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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.

99 Responses to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks looks at hunting quota of 75 wolves for this fall

  1. avatar Roy says:

    Good news! The head of RMEF had similar thoughts in this mornings Missoulian……

    Wolves—How About a Little Common Sense?

    by M David Allen

    It’s time we let states manage wolves, and start treating wolves simply as wild animals. More specifically, game animals.

    When the bald eagle soared off the endangered species list last summer, there were champagne toasts from coast to coast. Americans were proud to have restored this great symbol of freedom and wildness. Just as we were proud to have restored elk, mule deer, black bears, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, mountain goats, whitetails and a host of other wildlife long before anyone dreamed of drafting an Endangered Species Act. Now, 13 years after gray wolves were officially reintroduced to the northern Rockies, our federal government has moved to free them from “the List.” You’d think the people who argued longest and loudest to bring wolves back would be slapping backs and saying thanks. Instead, they’re filing lawsuits. Could be these folks are just terminally gloomy. Or maybe it was the old bait-and-switch.
    I’m no scholar of the Endangered Species Act, but I always thought the point was to create un-endangered species. Are we hoping to maintain the equivalent of a permanent witness protection program, or to recover robust, self-sustaining populations?

    Listen to this: “The gray wolf population in the northern Rocky Mountains is thriving and no longer requires the protection of the Endangered Species Act. The population has far exceeded its recovery goal and continues to expand its size and range.”

    These aren’t the words of some raving wolf-hater. That’s Lynn Scarlett, deputy secretary of the Interior. Not good enough? Ed Bangs is wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He’s been in charge of restoring wolves to the northern Rockies from day one. Bangs has lived in the crucible since those first Canadian wolves hit the ground in Idaho back in 1995. He’s earned a reputation as a man absolutely committed to good science who does things right or not at all. Here’s what he has to say: “We’re rock solid. The Endangered Species Act did its job. It’s time to move on.”

    What does it mean to move on? The Elk Foundation’s position on wolves is that the sooner states take on the responsibility for managing wolves, the better. Maybe the lawsuits can be settled and control fully passed to the states before another year goes by.

    It’s time we start treating wolves simply as wild animals—more specifically, game animals. Apart from the bald eagle, every one of the animals I listed in the opening paragraph has been an actively hunted species for the past 50 years. States have used the best available science to set seasons and quotas. Then they’ve teamed up with hunters as hands-on managers. In the process, millions of people have reaped a bounty of healthy meat, powerful connections with wild country and lasting memories.

    Once again, here’s what Ed Bangs, himself a passionate bowhunter for the past 40 years, has to say: “We strongly support hunting wolves. Look at the success we’ve had with hunting mountain lions and maintaining strong lion populations. There is no reason wolf management cannot be just as successful.”

    That’s what we need to get to work on. For those who question whether managing wildlife through hunting really works, think about this: Could wolves have come back if their main prey base consisted of snowshoe hares and Herefords? It was hunters who helped restore—and sustain—the big game populations that made wolf recovery possible.

    The sale of hunting licenses provides the great majority of the funds that states use to study and sustain all wildlife, not just game species. For three-quarters of a century now, taxes on hunting equipment, which hunters voluntarily imposed on themselves, have been the primary source of funding for wildlife refuges, game ranges and management areas.

    It needs to be said that the proponents of perpetual wolf protection aren’t the only ones who get a little emotional sometimes. When wolves kill an elk or a yearling Angus, it isn’t pretty. And when you see that kind of carnage, it’s easy to imagine wolves might soon lay waste to all wildlife and livestock. Sometimes it’s good to step back and look at the numbers.

    Cumulative populations for Idaho, Montana and Wyoming in 2007 break out roughly like this: 3 million people, 1,500 wolves and 350,000 elk. In 1995, there were half a million fewer people, no wolves . . . and around 350,000 elk. That’s right. Since wolves were reintroduced, Montana’s elk population has actually grown by at least 30,000 animals, Wyoming’s elk population is down 8,000 and Idaho’s is 10,000 lower. Hunter harvest numbers have remained very similar (averaging about 20,000 in Idaho, 25,000 in Montana, 20,000 in Wyoming). And hunter success rates on elk are almost identical to what they were 13 years ago: nearly 40 percent in Wyoming, 25 percent in Montana and 20 percent in Idaho).

    This does not mean that wolves haven’t taken a heavy toll on elk in some places. They have. They will. And it’s one reason why we should be actively managing them through regulated hunting and other prescribed methods.

    As for livestock, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Montana Crop and Livestock Reporter, the statewide toll on lambs broke out this way in 2007: wolves killed 400, dogs 400, poison 500, golden eagles 800, bad weather 6,500. But again, if you’re a rancher and wolves are killing your cattle or sheep or horses, they’re literally eating your livelihood. That’s serious business, and you absolutely need to be able to protect your property without fear of retribution from your government.

    From where I sit, the biggest change on the northern Rockies landscape since 1995 is not the return of the wolf. It’s the way our open spaces and wild places are filling up with houses and roads and box stores. There is no Endangered Habitat Act. And that’s why I’m so proud of what we all, as Elk Foundation members, have achieved. Just in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming the Elk Foundation has permanently protected a quarter-million acres of prime habitat for elk and other wildlife. In these three states alone, we’ve greatly improved the habitat on another 11/2 million acres.

    So how can each of us continue to make a difference for the future of elk country? Urge the federal government to complete the move to delist wolves in the northern Rockies—and to ensure the funding essential for managing them. Most importantly, keep on supporting the groups that are actively working to ensure our great-grandkids have places to hunt and roam.

    David Allen is the Elk Foundation’s President and CEO.

  2. avatar timz says:

    Why is it all these so called sportsmens groups babble on and on about how wolves need to be hunted and how great their groups are for supporting the environment, yet never mention that most of the wolves killed will not be by hunters, but by poachers and ranchers backed by weak state statutes that can’t/won’t be enforced.

  3. avatar Heather says:

    I was waiting for the first “radical” comment, thank you Timz…
    the delisting of the wolf introduced open season on wolves. Maybe the killing will calm down, maybe it has. We’ve seen several ugly stories on this blog this spring re: wolf killings.
    good news about the hunt I guess is that it is only 75 more. (this # in addition to the wolves that have already died this spring since delisting, and that Ed Bangs has killed over the years, and natural causes of death-dont know that number) Yes, I agree though, we should be treating wolves as merely animals, however that is exactly the problem.. fear mongering and bad pr. When did you see a good story on wolves and ranchers working together in the printed press? I know that relationship exists…
    most recent story re the man who shot a female in “self defense” printed in the press. and didn’t the FW find evidence of this “self defense”. Not good logical rational thinking going on here…
    Isn’t there is evidence that the wolf populations are going down and have been? What is the scientific threshold for a healthy wolf population? not 300 surely… I think Earthjustice is doing a good thing. We need these lawsuits to maintain a small amount of justice. Thank you Doug Honnold.

  4. avatar Catbestland says:

    I don’t recall Elk, Mule Deer, Lion and bears ever having been on the endangered species list. And correct me if I’m wrong but there has been no hunting season on the Bald Eagle since it was delisted. Why should there be a hunting season on the wolf this soon after its delisting?

  5. avatar timz says:

    ” Just as we were proud to have restored elk, mule deer, black bears, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, mountain goats, whitetails and a host of other wildlife”

    Can anyone from any of the “sportsmen/hunting groups tell me which of these animals have been treated like the wolf?

    “It’s time we start treating wolves simply as wild animals—more specifically, game animals”

    Maybe you should listen to your own words.

  6. avatar Save bears says:

    There will never be a hunting season on Eagles as they are still 100% protected under the the raptor act, which also protect Owls, Hawks and Falcons, etc.Y es, Elk were endangered in the early part of the 20th century, they had been virtually wiped out with the exception of a few small pockets, we can thank Teddy Roosevelt for bringing elk back to what it is now, he exported elk from the Yellowstone ecosystem to other areas, namely OR and the Olympics in Washington..and RMEF has continued to restore elk to many of their historic ranges.

    In addition Mule deer populations have had problems in virtually all of their former ranges, and at one time all lions as well as bears were pretty much shot on sight…which reduced their populations to dangerous levels. And at one time even the Whitetail deer population would have qualified for ESA if there had been one.

    With the western expansion of European white man, there were many species that would have qualified, it is due to the hunting and conservation organizations that started forming in the early part of the 20th century that many of these animals now have large populations.

    There was actually lots of conservation efforts that were done before the ESA came along.

  7. avatar Save bears says:

    timz,

    In the past 100 years, virtually all predators have been treated the same as wolves, including grizzly bears, black bears, and coyotes they were deemed as not needed species by the expanding populations of white men..

  8. avatar timz says:

    None of the animals metioned in that sentence have been persecuted anywhere near the extent the wolf has, maybe with the exception of the coyote. I’d like to think men think differently now than they did 100 years ago and in most places they do, just not in Idaho and Wyoming I guess.

  9. avatar Save bears says:

    Actually the grizzly bear was persecuted just as bad as the wolf has been, I have pictures of hunting parties with 15 or 20 grizz hides handing on the side of a barn, there were pushed out of their territory’s and killed on site for a long time. I don’t agree with the shoot on sight policies, but believe me, when I was doing my studies in college to get my degree, there were many species that were persecuted to the same extent that wolves were and are..

  10. avatar timz says:

    The REMF’s ramblings never mention grizzly’s for some odd reason. Perhaps they hate them also.

  11. avatar Save bears says:

    I am a life member or RMEF, I can assure you they do care about Grizzly and they actually do care about wolves..They are not advocating shoot on sight management, but sound scientific management as a game species, which was actually part of the original re-introduction proposal…I have been a life member for over 20 years now and at many of the meetings back in the 80’s the wolf was discussed and they were all for it..

    What needs to be changed is the shoot on sight plan in Wyoming and the threat factor killing in the other states and that needs to be done with education.

  12. avatar jjordan says:

    What bothers me about the quota of 75 wolves is that how many parent less pups and potently pregnant females will die thus drastically reducing the population even further.

  13. avatar timz says:

    If that is the case he should have the guts to disavow Wyomings shoot-on-sight policy and the weak and un-enforceble state statutes that allow those “threat factors”, rather than make condecending statements like

    “You’d think the people who argued longest and loudest to bring wolves back would be slapping backs and saying thanks. Instead, they’re filing lawsuits.”

    And if you can’t get them hunting you can always kill them off some other way.

    “it’s one reason why we should be actively managing them through regulated hunting and other prescribed methods. ”

    No offense meant to you save bears you may in fact care about wolves but based on the written statement by your President I ain’t buying the RMEF does.

  14. avatar JB says:

    Timz,

    Frankly, the wolf has been a giant pain in the ass for the RMEF. Many of its members support wolves; however, it has also lost a lot of people to groups like SFW over its stance on wolves. From my perspective, this is something to cheer about (good riddance), but RMEF did not share this view. Anyway, I respect the RMEF for attempting to look for middle ground, which seems to be unpopular among sportsmen groups in the West at the moment.

  15. avatar Catbestland says:

    Timz,
    I agree with you. You would think that we would have evolved from the thinking of 100 years ago. Nothing is as it was 100 years ago except the backward thinking prevalent in the ranching west.

  16. avatar Dave says:

    How about a sober look at the numbers: Allen cites 1,500 wolves spread out over three large states. Some of us wolf fans could easily tolerate hunting seasons on wolves if the populations were considerably more robust – and if the seasons did not run into March when the breeding females are carrying pups.

  17. avatar Heather says:

    Save Bears, conservation efforts before the ESA were for hunting/sportsman issues. Thanks to T Roosevelt. The RMEF is for sportsman “conservationists”. Conservation with the ESA is a WAY different story than T Roosevelt. My college course have taught me this as well as working with non profit agencies such as the Endangered Species Coalition.

  18. avatar Howard says:

    While I don’t agree with everything said by Allen, I also do give RMEF a lot of credit for taking a reasonable stance on wolves…a very reasonable stance compared to certain other groups.

    Regarding this portion of Allen’s writings:

    “You’d think the people who argued longest and loudest to bring wolves back would be slapping backs and saying thanks. Instead, they’re filing lawsuits. Could be these folks are just terminally gloomy. Or maybe it was the old bait-and-switch.
    I’m no scholar of the Endangered Species Act, but I always thought the point was to create un-endangered species. Are we hoping to maintain the equivalent of a permanent witness protection program, or to recover robust, self-sustaining populations?”

    I think it is a very important quote to address. I think there is the perception among some people, apparently Allen among them, that conservationists NEVER want to delist the wolf, either because we have ulterior political motives and wish to use an endangered species as a cudgel, or because we cannot abide the killing of any wolf by any human for any reason. Speaking for myself, and I’m sure many, many others, I love wolves (and bears, bison, spotted frogs, sage grouse, wild places ,etc.) not the political entity of “endangered species” and I do indeed look forward to the day when the wolf recovery can be hailed a success and the wolf permanently delisted. If that means that individual states will allow traditional surplus based hunting and trapping of wolves, while I personally don’t like it, I wouldn’t legally challenge it; furthermore, I do not object to allowing people to kill individual wolves that are truly posing a threat to their property. Allen states that it is time to treat wolves like wild animals. I agree. That’s why I oppose delisting in the West…the states (at least Wyoming and Idaho) do NOT want to treat wolves as wild animals…they want to treat them as vermin. Wyoming officially classifies them as vermin outside a small portion of the northwest part of the state; Idaho officially lists the wolf as a game animal, but the hatred for wolves by many in the government is deep and persistent, and considering that many officials in Idaho have made it clear they ideally want NO wolves but if forced by the ESA to have some, want the absolute bare legal minimum, many of us fear Idaho will not act in good faith once federal eyes are off it for good. As I said, I am in favor of allowing people to kill individual wolves when justified, but Idaho has passed ambiguous laws that essentially make it impossible for a wolf-killing to be legally deemed UNjustified…it is essential legal to kill a wolf for looking in the general direction of your dog or ranch. Wyoming’s plan will greatly limit wolf recovery in that state and effectively eliminates the possibility of natural recolonization of states like Oregon, Utah, and Colorado by wolves. As for Idaho, if we thought they’d truly manage the wolf as a game animal and not as a “special” (in this case, the bad kind of special) species, most of us would back off…but Idaho has done many things that indicate otherwise. Numerically speaking, the wolf is no longer endangered and could be taken off the list and managed as game…most of us fear that if the wolf is delisted, the recovery will be reversed and the gains in population and geography made by wolves these past 11 years will come to very little.

    I would love to be wrong and paranoid about Idaho’s stance on wolves, but I don’t think I am. At any rate, I think it’s important to make it clear that wolf recovery was NOT a bait and switch…we don’t philosophically oppose delisting or treating wolves as “normal” animals; we are legitimately afraid that at least two of the three states will enact policies that will essentially reverse the sucess…Wyoming is openly doing that, and Idaho’s wolf plan and recent wolf-related laws leaves open big loopholes for doing it.
    Speaking for myself, if a “robust, self-sustaining” wolf population was a goal of the states in question, I’d love to take the wolf off the list and hail it a done deal. That’s why most of us on this forum did NOT oppose wolf delisting in the Midwest… the states there want to manage the wolf as an animal, not as vermin.

  19. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Once again, we need to understand the different dispositions of different hunting groups – and the different dispositions of different conservation groups. As Save Bears mentions – the sane ones come together.

    The problem I see is in attempts to promote “sound scientific management as a game species” as if it could possible exist in a vacuum – apart from the context of inadequate state regulations, and among G&F Departments who are headed by political stalwarts of the ag industry. It can not and does not exist in such a vacuum. Thinly veiled “scientific management” amidst state regulations that promote/allow wider-spread unregulated kill of wolves was not the agreement.

  20. avatar timz says:

    Howard and Brian, very well put by both of you.

  21. avatar Roy says:

    The topic is Montana plans to set this years wolf hunt quota at 75 wolves. I think that’s a reasonable quota. Who opposes this number and why? Leave Idaho and Wyoming out of it for once.

  22. avatar Save bears says:

    Heather,

    I don’t see it as anything wrong that hunting and sportsman interest have taken the lead in starting the conservation movements in this country, they have provided a lot of the dollars to increase herds and wildlife hunting and watching opportunities. My college courses all the way up to me getting my masters taught me very well also. And both sides need to remember NO, the world is not like it was 100 years ago, not for the pro and not for the anti side.

    What needs to be done, is work on the states, they are the ones that drew the plans up, the sportsman’s groups didn’t, we had input, but in the final plans, that I have reviewed, very little was used or even listened to.

    Out of the three states, even though some may disagree, Montana has the best plan right now, we are not running around willy nilly killing wolves…and that is with standing the individual that killed the wolf in “Self Defense” I am still trying to gather information on that incident.

    The only way this is going to be solved, because both side perceive a problem, is to find the middle ground.. If we can’t there is going to be lawsuits on both side, poaching and killing…for a long time to come…I know the laws say, you have to report something, but I also know where I am living that it would be very easy to shoot, shovel and shut-up!

  23. avatar steve c says:

    Roy, do you think it would have been well received if the bald eagle immediately had a hunting season when it was delisted?

  24. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Roy,

    the agreement was the three states would come up with acceptable regulatory mechanisms. that’s not happening. once again, efforts to parse the particulars obfuscate the relevant issue – whether delisting is appropriate at this time. Montana’s planned hunt may be vastly more acceptable that Idaho and Wyoming plans – but with inadequate protections in the other states, that implicates Montana’s population of wolves (genetic interchange, viability, etc.).

    Montana wants to sidestep what’s happening in Wyoming and Idaho. Perhaps they’ll get their way – but if the state is serious about promoting its interest in state management – it, and the Livestock and Sportsmen interests, ought be weighing in and pressuring Idaho and Wyoming, and their Livestock and Sportsmen interests to adopt reasonable regulation regimes (in aggregate) that preserve wolves – because the delisting of wolves was contingent on FWS appropriately OKing all three state management plans.

    I know there has been speculation about a split decision – but I don’t see how that’d be prudent given that requirement of all three states. Delisting for all three states was stalled by Wyoming’s original spite for the requirement – and the move to delist in Idaho & Montana alone (splitting off Wyoming) was not pursued. Why would it be any different with the inverse of that situation ? Maybe I’m wrong – probably I’m wrong. I’m no lawyer. Perhaps someone who knows better can correct me.

  25. avatar JB says:

    Roy,

    I think the lack of discussion on Montana’s quota is telling–my guess is it’s not being discussed because few oppose it.

    In regards to the delisting: I don’t believe the ESA provides a mechanism to delist the wolf in Montana and not Idaho and Wyoming. The ESA defines a species as either a species, subspecies, or distinct population segment (DPS). Listing a species as a DPS (as has been done with wolves in MT, ID, & WY) requires the population to be distinct (markedly different or physically separated from other populations) and significant to the conservation of the species. Having previously argued that MT, ID, & WY constitute a single metapopulation and listed the population here as a DPS, I believe FWS would have real trouble justifying the creation of a new separate Montana DPS. Moreover, even if they did I think this would be challenged by conservation groups who would not like the precedent and its implications. Thus, I agree with Brian, if Montana is serious about delisting it should do everything in its power to pressure WY and ID to come up with more reasonable plans.

  26. A few simple, maybe even naïve, questions:
    Why can´t you just keep your fingers off those wolves for the time being?
    Why do you feel such an overwhelming pressure to commence hunting wolves as soon as possible?
    Where is your problem with letting go that wolves for the time being?
    Why is there an automatism assumed, that when a species has slightly recovered from over-hunting, becomes immediately available for hunting again?
    By the way, as I do not have experience with hunting animals one cannot eat, what do you do with the remains of the killed wolves? I assume you hang the pelt above you fire place, but what about the carcass?

  27. avatar Howard says:

    Peter, I philosophically agree with you… I do not think EVERY species of animal that is not in imminent danger of extinction must or should be hunted. I personally do not like hunting predators and I’m especially uncomfortable with hunting particularly social animals. While hunting is a vital management tool for some species in at least some situations, I agree that it is dangerous to automatically assume that any critter that occurs in stable numbers is “out of control” and must be hunted. Ideally, I think wolves should just be left alone, excepting the removal of true “problem” individuals that pose a real threat to human property or safety (key word here is REAL… ). However, I believe the perfect is often the enemy of the good… if a wolf hunting/trapping season would help normalize the wolf’s image as “wildlife” and/or was the compromise needed to get states to implement wolf plans that do not result in large scale and arbitrary wolf slaughters, I think it is worth it. Speaking for myself, as a conservationist, any wolf plan that preserves a restored wolf population gets my approval…even if it means some individual wolves will be killed. Because I am not an animal rights person, I won’t formally oppose a wolf hunt (although as a person who believes in animal WELFARE, I will adamantly oppose practices that torture wolves or any other animal) as long as it does not threaten restoration success. True, I don’t think wolves need to constantly managed by culling, but viewing the wolf as a game animal–to be managed for abundance and viability like deer or black bear–is light years ahead of where we used to be on the subject of wolves (and some folks still are, sadly) and to me anyway, is acceptable in the light of long term wolf conservation.

    Regarding your last question…speaking for myself, I concur that I have no idea why anyone would want to hunt something they don’t eat or what the thrill is in shooting a wolf. I do know that some people feel there is a thrill in hunting a predator and that it takes great skill and persistence (assuming fair chase) to successfully hunt predator species. Some people do claim that the wolf is a magnificent game animal, and that hunting a wolf for a trophy is not wanton destruction but a sign of great respect and reverence for the animal (or any trophy animal). I myself do not hold this philosophy (my philosophy is more like the opposite), and I admit that I find it difficult to understand, but I do think that among some folks it is sincere… provided it is accompanied by ethical hunting practices (quick, humane kill) and wolf conservation ethic, I wouldn’t legally challenge it. Of course, some of the folks who buy wolf tags are there to “do their part” in removing one more wolf from the woods… I have contempt for this mentality, but it’s impossible to know what every individual’s motivation is, and anyway, I don’t believe that participating in a legal activity can be made contingent on thinking the “right” thoughts. Humane treatment of wolves, and strict bag limits to maintain the population, however, can and must be legislated and enforced.

  28. avatar Roy says:

    JB,

    I’ll put down Steve and Peter as opposed to Montana’s quota. I’ll give Howard a weak, in-favor of. How about Ralph? Where does he stand on Montana’s plan to have a 75 wolf quota this fall?

  29. avatar Catbestland says:

    Roy Says:
    June 11, 2008 at 11:58 am
    Good news! The head of RMEF had similar thoughts in this mornings Missoulian……

    Wolves—How About a Little Common Sense?

    by M David Allen

    Well–How About a Little Common Decency. Wolves have only just begun to make a comeback in the Northwest. Why not give them some time to see how Nature will adjust their numbers? I didn’t see a rush to hunt them in Minnesota where there population greatly outnumbers those in the 3 states at issue and where there are far more cattle on less land. Isn’t the plethora of species mentioned in the article enough to satisfy any hunters desire to kill? Many hunters who have posted here express that they hunt to put food on the table and I must concede that this is a healthy endeavor. However, I can see no reason to hunt wolves so soon after delisting other than to satisfy an urge to kill. This of course does not apply to those who kill wolves to protect their property or livestock. I am greatly concerned about creating policy that panders to those who have no other reason to shoot wolves except the joy of killing. Many studies have drawn a direct connection between cruelty to animals and the desire to kill animals to criminal behavior. Do we really want to encourage those who have no other reason to kill other than for the fun of it? I certainly am not throwing all hunters into this category but I can’t think of any other reason to hunt wolves. As mentioned in some of the above comments, problem wolves can be dealt with on an individual basis. Let’s give Nature at least some of the respect she deserves.

  30. avatar Howard says:

    Hi Roy:

    I’m thinking you might be getting a bit exasperated asking “what do you all think of the Montana wolf quota” and getting long discourses on what’s wrong with Wyoming and Idaho’s plans, historical attitudes on wolves, etc. rather than just a simple answer to your question. I don’t think anyone is trying to not answer you…as stated above by others, the three state plans and wolf delisting are all connected together, and it can be difficult to give a discrete opinion on one aspect of even one state’s wolf plan without considering lots of other influences and variables.
    To give you the straightest answer I can, I don’t know enough about active population management of wolves to know how this will affect the Montana wolf population and pack distribution. IF it does not permanently reduce and suppress wolf numbers or the distribution of wolves within suitable habitat in the state of Montana, THAN, although I don’t personally care for it nor do I think its necessary, I would not try to stop a fair chase surplus-based Fall wolf hunt.

  31. avatar Roy says:

    Hi Howard,

    I’m getting exactly the kind of responses I expected to get here. Ralph started the topic to fire up the troops. Most of you here oppose any kind of wolf hunt period. I understand that. Thanks for having one of the more open, reasonable minds here.

  32. avatar JB says:

    “Most of you here oppose any kind of wolf hunt period.”

    Roy, that’s a big jump from what’s been stated here! Much like Howard, I don’t see the use in hunting wolves, but do not oppose it. Nor do I oppose Montana’s wolf management plan (or the 75 wolf quota). We’ve had the discussion about hunting wolves many times before, and while some people are philosophically opposed to hunting wolves (and all forms of hunting for that matter), many here (my self included) have spoken in favor of wolf harvest. Many divergent views are represented here, don’t take a few posts to be representative of everyone.

  33. Roy,

    I’m on my way to the backcountry, but I won’t let this pass.

    A wolf hunt is no necessity for wildlife management. I would support a hunt if it buys some political support.

    Any hunt should begin cautiously and with different seasons and quotas in different areas so information can be gained to adjust future hunts.

    Idaho clearly is not interested in gathering information. Montana can make a better case that they are, but it’s case still undecided.

  34. avatar Roy says:

    Sorry,

    Should have stated that most of your are ‘personally’ oppose to any kind of wolf hunt. That would be acurate. Not the kind of ‘political support’ I’m looking to buy.

    Have a good trip Ralph.

  35. avatar Catbestland says:

    Roy,
    No one here has said that they are absolutely against any wolf hunt for any reason at any time. Of course, if in some time in the future their numbers dictate the need to be reduced by hunting to ensure balance in the ecosystem, then so be it. We are not anywhere near that situation now. My concern is that policy concerning these ecologically important animals is not being made in their or the ecosystem’s best interest, but is based only on the amount of money that can be generated by a wolf hunt or to satisfy the desire that some have to kill them. I am NOT stating that the desire to kill wolves is the gateway to paychopathic murder but that management policies should be based on what is best for the ecosystems and not what is best for hunters.

  36. avatar Roy says:

    Interesting read Kat. The process has been followed. Montana has put together a very good management plan. It may not be what you want, but it’s what the state of Montana wants. Judge Malloy will get his say, and after that MT FWP will get to decide whats best for wolves, hunters and the ecosystems. That was the intent from day one.

  37. avatar Catbestland says:

    Roy,
    There are a lot of experts that disagree that the management plans were put together with the best interest of wolves and ecosystems at heart. That is why a lawsuit has been filed.

  38. avatar Roy says:

    Kat,

    Malloy has yet to say boo, and Montana is moving forward our hunt. Reguarding the outcome of your lawsuit, how should I hedge my bet?

  39. avatar Catbestland says:

    Roy,
    Don’t bet the ranch on it.

  40. avatar Save bears says:

    I would not, at this point in time, bet the ranch on either side, as there has not been a peep out of the court as of yet.

  41. avatar JB says:

    “I would not, at this point in time, bet the ranch on either side, as there has not been a peep out of the court as of yet.”

    Whatever the outcome the decision is likely to be appealed–so don’t look for an end anytime soon.

  42. avatar Save bears says:

    JB,

    You just said a mouthful, I don’t expect this to end for years to come, it will continue on for a long time..

  43. avatar JB says:

    Save bears,

    Hadn’t thought of this before, but we potentially could see a pair of court rulings that allow delisting in the West and block it in the Midwest–boy would that be ironic!

  44. avatar Roy says:

    “Whatever the outcome the decision is likely to be appealed–so don’t look for an end anytime soon.”

    Which dovetails in with Allens comments from my original post……

    “Instead, they’re filing lawsuits. Could be these folks are just terminally gloomy. Or maybe it was the old bait-and-switch.”

    Think he has you guys pegged!

  45. avatar Catbestland says:

    It’s a crapshoot right now but coming from a horse racing background, I do appreciate the tension diffusing effects of a friendly wager.

  46. avatar timz says:

    “Instead, they’re filing lawsuits. Could be these folks are just terminally gloomy. Or maybe it was the old bait-and-switch.”

    “Think he has you guys pegged!”

    We all know the anti-wolf crowd would never go so low as to file a lawsuit to block re-introduction or have wolves removed.

  47. avatar Roy says:

    Tim,

    There are kooks on both sides of the wolf debate. The re-introduction has been a huge success. Be happy!

  48. avatar Ryan says:

    Heather,

    RMEF, DU, Delta Waterfowl, OHA and other groups have done more good in one year that The Endanger Species Coalition has done in its whole entireity. By actually protecting and reclaiming habitat needed by all species.. Sueing, while the easy route, doesn’t necessarily save or add habitat which is extremely curcial to restoring and preserving wildlife.

  49. avatar Catbestland says:

    Roy,
    Are you suggesting that people who file lawsuits are “kooks”?

  50. avatar Roy says:

    Good point Ryan. You guys and gals that favor endless litigation would be wise to use your dollars for habitat, instead of lining the wallets of your Earth Justice lawyer pals. But it’s your money, feel free to use it how you see fit.

  51. avatar timz says:

    “Are you suggesting that people who file lawsuits are “kooks”?”

    I think it’s just the typical wolf-hater who talk out of both sides of their mouths.

  52. avatar Catbestland says:

    Roy,
    Where would this nation be if lawsuits were not filed by organizations on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. I’ll tell you where. We’d still be living in a racially segregated, class divided, male dominated society that differs very little from the slavery era. It’s a mockery of great organizations like the ACLU, the NAACP and the NLRB who have done much in the way of establishing equal rights for all citizens to suggest that it is anything less than admirable to fight the fine fight for the oppressed in our nations courts. And if anything in this nation is oppressed it is the plight of our wildlife, especially wolves and bison. Those who are willing to fight this battle not only represent our wildlife’s interests but our own interest as well for it is in our best interest to preserve what dwindling natural resources and what wildlife still remain.

  53. avatar Ryan says:

    “It’s a mockery of great organizations like the ACLU, the NAACP and the NLRB who have done much in the way of establishing equal rights for all citizens to suggest that it is anything less than admirable to fight the fine fight for the oppressed in our nations courts.”

    Thats funny, I don’t care who you are.

  54. avatar Scott says:

    Ryan,

    You wrote:

    “RMEF, DU, Delta Waterfowl, OHA and other groups have done more good in one year that The Endanger Species Coalition has done in its whole entireity. By actually protecting and reclaiming habitat needed by all species.. Sueing, while the easy route, doesn’t necessarily save or add habitat which is extremely curcial to restoring and preserving wildlife.”

    Two points:
    1) I agree that the issue of habitat should be first and foremost on the list of anyone who cares about wildlife & wild lands. However, lot of the organizations and individuals that support the reintroduction of the wolf are also involved with the preservation and acquisition of habitat.
    NONE of the organizations (and most of the individuals, from what I can tell) who have fought the wolf introduction and subsequent sound managment seem to give a damn about habitat. In fact they seem HOSTILE to the issues around habitat preservation……goofballs like “Save Our Elk”.
    2) The Endangered Species Act has had several big successes – the most significant being the spotted owl. The Act prevented the liquidation of forests on public lands in the Northwest and damage to entire ecosystems, most notably salmon & steelhead. It has also proved to be a long term economic boon to N. Cal, Oregon & Washington because, in spite of short term dislocation, it preserved the values that are attracting the better employers & employees………and sustainable jobs.

  55. avatar Scott says:

    Ryan,

    “Thats funny, I don’t care who you are.”

    Catbestland is absolutely right:

    “Brown v. Bd. of Education”, “Roe v. Wade”, “Lawrence v. Texas” off the top of my head.

  56. avatar Ryan says:

    Two points:
    “1) I agree that the issue of habitat should be first and foremost on the list of anyone who cares about wildlife & wild lands. However, lot of the organizations and individuals that support the reintroduction of the wolf are also involved with the preservation and acquisition of habitat.
    NONE of the organizations (and most of the individuals, from what I can tell) who have fought the wolf introduction and subsequent sound managment seem to give a damn about habitat. In fact they seem HOSTILE to the issues around habitat preservation……goofballs like “Save Our Elk”.”

    Save our Elks only mission is anti wolf, Much like PETA and HSUS’s narrow agendas. Name one pro wolf group that has rehabilitated habitat, turned private land into public land, and made a with regards to habitat without resorting to the court system.

    “2) The Endangered Species Act has had several big successes – the most significant being the spotted owl. The Act prevented the liquidation of forests on public lands in the Northwest and damage to entire ecosystems, most notably salmon & steelhead. It has also proved to be a long term economic boon to N. Cal, Oregon & Washington because, in spite of short term dislocation, it preserved the values that are attracting the better employers & employees………and sustainable jobs.”

    Your Kidding right. I live in the heart of spotted owl country not one point there has much truth to it. Salmon and steelhead stocks are in trouble, schools are without funding in rural areas due to the loss of federal tax dollars specifically ear marked off lumber taxes, and new employers aren’t flocking to replace the jobs lost to logging and related industries. The best part is that… Get this Spotted Owl populations are still declining due to Barred Owls. Many of the very enviromental groups that sued to close off the forests are sueing to stop the population reduction of Barred Owls.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/07/0722_040722_tvspottedowl.html

    Salmon and Steelhead habitat is being saved by rapairian areas being protected not due to spotted owl regulations.

  57. avatar Ryan says:

    Scott,

    It depends on how you feel about some of those issues.. The NAACP did make great strides, but now it seems as many of these groups focus is lost and the issues they take up are a bit outlandish and continues the cycle of percieved victimism.
    For example the ACLU is fighting arizonas push to curtail illegal workers in there state.

  58. avatar Catbestland says:

    “That’s funny, I don’t care who you are.”

    I’m curious Ryan. What do you think is so funny. The fact that these groups fought to establish civil rights for the oppressed, or that the oppressed now have civil rights?

  59. avatar vicki says:

    Ryan,
    Let me say that I know a bit about being oppressed and a minority. The NAACP most certainly has a mission. If not for the ACLU, you and I might not have the liberty to discuss this. SO focus lost, or not, they are not only good organizations, they are necessary.
    However, this is not to say that they could do anything without the support and avenues they have had. That being said… those avenues include a court system designed to ensure the just treatment of all, and that system only works when it is used.
    Cat is quite correct that we should be careful not to revert to a time when civil liberties existed only for those aristocrats that could buy them with old money and white complections.
    Now the fights taking place are no less valuable, and though very different, no less complicated.
    Wildlife and habitat, as you suggest, go hand in hand. So why do you insist on splitting the interest in saving them ?
    Like it or not, conservation is a goal that requires both habitat and species be preserved. Just because a debate, issue or law suit names an animal, or a place….that does not preclude those from filing it from concern for both.
    You stand upon your soap box, throwing in jabs about what has not been accomplished, but you forget that what has been accomplished was achieved one step at a time, and over long periods of time. This issue will be decided the same way. You preach to the choir about conservation. The people who show concern here are just that, concerned. You may not agree with where their concern lies, but you’d be flat out wrong to question that they have any. It is wrong to assume that just because you do not agree with their ideas about wolves, bison, whatever, that these people’s concern is not genuine and well intended.
    You can argue that the ACLU, the NAACP, the need for wolves or even the belief in God may be outdated or lacking focus…. but you should realize that the very people who argue those points here would put their whole hearts and effort into assure that you were allowed to excercise your rights to argue them.
    Maybe you should see these people for who they are… strong willed, big hearted, pro-active and intellegent.
    I’d like to believe that you may posses some of those very same qualities. Cut them the slack you’d like them to cut you. Show them that same respect…please.

  60. avatar vicki says:

    Oh, one more thing…wolves have been shown to be a very good effect on the environments they’ve been released back into and studied in…..if you doubt it, I recommend fishing the rivers of YNP, they are thriving now as a result of the wolf having effected their over use by elk….don’t believe me, ask the beavers that have began recolonizing since the wolves returned.

  61. avatar Wyo Native says:

    Scott Said
    “1) I agree that the issue of habitat should be first and foremost on the list of anyone who cares about wildlife & wild lands. However, lot of the organizations and individuals that support the reintroduction of the wolf are also involved with the preservation and acquisition of habitat.
    NONE of the organizations (and most of the individuals, from what I can tell) who have fought the wolf introduction and subsequent sound managment seem to give a damn about habitat. In fact they seem HOSTILE to the issues around habitat preservation……goofballs like “Save Our Elk”.”

    I understand the “Save Our Elk” and actually agree with you, but to say other organizations or a majority of people who were against the reintroduction or support the current management plans don’t care about wildlife habitat is just plain wrong.

    RMEF was originally against reintroduction and they now support state management. As of the end of 2007 they have helped conserve 1.5 million acres in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana for ALL wildlife. Infact in 2007 76% of their $54 million budget went directly towards conservation efforts through land purchases and habitat improvement. 19% of their budget went towards Conservation education and only 5% went towards employee costs and advertisement. I am a proud lifetime member of this organization.

    You also must not be aware of Wyoming’s Governor Fruedenthal or Senator’s Barrasso and Enzi’s recent efforts with the Wyoming Range Legacy Act. This Act will protect 1.2 million acres of PUBLIC land in the Wyoming Range from oil and gas development and explration. This area is also very important wildlife habitat for everthing from elk, mule deer, sage grouse, proghorn, moose and big horn sheep. Both of Wyoming’s Senators and Governor were against reintroduction and support Wyoming’s current management policy.

    I agree with Ryan, I would really like to know how much wildlife habitat the Defenders of Wildlife, Earth Justice, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance or any other wolf lawsuit plantiff have purchased or conserved, especially in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

  62. avatar natehobbs says:

    Compared to Idahos ridiculously high quote of 500 animals this is great news. What is the percentage this 50 represents in the estimated population of Montana? certinaly a lot less than Idaho Fish and Game hopes….

  63. avatar Scott says:

    Wyo Native,

    I don’t even know who the plaintiffs in the delisting lawsuit are. I said that the organizations that fought the wolf introductions were doing nothing about wildlife habitat. RMEF is an exception. I think they do excellant work, although I think they were misguided to oppose reintroduction.
    Habitat protection, preservation & acquisition occurs in many ways. Few organizations have the resources to – or should – buy land outright. Good local land use regulation, conservation easements, grass roots work, lobbying at all levels for local support and acquisition money; protecting public land from logging, mining and oil & gas exploration are all ways habitat gets protected, preserved and acquired for public benefit.
    Many groups that supported the wolf reintroduction also were very effective accomplishing the tasks I listed above. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Idaho Conservation League, Wyoming Outdoor Council are some that come to mind. They all work full time for habitat. You could add the national groups like The Wilderness Society and Audubon. You can be sure that the extremely effective non advocacy groups like The Nature Conservency, Trust For Public Land and local land trusts all quietly supported reintroduction along with their superb habitat efforts.

    The antiwolf folks (with a few exceptions) only hate the wolf, they don’t love habitat. Many, like some of the organizations linked to Save Our Elk are actively HOSTILE to habitat issues…..the “Wise Use” crowd.

    It is facinating to me and a real cultural divide. The wolf is a sideshow to the issue of habitat, but where is the passion from the anti wolf crowd?

  64. avatar Scott says:

    Wyo Native,

    Also, the Wyoming Range Legacy Act was a consequence of an enormous amount of work and organization done by several of the organizations I listed in my previous post…..like the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. Can you identify one of the rabid anti-wolf organizations that lifted a finger?

  65. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    roy,

    convince politicians, agencies, and extractive industry to stop the endless usurpation of the rule of law and enviros will stop the practice of endlessly upholding it.

    Ryan,

    You are wrong about the extent of conservation being greater by those who acquire private property versus those that file suit to uphold the public environmental interest. It’s apples and oranges – private land versus public. While I will never downplay the importance of acquisition of private lands to further conservation efforts (except when those lands become extractively used – as is the case with many acquisitions) – I will say that we hold a hell of a lot of land in common. That common interest and common holding, and the laws that protect it constitute hundreds of millions of acres of public land which is extractively used by private interests whose “use”enriches private individuals while degrading wildlife habitat. Those private interests’ influence over political actors ensure that the lands with which the public has legally established leverage – public lands – is denuded. Many of the lawsuits leveraged were and are brought as a consequence of the implications that the lawless administration of such lands has on wildlife habitat. The same is true of the lawsuit regarding the delisting of wolves. If the application of the ESA is allowed to take place as the FWS (Bush’s FWS) and states would have it – as has been done with the delisting of wolves, the implications to wildlife habitat and the diversity and functionality of wildlife communities would be dire into the future. This precendent is not a good one.

    The public has already acquired, or already has in our possession, millions upon millions of acres of public lands. The administration of those lands must recognize wildlife values and manage these lands and wildlife in a way consistent with the law. Challenging an administration of these commonly held lands – public lands – and its wildlife that values wildlife denuding extractive private industry above preservation of wildlife is of utmost importance.

    Put another way, if I use X dollars to purchase 1,000 acres of private land for big game species while watching in silence as my government makes an illegal management decision that negatively impacts 50 million acres of public land (of benefit to diverse wildlife – including big game) for which there is the legal recourse to stop with the same X dollars — is it better to make the 1,000 purchase ? or is it a more wise use of my membership resource to halt the decision affecting land and wildlife we all hold in trust ?

    Ryan and Wyo Native,
    This is the suggestion that you are making.

    You suggest that outright acquisition is more important – or resource better spent. I will entertain the merit of that idea when you can tell me how much land might have been purchased with the resource currently leveraged in challenging delisting of wolves. How much ? Tell me that the potential acreage acquired with that resource outweighs the ecological benefit of wolves to wildlife communities across the vast public lands already held. You can’t. It’s a bad argument. Let’s have that conversation any day.

    People ought not get caught up in the vast acquisition claims of particular groups. For all the acres acquired, we often come to find that they are used – such is the case with livestock grazing – in ways that deflate the ecological contribution/importance of such acquisition. The “wildlife habitat” is habitat for some wildlife – usually photogenic species that make for nice fundraising brochures/pamphlets. If conservation was as easy as ‘acres acquired’ there wouldn’t be much controversy. The important thing is how landscapes, acquired for “conservation” purposes or not, are managed – “What” they’re managed for.

    The Bush FWS’s decision to delist wolves is not an appropriate administration of law – it removes critically important protection for a species that has widespread benefit to the diverse wildlife communities of which they are finally apart of again. Judicial review of that decision is a prudent use of resource.

  66. avatar Roy says:

    Brian,

    If Malloy finds that the law has not been followed by any or all of the 3 states wolf management plans, and rules against de-listing, then I would expect the states in question to come up with a management plan that does follow the law. If Malloy rules in favor of de-listing, then I would expect Earth Justice et al to accept his ruling and get on with their lives. Is that too much to ask?

  67. avatar Wyo Native says:

    Scott,

    There are extremes on both sides of the wolf issue. But there are also many people like myself that support wolves but also support state management even though we may disagree with certain aspects of the management plans. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition would fall into this category.

    As for the Wyoming Range Legacy Act, I would prefer to keep the extremes on both sides out of the fight. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition has done great work concerning the Wyoming Range, but so has organizations like Sportsmen for the Wyoming Range, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the Wyoming Game and Fish. All of these organizations may have different ideals, but they have worked together successfully for a common goal. Too bad the wolf issue won’t see the same resolution.

    But as Ed Bangs has said about both extreme sides of the Wolf Issue, “It’s no longer about the Wolf. People are using the Wolf to force their values on other people.”

  68. avatar Wyo Native says:

    Brian,

    I have no issue with using the legal system of the US to help promote a cause. But it the case of wildlife conservation, habitat conservation and improvement are also key tools that are rarely used by the lawsuit happy environmental crowd. Instead of trying to improve wildlife habitat along with lawsuits, most of the current organizations in todays society just sue and then expect the government to come up with the solution.

    Look at the Wyoming Elk Feedgrounds lawsuit. Although I agree with the closing of the feedgrounds, what alternative are the plantifs offering other than a lawsuit. The feedgrounds have almost become a neccessary evil becasue of the massive loss of winter range habitat especially around Jackson Hole. But you have the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance and Franz Camenzind that choose to live and Jackson and support the current culture of Jackson Hole, like Airports being built in the middle of the Tetons, ranch lands being bought for residential subdivisions, and the 900 acre Teton Science school smack dab in the middle of the Gros Ventre winter range. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition is an exception when it comes to the elk feed ground issue, they do some very important work in the GYE.

    One other thing have all of you read all of the declarations concerning the wolf lawsuit? I sent the defendants declarations to Ralph and I thought he would post them up for you all to read. You never know how the judge will end up ruling but the declarations of Dr. Mech, Ed Bangs, Dr. Smith, and Mark Boyce are pretty damaging compared to Franz Camenzind’s declaration of “I was injured by the killing of wolf 253m”.

    Have a good day all!

  69. avatar JB says:

    Okay, I can’t take it any longer. I wonder if any of you have actually taken the time to determine if those suit-happy organizations you speak of actually have habitat conservation programs? I suspect you haven’t. Here are a list of the groups that have recently been (or are currently) plaintiffs in such cases:

    National Wildlife Federation
    The Center for Biological Diversity
    Defenders of Wildlfie
    The Sierra Club
    Institute for Wildlife Protection
    The Humane Society

    I suggest doing some homework, and getting back with us. I’d do it myself but I’m on the road.

    Second point: Those who oppose lawsuits often fail to see the broader implications of allowing the government to BLATANTLY DISREGARD its own laws. The challenge with respect to wolves has major implications for other species. The “anti” crowd seems to think that only actions regarding wolves and grizzly bears are challenged; yet, in recent years Defenders alone has filed suit to protect the flat-tailed horned lizard, prebles meadow jumping mouse, and a host of other not-so-charasmatic fauna. THIS IS NOT ABOUT WOLVES, IT IS ABOUT FORCING OUR GOVERNMENT TO UPHOLD ITS LAWS.

  70. avatar Ryan says:

    JB,

    The goverment is upholding its deal with the states, which was determined through biologists checking it against the ESA laws.

    As for any of those groups..

    They are all pretty much happy groups with little meat besides lobbying and sueing. Hmm pat our selves on the back while Lobbying and sueing, while critical habitat disappears. A few of the groups listed are nothing more than animal rights groups with little or no value with regards to conservation.

  71. avatar Roy says:

    “One other thing have all of you read all of the declarations concerning the wolf lawsuit? I sent the defendants declarations to Ralph and I thought he would post them up for you all to read. You never know how the judge will end up ruling but the declarations of Dr. Mech, Ed Bangs, Dr. Smith, and Mark Boyce are pretty damaging compared to Franz Camenzind’s declaration of “I was injured by the killing of wolf 253m”.”

    What are you saying Wyoming? That Ralph is withholding information from the flock? Why on earth would he do that?

  72. avatar Wyo Native says:

    Roy Said,
    “What are you saying Wyoming? That Ralph is withholding information from the flock? Why on earth would he do that?”

    No not at all, and if you took it that way that is not what I meant. Ralph seems like a very nice guy and I don’t have any issues with him. In fact I admire him for the blog he has, it is very infomative.

  73. avatar C. Walton says:

    How many times do I have to see that old straw man alleging that people who are in favor of wolves being a part of our ecosystems are supposedly against management of any kind. That is simply not true. The overwhelming majority of pro-wolf people are in favor of management.

    Speaking for myself, I am completely in favor of managing wolves. The current realities dictate that all wildlife must be managed to one degree or another. However, the current management plans (at least Wyoming’s and probably Idaho’s) are not motivated by science or a desire to balance the ecosystem, they are motivated in large part by a desire to pander to special interest ranching and hunting groups.

    I am in complete agreement that we should treat wolves just like any other wild animal. But that is precisely the problem–wolves are not being treated like any other animal. They are being treated as something completely unwanted. After all, many of these people opposed wolves from the beginning. Why should we trust their motives and sincerity now?

    Get a plan into place that treats wolves in a similar way to bears and mountain lions and I think most people will be perfectly happy.

  74. avatar Ryan says:

    “Oh, one more thing…wolves have been shown to be a very good effect on the environments they’ve been released back into and studied in…..if you doubt it, I recommend fishing the rivers of YNP, they are thriving now as a result of the wolf having effected their over use by elk….don’t believe me, ask the beavers that have began recolonizing since the wolves returned.”

    I have heard this same line a hundred times. The fact is that Yellowstone is a very small relatively undisturbed ecosystem. With little or no tie to the health of rest of the western ecosystems who don’t face the same issues as yellowstone.

  75. avatar Catbestland says:

    Ryan,
    Do you think that Yellowstone is the only place where fish and beaver once lived in the west? There are hundreds of ecosystems throughout the Rocky Mountain West that would benefit from the return of the wolf. I live in Colorado where one has only to spend some time in the high country wilderness areas to understand the devastation that has occured to these ecosystems since the apex predator was removed and cattle were introduced. Elk too, were introduced to most wilderness areas in CO, and that is fine because there seems to be a niche here for them. But there presense is hard on the delicate ecosystems without the benefit of an apex predator to keep them on the move. Wilderness in Utah and New Mexico as well would benefit from the return of the wolf. Not to mention that the health of game herds would improve as well. Streams and riparian zones all over the west have suffered from the unrestricted loitering of cattle and elk. Wolves would keep them moving and perhaps the streams would recover and fish and beaver among other wildlife would return.

  76. avatar Catbestland says:

    “Their Presence” I meant to say. Jeesh, it’s Monday.

  77. avatar Ryan says:

    Cat,
    Not at all, Infact we have healthy beaver and fish populations in much of my home state of Oregon. The issue with raparian habitat is 90% + of the time is cattle, which will not have good luck with wolf interactions. New mexico already has some native endangered wolves that would dissappear completely with the gray wolves coming into their habitat.. Just as the native strain of wolves in MT and ID have all but dissappeared with reintroduction of a different sub species. (depends on which biologists you read). As for wolves helping the health of big game populations, that hasn’t shown any fruits at all as a sound argument. Many herds are older aged class topped with dropping reproductive success rates. Many studies show that wolves are an additive predator rather than a compensatory predator meaning they take down all age classes with little discrimination towards the weak or ill. Infact the constant running of elk herds lowers there overall health because they become much less effective grazers. Elk were reintroduced after they were wiped out by market hunters in many areas.

    Here is where no matter how hard we try, you and I will never find a middle ground our opinions and values couldn’t be more different as a rule. Your food doesn’t have eyes, and I have looked alot of mine in the eyes.

  78. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    “Infact the constant running of elk herds lowers there overall health because they become much less effective grazers.” I couldn’t let that one go . . in animal health for all animals, from bugs, bees, dogs, cats, humans etc. moving is lifesaving. Where on earth Ryan did you get this lame rational for couch potato elk?
    Even our cows show that laziness makes for sick animals. Domestic dogs are classic example of sick animals with many issues due to lack of exercise. I could go on but I just wonder where you found that leaky vessel of a sentence.

  79. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Cat,

    you are correct about riparian habitat benefitting from apex predator.

    Ryan says :

    Many herds are older aged class topped with dropping reproductive success rates.

    this is exactly the reason Dr. Peek suggests that wolves benefit elk herds given studies on the Frank Church. Wolves cull out older less-productive cow-elk (you could argue that as a function of weaker, or you could argue that as a function of ratio — either way, there’s more habitat for younger) freeing up forage for the younger more productive cow-elk.

    “Couch potato elk” – i like that !

    I agree with Ryan about the livestock on riparian — it does little good for some conservationists to make the “riparian move elk around” argument when some conservationists continue to support livestock grazing on public land in their mind for wolves. this is one of the frustrations i have.

  80. avatar Ryan says:

    Linda,

    This is where I found it. It was also quoted in a yellowstone study.

    “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

    Brian,

    Then why 15 years after wolf reintroduction in yellowstone is the average of cows in the northern herd over 9? Can you cite study showing age reduction in herds specifically due to wolf predation.

  81. avatar Ryan says:

    Linda,
    Maybe I should have restated that.. It lowers overall survival in elk due to the fact that they cannot effectively feed. Hence the constant question on whether or not elk are an Additive or a Compensatory predator.

  82. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    “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. ”

    I don’t claim to know whether this is true or not, but wolves aside, too many reporters listen to theories and then make them news. Preliminary data is pretty inconclusive even for a theory. When I started studying bears I soon discovered that quite a few of the “facts” that people were telling me were just theories that had not been proved or dis-proven so in the press they were facts. Many of the things I learned that way were pretty off base when I got a chance to watch bears extensively for myself. There are still a few of these “facts” that I hope to someday solve. I find in wildlife debates we all read some theories as facts because they speak to us. I am guilty of it too. But the more time I spend outdoors the more mysteries I find to solve. They get solved in science too slowly for one person’s lifetime if you ask me. If this preliminary data can be called somewhat conclusive, then do elk have delayed implantation of embryos and do they not have calves if they are not fat enough, or do they not mate, or do they not conceive at all. And, since bears are active predators of young elk in the same areas has the study ruled out the effect of bears on elk to say it is just wolves. And what about the lead ball they bounce off the snow . . what do wolves have to do with difficult winter feeding or is there some data describing that relationship as well? I wish the reporter had spent more time on the “data” and less time on the working conditions.

  83. avatar C. Walton says:

    Ryan said,

    “As for wolves helping the health of big game populations, that hasn’t shown any fruits at all as a sound argument. Many herds are older aged class topped with dropping reproductive success rates. Many studies show that wolves are an additive predator rather than a compensatory predator meaning they take down all age classes with little discrimination towards the weak or ill.”

    Well Ryan, how do you think the elk became the creature that it is now? In the absence of predation?

    Do you honestly believe that human hunting provides the same positive effects on the evolution of elk as the native predators with which they co-evolved?

    Can you please describe to me the mechanism that would explain your absurd statement that “wolves are an additive predator rather than a compensatory predator meaning they take down all age classes with little discrimination towards the weak or ill”. Are you really claiming that wolves (or any predator for that matter) will not generally have higher success rates taking down weaker individual elk than strong, healthy elk in their prime?

    Or is it that you believe that wolves are demonic beings who are so powerful as to be immune to the normal risks involved in hunting?

    Of course wolves and other predators can be additive in certain circumstances but as a general rule? Come on!

    Not to mention that such a claim contradicts the vast majority of studies that have been done on the effects of predation by wolves.

    If elk “cannot effectively feed” due to predation by wolves how do you explain the fact that elk existed in very high numbers over tens of thousands of years with concomitant predation by wolves?

  84. avatar Heather says:

    Nicely said, C. Walton.

    I love the history of the Dire wolf, living beside many other ungulates and at the same time as the Gray wolf in prehistory. Many groups of fossils of the Dire wolf have been found in the LaBrea tar pits in LA, Calif. The fact that there are more Dire wolf fossils than any other predator suggests the they hunted in packs. It was a big stocky wolf, not very efficient at running or hunting. The gray wolf surpassed them in prehistory. Wolves play a necessary part today if they were given a chance. Too many cows… the wild west is no more!

  85. avatar bob jackson says:

    Just the facts… stay with the facts, maam!! In most of the Park studies, as seen for thirty years, the data is compiled legitimately but the conclusions based on that data are too often short sighted. This is because the DATA is gathered by the field folks and the conclusions are made by folks who sit behind the desks. Thus many “conclusions” are not worth the paper one reads it on.

    It gets worse. Some desk jockeys, as supervisors, ask for the data from field researchers (mt. lion studies comes to mind for one) then low and behold these field folks find a “scientific” paper has been submitted by the desk “researcher” as their own (got to get those papers out to climb the ladder). If this desk jockey decides to spend a good share of their division’s annual budget on a trip overseas (the further from home or exclusionary of field folks) so they can present at a conference one had better cinch up the waders. All those political exaggerations such as Hillary’s “in line of fire” off loading from the plane can look pretty mellow. Too often it becomes a world of Walter Mitty’s for these desk jockeys strutting their stuff. Pictures under the glass on their office desks of a long ago back country trip become real once again. If they could limit impact by inflating only each others heads it would be tolerable, but these desk jockeys fly back from these conferences believing what they spoke when presenting “their” studies. They then direct the field people with the attitude they are the Einstein’s of science and, of course have the field people spend all kinds of time preparing the next conference….. so the same conference researchers from other countries can have hotels and expenses paid (more budget outlay and thus shorter seasons for field personnel) to present major papers at the host recipient.

    All this definitely makes for a morale downer in a biologist division. Of course, I doubt these scenarios are limited to the Park Service I was a part of.

    To get to the point. As for the elk pregnancy rate going down since the reintroduction of wolves this could be so, but any “conclusion” of wolf harassment causing less calves needs to looked at a bit closer for other than direct cause and effect of grazing inhibiting population replacement.

    If the desk jockeys would only get away from the admin building they would see elk bunching up into much larger herds in the fall during hunting season since wolves came on the scene. Outfitters in my neck of the woods had a lot easier time locating these post rut large herds and then shooting the bulls out of these groups. Thus, less bulls around the next year to impregnate the cows. Secondly, with male numbers artificially low (due to state game and fish hunting priority on males) there are few bulls left to patrol the perimeter of the cow-calf herds. They can’t give the heads up of wolves approaching if they have been removed from the population. Stress goes up in the cow-calf herds when the male scouts and protectors are gone. Thus less calves.

    When I first patrolled the Thorofare in the early 70’s, fall rut times meant seeing multiple scenarios of a large 6-7 point herd bull and 10 cows… and maybe 10-15 males with 5-6 points on the 1/2 mile perimeter. By the ’90’s it was one rag horn with 30 cows and few if any fringe bulls. The same happened in the summer where high elevation large cow-calf groups (200-300) were surrounded by 50-100 males in the treed slopes within 2 miles. Not anymore.

    So, I guess, technically one could say wolves mean less calves today, but the real reason I see is nature’s herds have been altered so much there is less of the herd’s defensive mechanisms left to counter predators.
    Thus, when the hunters blame the wolves, I would counter that their macho male competition hunting is what is causing the problem.

    Finally, before quoting conclusions from most of these papers my advice is to look at the data first then look a bit deeper to find cause and effect. Desk biologists have no way to understand other than simple answers. Or find out who the field data collectors were and ask them.

    There are some biologists not fitting this assessment but I saw very few stay in the govt. I know. The reason is they got forced out by the climb the ladder brown nosers.

    At least this is my cynical assessment from seeing field biologists in the back country a lot and then seeing their big wigs come into the backcountry only to hyperventilate over all things scary to them (yes, really) or prioritize riding to the mt. tops so as to get cell reception and thus orchestrate political strategy with Washington types. They may be making a quick trip supposedly studying beaver lodges…and thus numbers of beaver pre and post wolf introduction…but they didn’t know the difference from a feed station and a beaver’s home. They did know how to talk the talk however. Such is life on the science front in today’s world when it comes to wildlife studies. Like Range Science trying to figure out why cows do what they do and biologists trying to understand wildlife, both end up analyzing symptoms for conclusions.

  86. avatar Heather says:

    Thanks for the facts Bob! Delightful to have some truth.

  87. avatar Ryan says:

    Linda,

    First, that study was put out by the university of montana researchers… Not some op ed piece.

    C.Walton,

    Can you please describe to me the mechanism that would explain your absurd statement that “wolves are an additive predator rather than a compensatory predator meaning they take down all age classes with little discrimination towards the weak or ill”.

    Lets see during hard winters elk that are already in tough place are being consistently run by wolves become less efficent foragers and because of this additive pressure, more become weak and ill and susceptible to wolf predation. Citing bull to cow ratios thrown off by human hunters does not take into account that bull elk are much more suceptible to predation from wolves post rut. In Alaska post rut moose are a prime target for wolves.

    I can also see where you are coming from with blaming hunters for lower calf ratios, but why is this happening in yellowstone as well with the abscence of hunters? In talking to my fellow hunters who hunt wilderness areas in Idaho and have for the last 20 years, wolves have changed the rutting behavior significantly with both bulls and cows becoming less vocal. I will look for the pics my friend steve sent me last year from the Frank Chruch wilderness of a pack of wolves he called in twice trying to call in elk. Granted if it was me calling I could see how one would think it was a wounded elk, but steve is very accomplished. I am wondering how this modified behavior affects reproductive success. For many this seems of little consequence as the wolf is more important than big game populations, but as this is my heritage passed down from my grandpa, to my dad , to me, and hopefully one day to my children I would like to continue it.

    Bob,

    The ancedotal evidence you are quoting goes against yellowstone studies that state elk behavior has been modified into smaller groups that avoid open meadows and stay in the timber more. As for post rut herds, in my 10 years of watching elk, it seems that generally the big bulls stay reclusive until the dead of winter and the larger herds will contain sub adult bulls and cows from my ancedotal evidence. The only time I have seen big bulls not in a bachleor group out of the rut is on feeding grounds.

  88. avatar JB says:

    “Lets see during hard winters elk that are already in tough place are being consistently run by wolves become less efficent foragers and because of this additive pressure, more become weak and ill and susceptible to wolf predation.”

    Yep. And that means there is more forage available for the animals that are able to withstand any extra pressure,
    which makes for a healthier herd in the long run.

  89. avatar Catbestland says:

    JB,
    Especially more so since it is the hardiest ones that survive and pass their genes on to the next generation.

  90. avatar Heather says:

    Simple High School science ….

  91. avatar bob jackson says:

    Ryan, I will answer more on herd densities when I have more time after dark. As for the bugling drawing in Wolves, I think it has to do with very few bulls being left because of hunting to CONFUSE wolves as to location of the cow – calf groups. There are no young healthy bull elk with lots of bugling testosterone to occupy the fringes of the herds (up to two miles away) plus even more young bulls out exploring on their own just a bugling away. Thus the opposite is happening. The wolves and hunters can zero in on the few males, and thus cow-calf groups that are left. Most males in functional herd populations serve a lot more purposes than genetic implanting of the strength.

    THE TOTAL IMBALANCE IN OUR HERDS CREATED BY OUR STATE GAME AND FISH MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS IS WHAT IS CAUSING ANY DYSFUNCTIONAL WOLF-ELK RELATIONSHIPS!!!

    And as for YELLOWSTONE elk, very few stay in Yellowstone year round. Most all migrate out …and thus are hunted. There is one herd of 300 in the SE Arm of Yellowstone Lake that never leaves the Park (just like the Mt. Bison of Pelican Valley), some elk in the Lamar that may or may not go further down the drainages and thus out of the Park…depending on the winter…and that is about it (maybe a few at OLD Faithful) for cow-calf groups wintering over in the Park. Hope this helps you and your hunter friend Steve understand what is happening. If he wants to help regain ecological balance I suggest he quit hunting and bugling in Males….of course the one he leaves some other macho guy kills.

  92. avatar Ryan says:

    Bob,

    I would guess you know little about elk calling, as a general rule we only use cow calls. Should I shoot cows instead Bob? Or maybe I should just take pictures and rape the land by eating commercially produced vegtables instead and run my car on ethanol which rapes the land worse than oil.

    “Yep. And that means there is more forage available for the animals that are able to withstand any extra pressure,
    which makes for a healthier herd in the long run.”

    JB,

    The gist of the story is that there not effective foragers in the summer either and carrying an overall lower fitness into the winter. I don’t think this will create healthier herds as noted by the norther herds age make up which is still dominated by older less productive cows. Which is in direct conflict with what pro wolf advoactes have said would happen with regards to elk herd health.

  93. avatar bob jackson says:

    Ryan

    I spent 30 falls listening to guides in the most envied elk hunting area of all trying to call in elk. I would be just across the SE Park border glassing and waiting for hours early morning and late evening at the illegal salt licks. Sometimes those good ole hunter boys just couldn’t quite get the bulls across the line so shot them while they were still in the Park. Afterwards, I’d watch them put out the blood trail from the Park to outside…even tried to duplicate blow hairs a few times.

    And yes, when the alibi didn’t work they all cried. These macho heel grinders (grind off the outside of the boot heel on the Packers so they walked “bow legged”) were quite the cow (bull) callers. Some good enough to have griz jump them from behind.

    I doubt there are many “hunters” who can tell as well as me the little variances of a real elk from a hunters call. That being said I have no issue with hunting. It is just the egos of all those guys trying to get “that big bull”. It is so immature and shallow to think any one of us shows our “superior” proweness with today’s technology. Ya, a magnum going against an elk.

    But the “challenge” or “sport” is not the point. If our civilization allows us to go beyond our species interactive compatibility then it means we have to search our emotions to see where we fit in. It is our responsibility to understand our relationship with the animals we are a part of. I know of very few hunters who do. Thus, I used the word “macho” in my response above.

    Yes, I know about hunting. My brothers and I were listed in the high school year book as the “Great White Hunters”. We all went to college and got degrees in FWB.

    I have shot the 11-12 year old bulls but didn’t know enough about cooking to appreciate an animal that has so much energy available to transfer to my body. Thus it was wrong for me to shoot those big boys.

    The more I understand the importance of social order in herd animals the more I know of what imbalances of populations, and thus their lack of role filling capabilities, adversely effects understanding and management of those animals.

    If we realize before White man there were lots of predators and also lots of prey then we need to ask how that compares to today if we are going to come up with other than symptom solutions. This means we have to look to see how herds consisted before and how Indigenous peoples hunted these herds…..and try and duplicate this.

    Natives hunted individual animals cast out by the herds to the edges. Dysfunctional herds can not cast out members. Thus today’s hunters can not even pick out these animals even if they were knowledgeable enough to do so…WHICH THEY ARE NOT… WHETHER IT IS JACK O’CONNER OR WHOMEVER. As groups Natives hunted the entire family of herd animals. Yup, killed every one of them, babies and all. They even cut out and ate the fetuses in pregnant cows. Boiled them up to make broth.

    It all was a very sustainable way to hunt these animals. Without functional families or understanding by us of how herd animals operate then our magnums and egos throws things even further out of whack. That is why I see so many way out assessments and solutions from supposedly knowledgeable hunters and biologists.

    As for the effective foraging you like to narrate, the more dysfunctional the herds the less effective the grazing. All your state managed herds with 2-3 breeding age bulls per 100 cows don’t cut it. Herbivores become Grassivores without infrastructure training them.

    Your so called healthier herds do not consider all the teaching “older” animals give the young. Your statements are so exploitive rancher in justification and you probably don’t even know it. Real healthy herds are actually those that have the most infrastructures. Thus, presence of old cows and bulls are signs of healthy herds, not bad ones. It is the same as any human population. Civilizations that can support the wisdom gained from elderly are way ahead.

    Your wildlife model looks only at reproduction. It is again so shallow, but at the same time sadly it is the model you blindly followed, without questioning your game managers. That is the culpability I saw in hunters in the area I patrolled…not finding answers on their own.

    One last thing. The reason bulls post rut are lumped together as being so more vulnerable to predation is because there are not the numbers of males natures herds would have. The only bulls left are the ones who were overworked trying to impregnate the females.

    Oh, so you say there was not as much competition either. Well, the bulls groups you talk about, if functional in size, would be working as one unit. Thus less energy is expended by all of them.

    You see those that don’t breed in natures bull groups also pass on their genetics. How can this be? Take this one to your traditional animal genetics professor ….and when they can’t give you the answer keep trying with different avenues of thought until you figure out why this is so. Then I believe your answers as you write today will seem so …..(fill in the blank).

  94. avatar JB says:

    “The gist of the story is that there not effective foragers in the summer either and carrying an overall lower fitness into the winter.”

    Ryan, you’re assuming all animals are affected to the same extent. I would argue that, as with nearly every aspect of wildlife behavior, there is variability in the effectiveness of foragers. If (as you say) wolves put pressure on elk that are poor foragers, this is a good thing, as the weaker animals (behaviorally speaking) will end up more vulnerable to predation. Even if all animals were affected equally, this would still hurt weaker animals disproportionately to stronger animals. Either way you slice it, the population benefits under this type of selective pressure in the long run.

  95. avatar Catbestland says:

    Wow Bob,

    What an excellent post. Extremely informative and so well put. I was especially impressed with the comment;

    “Your so called healthier herds do not consider all the teaching “older” animals give the young. Your statements are so exploitive rancher in justification and you probably don’t even know it.”

    It gave me cause to stop and think that most of these anti-wolf people simply do not know better. They have been taught a whole different way of thinking. It just drives home the importance of “accurate” education on the issues. Accurate knowledge is simply not going to be available in the traditional avenues. Conventional teaching is structured toward ranching and associated industry interests. No wonder these guys are so adamant about their possitions. They don’t even know that they have been missinformed. I believe that if people who truly have the best interest of wildlife at heart, come to an accurate knowledge of the issues, they HAVE change their views.

    Thanks for sharing your insight. With input like yours we are bound to see some changes in attitudes.

  96. avatar JB says:

    “It just drives home the importance of “accurate” education on the issues. Accurate knowledge is simply not going to be available in the traditional avenues…They don’t even know that they have been missinformed. I believe that if people who truly have the best interest of wildlife at heart, come to an accurate knowledge of the issues, they HAVE change their views…With input like yours we are bound to see some changes in attitudes.”

    Cat: What is your definition of “accurate”? Does it mean “factual” or “true”? How can you tell what is accurate (factual/true) versus inaccurate? My guess is you read newspaper and magazine stories, watch documentaries, talk to like-minded people, and maybe pick up a book or scientific article or two. In short, you get information the same way everybody else does.

    You think people who are against wolves don’t have all the facts; however, many of those people have gone through the same process of acquiring information that you have. They simply have different sources of information and choose to focus on different “facts”; this leads to a different interpretation of the situation. You can argue that their interpretation is wrong, or misrepresents the situation, but to suggest that you or Bob, or anyone else for that matter, have an “accurate knowledge” of the situation is utter nonsense. Knowledge–at least at the individual level–is nothing more than what you believe to be factual. Moreover, I would note that while I respect Bob’s opinion, it is well out of the mainstream in wildlife management (I believe this was his point). Note, I’m not saying he’s wrong, simply that others with as much information as he has assess the situation quite differently. Who has the most accurate view? Only time will tell.

    People who care take the time to search out information. After a while they form attitudes and beliefs about that situation and, as they acquire new information, they (me, you, and Bob included) interpret that information in a biased manner. That is, we tend to dismiss or refute information that doesn’t agree with our attitudes and beliefs, while lending credit to information that agrees with our point of view. The end result: it is extremely difficult to change the attitudes and beliefs of people who care about a particular issue.

    My point in all of this rambling is that the suggestion that simply providing more or “better” information will result in a change in people’s attitudes is niave. People that care will already have information that comes from trusted sources. A more fruitful route is to focus on the uninformed or people who do not care much about an issue and provide them information as to why they should care.

  97. avatar bob jackson says:

    Yes, I have done a lot of deductive reasoning to come up with answers using the social order of animals as the basic premise. Thing of it is, it all checks out when one puts whatever the situation through the tests. Of course, having lived in a natural environment for 30 years (Yellowstone backcountry) and being aware of social order in animals at the same time, has helped.

    Also, I am not the only one with these thoughts. Any hunter-gatherer for thousands of years knew how herd animals were formed up and lived. There are lots of historical accounts from these people to back up what I am saying.

    If one looks at this closely and reads the present day studies with what is being found with everything from sharks to penguins (regarding social order) one soon realizes there is no other way humans or other animals can survive or improve themselves as a species. To look at it any other way, to think animals exist any differently than how all indigenous peoples social order got humans to where we are today, means most biologists and modern hunters have to be viewing these animals as freak shows. The result for them is symptom management. The result for wildlife is death and poor quality lives.

    The system of social order is the same through the entire red blooded spectrum. One just has to go a step or two further to understand how to manage and duplicate what nature did before we came on the scene. Sadly, the ones who should be the leaders, our academic community, is stuck on big brain mode (superiority over all) and thus can not interpret the results of these social order studies to go beyond factual results.

    There is hope. I think “management” of animals, in the future, will be limited only by our ability to understand ourselves. Thus, study will be a two way affair. Study functional herds to understand Homo sapiens and then apply this back to animals.

    The answers are all there. If we want to know how satellite herds spin off from the larger extended family all we have to do is read how Native Americans accomplished the need to spin off some of its population.

    Dependency of any satellite groups is also the same as humans…no different than human offspring and their families still are dependent on their elders. The truth is in the results.

    With deductive logic, I can take anyone to Hayden Valley, see a power group of buffalo and maybe a couple of satellite groups varying distances away, and predict with certainty the travel route of these satellite groups by seeing how the power group moves hours before them. I am sure this is how Native hunters got close to a lot of herd animals out in the open grass lands. See the main group go by, see the satellite group a half mile away, position and conceal oneself right on the grazing route of the power group and take a nap for a couple hours….until the spin off group saunters by.

    One can predict a lot of things. If young bulls (2 yr. olds) cross the highway and the main cow – calf groups cross somewhere else, how this youngster is going to throw a hissy fit and then join back up with them.

    I guess the proof of knowledge is in the ability to anticipate, predict and to repeat this “knowledge” or applied practice. Since I don’t see traditional biologists or range scientists able to do so, then this should be a good indicator of what path to knowledge one should follow.

    I would say “to each his own” except a lot of this ecosystem of ours is getting messed up with symptom management. It is time for a change.

  98. avatar Catbestland says:

    JB,

    Perhaps “more accurate knowledge” in the learning process of the issues would be a better term. When I say that “they really don’t know” I am referring to the many that have acquired information from a source that is slanted toward the ranching industry. They have not seen all of the information, just what has been sellected to present to them. I am trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and contribute their angst of the wolf to a lack of thorough understanding. I am aware that there are some out there who have had opportunity to understand all sides of the issue and still choose to defy common sense and sound reasoning. I don’t think anything can be done to change their attitudes. But maybe with perseverance and a willingness to “re”-educate some of the others that don’t have all the facts and whose opinions are not based on greed, might be willing to come around.

    Also, as Bob says “when put to the test” which set of facts checks out? I don’t believe you can have different sets of facts. It is either right or wrong. It is either the truth or it is a lie. Either there is a God or there isn’t. You can’t have it both ways. All of Creation has to function correctly, as it was designed or it will break down. You can’t maintain and opporate a new car in a different manner than the manufacturer advises and not expect it to break down.

    In the learning process there may be different ways of looking at facts but the facts remain the same. And in the end those with a “more accurate knowledge” along with the desire to see the best interest served hopefully will prevail. My fear is that opinions developed from a set of slanted facts based on greed and profit will win.

  99. avatar JB says:

    “I don’t believe you can have different sets of facts. It is either right or wrong. It is either the truth or it is a lie. Either there is a God or there isn’t. You can’t have it both ways. All of Creation has to function correctly, as it was designed or it will break down.”

    We’re getting into the realm of philosophy here (not my best topic), but I can tell you with certainty that people can and do have/maintain different sets of “facts”. You’re assuming that (1) there are a set of facts, (2) that we are able to determine (to know) these facts, and (3) that decision-makers will have perfect (complete, accurate) information. I agree with the first assumption, but would challenge the second two.

    The problem with the second assumption is what process do you use to determine what is factual? Many who do not support wolves focus on their personal (anecdotal) experiences, which tell them that (for example) wolves don’t consume what they kill. Others might challenge these conclusions citing a scientific article or a conversation with a biologist. In each case, the person has drawn their conclusion from “facts” (i.e. information) derived from different sources. Note, the important piece is that even though you and I might argue with the individual who claims wolves do not consume what they kill, their conclusion was based on actual experience and represents “fact” as this person sees it. Moreover, when you get into the details it becomes clear that–of course–wolves don’t consume everything they kill for any number of reasons. Even if you attempted to make decisions strictly based on “facts” established via the scientific method you’d find the literature rarely converges on a neat and tidy conclusion.

    This begins to get at the third assumption–that is, that we have complete and accurate information. I think it’s readily apparent that our information is almost always woefully incomplete with regard species, ecosystems, or frankly, anything that affects NR management. As to the accuracy–well again, scientific findings often conflict (the tobacco industry has exploited this disadvantage of science for decades), leading some to focus on the conclusions in study X while other focus on study Y. Who is to say which is more accurate? The scientists well tell you that the only way to tell is to do more science. Meanwhile, management is stuck making a decision one way or the other.

    Back to my original point: you suggested that many anti-wolf people come to their conclusions based on faulty information and if they only had the facts they would have a change in heart. I disagree. I think we ALL have imperfect information. Moreover, I think this information is interpreted through a “lens” that is extremely biased; that is, I believe we tend view information that conflicts with our beliefs very skeptically while viewing information that is consistent with these beliefs very favorably. The end result is that we will not be able to “educate” our way out of the wolf mess.

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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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