There have been a lot of off topic discussions recently so here you go. Have at it. Please keep it civil.

 
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About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole, Buffalo Field Campaign's Executive Director, is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He was formerly the Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

108 Responses to Open Thread. Discuss what you want.

  1. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    What does anyone know of recent alleged grizzly sightings in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado? That is something I have been interested in and would love to hear more about.

  2. avatar atlas says:

    I’ve was looking into the grizzly sightings in Colorado, but I don’t really much about it. I’m pretty sure there is a small population up in the San Juan Mountains.

  3. avatar R.Harlan says:

    The Montana author, Rick Bass, wrote a book a few years ago in which he discussed the possible presence of a small population of grizzly bears in the area of the San Juan Mountains. I believe the title was The Lost Grizzilies. It is out of print by now I’m sure, but you can find a copy in any university or very good public library.

  4. avatar Leslie says:

    Re: the Idaho wolf. I’m living in Sunlight Basin and tagging along with the elk/wolf study here. Last week they finally collared a female that’s been hanging with the Idaho wolf here in Crandall. Hopes are they mate and get that genetic diversity flowing.

  5. avatar Ken Cole says:

    That’s good to hear. Thanks for sharing. Two more criteria to delist then. Wolves from NW Montana into GYE and a Wyoming plan.

  6. avatar smalltownID says:

    With all of the pessimism in the world Gamblin’s article in the ISJ about the North American Model of wildlife conservation was a breath of fresh air.

  7. avatar monty says:

    Received a copy of march/april 2009 Montana Outdoors Magazine wherein they show a summary of the Grizzley DNA inventory in the Bob marshall/Glacier ecosytem. The estimated bear population is 765 aniamls (higher than orginally thought), with 6 distinct genetic populations. A map shows that the hottest bear area is centered in & around Glacier NP. Highway 2 is becoming barrier not so much for the traffic as for the west end “development. I hope that this good news doesn’t mean they want to start killing bears!

  8. avatar Mike Post says:

    smalltown, do you have a link or citation for that article? thx

  9. avatar Ryan says:

    Has there been any articles of the coyote die off this year in Oregon. Talking to some local trappers they were reporting gettins very sick coyotes in there traps in october and none since then. I heard it was parvo.

  10. avatar Hoosier says:

    ProWolf,

    I spent 1 month in doing a glacial geo movement study in the San Juans in May of 2002. I didn’t notice any sign of bear activity i.e. scat, prints, or day bedding. I camped at about 8000′ and spent most of the day hours in the 8800’+ range. This ecosystem could support a grizzy population, but wildlife in general was very scarce. I would be inclined to believe that a black bear presence is in the area however again I didn’t see any sign. I know that the griz diet consisets of a mostly vegetation, but the only other mammals that I saw were coyotes and big horns. The entire time I didn’t see any elk or even a mule deer it was a bit intresting, but I was there on other business and did’t get to glass any.

  11. avatar Kibby says:

    Wow. Just went to the Wikipedia entry on ‘Wolf Reintroduction’ and there’s a ton of negative and entirely wrong info on there. There’s claims that wolves have not been a good tourist attraction b/c only 0.5% of tourists saw any…in 1996. There’s an entry that clearly blames wolves for a 50% reduction in the Northern Y-Stone elk herd and for driving many outfitters out of business. They claim that the compensation program isn’t working. It’s the Abundant Wildlife folks and their ilk who have been sending in the info. I’m going to try to hunt up some CORRECT stats but if other folks have some on hand they might want to send ’em in as well…

    BTW, as a CO native I’m thrilled to hear of 314F’s little jaunt. It does seem that the state could support some packs, and probably a few grizz, too.

  12. avatar Leslie says:

    Ryan, very interesting. Out hiking in Sunlight today and ran into a dead coyote with no signs of a kill. The coyote’s legs were a bit gnawed on, but I couldn’t figure what killed it. Judging by its teeth wear, it didn’t look that old either. Any more info on that parvo and if there’s a way to tell without blood samples would be appreciated.

  13. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Jburnham, I used to live in that part of Montana and I am not surprised to see the paper there put that out. It is strange how in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming it is fashionable for some people to be anit-wolf. I had a coworker there who was so distraught that wolves were sighted near Missoula. her exact words were, “they sighted wolves near Missoula. Wolves!” I asked if she was a rancher and she said no, and asked if she was a hunter and she said no. She just was following the fashion trend. Maybe since so many people are sheep that is why they fear wolves. (Ok, bad joke). 😉

  14. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    By the way, I am not saying that everyone in those states is a sheep. Don’t want to offend people unnecessarily.

  15. avatar Virginia says:

    At our school, students are not to use Wikipedia for a research source because evidently anyone can go in and change the “facts.” Also, why would anyone think “facts” from 1996 would be valid today? These people aren’t able to think for themselves anyway. Does anyone have any information from the working group/advisory meeting in Idaho about the Bighorn sheep?

    Leslie – is there any snow in Crandall? Thanks.

  16. avatar Salle says:

    Kibby,

    Thanks for the heads up on the wikipedia misinformation. I’ll see what I can do about that, if anything…

  17. avatar DB says:

    Story on bighorn sheep/domestic sheep issue on the Payette NF in Sunday’s Lewiston, Idaho newspaper:

    http://www.lmtribune.com/story/northwest/33230/

  18. avatar Barb says:

    It doesn’t even make sense that predatory animals could “wipe out” prey animals. If they were capable of “wiping out” populations, these prey animals would have been “wiped out” 1,000 years ago! Such hysteria and ignorance about wolves all the time from the vocal anti-wolf crowds.

  19. avatar Jeff says:

    I use to live in Durango and I followed the “Ghost Grizzlies” while living in the San Juans. A female grizzly was killed by a bow hunter in 1979 after they were considered exterminated in the 1950s. She was killed south of Pagosa Springs in South San Juan WIlderness area. I knew a local hunter who claimed to have had seen one while bear hunting in the late 80s in the Weminuche Wilderness. This is the largest roadless area in Colorado and it is pretty much contiguous wilderness all the way from Durango to Wolf Creek Pass and south to the South San Juan Wilderness on the New Mexico border. Reports supposedly showed that the female killed in ’79 had had cubs though I can’t confirm this. She is mounted in an exhibit at the Denver Museum of Natural History. I’m fairly skeptical that a population survives down there today, but I wouldn’t be totally surprised if another was confirmed one day.

  20. avatar Ryan says:

    “Ryan, very interesting. Out hiking in Sunlight today and ran into a dead coyote with no signs of a kill. The coyote’s legs were a bit gnawed on, but I couldn’t figure what killed it. Judging by its teeth wear, it didn’t look that old either. Any more info on that parvo and if there’s a way to tell without blood samples would be appreciated.”

    Leslie,

    In reading more I’m not sure if there is a way to tell by the carcasses or not. It could be a variety of dieseases, all I know is that one is taking a pretty drastic tolls on the populations in south central OR. There seemed to be a lot of them around in August/September then the die off occured in October from what I have been hearing from local coyote hunters and trappers.

  21. avatar Ryan says:

    It doesn’t even make sense that predatory animals could “wipe out” prey animals. If they were capable of “wiping out” populations, these prey animals would have been “wiped out” 1,000 years ago! Such hysteria and ignorance about wolves all the time from the vocal anti-wolf crowds.

    Barb, I hate to break it to you. Its on both sides of the fence.

    “So John, are you advocating or suggesting that wolves be reintroduced to this particular area of Texas? I’m sure they’d love to go after and eat those pigs. And I’m sure they’d take care of all of them fairly quickly too ”

    “It’s so obvious. We need wolves desperately in so many areas.”

    Yet you seem to think that wolves are not drastically affecting Elk and deer populations (not that you care anyways, as long as humans aren’t killing them) These hunters have a legitimate bitch in many areas. If your read the latest herd surveys on the LOLO pass herds and and herds in the frank church. The cow to calf ratio is between 10-15:-100 and the average age of cows is going up setting up what forsure will be a population crash. Exactly the opposite of what wolf advocates have said would happen.

  22. avatar Barb says:

    Ryan, I don’t know what the time span is for the studies you cited area, but remember, observations have to be studied over LONG periods of time….. not just looked at “in windows.” People can use statistics to twist facts, either way, as you know. If scientists only looked at what is happening over a 2 month period, for example, and published those facts, that information would not be very useful.

  23. avatar Ryan says:

    The herds in the frank church have been being studied since wolves were reintroduced (one of the firast areas of reintroduction). I would guess close to 15 years. There was a big population crash in Yellowstone too (lots of factors I know, but a definate correlation between wolf reintroduction and population levels)

    http://fwcb.cfans.umn.edu/courses/FW5603/Idaho_wolf_plan.pdf

    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

  24. avatar smalltownID says:

    Mark Post,

    Sorry, i could not find it online yet. Sometimes they wait a week to post articles online from folks who are not regular in the newspaper as was the case here. I’ll post the link if it comes up.

  25. avatar jburnham says:

    There seems to lots of variation and regional differences in elk pregnancy and calf survival. Montana FWP study says:

    Most data that have directly measured elk pregnancy rates since wolf restoration began indicate that elk pregnancy rates are unaffected by wolves, in contrast to some indirect evidence from average hormone concentrations in elk feces. Indirect evidence from hunter-collected samples also indicates that elk pregnancy rates have been unaffected by wolves.

    In most of southwest Montana and the GYA, calf survival rates following wolf restoration have been similar to rates prior to wolf restoration. Declines in calf per 100 cow ratios have occurred in the Northern Yellowstone, Gallatin- Madison, and Madison-Firehole elk herds, where both wolf and grizzly bear densities have been high…

    Note, the link above is screwy, you have to right click and choose “save link as” to get the pdf.

  26. avatar Mike Post says:

    For all you folks concerned about water consumption for the raising of beef, please look at the following: The Economist magazine for this week has a link: http://www.economist.com/dailychart , click on the water article.
    It takes as much water (all processes) to produce a micro chip as it does a hamburger patty. Puts a little perspective into things. Your blogging is coming at a significant price to the environment. Your cup of coffee that you sip as you key stroke; total water usage plant to cup, much higher than beef, highest of any food process listed. Not that this should change anything but perhaps you should look farther than just the rancher for negative outcomes.
    The good news; beer and potato chips are relatively low…party up…

  27. avatar Leslie says:

    The study going on in Sunlight area with elk is because although the herd is up to capacity here, pregnancy rates are down. This is a 3 year study, now more than 1/2 way through, trying to determine how much the drought has played a factor or is it mostly wolf predation. These are Yellowstone elk, non-residents, who overwinter here. In general, forage quality is down due not only to drought but also to fire mgmt. over the last 100 years.

    Oh, and YES, Crandall has snow. It was in the 60’s here today though!

  28. A few sad news from Europe I´d like to share:
    1. Bears in Austria:
    According to a study now released by the Austrian Police, illegal killing has substantially contributed to the disappearance of most of the re-introduced brown bears in Austria. Just two male individuals remain from a population of about 35. WWF considers to commence a fresh re-introduction project.
    2. Wolves in Germany
    Analysys of a wolf carcass, found by hikers, showed that the young female was killed with a shot into the belly (what a mess!). The animal struggeld for about two days before it perished. This ist the first officially documented case of illegal wolf shooting in the core area in Saxonia, thus other illegal shootings have already occurred elsewhere and surely not all of the many pubs disappearing over the years without a trace went back to Poland!
    I love our sporty Sportsmen!

  29. avatar Ryan says:

    A few sad news from Europe I´d like to share:
    1. Bears in Austria:
    According to a study now released by the Austrian Police, illegal killing has substantially contributed to the disappearance of most of the re-introduced brown bears in Austria. Just two male individuals remain from a population of about 35. WWF considers to commence a fresh re-introduction project.
    2. Wolves in Germany
    Analysys of a wolf carcass, found by hikers, showed that the young female was killed with a shot into the belly (what a mess!). The animal struggeld for about two days before it perished. This ist the first officially documented case of illegal wolf shooting in the core area in Saxonia, thus other illegal shootings have already occurred elsewhere and surely not all of the many pubs disappearing over the years without a trace went back to Poland!
    I love our sporty Sportsmen!

    Peter,

    If its illegal, there called poachers whcih could be about anybody. To call them sportsmen is slander as legitimate hunters and fishermen do not engage in this behavior.

  30. Hello Ryan, unfortunately there are many, all too many legitimate hunters and fishermen engaging in this behaviour. Maybe we both live on different planets. An, I have to admit that I deliberate call them by their favourite name, they give to themselves, sportsmen, that´s what they are and want to be.

  31. avatar Ryan says:

    “Hello Ryan, unfortunately there are many, all too many legitimate hunters and fishermen engaging in this behaviour. Maybe we both live on different planets. An, I have to admit that I deliberate call them by their favourite name, they give to themselves, sportsmen, that´s what they are and want to be.”

    Once you break the law your a poacher.. Plain and simple. Same as if you rob a bank, you go from a citizen to a robber/felon.

  32. avatar Save bears says:

    Peter,

    If they are engaging in illegal activities, no matter what they call themselves, they are not sportsman and they are not hunters, they are criminals and as such should be prosecuted for their illegal activity.

    Once you cross the line and illegally kill wildlife you are no longer a legitimate hunter, fisherman or sportsman…period there is no middle of the road. You are either a criminal or your not..

  33. I´d love to have such clearly defined borders, just black or white, no subtle shades of grey in between and everybody so honourable and innocent. Unfortunately this is not the world we are living in and we all know it. Hey, there are perfectly legal things like that recent mass coyorte hunting contest, where perfectly legitimate hunters are envolved, are they criminals? Is this what the British hand in mind when they created that “noble (Mass tiger killing) Sportsmen”? Ok, it´s a rather fruitless discussion anyway and we should stop it now for more important things. I´ll be on a mission and offline the next few days anyway. Will check the blog here again on Friday earliest.

  34. avatar Ryan says:

    I´d love to have such clearly defined borders, just black or white, no subtle shades of grey in between and everybody so honourable and innocent. Unfortunately this is not the world we are living in and we all know it. Hey, there are perfectly legal things like that recent mass coyorte hunting contest, where perfectly legitimate hunters are envolved, are they criminals? Is this what the British hand in mind when they created that “noble (Mass tiger killing) Sportsmen”?

    It is black and white Peter. Legal and illegal. Criminal and not criminal. I know it may seem odd from your outside perspective, but killing coyotes legally has been going on across the west for a couple of hundred years with the only people taking a moral issue against it being outsiders as a general rule.. Most of the rural west could care less about a few coyotes getting shot, but on the same hand they probably look with equal disgust on the the TV shows like rock of love etc where women try to marry a celebrity. Its a difference in morals and raising.

  35. avatar Save bears says:

    Peter,

    At this time, it is not illegal to kill coyotes, so yes it is a black and white issue, it IS illegal to kill Wolves and Grizzly bears here in America and I would expect it would be in your part of the world..

    Hunters are one thing, Criminals are another, period. It is Black and White as far as I am concerned as well as with the hunters I am friends with..

    Now would you like me to post it in German so you can pass it on to your criminal element and see what hunters in America Think?

  36. avatar Barb says:

    I may be wrong but I think Peter’s point was that, although it is legal, it should be illegal — and what is legal behavior should be criminal behavior. Peter?

  37. avatar Save bears says:

    Barb,

    From my understanding it is illegal to kill wolves and bears in Europe…

  38. avatar Virginia says:

    Ryan – From a non-outsider – I take issue with your claim that the only people who take issue with the slaughter of coyotes are outsiders. I have lived in the west all of my life and I think it is a disgraceful practice and if you advocate it you have no integrity or values in my opinion.

  39. avatar Ryan says:

    Please reread my post, you missed a key word.. “Most” and do you mean rural west like suburbs of Denver, or suburbs of Payette?

  40. avatar Barb says:

    SaveBears– I did not know that. I thought they were all but wiped out throughout much of Europe….

  41. avatar Virginia says:

    Ryan – excuse me, but I was born, raised and presently live in Wyoming. My grandfather was a pioneer, one of the first sheep ranchers in Wyoming and the mayor of one of the larger Wyoming towns.

    Furthermore, “most” is an abstract word, useful when you want to avoid taking a real stand on something and don’t really know what you are talking about.

  42. avatar Virginia says:

    Ryan- just because something is legal does not make it moral or right does it? Sorry, but you seem to delight in making statements just to get a rise out of the people who regularly participate in this blog. Also, your spelling leaves something to be desired. When you refer to a person, the spelling of the word that shows ownership is “their,” not “there.”

    Ralph, please excuse me for not being civil today.

  43. avatar Ryan says:

    Virginia,

    First I used the term “most” as to not stereoyotpe a group.

    “Just because something is legal does not make it moral or right does it”

    Thats a slippery slope right there because who would then decide what is moral and right. I can think of alot of legal actions that are most definately not moral or right.

    And if my spelling is the best you can do discredit my posts then I fell pretty good about my positions.

  44. Isn’t it a more slippery slope to arbitrarily set legality as a stand in for morality? Since laws are simply determined by whoever makes them, there is nothing to guarantee at all whether they are rational. So, once in American history, slavery was legal; now it’s not. Once we forfeit ethics to the lawmakers, we not only have a slippery slope, we have no guarantee of a slope.

    Of course, you answer yourself. You say there are a lot of legal actions that are definitely not moral or right; is it really so hard to understand something about morality such that it’s not a matter of who decides. For instance, who decided that 1+1=2? Was that decided by a lawmaker? Why do we think it’s always so hard to tell whether an action is wrong or right? I’d suggest it’s not always that hard.

    We can ask ourselves whether there’s something fundamentally wrong with the way coyotes are treated under law in Wyoming just as we once did about slavery in the various slave states. And, can’t we come up with metrics for determining the answer to that question? If we can’t, why are laws about this even being made? If we can, then what is the reasoning? Simply holding onto what the law says does nothing more than beg the question.

    And, ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether you are from the rural West, the urban West, or the outer rings of Saturn when discussing these particular kinds of things.

  45. avatar Ryan says:

    Jim,

    The bigger question then is who’s morals do we follow? In some cases laws are made sans majority favor to keep certain groups happy (i.e. gay marrige laws in many states). If we follow that logic, then the coyote laws should stay as is because they are set in place to portect the same minority type of group. No I do not want to debate ethics of gay marriage etc, I just used this as an example of a hot topic morally decided law. (you could insert abortion as an example as well)

  46. avatar Ryan says:

    morally influenced law, not decided

  47. The question then that you must answer are the circumstances under which killing coyotes would be justified and what about a particular group would be preserving at that cost, right?

    Do coyotes have moral standing in the universe of beings? If so, how much? Where do they fall? And, what would permit one to treat them a certain way?

    Those seem to me to be the relevant questions.

  48. avatar JB says:

    The people who kill coyotes do so because it is “fun” and “challenging” (again, I suggest everyone see the documentary “Killing Coyote”). Arguments about coyotes being “overpopulated” or “invasive” are a smokescreen. Along the same lines, people who oppose coyote “hunts” do so not because they object to the way coyotes are killed (a gun shot is much cleaner than most of the alternatives), but because they find it morally reprehensible that anyone should enjoy killing an animal for “sport”.

    To tie some recent discussions together, the USDA Wildlife Services fulfills a need of society–they control wildlife that SOME PEOPLE believe have become a danger or nuisance. I can’t say the same for coyote “hunts”. They are–quite literally–killing contests, undertaken for the pleasure of people who enjoy that sort of thing.

  49. avatar atlas says:

    I’ve seen coyotes at my back fence in the early morning and in and near cities they expand just about every where in north america.

  50. avatar atlas says:

    they are quite amazing animals

  51. avatar Virginia says:

    Jim and JB – thank you for articulating what I obviously was unable to say regarding the wanton slaughter of coyotes that Ryan seems to support. I strongly feel that where a person lives does not have any bearing on their right to view a particular issue as one way or the other. It is based on the values we were raised with, to value and honor life, whether it be human or animal. To place no value on the life of coyotes and other predators, other than that they are “killing machines” tells me that you were raised without values or character. Now, that is just my opinion, but I have been around the west long enough to know that this opinion is shared by more or “most” people with whom I am acquainted. I have found that there is a lot more for me to criticize of your writing than just the spelling, but will not go there. I just think if you are writing an opinion (which is what you are doing, Ryan), whether it be a research paper, on a blog or just an email, it is a good idea to re-read what you have written, maybe check your spelling, sentence structure or content before you send it out. But that is just me. And, I will always enjoy watching the freedom of a coyote running through the brush and enjoying his/her life.

  52. avatar Barb says:

    The issue of killing coyotes in the Denver suburb of Greenwood Village is really no less important than in rural areas as it shows man’s disregard for native wild animals. — if they’re in the way — kill them.

    Killing is and has been white man’s primary answer to everything that gets in his way — the bison, the beaver, the wolves, the mountain lions, the coyotes, the prairie dogs….the native Americans…..

    I plead GUILTY to my holier-than-thou attitude about protecting persecuted predators.

    Humans MUST learn to CO-EXIST with wildife — lest we kill it all because it’s “in our way” or “inconvenient.” Is that what people want? I don’t think so.

    How selfish are we that we can’t learn to live with animals that we find “annoying?”

    The Denver suburbs have literally wiped out prairie dog populations to APPEASE their spoiled and ignorant (about willdlife) constituents, which includes residents and developers alike (Richmond American Homes, other huge developers………). They’ve poisoned, gassed, and trapped them —

    Prairie dogs are food for coyotes. So — you get rid of the prairie dogs, the coyotes are looking further in for food. Everyone and everything is trying to survive. Is that wrong that coyotes want to survive too?

    The people in Greenwood Village are being dishonest about their intentions regarding coyotes. They don’t want just the “aggressive” ones killed — they want the population wiped out.

    I was in the park yesterday at dusk and didn’t see one coyote. I also noticed the park lights were turned OFF — they are usually ON. Obviously, the city wants the coyotes to come out so the sharpshooter can kill them.

    If the city really ONLY wanted to get rid of the “aggressive” coyotes (which humans caused that problem too) they could hire volunteers to simply haze the coyotes and TEACH them to stay away from humans (WITHOUT hurting them) at dawn and dusk the problem would be solved.

    But they don’t really WANT to solve the “problem.” They want to GET RID of the coyotes because certain wealthy and ignorant residents are afraid of them. They want to be able to let their tiny dogs run loose anywhere they wish. They want to be able to leave food out. They want to be able to do whatever they want to do without paying the price.

    Coyotes are responsible for a tiny percentage of injuries and fatalities — domestic dogs are responsible for far more!

    Let’s at least be honest with the intentions.

  53. avatar Virginia says:

    Barb – I also plead guilty to wanting to protect and preserve ALL wildlife – they all matter and are part of the health of our ecosystem. It disgusts me to think about those selfish and ignorant people in the aforementioned subdivisions wanting the coyotes destroyed for their convenience. It reminds me of the people who move to this area and want to leave their dog food out, put out bird feeders, plant roses and then when the bears come and get into trouble with the dog food and bird feeders and the deer eat the rose bushes, they want them all destroyed. What is the matter with people? I worked at the fire dispatch center as a seasonal employee and had telephone calls from people who wanted the firefighters to come and get rid of the deer for eating their flowers! PLEASE!

  54. avatar Barb says:

    Sometimes I really think animals are much smarter than some humans…….

  55. avatar Virginia says:

    Wow – I am on a roll today! There is a guest opinion in the Billings Gazette today by a Jim Buell who is the executive secretary of the Montana Trappers Assoc. He claims that trappers are “the men and women who slog about our swamps, ponds, streams, rivers, mountains and woodlands working to preserve these wild environments’ ability to maintain healthy populations of beaver, muskrat, raccoons, minks, bobcats, opossum… and are on the front line of the environmental challenge posed to our state, nation and planet..”

    Who knew that the trappers are the ones responsible for preserving all of these species?

  56. avatar JB says:

    Virginia and Barb,

    I disagree with coyote killing contests, but I support the lethal control of coyotes where pets or livestock are threatened on private property or where human health or safety are concerned. You should know that while coyotes can and do coexist with people–even in places as densely populated as Chicago–a number of people (usually small children) are attacked by coyotes every year.

    Killing coyotes, even taking out whole populations, has very little effect from an ecological perspective, as packs are quickly replaced by individuals living in adjacent territories; and death via gunshot is generally more humane than most “natural” ends a coyote would meet. Thus, I am not persuaded by humaneness or ecological arguments against coyote killing. Rather, I object to the practice because I do not believe a civil society should condone the wanton killing of sentient animals for fun. Hunting and killing livestock are different from sport killing (i.e. the motivation being killing an animal for food v. killing an animal for fun).

    So to answer Jim’s question…No, I do NOT believe coyotes, or any other animal, should be given “moral standing.” I do not have a problem with animals being killed. I have a problem with people killing animals for the fun of it. I understand the complexities involved in regulating behavior based on one’s intent/motivation, but I’ve gone on for long enough. I’ll leave that topic for another discussion.

    JB

    PS. If you give a squirrel “rights” do you need to call a police officer to report a homicide when you see one lying flattened in the boulevard?

  57. avatar Ryan says:

    After reading that diatribe I guess I’ll go back to my characterless lifestyle in shame.
    As for the dog argument, they get euthanized and killed in just the same manner as coyotes when they kill stock, bite children, or kill others pets.

  58. avatar jerry b says:

    Virginia….trappers are responsible for decimating our populations of wolverine, fisher, and lynx in Montana and they have the support of Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. Fortunately, Maine and Minnesota have banned trapping in areas of lynx habitat, not so in Montana.

  59. avatar Ryan says:

    “Virginia….trappers are responsible for decimating our populations of wolverine, fisher, and lynx in Montana and they have the support of Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. Fortunately, Maine and Minnesota have banned trapping in areas of lynx habitat, not so in Montana.”

    Jerry,

    Just to clear up a couple misconceptions posted in this posts, lynx’s are easily released from leg hold traps to live long healthy lives.

    Also Montana has the healthiest wolverine populaion in the lower 48. Wolverines are affected by human habitat encroachement than most other species.

    http://fwp.mt.gov/mtoutdoors/html/articles/portraits/wolverine.htm

    Also to my knolwedge, there is no population estimate for fishers in MT but they are generally considered to be a healthy population. They were nearly wiped out in the early 20th century by early trappers, but to blame them now is the same as blaming todays army for wiping out the buffalo.

  60. avatar jerry b says:

    Ryan…..why then have they up to be listed as endangered?
    “Healthiest population in the lower 48” isn’t saying much. In fact the “effective population size” of wolverines in Montana is between 35 and 40. Total population is under 200, but it’s the effective population size that’s important. As for fisher….they have no idea the population, but concede that they’re rare. So why trap them instead of giving the population a chance to rebound?

  61. avatar jerry b says:

    Ryan…one more thing. Look at the author of the article on wolverines…Brian Giddings, who is a trapper…go figure, huh?

  62. avatar Ryan says:

    Jerry,

    The ESA listing suits I read with regards to the Wolverine were based on Global warming reducing snowpack. (I believe the suits came from Earth justice and a few other groups) As for population estimates, they are extremely hard to get as wolverines and fishers are secretive to say the least. I don’t have any desire to hunt or trap either one, the one wolverine I saw as a kid in AK was a pretty cool creature. On the samehand I see no reason to disallow well regulated harvest.

  63. avatar Ryan says:

    As for Brian Giddings, he is also a biologist and is the coordinator of the furbearer program in MT which sets seasons, quotas, etc. It would not be in his best interest to jepordize any furbearers population as his job would become exponentially harder dealing with an ESA listed species.

    Also I didn’t know he was a trapper, how much difference does it make. Teddy Roosevelt was a hunter, and he established yellowstone and the national park system.

  64. avatar Ken Cole says:

    How can anyone justify “harvest” of an animal so rare that you can’t get a reliable population estimate?

    It’s not as if animals haven’t and aren’t being managed out of existence. There are many examples where that is the case, sage grouse and pygmy rabbits are a good example especially in Washington State. Buffalo are a great example when it comes to Montana. They don’t even have the right to exist there.

  65. Ryan, Teddy didn’t establish either Yellowstone or the National Park Service.

    As for the rest, to JB’s point, you put your ethical cards on the table; perhaps, at some point we should re-open the ethics thread to see whether the view that coyotes don’t have any moral standing is actually defensible.

  66. avatar Moose says:

    I agree with Ken’s point above – if there aren’t good numbers on how many are there to begin with, how can you have a “well regulated ” harvest?

    Here’s an interesting article on wolverine trapping in the burbs of Anchorage.

    http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/wildlife/story/709797.html

  67. avatar Ryan says:

    Jim,
    I stand corrected, but he did lobby to overhaul the park system and protect them from development while working with the Boone and Crockett club. I always seems to Refuges mixed up with the NPS.
    On the morally defensible line, do house mice, rats, or starlings have any standing? Do they rank higher or lower than coyotes, wolves, or wild horses? Among those listed where is the ranking for moral standards? What about spiders, ants, and fish, They are all sentient beings too.

  68. avatar Virginia says:

    I love that term, Ryan, “well-regulated harvest.” What a bunch of baloney in regard to animals that are clearly threatened or endangered. I would relish a discussion on the ethics of the viewpoint that coyotes are “disposable” and of no value to our ecosystem. Also, the word wildlife “management.”

  69. avatar JB says:

    Virginia: I never said coyotes were “disposable” or of no value to the ecosystem; I don’t believe either to be the case. Rather I would say that coyote populations are resilient and are unlikely to be affected by regulated (or even unregulated) harvest. In fact, while eradication programs were extremely effective for removing wolves, we (as a society) couldn’t even get rid of coyotes when we tried! NOTE: I abhor the programs; I’m simply using their failure to illustrate a point: coyotes–as a population–are tough to get rid of.

    Jim, I would welcome a conversation on the moral standing of animals!

  70. avatar Virginia says:

    I’m sorry, JB, I wasn’t quoting you as saying coyotes were disposable. I believe I was commenting on Ryan’s attitude about coyotes. I guess I have said enough about this subject.

  71. avatar Ryan says:

    Virginia,

    Your putting words in my mouth. Never said they were disposable or not a valuable part of the ecosystem.
    I would be interested to see a report from wildlife biologists that state wolverines are endangered in MT. (btw the total harvest is averages around 10 animals per season)

    As for a debate on ethics, it’d be pointless as I’d still think you are Barb are bunny huggers who use emotion to overrule logic and you’d still think I was some archaic knuckle dragging redneck who thinks the only good critter is a dead critter. Neither which would be fair assessments of our respective opinions or actual

  72. avatar SAP says:

    Ryan was close – Theodore Roosevelt & Gifford Pinchot established the National Forest System in 1905.

  73. avatar jerry b says:

    Ryan….google Schwartz, Copeland and Squires. They’re 3 of the leading researchers on wolverine ecology and work here at the U of Montana. If you’ll read the “science” in some of their latest research on wolverines, it will give you a better understanding.

  74. avatar chuck parker says:

    Bear spray cult bamboozles media, public

    “Study finds bear spray more effective than guns,” Salt Lake City Tribune, 03/28/2008

    “Bear spray beats guns,” Anchorage Daily News, 03/27/08

    “Drop the rifle and pick up the bear spray,” Popular Science, 03/26/08

    In 2008, BYU professor Tom Smith and Canadian bear researcher Stephen Herrero co-authored “Efficacy of Bear Deterrent Spray In Alaska.” The study begins by saying, “We present a comprehensive look at a sample of bear spray incidents that occured in Alaska, USA from 1985 to 2006.”

    Bear spray incidents, not firearm incidents. Efficacy of Bear Deterrent Spray in Alaska is all about bear spray. It has nothing to do with firearms. It doesn’t include any data on firearms, guns, or bullets. It doesn’t compare the success rate for bear spray to the success rate for firearms. If you doubt this, read the study, the actual study, not press coverage about the study. Ditto on the 1998 study on bear spray by Herrero and Higgins.

    There’s no peer-reviewed, published data on the effectiveness of firearms for self-protection from bears. Herrero and Tom Smith are currently (March, 2009) working on a study about firearms, but it has not yet been peer-reviewed and published.

  75. avatar JB says:

    no worries, Virginia. I just wish we could debate/discuss the topic without getting caught up in absolutes. We’re never going to get anywhere with an I’m right and your wrong ha, ha, ha mentality.

  76. avatar Barb says:

    Going way up to Virginia’s comments, gee yes you are so right! Trappers almost decimated the beaver population. Our bison was almost decimated, wolves, the list goes on and on……. lack of self control, greed, uncaring natures of humans……

    If we left conservation laws up to the individual, it is abundantly clear that man will wipe out animals.

    Here’s a little segment they had on Channel 7 news which I think is very biased:

    http://vodpod.com/watch/1401045-colorado-town-overreacts-to-coyotes?pod=kestrel

    It’s like “Oh my god, these coyotes are so dangerous. We have to kill them all.”

    Funny how in neighboring communities coyotes are no big deal. Could have something to do with certain wealthy individuals fearing coyotes or not liking to have to be responsible like keeping their tiny dogs watched. People have been feeding them too, which is really disturbing. The media is helping the coyote haters cause causing further hysteria.

    Ryan, so you DON’T think I”m a “bunny hugger?” hee-hee…

  77. avatar Ryan says:

    Yes barb you are a bunny hugger.
    That being said a yellow lab on a leash is not a “tiny” dog running free. Most likely in neighboring communities the coyotes aren’t as brazen as the ones in that area. What ever reason they are agressive, they need to be delt with, no differently than rats or mice. I can take 5-10 mice out with traps and not catch another for months. Same with coyotes take out a portion of the population and they wont come back for a while. They’ll come back and have to be delt with again, just like mice or rats.
    Obivously you’ve never had a life threatening encounter with a wild animal. I have, its not fun. I shot a cougar at 9 ft, I’ve been charged by habituated grizzly bears and black bears on the russian river in AK. I never have questioned why, the bears because they were habituated to man and the cat was because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I atleast have expirience in the woods, I can only imagine the terror those yuppies felt.

  78. avatar Cobra says:

    If and when the world ever comes to an end, the only thing left will be coyotes and cockroaches.

  79. avatar Barb says:

    I’m glad to be one of the animal huggers — someone has to in this kill — kill — kill mentality.

    I think both logic and compassion should be used if decisions “must” be made.

    From what I understand, most biologists and scientists do not think shooting coyotes to reduce their numbers works; in fact has the opposite effect of what is desired.

    note: Most dogs “attacked” in the area were small dogs, with a few exceptions.

    Doesn’t make the coyote a “bad character.” The coyote is just being a coyote. For that woman to compare coyotes with “criminals” shows her ignorance. Coyotes do not know “right” from “wrong.” They are not capable of it. I know that the wolf exterminators of the old West had a penchant for calling wolves “criminals” or “outlaws.”

    Animals cannot be criminals and it is deplorable that anyone would refer to these creatures in that way.

    That’s the other side giving human traits to wild animals, which is often what us wolf huggers are accused of.

  80. avatar Ryan says:

    “From what I understand, most biologists and scientists do not think shooting coyotes to reduce their numbers works; in fact has the opposite effect of what is desired.”

    Barb studies have proven that removing problem animals solves the problem for quite some time. I posted it earlier on another thread.

  81. avatar Barb says:

    I think many scientists would disagree with this approach to “just keep killin’ em…..”

    I don’t take k

  82. avatar Barb says:

    Many people seem to take killing animals pretty lightly — I’m not speaking of defending oneself, but in “culling” — as if animals were on the same plane as too many tulips or irises propagating in the yard….”

    The disregard for the worth of animals lives never ceases to amaze me.

  83. avatar Ryan says:

    Barb,
    Here is the article posted again.

    http://repositories.cdlib.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1004&context=anrrec/hrec

    You seem to think eating fish, chicken, and less meat (trying to become a vegatartian from a previous post as I understand) All those critters had to die somehow.

  84. avatar Ryan says:

    Sorry I hit submit too soon, to continue on that line of thought, your leather shoes came from a dead cow as did the footballs and basket balls your children play with. Your right, most people do take killing animals pretty lightly, no matter what there opinion is. Whether is be actually killing them, or being a secondary user of dead animals and dead animal products.

  85. avatar Barb says:

    OK, I saw the report and this is what they say:

    “Coyote attacks on humans in suburbia are preventable, but the long-term solution of this conflict requires public education, changes in residents’ behavior, and in some
    situations, the means to effectively remove individual offending animals.”

    Notice they say “long term solution”
    and list #1. as public education
    #2. Changes in residents behavior

    Killing them is definitely not the first solution, or the 2nd to get the coyotes “under control” and even then, they say “in some situations remove INDIVIDUAL offending animals.”

    The goal of Greenwood Village is to wipe out ALL the coyotes that are near the parks.

  86. avatar Ryan says:

    “Corrective action can be effective
    if implemented before coyote attacks on pets become common. However, if environmental
    modification and changes in human behavior toward coyotes are
    delayed, then removal of offending predators by traps or shooting is required
    in order to resolve the threat to human safety. We note the failure of various
    non-lethal harassment techniques to correct the problem in situations where
    coyotes have become habituated to human-provided food resources.”

    Gotta love selective reading Barb..

  87. avatar Barb says:

    There is no enforcement at this particular park when people do not follow the rules.

    Have to first make sure that the proper efforts are actually in place.

    The city has not yet attempted to resolve the problem other than hiring a sharpshooter to wipe the pack out. That’s my whole point.

  88. avatar Ryan says:

    Barb,

    I’d bet there is no money for that. The sharpshooters most likely cost less than the salary of one part time employee for the whole year. Maybe you could volunteer to edcuate the masses and then enforce the rules?

  89. avatar Barb says:

    There is PLENTY of $$$ money in this city. I have left a message at the mayor’s office suggesting they coordinate a volunteer force out at dawn and dusk instead to haze the coyoes. (I would volunteer). No response.

  90. Back from a few days absence and checking how things have developed in the meantime.
    Seems the poaching/hunting issue has thankfully cooled down again a little bit. Yes Barb, my intention was indeed, if something is perfectly legal and not explicitly forbidden by law it might still be either on the border of legality or unethical. Sorry, you can´t convince me that there is no grey zone – I´ve seen too many such things. I´ve often stressed, that I have no problem with hunting in general and I´m always prepared to listen to a hunters point of view. Save Bears: I´d appreciate you to post your opinion on a German or European blog. Exchanging opinions globally in a civil and peaceful manner – even inconvenient ones – can only widen the horizon of everybody. If I´d only knew a suitable blog! Blogs are not very popular in Europe. The few that are available, e.g. Elli Radingers Yellowstone (Wolves) blog, the link on the lower right side bar here, are often too self-restrictive (In this case only Yellowstone business related subjects are accepted) and lie dormant most of the time. The recent rush to protest against wolf delisting was one of the rate exceptions where this blog came to life. Other blogs are just trivial. I´d love to see a European wide, multi-cultural, multi-lingual carnivore conservation blog – something like the one here!

  91. Good example of something being perfectly legal (gleaming white), but soon turning greyish and foul-smelling, ……
    The following is an extract of a piece, I found over at Y-Net:
    eBay Asked to Stop Auctions of Guided Trophy Hunts
    February 2009
    SIDNEY, British Columbia, Canada (ENS) –
    Canadian and U.S. wildlife advocates are asking that the eBay auction website stop the sale of guided trophy hunts for bears, wolves, cougars and other top predators.
    The Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Big Wildlife and the Alaska Wildlife Alliance say eBay auction sales of guided trophy hunts put the survival of these species at greater risk. “Have the lives of Canada’s grizzly bears, wolves and other large carnivores become so cheapened by the purveyors of trophy hunting that selling an opportunity to kill one is now as commonplace as trying to unload a kitchen appliance or baseball cards on eBay?” asked Chris Genovali, executive director of the British Columbia based Raincoast Conservation Foundation.
    A quick search on eBay turned up auctions for bear hunting in Wisconsin that offers transport “to and from the baits at prime hunting hours;” an Alaska hunt offering black bear, wolf, and wolverine; and a hunt in northern Ontario that offers the “opportunity to harvest a big Canadian black bear.”

  92. avatar Layton says:

    Peter,

    Is your problem with the hunts themselves?? Or just with the method of selling them??

    • Hi Layton, my problem is more with the ethics of auctioning off on ebay thus I admit (and did so repeatedly on this blog) that I have no basic problem with hunting for food (delicious things will end up on my dinner plate) but with trophy hunting without using the meat or hunting animals you (normally) do not eat. Frankly spoken: There is bear or a cougar or a wolf out there, interested in doing his own business, his own life and a guy needs to shot that critter for the pelt or the claws only. Add to that that customary photo in the winner pose. Sorry but that´s not my thing and for me it´s hard to accept.

    • Thought I hit the submit button but my reply does not appear. So here again:
      Hi Layton (and Ryan in the meantime).
      My problem is mainly with the ethics of auctioning of on ebay. I´d like to stress (and have done so occasionally on this blog) that I have no basic problem with hunting for food, which delivers delicious things for my dinner table. I admit however that for me, hunting for trophies only or hunting animals you do not normally eat is hard to accept. Frankly speaking, if there´s a bear, a wolf, a puma, whatever is out there, going along its very own life, his very own business and a guy needs to shot that for the pelt or the claw or the customary picture in the winners pose only, there´s my very own acceptance problem.

  93. avatar Ryan says:

    Peter,

    Its just outfitters trying to sell his hunts in these tough economic times. Nothing wrong with it at all, they are still subject to the same fair chase rules and laws. (BC does not allow baiting for bears, wolves etc) There goal is not to kill every bear, wolf, wolverine, etc. In fact its just the opposite, they need to manage their exclusive territories for quality so the harvest needs to be tightly regulated.

    I guess I’ll second Laytons request, is your problem with well managed hunting for bears, wolves, etc.. Or the outfitters attempting to sell their hunts on Ebay?

    • avatar John d. says:

      Ryan

      Its shoot on sight in Canada. No bag limits, no season. aerial gunning, baiting and bounties in places. Fair chase my eye! The wolf of Canada is treated just like the coyote of the U.S.

      Alberta wipes out around 3000 wolves per year alone, not sound management at all.

  94. avatar Ryan says:

    Peter,
    Its no different than any other way of advertising any item or expirience forsale. Pumas and Bears are used for tablefare quite often. I see no problem with it because A the number of animals taken is not very high, B its well regulated, and C because it gives the value brought into the local economy gives the locals some reason to protect them.

  95. avatar Layton says:

    Peter,

    Maybe you really don’t understand what you call “trophy” hunting.

    Idaho has laws about wasting the meat from critters that are killed on a hunt. The meat from ALL big game animals that are killed in Idaho — except cats — must be brought in with the animal. In all actuality, I would guess that bear meat is probably the least sought after wild game meat. Actually cats are probably eaten more than bears.

    However, many parts of bears are even good if they are prepared properly.

    Yes, the hides and horns, etc. are kept but that is not all. Even a big old bull elk can be pretty tasty if he’s prepared properly.

    • So congratulations Idaho – and maybe other States – on that law. I was of course not aware of such a law. Unfortunately such regulations do not exist in many other parts of the world, e.g. russia, africa. A true “trophy” hunting scene does exist, is advertised and proud “sportsmen” from all across the globe pose for pictures in the respective magazines. It is an industry. Besides that I do not believe many tigers or (african/asian) lions or all the other cats – with the exception of pumas I learn from here – (Bon appetite! Ah, what about canides? You eat them too?) have ever been hunted for food (a noble british sportsmen – and I use this term without any cynism here – in India or Africa hunted for the sports. He had (and still has) no reason to hunt for food.

      • Small addition: I know that Bear Hunting Magazine runs an occasional column “Bearly Edible” – Recipes”. I tried to google Cougar+ meat+recipes and…you would not believe, here they are! Comments range from “outstanding” (when prepared by on an official dinner) to “you need to put a lot of barbecue sauce on it” to “I was never that hungry!”. And I thought the French and Chinese eat everything that moves, be it with or without legs :-))

      • Oh, about canides! If you google enough you´ll find of course also a few people that tried coyote! It´s rare indeed but there are a few. Most comments about eating coyotes are of the following quality however: “just skinnin one of those stinkin flea bitten varmints is enough for me….bleh”

      • avatar Save bears says:

        In Africa, the meat from the hunts go to the various tribes that are in the area that the hunts happen, and yes, they eat canids, cats and baboons..etc.

      • Save bears:
        In Africa they call that “Bushmeat”. In many areas this is also a term for meat of dubious origin. Cats and Canides are rarely in it but most everything else from elephant to rat.

  96. avatar Moose says:

    Sorry, above link incomplete…try this:

    http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/sports/442552

  97. Found the following on Billings Gazette online today:
    Officials kill wolf with mange
    By Gazette News Services
    A wolf was killed last Thursday by state officials after it was seen around Gardiner residences suffering from mange.
    Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks personnel killed the female wolf, which had eaten some domestic chickens. The wolf’s known territory was in Yellowstone National Park. The carcass and collar were returned to Yellowstone personnel.
    In separate incident north of Helena, wolves injured a guard dog and a domestic goat on private land. USDA Wildlife Services confirmed the depredations last Thursday and were authorized to kill two wolves.
    The Mitchell Mountain pack is believed to be involved in the depredations. The goat died of its injuries. It is not known if the dog will survive.

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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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