Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s move to delist the wolves in Idaho and Montana will be the topic of  a one-hour special edition of “Dialogue.”

This Thursday evening, I will be appearing alongside an interesting line-up of key players on both sides of the debate., so I hope you’ll tune in and call in your questions about wolf management.

Join the conversation by emailing your questions ahead of time at dialogue@idahoptv.org or calling in during the live show at 1-800-973-9800.

What: “Dialogue” on Idaho Wolves
with Ralph Maughan and others on both sides
When: Thursday, March 19th at 8:00 p.m. MDT / 7:00 p.m. PDT
Where: On Idaho Public Television (Click here to check local listings)
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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.

89 Responses to Maughan, others on public TV wolf special in Idaho Thursday eve

  1. avatar Joanne Hunt says:

    Good for you, Ralph.
    Good luck and thanks for doing this work. I will
    be cheering you on from Vermont !!

  2. avatar kt says:

    Yes! Good luck Ralph – And Joanne may be able to stream live – or are ID PTV programs only able to be accessed once they are archived?

  3. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    give ’em hell Ralph !

  4. avatar Virginia says:

    Does anyone know if this will be on Wyoming PBS?

    • avatar Ken Cole says:

      Very doubtful. This is an Idaho Public Television program.

      Episodes become available a week or so after it has been aired on the IPTV website.

      Someone on the panel needs to be asked about keeping a clean camp. Keeping sheep carcasses near a camp doesn’t do much to keep wolves away.

  5. avatar Bob Wharff says:

    Interested in watching the debate as well.

    Ralph,

    Do you know if they will stream this live on the net or if it will simply be available on Idaho stations?

  6. avatar Bruce D says:

    I think it’s great Ralph! Here is some fodder for you on the topic that I found this morning. It is a podcast with the infamous Ron Gillett. blog.muleyscoffee.com

    Good Luck!
    Bruce

  7. avatar Laura says:

    If you go to the Dialogue page linked above it looks to me like we can listen live over the web.

  8. avatar Mike says:

    Very cool. Hope someone puts it up on youtube.

  9. avatar Barb says:

    Outstanding Ralph!!!

  10. avatar Barb says:

    The wolf and other predatory animals should not be considered “game” animals at all.

    To consider them “game” animals implies that people hunt them to eat them.

    The vast majority of hunters do not eat these animals. They want to kill them out of hatred, fear, or for trophy.

    Anyone know what the legal definition is for a “game animal” and does it vary from state to state?

  11. avatar Chuck says:

    Good job Ralph, though it seems they didn’t want to give you much air time. I like the comment the guy made that the wolves were responsible for pushing the elk down to I84 between Boise and Mountain Home. Lets see last time I knew that was all original winter grazing area for deer and elk, the last two winters have had more snow then the last several winters. Oh and lets not forget about the crazy question as to why they brought down those huge canadian gray wolves that were not native, I so much wanted to call in and tell them to do their research and find out that they are one in the same that was here before. Clearly Ralph and Suzanne shot them down big time.

    • Thanks Chuck,

      I was put in a very disadvantageous situation being in Pocatello with the rest of them around a table in Boise. I couldn’t see what was going on, was staring at a black and white image of myself in an empty room.

      As a result, I felt the only way I could get a word in was to kind of yell my there.

      Marsha Franklin told I’d have to assert myself to be heard, but I felt that when I did, she wasn’t very accommodating to let me make a point.

      So it was a bit disappointed.

      Was I angry? Not really, but the outfitter guy seemed like an arrogant a- – –

  12. avatar timz says:

    The last comment by Ralph directed at the outfitter and F&G was beautiful. “Tell the out-of-staters all the elk have been eaten by wolves and of course they won’t come and buy a tag.”

  13. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    That was a great showing Ralph – you told it like it is and got to the heart of it.

    • I don’t know if you heard it on-line, but finally at the end I got to say I was disappointed we didn’t talk about bighorn sheep and the demotion of Dave Parrish as an example how the Department had no management independence from the state legislature.

      • avatar Brian Ertz says:

        that’s what i was thinking when Unsworth starting talking about bighorn sheep ! What a poor example for Jim to be using about how well IDFG manages wildlife ! then i heard you hit the point about politics – but got interrupted.

  14. avatar timz says:

    Ralph, how did the F&G guy respond to that?

  15. Marsha said, “well thank you all for participating.'” 😉

  16. avatar Layton says:

    Oh boy!!!

    I wasn’t home last night so I recorded the show and watched it after I got back. Now I’m confused. I think I must have recorded the wrong show!!

    I watched the whole thing and I really think you folks must have seen a different broadcast than I did!!

    On the show I watched, Suzanne Stone (who I thought would really “lay an egg’) came off pretty well, she kept her cool, discussed the issue at hand, and only got into the “koolaid” about the wolves a couple of time.

    OTOH, the gentleman in Pocatello broke just about every rule that my debate coach and what I studied about debating ever taught me. Breaking in, talking over other people and bringing up other subjects (bighorn sheep, Dave Parrish) are things that would lose points if not getting the participant thrown out of the debate. Frankly it disappointed me, I expected better. I can understand the perceived disadvantage of not physically being in studio with the other participants, but I don’t believe that accounts for or excuses the actions mentioned.

    Then, for that same gentleman to call Simonds names on here would seem to be a bit arrogant in it’s own right. Simonds wasn’t as good as Unsworth, but he expressed the views of his constituency fairly well — that was his job.

    The rancher (Faulkner?) expressed a lot of (what I think are) the current feelings when he said something to the effect of “if someone doesn’t manage them, we will”. That’s a thing that I don’t WANT to see happen but that I’m afraid will if something isn’t done to take the heat off a bit.

    Believe it or not, I’m actually disappointed to read what I do here this morning — I expected more honesty!! I tried to look at the discussion objectively and I CERTAINLY formed a different opinion than that shown here.

    IMNSHO this was certainly NOT an overwhelming victory for the “wolfie” side and, it I were to score the debate, I think the “for the delisting” side earned a victory.

    Now, since I’m probably in deep doo doo with the blog master, I’ll lean back, drink another cup of coffee and go watch the recording again for any clues that we were all watching the same program!! 8)

    • Well Layton,

      I has disappointed in how I may have come off. I should not have agreed to do it from a remote location.

      I couldn’t see what was going on. So it was hard to know when a comment was appropriate. I thought my image was on the screen like national TV. When I came home I was shocked to learn from my wife that it was just a blank screen on which I’d suddenly appear.

      Before the program the moderator encouraged me to interject because of the remote location, but that turned out to probably be a bad idea.

      It was a good learning experience for me because I hadn’t done that for a couple years.

      TV is the most dangerous medium, and anyone who agrees to do it for any reason should evaluate the setting carefully.

  17. avatar DB says:

    I came in at the mid point, my wife wanted to watch “The Office”, and I don’t argue with the breadwinner. But I thought Suzanne Stone did very well, too. Ralph’s job was tough considering Marcia Franklin ignored him. And, Ralph, for what it’s worth, you looked great, like the one who spends the most time in the field.

  18. Thanks DB,
    I appreciate that.

    I certainly was hindered by the technical setup, but I should have checked it out first.

    We can use an analogy of the wolf and the elk here.

    When they come to battle both usually know what moves to try, but it just takes one mistake and one of them is dead.

  19. avatar Salle says:

    Hey Ralph,

    Another “for what it’s worth”…

    Having been a broadcast (camera, sound, link-up) occasionally linked -up to IPTV, they certainly put you at a serious disadvantage and I think it was pretty unfair, I wonder what facility you were at and whether there was anyone serving as “operating tech” at your location during the broadcast…? Doesn’t seem right, as a technician, that you had no visual contact with the group… in my professional opinion that was trashy broadcasting, to say the least, and I wonder if it was deliberate.

    I don’t have a favorable opinion of the show in the first place and I’m disappointed they tried to take on an issue of this magnitude with third-rate technical aptitude, and a moderator who doesn’t know or accept her responsibilities as such.

    IPTV used to have a higher quality of programming than that. Kind of makes me want to cringe…

    • It was at Pocatello. They are in process of moving to another facility. So things were kind of torn apart.

      • avatar Salle says:

        That’s no excuse. I would suggest talking to the producer of that program and demand equal time on that, like an interview with you so that what you have to say is properly represented.

        • I did email Marcia Franklin and expressed my dissatisfaction with the setup, and she understands the problem.

          It was just terribly hard to hear the Fish and Game guy lie thru his teeth and not be able to get a good shot at him. It’s like watching those AIG losers walk off with their bonuses of our money.

  20. avatar Layton says:

    F&G was “lying thru their teeth”?

    Interesting — when??

    The most bending of the truth that I heard was the part where “the wolf only kills the sick and the week” or when it was said that the wolves in yellowstone only kill young animals.

  21. avatar Jay says:

    Layton, grab just about any scientifc research on prey selection by wolves, and you will find that almost universally, wolves show strong selection for young, old, and disadvantaged prey. That’s not to say they don’t take advantage of a situation when a healthy individual becomes vulnerable, but by and large they focus on the easiest to catch. Read up on it if you don’t believe me…

    • avatar Scott says:

      “Sick and weak” is misleading because it doesn’t clearly include young. Calves that are healthy and strong are still among the weakest members of the herd and a major target of predators. Low calf recruitment is probably the main problem of declining herds.

    • avatar Layton says:

      Jay,

      I do read up on it — quite often and quite extensively.

      If you check out — for instance — studies in YNP (studies done by “wolfies” even) you will find that, at certain times of the year, the big bulls are the largest per cent of critters that they eat. As I recall, paricularly in the spring, before green up.

      Again, it depends on the circumstances, but the young and old are NOT what they “select”. I guess you could say “disadvantaged” and it would still apply, but it’s certainly a stretch.

      • avatar Jay says:

        And the big bulls are typically old, disadvantaged because of being nutritionally stressed from the rut…would you not agree? I don’t think that’s a stretch, and it makes perfect sense from the standpoint of wolf predation singling out the easy to catch and kill.

        • avatar jerry b says:

          Because of poor nutrition caused in the last few years due mainly to drought, bulls are coming out of rut much weaker than in the past. Added to that is the transition period from grazing on willow, dogwood and alder, to grass which their enzymes are not immediately responsive to. Hence, they aren’t able to maximize nutrition until later in the Spring. So this period is when we see “winter kill”…not in the dead of winter.
          They’re weak and predators sense this.
          I witness this practically in my back yard this time of year with elk that come out of the hills at night to feed on grass and have a very difficult time climbing back up into the trees early in the morning. It’s sad watching some of them try to keep up with the herd.

      • avatar Jay says:

        And another thing Layton–referring to the YNP researchers as “wolfies” doesn’t exactly help your debate. Tossing out (what I’m interpreting as demeaning) aspersions towards professional scientists/researchers who go to great lengths to document as accurately as possible the dynamics of wolf-elk interactions is beneath you. Maybe you’re saying it tongue-in-cheek, but the way I read it, it seems you’re implying because they work in YNP and with wolves, that somehow means they’re biased and can’t be trusted to conduct unbiased research.

        • avatar Layton says:

          Jay,

          With all due respect, “wolfies” is not anywhere near some of the things I have been called here.

          As to “Tossing out (what I’m interpreting as demeaning) aspersions towards professional scientists/researchers who go to great lengths to document as accurately as possible the dynamics of wolf-elk interactions is beneath you” Weeeeellll, maybe so maybe no. Unfortunately, I don’t trust much that comes from a wolf advocate beginning, I have seen to much that leads me not to.

          “it seems you’re implying because they work in YNP and with wolves, that somehow means they’re biased and can’t be trusted to conduct unbiased research.”

          Man, you read a lot into the use of one nickname.

          Some of what I say on the subject of wolves on this blog IS tongue in cheek — some of it isn’t. That particular remark was meant to point out that the studies I was referring to came from the “for” side. Not anything else.

          Now about those “ignorant, out of work, redneck” comments that are pointed at me ——— 8)

      • avatar Jay says:

        I can’t post a reply to your reply, so it’s ending up here. I don’t see how being YNP researchers makes you a “for” wolves research group. I don’t think their reseach should be categorized as either for or against, considering these are professional (i.e., PhD and MSc) biologists that went to school for many years to learn the scientific method and how to conduct research without injecting personal bias into the equation. If they were inclined to bias their data to favor wolves, then you certainly wouldn’t have that tidbit of information that wolves will take adult bulls in late winter when available.

  22. avatar Cobra says:

    Jay,
    Maybe set the books down for a bit and take a hike. You’ll see for yourself that they take about as many full grown healthy elk and deer as they do the young, weak and old. They’ve even taken mature Bison and Moose which is quite a feat. Wolves are a very effeceint predator and they don’t need to always take the weak, they’ll take whatever they want.

    • avatar John d. says:

      Cobra does it ever occur to you how hard it is to bring down something three times your own size? It isn’t easy, especially since all you have to go with are teeth and stamina. Many wolves are severely injured, maimed or even killed by their prey. One hoof to the face is all it takes.

      Check carcasses carefully and there will more than likely be a problem with the bones or muscles or other type of injury that led to the animal being singled out.

    • avatar Jay says:

      Cobra, I’ve seen wolf kills, and I’m willing to bet my next paycheck I spend as much or more time in wolf country than you, so don’t pass me off as some bookworm that never gets out in the woods. It is a FACT that wolves prey disproportionately on the young, old, and disadvantaged prey. Of course they kill adult deer and elk, but they are typically the older individuals. Take, for example, the research done in Yellowstone comparing age of cow elk killed by wolves (in and near the park)and human hunters (during the late hunt just outside the park): average age of hunter-killed elk: 6.5 years old. Average age of wolf-killed elk: 14 years old (and these are HUGE sample sizes over a long term study period). So cobra, which group is removing more breeding age elk?

      • avatar Cobra says:

        Jay,
        Unless you have wolves that frequent your property don’t be to eager to place that bet. Most of what we’ve found this year are yearling (spike) bulls and young cows and calves. Also a couple of yearling cow moose and one calf moose. The calf moose had been orpaned since mid sept. so we we’re surprised that it made it almost thru till last month before they got her. Don’t know what happened to the cow, we saw her one weekend with the calf and the next weekend the calf was alone.

  23. avatar Cobra says:

    Johnd,
    Did it ever occur to you that maybe there are things going on in the wild that maybe you and others don’t know about. Yea, wolves take the weak and sick and of course the young but they also take whatever is available, be it a cow moose, elk or doe or full grown mature healthy bulls and bucks, don’t believe everything you read or hear do yourself a favor and get out and hike around in wolf country during the winter and see for yourself. It’s easy to coach the game from the couch.

    • avatar John d. says:

      Did I say that they don’t kill healthy animals? No.

      Yes there are things that go on in the wild that are beneath our notice, even yours. What you lack is the wisdom to dig a little deeper into why something is the way it is. You can spend a lot of time in the outdoors, its great I know, but if you go out there with nothing more than a shallow opinion of the interconnections between flora and fauna, all those years don’t count for squat.

  24. Cobra,

    You know what a statistical generalization is? “Basketball players tend to be tall.” This doesn’t mean there is never a good short basketball player.

    “Wolves tend to kill the weak and the sick” is a similar generalization. This doesn’t mean that strong prey never gets in a bad situation.

    And Cobra when you are out and find a killed and seemingly strong, good-looking winter elk carcass, break open a leg bone and examine the marrow to check its condition. Is it really as strong as you first thought?

  25. avatar bob jackson says:

    It might be easier for folks to understand the hunter – prey relationship and vulnerabilities of each if folks would only look to the human population. If we are talking individuals, one person against another, with no outside “tools”, then the fittest and smartest will beat the other.

    If we are talking groups of individuals ( packs) against singular individuals (elk cow, calf or bull) then the group will “win”. But of course if the prey (wolves is much bigger than the prey (cow or bull) then it takes a group to bring it down. In humans it would be like 20 thirteen year old punks taking on a conditioned 280 pound NFL lineman. They can get him in the end but it can be guarenteed each powerful swing has the potential of bringing down one of the punks.

    But, of course, the punks have to keep going after more singular big guys to get their cars, cash or whatever. With each fight there are less punks to take on the big boys. Soon the numbers of punks have shrunk so there is no more crime going on. They then try to recruit more to join them (its called reproduction or formation of another pack) but in the end they say to each other, “This is stupid, lets go after the folks that can’t fight back” (young and old).
    On this forum it appears it ends here for those arguing for nature’s survival of the fittest. But ending the defense of this logic means eventually all young and old decreases means the death of an overall population.
    But of course those on the other side point out death of fine mature elk by wolves. And they say there is proof because there are signs elk population numbers are dropping. The wolfies counter that the law of diminishing return means wolf packs can not eat enough elk before they themselves dissolve.

    I would like to add one additional solution humans use to protect themselves against attack. This is infrastructure. With elk we limit this to the mother protecting or hiding her young. If we bracketed this scenario to human protection then the human population would be mostly eliminated. Humans do more. The males protect and also the population as a whole protects. Different segments of males have different roles for protection. We have outposts alerting (think Paul Revere) and we have those that stay back to move the vulnerable away (think of native tribes who assigned chiefs to this capacity). We have males (soldiers) that do the actual fighting. Some die. This is what most wolvies don’t understand when a mature bull gets had by wolf packs. These mature males were most likely guarding the cow – calf group that is maybe a mile or two off. That is what I saw in Yellowstone whether it was in Pelican Valley or down on the Delta of the South east arm of Yellowstone Lake. Biologists in the Park would note a mature male kill but they had no idea of where the cow – calf group was or even the thought process to include human protective knowledge into assessing why this bull died. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time does happen in humans but most predatory human deaths happen because of lack of infrastructure protective measures. It is exactly the same in animal populations but no one seems to get it.

    Thus, when F&W sets seasons to kill off most all male herd animals and then also allows individual animal hunting in cow- dependents instead of group infrastructure considerations …..then those punks will be killing off a lot more strong NFL linemen. Yes, all those thoughts and arguments written down above for both sides are at least partly right…and the further there is cause and effect witch and vampire uneducated assessments the more there is illogical conclusions by the supposed stupid who have field training but no education.

    But those educated I ask for them to look at our human population as we know it in evolutionary hunter-gatherer terms….as no different than what makes up elk herd infrastructure or packs of wolves. All principles apply the same…and all needs are the same. I say, we can not put ourselves on a pedestal thinking we, as humans, are superior to the animals out there. It all becomes symptom management and until we get down to basic understanding it will stay that way on both sides.

    What is said above is rough draft form. Some may have been covered inadequately to develop thorough argument but I don’t have time this morning (I am going out to shoot a number of family group bison…yes 12 today…45 before this… of 175 well infrastructured extended family..all to go to the locker in the next month for meat sales…leaving 300 more of a different extended family to live) to polish what I wrote above. I apologise but hopefully I get my thoughts across as something other than leaving the idea I feel I am superior or condescending of others.

  26. avatar Cobra says:

    Raulph , Johnd.
    What makes you think I do not dig deeper. In college I studied game management and elk ecology and Yes ralph I know Basketball, Played a year of college ball before my knees went out. Been coaching kids aau every since. John you do not know me or what I know so how do you come off saying I lack wisdom in anything. Maybe just because it does not coincide with your beliefs or whatever you read? Pure arrogance.

    • avatar John d. says:

      Cobra,

      You studied game management but believe that predators are the biggest influence on ungulate numbers? Its more to do with weather and condition of the landscape. You don’t think much of ungulate defences either – those horns and antlers are more than just wall decorations, they are intended to stave off or to kill.

      Wolves have been killing cow moose and elk, bucks, bulls, fawns and calves for hundreds upon thousands of years – yet here those same creatures are: alive and well. The fact is that not all calves, fawns and cows are bought down by predators – they survive because they are strong and have a chance of passing down their genes to the next generation. A kill is also carrion for scavengers, including larger carnivores such as bears, which in turn helps their population. Annihilating herds is biologically impossible due to the quantity of food available determining the size of pups and litters and success of raising offspring, which is still very low, even in the best of circumstances. If there is not enough food, wolves don’t breed for that particular year. It is to ensure that the next generation has the best chances of survival. Opportunities are exploited by all predators, not just wolves, but they don’t come around every time the animals go to hunt, its not as easy as letting an arrow loose or pulling a trigger.

      • avatar Cobra says:

        John,
        I never said I believed that predators were the biggest influence on ungulate numbers. Habitat, weather, hunting pressure etc.etc.etc. all make the numers what they are. All I said was that Wolves will also kill mature animals, I may have been a bit out of bounds when I stated that they the same numbers but I still know that they will take mature animals. I might also add that the winters that we’ve had the past two years, especially last winter made it pretty easy for the wolves to take advantage of elk, deer and moose because of the deep snow with a hard crust. Wolves stay on top and the hooves go through. With snow like that it makes all the ungulates prey.

    • avatar JB says:

      “…they’ll take whatever they want.”

      I’m sorry, but when you make statements like this you can’t expect to be taken seriously. Wolves are generalists and highly opportunistic; they will take whatever they CAN. They certainly can NOT take whatever they WANT. They TEND (see Ralph’s comments, above) to take the sick and weak because these animals are easier (focusing predation efforts on healthy Bull Moose or Bison (for example) is not likely to lead to increased fitness; rather, it’s likely to get you killed).

      If you studied game management, then you should be familiar with optimal foraging theory–organisms tend to look for food in a way that maximizes caloric intake per unit of time. For carnivores in general, this means you kill whatever is most vulnerable (i.e. the very old, very sick, or very young). Human hunters turn this evolutionary truism on its head by focusing hunting pressure on the biggest, *usually* healthiest animals.

      • avatar Cobra says:

        JB,
        The same to you as John d. With the snows we had last winter it was basically take what they want. I also take offense at saying hunters mainly focus on the trophy, mature animal. Most I know take what they can get, hard to be a trophy hunter with an empty freezer. Yes we would all like to take a trophy animal, but mainly it all boils down to taking what is available, kind of like a wolf, huh. Maybe we have more in common with the wolf than I thought.

        • avatar John d. says:

          Not really. Wolves don’t make a fool of themselves after they manage to kill something. Personally I found the mocking song and dance routine over a wolf killed in Alberta by a trio of 20 year olds quite disturbing.

        • avatar JB says:

          “With the snows we had last winter it was basically take what they want.”

          Deep snows make animals more vulnerable, so they certainly equate to happier times for wolves. In Adolph Murie’s, “The Wolves of Mount McKinely” he describes a scene where wolves killed several dall sheep when they caught the sheep in deep snow: deep snow = opportunity; more opportunities = more kills (or at least higher kill rates). Theoretically speaking, more kills in bad times can actually help the prey population as competition for unavailable forage is removed.

          Look, harsh winters mean bad times for elk; I suspect you can probably recall a time before wolves were reintroduced when you had a really bad winter and found a lot of dead elk lying around come spring? Wolves or no wolves, the sick and weak were going to die. Wolves just expedite the process.

          “I also take offense at saying hunters mainly focus on the trophy, mature animal. Most I know take what they can get…”

          No offense intended, but you should go back and re-read what I wrote. I did not say that hunters ONLY take mature, trophy animals, I said the FOCUS on mature, trophy animals; that is, given they opportunity, they’ll take they will tend to take the biggest bull. Do you disagree?

      • avatar mikarooni says:

        “…organisms tend to look for food in a way that maximizes caloric intake per unit of time… Human hunters turn this evolutionary truism on its head by focusing hunting pressure on the biggest, ‘usually’ healthiest animals.” That’s because human hunters aren’t looking for food; they’re playing a sublimated status game related more closely to their pecking order among their peers and their sex drive than anything to do with hunger. Human hunters are out to strut their stuff. Look at their hunting outfits; that’s not equipment; it’s a costume complete with camo plumage. Practically everything they do is a form of thinly veiled exhibitionism, their drive to exhibit the biggest “trophy” kill is pretty obvious in this regard (sure, once bragging about the big one gets too common among their local peer group, some of them will switch to bragging about killing smaller, younger, or female animals on the pretext that it shows their superiority at selecting for better quality meat; but, that’s just another form of the game). For that matter, talk about exhibitionism, just consider the kinds of nicknames they give themselves. They’re not self-effacing humble little monikers; they’re things like… well, “Cobra” for example. …well, nevermind.

        • avatar Cobra says:

          Wow,
          Not even worth a reply, way off base.

        • avatar bob jackson says:

          As for the main reasons of hunting today of “big game” animals I’d have to agree with mickarooni. Cobra, said it with, “Yes, it would be nice to take a trophy animal …”. The area I patrolled on the boundary of Yellowstone had around 400 guided elk hunters in seven weeks time period for an area 4x 25 miles.

          I imagine one could count on hand … a hand already missing 4 fingers….those that didn’t care if they got a bull or cow ….or what size the bull was. It was all very sick, a misdirected focus of masculine status and evolutionary capabilities for hunter-gatherer societies.

          Actually the hunters of indigenous peoples found it easier to chase down big bulls because all that weight meant stamina over time was depleted faster. True status among them, I’m sure, would be who was capable of running down a female big game animal in good shape (I doubt it was even rarely attempted).

          As for the preference of one age or sex of animal in trying to obtain “better quality meat”, mickarooni and most all modern day hunters are off base. Nobody today from modern civilizations has to depend on game animals for major sources of nutrition. If they did preferences would switch to what hunter-gatherers sought out. There was no one age or sex that best suited everyone. Actually the age and level of activity of the humans matched the availability of nutrition within the bodies of the animal they hunted. Thus, those with limited chewing and digestive capabilities (the very young and very old) could best digest the meat of very old and very young herd animals. Yes, very old cows in good shape and living stress free lives have very mild and tender meat. And the broth from these animals also was sought out for delicate stomachs.

          The active age animals of extended family herds was the majority of herd population and this food matched the high nutrition needs of the large active component populations of extended human families. The more active the more we need high nutrition foods.

          If our present day “hunters” and game food providing ranchers are promoting and seeking out the young and female segments of herd animals for their own use then I’d have to say they are not as rugged and active as they want to believe they are. Or the mothers of the family have final say of what goes onto the table (of course she probably picks what she instinctively needs for the dependents without understanding her husbands nutritional needs)
          What I have said in earlier posts…that hunter – gatherers hunted herd extended families as one unit, such as the use of surrounds, piskins and jumps, had as much to do with providing the varied nutritional needs of the tribe as it did for efficiency of hunting (and by extension long term ecological sustainability of herd animal family structure) .

          The fact that “sportsmen” don’t have a clue of what animal to hunt or understand why they have the urge to hunt what they do, tells me that this countries game management system from the top down is very dysfunctional. The environment can not sustain this kind of skewed “knowledge” being handed out by both hunting “ecologists” or the “hunters” themselves.

  27. avatar kim kaiser says:

    “It’s like watching those AIG losers walk off with their bonuses of our money.”

    dont complain,, it was your president, your tax evading treasury secretary and your head of the finance and banking commitees that approved and allowed these so called losers,,to make off with the goods…your biggest concern is the validity of a simple contract in the United States in the future, not the dust up to cover there own tracks,,,

    the tax evader and Dodd have been caught in two documented public statement lies on who knew what,, goes to prove wall street is way smarter that congress,,

    • avatar JB says:

      “…goes to prove wall street is way smarter that congress…”

      It was this very thinking that lead to deregulation and got us in the mess we’re in now. Seriously, is anyone really all that surprised that when you let the greedy businessmen make their own rules, they set up the rules so they win at the expense of the rest of us?

  28. avatar bob jackson says:

    John D

    It was probably just a slip of words but bears are carnivores only if they have no training to eat vegetation. Of course it is the same as humans…we are omnivores only because our parents and ancestors have taught us to select vegetation that is edible.

    But then again I know of no grizzly bears (don’t know enough about polar bears to know if they eat vegetaion during the warm months, but I imagine they do) that are surrounded by enough animal food sources to exist solely on animals. Same for humans.

    Then we get to carnivore and omnivore prey. Science calls grazers herbivores but without training they are limited to “grassivore” status. The more dysfunctional the herds are the less they are able to learn from ancestors. Thus, the hunted herds of today are not nearly as ecologically compatable as those in this country pre whiteman. Just because it is “wild”does not mean everything is hunky dory. Actually today it is far from it.

    I also believe any discussion of cause and effect in the animal world today, as communicated in the writings of above, would be more accurate in assessment if state and federal wildlife agencies replaced (or added to) a fair number of institution trained big game and predator biologists with those from the field of abnormal psychology.

  29. avatar Travis says:

    Ralph…
    I can understand your situation during the program and that you were at a disadvantage. But why did you agree to that format, why were you not able to make it to Boise to appear live on the program?

    • avatar Travis says:

      P.S. Sorry came up with another question.
      You also spoke of lies that the F&G guy was spreading, could you give more details?

      • That lie is that Fish and Game can implement their wolf plan. They are politically weak and unable to resist a whole line of entrenched interests and personalities in the state legislature.

        Sixteen years ago the Commission had some talent on it; the Department was strong and protected by a governor (Andrus) who actually liked wildlife.

        • avatar Layton says:

          There was an initiative on the ballot in (I think) 1938 that was supposed to make F&G IMMUNE to politics. It passed by a majority vote of Idaho residents.

          Since then the politicians have been slowly eroding the effects/intent of that initiative to bring the department back under political control.

          Personally, I think it sucks!!

  30. No one said “come to Boise,” and I just assumed that the remote location would be nicely adjusted in, like it had been in the past. However, it turned out the Pocatello remote was half dismantled and being moved to a new building. Pocatello and Boise are 240 miles apart.

    Should have checked, however.

    I did watch it on the web last night, and the edited web version did look a bit better, so I’m not as dissatisfied. In my mind I think I nailed them.

    1. Idaho Fish and Game is politically impotent with the state legislature, so they can’t guarantee anything. You bet they didn’t want to talk about bighorn sheep because they can’t beat the legislature and the sheep operators on an animal everyone loves.

    2. The decline in elk in the Lolo was predicted way back in the 1970s. As predicted, it happened.

    3. You won’t get clients for your hunting camp or sale many elk tags if you broadcast to the world all the elk are gone regardless of how many are really there. The outfitters have engaged in ten year campaign that says, “don’t come here.”

    4. The fact that there are now over 1600 wolves is not relevant. The relevant number is how many there will be in 2-3 years.

    5. Wolf population growth is approaching its natural end.

    6. When they say wolf “management,” they always just mean “kill.” When they say elk management, the word means lots of things, as it should.

    • avatar bob jackson says:

      Ralph,

      I like your once removed deductive reasoning and assessments. Especially 3,4. and 6.

  31. avatar Travis says:

    It seems wildlife populations have a natural ebb and flow. I could just as easily predict a rebound in elk population in the Lolo now. It may or may not happen for another 40 years. Just as long as the previous prediction. And I don’t know the specifics about the sheep situation but the program was about wolves and the delisting of the wolf. The program probably was not the best forum to bring up the sheep in….not relevant to the debate at hand, especially considering the majority of the populous have no clue as to what you were speaking to.

  32. avatar Virginia says:

    Biran – I just watched the Bill Moyers report this afternoon on Wyoming PBS and thank you for pointing it out. It confirmed in my mind that I am a socialist and I think “socialism” needs to become a positive word as discussed in the interview. What an interesting man! The word “liberal” has for too long had a negative connotation – liberals are the people who have fought for civil rights, womens’ rights, union rights, animal rights and many of the successful social programs and laws our country has now to take care of our own people and country. How that term has become so negative is a result of the lies of the “right” and conservatism. Those of us who want our country saved need to embrace these socialistic programs and let them work for all of us.

  33. avatar Brian says:

    I do not see any talk about how an elk or a deer gets ‘weak’. If our elk herds were diseased and mostly old and sick animals; then the wolves could prey upon what you refer too.

    The real truth is that wolves chase elk and deer on often a daily basis. The totally healthy in the fall cow elk; or calf; or bull is effected by constant ‘harassment’ from wolves looking for the ‘slowest wagon’.

    The more the stress on the elk; the more they need to eat to survive. The more difficulty too: they have overcoming illness that would without wolf stresses- not lead to death.

    It would be ignorant to say that a pregnant cow elk that is chased by wolves uses the same amount of calories a day as a cow elk that is not chased by wolves.

    With wolves stressing animals more and more; the health of the elk herd decreases not increases; and the more weak the elk herd; the more prone to disease; as stress lowers the effectiveness of the immune system.

    More wolves equals more stress on wintering animals. Stress decreases the viability of animals.

    How then can a person that says they totally understand the wolf situation in Idaho – talk about wolves and predation; and leave out that so obvious a fact ?

    It is time we started killing wolves. To let them get to a level where they ‘naturally’ decline is to admit that they are subject to decline. But you make no mention of WHY a ‘natural’ decline in wolves will happen.

    Is the end result of your thinking – a bunch of sick and dying wolves? Is that an expectable thing to do too such an impressive animal?

    And when you say ‘natural death’; why do you not include actions by man? Are we not natural ?

    And where is the discussion about how the existing wolves of Idaho were ignored – to their detriment? Why were the existing wolves not subject matter?

    We have elk and deer herds stressed from constant contact with wolves; and it is causing increased deaths of animals; in a horrible way.

    How can you ethically support leaving the wolves uncontrolled: until they sicken and die off in numbers?

    How can you ethically stand by and let wolves stress elk and other animals to the point they either fall to the ripping teeth of the wolves- or to another tortuous death like the effects of cold; lack of food; and disease?

    Have you: that do not want to control the wolf population in a reasonable way – no pangs of guilt at all?

    I do not understand why you have forsaken the elk for the wolves; and I do not understand how you cannot feel sick over making so many elk so very miserable.

    Where are your hearts ?

    • Webmaster note: “Brian” above is not Brian Ertz.

    • I have plenty to say about this comment. See the italics below. RM

      I do not see any talk about how an elk or a deer gets ‘weak’. If our elk herds were diseased and mostly old and sick animals; then the wolves could prey upon what you refer too.

      Elk and deer become weak in many ways — age, injury, disease, lack of food, and hard winters are a classic way.

      The real truth is that wolves chase elk and deer on often a daily basis. The totally healthy in the fall cow elk; or calf; or bull is effected by constant ‘harassment’ from wolves looking for the ’slowest wagon’.

      It is well known from Yellowstone Park winter studies that elk vulnerability increases as the winter lingers on, and the kill rates usually increase too.

      The more the stress on the elk; the more they need to eat to survive. The more difficulty too: they have overcoming illness that would without wolf stresses- not lead to death.

      All animals and plants, including humans, have developed mechanisms to survive hard times. Furthermore, those that eat the plants or other animals have developed ways to exploit their stress.

      Winter is the time of the wolf, but summer is the time when wolves have the difficulty because their prey is strong and fast. In the summer wolves don’t have the advantage of the snow, and the pack often has extra mouths to feed.

      It would be ignorant to say that a pregnant cow elk that is chased by wolves uses the same amount of calories a day as a cow elk that is not chased by wolves.

      With wolves stressing animals more and more; the health of the elk herd decreases not increases; and the more weak the elk herd; the more prone to disease; as stress lowers the effectiveness of the immune system.

      I think wolves have stressed their prey at about the same level (with yearly and seasonal variations) for thousands of years.

      More wolves equals more stress on wintering animals. Stress decreases the viability of animals.

      How then can a person that says they totally understand the wolf situation in Idaho – talk about wolves and predation; and leave out that so obvious a fact ?


      Can you give an example that wolf researchers do not realize that wolves and other predators stress their prey?

      It is time we started killing wolves. To let them get to a level where they ‘naturally’ decline is to admit that they are subject to decline. But you make no mention of WHY a ‘natural’ decline in wolves will happen.

      They seem to be nearing a level of stability. Whether this will be followed by a decline in not known yet.

      Is the end result of your thinking – a bunch of sick and dying wolves? Is that an expectable thing to do too such an impressive animal?

      Wolves that have lack of food sometimes starve, but they also deal with the situation in other ways. 1. Packs have few to no pups (perhaps humans could learn from the wolf?). 2. Wolves fight for territory and kill each other. 3. Disease sets in. However, the two major diseases impacting wolf survival right now are not native — canine distemper and mange.

      And when you say ‘natural death’; why do you not include actions by man? Are we not natural ?

      Humans are not artificial. However, we have been developing better and better artificial ways for killing things for thousands of years. Note: the opposite of “natural” is “artificial.” I don’t think the work “unnatural” makes any sense.

      And where is the discussion about how the existing wolves of Idaho were ignored – to their detriment? Why were the existing wolves not subject matter?

      There were very few wolves in Idaho prior to the reintroduction. Just 3 have been identified, and they were all males. The details and fate of these three has been discussed here many times. Please do a web search.

      We have elk and deer herds stressed from constant contact with wolves; and it is causing increased deaths of animals; in a horrible way.

      Is being eaten any more horrible than starving?

      How can you ethically support leaving the wolves uncontrolled: until they sicken and die off in numbers?

      Wolves as a whole will not sicken and die off, but very few wolves live to die of old age, now or in the past.

      How can you ethically stand by and let wolves stress elk and other animals to the point they either fall to the ripping teeth of the wolves- or to another tortuous death like the effects of cold; lack of food; and disease?

      Are you saying you want to domesticate wild animals and provide them a safe and happy life?

      Have you: that do not want to control the wolf population in a reasonable way – no pangs of guilt at all?

      Are the workings of nature evil? That is a philosophical question. They might be, but I don’t think I am responsible for anything but human suffering.

      I do not understand why you have forsaken the elk for the wolves; and I do not understand how you cannot feel sick over making so many elk so very miserable.

      I am interested in all animals. I see it as a system, not a group of good animals and bad animals. I am disturbed that the reality of predation has been lost on many people. Is is reality. In fact it is called “the food chain.” You and I are part of it, although we have greatly altered it to our advantage and the disadvantage of wild animals.

      Where are your hearts ?

      Where is you head? No, I’m sorry. That is harsh. I just don’t think you understand that living in the wild is often hard, but then so is civilization. We will all die, and unless we are euthanized, it is likely to be unpleasant. I would rather be taken down by bear, cougar or wolf than die of some lingering disease in a hospital stuck full of tubes, all the while depleting the financial and emotional resources of my family.

  34. avatar JEFF E says:

    Brian says,
    “How can you ethically stand by and let wolves stress elk and other animals to the point they either fall to the ripping teeth of the wolves- or to another tortuous death like the effects of cold; lack of food; and disease?”

    Are you serious pal?
    You do understand we are talking about wild animals?

    “I do not understand why you have forsaken the elk for the wolves; and I do not understand how you cannot feel sick over making so many elk so very miserable.”
    Are you really trying to attribute human values and emotions to an animal?

    you sound like some of the posters on that bowsite blog.
    very limited understanding of how nature works

  35. avatar Barb says:

    Ralph, I commend and admire you for your patience and willingness to teach anyone, no matter how little their knowledge may be. In all honesty, at first I thought this “Brian” was joking!

    He is definitely attributing human qualities to animals. That is what us “animal huggers” are always accused of. I don’t even see that the wolves are “being cruel” the elk as they are wild animals!

    That said, I do feel that humans are in fact “being very cruel” with factory farming, as man has the brain to know what he is doing, and chooses to do it anyway. Same with the seal hunt, a gruesome and barbaric way to treat any living animal.

    • It would be interesting some time to discuss whether moral or ethical judgments can properly be applied to living organisms of any kind other than human beings as judged by their peers.

      I mean a “bad” dog is one that does not behave the way we wish it to. It may be untrainable, destructive of things humans value. It might even kill someone, and for all human intents and purposes it is bad and must be destroyed.

      However, apart from the human point of view, can it be called “bad,” or “evil” in a more general sense?

      Likewise, can a wolf really be cruel? Is there an objective test? What would the wolf’s packmates say if we could discern their thoughts?

  36. avatar bob jackson says:

    I can not distinguish between wild and not wild. To me it all is very subjective to judge otherwise. I also believe animals have the same emotions as humans do. I believe this when I shoot family groups of bison. I kill the mothers, daughters, sons and fathers. I know what they feel when they see one of their family go down. I know when I wound a big bull and he goes behind the only protection available…a big bale of hay…and he peeks around this bale to then see me shoot him. I see no other than universal emotions in him and I have to pray for him and his family.

    When it comes to defining “nature” I don’t think there is any difference in the death of a human or the murder of a buffalo. To do so is the start of abuse and the demeaning of anything when we take “advantage”.

    It is the same attitude of abuse when a population at war start thinking of the opposition as sub humans. Without understanding death we have to “dehumanize” it.

    I think it is the same mental liability whether we limit our views of “wild” animals whether they are thought of as below us or placed on the false pedestal of paternalism. With either we are then unable to understand them enough to keep from doing damage to them.

    Emotions have nothing to do with the size of the brain. And what does the size of a brain really mean? In humans maybe it means an aberration of species survivability. Big brains, I believe, are unjustly elevated in status the more we, as a species, have to depend more on individuals than the composite of extended family needs.

    Finally I believe the only thing worse than having the understanding of being cruel to other life is not having the knowledge that we are all the same. There, the world as seen by Bob.

    • avatar JEFF E says:

      Bob,
      so you believe animals comprehend life, death, past, present and future, including a “hereafter”, in exactly the same way as a human does?
      Also when I refer to “wild animals” I am intuiting the dichotomy of wild and domestic and how each sub-group survives.

    • avatar JEFF E says:

      To go a step further, Bob, you maintain that when a predator; wolf, lion, hyena, fish, bird, etc. invites another animal to be dinner, and that animal is still breathing and pumping blood while the relationship is consummated, that the predator has full understanding and comprehension at the same level as a human would about what it is engaged in?

    • avatar JB says:

      “I also believe animals have the same emotions as humans do….Emotions have nothing to do with the size of the brain.”

      Respectfully, this simply is not true. There is an extensive literature on emotions in the fields of psychology and neuropsycholgy. While it is true that the part of the brain responsible for emotions (i.e. the amygdalae) evolved long ago in our ancestors, and is thus quite similar to the amygdalae of other large mammals, the emotions that we feel are not limited to these initial responses; human emotions, and I assume animal emotions as well, are a combination of basic “felt” responses processed in the amygdalae AND our cognitive interpretation of those responses, processed in the rest of the brain. Because cognition is a function of brain size, it is simply wrong to assume that all animals feel and interpret emotional signals the same way.

      Our reaction when we are fearful (for example) is similar to other animals in that our brains send signals to the rest of our body that prepare us to fight or flee (e.g. increased heart rate, burst of adrenaline, etc.), but our cognitive interpretation of that response–our recognition that we are afraid, the source of that fear, the possible consequences, and our decision as to what to do in response, simply cannot be compared to that of a bison, wolf, bobcat, horse, deer, etc.

      • My feeling is that animal emotions are more similar to human emotion the more similar the animal is to us.

        Specifically, this means the great apes and animals that are self-conscious.

        Self-consciousness is not the same as consciousness.

        The brains of some animals are capable of (much?) more sophisticated thought than we actually see.

        By teaching them language and introducing them to technology they can use for themselves, we could radically alter the direction of some species.

        Big questions are “should we do it?” “Are we ethically obligated to do it, or perhaps obligated not to thrust them into a new cognitive world?

        • avatar JB says:

          I agree; the more similar their physiology is to ours, the more similar their mental processes *should* be. I think most people understand this intuitively. It is one of the reasons why they’re willing to vote for bans on compound 1080 or leg hold traps, but not bat an eyelash at the use chemicals that kill millions of insects.

    • avatar JEFF E says:

      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29848167/
      Is it fair to surmise that these dragons planed, stalked, and attacked with the same level of comprehension and also possess the ability to plan for possible future events and contingencies as humans do?

  37. avatar RE Chizmar says:

    Bob, you are one fascinating cat — and I mean that in a complimentary way for the most part. I’ve always enjoyed your thought-provoking posts and have learned much from your entries. I appreciate your brutal honesty – you very well could have ignored your participation in the slaughter of — and you certainly don’t sugarcoat it — family groups of bison. But therein lies my confusion w/ you, what compels or why would a man such as yourself, who has enjoyed life and who has seen all you have in the past, placed himself in a position at this time of your life wherein you serve as the rifleman for the buffalo meatlocker? And I ask this respectfully b/c when you write, “I kill the mothers, daughters, sons and fathers. I know what they feel when they see one of their family go down. I know when I wound a big bull and he goes behind the only protection available…a big bale of hay…and he peeks around this bale to then see me shoot him” — I sense remorse, not the joy of – or for that matter ambivalence for — slaughter. The visual of the big bull seeking protection behind hay and then peering at you as you kill him is very gut-wrenching, powerful reality – if not literal prose. Why do it Bob? And when you claim you pray for the big bull — are you praying that his brethren do not meet you in their future? I don’t buy the god-thing, and I’m also confused by your comment in this vein.

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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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