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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.

73 Responses to Open thread

  1. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    Okay Ralph, I’ll bite on this one.

    What do you really think is going to be the future of wolves in Idaho and the rest of the Northern Rocky Mountains?

    Personally, I fear the worst. The proposed 10j rule change will go into effect, and litigation won’t be able to stop that, as history has shown with the last two changes; if I’m correct. With this change will come a new era in wolf recovery; an era where the original numeric goals set by FWS become the “acceptable” numbers of wolves. Lack of action by conservations groups and advocates mostly due to lack of inability to do anything and gradual acceptance will make this policy change a reality.

    I fear at least a 50% reduction in the number of wolves. Part of this will be due to management, but part will also be due to illegal killings – which won’t be able to be prosecuted because of the new 10j rules.

    The new administration, democrat for sure, will do nothing to alter the policy either. As I said, inaction on the part of conservation groups and eventual acceptance will occur, and this will happen before the regime change in the Whitehouse. Unless we have a new Secretary of the Interior cognizant of wolf issues; the 10j rule will stay.

    I also suspect a distraction will come along, likely economic in nature, that will draw national attention away from wolves.

    Knowing this, is there anything we can do?

    I don’t know. Unity among conservation groups and advocates; pressure habitation conservation; perhaps the uniting of ranchers, hunters, loggers, and conservationists behind habitat protection from developers of all kinds would ignite a spark to help. I also know that an education effort, an organized effort would be very beneficial. People still don’t know the facts about wolves, as some people on this forum prove time and time again. Education is a powerful thing, and just sitting around and waiting for the anti-wolf people to die off isn’t going to be enough.

    Anyway, that’s my thoughts for the future of wolves…that and I see my research facility in Canada; where wolves will still exist in the wild…

  2. avatar Davej says:

    Mike,

    I agree. I think we (and the wolves) will be very fortunate if the population in Idaho and Wyoming (outside YNP) can be maintained post-delisting near 50% of today’s levels. I think we’ll see Idaho manage for a minimum number, maybe less than 250. Everyone knows USFWS will drag its feet on re-listing, and wolf populations grow quickly, so why wouldn’t the states assume that they can curtail hunting only if/when USFS starts seriously looking at re-listing. Perhaps Montana will do a little better.

    Conservationists who don’t hunt need to find alternative means of funding State wildlife agencies. Until the agencies get significant funding (i.e. > 50%) from the general public, there will be little opportunity for the greater pubic to influence these agencies and the commisions that set policy. This would not be a solution — ignorance is a tough thing to beat — but it would be step in the right direction.

  3. avatar Wolfy says:

    Good discussion. And a pretty tough issue coming first out of the gate. Thanks Mike. Delisting has already occurred in the Midwest wolf population segment. Many folks are waiting until the other shoe hits the floor. Namely, deer hunting season. Most illegally killed wolves in Wisconsin and Michigan die during the first two weeks of the deer firearm season. There is no coincidence that when nearly half a million “hunters” besiege the woods, more wolves die. Some will shoot anything that gets in their sights; others will intentionally target wolves. The motivations to kill wolves come from the lack of education, the wild tales, and the barstool biology, among others.

    One motivation, that I want to highlight, is the thought that killing a wolf, the symbol of government interference, will somehow put another notch in the hunters staff in the game of brinksmanship. I talk with hundreds of deer hunters every year just before deer gun season. There is definitely a culture of misdeeds, illegal acts, and downright cruelty among this crowd. I don’t know what turns an average person into a near psychopath when they hit the woods, but it happens. Many will tell you that its just the 1% or the 5% of the hunting crowd that does all the “bad” stuff. However, from my many years in the woods with this crowd, I believe that the percentage is much higher. I’m not saying that everyone in the woods wants to kill a wolf, but the general attitude towards the law, regulations, ethics, even common courtesy, is pretty poor in the hunting circles.

    Which brings me to my point; as long as it is illegal to kill wolves, some (many?) will see it as a challenge and a chance to thumb their nose at authority. The fact that wolves have been “protected” by federal law for many years has not stopped the determined folks who want to kill wolves. Recent convictions on wolf killings have made an even bigger mockery of the law. The courts have often handed down the minimum fines and waived jail time. This only serves to embolden the folks that would like to get a crack at a wolf.

    I may be wrong, but I think that the majority of the hoopla, the need to make a controversial stand, and the desire to “stick it to Uncle Sam” will die down after delisting. I’m cautiously optimistic that this deer season will result in fewer, not more, illegally shot wolves. Perhaps hunters will be more pissed about the new forest service ATV laws than “wolves eating all their deer”. Perhaps taking away the law make it less of a challenge. My fellow wolf nuts and I pray that I’m right. ‘Cause there is probably no going back to federal listing.

  4. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    On illegal killings of wolves; my stance has always been that it is not discouraged as it should be by the system that should be doing this work: the justice system. Judges in Idaho and elsewhere have long been sympathetic to their constinuency, no matter how wrong they are. Is it because they are afraid to stand up for themselves? I doubt it. My experience has been that these judges are part of the good ol’ boys network, and just play along. They are conservatives in the crudest sense; not wanting to stand up for what’s right, but instead standing up for status quo.

    There was a wolf killed near me. If they catch the guy, and if the local prosecutor decides to go after him (which I doubt, he’s a lazy one), I’m going to write an amicus brief to the judge in the name of my foundation, encouraging him to set the maximum penalty allowed. I’m going to do so by discussing how doing otherwise encourages more and more crime, not only in the form of killing wolves, but of other blatant violations of the laws that specifically harm our wildlands, a sacred and ever-shrinking resource.

    As to the balance of the discussion: I’ve said it before (formally even) and I’ll say it again; education was not formally addressed in the NRMWRP, despite ignorance and misconceptions about wolves as being two of the main reasons for the demise of wolves in the first place. It is completely illogical to me that education was only mentioned. It should have taken place BEFORE reintroductions began. If it had, and been done properly; we wouldn’t have had to have that stupid “experimental non-essential” classification that has been the death-knell for many many wolves.

    I don’t know how many people realize, but wolves are treated like lab rats in the NRMWRP. The experimental non-essential classification means they are basically put out there with the idea that they can be killed if the experiment goes wrong. They are test subjects, to be killed on a whim; not protected animals. This, in part, is why we have illegal killings. If the government can kill wolves; why can’t we?

    Anyway, I stand by my belief that the NRMWRP was doomed from the start, and that no matter what anyone says, it is and always will be a complete failure. That wolves somehow are able to reestablish in the wilds would only be an accidental side-effect, an unintended consequence of the nature of the NRMWRP despite its stated overall intent.

  5. avatar kt says:

    Of wolves and water … and how can there be more of both, and less acrimony?

    The Statesman has an article today on a pipeline proposal for water for housing development. http://www.idahostatesman.com/newsupdates/story/107581.html

    Regrettably, what is missing from the article is any mention whatsoever of the effects of public lands grazing on the headwaters of streams and rivers across Idaho. Cattle and sheep grazing and trampling desertifies watersheds, reduces water storage and slow release of water, and causes springs and streams to become increasingly intermittent or with enough abuse – and there certainly is a lot of that – especially in places like the Pahsimeroi and Owyhee county – to dry up altogether.

    If we ended the ecological stupidity that is public lands ranching, there would be more water – and I bet a great deal of the wolf hatred would evaporate.

    The proposed rule: It is all about accommodating lazy ranchers and rancher paranoia … making it easier to dump privately owned cows out on Forest or BLM lands in Copper Basin or Salmon or Challis country – and forget about them until they have stomped and chomped everything to dirt …

  6. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    Kt:

    Not all ranchers do as you described. There are many ranchers who act responsibly. While it would appear that they are in the minority, they are a growing number.

    I personally don’t oppose public lands grazing, if managed properly. True, I don’t like the site of cows in places I want to camp and enjoy the outdoors; but they aren’t there all the time, and if properly managed, can have benefits.

    That being said, mismanagement of livestock, and of our public lands by policy and lack of enforcement (be it budget, or otherwise) is a definite problem; and one that gives many ranchers a bad name they don’t deserve.

    I am hopeful that one day, issues such as this that are perceived as black and white will be seen in their true nature; and that there aren’t just two sides. I also believe that ranchers will become strong allies in the preservation of our western lands and the wildlife upon them; including wolves. Ranchers should one day see the logic in protecting wolves; as to have wolves, we need land. Development is the biggest enemy of both wolves and ranchers after all. After all, ranchers are just as endangered as wolves.

  7. avatar Eric says:

    Good points everyone. It’s a big problem this management of wildlife and it’s interface with civilization – I prefer wildlife over civilization but I don’t think I would be here without civilization (go figure). I deeply adore wildlife and the natural world and think they are a part of our heritage which we must preserve. Obviously, this means civilization will have to figure out how to exist alongside wilderness or that preservation will fail. I think the paradigm is shifting to that end -of figuring out the problem- in the industrialized nations. God bless Al Gore even if he’s wrong on the date of the ‘tipping point’. There are many good activists making progress. I just heard about one in my state -of Illinois- called The Wetlands Initiative which, in its 10 year history has done quite a bit and is picking up momentum. You can see what they do at http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/ . That doesn’t apply much to what you are trying to do in the Intermountain Region but it will hopefully be an example of how things can change for the better as a result of activism. I think what this blog calls attention to and what it does is a good thing. I’m learning a lot from the various posters.

  8. avatar Eric says:

    Mike Wolf,
    Yeah, judges who don’t accomodate their constituencies are rare, here in Illinois too. The Good Old Boy network seems to work here, but I’d gamble not for everyone. Little guys get screwed. I personally can’t complain even though I’m a little guy. I am just a cabdriver with few assets – a car and a small savings account. But that’s kinda why I don’t count in the equation. Whatever makes money is generally given accomodation, judicially and otherwise. I’m not in that picture though. This is a blue state (Dem) anyhow – purportedly. I pay taxes voluntarily in quarterly payments because I want to be in the system, because I believe in it. Unfortunately, I believe we are close to ‘Armageddon’ or some sort of apocolypse – either a natural cataclysm or WW3. But, I also believe America can figure out how to avoid it. It’s up to activists though. That means you and me.

  9. avatar kt says:

    Mike Wolf: There is no “good” ranching on arid public lands in the arid West from an ecological or science-based point of view. The effects of grazing lays waste to waters, watersheds and wildlife. Why should society suffer, and taxpayers across the country continue to subsidize – the destruction of the American West by welfare ranchers (all 20,000 of them)? These welfare ranchers are indulging in a destructive and out-moded lifestyle at our expense – albeit one beloved by right-wing politicians like Larry Craig – and also Mike Crapo – who seems to be having some kind of prolonged mid-life crisis in obsessing over giving away control of public lands and millions of dollars to a hand full of abusive Owyhee ranchers in the dead horse that is the Owyhee Initiative.

  10. avatar Jeff says:

    I believe litagation will outlast the Bush Regime’s second term and hopefully a new batch of political appointees will alter the future of wolves in the northern Rockies. I am also hopeful that the next administration might breath some life into the original proposal to reintroduce gizzlies into Central Idaho. Instead of hunting grizzlies in Wyoming and Mt that expand beyond the policital boudaries, trap and transpant excess bears in the GYE and release them in the Selway and Frank Church WIldernesses.

  11. avatar elkhunter says:

    You guys could get alot farther with the hunting community if you did not approach them in the “you are uneducated and ignorant.” That seems to put people on the defensive immediatley. And I am sure that alot of the hunting community feels the same way you do. Imagine their frustration, they were told that there would be a certain number of wolves in ID. I am sure that number doubles, if not triple the number they talked about. And of course you have all sorts of reasons, blaming WY for their management plan etc. So when you guys start talking about education, wolves etc, I think there is not alot of trust. Thats the reason I dont want wolves in UT, they say they will only have 200 or so. Then when they get here, the excuses start flying. Pretty soon before you know it, you have almost 700-800. Sound familiar? Then all the while you are being told you are ignorant and uneducated about wolves. Then when you dont see half as many animals as you used to, you are told you are a shitty hunter, and a large majority of the people saying that are outfitters, who are very good at what they do.
    Then there is Wolfy who is an expert on the hunting community and their ethics. Nevermind the THOUSANDS of hunters that participate in service projects every year in Utah and donate time and money to habitat protection. Of course because they may not love the wolf like Wolfy, obviously they are ignorant and uneducated, and run through the woods like some Rated-R “Bambi” re-enactment killing everything in sight. Do you really think thats how it is? I am sure a few wolves get shot on the hunt, I would never do it, I could see why they would though. Look at all the drama, lawsuits, litigation, constant bickering and fighting, waste of money to preserve wolves in ID. And the entire time hunters are told they are uneducated, ignorant, lazy, stupid and should learn to hunt better. So I can understand how someone might retaliate towards a wolf. Would I do it? No, not worth it to me. I think the wolf will be just fine, will there be as many as there are now, probably not, but wolves are there to stay in ID.

  12. avatar Dave Jones says:

    Elkhunter,
    I want to make it clear that when I used the word “ignorance” I was referring to those who oppose having wolves on the landscapes. That is a minority of big-game hunters but includes many on the wildlife commissions and some in the state agencies.

    Dave

  13. avatar JEFF E says:

    I am pretty sure there has never, even now, been a maximum number of wolves called out except that if one was to take the language of the ESA that says a species shall be recovered through out it’s historical range and then some how derive what the actual carrying capacity of that would be for the species in question to extrapolate a maximum #…….

  14. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    elkhunter,

    Once again, you single yourself out. When someone says “ignorant hunters” they aren’t talking about ALL hunters.

    A psychologist would have a field day with your statements…guilt complex, self-effacing, identification etc.

    So please, stop it. You really are embarassing yourself. We aren’t talking about ALL hunters. My goodness, some of us ARE hunters.

    And as far as communicating with those ignorant hunters who abuse things and make all hunters look bad; your suggestions as to how to get to them are uninformed. These people cannot be communicated with, not by any of us. That is why I have suggested a massive advertising campaign; to speak to ATV riders and hunters, in the language they know: television. They see their world in image…the Pepsi generation, Levis, Warner Brothers, Kokanee. They don’t stop to think; otherwise they wouldn’t be so ignorant of the facts that surround them. Sure, they are CAPABLE of independent thought, and could be inspired to do so; but how is it possible for each of them to be reached under those terms? No, we have to speak to them in their language, in the terms under which they accept communication. Otherwise, it is up to IDF&G, for example, to reach them, one at a time, in hunter education programs like they have in Minnesota and Michigan. But you and I both know that’s not going to happen in this part of the country.

  15. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    Jeff E:

    You are quite correct. The NRMWRP calls for a “recovery goal” and does not by any means stipulate a maximum. It merely, originally, defined a goal for beginning the delisting process to state that there should be 10 breeding pairs in each of the three states: ID, MT, WY.

    I’m sure that litigation will occur in which the current revision to the 10j rule will be argued to be in violation of the ESA; and that the new rule does in fact present a danger to wolves, especially when you consider the numbers they are going to allow to be killed with the fact that even the current numbers don’t or barely cover genetic diversity. I don’t see how any judge in their right mind (go 9th District) could possibly argue against that logic. But my faith in this system, and in conservation groups to present this argument and win; is fast fading. I don’t see that an injunction will be ordered, not in time anyway. I fear the worst: that my research into wildlife-livestock interaction will take place in Canada, not in the US…and that wolf recovery will fail.

    There are a number of posters on this forum who prove my point: that the NRMWRP’s citation of ignorance and misconceptions about wolves was, and will once again, be the cause of their demise in most or all of their US habitat. I sure would like to hear comments on that notion. I seem to be somewhat alone in my thinking – not even International Wolf Center personnel agreed. They cited their hunter education program as one reason why it wasn’t so.

  16. avatar JEFF E says:

    Mike Wolf,
    Yeah, I have asked a few posters here from time to time for their definition of the word minimum. I have yet to be answered.

  17. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    I have been reading Ralph’s news for a long time and I have noticed that there are some very qualified people posting comments on this forum, and then some who practice “barstool biology” – golly I love that phrase whoever posted it. . although bears is my field of expertise, I am also very interested in wolves but the education you speak of for the average person is not that easy to come by. . just what have we learned about the wolf that I can pass on to people who ask me why we need wolves in the landscape? I want facts, not the stuff from the animal planet. Linda

  18. avatar jerry says:

    Mike….I hope you’re wrong when you imply that conservation groups won’t take action on the 10J changes. The wolf is a symbol and rallying cry for millions of dollars in donations. They’d be committing financial suicide by not stepping up with every possible legal ploy to fight this. Members won’t stand for inaction.

  19. avatar Pronghorn says:

    Linda, when people ask you why we need wolves in the landscape, hand them a copy of Aldo Leopold’s “Thinking Like a Mountain.” No one confuses Leopold with Animal Planet!

  20. avatar elkhunter says:

    But until pro-wolf people come up with a wof-watching fee or something to help front the costs of management, hunters will continue to have the power they do. When you pay the bills you can wear the pants I guess.
    Mike, thanks for your insight on my mental health your expertise is appreciated, just like your expertise on hunters. My point is I hunters probably feel that you are as uneducated, just as you feel they are. But you continue ramming down their throats that they dont know what their talking about. You want hunters to be informed to your opinion and your science and your biologists. Cause there are plenty of studies backing negative effects of wolves on ungulates, especially calves. Just as you guys will post all the studies that say they dont effect populations at all. So I feel that there are probably alot of hunter, including outfitters and “honest” hunters, though rare they may be, that might not agree with you. And your right there was not a specific number, just a target, and obviously no maximum also, thats the reason I dont want them here, you cant be trusted, cause once they get their feet in the door the bullshit never stops. ID is the perfect example. But you and I both know they are here to stay, there might not be the thousands of wolves runnning everywhere that you want, but there will be some wolves. Lets just hope they stay out of UT.

    There are many kinds of hunters and many different reasons why, how and what they hunt. Due to this diversity, hunters, as a whole, can’t get organized. This allows groups who don’t care a bit about hunting, or those who would rather shoot an animal inside a pen, to co-opt and disrupt any unification of goals hunters might seek. Ralph Maughan

  21. avatar JEFF E says:

    elkhunter
    too late ;*)))

  22. avatar elkhunter says:

    Luckily we have a little more freedom down here then Jeff E. 🙂

  23. avatar Owen James says:

    I may be missing something but didn’t it take 75+ years and paid federal and state and private bounty hunters and farmers and ranchers and anybody else who saw a wolf shooting the hell out of things to wipe them out? Can Ron Gillette and a few other kooks do it by themselves? I think we’re going to have them if we want them or not.
    It will just be less likely to see them if they’re being shot at, which is a shame for me and my family. We have a cabin N. of Mackay where a few have been shot & shot at, and we’ve yet to see or hear any, something we’ve been hoping for.

  24. It’s not Ron Gillette and people like him to worry about. He can’t even find those wolves around Stanley he keeps complaining about. Most illegal wolf shootings are spur of the moment jobs.

    The danger is the government with its radio-collared wolf packs, airplanes, and lots of money.

    Their technology is different than 75+ years ago.

  25. avatar Vicki says:

    I have a new question… Why is it that the gate communities around YNP brag about bison, and sell all their memorabilia by plastering them all over art and t-shirts? Have they no humility? West Yellowstone began a community advertising game where shoppers gather info from statues of nearly life-sized bison placed in store fronts in exchange for gifts and discounts. (Gorgeous works of art…but misleading people into believing the town gives a hoot about the buffalo, it’s history or treatment….shame on them.) How can they keep acting so bison friendly when they know what really happens when the bison are hazed???? I think that they should be forced to share tax revenue, or a portion of sales, to preserve habitat where the animals they exploit can live!!!!!

  26. avatar Vicki says:

    On the prior subject, ELK HUNTER, once again you insight tempers. You are nothing, if not the catalyst of many emotions.
    Everyone who replied to him, I too have been beyond p-o’d by him…. but he does make a point. You can’t persuade people who don’t trust you. Most hunters have IQ’s that exceed 6th grade, but there are certainly exceptions.
    Trying to change his view is like washing windows with mud….pointless. But you can take away some of what he says as a challenge to overcome….
    He is also not entirely the opposition. He does value some habitat and wildlife, as long as it doesn’t limit how many animals he can hunt.
    Elk Hunter, I don’t think you are ignorant, I JUST KNOW YOU ARE WRONG>

  27. avatar Davej says:

    But Elkhunter was right on the money: Until non-hunters pay for state management, we will not have significant input on management. Its a simple equation, but collectively we are unwilling (or unable) to tackle the problem. If you regularly (or ever) attend your state’s wildlife commission meetings, you know what I mean — you are 2nd class in their eyes unless you begin your testimony by talking about what unit you hunt, etc.

    What if I called the Road & Bridge department in your community with a suggestion that they shift their plowing priorities next winter? Think they’d care 2 cents what I said? No – I don’t pay taxes in your community so why I should they care what I want?

    All other discussions on our part regarding the state agencies are mostly pointless until we tackle this problem.

  28. Efforts to enact some law to pay for state management for nongame get shot down in most of the state legislatures by ag groups and often hunting organizations too because they don’t want money the spent on non-game.

    Elkhunter’s got a point, but the interest groups I mentioned won’t let people like him or anyone else translate that point into law.

  29. avatar Anthony H says:

    Anyone see this?

    https://secure2.convio.net/dow/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=789&s_einterest=C3C4&s_Affiliate=savewolves_&autologin=true

    what do you think? Sometimes it’s nice to know/feel like there is something you can do even if it filling out a form. Personally it adds a bit of hope and optimism among some of the gut wrenching news we receive. Just something that might be nice to see more?

  30. avatar JEFF E says:

    elkhunter would probably get much further if he did not post as if he speaks for the entire hunting community. As a hunter I can guarantee he does not speak for me by any stretch of the imagination.

  31. avatar be says:

    having money to leverage would certainly help – but only if it could be leveraged.

    the state will not be able to pay for its eradication of wolves – once again, as evidenced by this video which depicts the state’s positioning themselves for continued federal dollars to “manage” wolves… “kinda like women’s sports”

    I would be willing to concede that hunters single-handedly carry the water for financing state wolf management if you prove to me that because i am a wolf advocate i am exempt from federal income tax…

  32. avatar elkhunter says:

    Jeff E, from our other conversations I would not go so far as saying your a hunter. But thats not the topic, I know that I speak for a very large majority of the hunting population, you dont have to read very many hunting magazines or websites to get a feel for how hunters feel about having thousands of wolves around. There is a difference between someone who spends time scouting, and wants to kill a mature animal, than someone who goes out and shoots the first spike or cow they see. Thats why a large part of every western state is on a limited draw basis. People want big deer and elk. And thats what generates money, if hunters see wolves as a threat to that, then you dont have to be a rocket scientist to do the math. It seems Jeff E that you cannot fathom anyone thinking outside of the box you live in. Same with Vicki. You express your opinon as truth, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Vicki even puts it in CAPITOL letters. Cause there is no way she could be wrong. How could anyone think different than her? Who knows maybe she knows the answer. I dont expect to win any battles here, besides me and Layton, everyone here is very pro-wolf and Layton and I are looked down upon as ignorant uneducated people. Like I said keep wolves in ID and out of UT. Thats my only wish.

  33. avatar JEFF E says:

    elk hunter,
    as we have never had any conversations specifically about hunting and it has only been you making any assertions about me as a hunter or how I hunt once again you open your mouth and remove all doubt. But just a little teaser here for you. This September, like about every September I will be in Alaska with my daughter helping with one of her subsistence hunts for the year. That is as a registered member with the Copper River Band of Athabaskan Alaskan Natives. I’ll be doing the grunt work however I am considering hunting moose this year as it has been awhile. I like to think of this Blog as akin to a village and every village unfortunately has a village idiot; thanks for filling the position so adequately.

  34. . . . . if hunters like “elkhunter” would stop getting drawn off onto symbolic issues like wolves and unite to fight the forces that are destroying the wildlife habitat, this would be a great world!

    But elkhunter seems destined to keep it up about wolves while the energy companies haul most of the West away, and the overgrazers take what’s left.

  35. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    Thanks for that comment Ralph. Well said.

    Distractions are a problem, and wolves are singled out as the biggest distraction. It works for hunters, it works for ranchers. Power is had when the distractions take our minds off what really matters. Just like a magician…

  36. Small reminder: Linda had an important question above (on the 16th) that has been somehow overlooked (or “circumnavigated”) by all of us, with only pronghorn responding. Any more ideas to offer? I myself could only provide a “philosophical” view, but Linda needs and deserves facts. I´ve been asked this “Why do we need wolfes there?” question also. At the first glance it seems to be an easy one but it often leaves us speachless with mouth open!

  37. avatar Eric says:

    I’m vaguely familiar with the Trophic Cascade theory Aldo Leopold started about the food chain and the importance of top predators to it. It’s valid I think. A quick Google finds this recent study: http://www.esajournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&issn=0012-9658&volume=086&issue=08&page=2135 which supports the hypothesis. However, it would not please hunters of elk I guess. Personally, I’d rather see improved riparian areas which seems to be the effect of higher density wolf populations. Cleaner water, more water and more fish.

  38. In the battle against the anti-wolf forces, that argument for the wolves isn’t stressed enough. Yes, it’s the tropic cascade, meaning all the beneficial changes wolves make for the other animals and land.

    Failure to emphasize this allows wolf haters to argue that this is about wolf worship, when the reality is seeing the natural order of things in place, functioning.

  39. avatar Robert Wiley says:

    “What do you really think is going to be the future of wolves in Idaho and the rest of the Northern Rocky Mountains?

    Personally, I fear the worst. The proposed 10j rule change will go into effect, and litigation won’t be able to stop that, as history has shown with the last two changes; if I’m correct. With this change will come a new era in wolf recovery; an era where the original numeric goals set by FWS become the “acceptable” numbers of wolves. Lack of action by conservations groups and advocates mostly due to lack of inability to do anything and gradual acceptance will make this policy change a reality.

    Wow!!! I still can’t believe people are complaining about the USFWS and the States wanting to manage Wolves at the “Previously agreed upon level”

    Just how many Wolves would be acceptable? would you like 10,000 Wolves?

    All You Wolf supporters had every opportunity to voice your opinions prior to the “introduction” of these Wolves during the public comment periods. I voiced mine several times for no Wolves.
    You won, now you want more. Too Bad!!!!

    Mike Wolf said:
    “the original numeric goals set by FWS become the “acceptable” numbers of wolves”

    Read that statement you wrote again and think about the true meaning of the words involved.

    I know it hurts but the fact is there is a plan in place and the Wolves are completely recovered according to everyone involved on both sides.
    Now they will be managed to the numbers set and accepted by the USFWS and the States of Montana, Idaho and now Wyoming.

    You get Wolves we get to kill them down to numbers that have been previously agreed upon and are written in ink.

  40. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    Robert, I’m certainly glad you aren’t the one making the decisions on wolf recovery. The NRMWRP never stated a maximum for the number of wolves here, as has been stated a number of times by a number of people, even directly to you. There was never an “agreed upon number” to manage to. The NRMWRP simply states a threshold (read: minimum) guideline in order to begin the process of delisting.

    I hope you can move past this misinterpretation, and contribute in a more positive manner. Simply opposing wolves and coming up with your own justifications makes no progress. If you have questions about wolves, please ask. We aren’t wolf worshippers here. They are an animal that was wrongfully (from a scientific standpoint) removed from the wilds, and the government is simply undoing that mistake. The passion you see here about wolf recovery is not necessarily directly related to wolves themselves, but to the program to undo a mistake; a noble cause in and of itself. Speaking for myself, my passion in this effort is that a very serious wrong was done to the wilds, in the embodiment of wolves. The negative opinions about these animals is unjustified, and I have taken it to task to champion these animals; for they are very incorrectly perceived and very wrongfully maligned. You might say I am defending an underdog in wolves, no pun intended.

    I do understand the negativity towards wolves believe it or not. Many people have absolutely incorrect understandings of wolves and their nature. People wrongly see them as threats, and somehow, as something that doesn’t belong in the wilds. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and many, as you would call them “pro wolf” people just can’t understand how people like yourself can see wolves as anything but what they are: a part of nature. It is ironic that mankind, Homo sapiens are in fact the only species on this planet which defies nature, and to use the anti-wolf rhetoric; don’t belong. There is absolutely no justification for this negative attitude towards wolves. It was never earned. It is the product of ignorance becoming fear becoming hatred. We, as humans, typically hate what we don’t understand.

    Robert, I challenge you, as I challenge all who hate wolves, to learn about them. Open your mind to what they are, their true nature. You will find respect for them once you understand them. They are and have always been close to mankind in many ways.

  41. avatar Vicki says:

    Elk Hunter…once again-you assume you know so much. I said I know you are wrong because you are being a complete hypocrit. The fact that you sit there saying how closed minded everyone else is (excepting Layton), while you have held the same position ( atleast as long as you’ve posted here) without examining any other options is a laughable. I don’t think you are uneducated or ignorant. That is fixable. I just think you are so stuck on being in” your own little box”, that you defend your position blindly. Why not find out what kind of animals wolves prefer to prey on? They aren’t the trophy elk you claim to seek. And, as Ralph pointed out, if there were healthy amounts of habitat, all animals would thrive…together. But do to the vast overpopulation, extreme over-grazing, and oil developement, even the elk need to be limited to enable species survival. I know your next arguement, “then why not let hunters limit the populations? They’d pay for tags, and generate revenue.”…Well, for the same reason that Bush was re-elected, because the majority of people rule. Most people favor wolves.{ wolves and elk would both thrive}
    Before you start preaching at me, let me just say that I hunt. I fish more. But, I do hunt. I know that conservation is largely funded by hunters and anglers. I also know that the groups that spend the most money aren’t always right. That includes hunters. As hunters (yes, Elk Hunter…we can actually be lumped into the same group for once…) we do need to make concessions and compromise. We need unification. But no one can figure out what would make that happen, and I doubt they will. It is just too damn difficult to get people to give in. We are a culture that stands unwavering for things we believe are right. The problem with that is, how can we all be right if no one is ever wrong, and everyone has a different opinion?
    As for keeping wolves out of Utah, well I think we have better chance of keeping you in. It’s inevitable, and has already been documented that they have been in Utah.
    Brace yourself for a long four years after the next election, no more Bush wacking away at the Endangered Species Act.

    I say that if you want more elk to hunt, buy a hybrid…it’ll help keep them from being homeless.

  42. avatar Wolfy says:

    Wow, Its hard to believe that an “open thread” received so many comments. Its good to see the passion evoked by wolves and the ESA wolf status. I need to make a correct a mistake that I made in my previous post on this subject. According to Elkhunters definition of a “hunter”, about 3 out of 4 people that I talked to every year are not hunters. They shoot spikes and does; they ride ATV’s to their blinds; and they don’t hire guides. I wonder if Elkhunter’s fellow “non-hunters” know that he feels this way about them. He claims to speak for thousands of hunters, when the majority of the people he claims to represent do not qualify as “hunters”.

    Facts are that most hunters enter the big woods (not a farmlot or strip of trees along the highway) for the first time during deer season. Many have not fired a gun since last deer season, if ever. Most know little about the natural processes around them. Justifiably so, most of the folks I run into in the woods are factory workers, dentists, construction workers, lawyers, etc. Very few of them make a living in the woods as I do. They know a lot more about rivets, cavities, two by fours, and whatnot than I ever will. Most are working class folks who see deer hunting as a way to get away from it all; a way to commune with nature; hang out with their buddies; let off some steam.

    Unfortunately, in this hurry-up world where most folks struggle to pay bills and raise kids, nature study is a rare treat. Most folks get their information on hunting, nature, and wolves from the internet, TV, and their buddies. (Instead of experiencing it first hand) When the only source of information that these folks get is blatantly slanted, illusionary, or just flat out wrong, the problems begin. And that’s why there is a concerted effort by many to educate these folks who are enjoying the woods on how to properly enjoy the woods. Notice that I didn’t say that these folks in the woods were ignorant; I’ve met many with PHD’s and others that work in highly skilled professions. They just may not be aware of the laws, either natural or human. There is a great need to counteract the misinformation that they may have been given via hunting websites, the local bartender, or some of the stuff that they have seen on TV.

    From what I’ve seen, we have a very steep hill ahead of us when it comes to educating folks about the world around them. Fact is that most are eager to learn. We just have to get them headed in the right direction. And Elkhunter, I won’t presume to know or even dare to compare how experienced you are in the woods. I presume from your comments that you think that I or others on this forum don’t know what we’re talking about.

    But know this: I have spend my entire adult life working in the woods; I’m out there every day dealing with the issues, face-to-face, that you talk about. I live where there are moose, elk, deer, wolves, bears, cows, people, ATV’s, snowmobiles, hunters, bunny huggers, and fishermen. Many folks on this forum have spent countless hours in the woods experiencing, gaining education on our natural world, and bringing it to others. Your comments belittle that effort. Ya know, the more I think about it Elkhunter, it seems that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  43. avatar Mikeh says:

    Just a request – Ralph, if you can, get rid of the “Snap” pop-ups.

    Thx.

  44. I can get rid of snap. Does anyone have an opinion about this besides Mike H?

  45. avatar matt bullard says:

    I agree with Mikeh – I think snap should go. Its more distracting than anything when you’re navigating around the site…

  46. avatar JEFF E says:

    I have to disagree with Mikah in that as far as I know this is the only pop-up and only happens if the cursor is placed on a link, then I get a preview of 1. is the link valid or operational, and 2. Is it a site that would be somthing I would be interested in.

  47. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    Popups? Ha! The benefits of using Opera browser…

    I have little buttons on my menu that allow me to turn on and off java, javascript, and cookies. Popups are set to ‘requested popups only’.

    And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

    I’m going to try to write comments on the 10j proposed rule for my foundation. They are going to be harsh towards the FWS since they don’t have the backbone to stand up for science. The basis for my argument against the new 10j rule is that it is against the ESA because it in and of itself represents a threat to wolves, especially based on new data on genetic diversity. I’m also going to take it a step further and discuss the pattern of 10j rule changes which have accommodated FWS’s “need” to delist, rather than the original goals and scientific basis for delisting.

  48. avatar Colby says:

    i haven’t read a lot of the posts, but this is mostly in response to elkhunter (and anti wolf people in general) on several points…

    wolf watchers or any other kind of wildlife watcher do not directly pay a permit fee as elkhunter points out…but something elkhunter shouldn’t forget is that these people do visit national parks and pay entrance fees…and they do spend money when they travel…whether it’s at a gas station, air travel, hotel, campground, etc. and when they spend their money, there are things such as sales taxes…so they do contribute money that could go to wildlife preservation…unfortunately, wildlife watchers and hunters spend most of their time bickering rather than working together to push for some of this money to go towards to the fish and game, state wildlife management programs, the park service, etc…and that’s as much my fault as it is yours elkhunter!

    elkhunter on your last post…you stated most hunters want ‘big’ deer and elk….well, luckily for you wolves are actually are a good thing….do wolves take the occasional healthy bull elk and bucks?…i’m sure…but do they take more sick and less fit animals that reduces the competition for the stronger elk and deer so that those stronger healthier animals have more food sources, absolutely…which ultimately produces stronger bigger bucks and bull elk for you and every other hunter out there to shoot…do wolves take calves…definitely…some of which probably would have turned out to be nice bull elk and bucks…but this helps keep the population in check so the land is not overgrazed, which allows those calves that do grow up to be much healthier, fit and presumably bigger because there is more food…which really should only make you happy!

    most claims of wolves decimating elk or deer populations are flat out not true….i’m sure they can locally lower the population, which is what most anti wolf people scream happens on a huge scale….the last 10 years in wyoming and idaho are case in point that this claim is bogus…but let’s play your game elkhunter that wolves do indeed significantly lower the ungulate population…..would you rather have a 1000 unhealthy elk (with virtually no big bulls b/c the unhealthy individuals are competing with the stronger individuals…thus causing the stronger individuals to not reach their full potential) in a herd or 750 healthy elk where the strong animals are not competing with the weaker individuals, which results in ‘bigger’ bulls…based on your response it seems the latter…which is what wolves help to create!

    elkhunter, if you really are concerned about wanting big healthy bucks and bull elk to hunt…then i sure as hell hope you’re fighting for ranchers to graze in a sustainable way…there are a few that do, but many don’t….and it doesn’t take a genius to see that most of the forest service and BLM land here in utah lacks forage due to overgrazing! it also doesn’t take a genius to see that if there is no food for deer and elk to forage that hey, there are not going to be as many healthy deer and elk…we are one of the worst states for this!

    elkhunter, we should be working together on these much larger and important issues such as funding and overgrazing!

    and if you choose to continue to be against wolves then at the very least, put your money/time where your mouth is and help out with these other issues…you may already be, which is awesome…thanks! both you and i will be happy (or sad) together depending on the outcome of these other much more significant issues!

  49. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    There’s a lesson in this thread.

    The outspoken voices, no matter how ignorant, how immutable in their opinion; always get the attention.

    You’ll notice I do this far less than most. The outspoken ignorant few don’t deserve my time. Their opinions will never change, no matter how much we attempt to educate them. I have accepted that by in large, the only way to see a decrease in wolf-haters, is to wait until they die off.

  50. avatar SAP says:

    From the social psychology literature (a little jargony, but it’s based on rigorous experimentation):

    “Attitude Importance, Forewarning of Message Content, and Resistance to Persuasion.” Basic and Applied Social Psychology Vol. 22, #1 (2000), pages 19-29. By J. Z. Jacks and P. G. Devine.

    Abstract: Warning participants of the topic and position of an upcoming message often results in increased resistance to persuasion. The cognitive mediation explanation of this effect is that the warning motivates people to engage in anticipatory counter-arguing prior to receiving the message. This research suggests that this explanation provides only a partial understanding of forewarning effects. We extended the literature by examining attitude importance and both cognitive and affective resistance processes. Results showed that high-importance individuals were very resistant to the message, regardless of the warning (warned vs. unwarned) and delay (0 min vs 2 min) manipulations. Their resistance was evident in heightened levels of negative thoughts and negative affect (i.e., irritation) compared to low-importance individuals. Low-importance individuals were most resistant when warned and given time before hearing the message. Path analysis suggests that this effect was mediated primarily by heightened irritation in this condition, although negative thoughts also contributed to resistance.

    By way of translation, “high importance” in this context means that a person is very attached to some particular attitude they might have. For our purposes here, a Ron Gillete would definitely be “high importance” — that is, he holds onto his anti-wolf mindset as part of his identity, almost like a parent would a child.

    Folks can get a reprint of that article by contacting the lead author at jrjacks@uncg.edu

  51. avatar skyrim says:

    That is fascinating. I’ve always felt that once a person gains celebrity; good, bad or indifferent, it is the celebrity that carries forward with the person in tow. Sundles, Gillette…………. all the same

  52. avatar SAP says:

    And another one to while away a hot smoky day:

    “When Beliefs Yield to Evidence: Reducing Biased Evaluations by Affirming the Self.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin Vol. 26, No. 9, September 2000, pages 1151-1164. By G. L. Cohen, J. Aronson, & C. M. Steele.

    Abstract: People often cling to beliefs even in the face of dis-confirming evidence and interpret ambiguous information in a manner that bolsters strongly held attitudes. The authors tested a motivational account suggesting that these defensive reactions would be ameliorated by an affirmation of an alternative source of self-worth. Consistent with this interpretation, participants were more persuaded by evidence impugning their views toward capital punishment when they ware self-affirmed than when they were not. Affirmed participants also proved more critical of an advocate whose arguments confirmed their views on abortion and less confident in their own attitudes regarding that issue than did un-affirmed participants. Results suggest that assimilation bias and resistance to persuasion are mediated, in part, by identity-maintenance motivations.

  53. avatar elkhunter says:

    Colby, I appreciate your points some are valid, some are not. Big bulls get big because of age. Age, genetics and moisture. I have hunted in a unit in Southern Utah called the southwest desert. you can do some research if you want. they graze it like crazy. Lots of cows. And wild horses. And guess what? HUGE bulls. Thats how it is in every unit, there are always cows, and HUGE bulls. Now in ID, very rarely are big bulls killed, and the most populare units for mature elk are in units 40 and 76 66A. Guess what? All sourthern portions of the state with no or little wolf pressure. So if in areas like the Church or Selway where there are lots of wolves, cougars, bears and coyotes killing calves every year. And Calf recruitment is down, the jackson herd in WY is having about a 8 calves to 100 cows ratio! Now whats a big aspect of mature bulls? AGE. So if in alot of units your calves are gettin killed, do the math, after 10-15 years of that, you think populations will suffer. Not to metion during the rut, the wolves chase the elk like crazy. So I have a hard time with your point of view, cause everywhere i hunt, there are cows, but lots of everything else.
    Wolfy, your right, you pinned me down. Come on be realistic. I know alot of these people spend time in the mountains. I know alot of them are very passionate about wolves. Just as I am passionate about hunting. And I put my money and time where my mouth is. I am glad your personal opinion means alot to you. Your entitled to it. And you made a good point. The people you talk to just go out once a year for a weekend to see the woods. And they get their info according to you from other “hunters” like me who spend alot of time in the woods. So the info we are passing on is “slanted”? So the people who are spending time actually hunting and experiencing whats going on are obviously not educated enough to talk to someone who just goes every once in awhile!! So should I just refer every person I run into in the mountains to DOW website to get all the “true” info they need about whats goin on? PLEASE. Once again your playing the “I need to teach everyone who believes different that me the truth” card.
    Vicki, Once again you us the phrase “I know your wrong” just because I dont see the way you do. So just as you want me to budge and see your side, you refuse to budge and see my side. And majority rules as far as wolves are concered! Like I said you are asking the people that think it would be cool to listen to a wolf howl the one camping trip they go on in ID. The people who do nothing for conseravation and habitat. Unlike anglers sportsmen who front the bill, imagine if hunters boycotted ID and no one bought tags or licenses. I would like to see it happen for even 1 year. IDFG struggles as it is. Like I said when you the bills, you wear the pants.
    Ralph, you make a good point, I will ask you the same question. You look at all the MILLIONS of dollars spent on litigation for your wolves. All the man hours paid for the state and federal government to deal with this circus. Now if you guys were not so preoccupied forcing wolves onto people and lobbying for reintroduction in other states, and put all this effort and money towards shutting down the gas/oil in WY. Imagine what would of happened.

  54. avatar SAP says:

    Elkhunter –

    Just a factual question for you, no ideological debate. You said:

    “Not to metion during the rut, the wolves chase the elk like crazy.”

    Now, I don’t bowhunt, so I don’t get to get up close and personal with bugling bulls and their harems, so I have no direct observations. But, I have noticed in some places that wolves that WEREN’T killing cattle suddenly show up and start chomping on them in September, right around the time we start hearing bugling.

    My hypothesis was that elk were hard to kill during the rut, what with those big crazy aggressive bulls keeping the cows bunched up and fighting everything that comes around. Ralph pointed out elsewhere that the elk are in peak condition by then, that the calves are a lot faster yet still hanging close to Ma, and that the wolves’ pups are still useless on the hunt yet needing lots of meat. So, I thought that all those factors pointed to the need for increased vigilance by stockgrowers come September, because the wolves were having a tough time killing elk.

    But, ya know, I’m not one of those people who have the “truth” all boxed up, so I could be wrong. Would be interested in what you’ve been seeing.

  55. avatar skyrim says:

    “Forcing wolves onto people” %^&*&^&)%$$$$##
    When are you going to get a clue EH. It is not about that at all. It is simply (to me) about balancing a complete natural ecosytem with all of the major components in place. Denying the wolf, is denying ones own self. If they don’t belong, well then……… niether do you……

  56. avatar Wolfy says:

    Some folks have made some good points here. One general theme that I have observed is that folks are concerned and passionate about protecting their natural resources. Another thing that I have seen is that the harder one pushes their ideals onto someone who thinks differently, the more entrenched the opposition gets. Some folks are prone to make wild boasts and use fraudulent facts to make a point. And some will always use examples of the extreme situation (and very unrealistic) to make a point.

    There is no middle ground or discussion with folks on the extreme. They may express platitudes within thinly veiled insults. Patronization and bold statements are other tools of the extremists. You can’t discuss predator/prey relationships, large mammal behavior, or the population dynamics with an extremist without them blurting out some hysterical, dramatized “end of the world” scenario where they are the only ones who can save planet from the would-be do-gooders. Even with contrary facts staring them right in the face, they are right and everyone else is wrong. It was very interesting to read the posts on human psychology.

    There has to be some common ground; at least a few things that both sides can agree on, or at least tolerate. Thankfully, though they are loud, extremist are few in number. The bulk of humanity doesn’t have a strong opinion either way on most things. Those are the folks that you can have a decent, intelligent conversation with. Some smart fellow told me a long time ago to “argue the issues, not the idiots”. When I come upon someone who sounds like an extremist, I cut the conversation off and say “good day”. There is no need to waste time and energy on someone who looks down on you and who thinks that they can never be wrong.

    I still look forward to seeing folks in the woods and discussing deer herds, wolves, big bucks, and camp chow. It is only rarely that I happen upon a real stick in the mud. I meet fewer and fewer as the years pass. Maybe someone from an earlier post was right, maybe we will just outlive the bastards. And all the effort that we are expending to bring some appreciation and beauty to folks may be paying off after all.

  57. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    Okay, this really bugs me. Sorry.

    I’m really sickened by how often I see this grevious spelling/grammatical error. It seems that society is becoming dumber by the minute, and I’m here to make sure the audience here doesn’t succumb to this one annoying habit.

    I’ve see far too often the contraction of have being grossly misused, phoentically correct, but otherwise way the hell off in left field. For example: would have is often miscontracted as would of. While it sounds okay, it is far from it. Correctly, it is would’ve – the contraction of would and have; the apostrophe indicating that “ha” has been left out.

    Anyway, sorry, it just really pains me to see this gross misuse.

    I’ll shut up and eat now.

  58. avatar Hank82 says:

    As a first time reader of this blog and new to the site I am very interested in the opinions, views, and facts that are complied. I am a HUNTER a true HUNTER not a fly by night city slicker with a weekend retreat. Hours in field, patterening wildlife, learning my subject, and (LEGALLY, ETHICALLY, AND MORALLY) pursuing. The experience and devotion of people like Ralph have shown us that it is possible to co-exist with NATURAL wildlife in areas that have been stripped of such grace. Overgrazing…WOW..! We need help. Reintro of wolves yes we need that to, because history shows that civiliation took that away. Elk Hunter wants bigger Bulls. Hey, start a mgt. program to get bigger BULLS. Do what SUCCESSFUL hunting programs due cull smaller animals, bull to cow ratios, take animals from the heard like Natural Selection, and leave the good Genics in. Climate controls mositure not wolves. Bigger elk grow in areas where Nature premits. Yes wolves remove animals from the heard, but so does the Hunter. Wolf mgt. is great and farmers, ranchers, and hunters decades back knew the wolf was in the area. Eliminating is not the answer. We must work as a team combining our knowlegde and learning from others’ experience.

    ps Ralph great work on what you are doing. I am on my way to YNP Aug-4 thru 11th if you have and wildlife siting pointers on Grizzy and Wolf I would greatly appriciate you time.

  59. avatar Alan says:

    Elkhunter wrote above: “And Calf recruitment is down, the Jackson herd in WY is having about a 8 calves to 100 cows ratio!”
    You should check Ralph’s post #1135, dated May 15, 2007. A quote from one of the articles linked to:
    “The Jackson Herd – which includes elk that winter on the National Elk Refuge, on state feed grounds in the Gros Ventre River drainage and in Moran and Spread Creek – had 12,904 members in the latest census, almost 2,000 more than the 11,029 objective. The calf/cow ratio was 25 per 100, the goal agency officials have cited for a sustaining population.”

  60. avatar Jeff N. says:

    Alan,

    You are asking Elkhunter to do a little research and by reviewing his posts you can see he doesn’t. In a previous post he called me out on using the term “gray wolf” when describing the Mexican Gray wolf. According to him it is the “Mexican Wolf”(damn immigrants). Elkhunter likes to point out that wolves cause “drama”. He has stated this numerous times. However it is people like him who cause the drama. Quite simply the man is threatened by the wolf. He may even be afraid. He lacks the understanding of the role it plays in the natural world. To him the wolf represents competition that stands in the way of him shooting his big bull elk. It’s also important to note that to Elkhunter the worth of an elk is the size of the rack and the overall weight. To Elkhunter The elk’s role is to be available in the fall so he can shoot it, and it better be a trophy. Just read his posts.

  61. avatar SAP says:

    Mike W – since usage is important to you, you probably would like to know that it’s “by AND large,” not “by in large.”

    I had been using that expression for years, and then one day I thought, “what the heck does that even mean?”

    So, I looked it up. It’s a sailing expression: if a ship is sailing “by the wind,” that means it’s going pretty much straight into it. If it’s sailing “large,” that means the wind is coming from behind. Apparently, then, “by and large” means “under most circumstances.”

    Interestingly enough, “taken aback” is another sailing term — if you try to sail “by the wind” without a little bit of angle, the wind just plasters the sails up against the masts — taken aback.

    See http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-bya1.htm

  62. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    Thanks SAP! I do appreciate that.

  63. In today’s Oregonian; Ketchum, ID—The IDFG has agreed to a central ID sheep owner’s request NOT to kill wolves that killed seven of his sheep.
    “The livestock producer wanted to work with us to explore all options to keep his stock and wolves alive,” Steve Nadeau, the dept’s large carnivore manager, told the Idaho Mountain Express.
    Officials said the seven sheep were killed July 10 and July 12 on a grazing allotment in the Sawtooth National Forest by the recently formed Phantom Hill wolf pack. In June, the dept discovered the pack had made a den in the upper Wood Valley north of Ketchum.
    The dept said the pack’s alpha female earlier this spring gave birth to three pups. the dept put a radio collar on one wolf in the pack before the sheep killing took place.
    The sheepherder and a volunteer with F&G have been given radio transceivers to be alerted if the wolves come close to the sheep. The dept also gave rubber bullets to the unnamed sheep owner to scare the wolves away.

    This brightened my day! And so I just had to share, even though some of you may already know. Might be a bit fortuitous, considering that meeting tonight….

  64. About Dirk Kempthorne; Some of you spell “Dick” instead of “Dirk” , me included, because he’s a jerk. {To say the least…} I was wondering if you folks were being mischevious too??

  65. avatar JEFF E says:

    d. Bailey Hill
    sorry, I keep forgetting to separate the person from the personality. ;*)

  66. Yesterday I asked if anyone else had read any news about the sheep owner who requested that the wolves who killed seven of his sheep, to not be killed??? It is the third post up from this one and starts with “In today’s Oregonian;
    Ketchum, ID.—
    It came over the wire from Associated Press.

  67. Yesterday I asked if anyone else had read any news about the sheep owner who requested that the wolves who killed seven of his sheep, to not be killed??? It is the third post up from this one and starts with “In today’s Oregonian;
    Ketchum, ID.—
    It came over the wire from Associated Press and was wondering if it showed up in other northwest area papers.

  68. oops….. I am having a bit of trouble with my computer….

  69. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    I didn’t read that article, except as you posted it.

    It sounds awesome though. I do wish Idaho papers would publish these things. This crap of printing only negative about wolves is getting old fast.

    If I can make the front page of the paper for wearing a costume, why can’t wolves make the front page for not being killed?

  70. The handing out of rubber bullets indicates that these sheep are not just thrown out in spring and collected again in autumn but are apparently guarded the whole season. Is there research work about wolf defence measures available? I know that our sheep owners here in Europe have remarkable success using flap fences reinforced with electricity carrying wires during night rest of the herd and some employ those mighty Pyrenean Mountain Dogs. Thus I have some doubts if these strategies could work in the West where conditions (terrain, size of the herds) are different. Although here in Europe the shepherds receive subsidy from carnivore conservation agencies if they decide to go for those fences and/or dogs.

  71. A word about the sheep rancher who didn’t want the wolves killed in the Phantom Hill Pack — that’s probably Mike Stevens, the most progressive rancher in Idaho.

    He has consistently favored the wolves, and has even said that his losses have decreased since the wolves came (because the wolves kill the coyotes).

  72. Something different I´d like to share with you! When browsing my periodical today I came over a remarkable picture used to illustrate an article about the new earth rescuers, Gates and Branson etc. You and I have seen this picture before for sure. But it always makes you stop for a moment and think about it. It shows the earth at night, taken from space. Somebody put together the single shots of the individual continents into a map of the whole planet. The title is “light pollution”. Light, means civilization, means “inhabited”. Simple conclusions: More light means more civilization or, in reverse, less room for nature, wilderness and wildlife. Now, what are the most densely light polluted, populated, inhabited areas on this planet? Europe, of course somehow you expect this. Japan (almost a solid blotch of light), India, yes (where is the last Tiger habitat?) and….North America! It is dotted with light everywhere! From the East Coast to the Midwest an almost solid block of “light”. The only relatively dark parts left seem to be between the western edge of the Rockies (not the Rockies itself!) to the West Coast with it´s metropoles. You think Russia is completely “dark”? Not quite, there is a trail of light across Russia starting at the western edge with highest density and fading only a little towards the east. You can google this picture easily, just select picture search and enter “light pollution” in the search bar!

  73. Ralph—Thank you for the info about the sheep rancher.

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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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