I sense that folks want to have another open discussion thread-

Discuss what you will.

 
avatar
About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

91 Responses to Open discussion thread

  1. avatar paulWTAMU says:

    Wildlife recolonization. How do we encourage setting up structures to make it possible? While I’d *love* to go and reintroduce cougars, wolves, bison, elk, river otters and numerous others throughout their historic ranges we don’t have unlimited resources to do so. We also don’t have unlimited animals to transplant. So it seems to me that perhaps it’d be best to focus on reintroducing various animals into a few locations, and trying to ensure that they can repopulate their historic range. It’s just how do we go about that? How do you construct wildlife migration corridors, and allow local populations to build up enough to force dispersal?

  2. avatar davej says:

    Are there any on-line documents available that show what should be included in a BLM grazing allotment EA, what constitutes an adequate analysis by the agency, and how to appeal? It would be great if someone made available some kind of handbook so citizens could watch over the allotments they are most familiar with.

    • avatar Brian Ertz says:

      davej,

      this is a great idea – i’ve been thinking about putting together a wiki for just such a thing – though it’s an enormous undertaking. one reason for it being so is that different places are governed differently – and that’s changing a lot.

      this is generally why groups (responsive to members) exist. you may have read about wwp’s actions in Washington with Whiskey Dick, Pintler, Asotin, etc. – all of that came about because a member – a citizen – called up, asked for help, and was willing to do a bit of the legwork to keep an eye on what was going on.

      if you give me a call at the hailey office – or shoot an email, i’m sure we’d be happy to work with anyone to keep an eye on allotments, walk through an EA, and help with any other tools that may be necessary.

      thanks for the suggestion about the online resource, that may just the motivation i need to start on that wiki ~ 😉

      • avatar smalltownID says:

        Ng, S. J. 2004 Use of highway undercrossings by wildlife in southern California. In biological conservation.

        This study was about already existing corridors that weren’t built for wildlife but were used by wildlife.

        Reply
        smalltownID Says:
        March 24, 2009 at 10:50 AM
        Mata, C. 2008 Are motorway wildlife passages worth building? Vertebrate use of road-crossing structures on a Spanish motorway. Published in journal of environmental management.

        This is probably the most recent and best pub IMO on this issue. There are a scarcity of studies similar to this one. They found structure type and width to be the most important factors. I don’t know why no one in Colorado is studying the efficacy of the wildlife overpasses they have implemented there. I am not aware of any. It would sure be nice to have that data…. especially considering the investment!!!

    • avatar Greta says:

      There is a great handbook (slightly outdated, but still useful) called, “How Not to Be Cowed.” It covers the basics about grazing NEPA, appeals, and the role of the public in keeping the agency honest. You can download it here:
      http://www.publiclandsranching.org/htmlres/PDF/not_be_cowed.pdf

      Good luck!

  3. avatar Layton says:

    I’m not feeling to well this AM, I don’t think anyone that enjoys the outdoors and particularly elk hunting — is.

    I went to the Idaho F&G Commission meeting last night in Boise. It was the public input portion of their spring meeting to set seasons for Big Game for 2009.

    I have never been much of a believer in the (pretty commonly held) theory that the introduction of wolves was really a massive effort to end hunting as we know it — but I’m certainly starting to see that it could be true!!

    Elk seasons are being cut and capped all over the state. Controlled hunts are becoming almost non-existent and many tag numbers are being “capped” or even eliminated.

    I saw outfitters that have been in business for over 30 years asking the commission to close or curtail seasons in the areas where they make their living!! Because the number of animals is down so far.

    I think everyone here knows that the Lolo Zone numbers are down, but the Stanley area (Sawtooth Zone) was referred to – more than once – as the “Lolo of the South”. One outfitter (yes, I know, he’s an outfitter) talked about the spring flights to count the elk. Several years back the count averaged about 1900 — this year it was less than 200!!

    There was one reason cited — you know what it was — it was wolves!!

    Yes, at this point it’s a lot of that old word that folks here like to discount — the dreaded “anecdotal” — and I know that folks in Idaho are nothing but a bunch of unemployed, uninformed, 20 years behind, low foreheaded rednecks —but the real point is that ALL of the information pointed the SAME WAY.

    One gentleman from Sun Valley has been observing the Phantom Hill pack and another one in the area, he talked of the kills that he has seen in driveways and cross country ski trails. It seems that each pack averages about one elk a day. He evidently likes wolves but thinks they need some control.

    Even the ICL (I think the gentleman’s last name was Russel) said that it was in favor of a wolf season.

    Damn it!! ALL of the people that spend time in the hills CANNOT BE WRONG!! We have a disaster of major proportions working and all that the wolf supporters want to do is HANG THE DELISTING UP IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM!!

    Yes, I know I’m yelling, but when is enough enough?? The wolves are recovered, a little bit of common sense and looking back at history would tell you that all the hunters in Idaho can never get enough of them to get them back on the ESA’s list. Why can’t you just let the promised delisting happen??

    • avatar matt bullard says:

      Layton – I won’t even try to dispute that wolves are having an effect on elk, because I’m sure they are and I’m fine with that. But I wonder why nobody ever mentions the persistent 10+ year drought as a reason why elk are doing as well as some might expect or desire. I guess it isn’t as sexy a topic and doesn’t get people as riled up as wolves. If only we could find a way to open a hunting season on the drought or tax people for it, maybe that would get people interested and off the notion that wolves are to blame for everything…

    • avatar mikarooni says:

      Last winter (07-08) saw unusually deep snows from northwest Wyoming up across southwest Montana and up into Idaho. Although this last year’s elk count wasn’t bad, the calf ratio was down, predictably, and we’re seeing the usual suspects in Montana politics blaming the usual suspects in the field (wolves). There will be proper reasons, a proper time, and proper circumstances for wolf delisting and Idaho isn’t ready.

      • avatar Ryan says:

        Mika,

        Why not? All of the Federal requirements for Idaho’s wolf populations has been exceeded.

    • avatar David says:

      What makes me a little confused is that nobody brings up the 25 year old study of wolf-moose interaction on Isle Royale in these discussions about wolf killing all the ungulates…

      I really enjoy deer hunting, though I have never had the opportunity to hunt Elk. As Ralph has suggested, part of being an avid outdoorsman and hunter is definitely the fascination with the ecosystem, and the well-being of the system as a WHOLE. Given my interest in the whole, I support reintroductions of predators, because of the benefits to the system, though perhaps to the detriment of total ungulate populations.

      You can’t separate the discussion from science and still have a meaningful argument, so let’s talk about Isle Royale. Moose and Wolf populations boom and bust on exactly opposing cycles. Wolves go up, Ungulates go down, and vice versa. This is documented scientifically in Isle Royale, why should it be different in Idaho? So if you’ve got wolves, get ready for fluctuating tag numbers and spring counts. Hunters talk about fewer tags like its the end of the world…. What about the effect the death of the ecosystem would have on elk populations??? Maybe the elk will boom if we re-eradicate wolves, but what about the song-birds, beavers, muskrat, and trout that lose their habitat in the river-bottoms??

      Nobody said its your divine right to shoot as many elk as you can eat in a season. If that’s what you want, get out your wallet and go to a private ranch… But PUBLIC lands are for the PRESERVATION OF THE WILD, predators and all!… NOT for the preservation of hunters’ elk tags. Get over it, go back to your roots, and open your eyes to the wonder and beauty of the last remaining wild places in the US… you might learn something, and you might even find out that experiencing true wilderness is as delightful as shooting your fifteenth elk!

      • avatar Layton says:

        Comparing the Isle Royale study with moose to the Northwest’s current problems with elk is apples and oranges.

        On Isle Royale the wolves are the ONLY predator the moose have to contend with — except ticks. In the Northwest we have bears and cats as apex predators to mix with the wolves.

        Ah hell, it doesn’t matter, it’s all been said before. Nobody on the wolfie side is going to listen to anything — scientific, anecdotal or anything else — that would suggest we have to many of their pets.

        • avatar Moose says:

          Layton,

          I agree it is apples and oranges…the moose on Isle Royale don’t have human predators.

  4. Layton,

    Did they just hand you some talking points?

    “Lolo of the South.” This is the exact phrase the Fish and Game PR flak used in the debate the other day. Phrases like that don’t emerge spontaneously.

    I can read “organized PR effort” all over this.
    – – – – – –
    A conspiracy to end hunting? If so, what a failure!

    • avatar Ryan says:

      “A conspiracy to end hunting? If so, what a failure!”

      Really Ralph,

      Lets see just ancedotally, tag numbers have been cut across the board for both moose and elk. Any mention of Delisting brings on lawsuit after lawsuit. Most of the outspoken prowolf supporters constantly bad mouth hunters and outfitters. (terms like cabelas queens, killers etc) I’m not ready to put my foil hat on yet… But I can see why alot of people put a ton of stock in that theory.

      • Ryan,

        My father-in-law was an outfitter. I am proud of the fact. He died with his boots on in the Frank.
        – – – –
        People keep filing lawsuits until there is a final victory or defeat, or they run out of money.

        • avatar Ryan says:

          I wasn’t singling you out in particular Ralph, but you have to see how that many would buy into that theory.

  5. avatar Layton says:

    No Ralph,

    A failure, I don’t think so!! If the tags are being cut, the hunts are being capped, the seasons are being shortened — isn’t that exactly how a successful effort would manifest itself??

    “Hand me some talking points”?? Do you REALLY think that F&G (or anybody else) could get me to go along with an “organized PR effort”?? You HAVE to be kidding!!

    Remember me?? I’m the token “contrarian” around here. I can assure you that there would be ABSOLUTELY no way I would go along with it. Are you looking for some kind of a black helicopter laden conspiracy or what??

    Is this why this wolf thing is so ongoing?? Are you folks on the side of the wolf so paranoid that you take a jaundiced view of anyone that disputes your apparent love affair with the wolves??

    The people in the planes doing the counting and the folks in the woods are NOT some kind of robots that the terrible Idaho F&G have trained to do their bidding. Inject a bit of realism somewhere in the scenario.

    Matt,

    Drought??? Really??? Give me a break. We have had pretty good snow years for several years now, last year broke records in some spots. This year’s precip. is about 85-90% in most of the state.

    Stanley has some of the most productive range there is. The McCall zone (which will be the next disaster) has habitat up the gazoo from the fires back in 94 and 95 then again in 07. There are just not enough elk to fill it up!!

    • Layton (heads up)-

      You and a couple of your friends are the ones who keep much of this blog focused endlessly on wolves and elk hunting, or the supposed lack thereof.

      I have no love affair with wolves. I am fond of all wildlife pretty much equally, although I could never get personally excited about birdwatching.

      I urge you to reduce your interest in this one subject and become interested in other wildlife and conservation issues in general. If I had my way, and I might, we would talk a lot more about the damage done by public land sheep and cattle operators.

      Perhaps you and the 3 or 4 friends you have recruited onto this blog should refocus your attention more to the bowhunters blog.

    • avatar matt bullard says:

      Drought isn’t just about winter snow, though a couple of average, near average, or above average years does not break a drought. Well above average summertime temps, early snowmelt, and longer summer seasons also affect drought conditions. It’s never as simple as you seem to want to make it out to be…

  6. avatar Ryan says:

    Lets start a thread in this open thread to talk about weird findings in the woods or the strangest thing you have ever seen. Anybody that has spent anytime in the backcountry or even the front country has most likely met some “interesting” people or seen behaviors that would make darwin roll in his grave.

    • avatar Linda Hunter says:

      Ryan that is a good idea. I once saw a black rooster 25 miles from any open roads deep in the forest where no chicken should survive, but there he was walking, no strutting, down the trail in the sun as if he was king of the woods.

      • avatar Ken Cole says:

        I saw an emu on the South Fork of the Boise River and I saw a chukar at the Warm Lake boat ramp in the spring time (I even have a photo).

        • avatar C Gibson says:

          I think I saw that bird (emu) on the south fork of the Boise, as well! Thought it might have been some freak Sandhill Crane or something. it was weird. Of course, I also ran into Bruce Willis fishing that same hole one night. Strange place but great fishing. cg

      • avatar Ryan says:

        I saw a peacock in the Kalmyopsis wilderness last year, 30 miles from any civilization and 10 miles from any road. I camped next to some hikers in the Mtn Lakes wilderness that had a full bear alarm system set up with a string of bells on fishing line staked out in a 40 ft perimeter around there camp. The best part was they still had all of their food in their tent.

        • avatar smalltownID says:

          3 years ago hiking in the white clouds there was a black helicopter flying around chamberlain basin just above the tree tops. We continued our fishing trip and a couple days later on our way out ran into a father with his 3 daughters hiking into the lakes. He took us aside and told us he came over the ridge that runs south from cache peak (I beleive it is called) and there was a guy in tattered clothes on the trail, when he saw him he started making grunting noises and reminded him of a mentally handicapped person and quickly stumbled into the forest .

          Didn’t personally see the wierd guy but it was the same day we saw the chopper flying over the boulder chain lakes within a mile or two of there. And it wasn’t a chopper the fish and game uses I’ll tell you that. Don’t know why a guy would come up with a story like that.

          Not used to the comments within comments yet

        • avatar Ken Cole says:

          I saw a forest fire that had just started and later found out that it was caused by the crash of a warthog fighter jet that had crashed because the pilot was scouting for elk. This was in the 80’s sometime near Deadwood/Bear Valley area.

          I don’t remember if the pilot was killed or not but I think he was.

    • avatar Tilly says:

      I was rolling up my tent in a low elevation, steep forested area of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness (yes… in the dreaded Lolo Zone) when a pure white mountain goat came rocketing down the slope at top speed directly towards me, closer, closer, closer and finally veered mere inches away.

      I figured he was a confused and wayward youth.

    • avatar Jim says:

      This one time…at band camp…kidding. Really though, 3 years ago in the Nicolet Forest in northern Wisconsin. My dog and I camped where we were the only people at the campsite about 10 miles from the nearest town …it was getting towards dusk and I sat beside the lake contemplating life and also the death of my wife 7 months earlier. I had heard about the wolves up there but never heard one or saw one there. Well, after a while I stood up and let out a primal scream at the top of my lungs. F…#……#…..k… because I was so pissed that my wife was gone. Moments later I was answered by a few wolves howling back at me. They were fairly close by and it put a chill up my spine! It changed me because I think they could feel my pain. I have gone back each year since and will probably do so for the rest of my life!!!

      • avatar matt bullard says:

        Jim – that is a wonderful story, even though it was surely painful. Thanks for sharing…

    • avatar JB says:

      Thanks for starting this thread, Ryan.

      Several years ago, while visiting Yosemite NP, I watched a “robust” gentlemen feed the remainder of his ice cream cone to a black-tailed deer. When the cone was finished the man looked up triumphantly and laughed; consequently, he didn’t see the deer when it reared up kicked him hard in the knee. Then I laughed! Hopefully, the bast&rd learned his lesson.

  7. avatar timz says:

    I once saw something very strange in the woods. An Idaho elk hunter that was on foot and not hung over.

    • avatar Craig says:

      Nice generalization! I wonder why Hunters find people on this website offensive. Though I feel you were trying to be funny, it just pisses people off that Hunt and do care about the enviroment.

      • It would be a good if those who comment here not call people “rednecks,” “wolf-huggers,” “environmental extremists” — any of those words, phrases or jokes that make someone grit their teeth rather than think.

        I’m can be guilty of this too. . . so a note to everyone, including myself.

        • avatar Craig says:

          Thanks for that Ralph! I have lived in Idaho my whole life (37) years and I Hunt, Fish, Hike and love nothing more than being in the outdoors! I have read your website for more than 8 years and have never posted! I really enjoy being in the Sawtooths, White clouds and Clear water, I know them like the back of my hands! I also travel to Yellowstone at least twice a year, spring and fall. I find your site very informative, probably the best on Idaho issues! I thank you for your work and what you do to keep us informed on important issues. The reason I’ve never posted is most people on here are so negative towards Hunters! They always seem to put us down and say we are the bad guys. If everyone could realize we are in this fight together and get over simple generalizations, it would help in what needs to be done on protecting the inviorment and the Wildlife!

        • Craig,

          Thank you!

          I’m trying my best to avoid a split between hunters and those who don’t. We also don’t need a split by education, length of residence, age . . . all of that stuff that has been used to divide and conquer us.

          Those interests who want to squeeze the every bit of adventure and life out of the West know that they have to divide those who hunt from those who don’t because together the big majority wants to keep Idaho and all these outdoor places free and open and full of lots of wildlife.

          I think most of us here know deep down that what we have in common should be greater than our differences.

  8. avatar Virginia says:

    Ralph – I used to denigrate bird watchers until we built bird feeders and put out a bird bath for the little characters. I now watch gold finches while I wash the dishes – it is so entertaining. Then, I go out in the front and watch the doves, flickers, sparrows, pine siskins, cross-bills, etc. enjoying the food and water we put out. I know it is not exciting, but watching a robin take a bath in the bird bath is hilarious. And, you are right, if you feed the birds, you will get hawks. We have had all sizes and sorts of hawks around, and unbelievably, last week we had a bald eagle land in our field. It was incredible.

    • avatar timz says:

      We did the same thing (feeders, etc) and although I am not big on bird watching my wife really likes it and can name most birds that come around.

    • I don’t denigrate bird watchers. My wife loves it, but I think it is a bit slow and time for a nap.

      On the other hand, when I begin my discourse on the development of the Western Overthrust Belt, she thinks that’s like an eternity. 😉
      – – – –
      We did feed birds for a while, but quit because of the gathering of felines below the feeder, waiting for a bird to make a mistake. We were also helping fuel a squirrel population explosion in the neighborhood.

      • avatar jdubya says:

        we quit feeding the birds ’cause it attracted rats and mice, which then attracted rattlesnakes. nothing like walking out to fill the feeder in the front yard and get the buzzing going!

      • avatar JEFF E says:

        I have a neighbor that not only feeds birds but feels that squirrels need a constant supply of peanuts. I spend a good bit of time watching the damn things run back and forth with Mr. Peanut in their jaws looking for a spot to bury it in my yard. The neighbor must buy close to a hundred dollars worth a year if not more, about 3/4 of which is “squirreled away” in my yard.

  9. avatar ChrisH says:

    It would be nice if those who use this could refrain from using the ‘poor me” or “poor us”. For example (and I am not picking on you Layton because both sides of the coin do this)
    “and I know that folks in Idaho are nothing but a bunch of unemployed, uninformed, 20 years behind, low foreheaded rednecks” or “Most of the outspoken prowolf supporters constantly bad mouth hunters and outfitters. (terms like cabelas queens, killers etc)”
    These are ploys to put others on the defensive. Of course it would help others would not resort to the name calling. None of that really adds anything to ones argument and in fact detracts from most conversation.
    I have to say I’m with matt and mikarooni on this one. Just because it snows does not mean there is not a drought.
    As far as the cutbacks affecting hunters and outfitters, why should they be immune to cutbacks when the whole freaking country is cutting back. I feel bad for people that have to “close up shop” as it were, even if they did last 30 or 100 or 1 year. But, this is not something that is only happening to hunters and outfitters – just ask the 20,000,000 people that lost their job last year.
    Generally speaking, all wildlife populations go through cycles that often swing wildly. If it is down now, it will surely rise later – IF humans don’t screw up the equation to much.
    Moreover, has anyone considered the effects of wolf pack fracturing from heavy hunting pressure? Does it REALLY solve the elk “problem” or does it just push consequenses in another direction?

  10. avatar smalltownID says:

    That was a good one Tim. 🙂

    Matt B. has a good point about bringing up other factors influencing elk and other big game herds, but I am really getting sick of this supposed “10 year drought”. Such broad sweeping statements ( also from the other side -“tags for big game have been cut across the board”) with no data to back them up get old and only polarize the issue. Most ppl don’t negate the fact that wolves are having a negative impact but there are other factors that may be just as detrimental. For instance, two independent scientists with study areas in different parts of the west (one of them Doug Smith) cited last year’s heavy snows as one cause for decline, particularly bull elk. My study area in Idaho was 800% of the ten year average for snow the same year (07-08). 200% of 10 yr. average this year (08-09). Damn this drought!!!

    It is too bad no one (it appears) made it to the wildlife society meetings in Moscow a couple weeks ago. I think it would be great to get the ball rolling on the wildlife migration corridors. I will post some recent pubs on that Ias well as Smith’s pub on Elk decline.

    One of the other scientific presentations at the meetings was on predator-prey ratios and how useless they are in science which is one of the weapons we hunters use all the time in basing our arguments (Al Gore too – using correlations)

    • avatar matt bullard says:

      I’ve not got the time this time around to dig out statistics on whether or not precipitation is above, below, or normal for 10 years or otherwise. *Generally*, precip in our part of the country is below the 30 year “normal”, but I’m sure one can find various areas and/or years where that’s not the case (last winter being a pretty obvious example of that). You did pick up on my main point, that there are many factors that influence elk populations. Let’s see if we can get Brian to chime in on bovine competition for forage and how it affects elk numbers! 🙂

      • avatar smalltownID says:

        I get sick of generalizations about vast areas like “the west” and maybe that is an artifact of being a scientist.

        • avatar matt bullard says:

          There are plenty of scientists who study vast areas and long time scales. Just because a general statement about a “vast” area is made doesn’t mean it isn’t scientifically defensible. I’m a scientist, too!

        • avatar smalltownID says:

          And all this time I thought you were the Houston Rocket’s matt bullard…

  11. avatar smalltownID says:

    On the other topic, 3 years ago hiking in the white clouds there was a black helicopter flying around chamberlain basin just above the tree tops. We continued our fishing trip and a couple days later on our way out ran into a father with his 3 daughters hiking into the lakes. He took us aside and told us he came over the ridge that runs south from cache peak (I beleive it is called) and there was a guy in tattered clothes on the trail, when he saw him he started making grunting noises and reminded him of a mentally handicapped person and quickly stumbled into the forest .

    Didn’t personally see the wierd guy but it was the same day we saw the chopper flying over the boulder chain lakes within a mile or two of there. And it wasn’t a chopper the fish and game uses I’ll tell you that. Don’t know why a guy would come up with a story like that.

  12. avatar smalltownID says:

    Ng, S. J. 2004 Use of highway undercrossings by wildlife in southern California. In biological conservation.

    This study was about already existing corridors that weren’t built for wildlife but were used by wildlife.

  13. avatar smalltownID says:

    Mata, C. 2008 Are motorway wildlife passages worth building? Vertebrate use of road-crossing structures on a Spanish motorway. Published in journal of environmental management.

    This is probably the most recent and best pub IMO on this issue. There are a scarcity of studies similar to this one. They found structure type and width to be the most important factors. I don’t know why no one in Colorado is studying the efficacy of the wildlife overpasses they have implemented there. I am not aware of any. It would sure be nice to have that data…. especially considering the investment!!!

  14. avatar Virginia says:

    Some Good News! United States Environmental Protection Agency today halts mountaintop removal coal mining!

  15. avatar Virginia says:

    I read about it on Daily Kos, a liberal blog.

  16. avatar Davej says:

    Greta,
    Thanks for the link to “How not to be cowed”.

    Dave

  17. I attended the Idaho Fish and Game Commission meetings in Boise this week and thought a few items might be of interest.
    1. Wolves :Approved a hunting season starting Sept. 15 if delisting occurs. A proposal to auction authority to kill a wolf pack and make some money for the fish and game department was proposed by the Assistant director of the IDFG. The commisioners were very enthusiastic about the idea.

    White Pelicans : A management plan was passed which calls for the redution of white pelican numbers in the Blackfoot River drainage and the Minidoka Wildlife Refuge. If I understood the plan correctly, that would entaill killing a couple of thousand pelicans.

    Grizzly Bears: A resolution was passed opposing any reintroduction of Grizzlies into the Bitterroot/Selway area of Idaho.

    In listening to the commisioners yesterday, I felt like I had been sent back to 1890.

    • Thanks Larry,

      This is important. The commission is very regressive, composed mostly of politicians with ties to Idaho industries of the past.

      Unfortunately the “great recession” has empowered them so that they can command absolute obedience in the Department of Fish and Game.

  18. avatar Save bears says:

    I worked a sportsman show this last weekend in Spokane, WA and I was amazed at all the negative comments I got from Idaho residents about reintroducing Grizz to the Selway/Bitterroot area! I also had many interesting conversations about wolves, most prevalent was the discussions about wolves sport killing, which I explained to many really was not the case, I tried to explain it to them in terms they understood and think I might have actually got through to a few of the hunters who had these concerns.

  19. I testified at the Monday night meeting of the IDFG commissioners and proposed funding some of the departments’ operating costs from state general fund monies that come from sales tax on puchases by wildlife watchers and photographers, which are at least equal to the purchases of the hunting community, to help support those activities and give such non-hunting groups some financial clout with the commission. The idea was received with great enthusiasm by the IDFG director and most of the commission. I think that getting the Idaho legislature to provide some sales tax money to the IDFG would give non-hunting groups some say in how wolves and other predators are managed. I am not opposed to hunting, and hunted for many years. I just think the whole process is driven by the fact that the IDFG gets its’ operating money almost entirely from hunters and fishermen. Other opinions are generally ignored.
    31 other states provide general fund or lottery money to their fish and game departments. The Arizona Fish and Game department is in charge of Mexican Wolf and Black Footed Ferret reintroductions in that state and gets Lottery and Casino monies to support those actions. The Arizona Fish and Game employees that I met in Arizona last month, while looking for Wolves and Ferrets, seemed very supportive of both reintroductions.
    I also testified that I would support wolf management that was supported by biological information and not driven by anti-wolf emotional and political bias. Most of the commissioners seemed to agree with me. However, in Tuesdays’ meetings, I discovered that many of the commissioners consider shooting Idaho wolves back to ten packs as the “biologically correct” management plan.

    • avatar mikarooni says:

      Ten packs would seem a bit sparse to be “biologically correct” for a state the size of Idaho. Don’t you think they might have been shinin’ you on a little when they “seemed to agree” with you.

  20. avatar Wolfy says:

    I just wanted to mention an article in The Wildlife Society’s Professional Wildlifer. The article is titled “The Danger of Wolves” by Valerius Geist, PHD. Despite The Wildlife Society being a scientificly based group and their publications being peer reviewed, politics has creeped into the publications that it prints. “The Danger of Wolves” is an emotionally charged piece that leans on the speculation and extremism. I have been a member of The Wildlife Society for over 20 years, but I am rethinking my involvement with this group. Somehow, over the last few years, The Wildlife Society has turned from a group that was wildlife science and management-minded to a group that has losened its scientific standards. There are now more papers in their publications that lack the zeal of intense peer review. To put it bluntly, they are putting out some crap science. “The Danger of Wolves” article is just one of the questionable products that they produce these days. Seems that they are catering to the hook-and-bullet crowd too much while neglecting the scientific path.

  21. Wolfy,

    I used to be a member, but the price was too steep. Wish I had a copy of it.

  22. avatar Elkchaser says:

    “White Pelicans : A management plan was passed which calls for the redution of white pelican numbers in the Blackfoot River drainage and the Minidoka Wildlife Refuge. If I understood the plan correctly, that would entaill killing a couple of thousand pelicans.”
    The pelicans are making a huge dent in the native cutthroat trout populations in the Blackfoot drainage and reduing their numbers there would be a good thing.

  23. avatar Cobra says:

    Kind of off the topics here. I watched a show on Discovery last night about the hog problems they’re having in the southeast and other states. I didn’t know until after watching the show just how destructive these critters can be, hope they never find their way to Idaho.

  24. Wolfy (and Ralph):
    I had to do a lot of google research to finally get my hand on a copy of Valerus Geists much qoted “study”. I do not trust his russian “sources”, but many of his theories and statements are not fundamentally wrong – in their trivia. What made him the Guru or maybe better a “willing tool” of the anti-wolf movement is that he is almost always quoted totally out of context. When he more or less innocently writes “Rabid wolves have attacked people” in a chapter about the influence of rabies on animal behaviour they turn this into “Ha, here is the scientific proof, wolves have attacked people, thoundsands of people, all over the world”. I have yet find spare time to read Grave´s book “Wolves of Russia” which heavily exploits and exaggerates Geist´s findings. I´m not sure how deep Geist is actually allied with anti-wolf movement.

  25. avatar Ken Cole says:

    There was a program from Oregon Public Television on Sunday about wild hogs. They are suspected to have come from a canned hunting operation nearby and the ODFW has adopted a policy of total eradication. They showed some of the damage done by the hogs and it was bad but livestock damage can be just as bad.

    http://www.opb.org/programs/ofg/videos/view/266-Feral-Pigs

  26. avatar Ryan says:

    Ken Cole,

    Per AUM feral pigs are 10 times as hard on the enviroment. Pigs have been migrating to southern OR from CA as well.

  27. avatar jimbob says:

    Layton,
    I know we have different perspectives and will probably never agree, but I thought it interesting to expand on this topic. Do elk exist only to provide hunting opportunities? Isn’t that total anthropomorphism? Don’t lump me in with anti-hunters. I try hard to get drawn for various species here in Arizona AND NEVER GET DRAWN! Guess what—-we have very few wolves here in Arizona. What we do have is LOTS of people and LOTS of hunters! How many hunting opportunities is enough? I’d still rather see healthy ecosystems than worry about whether I selfishly get MY opportunity to hunt, and our ecosystems are far from healthy! Also, you might want to take a close look at non-resident hunting opportunities in your state. Why should non-residents have an opportunity to hunt before you in your state? To blame wolves is irrational. Wolves seek the lesser animals—trophy hunters seek the genetically healthiest individuals which would benefit the species greatly by living to pass on their genes. When I hunt and fish I have no interest in trophies. I am not against people’s right to a trophy, but to put our need to hunt ahead of the ecosystem is wrong. Our country is too populated for that. Like I pointed out, many of us lose our right to hunt just by luck of the draw. Why shouldn’t wolf or predator numbers be another limiting factor in hunting permits?

  28. avatar jimbob says:

    Larry Thorngren,
    thanks for the information. I find it interesting that people who serve on a government commission like the IDFG board are supposed to serve the public interest above and beyond any personal ideology. How do those cavemen rationalize their prehistoric thought process, other than to protect economic interests? Very disappointing to a father of two whose kids will grow up to see a country where economic interests trump science, the environment, and good sense.
    On a side note, I am a professional educator. Those of you here who follow such things should understand that political committees who speak about the “state of education” and changing “our sorry educational system” are usually made up of the same type of people as the IDFG commission. People who have some unknown or unseen axe to grind–with no real knowledge of the subject. In “fixing” things they will never be held accountable for making things worse.

  29. avatar kim kaiser says:

    change of topic, Dont programs like the wolf project, DOF and most of the wildlife programs depend on contributtions??

    this should make them happy:

    Robert Sharpe, whose company, The Sharpe Group, consults clients on charitable giving, said the proposal amounts to a “sin tax” on charity. (Sin taxes are high tax rates that governments slap on products, such as cigarettes, to discourage consumers from buying.)

    “This is the first time we’ve tried to discourage charitable giving among the wealthy by making it cost more,” Sharpe said.

    The proposed tax increase would take effect in 2011. Under the plan, households making more than $250,000 would see their tax deduction for charitable giving drop from 35 percent to 28 percent — which is the rate applied currently to taxpayers who make less money and pay lower taxes.

    For wealthy donors giving $100,000, for example, that difference could add up. Sharpe said that a donor who wants to give that amount would, under the new policy, have to pay an additional $7,000 in taxes — or $107,000 total — to make the same contribution.

    He said that number gets even higher if the tax rate for top income-earners increases as well.

    As a result, Sharpe said, accountants across America are going to be advising their wealthy clients to cut back on their charitable contributions to offset the tax.

    Tax figures from 2006 show that families earning more than $250,000, which represents less than 2 percent of all taxpayers, were responsible for about 28 percent of all giving, amounting to more than $81 billion dollars in charitable gifts.

    According to one study by The Center on Philanthropy, based on the 2006 tax data, the administration’s tax proposals would result in a 4.8 percent reduction in itemized giving for the high-income households impacted under the proposed policy. That translates to about $3.9 billion.

    “That’s a noticeable amount. Most of us would rather have a 5 percent raise than a 5 percent pay cut,” said Patrick Rooney, interim executive director at the Center on Philanthropy. “For organizations, many nonprofits are operating on very slim margins to start with, and any decline has a negative effect.”

  30. Kim,

    It’s an important point. When this first came up in Obama’s proposal, I noticed it quickly.

    Then I noticed a negative reaction in Congress (I think among Democrats?). Since, I haven’t following it. It bears watching though.

    Non-profits are controversial. My stance is generous deductions for the ones I like, and none for the rest. 😉

  31. avatar Layton says:

    Jimbob,

    Nope, I don’t think that elk exist “only to provide hunting opportunities”. I think they are a CONTRIBUTION or a POSITVE piece of the ecosystem. They don’t kill other parts of the ecosystem — except what browse they eat — and they do contribute food to other members or parts or whatever you want to call them of that ecosystem.

    On the other hand what does a wolf do that is positive? Well people talk about this “trophic cascade” effect, which makes the browse grow, but other than that they are (IMHO) a MINUS effect. Tell me — really — what do they do on the plus side?? Wait, I know, biological diversity!! That and $4.00 will get you a cup of coffee at starbuck’s.

    “Why shouldn’t’t wolf or predator numbers be another limiting factor in hunting permits?”

    Ludicrous!! Why should they be?? Hunting provides nourishment for the body AND for the soul of a lot of people. Wolves provide NOTHING but a thrill for a bunch of folks that think it is neat to hear them howl !! I’ll play a recording if they are that desperate!!

    “How do those cavemen rationalize their prehistoric thought process, other than to protect economic interests?”

    “On a side note, I am a professional educator. Those of you here who follow such things should understand that political committees who speak about the “state of education” and changing “our sorry educational system” are usually made up of the same type of people as the IDFG commission. People who have some unknown or unseen axe to grind–with no real knowledge of the subject. In “fixing” things they will never be held accountable for making things worse.”

    Funny how folks that disagree with your viewpoints seem to land in the same classification. They are “cavemen” or have “no knowledge of the subject”, but you are a “professional”.

    Gosh, I think I see a trend here.

  32. avatar vickif says:

    Layton,
    I won’t call you a ou dismiss any opiniopn differing from yours as “ludicrous”.

    I know we’ve been rounds on this subject, but clearly, you will always have some polarized opinions. Frankly, neither of the extremes works. handle itfolks. It just doesn’t.

    Extremism is rarely accomplished without oppressing your opposition. Last I checked, this democratic country was supposed to be the land of the free….not the land of my way is the only way.

    Wolves are (like it or not) a keystone species. They provide benfits that people can’t. they also don’t demarcate (sp?) the landscape in the process of hunting their prey. Man can hardly boast the same.

    Elk had traditionally had predators to keep their numbers in line with their environment. Now they have men and wolves. funny thing is, you don’t hear wolves bitching about the competition.

    If you aren’t a man who has his ‘soul’ nourished by the true hunt…(which is called hunting because it requires a hunt to actually occur) then yo can always get your nourishment the way most Americans do…from the meat section at your local market.

    Please don’t argue that huting is largely more economical. It requires-in most cases- fuel, a vehicle, ammo, a gun, a knife, some time off of work, a tag, a license, etc. So it can be quite costly for many people. Unless you live fifty miles from the nearest road and require a bush plane for transportation, the corner store is probably more affordable in most aspects.

    that beig said, I hunt. I would not choose to kill a wolf. But I will eventually support a well balanced and scientifically based hunting season (big game-trophy tag) for wolves….when it becomes a necessity to maintain their species health and longevity.

    Why? Because although some people believe the environment and ecosystems should be designed solely for man’s benefit (and the animals and plant in it should be by design of men not nature),… I believe that the environment benefits man more when it is actually encompassing of as many of the inhabitants that nature designed. That includes predators…two and four legged.

    We need to keep in mind that our environment is parimount to our lives. The more we have screwed it up, the more we have suffered. We can begin to correct our bad habits of selfish dominance, or we can continue to plot our own extinction….one selfish choice at a time.

  33. avatar vickif says:

    Layton,
    My pc is having key board issues.
    The first paragraph should have said
    “I won’t call you a caveman, but I would call you a hypocrit. you dismiss opinions that differ from yours as ludicrous. That is no different than someone saying people who oppose wolves are cavemen.

  34. avatar vickif says:

    The crown Prince of Denmark was in Brighton, CO this week. To celebrate their Vestas plant.

    Sadly, it isn’t the employment boom it was bragged to be. They have already stated they will lower staffing expectations. That is a sign that ‘green’ is suffering along side the rest of our economy.

    However, I had a chance to talk with a project coordinator, and the mayor of Brighton. They both told me that United Power (the reigning power company a lot of The Front Range) has begun the process of installing roof top solar panels on residences.

    The panels will produce power locally. The homeowner will be compensated for energy generated, it may be a credit on their electric bill, or cash back depending on the amount of power generated.

    That is a step in the right direction…

    I got to talk with the mayor for a while. She said it was refreshing to have someone talk about the energy issues who had someidea of how it is effecting the bigger picture. I credit this site for a lot of that. She actually took the time to listen to my thoughts…which was equally as refreshing to me. I was left with the reaffirmation that our biggest problem today with the environment is a lack of basic understanding by our citizens.

    The project coordinator encouraged me to run for a seat on the council…I am not a Brighton resident…nor do I have the patience to deal with many politicians. But hey, atleast I got a few minutes of time to provoke thought about the need for small grid conversions.

  35. avatar Virginia says:

    I just wanted to comment that I am encouraged by Michelle Obama planting a garden at the White House. I am sure there are a lot of people who are cynical about this, but as a gardener, I think it sends a great message to people to think about growing their own food and besides, the rabbits love my garden!

  36. avatar jimbob says:

    Layton, you missed my points entirely, and I was not insinuating that YOU felt that way (check my post). However, from what you have said I gather that your feeling is that anything that kills in the ecosystem is not a positive to the ecosystem. You can’t be serious, right? The most obvious problem with that viewpoint is that would make ALL hunting a negative, but your statement is meant to support hunting. I am NOT trying to stir up and generally stay away from that type of ranting. Just trying to understand people’s perspective—I’m not sure if you meant what you said.

  37. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Nobody said its your divine right to shoot as many elk as you can eat in a season. If that’s what you want, get out your wallet and go to a private ranch… But PUBLIC lands are for the PRESERVATION OF THE WILD, predators and all!… NOT for the preservation of hunters’ elk tags. Get over it, go back to your roots, and open your eyes to the wonder and beauty of the last remaining wild places in the US… you might learn something, and you might even find out that experiencing true wilderness is as delightful as shooting your fifteenth elk!

    Amen David! I am a hunter and I agree with this sentiment. Even if I don’t shoot anything I am grateful for the fact that I am in the great outdoors and not stuck in some big city where the only wildlife watching I get is flying rats (pigeons).

  38. avatar Virginia says:

    Again, I am not sure where to post this, but, evidently only 97 snowmobiles used the East entrance to Yellowstone National Park this winter and no snow coach tours passed through the East gate. The park service spends $325,000 each winter to keep Sylvan Pass open to snowmobiles and snow coaches.

    Let’s see – $3,350.52 per snowmobile this winter. What a great use of taxpayer money and also all of the hoopla that went on with secret meetings and Colin Simpson, Dick Cheney and all of the other knotheads who got involved in this fiasco to make it possible for 97 snowmobiles to enter Yellowstone Park at the East entrance this year.

  39. Thanks for the update Virginia. It is very irritating to learn this, but we pretty much expected it.

    Is there a news article published on this somewhere?

  40. avatar Virginia says:

    Sorry to be just getting back to you, Ralph. Yes, there is a small story on it in today’s Casper Star Tribune on page A3. It needs to be a large story in the Cody Enterprise, so all of the whiners about the park service not wanting to plow Sylvan Pass can see why it isn’t such a great idea. Also, the Billings Gazette should carry it because that is where they held the “secret” meetings about it.

  41. avatar Save bears says:

    Interesting,

    I see by reading the news today, that the Justice dept is seeking to dismiss charges against Stevens….

  42. Maybe you read in the news about the earthquake that hit Italy yesterday. I´d like to give you some details: Centre was in the Abruzzo mountains, that sparsely populated pleasant mountainous region, about 100 Kilometers northeast of Rome. Most of the area is Abruzzo National Park, with about 50 wolves (Canis lupus italicus) and up to a 100 brown bears. I had the pleasure of visiting this area last autumn to do some hiking there. The region depends heavily on it´ s tourists for income, with a little bit of agriculture. Much of the infrastructure seems destroyed now. Heaviest hit was the provincial capital L´Aquila which had a picturesque old town – also most of it being destroyed now. Seems around 50 000 people are left without shelter in the area, plus a death toll of around 180 so far and 1500 people injured.

  43. avatar Salle says:

    Thank you for the update, Peter. I was wondering, without a lot of time to look at maps since the event. I am glad to hear about the abundant, seemingly, wildlife in the region. I wonder if their range will now be expanded.

    It is a sad thing for the town and many villages that suffered massive destruction and all the people who lost everything, including the lives of some. I wonder how it will be dealt with now that Berlusconi (sp?) is back in office. He was ousted and charged with corruption when he was in office before, no? He doesn’t like that some guy in the area had predicted, within 24 hours, that the earthquake would happen. (I realize that they aren’t predictable in a consistent fashion but some can intuit such things sometimes. I was sure that Redoubt volcano would blow the day that the undersea volcano in Tonga went and the officials in Alaska had downgraded the threat of eruption the same day only to have the volcano erupt within 36 hours following the Tonga event…)

    Anyway, thanks.

  44. avatar chris c. says:

    Since there have been two posted articles on condors recently I thought interested folks should know that two condors in California were recently shot. It’s obviously impossible to mistake these birds for anything else, especially anything it’s legal to kill. But bald eagles still get shot so it’s not all that surprising, just infuriating.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/outposts/2009/04/california-condor.html

  45. chris c.
    I myself certainly appreciate any news from the different wildlife conservation issues, though good news can rarely be expected.

Calendar

March 2009
S M T W T F S
« Feb   Apr »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

%d bloggers like this: