  18. avatar Mike S. says:

    “Biologists are well aware of the claim of “surplus killing.” They can find little evidence of it. Do a paper search”

    I did a bit better than just a paper search. I spent 10 minutes poking around on the web and I have several pictures I’d like to post on your site to debunk this statement you made.
    Let me know where to send the photos so you can post them.

    It’s a well known fact Wolves kill for sport. Bilogists know it, hunters know it, anyone with an open mind knows it.
    For those of you who don’t believe it pull your heads out of the sand.

    send to rmaughan2@cableone.net Ralph

  19. OK,

    Mike-S has sent me some photos of killed wildlife.

    I will be putting them up. Folks can decide what they mean.

    One set is from Wyoming and I have commented on the story at length on my old web page

  20. Oh this thread is closed to posting for a while, so that the continuity of comments won’t be broken up.

    Please don’t post for now.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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