Idaho Department of Fish and Game is currently gathering comments concerning its proposed hunting season for wolves in the state – the deadline for submission is Friday. Lynne Stone, Director of the Boulder-White Clouds Council, a conservation group based in Ketchum and Stanley, Idaho has put together some ideas for commenting on the plan :

April 2008 - Beautiful wolf living the good life - at least for nowREMINDER! Please take a few minutes and comment on the preposterous Idaho hunting plan. Comments are due by Friday May 16 and must be done on the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game website: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/apps/surveys/wolfSeasons/

IDFG has added a last minute “open house” in Boise on the hunting plan. The meeting will be Monday, May 19, 4-8 p.m. in the Trophy Room at Fish and Game headquarters, 600 South Walnut. (Since IDFG is still taking comments Monday night, last minute e-mails could be sent Monday as well.)

All photographs are copyright Lynne Stone and may not be used or reproduced without permission.

Here are some points to include in your comments:



Run +PLEASE OPPOSE IDAHO’S UNJUST WOLF HUNT. Currently there are about 700 wolves in Idaho. IDFG would allow an overall mortality of 328 wolves from all causes by the end of 2008. Most of this mortality would come in a rifle hunting season this fall with wolf tags offered at a cheap $11.75.

+IDAHO’S PROPOSED WOLF HUNT IS PREMATURE, INHUMANE AND BASED ON POLITICS NOT SCIENCE. Please tell IDFG that you support having wolves in Idaho and oppose wolf hunting. Add that you and your family would like to view live wolves in Idaho, but the proposed hunt robs you of this chance. Yellowstone Park has people come from all over the world to see wolves, yet Idaho’s wolf hunting plan shuts the door on wolf eco-tourism business. (Note that since delisting, in Wyoming outside of Yellowstone, anti-wolf vigilantes are prowling the countryside to kill wolves. The same will happen here if a wolf season starts.)

+PLEASE TELL IDFG that you do not support any of their hunting season alternatives. If and when wolf hunting is allowed in Idaho, then IDFG must start slowly and offer a few permits through a draw system for a once-in-a-lifetime hunt. Urge IDFG to show some enthusiasm for live wolves, rather than treating them like potatoes to be “harvested”. Also, please urge that IDFG start a program of public education about the value of wolves to the natural ecosystem. More efforts must also be made to educate ranchers to use non-lethal methods to keep wolves away from livestock.

+PLEASE MENTION THAT PROPOSED Alternatives 3 and 4, which would allow wolf hunting for seven months from August 30 through March 31, are especially inhumane and unsportsmanlike. A seven-month hunting season shows no understanding or concern for pack structure on the part of IDFG. Wolf pups are only four months old in August. Hunters will target the largest wolves, leaving shredded packs and orphaned pups to fend on their own. Then in mid-winter, as wolves start to return to their traditional den site, hunters can simply follow wolves and eliminate entire packs. Hunters could be shooting at alpha females within a week or two of giving birth.

+COLLAR WOLVES AND THEN KILL THEM? This is another example of the absurdity of IDFG’s wolf management scheme. IDFG spends up to $2000 or more collaring one wolf. Yet, in their proposed hunting plan, it’s ok for hunters to shoot collared wolves. As one anti-wolfer joked at the Challis meeting last night: “Heck, then you’d git yur collar back.”

+WOLF QUOTA SYSTEM AND 72 HOUR REPORTING – IDFG tries to assure us that since they have quotas in all the wolf hunting areas, there won’t be “overharvest”. Yet, wolf hunters have 72 hours to report their kill. A quota could have been met three days prior while hunters are still killing wolves in the backcountry. And that will be just fine.

+THE PROPOSED PLAN ONLY covers 2008 and is driven by powerful political forces like the Idaho Outfitters and Guide Association, Idaho Sportsmen for (some) Fish and (some) Wildlife (an anti-predator group), and livestock interests. This plan is conservative compared to what it will be in 2009 — if delisting occurs. The 2002 Idaho Management Plan which is the law of the land in Idaho, says that only 104 wolves are necessary in the entire state to prevent the feds from relisting on the ESA. Currently IDFG is fudging, putting on a facade for a federal judge, saying they will keep at least 500 wolves in the state in the years to come.

+IDFG is totally ignoring the public who understands the intelligence and social structure of wolf packs. IDFG insists it will manage wolves just like black bears and mountain lions, as if they were the same animal.

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About The Author

Brian Ertz

37 Responses to Reminder : IDFG gathering comments on wolf hunt

  1. avatar JB says:

    Here are the comments I’ve been playing with. I’d appreciate any ideas you all have for modifications?
    JB

    While I am generally in support of a wolf hunting season, I have several concerns with Idahos plan, as conveyed here:

    1) As far as I can tell, the plan does not ban the use of motorized vehicles (e.g. snowmobile, atv) for the pursuit of wolves. As you know, the Fair Chase doctrine prohibits the use of motor vehicles as providing the pursuer with an unfair advantage. If a wolf hunting season is to go forward, this practice should be explicitly prohibited.

    2)Season dates should (a) correspond to the time when wolves’ pelts are the thickest, (b) should not overlap with the time that wolves are denning or raising pups, and (c) should be designed to minimize the effect of harvest on pack structure. The early fall/late summer months (August/September) are preposterous times to hold a wolf hunt.

    3) IDF&G seems beset on appeasing the interests of SOME elk hunters who believe that wolves are “decimating” elk herds, despite any information to the contrary. If IDF&G is interested in truly determining the effect of wolves (and their removal) on elk populations, at least some management units should not allow wolf hunting. With the right study design, IDF&G could get a reasonable idea of the effect of wolves on elk populations and the effect of wolf removal and wolf and elk populations. However, this will not happen under the proposed management regime.

    Perhaps more importantly, the Idaho plan originally proposed talked about establishing areas for wolf viewing. What happened to this idea? Was it simply a political maneuver to demonstrate to FWS that Idaho was not intent on killing all wolves? IDF&G should seriously consider appeasing interests other than SFW elk hunters by establishing “no kill” zones in areas where wolves are frequently spotted. This would allow at least the possibility of establishing some tourism based on wolves.

    4) The unlimited quota in southern Idaho is, in effect, a wolf eradication program. This is Wildlife Management circa 1890.

    5) Finally, while I believe a hunting season is generally in the best interest of Idaho and its wolf population, it is absurd to think anyone is going to pay for a wolf hunting license when Idaho’s current law (Bill No. 1374) essentially allows anyone to kill a wolf at anytime for even looking at any domestic animal. All I need do is take a walk in the woods with my dog and I can shoot any wolf I see. Who could prove that the wolf was not “annoying, disturbing or persecuting…on the trail of, or stalking or lying in wait for…” my dog?

  2. avatar Layton says:

    JB,

    Look, I really don’t want to get in a big confrontation with you here, we’ve actually kind of made some progress with real discussions here lately — IMHO anyway.

    But — “As far as I can tell, the plan does not ban the use of motorized vehicles (e.g. snowmobile, atv) for the pursuit of wolves.”

    F&G is treating this as another big game animal — as I remember the regs. ( I don’t have a copy handy to quote tho’) it’s illegal to pursue ANY big game animal, or shoot from, etc. with an ATV, it’s also illegal to shoot from a public road. Why would they need to be “specific” about wolves?

    “The early fall/late summer months (August/September) are preposterous times to hold a wolf hunt.”

    This is when other big game seasons open, bear, deer, elk, cougar, etc. Can you imagine the consequences of opening other seasons and NOT having the wolves hunted at the same time? I think the possibility for unreported wolf moralities would be big. Other big game animals live thru this every year.

    “SFW elk hunters” c’mon, that’s a low blow. I don’t even KNOW any hunters that belong to that outfit.

    And finally this “it is absurd to think anyone is going to pay for a wolf hunting license when Idaho’s current law (Bill No. 1374) essentially allows anyone to kill a wolf at anytime for even looking at any domestic animal.”

    JB, this is beneath you. You usually think things out and come to logical conclusions. I can understand some of the more “hysterical” conspiracy theorists on this blog coming up with this but it surprises me coming from you.

    Do you REALLY believe that this “conspiracy” against the wolf — mostly imagined IMNSHO — is that far reaching??

    Naaaaaa.

  3. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Layton – where in Idaho do seasons open in August or September for deer and elk – except archery season and depredation hunts near farms/ranches? And if there are such seasons, are there wolves in those areas?

    It might be illegal to pursue game on an ATV but it happens all the time. Coyotes are hunted and run over by snowmachiners. There’s so few law enforcement people that almost anything goes and it’s rare anyone is caught. I see road hunters and have reported it to law enforcement but no one has been cited. “Sportsmen” shoot elk on the edge of Stanley during November’s black powder season.

    I agree with JB – Law 36-1107 means open season right now on Idaho wolves and the ding bats who flee the cities and come to the mountains”recreate” and shoot squirrels, coyotes, fox, badgers, porcupines and all the rest — won’t hesitate to kill a wolf for “worrying” their lab.

    You mentioned something about Unit 36 in another email. That’s the unit around Stanley that gets tremendous hunting pressure, esp. from the ATV crowd. For 2008, Unit 36 still has no limit on the number of bull elk permits. Anyone can buy a tag and shoot an antlered elk. Guess the Basin Butte wolves didn’t eat ’em all after all. With all the hunting that’s been going with cows and calves over the past years to try and thin them out because of the lack of winter range, the anterless permits were cut back in Unit 36 to 150. But there’s still another special 2-week season for 60 permits on the Sawtooth side. That’s because those elk tend to go over to the Fairfield country where they are not wanted. Note that in 36A (White Clouds) there are 800 anterless permits. So, I guess the Galena, Pass Ck and other wolves didn’t eat all the cows and calves in 36A

  4. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Re. deadline for commenting. Have just been told that IDFG is insisting that email comments be received by Friday, May 16. Or if you are in the Boise area, stop by the hunting meeting Monday night, May 19th and deliver your comments in person.

    Thanks to everyone who has written to protest Idaho’s proposed wolf hunt.

  5. avatar timz says:

    I hate to be cynical but does anyone believe these guys haven’t already made up their minds and could care less what anyone’s comments are? They’re just going thru the mothions because they have too.

  6. avatar timz says:

    And the killing continues..

    http://www.idahostatesman.com/newsupdates/story/382323.html

    Thanks for the heads up timz – webmaster

  7. avatar Layton says:

    Lynne,

    Most Primitive area seasons open in September. I’m a bow hunter so that’s pretty much all the seasons that I follow much — some open around the 1st of Sept. and, in units where the bow season is late, some of them are open into December.

    I’ve posted the new numbers a couple of times now.

    Yes, there is still an “over the counter” bull season in parts of 36 — however controlled hunts for bulls have been cut down about 25% (I think that’s correct – my wife threw out my last year’s copy of the regs).

    As far as anterless permits in 36, you’re way off. They have been cut about 75% from last year, with NO controlled season in 36B. All of the anterless hunts combined in 36, 36A, and 36B only amount to 335 animals this year. 36A specifically has three different hunts for a total of 275 animals. The new regs are out. Check my numbers.

    By the way 36A hunts ALL have restrictions on ATVs.

  8. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Sorry, Layton – was trying to write comments on IDFG’s wolf slaughter plan and read the IDFG regs .. and do see there’s 300 anterless permits in Unit 36 for 08. Guess IDFG finally knocked the elk back after the 800 permits allowed last year.

    And when did ATVs ever pay attention to restrictions? I could send you photos of ruts and tracks including those all over Railroad Ridge, over 10,000 feet high where the only travel is supposed to be on the road. The same with Jerry Peak WSA in the Unit 36A and dozens of other places.

  9. avatar JB says:

    Layton,

    Thanks for your comments. Actually, I wasn’t sure if Idaho specifically banned hunting from a snowmobile or ATV (which is one of the reasons I posted the comments here to get feedback). Thank you!

    –On my comments on the early fall/late summer: I would assume that one would want a wolf with the best quality pelt, as I seriously doubt anyone is considering eating them.

    –On my final comments regarding the law. I never said (nor meant to insinuate) that there is a conspiracy afoot. I merely commented on what I believe to be true. Why would anyone pay for a tag when the law essentially allows them to “hunt” wolves for free?

    –Sorry if I lumped you in with SFW.

  10. avatar Chuck says:

    Didn’t that guy who recently shot two wolves chase one down with a snowmobile here in Idaho?????
    A wolf pelt would not be worth anything until at least 1st of December. The only humans that would probably eat a wolf would be of the asian decent or so I have heard they eat dogs????? if I am wrong on this I applogize. In all the years I have been hunting or fishing here in Idaho I have never been checked in the field, yes i see the road side check points. But if a person has shot something illegally do you really think they are going to stop???

  11. avatar Layton says:

    Lynne,

    Now you REALLY didn’t think I’d let this one go — did you???

    8)

    “Guess IDFG finally knocked the elk back after the 800 permits allowed last year.”

    Well, I do think SOMETHING knocked the populations back, now, was that something 2 or 4 legged??

  12. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Layton – are you saying that wolves ate 500 elk in Unit 36A? So the season is down to allowing human “sportsmen” kill 300 elk cows and calves? At least, you be happy to know you don’t have to worry about Buffalo Ridge Pack anymore, since they were wiped out in February. And a lot of the territory of this long standing, often seen pack (Buffalo Ridge Pack story on Boulder-White Clouds Council website at wildwhiteclouds.org) wasn’t even in 36-A.

    There’s the Pass Creek Pack and Galena Pack around, some 20 wolves more or less. They feed on road kills, gut piles of deer and elk left from hunters from Labor Day thru November, and yes, wolves do hunt deer and elk. So 20 wolves (11 which were pups this year) ate 500 elk? I suppose one could believe this if you believe those who say that our wolves are Canadian wolf terrorists, gigantic in size, over 200 lbs, have several litters a year, every female in the pack breeds, and each kills an elk a day or more for fun. Yup, I read that somewhere.

  13. avatar Layton says:

    “There’s the Pass Creek Pack and Galena Pack around, some 20 wolves more or less”

    That’s the one’s that are collared. How many more packs are there in the area? You and I both know that a pack does NOT show up on the reports until there is a collar on one of the group.

    “I suppose one could believe this if you believe those who say that our wolves are Canadian wolf terrorists, gigantic in size, over 200 lbs, have several litters a year, every female in the pack breeds, and each kills an elk a day or more for fun. Yup, I read that somewhere.”

    Exaggeration for emphasis?? We both know that most of that crap isn’t true — kind of like we both know that wolves don’t eat just grass between November when the gutpiles disappear and Labor day when they come back!!

    By the way, I think that the posting about the breeding habits of the Yellowstone Park packs put the old legend about the Alpha pair doing all the breeding to rest. Or did you see that??

  14. avatar Buffaloed says:

    “By the way, I think that the posting about the breeding habits of the Yellowstone Park packs put the old legend about the Alpha pair doing all the breeding to rest. Or did you see that??”

    Are you implying that this situation occurs in Idaho too? To my knowledge, as of two years ago, there has only been one pack with multiple litters in Idaho. If you could show me evidence that this occurs to a significant degree outside of the Northern Range I would appreciate it because to my knowledge it doesn’t.

  15. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Layton – actually I’m quite familiar with what wolves are where around here. There’s kinda of a grapevine among us wolf-hugger types. A pack doesn’t have to have a collared wolf to be counted.

    Once hunting season is over for humans, there are many wounded animals left that are easy prey for predators. Also, many deer and elk are hit on roads during winter, providing predator food. And as everyone knows, winter is a hard time for deer and elk and some of the weak, sick, hurt or old are going to die. And something is going to eat them.

    Re. the “legend” on breeding, it’s my understanding that multiple litters and/or breeders are very rare, esp in Idaho wolves. Are you saying it’s common?

    I was joking about the gigantic Canadian wolves. Thought you’d realize that.

  16. avatar vicki says:

    Layton,
    maybe the thing knocking back elk numbers is drought and reduced habitat legged?
    I always try to see what you are saying, and figure out the point you are making and what is or could be valid about it.
    But acting like wolves are just lurking around waiting for people to turn their heads, then snatching up every elk they smell is a far stretch. Maybe you were intending sarcasm? But if you weren’t, you might have lost creibility with me.
    Also, not that wolves do it on a regular basis, (in fact what I have read states it is rare) but perhaps there is a scientific reason why certain packs having more than one breeding pair? Like, survival of the species, abundance of prey, a need to diversify genetics. Mother Nature is far more capable than we are at predicting a species needs.

  17. avatar Buffaloed says:

    It seems to me that the Northern Range has a very high density of prey and high density of wolves which is not found in very many areas in Idaho. In actuality wolves exist in very low densities in Idaho especially when compared to the Great Lakes populations and in the Northern Range.

    There are times of year, such as February-April when wolf densities are high in some areas due to the fact that they follow elk and deer herds to their winter range but during the rest of the year they tend to be quite spread out.

    Don’t forget that there was a lot of winter kill this year and that may have played into the decision to lower harvest. I’m not sure what the rationale was though.

    I found a lot of winter kill this spring on the South Fork Salmon River, 10-15 elk and deer and I wasn’t really looking for them

  18. avatar Layton says:

    Lynne,

    “A pack doesn’t have to have a collared wolf to be counted.”

    If that is true, the biologist I was talking to was lying to me. Or maybe are you saying “counted” as just among the “wolf hugger” community??

    When I called in a pack of nine wolves, I reported it, as hunters had been asked to do, to a guy that turned out to be a tribal biologist. They were handling the area North of McCall at that time. When I found out that I was the third person to report the same amount of wolves in the bunch, in the same area, I asked what name the pack was being called by. I was informed that for a group of wolves to be recognized as a pack or a breeding pair and be listed on the monthly reports and be counted on the quotas — that there had to be a radio collar attached to one member of the “bunch”. When I asked how many of these “bunches” there were, he admitted that there were “several” in the area.

    Hey, I know what I was told and I’m not one to lie about what I found out.

    “I was joking about the gigantic Canadian wolves. Thought you’d realize that.”

    I did, and my remark about them eating grass was meant to be in the same vein, guess I didn’t do well.

    Oh, and by the way, I’m SURE the “wolf huggers” have a network or two — wouldn’t seem natural if they didn’t.

    Vicki,

    “But acting like wolves are just lurking around waiting for people to turn their heads, then snatching up every elk they smell is a far stretch. Maybe you were intending sarcasm? ”

    Not sure how you got that — I personally think that wolves are killing a lot more elk than is being admitted to, but I really don’t think they care if people are around or not. Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

    By the way, I don’t think there has been much if any depletion of the habitat in those elk units.

    B’d,

    As far as this breeding thing goes — I certainly don’t KNOW anything about the specific habits of wolf packs when it comes right down to doing the “big nasty” — but, while the legend goes on about the alpha pair, the lady that described the specifics in Yellowstone certainly laid out a much different picture. Sounded more like a typical bunch of dogs. But you say that wolves in YNP are different??

  19. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Layton – On the other hand, I think that people are killing a lot more elk and deer than is being admitted to … along with anything else that’s available for shooting — like the old refrain that says that if it flies, it dies, or if it breathes, you squeeze (the trigger).

    If you can find some IDFG info that says a group of wolves has to have a collar in order to be counted, let me know.

    Also, why did you bother to report that you had seen some wolves? You live in Idaho, and wolves are here and what in the heck is the big deal? I see wolves all the time and prefer them to driving the interstate between Mt Home and Caldwell, to yellowjackets, to black widows spiders and especially to the redneck hunters who come up here in their camo outfits, drive around on their ATV’s shooting whatever moves, and then leave their Coors beer cans and cigarette butts behind.

    Wolves are cool. What’s so hard to understand about that?

  20. avatar JB says:

    Layton,

    I think it depends on what you mean by “count.” My understanding is that the population estimates are pretty sound–largely because (1) wolves are easier to spot, track, & capture in the West (as opposed to the Midwest) and (2) all of the radio collaring, tracking, research and control actions has made it pretty easy for them to differentiate packs. Any wolf they know of when they’re counting gets counted toward the total.

    However, to be “counted” against the total number needed to be considered recovered, they need to be considered a breeding pair. I have never heard any biologist say that a pack/pair has to have a collar to be counted against this number, but I could be wrong?

  21. avatar vicki says:

    Layton,
    I am quite sure that no count of animals could ever be 100% accurate unless the whole species exists in a zoo. Even then, there have been mistakes I am sure.
    Elk numbers fluctuate the same way every other animals will do. It is only a problem when there is substantial evidence that a consistent and uncotrolled decline has happened.
    To say numbers have went down in certain units may be correct. But numbers will likely have increased in others. We also have to keep in mind that deseases can play a part in that, as well as the fact that elk numbers could be artificially high due to a signifigant lack of natural predators.
    Wolves may eat more than we can account for, but men shoot more than we account for also. There were likely more than we “counted” to begin with. Hvae you ever seen an elk run up to any person and ask for a number? Nope! They bolt and are quite adapted to the escape of men (a predator). Wolves, on the other hand, have yet to establish those skills, in the areas mentioned. They have been absent here for so long that the wolves that exist here now will need to redevelope those skills to some extent. (Chime in Lynne if I am wrong).
    They are, as previously noted, much easier to find and to count. The numbers are likely more accurate.
    We also have to keep in mind who is doing the counting. Game and Fish personel will likely be less interested in elk numbers if they err on the low side. That would benefit hunters right? If they say numbers are lower than they are, they help the argument that the wolves are eating more.
    However, if they say wolf numbers are higher, oooooh bad wolves for breeding and populating too fast. We should shoot more-blah blah blah. Itis easy to see that tainting the counts would most likely favor elk, not wolves.

  22. avatar Buffaloed says:

    Layton,
    Look at the activity map:

    http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/wolves/state/07_activity_map.pdf

    You will notice that there are many big circles on the map. Those circles are from suspected packs, documented packs and documented groups. The reason for the circles is due to the fact that there are no collars in the pack/group. There are 35 such packs/groups on the map and most of them are either new packs or packs that are in areas with difficult access.

    Yes, I am saying that the wolf population in YNP is different in that they exist in an area with much higher prey densities thus much higher wolf densities. That heavily influences their breeding behavior and enables them to have multiple litters whereas the wolves outside of that area live in much lower densities with very large territories in comparison.

    Vicki,

    I am skeptical that IDFG is artificially inflating the numbers of wolves however their counting methods have changed due to changed circumstances. They are counting packs that have no collars which were not being counted before yes, but the reason for that is due to the changed goals of the program. Before, they had to have hard evidence obtained by biologists to confirm the actual numbers of wolves for the purposes of the ESA. You couldn’t count wolves by word-of-mouth because there would be 3500 wolves according to some people. Now, they can use that information more freely and count “packs” in areas where the likelihood of them being there, and footprints/scat indicates that the sightings are correct. I’m not sure of the details but judging from what I have read and seen with their activity maps that is what I assume to be happening now. In other words, I think that the counts are more accurate now due to the lower requirements in place for counting a pack. As far as “breeding pairs” the requirements haven’t changed. You still have to document that a pair had pups during the year although those counts can be changed for previous years if a large, undocumented pack with yearlings is discovered in subsequent years.

  23. avatar Layton says:

    Lynne,

    “If you can find some IDFG info that says a group of wolves has to have a collar in order to be counted, let me know.”

    Interesting — I thought that you wouldn’t believe anything that F&G had to say.

    “Also, why did you bother to report that you had seen some wolves? You live in Idaho, and wolves are here and what in the heck is the big deal?”

    Because F&G and the tribe, at that time, were trying to gather data on just where wolves were. I was doing my duty as a citizen, don’t do that very often.

    Sorry you have such a low opinion of the folks that you live around here in Idaho, you must be really miserable surrounded by redneck and beer can hunters. Do they really drink Coors?? My my, and they could be drinking a refreshing micro-brew.

    Hey folks, I can’t help it if you don’t believe me, all I have is my word of what the guy said. Sorry, but the fact that you don’t isn’t going to keep me awake at nite for any length of time.

    It’s also painfully obvious that ANY other circumstances will be used to account for a decline in ANY elk population BEFORE blaming your friendly neighborhood wolf pack. I guess that’s cool — but maybe you should take the blinders off before walking in traffic.

    B’d,

    “They are counting packs that have no collars which were not being counted before yes, but the reason for that is due to the changed goals of the program. Before, they had to have hard evidence obtained by biologists to confirm the actual numbers of wolves for the purposes of the ESA.”

    Ohmigod, did you just agree with something I said??

  24. avatar Catbestland says:

    Layton,

    Why do you have a problem with wolves eating elk. Its what they’re supposed to do. Are you afraid that there wont be enough for you to shoot? Why can’t you share them with the wolves? As was mentioned earlier, there are far more elk now than there were orriginally. It is not ecologically sound for their numbers to get too high. Why begrudge the wolves their natural prey? Are you afraid of starving if the wolves thin the herds a little? I don’t understand why it is so important that elk populations remain so unnaturally high. They are not natural to many of the areas where they now exist. Why not et the wolves do their jobs?

  25. avatar Chuck says:

    Yes cat the reason many of the hunters so hate the wolves is that its competition for them, it means they might have to get off their atv’s and actually hike…heaven forbid. Also in their eyes they don’t seem to understand that if you get an over population then you start seeing diseases pop up, doing more damage to the forage. What really cracks me up is when a hunter says, ” I have got my elk in this same area for 10 years and now that the wolves are here I didn’t get my elk”, I bet the thought never crossed their minds that maybe the elk move around to different areas, maybe hunting pressure has broken up the large herds and yes I do know that the wolves will cause the herds to split up and not be quite as easy to find. I guess they better go crack open another budwiser and think on it for while.

  26. avatar Buffaloed says:

    Layton,

    You indicated that they (IDFG/Nez Perce) weren’t counting packs that weren’t collared but they are now. They are not counting uncollared packs as breeding pairs unless they can confirm reproduction without telemetry. There is a difference between the two designations, breeding pairs and packs are not the same thing although some of the uncollared packs may have breeding pairs but cannot be classified as such without confirmation.

    Are you saying that wolves are behind the fluctuations of elk populations Layton? Couldn’t hunting, poaching, habitat and weather play a much bigger role in dictating survival and population size? Don’t you think that those factors are much more widespread and influential or do you think that ungulate populations are dictated by a few wolves? I think that ungulate populations are influenced to a larger degree by hunting, poaching, habitat and weather than by wolves or predation. Those factors may influence the predation rate by wolves too but I sincerely believe that those are the underlying forces in ungulate population dynamics rather than predation.

    Dr. Peak indicated that some of the elk populations in the Frank Church actually may benefit from wolf predation because they remove the older, unproductive females and make the forage available for the younger, productive females. You seem to believe that predation only has negative effects on ungulate herds but it is far from simple or immediate.

    Another big factor that influences ungulate populations in some areas is invasive plants such as spotted knapweed and cheatgrass. Both of these species are invading new areas and increasing their impacts on elk and deer. Knapweed is a severe problem in the Clearwater drainage and has replaced much of the forage that elk depend on.

    Again, the reason for the extremely liberal hunting season on wolves has nothing to do with the biology of wolves but more to do with the politics of wolves. It is not the biologists who are coming up with this policy rather the commissioners, the livestock industry the outfitters, and the governor. That’s why I don’t support it. They should to stay the hell out of wildlife management because they only f*** things up because they don’t know what the hell they are talking about and base their arguments on hysteria rather than any science.

  27. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Layton – You are clueless with regards to my views on the various issues that you mentioned. Maybe it’s time for you to go stick your arrows into a haybale?

  28. avatar Ryan says:

    And another thread turns into a hunter bash. And many pro wolf people wonder why hunters are so anti wolf, geeze it isn’t rocket science look who is pro wolf. Many of you all tag hunters with terms like Cableas Queens, make generalizations that hunters are fat lazy slobs that all ride atvs, and are ruthless greedy killers. The bottom line is that with any close look at history the only reason game populations, wildlife refuges, and many national parks exist is because of hunters. (teddy roosevelt, pittman robertson act, etc) Hunters want to protect there right to hunt and the game populations in these areas. Wolves are a threat to that, espicially with uncontrolled numbers. Btw, how do people expect state fish and game departments to stay funded when the vast majority of funding comes from Hunter and Angler liscense and tag revenues?

    Buffaloed,

    “Again, the reason for the extremely liberal hunting season on wolves has nothing to do with the biology of wolves but more to do with the politics of wolves. It is not the biologists who are coming up with this policy rather the commissioners, the livestock industry the outfitters, and the governor. That’s why I don’t support it. They should to stay the hell out of wildlife management because they only f*** things up because they don’t know what the hell they are talking about and base their arguments on hysteria rather than any science”

    Have you ever hunted wolves or do you know anything about wolf hutning besides what was posted on this website. Its anything but easy or successful as a general rule. (i have actually hunted wolves in AK off a snowmachine, no luck but a lot of work) Also who do you think deals with wolves the majority of the time? It would be the livestock industry and outfitters.

    The reason that Elk populations get old age heavy is because of calf predation, not providing enough calves to maintian the population, a sign of an unhealthy elk herd btw. Cougar predation plays a large role in this (as proven in the Sled springs, wenaha elk predation) So lets see, lets the wolves kill off all the old cows, combine that with the fact that there are few young cows to replace them. Sounds like a recipe for strong healthy elk herds to me!

    “It appears that one effect of changed behavior is lower pregnancy rates, Creel said. Preliminary data from the Gallatin Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, the Madison Valley, Paradise Valley and Elkhorn show that elk pregnancy rates have declined where wolves are most active. The elk — especially females — spend less time eating and more time watching for predators when wolves are around.”

    http://www.montana.edu/cpa/news/nwview.php?article=3646

  29. avatar Layton says:

    Lynne,

    The “issues I mentioned” were quotes from you. If I shouldn’t get a clue about your views from what you say —- well, I guess maybe I have to think about that.

    Here’s ONE of the things you said that I referenced.

    “especially to the redneck hunters who come up here in their camo outfits, drive around on their ATV’s shooting whatever moves, and then leave their Coors beer cans and cigarette butts behind.”

    Let’s see — rednecks — drive around on their atvs — shoot what ever moves — Coors beer cans — cigarette butts — nope, you’re right, I wouldn’t be able to get a clue from any of those remarks — I goofed, sorry.

    By the way, I just came in from a couple of hours of shooting, but I don’t use a hay bale. Now, if I just had a wolf target …….. yes, it’s TIC.

    B’d,

    I DID say that they didn’t count packs without a radio collar, I’m not sure where you got that I said they don’t do it anymore. If you got that impression I guess I typed something wrong cuz’ I didn’t mean to say that. As far as I know they still don’t count them.

    “Couldn’t hunting, poaching, habitat and weather play a much bigger role in dictating survival and population size?”

    We’ve gone thru this before, you think that the LAST thing to affect elk populations is predation — I don’t agree, neither one of us is going to change our mind.

    “Knapweed is a severe problem in the Clearwater drainage and has replaced much of the forage that elk depend on.”

    Don’t know much about weeds in the Clearwater, but I spend my summers working for the Forest Service spraying noxious weeds on the Payette Nat’l Forest. I know they (the weeds) are a big problem there. But, from what I have seen I think that the Payette has their act together a LOT better than some of the others.

    “Dr. Peak indicated that some of the elk populations in the Frank Church actually may benefit from wolf predation because they remove the older, unproductive females and make the forage available for the younger, productive females. You seem to believe that predation only has negative effects on ungulate herds but it is far from simple or immediate.”

    That’s actually kind of funny — I know that elsewhere the mean age of the cows seems to be going up, not down. And that one of the big reasons is attributed to lack of calf recruitment. Doesn’t seem to square very well with that theory. Also, Mackay Bar quit hunting in Chamberlain Basin a number of years ago (isn’t that where the Peaks spent a lot of time?) because, according to some of their guides “all we’re seeing is wolf tracks and elk bones”.. Of course, that’s just anecdotal data …….

    Chuck,

    ” and yes I do know that the wolves will cause the herds to split up and not be quite as easy to find. I guess they better go crack open another budwiser and think on it for while”

    Well Chuck, a lot of people think that wolf predation actually causes herds to get BIGGER more eyes and ears is the theory. Of course if you KNOW ………… By the way “budwiser” is actually spelled Budweiser, of course you KNEW that too, right? and, while we’re here, a LOT of us hunters don’t even own ATV’s. Sorry to break the stereotype.

  30. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Layton – give it a rest.

  31. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    Everyone here knows (i hope) that there are various “types” of hunters. Some are responsible, some go tearing through the woods like theres no tomorrow, some toss their garbage all over the place, shoot anything that moves, etc., etc., etc.,
    When folks describe a “specific” type/style of hunter, they are not labeling all hunters. But there is always someone (no one in particular),who will use it as an excuse to change the subject and try to start some pointless argument. The folks who do that are throwing any credibility they may have had out the window.

    If the type of hunter described isn’t you, then why waste your time? If the shoe doesn’t fit….

  32. avatar Chuck says:

    I don’t really care how you spell budwiser Layton as I don’t drink it, surely as you do know how to spell it…well enough on that. Also I was answering Cat’s post, no where in that post did I mention you. Yep go fling some sticks and crack open a bud Layton.

  33. avatar JB says:

    Jesus, how quickly things erode.

    DBH has the right of things. Hunters make up such a minority that they have been cast with a single set of stereotypes, despite the fact that a wide variety of people hunt for a host of different reasons.

    I think when people here get angry or defensive, it’s often easier to throw around stereotypes than address the issues, but this is a ruse either way–what the hell is a stereotypic wolf-lover, anyway? (Layton, that was a rhetorical question 😉 ).

    FYI: Ryan, Layton: When you, as hunters, argue against wolves because they are killing too many elk, you perpetuate the stereotype of the “greedy” hunter. I’m not claiming either of you are greedy, I’m just saying that you make it a whole lot easier for people who are already skeptical about hunting to fit you into a much smaller box.

  34. avatar vicki says:

    Buffaloed,
    I don’t know if they inflate numbers. I just supsect that they are less concerned that their errors would have negative impact on wolves as opposed to elk.

    JB,
    Your point is notable, we should all try not to fall into stereotypes, or stereo typing.

    DBH,
    Well said, as always.

  35. avatar Buffaloed says:

    Layton,

    FYI, there are some spotted knapweed plants on Reed Ranch landing strip near the northwest end. They are near the road/trail that goes to the breached oxbow.

  36. avatar Layton says:

    B’d,

    If you’ll tell me what the “breached oxbow” is I’ll look for them when I’m in there with herbicide.

    The biggest problem that I really KNOW of on the South Fork right now is the Sulphur Cinquefoil (sp?) on the landing strip at the Krassel Work Station. I haven’t been in there much in a working capacity, but that should change pretty dramatically this summer.

  37. avatar Buffaloed says:

    At the north end of the strip there was an old oxbow on the river that broke through in the mid 60’s. You can see it from the road upriver from the old Jakie Cr/Cougar Creek Bridge.

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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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