Wolves Running Wild in the West. Resurgence of Once-Endangered Species Means Renewed Tension With Ranchers. By Chris Bury and Ely Brow. June 20, 2008.

I’ve got to laugh at the first paragraph . . . “In Idaho’s rugged ranch country, a young calf killed by predators is every rancher’s worst nightmare.”

The worst nightmare?  It must be a placid life. No, this is a bunch of TV reporters trying to make a dead calf into an atrocity, far more interesting to viewers than dead soldiers in Iraq.

You can comment on-line right now on this piece that apparently runs tonight. Check for the time.

 
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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.

9 Responses to Feature on Idaho wolves tonight on Nightline

  1. avatar Jon Way says:

    This stupid, human-centered point of view is rampant with state fish and game agencies. This is comment is a disgrace to the field of wildlife management:
    Steve Nadeau of Idaho Fish and Game disagrees.

    “If we are going to have wolves in the state, we are going to have wolf management, and sometimes that means lethal control and sometimes that means population management,” he said. “They are not a benign creature. You can’t just let them run loose and do what they want.”

    In fact, if you let them run loose, they stabilize their own numbers and establish territories that keep other wolves out. They could actually do just fine if left alone if wildlife managers didn’t have that stupid philosophy of needing to managing everything.

    Also, the article is so baised it is a joke. They list 6-7 stakeholders and only 1 pro-wolf group where they are all lumped as enviros… What about other pro-wolf groups. There are many: homeowners, wildlife watchers, scientists, animal-rights folks, some hunters (maybe many), even homeowners that would love to see all wildlife.

    These news reporters should be required to read this (Ralph’s) site before publishing these stories.

  2. avatar JB says:

    Have you read the comments? Apparently we need to worry about wolves spreading to NYC in only a couple of generations–just like the coyote. Talk about fear-mongering!

  3. avatar Salle says:

    So this is what I put in their response section:

    Once again ABC News is nothing of the sort. I remember back about 2002 these clowns came up with some swill hosted by Peter Jennings that was just as lopsidedly wrong as is this latest attempt to make the ranchers look like the ultimate victims of nature and the democratic process.

    In fact, I was pesonally misrepresented in that show, a shot of me in line waiting to enter a legislative committee hearing on Idaho’s bad attitude about wolves in the capitol rotunda while a voiceover insinuated that all the folks in that lineup were anti-wolfers wishing to be heard, Carter was in that same line as were several pro-wolf presenters.

    I demanded an appology from Jennings since I received a lot of flack for it and was, of course, ignored.

    Another fact, for that 2002 show, they actually did interview a lot of pro-wolf folks but used not one second of the hours of footage recorded. I know several of the interviewees, they said their interviews were close to 45 minutes and I recall only about 2 minutes on the show from all of that.

    The wrost fact of all is that they refuse to back up or fact-check the rancher’s’ claims with any real studies or stats.

    This is propaganda, not journalism. In the eyes of ABC, journalism = entertainment. If the stories aren’t sexy, they need to be “helped” for the sake of entertainment, the great social educator.

    Please remember that ABC is owned by Disney Corp. whose fame is based on fantasy…. Apparently that’s what they do with that which would be news by employing the respinning of what was once truth.

  4. avatar Salle says:

    This comment is a disgrace to the field of wildlife management:
    Steve Nadeau of Idaho Fish and Game disagrees.
    “If we are going to have wolves in the state, we are going to have wolf management, and sometimes that means lethal control and sometimes that means population management,” he said. “They are not a benign creature. You can’t just let them run loose and do what they want.”

    I am offended by this statement and its deliverer. So, according to this rationale, there is no such thing as wildlife in America, it’s all in the zoos, including some national parks, and that’s where “wildlife” belong. Wild implies a need for containment?

    Sounds like we’re in the midst of a control-freak quagmire.

  5. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    Jon Way thank you for your comments . . keep being vocal about the way wild populations don’t need to be managed. I agree with you 100%. I just finished reading “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv and was shocked to discover that although he describes the nature deficit disorder very well his solutions are not very wild at all. There seems to be a new urban outdoors that people consider wild, like greenspace, controlled parks and man made environments which are “safe”. Camping is in RV’s complete with TV and screens and indoor plumbing. Not only are we a spoiled society as Salle outlines, but we expect things to be taken care of and made safe for us. The solution is for those of us who value truly wild places to speak up any way we can and keep doing it.

  6. I thought the actual television version was more balanced than the online.

    Maybe critical comments in fact led to some last minute changes.

    The contrast between Mike Stephens, a progressve wool grower, new to the area, with than of the Soulens was nice. Also, in fact, the Soulens themselves are much better operators than they may have sounded on TV. An old line family, perhaps they felt they had to “show the flag.” I’ve noticed that about some old ranching families, public statements more hostile than actual behavior.

    Stephens’ willingness to adapt and adopt changes have been been a critical positive factor in the conservation of the Phantom Hill and other wolf packs.

  7. avatar Maska says:

    “An old line family, perhaps they felt they had to ‘show the flag.’ I’ve noticed that about some old ranching families, public statements more hostile than actual behavior.”

    I’ve noticed that in the Southwest, also. Social pressure to conform and not rock the boat leads to a public perception that “locals” are more hostile to wolves than they really are. It can also make it difficult for livestock owners to sign on with proactive programs to prevent depredations, such as those of Defenders of Wildlife. It takes an enormous amount of skill and diplomacy to gain the trust and cooperation of ranchers, and even those who do choose to cooperate often want to stay as far under the radar as possible.

  8. avatar SmalltownID says:

    Of the dozen to two dozen new ranchers I work with a year in my efforts with wildlife only one (if that many) will meet the public stereotype of ranchers. I was floored yesterday by one rancher who was unfamiliar with the scientific literature and the conclusions he had come to with sage grouse, deer, wolves, etc. that coencide with science. He was on the extreme “other” side and not the norm, but I know most wildlife advocates don’t believe such ranchers exist. I have commented on here many times and question anyone who throw ranchers in that category because it flies in the face of the reality I am faced with.

    Perfect example, one central idaho rancher lost 18 sheep about 3 1/2 weeks ago to a wolf, not to be confused with the other rancher north of carey who also lost 18 sheep. Hardly made a peep (although he was compensated) when he easily could have caused an uproar which most wildlife advocates would expect him to do so. I know I did because his brother is notorious for it. Didn’t even make any news anywhere that I have seen.

  9. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    SmalltownID,

    The folks who posted above were not referring to all ranchers. They were discussing just one particular type of rancher.
    That’s great that in your area/location most of the ranchers you work with do not fall into the extreme category. You are fortunate to work with people willing to make the effort to avoid conflicts with wolves.
    However,it is unreasonable to believe that such a small group represents a majority and that same group is representative of all locations and/or “the norm”. The same goes for assuming that all wildlife advocates, as you stated above,”…don’t believe such ranchers exist”.
    The consideration you speak of applies to everyone, ranchers, wildlife advocates, hunters etc.
    Folks on this blog including myself have discussed the ranchers that are proactive in their methods to co-exist with wolves. It would be great if all ranchers were willing to co-exist.
    As has been shown with the recent slaughtering of 70 plus wolves, a small group of ‘wolf hunters’ can wipe out a significant number of wolves in a very short time.
    In my opinion, it currently appears that the number of ranchers for co-existence does not make a huge difference in the number of dead wolves. Because the management plan calls for a certain number to be exterminated and regardless of conservation minded folk the states will make sure that only the bare minimum of wolves will be ‘allowed’ to live. Hopefully the wolf packs near pro-active ranches will remain intact.

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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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