This long story below in High Country News describes an illegal tactics being used to make sure the “dangerous” dozen or so Mexican wolves in this lawless county don’t fare well. Last chance for the Lobo. John Dougherty. High Country News.

The federal government should step up, pull grazing permits, take away radio telemetry, and make sure their personnel are protected. This isn’t just about wolves, it is about a place in New Mexico which for years has been allowed to violate the wildlife and public land laws of the United States and New Mexico, abuse your public land, and get away with it.

I first learned about Catron County in the 1990s when they were in the news for violating grazing laws and asserting the bullshit doctrine of country supremacy to the laws of the United States. An “environmentalist” who had stood up to the local strongarm tactics attended a political science conference in Colorado Springs. She gave a presentation on the lawlessness of the area. She actually had to live in a safe house.

Presidential candidate Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, would do well to send sufficient law enforcement into the area to maintain order and restore the rule of law.

News Release from the Center for Biological Diversity asking for action.

Ranch hand disputes claim that he lured endangered wolf. Fox11AZ.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.

43 Responses to Catron County ranch hand deliberately sacrifices livestock so Mexican wolves can be killed

  1. avatar Mack P. Bray says:

    Regarding Mike Miller of the Adobe-Slash Ranch essentially admitting, in my opinion, that he committed a crime, I called Larry Gomez, U.S. Attorney General, District of New Mexico, at 1-505-346-7274; spoke with Steve Gontis, who said he was a “duty attorney;” Steve said I should call the FBI at 1-505-889-1300, which I did and was told I needed to talk to “Joe” (last name withheld by the office). I’ve tried twice for Joe, but haven’t reached him; I’ll keep trying.

    Feel free to call the FBI office and encourage them to start an investigation.

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net
    http://wildlifewatchers.jottit.com/

  2. avatar SAP says:

    Astounding.

    The ranch hand’s recantation doesn’t ring true — why would a senior member of the HCN team just make up quotes about some otherwise anonymous guy?

    Here’s the juicy stuff from HCN:

    “”We would sacrifice a calf to get a third strike,” Miller told High Country News, candidly revealing a tactic that could help ranchers get the upper hand . . .””

    “” . . . a freshly branded cow about to calve was left unattended near the wolves.

    “We left her out there,” Miller says. “”

    “Miller’s interview with High Country News, describing how he deliberately sacrificed a cow in order to have a wolf removed from the wild, is the first time a rancher has discussed such activities with the press.”

    I hope HCN has audiotapes of the interview.

    Reimbursing these people also runs contrary to Defenders’ written policy:

    9. Defenders of Wildlife reserves the right to deny compensation or assistance to anyone who intentionally submits fraudulent claims, purposefully attempts to entice wolves to kill livestock, illegally wounds or kills wolves, refuses to utilize reasonable nonlethal deterrents, or acts in an abusive or threatening manner toward any Defenders’ employee.

  3. avatar Layton says:

    I’m going to put in a comment here that is probably going to start a firestorm, but, believe it or not, it is meant to start a DISCUSSION — so I’ll give it a try.

    I just came back from a couple of weeks of hunting in Northern/Central Idaho. I was hunting the late archery season in a couple of spots that are well known for large wolf populations.

    While I know that a LOT of the people that frequent this blog think that I am a red eyed radical — in the image of Ron Gilette and company — I’m really not. I think the wolves need some control — maybe even a LOT of control, but I don’t think they need total elimination.

    What surprised me this trip what the difference in the attitudes of John Q. Public in the areas where I was. Two years ago, in the same places, some folks were pretty adamant about wolves needing to be shot on sight, but there were still some that didn’t feel that way.

    This year the attitude was REALLY (yes, only my opinion, and strictly anecdotal) different. It was pretty close to 100% in favor of the “SSS” mentality — and a lot of folks didn’t even seem to care about the last two S’s.

    You can point out all the statistics you want to — the attitude of the “locals” is that the elk are darn near gone around here, it’s the wolves that have done it, the feds and the greenies aren’t doing ANYTHING to help, the wolf population is on the increase —- AND by God, we’ll do something cuz’ they aren’t going to!!

    It was written in one local paper that I saw that ” Just as a reminder, wolf season is open from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 this year”. Another popular bumper sticker was “Canadian wolves, smoke a pack a day!”.

    My point here is that there are getting to be more an more wolves and the pro-wolf folks seem to be opposed to even a SMALL — call it token if you want to — amount of control.

    There were agreements made when the introduction of these wolves was done that laid out some initial numbers. All of those numbers have been exceeded — wildly, for some time now — yet now that delisting is being proposed, the “pro” side wants more — and (evidently) more, and more. No one sees anything else in sight.

    The problem here in the Northwest — to me anyway — seems to be headed the same way as New Mexico, just on a much larger scale.

    Doesn’t anyone see that as a problem? Or is it just “damn the torpedoes (and the numbers) full speed ahead!!

    Ralph — if this is in the wrong place/thread, please put it where you think would be a better one. I’m not trying to hijack anything. NO, DON’T TOUCH THAT “DELETE” BUTTON!! 😉

    No, Layton. Thanks for the post. I have a lot of thoughts about this, and not what you might expect (or others too; better not to post them)

    Ralph

    Layton

  4. avatar timz says:

    Layton,
    No reasonable person believes wolves can exist without some control. What doesn’t seem to get through to many is these plans go way beyond reasonable control. They are as Lynn says, extermination plans.

  5. avatar timz says:

    Sorry, I should have said Suzanne, I got my Stone’s mixed up. 🙂

  6. avatar April Clauson says:

    I hope that if this is true they do get their grazing rites taken away and they loose all respect from the decent ranchers out there. this is just afwle if it is true that they could do something like that. there has to be some truth in it, the media did not just make this up.

  7. avatar Mack P. Bray says:

    I wanted to speak with the Regional Forester, Corbin Newman, at 1-505-842-3292, but was told he won’t start work until next week. So I spoke with Lucia Turner, a Deputy Forester who is the acting Regional. She said their District Ranger, Larry Cosper, has been asked to conduct an investigation, in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, into the Adobe-Slash Ranch incident. She suggested I stay in contact with Larry as to status of the investigation. Larry’s out until January 3rd; his number is 1-505-894-6677, but, because the issue is so important, he’s taking calls on his cell: 1-575-313-0506.

    Lucia Turner also CONFIRMED what Joel Holtrip, in charge of grazing, U.S. Department of Agriculture, told me years ago: a Regional Forester DOES have the authority to immediately cancel, with or without cause, grazing permits on his/her forest – generally this is done with cause. Lucia ALSO told me that Forest Supervisors as well as a District Rangers ALSO have the authority to immediately cancel, with or without cause, grazing permits on his/her forest.

    So, folks, feel free to call any of the above to register your concern. 🙂

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net
    http://wildlifewatchers.jottit.com/

  8. avatar catbestland says:

    Thanks Mack for those numbers. I’m getting a run around but have gotten through to someone at the FBI. I don’t think Larry is answering his cell but it is important to leave messages there and on his office phone. EVERYONE needs to do this. Especially leave a message for Regional Forester Corbin Newman asking that those grazing permits be pulled. Remember those are OUR wolves that are being slaughtered. We paid for them.

  9. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    I’m not surprised at all that a NM cowhand admitted to leaving a calf for baiting in wolves in order to invoke the three strikes rule and get wolves killed. We’ve lost a lot of wolves in Idaho because of a similar strategy and one is going on right now in my neck of the woods. More about that in another post.

    Layton – you’re right that maybe Ralph should start a separate thread for hunters that didn’t get their elk and are blaming wolves. Until then, in response to your recent post, what species of “big game” were you recently archery hunting and in what unit?

    Am thumbing thru the 2007 Big Game IDFG hunting regs pages 39 to 58 and trying to find what units are open to elk archery hunting in December.

    Ther are three zones that I see that have late archery elk hunts (please correct me if I’m mistaken):

    Panhandle Zone Units 1, 2,3,4, 4a,5, 6, 7,0: Dec. 10-34 archery hunt for any elk (calf, cow, bull).

    Elk City Zone Units 14, 15, 16 – Dec. 5-20 for any elk (calf, cow, bull).

    Salmon Zone Units 21, 21A, 28 and 26B – Dec 1 – Dec 31 for any elk (calf, cow, bull)

    One of these zones must be where you hunted. Are any of these zones failing to meet IDFG objectives for elk? Why is there a late season archery Hunt? Perhaps to try and trim elk numbers where there are conflicts with private land and livestock — ie., “problems” with elk getting into private lands and eating pasture and hay? Are there depredation hunts in these zones? Depredation = special permits given to either landowners and their friends, or other hunters in order to kill off elk or deer that are eating livestock pasture.

    Archery hunting is often used near houses where it’s risky to allow high powered rifle hunting. Muzzle loader/black powder season in November is also used to kill off pesky elk that are living too close to ranches/towns.

  10. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    I’ve been out in wolfdom on this glorious blue sky, winter wonderland day of the Winter Solstice … and return to read this particular thread and am wondering what the FBI has to do with killing wolves and public land livestock grazing?

    The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is the agency who oversees wolves.

    The U.S. Forest Service deals with public land grazing permits.

    And the FBI does …. ?? Maybe I had too much scenery and wolf watching today so please help me out.

  11. avatar Todd says:

    The FBI would be involved because it is a federal crime.

  12. avatar Mack P. Bray says:

    Lynne, I thought it wise to call the U.S. Attorney for New Mexico – which I did – and that office advised me to call the FBI.

    A bit of a knee-jerk reaction on my part. Hey – I was MAD – and still am…

    Where’s that phone…!

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net
    http://wildlifewatchers.jottit.com/

  13. Lynne— Unlike local and state law enforcement officers, Fish and Game folks, and rangers etc., are federal level officers. I know they go to the National White Collar Crime Center {NW3C} for classes. NW3C is a federal agency. I know someone who works there and left a message on a personal phone. This person may know about the other agencies that can get involved.
    Considering what the local officials are up against with the folks down there, they may need someone higher up to deal with it.

  14. avatar SAP says:

    I just assumed Mack wanted the guy shipped off to Gitmo.

  15. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Todd – correct me if I am mistaken, but the FBI deals with human cases, not those of bird/animal/fish species listed under the ESA or other laws.

    Mack – appreciate the call to attorney general … but did he/she give the correct advice – to call the FBI?

    Bailey – am confused about your statement. I know that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is a federal agency. But, are you saying that New Mexico state game and fish are somehow “federal level” officers?

    A wolf killing would come under USFWS law enforcement. But, from my experience, the local state Fish & Game would investigate and then make a recommendation on how the federal agency should proceed. (“Give ’em two slaps on the wrist”)

    I appreciate all your comments and am seeking clarification of the legal issues so that we might all speak accurately on behalf of wolves.

  16. avatar catbestland says:

    Lynne,

    Apparently the FBI is looking into this matter, or so I was assured when calling them yesterday. Although, of course they will not give out any information about the case, they did not try to push it off as someone elses problem. So PLEASE EVERYONE call all the numbers that Mack has provided and let them know that people from all over the country are watching how this unfolds.

  17. avatar Mack P. Bray says:

    Lynne, I do not know if I was given the correct advice; it would seem reasonable that a “duty attorney” (whatever that is) would be unlikely to steer me in the wrong direction. I’ll call him Monday and clear ths up.

    Sorry for repeating myself, but I think it’s appropriate:

    I wanted to speak with the Regional Forester, Corbin Newman, at 1-505-842-3292, but was told he won’t start work until next week. So I spoke with Lucia Turner, a Deputy Forester who is the acting Regional. She said their District Ranger, Larry Cosper, has been asked to conduct an investigation, in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, into the Adobe-Slash Ranch incident. She suggested I stay in contact with Larry as to status of the investigation. Larry’s out until January 3rd; his number is 1-505-894-6677, but, because the issue is so important, he’s taking calls on his cell: 1-575-313-0506.

    Lucia Turner also CONFIRMED what Joel Holtrip, in charge of grazing, U.S. Department of Agriculture, told me years ago: a Regional Forester DOES have the authority to immediately cancel, with or without cause, grazing permits on his/her forest – generally this is done with cause. Lucia ALSO told me that Forest Supervisors as well as a District Rangers ALSO have the authority to immediately cancel, with or without cause, grazing permits on his/her forest.

    So, folks, feel free to call any of the above to register your concern.

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net
    http://wildlifewatchers.jottit.com/

  18. avatar Layton says:

    Lynne,

    You said:

    “Layton – you’re right that maybe Ralph should start a separate thread for hunters that didn’t get their elk and are blaming wolves. Until then, in response to your recent post, what species of “big game” were you recently archery hunting and in what unit? ”

    I’m not exactly sure what you are talking about here —- where was it that I said anything about “starting a separate thread for hunters that didn’t get their elk and are blaming wolves”?? I don’t think I said anything like that or even implied it.

    Your research is pretty well on — I was hunting in one of those units. I haven’t looked at the stats for any of them, I don’t know if they are meeting objectives or not.

    By the way — thanks for the detailed explanation of what a depredation hunt is — no I wasn’t on one — didn’t you think I was able to understand the meaning of the word??

    Did you fail to get the point of the post? Did I not explain it well enough??

    The point was —– it is my belief that local folks all around the state, but especially where the wolf populations are higher and are perceived to be hurting the elk herds — are getting plumb sick and tired of the lack of control of the introduced beasties.

    They see that there is NO control and that wolf advocates are actively fighting the delisting of the critters — in spite of surpassing the original numbers agreed on for that delisting by at least times 10 and, in some areas — more.

    They are seeing this and they are PISSED, much more than they used to be!! I am pointing out the similarities (again, IMNSHO) between this an New Mexico. I think there is a “storm” coming.

    I hope that explains it so that you can understand.

    Layton

  19. avatar Buffaloed says:

    Layton, who agreed to any specific number of wolves? You keep bringing this up there was no such agreement. The 300 number was the trigger to START the delisting process not a maximum and there were many other requirements as well. You should do some more research before you make claims you can’t support.

    Maybe those folks are just as ignorant of the process as you are and if that is the case then I can understand that they are PISSED but many of them think that a wolf ate Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother and that wolves are going to eat their children. Just because they/you feel that there was some kind of agreement doesn’t mean that was the case. The ESA doesn’t call for a token recovery it calls for much more than that. Also, it’s easy to see why people have these crazy perceptions about wolves when you look at all of the intentional mis-information from Ron Gilllette and his crowd. They seem to blame everything on wolves even when it is apparent that many of the claims made at the point of reintroduction have been proven false but none of the people who made those claims can admit that they were wrong.

    People who think that the wolves have or will kill all of the elk are flat out wrong. People who think that the elk are being effected on a population level other than through behavior changes are wrong too. Those behavior changes are one of the main reasons wolves need to be here and if hunters can’t adapt to those changes then they shouldn’t hunt.

    Now, as far as the Mexican Wolf, I feel that the reason recovery is not being achieved is because of the poor plan and the fact that these ranchers seem to think they have the right to do anything on public lands when they do not. I hazard to guess that the residents couldn’t make a decent living there regardless of how the land is managed. If they want to graze cattle on their private land then I have no problem with that but leaving cattle unattended on thousands of acres of land with poor forage to the point that they regularly die from reasons other than predation then you should expect that some of them will be killed or scavenged by wolves.

    I’m sorry if I have little sympathy for ranchers and hunters who can’t adapt. I just don’t. Nobody protects my way of life and I have to adapt. Those city slickers, of which I am not, have to adapt even more so than rural folks but you don’t hear them crying to mommy about it. They do it all the time.

  20. avatar Maska says:

    Just for clarification, following the loss of 28 animals to the wild population during 2007 through poaching, death from unknown causes, trapping and removal by the project, “lethal control” (i.e. shooting by Wildlife Services), and disappearances, the total collared lobo population in the entire two state recovery area stood at 21 as of the December 17th telemetry flight.

    Ten of those animals were in New Mexico. Eleven were in Arizona. There are only eight confirmed pups of the year at this point, all of them in Arizona (although a single pack in the Gila Wilderness in NM is suspected of having had pups). A total of ten pups of the year were removed from NM with the Saddle and Aspen packs. One went missing with the Durango alpha male and his female companion.

    Given the number of removals, including removals of this year’s pups, it is highly unlikely that the lobo population at the end of this year will equal, much less exceed, that estimated in the end-of-year count last year, which was 59.

    The total number of square miles in the recovery area (including the Fort Apache Reservation) is approximately 9,345 sq. mi. Divide that by 59 and you get a wolf density of one lobo for every 164 sq. mi. (That’s one wolf in a square approximately 13 miles on a side.) The land in the recovery are is 95% public land–94% in Arizona and 96% in New Mexico (excluding the reservation land in Arizona).

    Can’t the public lands livestock industry get along with one wolf per 164 sq. mi.?

  21. This is very good factual information, so thank you.

    It’s not really about wolves. They just want to push “outsiders” around.

    They claim they are worried this pitifully small number of wolves will attack them or their children. This is made up for the media. As we can see from the earlier article, if anything, at least some of these folks are trying to bait wolves in with the hope the wolves will then cause some damage.

    It’s all about their control of the public land and of other people.

  22. avatar Layton says:

    Buffaloed,

    Again — you seem to be one of the folks that just won’t READ — at least not for any sort of comprehension — if someone is not touting your own view point.

    I have said two things on this thread that refer to what you are talking about — in BOTH cases I have referenced the delisting process — for your enlightenment here they are again:

    “There were agreements made when the introduction of these wolves was done that laid out some initial numbers. All of those numbers have been exceeded — wildly, for some time now — yet now that delisting is being proposed, the “pro” side wants more — and (evidently) more, and more. No one sees anything else in sight.”

    “They see that there is NO control and that wolf advocates are actively fighting the delisting of the critters — in spite of surpassing the original numbers agreed on for that delisting by at least times 10 and, in some areas — more.”

    You said:

    “The 300 number was the trigger to START the delisting process ”

    Then later you say:

    “Just because they/you feel that there was some kind of agreement doesn’t mean that was the case. ”

    Which one is it?? Were there or were there not agreements made??

    As I said before — I’m simply pointing out that the viewpoints of the folks in some of the communities involved are becoming more and more polarized — and my feeling is that it is because of the lack of ANY ACTION toward delisting (only against it) — other than the abundant threats of lawsuits when the feds actually do get something going toward that end.

    I don’t think you will find anywhere that I have been “crying mommy” or anything like it. Maybe YOU should get your facts straight — or at least GET some facts!!

    As for being “ignorant of the process” — please, don’t try to advocate your own narrow viewpoints as being correct and accusing me of not being aware of what is going on.

    Layton

  23. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Layton – You still haven’t told us what unit you were archery hunting in and near what small town(s)?

    You wrote to me: ” I haven’t looked at the stats for any of them (units), I don’t know if they are meeting objectives or not.”

    Elk numbers are meeting or exceeding IDFG’s objectives in all but three areas: the Lola & Clearwater (habitat issues, not wolves) and one other that doesn’t have wolves. So what are the people you talk to belly aching about?

    IDFG elk stats are on their website.

    Also, there’s been no lack of “control”. Read Ed Bang’s weekly wolf reports.

    With that, Merry Christmas to all!

  24. avatar Buffaloed says:

    There were no agreements made. The 300 trigger was not an agreement as to how many wolves there would be.

  25. avatar Buffaloed says:

    I never said that you cried mommy. There are sufficient other people that think the world is ending because there are more than the minimum number of wolves that it would take to START the delisting process. Again there was no agreement that wolves would be delisted once there were 300. It seems Layton, that you can’t read and that you haven’t read the plan. There were many things other than the 300 trigger to start the delisting process. There had to 10 breeding pairs in all three areas for 3 consecutive years, doesn’t that mean that there would then be more than 300 wolves after that 3 years, especially if one of the areas wasn’t achieving that goal? Second, all 3 states had to have management plans that were accepted by the FWS, Wyoming just met that goal so realistically, the delisting process shouldn’t have started until now.

    There has been a lot of control on wolves in Idaho, just not the kind that the hunters want.

    Ask me more questions Layton, I’ve read every weekly and yearly report, I’ve read the IDFG plan, I’ve read the reintroduction plan, I’ve read all of the crazy websites insinuating that there are 9000 wolves in Idaho, I’ve had many types of experiences on a number of occasions with wolves in both Idaho and Yellowstone, I know most of the people involved with management of wolves. I’m no expert but I sure know a lot about wolves and this program.

    http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/

    Read page 12 of this report: http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf/NorthernRockyMountainWolfRecoveryPlan.pdf

    Where does it say that the 3 x 10 breeding pairs is the maximum? It doesn’t. It says that is the minimum. Two entirely different things Layton.

  26. avatar Layton says:

    Buffaloed,
    You said:

    “Where does it say that the 3 x 10 breeding pairs is the maximum? It doesn’t. It says that is the minimum. Two entirely different things Layton.”

    Are you implying that I said 300 was some sort of a maximum?? I didn’t — Then I pointed out that I didn’t — and you STILL don’t get it!!

    Try reading what I said before you accuse me of not knowing what I’m talking about!!

    Lynne,

    I didn’t specifically point out where I was hunting because of the tendency of folks on this blog to go crying to the FBI or some other cockamamy thing.

    If you read the WHOLE report from F&G instead of just the management summary — you will see that there are concerns about wolves and low calf recruitment throughout.

    Layton

  27. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Re. IDFG annual Wildlife Reports (the issue that Layton and I are discussing.) The Idaho big game annual summaries are found at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/

    Once on the IDFG website, click on Technical/Research, then Research Reports, then Wildlife, which will take you to Wildlife Technical Reports.

    You can also sign up for e-mail updates on big game, IDFG commissioner meetings and the like.

    I urge all wolf supporters to become familiar with the big game numbers and reports. Plus big game regs and hunting seasons for the area where you live. You can pick up the regs at retail stores that sell hunting licenses.

    IDFG hears mostly from hunters, outfitters and ranchers. Get to know your local IDFG personnel and speak up for wolves, other predators and non-game wildlife. Write LTE’s – this is something folks from out of state can do to help.

  28. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Layton – Re. the IDFG annual elk report, it’s simply untrue that there are concerns over wolves and low calf recruitment “throughout”. Each of the zone reports I read ended with this: “Impacts of elk on mule deer production and survival are suspected but unknown. The most productive elk herds are those maintained at a level below carrying capacity.”

    (When have we ever heard hunters/outfitters complaining about elk harming deer?)

    The Salmon Region report, Salmon Zone (Units 21, 21A, 28, 36B) says: “Declining calf recruitment and bull:cow ratios in recent years suggest that elk herds may have reached undesirable densities that contributed to declining populations.”

    In all the zones there are many factors of whether elk numbers meet/exceed or don’t meet objectives.

    In places like the Lemhi, Pioneer, Beaverhead, Boise River and Pioneer zones, ranchers complain about too many elk (and deer) on their private land, or eating the public land forage that they want for their cattle. So, IDFG adds more and/or longer hunts on elk cows and calves to try and reduce the pesky elk.

    Another key fact is that winter range limits elk numbers esp. since IDFG does not want to feed elk. There’s also issues with noxious weeds, encroaching human development and too much motorized access for hunters.

    But what do we hear from hunters, outfitters and the media? Wolves are causing all the problems and lack of hunter success. As I said in the e-mail proceeding this one, wolf supporters need to “arm” themselves with facts, read the IDFG data and shine some light on factors other than just predators that effect elk.

  29. avatar Layton says:

    OK Lynne,

    We’ll play a game of “quotes” for a little bit.

    You said:

    “Layton – Re. the IDFG annual elk report, it’s simply untrue that there are concerns over wolves and low calf recruitment “throughout”. Each of the zone reports I read ended with this: “Impacts of elk on mule deer production and survival are suspected but unknown. The most productive elk herds are those maintained at a level below carrying capacity.”

    I really don’t know how many zone reports you read, but you seem to have missed some of the ones I read.

    How about — Lolo Zone (page 14 of the report) “existing information suggests that both predation and density dependence could be causing low calf production/recruitment” —- followed by more discussion of both causes.

    Again — Lolo Zone (page 15 – biological issues) “Preliminary results from current research efforts suggest that both nutrition and predation may be potential causes of low calf recruitment levels ……………….”

    Later, on page 16, under Predation Issues ” Wolf packs are well-established throughout the zone and appear to be increasing. Current research indicates wolves having increased impacts on elk demographics”

    Under the Elk City Zone — (page 26) Biological Issues. “Historically, calf recruitment in Units 14 and 15 has been high, averaging 38 calves:100 cows from 1987-1993. However the 2000 surveys revealed recruitment of 25 calves:100 cows, suggesting that a decline in recruitment, similar to surrounding areas, may be occurring. Chronic low recruitment is a concern in Unit 16, which averaged 19 calves:100 cows.”

    And , under Predation Issues “Wolves are well established in the zone. Pack activity has been confirmed in all 3 Management units.”

    Boise River Zone (page 41) Under Predation Issues ” Wolves may become a significant issue for elk management in the near future.

    The Middle Fork Zone, on page 49, mentions that “excessive levels of predation can also suppress prey populations to undesirably low levels. At this point it is unclear what the net impact of predation will be with the new mix of large predators” — they are talking about wolves.

    Lynne I haven’t read every zone report in detail, I have skimmed most of them — a significant number of these reports reference wolves as a current concern or as a potential one.

    The point of my original post on the thread remains the same — people in remote communities with wolf populations that are increasing have a perception of bad things happening with “their” elk herds, the also see NOTHING being done to hasten the delisting process. They are getting angry about it!!

    Then there is the another fact about this whole discussion — John Q. Public is NOT going to go to the effort that you and I have — IE; he won’t print out the report and read it, even the summary!! He uses what he sees, on a daily basis, in the area where he lives, as the basis for what he feels and thinks.

    Layton

    By the way, I think I’ve “hijacked” this thread enough — I’ll leave it alone now. Maybe Ralph would want to start another “talk what you want to talk about thread” if folks are interested enough.

  30. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Layton- I figured you’d bring up the much-cited Lola, Elk City area elk issues, with wolves being an easy scapegoat, while ignoring habitat changes or issues. I’m well aware of the controversy.

    As for for the angry rednecks — I live near one of the smallest towns in Idaho and a handful of people led by Ron Gillett complain about wolves. If we didn’t have wolves, they’d been griping about something else. Delisting will mean hundreds of wolves killed and they still won’t be happy, esp. if they “don’t get thar wulf”.

    I agree that the Idaho elk issue has hi-jacked this thread’s original intent. So let’s call a truce and move on.

  31. avatar Jeff N. says:

    Getting back to Catron County and the surrounding counties terrorized by the Mexican Gray Wolf……there exists a website called Wolf Crossing (www.wolfcrossing.org) that is run by a few of the local anti-wolf folks. There is a “wolf sightings” section of that website which does more to confirm the wolf hysteria that is barfed up by some of the finer people of the region.

    The “wolf sightings” section has a questionaire that can be answered regarding the sighting/encounter. Aside from the usual type questions pertaining to perceived wolf aggression, self defense methods used to ward off imminent attack, etc… here are a few beauties that put a whole new spin on the dangers of “El Lobo”

    (not word for word, but my best recollection):

    Was a child present during the sighting?

    (obviously this question is an attempt to prove that the Mexican Gray Wolf is seeking out the helpless children)

    Did the child suffer physcological trauma due to the sighting?

    Did anyone else suffer psycological trauma due to the sighting?

    The funny thing is that in the questions pertaining to psycological trauma the one concerning the “child” is mostly answered “no”, but the one concerning “anyone else” (obviously adults) is answered “yes” more often.

  32. avatar Jeff N. says:

    In addition to my above comment:

    When kids and adults were present during the encounter “kids” were psychologically traumatized 40% of the time and adults were psychologically traumatized 80% of the time.

  33. avatar Mack P. Bray says:

    Apparently, wolfcrossing.org is run by Laura Schneberger, president of the Gila Livestock Growers Association, according to this site which has GREAT pro-wolf clothing, etc. – check it out:

    http://www.cafepress.com/latenitegrafix/4026111

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net
    http://wildlifewatchers.jottit.com/

  34. avatar brock says:

    Layton – you are absolutely right about the hysteria on the part of the small town hunter, and the rigid belief that wolves have killed evrerything off. This has not really changed in the 50 years of small town experience that i have had. When I was young I remember the incredible hysteria about “the coyotes are killing all the deer’. Even led to bounties for a while in some counties, until they figured out how much it cost. The in the 70s it seemed like suddenly cougars were decimating the elk population; I can remember aotherwise mature grown men getting apoplectic over the fact that F&G wasn’t out there shooting them off. now suddenly wolves are responsible for the fact that “there are no elk Left”. This summer spoke to an outfitter about going up into the his area – he said no point; there were no elk left; he wasn’t even taking any hunters up there anymore. We went up there and saw as many elk as I have ever seen in one place – of course it took some work. Told him about it but he clearly didn’t want to hear something challenging his core beliefs, even if should actually have been good news for him Don’t know how you change things. This type of conformist hysteria and rabid anti predator viewpoint ( I can even remember when everyone was convinced you need to kill all the eagles to protect the wildlife)is a hallmark of small western towns, and not much different now than when I was growing up there many years ago. Sad to see how little people learn.

  35. Your beliefs help your assess what you should do or not do, what is true and false; but they also help you get along with your neighbors — social adjustment.

    The social adjustment function of beliefs and attitudes can be very strong in some social environments (such as insular small towns).

  36. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Quoting state wildlife agency comments from their annual herd unit reports about the impacts of wolves on elk doesn’t really get those who don’t like wolves anywhere.

    The simple fact is that state agencies haven’t done and won’t do the necessary scientific work to demonstrate that changes in population numbers and various ratios are due to wolves and not other factors. Such scientific work is too expensive, too difficult except for the scientifically sophisticated–which does not necessary include all wildlife biologists, even PhDs–and takes too long. it’s simply easier and more politick to place the blame on wolves for changes in elk herds.

    I’ve watched the Wyoming G&F Department take this tack for years. In my neck of the Wyoming woods, the Upper Wind River Valley of northwestern Wyoming, a part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, we now have two wolf packs with dispersers coming through constantly. We also have grizzly bears in relative abundance–that is, more than we had ten years ago.

    G&F has informed the public that wolves have severely and negatively affected the local elk herd, the Wiggins Fork Herd, which is the largest wholly free-roaming (unfed) elk herd in Wyoming. Yet, my not inconsiderable time on horseback and on foot in the field throughout the summer and fall each year, including my time working for a big game outfitter, strongly suggests to me that the only impact wolves have had on the Wiggins Fork herd is a distinctly positive energizing impact, moving elk around and causing them in the summer and fall to congregate in smaller, more mobile groups than they had previously.

    I don’t see a lot of evidence that wolf predation is regulating local elk numbers. I see a lot of evidence that extensive drought and late season cow-calf hunts are regulating elk numbers. I have just picked up the G&F 2008 License Application booklet. G&F is proposing, once again, late season cow-calf hunts in virtually all the elk hunt areas where wolves are present. The reason G&F issues late season cow-calf tags is that landowners are still complaining about “too many elk.” Clearly, wolves aren’t doing the job of bringing elk numbers down.

    I also spend considerable time observing elk and other wildlife during the winter, as we have the luxury of thousands of acres of federally-designated and/or state-owned winter range. (Indeed, we have the best publicly-owned big-game winter range complex in the lower 48 states). Most interestingly, elk still congregate in sometimes very large formations on winter range, even with wolves present. I have often counted elk congregations of a thousand animals or more on winter range, primarily on the hills overlooking the irrigated river bottoms.

    Local hunters nevertheless insist that there are “no” elk around here, even though every fall during hunting season when I’m not in the field I see more trucks with dead elk in the beds than I can count. The local game meat processor has to hire four or five extra full-time butchers to handle the load.

    Given the facts, one might consider this to be a case of mass self-delusion, a condition that no amount of argument will upset–except that in private, no one really disputes my account of the facts, because these folks–especially outfitters–do see what I’m seeing. They just won’t/can’t admit it in public.

    As many of the more astute commenters on this blog have noted, it’s politics that drives these claims, not self-delusion (except in exceptional cases like Ron Gillette).

    Unfortunately, I am at a loss as yet to suggest how to change the politics, because to change the politics, we must change the culture. Culture is most resistant to rational change. Thus, we are forced to spend too much of our time in court, working to prevent the disasters that culturally-obsolete politics cause.

    Delisting wolves with the scientifically illiterate plans promulgated by the States of Wyoming and Idaho would be such a disaster. That’s why we’re going to have to go to court when the FWS delists Yellowstone/Idaho wolves.

  37. What we are going to see is elk and wolf management by folk tale.

    The courts don’t like that one bit, but the courts also presume that an agency has expertise compared to the average citizen, so demonstrating that that they have no factual basis for their management is a high bar for opponents to clear.

    Nevertheless, for the federal agencies in recent years management has been so politically compromised (think Julie McDonald) that the courts, even those with Reagan and Bush judges, can see that agency decisions are arbitrary and capricious.

  38. avatar Jeff N. says:

    For those interested in seeing the restoration of the Mexican Gray Wolf succeed in the southwest, public comments on the NEPA scoping process are being taken by USFWS until 12/31. The e-mail address is R2FWE_AL@fws.gov.

    Of most importance is the elimaination of the recovery area artificial boundary where wolves are allowed to roam. Also ranchers in the recovery area should be held accountable for doing all they can to properly dispose of livestock carcasses. And until the goal of 100 wolves is met, no wolves should be removed from the wild whether lethally or non-lethally. If wolves are mingling with livestock and/or loitering near human dwellings aggressive hazing techniques should be employed instead. Another important point to mention is that wolves should be directly released into New Mexico. Eliminate the rule that does not allow for this presently.

  39. avatar Maska says:

    I would add to Jeff’s comment above that no lobo should be removed from the wild, either lethally or non-lethally, until the population reaches the interim goal of 100 AND until there are at least 18 breeding pairs, except in direct defense of human life (like any fully endangered species) or to enhance the genetic makeup of the wild population. The latter may be important in order to lessen the effects of inbreeding depression and improve the overall fitness of lobos in the wild.

    In the case of self-defense, the incident must be reported within 24 hours. Claims of self-defense (or defense of others) should be scrutinized with the utmost care by law enforcement, and should not be accepted without careful consideration of necropsy results and any evidence of possible baiting.

    Defenders of Wildlife (www.defenders.org) have done major updates on their Mexican wolf pages, including a brief summary of the current status of the program, as well as a letter one can modify and send as part of the public comment process on rule change. They are calling for an “uplisting” of the lobo from non-essential, experimental to experimental essential, a classification never before used, but provided for in the ESA.

    Other groups and individuals are calling for an uplisting to fully endangered status, based upon recent scientific research indicating that lengthy residence in captivity can seriously affect the fitness of a species. Time is of the essence in getting the lobo population expanding in the wild.

  40. avatar vicki says:

    I read this article and was PISSED, just like Mack P. Bray. But I was even more pissed when I got to the part where Whetten said “We could allow a certain number of wolves on our property…” What a huge joke! “Our property…He is operating under the ASSumption that when you lease land you own it. Last time I checked, when you lease something, it still belongs to someone else! The woner still has rights! I would like to know where to get copies of the range leases. I’m sure that, as with any lease, there are grounds for eviction. I’d say being a sadistic freak who intentionally uses the cattle he swears to love and be protecting, as a sacrafice to bait an unwitting animal, would come as cause for concern for most landlords.
    And, quite frankly, any child who is traumatized by merely seeing a wolf, has been fed a load of brainwashed bull by their parents. That is the same as telling your child the boogie-man will kill them in their sleep if they don’t eat their brocolli! That girl probably does have PTSD, from the anxiety embedded into her head by her clueless parents!These people will not even stop at manipulating and using their own children to get what they want. It’s mental abuse! And it makes me sick. They ask what lengths we go to for wolves? Well I am sure the lengths are no worse than causing our children mental anguish to suit our own narrow-minded, selfish, paranoid motives.
    According to the HCN, only 3% of the cattle used domestically are grazed on public lands. Yet cattle ranchers hold such domainion (sp?) over all public lands. Something has to change. If those ranchers can’t be more cooperative, give them a check, make them sign on the dotted line, and send them packing. What other sector of society, or group of blue color laborers have so much control? Certainly not teachers, who should be reveared, or policemen, who risk life and limb for our safety, and definitely not soldiers. What do these ranchers do that is so damn important? There are feed-lots a-plenty, so what do we really need this 3% for? What makes them so almighty? I think they are having a hard time accepting their own fate.
    I am very … aw heck, where’s my phone?!!

  41. avatar mikarooni says:

    I’m really saddened by this story. If my information is correct, the ranch involved here is the adobe-slash, which includes, again if my information is correct, a large amount of FS public land national forest and even some designated national wilderness grazing allotment; but, the confusing part is that this ranch is owned by Eloy Vallina, who is a Mexican banker from a rich rightwing family and not an American citizen at all. So, the GOP has stirred up all this controversy about immigrants, but has no concerns about issuing grazing permits on our public lands to rich rightwing foreigners, and our patriotic cowboys spew jingoism then work for them? I guess we’re all supposed to be xenophobic unless the foreigners are rich and rightwing? The twisted hypocritical nature of this current GOP group is just too much to digest.

  42. avatar Pete Grundy says:

    The ranchers own the GOP and really don’t believe anything except that they can do whatever they want wherever they want, much like the spoiled children that they are! These fools must be forced to obey the law and be punished severely when found guilty!. Impoverishing the land owners is the best way! The arrogance of the ranchers is unforgivable!

  43. avatar Joe says:

    Hello,

    I am a teacher. I live in Albuquerque New Mexico and both of my grandfathers were ranchers in Catron county. My parents now own the ranch.

    I have a couple observations.

    First, growing up going to the ranch, I never saw ANY Elk on it until about 20 years ago. Honestly, the Elk population in the area has just exploded over the last decade to the point where Ranchers are making as much or more selling elk permits as they are actually ranching. Anyone saying the wolves are killing the elk is not seeing what I am seeing.

    2. On the other hand, the area in question (yes including the public lands), have been used to graze cattle for over a century now. People in favor of “kicking off the selfish Ranchers” are placing their agenda above the welfare of honest hard working families and are escalating tthe conflict and polarization between the two sides. Keep in mind that this area is by its nature dry, and without the Ranchers, wildlife populations would not have the water needed to survive (New Mexico is nothing like Yellowstone). It is the Rancher who maitains the well and provides water for cows and wildlife alike.

    3. A wolf does not know the difference between public or private land. Even if every single cow was removed from public land, the wolves would still be in danger whenever they crossed a fence onto someones private property. Again cooperation at the local level must happen or this fight will end badly for both sides.

    4. I think local people feel threatened about “outsiders” making policy in their backyard. This is an instinctual reaction but a valid one. I don’t think local people are as worried about a wolf running off with a child in its jaws as they are about having access to land, that they have ranched and taken care of for 50 years, taken away from them. (Yes they understand it is not their land, but again this has been how they make their living.) If this program is going to work, population limits will need to be set.

    5. The incident in which a wolf was baited with a newly branded cow has been wildly exhagerated. The newly branded calf was NOT released into a wild area, but in fact was released into a corral. The issue occurred because a wolf was known to be in the area. Both sides had a problem with this. The pro-wolf side saw it as baiting and the ranchers saw it as doing a necessary chore. Granted the Rancher probably made a sarcastic comment. Both sides have been guilty of that no doubt.

    Finally

    7. Until the retoric stops FROM BOTH SIDES, and the two groups set down and hammer out some guidelines, we will continue to see the wolf population suffer.

    My two cents.

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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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