Increasing illegal wolf killing in Michigan’s UP-

Resurgent gray wolves killed, despite protection. AP

Tagged with:
 
avatar
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.

41 Responses to Michigan "Yooper" wolf poachers show similarities to SSS in ID-WY-MT

  1. avatar John d. says:

    No surprises there.
    Its really something how the inability to shoot one species for fun turns “honest people into criminals”.

  2. avatar Save bears says:

    It is unfortunate, but just in my opinion, the longer they are tied up in litigation, the more prevalent this is going to become..

  3. avatar Salle says:

    It seems that the humans have a problem with nature, they can’t control it so they’d just as soon destroy it.

  4. avatar Layton says:

    I think it’s kind of enlightening to find that those folks back east that have been pointed out as being much more up to date and understanding than the folks out west — who still live in the dark ages with good old boy attitudes and a feudal political system — seem to have the same attitude toward “canis” when he becomes a problem.

    Who wooda’ thunk it?

  5. avatar Save bears says:

    Salle,

    You may be right, but remember that humans have the ability to make choices and it sounds like some are making choices, legal or illegal…there is a certain portion of the population that will take care of what they perceive to be a problem if those who they feel should, don’t….and I am not saying it is right, I am saying it is fact….there is a lot of land out there and there is no way to keep an eye on it all of the time..

  6. avatar John d. says:

    No problems with canis, just problems with people.

  7. avatar Save bears says:

    John,

    I would imagine that would be determine depending on what side of the issue you are on.

  8. avatar JB says:

    Layton,

    It is unfortunate that people seem to feel the need to take the law into their own hands, no matter what part of the U.S. they live in. But let’s try and and keep things in perspective, shall we. There are ~2,000,000 deer in Michigan and 500 wolves. Anyone that perceives wolves as a problem is off their rocker.

  9. avatar Layton says:

    JB,

    I won’t go into the numbers you talk about cuz’ I don’t care that much.

    BUT you mention another word (or allude to it) that is right at the heart of the matter — the PERCEPTION of people that run around in the woods a lot is that the wolves are having an adverse effect on the big game population(s). Right or wrong that is the “perception”. Having “greenie” groups go to court to keep any semblance of control out of the hands of whichever state is involved only adds to that perception.

    Yes, I know, any evidence, however damning, against the wolves is considered “anecdotal”, everyone here KNOWS that wolves don’t affect big game populations. If I go to the same places year after year and notice a sharp decline in the elk population — that’s just my perception, and it’s anecdotal. If I notice more wolves, well, there’s no radio on them so that’s anecdotal too. We don’t count them without hard evidence.

    I just got back from a whitetail hunt in central Idaho. It’s in a spot where I used to hunt elk. I used to see elk herds that numbered in the 20s and 30s — now I don’t see hardly any. I don’t hunt elk there anymore. This year, the only elk I saw were 4 fresh wolf kills (yep, it’s anecdotal) all there were in the snow was wolf tracks, the elk were barely eaten on and not very far apart, but —– I’m not a scientist with a wolf foundation so the evidence is “anecdotal”. My PERCEPTION is that wolves are a problem in that area.

    The residents have the same perception and they are liable to do something about it.

    I guess the point to this is that, unless something is done about the current perceptions the whole thing is going to blow up big time.

  10. avatar Salle says:

    Save Bears,

    You know, today I said that very thing to a retired biologist who worked for federal agencies and he agreed, entirely, with that statement.

    I wonder how many of you have ever been to the UP. It’s about as sparsely populated as many of the areas that have this same issue in the northern Rockies. One of the over-riding factors is that the education level of many of the “woods-hanger-outer” folks is about the same as say central Idaho… It’s a major factor in most hotly controversial issues that have serious political activity.

    Education levels of the population have been in decline for quite some time, like decades, and I feel that it is one of the underlying factors in MOST of the controversies we face in the present day. If you can’t inform the population, they can’t make informed decisions, it’s a big boost for those who would want to take advantage of the voters via a paternalistic position when holding office. Like Larry Craig, for instance…

    I have heard him , time after time, treating his constituents like unschooled children and telling them to simply trust him, like when he insists that children waiting for the school bus in the dark will be eaten by wolves if we allow them to exist in our/their state, and they believe him because he looks like and talks like some nice fatherly guy~and we know how he actually liked to use that image… And he was one of the advocates of school budget cuts for years… Idaho has the lowest pay scale for educators, next to Utah.

    I think the dumbing down of America has come to an all time low and needs to be addressed, if it can be.

    If you don’t have a good basic education, you don’t have the “tool kit” to be a good citizen and the perception that you can make it up as you go when it comes to choosing to act illegally… I wonder how many school systems actually even come close to educating their students in anything remotely close to civics anymore. (the responsibilities required to exercise freedom and citizenship. I know more immigrants who know more about civics than the average “born here” American does.)

    I think if that were a mandatory subject that was covered once ever four grade levels, we would have a more responsible and respectful citizenry and far fewer wars.

    There is little in the way of respect for anything that we, as a people, “value” unless there are $$$s attached. I am truly disheartened by this and I wonder how long it will be before we, as a people, can either get it or lose everything we say that we stand for. This situation is just one of too many examples of how far we need to go to get close to a civil society, as so many give lip-service to.

  11. avatar Save bears says:

    Salle,

    As a Biologist that worked for a State Agency and with Several Federal Agencies, I would have to say, you may be onto something there. I have asked many similar questions over my tenure in working in this venue…

    Unfortunately, it will take quite a while to change things around..

  12. Layton,

    What is this blowup going to be?

  13. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    Not quite the most suitable post here, but, did somebody check the Missoulian on the 12th ?.
    http://missoulian.com/articles/2008/12/12/opinion/guest/guest57.txt

  14. Peter,

    I did see that letter in the Missoulian. I guess it could be useful to go through it point by point and show what is wrong with it.

    However, it’s hard to find any part of it that is correct.

    Take the $1-million per wolf. I don’t know if the figure is correct, but that is derived by dividing the total cost of getting the project going by the number of wolves reintroduced. The cost to the government of producing subsequent wolves is essentially zero.

    Most of the costs of the wolf program are to track and kill wolves, something the author of the letter would probably approve of.

  15. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    By the way, the proud “sportsman” whose pose with the dead wolf decorates the article has himself praised on http://www.sublette.com/examiner/v8n4/v8n4s1.htm
    They are so plagued by wolves in that area…….

  16. avatar Maska says:

    The antis here in the Southwest make those same silly claims about costs, citing $300,000 per wolf. They apparently get that number by dividing the $18 million spent since 1977 by 60–their guess as to the number of lobos in the wild today.

    Actually, there have been 100 wolves initially released since 1998, and many, many more trapped and translocated for “management” reasons, mostly conflicts with cattle.

    If, instead, you simply divide 18 million by the roughly 300 million residents of the U.S., you get six cents per person. That translates to 24 cents for a family of four. I like to ask, “Would your family spend a quarter to save one of God’s creatures from extinction?”

  17. avatar outsider says:

    Maska I would rather spend 25 cents a day to educate some kids in pakistan, or feed hungry kids in africa, your extinction plea is part of the reason so many people are miffed at the wolf reentroduction, they will not become extinct, there is a very healthy population in Canada, Alaska, Russia, so lay off the

    “Would your family spend a quarter to save one of God’s creatures from extinction?”

    All it does is show just how messed up your priortiies are.

  18. avatar Salle says:

    So outsider,

    What you’re saying is that you’d rather spend more money on overpopulation of humans than giving appropriate respect to one of your god’s other creatures that humans have endangered by their overpopulation… Why are humans SO MUCH SPECIALER than any other living thing when all humans have proven to do is deplete the biosphere that supports their very existence; all other creatures and plants actually provide a balance in the biosphere that supports ALL LIFE on the planet unconditionally.

    Humans are the only organism in the biosphere that does not contribute, in a positive way, to the balance required for the biosphere to continue to support all life on the planet. Humans are also the only life form that willingly poison their bodies with things like tobacco and other things…

    I wonder how many people actually understand this essential fact.

    This is one of my points concerning the education factor…

  19. Outsider raises a common argument when someone doesn’t like a government program — that money could have been spent to feed the poor somewhere.

    Of course, people are not poor because of small government discretionary appropriations. Currently, the world wide recession has more than a teeny bit to do with the worsening human situation.

  20. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    Agreed, canis lupus in general is not currently threatened with extinction. Oh, wait a moment, except maybe the Ethiopian wolf and a few other subspecies like the Mexican Gray wolf, Maska is talking about. With the current attrition rate it could well be extinct in the wild (again) very soon. To put the responsibility on somebody else across the border or another continent is always a little bit too easy! They have a healthy population in Alaska? Yes, with an airwar against wolves going on. There have been voices already, “If you want to see a wild wolf or bear at all cost, simply go to Alaska!” What about Russia? Great, that´s what I call a true protector of wildlife!

  21. avatar Maska says:

    Canis lupus baileyi (the Mexican gray wolf) is a genetically distinct subspecies of Canis lupus. It was actually listed as endangered in 1976–two years before C. lupus was listed in the lower 48 states.

    There are currently approximately 325 Mexican wolves in 47 captive breeding facilities in the U. S. and Mexico. There were, as of the end-of-year survey for 2007, 52 known reintroduced lobos in the wild in AZ and NM. There are no wild lobos known to exist in Mexico. If this isn’t an endangered animal, I don’t know what is.

    By the way, I strongly support both additional humanitarian aid to the world’s poorest AND more aid to elevate the status of women through education and by making family planning more available. An end to the global gag rule under the new President would be a great help in this area.

    I don’t think a mere quarter per family is going to interefere with this effort, and I doubt those yelling the loudest about the expenditure on endangered species are clamoring for increased taxpayer funded aid to the poor. I grew up in Missouri. You gotta show me!

  22. avatar Salle says:

    Oscar Arias, Nobel Laureate and recurring president of Costa Rica once told me, “We must give true power too the women of this world in order to end poverty, war and environmental degradation. We must allow them the choice concerning their reproductive rights and the power to say ‘enough is enough’.”

    He said that waaay back in 1999. Obviously nobody considers this a viable course of action. Maybe it’s because women have more invested in life itself and don’t have any interest in promoting the military industrial complex or wars in general. Women also seem to have more interest in the health of people and other living things by realizing that all are connected and necessary for all to survive.

    Just a thought, and something I have noticed in my now long life.

  23. avatar JB says:

    Layton,

    You know, of course, that I agree that wolves affect elk populations. I just don’t define the affect (which in my view is minor) as a problem. However, in Michigan (my home state), you can practically hunt white-tailed deer with a hammer. A few years ago my parents hit three deer in three days–with the same car (the third one finally totaled it)!

    Keep in mind that when we instituted the North American wildlife management model to save wildlife populations there were ~500,000 deer in all of the U.S. Now there are 2,000,000 in Michigan alone. So you’ll forgive me if I think the hunters in Michigan that complain about wolves (and especially those that illegally kill wolves) are greedy little…(I won’t finish the sentence, but I think you get the sentiment).

    Personally, I don’t think wolves in the Midwest should be listed. And knowing some of the managers of midwestern agencies, I am quite confident they will be sustainably managed when they are off the list. However, I also agree with the judge that FWS needs to adequately justify its use of DPS policy to delist that population. I think they will, and wolves in the area will soon be delisted. We’ll see…

  24. avatar JEFF E says:

    Just an aside. If we would have taken the money spent so far in the dumb ass war in Iraq we could have bought (probably) everyone in the U.S. a nice three bedroom house, fed and educated all the poor and undereducated in the U.S., provided employers with funds to provide on the job training AND helped in other areas of the world with hunger, education and health. Also has any one wondered what will happen when all that war money is taken out of the economy.
    No I am not advocating socialism, just a little comparison/contrast statement

  25. avatar JEFF E says:

    my post was a consideration of outsiders and Ralph’s post above. did not mean to derail the subject.
    Back on subject: JB ditto

  26. avatar Ryan says:

    “So outsider,

    What you’re saying is that you’d rather spend more money on overpopulation of humans than giving appropriate respect to one of your god’s other creatures that humans have endangered by their overpopulation… Why are humans SO MUCH SPECIALER than any other living thing when all humans have proven to do is deplete the biosphere that supports their very existence; all other creatures and plants actually provide a balance in the biosphere that supports ALL LIFE on the planet unconditionally.

    Humans are the only organism in the biosphere that does not contribute, in a positive way, to the balance required for the biosphere to continue to support all life on the planet. Humans are also the only life form that willingly poison their bodies with things like tobacco and other things…

    I wonder how many people actually understand this essential fact.

    This is one of my points concerning the education factor…”

    Salle,

    Do you ever wonder why people think all enviromentally minded people are nut jobs? Comments like yours. BTW, Humans are the only animal that can reason and tell right from wrong.

  27. avatar Ryan says:

    “Canis lupus baileyi (the Mexican gray wolf) is a genetically distinct subspecies of Canis lupus. It was actually listed as endangered in 1976–two years before C. lupus was listed in the lower 48 states.

    There are currently approximately 325 Mexican wolves in 47 captive breeding facilities in the U. S. and Mexico. There were, as of the end-of-year survey for 2007, 52 known reintroduced lobos in the wild in AZ and NM. There are no wild lobos known to exist in Mexico. If this isn’t an endangered animal, I don’t know what is.”

    What happens when reintroduced wolves from the north come in and pollute the gene pool? Do we shoot one wolf species to save another?

  28. avatar outsider says:

    Jeff E I don’t care to discuss and cuss the war in Iraq and Afgaistan with you, your againts it and I was for it end of subject. But with that said its kinda funny that an Iraq reporter felt like he finally had enough freedom to thow his shoes at the man who basically gave him that right. If Sadam was still there this man, his family, and a great deal of others would be in a great deal of pain or maybe even dead.

    Salle I really don’t think feeding, and educating children in 3rd world countries is a waste of money or causes overpopulation. If you want a good example read “Three Cups of Tea”, I might not agree with everything in the book, but it does show how far private donations can go to improve the lives of indivuals, note I did say private, thats the key. Its my money and my choice where it goes, there isn’t layer after layer of gov waste. As to ending the overpopulation of the world, China is sure doing a bang up job on that wouldn’t you agree. 😉 Maybe we should just quite makeing advancments in medican so people wouldn’t live as long or be as able to survive minor illnesses, or maybe we just need a good WW or world plague to kill off about 1/3 of the population. No I think a better answer might be to countiue to develope better tech for food production, better medical care, and then if “you” choose not to repopulate well, I guess thats your “choice”.

  29. avatar Wolfy says:

    Salle; I think that you are on to something with your theory on education. The education system up here has failed miserably; its not the teachers; its the parents. Many Yooper children are not taught to think for themselves; they are taught to learn from the TV. The ones that really want to make something of themselves are despised and beaten down. This same attitude towards the children that is present in the UP is prevelant in the Yooper attitude towards natural resources. There is a great disrespect for any one or anything that is not as miserable as they are. From giving classes on nature interpretation to Yooper kids, I found a general disinterest in nature and some outright hatred for all things natural. However, I have seen a few kids that are really interested in making this a better place to live while not trashing the place and poaching wildlife. Yoopers (insert any local name here) are not born to disrespect their natural surroundings. As with wolf haters, they are made that way by their parents. Wolf poaching is an outward sign of some really twisted minds fed by the ignorance of the culture and perpetuated in the bars of the area. Unfortunately, wolf haters are allowed to replicate and raise little wolf haters.

  30. avatar JEFF E says:

    I said Iraq not Afghanistan. Do not try the bush/ Cheney/ hannity/ limbaugh tactic of trying to tie the two together. The second had little or nothing to do with the first.
    Bush spent all the blood, and resources in Iraq while the price of shit Osama bin Laden is having Bar-b-q and making Home videos.
    Mission accomplished.

  31. avatar JEFF E says:

    Sorry should have been “piece of s***”

  32. avatar JB says:

    “What happens when reintroduced wolves from the north come in and pollute the gene pool? Do we shoot one wolf species to save another?”

    LOL! Wouldn’t it be great if we had to worry about that problem!?

  33. avatar erock says:

    Well I guess you can call me a good ole boy because were I come from if you got a problem with something you take care of it yourself. The wolves, they are a problem and we Michigan residents have to take care of them. And all you pro wolve people might not think that this is the right way to go about this wolve problem, but it is. Why, well if we wait for the MDNR to do anything about it, it will be to late. The DNR won’t do anything until something negative happens and that might only be some farmer losing his livestock to a pack of wolves or it might be a mom and dad losing there small child while they are waiting for the school bus, let’s hope it is just a farmer losing a cow. When wolves were here years ago they were killed for a good reason. They are a natural born predator, it’s not just they way of life, they will kill just to kill unlike a coyote who kills to feed. They are a problem and I say we fix this problem.

  34. avatar John d. says:

    Erock,
    Does the word ‘consequence’ exist in your vocabulary?

  35. avatar John d. says:

    Why always at a bus stop? Why always the uncle with the long wolf survival story (hey I heard one about an uncle fighting off wolves with a chainsaw!)? Why always a male farmer? Why always the family guy?
    But most importantly why are these complaints always made by a sport hunter or farmer and not by any other rural citizen?

  36. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    …….so let´s eradicate humans first cause they are natural born killers, it´s not just their way of life, they will kill just to kill unlike a coyote who kills to feed……….
    and I do not know why always a bus stop. But even here in eastern Germany they use the children at a bus stop rubbish! An extra witty guy sprinkled some red paint inside a hut at a bus stop and informed the yellow press: WOLVES EVERYWHERE – the whole village went berserk. So I think the bus stop is the wolf haters favourite fetish!

  37. avatar Mike says:

    Salle makes a good point concerning education. I’ve spent considerable time in the U.P. and while there are some great people, many of them seem to be really uninformed or simply don’t care about the ecosystem they live in(especially the males). I’ve been attacked by drunks for using wilderness areas, I’ve seen drunks run over trees with their pickups just because they could, and I’ve run across numerous poachers. There’s something about many of the men up there where they are just absolutely miserable, and try to keep down anything that isn’t. It’s a strange mentality. I haven’t seen that degree of it in Montana (maybe I’m not in the right circlees).

  38. avatar Salle says:

    Mike,

    It’s rather prevalent in Idaho and Montana, in Utah the localized religion calls it being “good stewards of the land” but it’s all the same. Mostly based on education ~ or lack thereof.

    Education is one of the best population control devices there is. Religion, sorry folks, but most of them preach something about going forth and multiplying in mass quantities so they can “spread the gospel” to the unclean, “unsaved”.

    I think that if you have to buy into some religious philosophy to be “saved” there’s something inherently wrong with that mindset/rationale. Like the concept: “You can’t save money unless you go out and spend it.” I think that you can save money if you realize you don’t really have to spend it on things you don’t really need.

    In places with more advanced more widespread education, overpopulation is less of an issue. I don’t agree with the gospel of the medical industrial complex either, take these drugs, let us hook you on them, or even better, hook you up to some machine in hopes that we can make you live longer… and for what? So you can spend more time being a working stiff ~ to make someone else wealthy and so that you can spend more of your pittance on drugs and office visits and hospitals and insurance… They say it’s for a better quality of life… so that you can live longer. A vicious circle. This culture is so afraid of death and dying, part of the natural process by the way, that we will put ourselves into hawk, including our families, chastise anyone who disagrees with letting things be… Dying, it’s not just for plants and OTHER animals and cultures anymore, it’s for real and it’s going to happen to everyone sooner or later no matter how good your insurance policy is.

    Fearmongering, one of America’s great national pastimes.

    We need to accept that life is not a bed of roses without the thorns. Pain and death are part of life like it or not, even for Americans.

    You cannot control nature, you can only destroy it trying to.

  39. avatar Wolfy says:

    Salle. Fear, indeed. Its ironic and a little pathetic that the wolf haters fall into a group that is very fearful; fearful of other cultures; of the government; of nature. I actually pity these folks that run around in big trucks with “aint scared” on their bumpers and a high power rifle in the gun rack. Heck, these folks are trying to instill a macho image in everyone they meet and project a he-man, dragon slayer persona. Like I say, it funny and pathetic to see these big boys strut around like a banta rooster bragging about how many deer (Da Bucks!) and woofs they’ve shot, when in actuality, they are just scared little boy afraid of dying without having all the biggest toys.
    Its a prevelant attitude among the under-educated, backward, yocals that they are the only ones that really know what is going on and they should be able to do whatever they want.
    They also are not happy unless everyone and thing around them is just as miserable as they are. Yooper is as Yooper does.

  40. avatar John d. says:

    You ought to hear the stories of how brave people are when they snare them or shoot them in leg hold traps, Wolfy.
    They ALWAYS lift the lips and show off the wolf’s fangs for some reason. Ego problem much?

  41. avatar Salle says:

    As the downeasters in Maine say, Ayuh!

Calendar

December 2008
S M T W T F S
« Nov   Jan »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Quote

‎"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

%d bloggers like this: