In recent email Jim Robertson wrote the following (see below). It was so interesting I decided to post it (with his kind permission). My, but he has some great photographs!

Ralph Maughan

I witnessed a couple of wolves (two females from a pack of eight) join in on the
action at Fish Creek near Hyder, AK in 2001. It was the fist year that
wolves had been seen fishing in that area. They turned out to be better at
it than either the black bears or grizzlies who had fished that spawning
stream for years.

While the black bears would wait along the banks and make a lunge for a
salmon when they got a good fix on one, and the grizzlies would wade up into
a school and herd the fish into the shallows, the wolves would stand in the
middle of the creek and watch intently for a likely target. Their vision
was clearly better than the bears’ and they went after the fish with much
more accuracy. Nothing hap-hazard about their efforts.

They made sport of chasing the black bears off and liked to test the
grizzlies, but one playful yearling grizzly did send them running for a
minute.

Here are some of my photos of the wolves fishing at Hyder:

http://www.all-creatures.org/aw/wolves-046.html
http://www.all-creatures.org/aw/wolves-029.html
http://www.all-creatures.org/aw/wolves-034.html
http://www.all-creatures.org/aw/wolves-037.html
http://www.all-creatures.org/aw/wolves-005.html
http://www.all-creatures.org/aw/wolves-006.html
from my wolf page
http://www.all-creatures.org/aw/wolves.html

and here’s some grizzly photos:
http://www.all-creatures.org/aw/grizzly.html

It seems likely that wolves could take advantage of the bounty of salmon
spawning streams more often, if they felt they were in a protected area like
Katmai. Sadly, the bear viewing area at Hyder is closed to hunting bears,
but not wolves. That winter some or all of that wolf pack were killed by
locals. Now the only sign of them is a hand made sign on a power pole
advertising wolf hides for sale. There would be a lot more wolves around
Katmai if it weren’t for trapping. The first year I visited there (1978), I
heard that a pack of 7 resident wolves were trapped when they wandered
outside the park boundaries the previous winter.

Luckily for grizzlies, most of the trapping goes on after they’ve gone into
hibernation.

Jim Robertson
wolfcrest@hotmail.com
www.animalsinthewild.com

 
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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.

3 Responses to Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves and salmon

  1. avatar Buffaloed says:

    A wolf that I saw several years ago in Idaho ended up dying from eating salmon on the South Fork of the Salmon River. It died from “salmon poisoning” also known as Neorickettsia helminthoeca which only kills canines. Don’t feed your dog uncooked fish.

    http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/ClientED/salmon.asp

  2. avatar Buffaloed says:

    BTW, nice photo’s

  3. I wonder why these Alaskan wolves don’t get Neorickettsia helminthoeca?

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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."

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