Ignorance again rides high in the saddle as politicians in Idaho vilify the wolf-

Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf? Stephen Augustine. The River Journal.

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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.

37 Responses to Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf?

  1. avatar Virginia says:

    I love the comments made by anti-wolf writers. “Wolves have a place in our country, but not in my backyard.”

  2. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    The comments show that no matter what the truth is people will hold tight to whatever they believe about wolves. I wonder if there are any people who are on the fence about wolves? They see to be one extreme or the other . . do you think that is just because only people with strong opinions comment or is this a slice of the reality of people’s opinions? Also, one comment maintains that there are 75 million dogs in America . . good grief that’s a lot of dog shit! I wonder where it all goes?

  3. avatar Save bears says:

    Linda,

    I can honestly say, I am on the fence about wolves…

  4. avatar Nate Hobbs says:

    I think there are many of us, if not the majority who have no problem in accepting that there needs to be some management of wolves and that even a few will need to be killed for management programs and harassment of domestic livestock.

    However when it comes to drawing the lines, the side that is pro wolf is MUCH more scientific, much more easy to get along with, and much more willing to compromise and find solutions for both sides.

    To the mass of the Anti wolf crowd if you support one wolf in the forest you are a full fledged pro wolf person, there is no such thing as a moderate person in there eyes and they want nothing more than the wolves eradication out of forest land once again…pretty hard to be moderate towards that attitude.

  5. Most people have little in the way of opinion about wolves.

    In Idaho, however, the politically organized sector hates them. I’ve lived in Idaho quite a while. I think in general the political sector of the state is rapidly moving back to a period before I was even born.

    Idaho once had a slightly progressive political tradition. Now, other than three or three state legislators its politics is in full flight to the right while most of the rest of America is going in the other direction.

  6. avatar Maska says:

    Ralph, any theories about why that is happening in Idaho?

  7. avatar Maska says:

    Ralph, any theories about why that is happening in Idaho?

  8. avatar Maska says:

    Sorry, all. I accidentally clicked twice in rapid succession and my post appeared twice. Didn’t mean to be repetitive.

  9. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    To the mass of the Anti wolf crowd if you support one wolf in the forest you are a full fledged pro wolf person, there is no such thing as a moderate person in there eyes and they want nothing more than the wolves eradication out of forest land once again…pretty hard to be moderate towards that attitude.

    It seems like when it comes to wolves with most people you are either with them or against them. There is no middle ground at all.

  10. avatar Craig says:

    If you Hunt Big Game game here in Idaho you will find they are all against Wolves. I Hunt and I really don’t care for Wolves, but they are here and that’s that!
    I feel we need to manage them just like Cougars and Bears, both of which are doing well! There are going to be very few Hunters who even get a chance to see a Wolf let alone shoot one!
    The vast majority are lazy ass slobs who won’t hike more than a mile off a road if that! I’ve seen over 8 Wolves while Hunting in Idaho and I never had a good shot at one of them because they were running before I seen them. Not saying I would have shot them, but the chance just wasn’t there! So it’s not gonna be a big killing spree if they open a season.
    The problems will arise in the documentaion of kills when they have to be reported. Cougars have quotas and must be turned into the F&G ,which I’m assuming they will do with Wolves. If you gut shoot a few Wolves and only turn in one that will be a problem.

  11. avatar JEFF E says:

    I know, I know Off topic, But…..
    has anyone ever wondered how Clem Otter got the nick name Butch a a parochial school run by nuns?

  12. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Craig,

    IDFG managers are quick to say that they intend to manage wolves just like they would manage cougars and black bears ~ but this is a very disingenuous claim :

    1.No one is proposing that cougar and bear populations should be halved (if not more) in a series of fowl swoops.

    2. No one is proposing generalized eradication campaigns to remove cougars and bears from public landscapes for which Livestock reigns supreme in the minds of Livestock politicians and state agencies.

    3. No one is pumping cougars and bears into politicized whipping-boys – to be blamed for any and all problems, no matter the lack of merit such claims use to justify themselves.

    4. No one is vilifying cougars and bears into personified avatars of the evils of federal incursion into state sovereignty

    5. No one is parading around the state of Idaho calling for egregious and illegal acts of civil disobedience – championed as a political uprising – which includes the illegal killing of bears and cougars with the Director of the IDFG participating in such rally

    6. No one is spreading intrepid ideas all over rural communities about how folk should shoot for the gut all cougars and bears and only fill the tag with the last animal downed.

    7. Cougars and bears are not threatened (to anywhere near a fraction of the same extent) by federal government “management” regimes that include killing entire packs of collared animals from the air

    I’m sick of the false premise being pumped around by media and anti-wolf folk that tries to make this about wolf advocates all challenging a general citizen hunt. It’s not.

    Wolf advocates that I know and who share my point of view, are not resistant to a hunt. We are resistant to the provisions of state management that allow for – and actively prescribe – government “control” efforts waged by state and federal agents who have radio frequencies of packs’ locations and who are willing and planning to use those frequencies to eradicate entire packs (and groups of packs) from entire regions of the states. That’s what we’re challenging.

    Can we agree that this is bad ? Is that clear enough – cause you’re not going to see that message printed in the Statesman or any other mainstream media publication that continues to make an active effort to prop up straw-man ‘anti-hunter’ wolf advocates, by carving out quotes and choosing voices that are actually not that representative of the great majority of us, and then shooting those ‘anti-hunt’ straw-men down without anyone ever knowing anyting better for it – without anyone knowing, or being educated about the actual legitimate claims at issue (of which there are several – DPS, innappropriate “heavy management” zones, what I allude to here, etc.).

    Quite simply, wolves were listed following systematic efforts by government agencies to extirpate their populations – on behalf of and fueled by a Livestock Custom & Culture of death. That same Custom & Culture continues to exist today, is disproportianetly enfranchised at the state political level and within game departments – has a uniquely potent aim at wolves – not cougars and bears – for any number of contrived and irrational reasons – it has not been meaningfully tamped down – and government sponsorship and execution of its volition continues.

    We may not live in a world where wolves are entirely eradicated from the western US as they were before. But it is entirely naive, IMO, to suggest that we do not live in a political environment fueled by that same Livestock Culture as before – and it is naive to believe that there is not a real threat that wolves will be extirpated from regions/landscapes of the West that ought, as a matter of Law (see: ESA) enjoy their uniquely restorative influence/contribution (see: Trophic Cascade).

    Token wolves on token landscapes – only those inaccessible to Livestock or commercial big-game sporting interests – is not a reasonable compromise, it cannot be allowed to be what “ESA recovery” means – especially in precluding vast public landscapes on behalf of Livestock – that belong to all of us.

  13. avatar Craig says:

    I understand what you are saying, but Wolves shouldn’t be treated any differnt in my eyes than Bears or Cougars!
    That won’t happen and the longer the lawsuits go on the worse it’s going to be! The Pro Wolf side needs to understand this. The ranching side…. I don’t know what to say they will never cave and have to much power which is totally wrong!!!!
    Hopefully future generations will learn some tolerance through education and be educated in the ways to coexist in benificial ways for both Wildlife and domestic animals. There has to be some give and take, but now it’s all take with the ranchers pulling the strings!

  14. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Craig,

    I agree with you – if I believed that wolves would be treated in a similar fashion as bears and cougars, then my interest and resolve would be tempered — but I do not believe that they will be managed as bears and cougars.

    I have attended the agency meetings, the commissioners meetings, the state committee hearings, the anti-wolf rallies – many times alone – and i have spoken with many, many folk about management of wolves. now, attending those things doesn’t give me any right to say how wolves ought be managed and my input certainly isn’t taken into consideration by the good ol’ boys of this state. But the ESA gives me a right to weigh in – it’s the only thing wolf advocates have – at this point – to insist that wolves be managed like bears and cougars and not be persecuted, as all of my experience at the meetings, hearings, etc. suggests.

    that’s just my opinion.

  15. avatar wetherman says:

    I’ve thought of myself as pro-wolf and I want to see sustainable wolf populations in the West. I don’t think that ranchers on public land should be compensated for losses to wolves and I don’t think that whole packs should be killed because they prey on livestock on public land.

    I’ve also thought, however, that it is entirely reasonable for wolves caught in the act of predation or harassment of livestock or pets, especially on private land, to be shot. I also think that if livestock or pet owners take reasonable precautions to prevent predation on private land, but wolves make successful efforts to kill livestock or pets, that one or multiple wolves (up to whole packs) should be killed to eliminate that behavior.

    All of these thoughts were entirely theoretical until about 10 days ago, when my wife had to personally scare off three wolves which were a few feet outside the fence of our barnyard, apparently trying to find a way in. One of our livestock guardian dogs was barking his head off at the wolves, and my wife had to run screaming and waving her arms, reaching about 15 feet away from the wolves (although on the opposite side of the fence) before the wolves took off (and not quickly, either–they didn’t seem to be too scared). This was in broad daylight.

    Our livestock consists mainly of a few goats, all but one of which my wife and I bottle-raised from a few days to weeks old. They are beloved pets and my wife would be heartbroken if any of them were killed by any predator, be it a neighborhood dog or a wolf. We have two livestock guardian dogs, a stout electrified fence, and we lock up the goats and guardian dogs in the barn at night.

    I don’t think that the wolves can get in to harm the goats or dogs, but if I am wrong, do any of the commenters here think that I shouldn’t shoot them? Do any of the commenters think that if these wolves kill some, but not all of our goats, that they should be given a second chance at them?

    By the way, I live in the midst of private ag, grazing, and residential property (although some isolated BLM and State parcels are nearby), about three miles from a U.S. highway, with the National Forest about 6 miles up the road. I am not in the middle of the wilderness.

    I still want wolves to recover in the West and I still think that ranchers on public land should accept wolf predation as a cost of doing business, and I still think that people on private land need to make substantial efforts to protect their pets and livestock.

    But if I also think that if wolves “in my backyard” should be killed if they demonstrate that they will and are likely continue to kill pets or livestock on private land. Am I “on the fence?” Am I on “middle ground?” Or am I “against wolves” and “anti-wolf?”

    Sorry for the length of this comment, but I’m not sure that I’ve heard a story like this on Ralph’s blog and I’d like folks to consider their positions in light of my thoughts and experiences.

  16. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Wetherman, it sounds like you are taking appropriate measures to keep your goats safe. I would say that if a wolf does manage to actually get into the pen during the day and kill a goat then you do have the right to shoot them on the grounds of self-defense. Since you are keeping them in the barn at night that also shows that you are being responsible. I don’t know whether you are pro or anti wolf but the fact that you are being proactive in your livestock protection shows that you are responsible regardless of opinion.

    By the way, where are you at?

  17. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    I guess I should have said defense of property and not self-defense.

  18. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    wetherman,

    i don’t think you’ll find many on this forum that would not sympathize with your situation. you’ve demonstrated responsible precaution – it’s private land – etc.

    The problem that I have is that stories like yours are generalized in the media and used to vilify wolves, building political cover for public land ranchers that are not so responsible – i.e. public land livestock ranchers who practice the “Columbus” method of livestock husbandry (i.e. turn out stock onto some backcountry public allotment in the spring, and “discover” them in the fall), or who calve in December and buck their dead, frozen calves into a ditch – priming wolves’ palate for livestock.

    How do we change this generalization ? How can we introduce this nuance that you describe into general awareness and ensure that precautionary ranching behavior is rewarded – but sloppy behavior is not ?

    I can tell you first hand that whether it’s precaution regarding predators, or livestock management for other natural values (riparian, utilization, etc.) ~ overwhelmingly, public lands livestock ranchers don’t want to bother – they don’t think they should have to – they’ve been coddled by agency (& even conservation groups) for so long that they genuinely believe that they are entitled to a public landscapes that is sterilized of any threat to their operation.

    How do we change that ?

  19. avatar Layton says:

    Nate said:

    “However when it comes to drawing the lines, the side that is pro wolf is MUCH more scientific, much more easy to get along with, and much more willing to compromise and find solutions for both sides.”

    In a word (or two) bull roar!!

    There isn’t a “wolfie” here on this site that is “easy to get along with” OR that wants to “find a solution” for the wolf problem here in the Northwest. Look at some of the comments on this blog 24/7.

    It’s an accepted fact around here that folks from the three states involved the most (especially Idaho) aren’t very bright, don’t live in the 20th century, have family trees with no branches and dance to whatever tune the ranchers play.

    Give me a break!!

    Brian,

    “I’m sick of the false premise being pumped around by media and anti-wolf folk that tries to make this about wolf advocates all challenging a general citizen hunt. It’s not.”

    Same word or two!!

    “False Premise”?? I think not, tell me about ONE, 1, uno, person of some sort of a position in the “wolfie” community that would even willingly let ONE wolf be killed, controlled, or whatever you want to call it. That is, unless you, yourself are the exception.

    The “pro” community would LOVE to have John Q. Public believe that the first time a rifle is shot in legal, evil intent toward a wolf that a massive slaughter will result — they want to pass the message that ol’ Canis is stupid and will stand there and get shot at.

    If you have even half a brain you realize that wolves are anything but stupid. They will figure out damn quick that all of a sudden things are different and their god-like status is no longer foremost in the guy’s mind behind the rifle. Hunting by itself couldn’t hurt the wolf population much when people were TRYING to eliminate wolves. Why would it be different now??

    Wetherman has had a demo on what the REAL situation is and it seems that, even tho’ he wants to be a dyed in the wool wolfie, he’s having problems.

    In the words of a famous, former advice columnist, “wake up and smell the coffee”!!

  20. Oh Layton, quit trolling!

  21. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Layton, this “wolfie” here is not against hunting of wolves. I look at propaganda sites like saveelk.com that show some evidence that is not scientific and then I look at plenty of other scientific literature too numerous to mention that proves most of the anti-wolf folks’ theories wrong. As far as the wolf “problem” it is a lack of common sense management (from both extremes) that is keeping it a problem. When Butch Otter supports an all-out slaughter, when Sarah Palin promotes aerial gunning of wolves, and when the state of Wyoming has the predator zone, then please tell me why “wolfies” are worried about a slaughter. Since so many state governments act like this is it any wonder?

  22. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Layton,

    Your rant is amusing – your generalization is not. “wolfies” are a diverse group of people and organizations – all of which have different ideas – I think it’s fair to say the ones with the money don’t share my approach – as is indicative on the “coalition” website. That’s OK – even as I find myself as frustrated and prone to disagree with those whose character you (and the media) overgeneralize.

    The fact is, many of the “wolfies” who you stereotype were the very same people who signed on to 10(j) – that clause that allows for many more than a single wolf to die even under so-called ESA protection. Tell me Layton, if “wolfies” are as extreme as you suggest, as unwilling to watch a single wolf die, why would they endorse the “non-essential, experimental” designation that has been responsible for the prolific slaughter of wolves on behalf of Livestock even now ?

    Perhaps your stereotyped characterization is the most unwilling to compromise and most extreme position of all.

    Layton, even as I don’t share the same rationale as your (and the local media’s) make-believe straw man ~ I certainly admire and appreciate its compassion for life – that’s something I can’t recognize in the other “extreme”.

  23. avatar wetherman says:

    Pro-Wolf in WY:
    I’m in southern Idaho.

    Layton:
    I don’t know whether I’m a “wolfie” or not–I don’t know what you think this means. As I stated, my attitudes haven’t changed with our close encounter–I was asking whether the commenters thought that my attitudes and proposed actions, if necessary, made me anti-wolf or somewhere in the middle.

  24. avatar JB says:

    “There isn’t a “wolfie” here on this site that is “easy to get along with” OR that wants to “find a solution” for the wolf problem here in the Northwest.”

    Layton,

    You know fully well that this statement is untrue. We’ve been through this several times before, with many wolf advocates noting that they would not have a problem with a wolf hunting season.

    You’ve claimed in the past that you are not “anti-wolf,” but only want to see wolves “managed” like other game species. I think you’re being disingenuous; actually, scratch that, I think you’re purposefully misrepresenting your position because you take pleasure in getting people riled up.

    You’ve claimed to be for compromise regarding wolves, but your continued attempts to provoke people belie another purpose: by continuously stereotyping wolf advocates and adopting a confrontational rhetorical approach your actions serve only to further polarize the issue. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if this is your intent?

    Layton: “I think not, tell me about ONE, 1, uno, person of some sort of a position in the “wolfie” community that would even willingly let ONE wolf be killed, controlled, or whatever you want to call it. That is, unless you, yourself are the exception.”

    That was Hank Fischer and Defenders’ compromise. Not only were they willing to let ONE wolf be killed, they were willing to let MANY wolves killed (you can look up that stats for yourself) and pay for predation on livestock. Moreover, Ralph, Brian and numerous others have repeatedly noted that they would accept a wolf hunting season–especially if we could exchange a fair chase hunt for the military-action style of controls that are currently taking place.

    Your words are ringing hollow, while your continued attempts to push people to adopt extreme positions speak volumes.

  25. avatar RE Chizmar says:

    Layton,

    That was one of your weakest posts — looks like you need to DRINK that coffee instead of just smelling it before posting such drivel.

  26. avatar Layton says:

    OK, Some of you are right — I was on a “rant” last night. I was on that rant because of some news that I got from a friend of mine in Idaho county.

    He was upset because, for the third time in as many years a (seemingly, because he’s the only one they see) lone wolf came through his neighborhood this weekend — the result — not even making the paper because it happens so frequently — was two dead family pets. Last time, about this same time of year in 08 was three.

    I get upset because I see this sort of thing happen. I get upset because I see my elk hunting go to hell. NO, I’m not a “Cabela’s Queen”. I HUNT — on foot, I KNOW the area(s) where I hunt and I know the elk are not there anymore. They didn’t just move, they aren’t there.

    Is it me “trolling”? I don’t think so. I think, unfortunately, that I responded to something that resembles trolling.

    When I see my home state belittled, ostracized, and just generally put down — I respond. And my “fight or flight” action is pretty predictable.

    I don’t necessarily think that Otter is by any means the best governor in the world, but that quote about him wanting to kill the first wolf is getting rather long in tooth and is long overdue for shelving.

    Brian,

    “Tell me Layton, if “wolfies” are as extreme as you suggest, as unwilling to watch a single wolf die, why would they endorse the “non-essential, experimental” designation that has been responsible for the prolific slaughter of wolves on behalf of Livestock even now ?”

    Could it be that the 10j was the ONLY was that they could get ANY sort of cooperation from the states involved?? I’d surely bet that they didn’t WANT that designation.

    I DID screw up when I put in the comment about letting “even one wolf be controlled” I meant that to mean controlled by a season and F&G rules for Joe Six Pack. I wasn’t very clear about that.

    JB,

    “with many wolf advocates noting that they would not have a problem with a wolf hunting season.”

    I did qualify that one — I referenced people higher up on the food chain in the “for” ranks. I think I can stand by that.

    JB, I really don’t mean to “push people to adopt extreme positions” I feel that they already have!!

    Lastly — cuz’ I don’t want this to be a rant — the expression that I use — wolfie — seems to cause a lot of problems. I don’t really mean it in a derogatory way. It’s just easier to type than “wolf supporter”. If I quit using it (I will) can some of the wolf supporters quit using “redneck” when referring to anyone from Idaho?? 8)

  27. avatar Jay says:

    Layton, if Bob Jackson’s assertions about wounding rate are not valid because they are anecdotal, then by that same logic, nieither are your assertions that the “elk are not there anymore”.

  28. avatar Layton says:

    Well Jay,

    I guess you can call it “anecdotal” if you want to.

    My observations are based on a lot of time in the area — Idaho F&G agrees, they say elk numbers are down in the units I’m referring to — of course, they don’t know what they are talking about either. Right?

    Bob Jackson saw a small sampling of the area he was talking about, didn’t even see any bow hunters (wasn’t bow hunting wounding rates part of that discussion?), that he referenced anyway, and had no data from anyone to substantiate anything he said. But —- if you really think it’s apples to apples …………….

  29. avatar Jeff says:

    Layton:
    I read articles every week about a coyote or a lion snagging someone’s pet in Denver or L.A. When you live out west it is a risk we take. I hunt on foot in wolf country and there are still lots of elk, matter of fact all elk herds in Wyoming are at or above objectives despite the political rhetoric of our regions’ politicians. The overall state population is way over objective which puts ranchers complaining about too many elk at odds with groups like SFW who cry all the elk have been eaten. I’m alright with people hunting coyotes, bears, and lions, but it isn’t something I’m interested in, I think I grew out of my blood lust years a couple of decades ago. My personal ethic is if you aren’t planning to eat it, don’t shoot it unless it is to save someone’s life, which usually isn’t the case. If Idaho had a wolf season and issued tags for a hunt of 100 or so wolves I think that is fine, same with MT and WY, however when politicians and state agencies are hell bent on drastic reductions I start to side with the environmental groups. Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife makes me sick every time I read one of their statements and the bologna they espouse.

  30. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Jeff, I totally agree with what you are saying, especially in light of the recent article about the elk populations here in Wyoming being at or above population goals. This puts another hole in the already weak argument that wolves are annihilating the herds. I also like your beliefs about not shooting something unless you are going to eat it. I think pet and livestock owners out west need to be responsible and do what they can to protect their animals.

    Layton, while there may have been decreases in the areas that you hunt in, isn’t there a possibility that it is caused by other factors than only wolves? I know that wolves made a convenient scapegoat north of Yellowstone when the elk population decreased substantially that second year. However, people didn’t seem to remember that the winter of 95-97 was brutal. What has the winter been like in your hunting spots? Has there been disease? Did Idaho Fish and Game say that it was only due to wolves? You also need to take natural boom and bust cycles that happen with lots of different species.

  31. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Sorry, I meant to say the 1996-97 winter.

  32. avatar JEFF E says:

    Layton, Layton, Layton,
    what are we to do with you

  33. avatar JB says:

    Layton,

    I sympathize with anyone who has lost a pet; that’s tough stuff, to be sure. I would never think to tell Idahoans how to manage wolves on private lands; but federal lands belong to ALL of us.

    There are ways of living with large carnivores; even carnivores bigger and much more dangerous than wolves. Anchorage residents (that’s a city of 250,000) are currently living with 60+ grizzlies and 250+ black bears IN THE CITY LIMITS (and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the much more dangerous moose); and residents of Churchhill (in Canada) are regularly visited by polar bears. Do attacks occur? You bet. But you are still more likely to die in a car accident with a deer.

    FYI: Many of us “wolfies” believe wolves should be delisted, we just want to make sure FWS and the states get it right. 🙂

  34. avatar Layton says:

    ProWolf,

    Sure there is that possibility (that other factors contribute to population declines) — but when all (or most) of the other indicators are good and the numbers are still down and the population of wolves is growing, it certainly can lead one to believe that they are a contributing cause — in some cases a large one.

    There has been no “bust” in the area where I hunt. The recent winters have been mild. There were many large fires in 94 and 95 and the status of the feed is fantastic. The only thing wrong is that there are no elk to consume it.

    The white tails seem to be doing well. But most studies seem to show that they aren’t the wolf’s preferred prey. I work in the area during the summer, have for 5 years now. I used to see moose almost every day in one unit that is prime habitat (the elk were all over the place) — I haven’t seen one of them in 2 years now. That is spending at least somewhere around 40 hours a week in the field.

    Just as a thought, I haven’t seen any historical data from Wyoming, are the population objectives going up, staying static or possibly going down? To just say “objectives are being met or surpassed” doesn’t really say much. Especially if it’s taken out of context. People on one side of the argument here in Idaho love to say that “F&G’s population objectives are being met in most of the state” when the actual truth is that some areas are getting the heck pounded out of them.

    It really doesn’t mean much if a population objective of zero is being met and there are no elk in the area. It’s an EXAMPLE folks! I doubt that there are any units with an objective of zero.

    Jeff,
    I’m NOT an SFW fan either, and I don’t like coyote killing contests. I used to hunt coyotes when the hides were worth something and there were a lot more of them. I haven’t even tried to hunt one in years.

    Jeff E.,
    Maybe you should just join me on a motorcycle ride — we could discuss wolves over an adult beverage and a sandwich. Solo rides are boring — especially if you do them at the speed limit and on the freeway!! 8)

  35. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Layton, the article does not mention historical data on elk populations but I am not sure if that is a good indicator in some ways either. One depends on how far back you want to look. There were certainly plenty more elk in the state in the 1800s when there were also substantial wolf and grizzly populations. If you base it off of the 1930s to 1995 when the wolf was absent and grizzly numbers smaller, then you will see a number that was probably too large for the carrying capacity. Any way you look at it, over 93,000 elk is still a good number for the suitable elk habitat that exists in the state. I will agree that some populations of elk are going to have more wolf predation, it only makes sense. But the fact that they are at or above levels for all of the 35 herds in the state still tells me that wolves are not decimating the population. I guess I am trusting Wyoming Fish and Game that they have accurate data. Obviously not being a resident in Idaho I don’t know all that goes on there and how much different it is from Wyoming, but it just seems to me there would have to be something else going on. Also when you mention that you have seen few moose and there were fires in the area, that is probably why you are not seeing many. From what I have read (and I can’t remember the source) Yellowstone has had a drop in moose population since the fires of ’88 because they favor more mature forests.

  36. ProWolf in WY,

    It is simply amazing how much of central Idaho has burned since 2000. If you go back to 1988, probably well over half of it has burned.

  37. avatar JEFF E says:

    Layton,
    I hate riding on the freeway and don’t always go the speed limit. I am always ready to discuss wolves, without the hyperbole. Might be something to pass an afternoon.

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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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