Links to stories on the Idaho Fish and Game decisions to allow the hunt to kill up to 220 wolves-

Idaho sets a limit of 220 for wolf hunt. If hunters harvest that many, the state’s population of wolves could drop almost 25%. By Rodger Phillips. Idaho Statesman.

This headline is a bit misleading because the pups of the next year will replace all, or some of wolves that are killed. I do think the population will drop some over the course to the next year because there will be illegal mortality on top of 220, and the Commissioners made it clear they want Wildlife Services to kill lots of wolves whenever the wolves kill a lamb or a cow calf.

The depredation of livestock will be an excuse.  I hope they don’t bait wolves (and, therefore, bears) by encouraging livestock operators to lead even more dead carcasses around than they do.

Ready, Aim, Fire Up Controversy. Idaho Approves Wolf Hunt, Stirs Ruckus. Wolf advocates decried the decision. By Amy Linn. New West.

Idaho F&G commissioners approve hunt of 220 wolves. By John Miller. Associated Press Writer

The lawsuit needs to go on because the Idaho political establishment wants to keep this issue white hot and kill most of the wolves in Idaho. A real hunt that keeps a relatively stable wolf population and slowly defuses the issue is not what they want.

Added on Aug. 19. Idaho wolf hunt set to begin. F&G officials take more cautious approach in setting 2009 quota. By Jason Kauffman. Idaho Mountain Express.

Tagged with:
 
avatar
About The Author

Ralph Maughan

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

107 Responses to News stories on setting the Idaho wolf quota

  1. avatar mikarooni says:

    I need some clarification on this situation. I’ve been told that the NewWest article indicated that around 70,000 tags will be sold. Is that true? Frankly, if you have an IQ above your body temperature and know much at all about wolves, they aren’t at all that difficult to kill, especially with today’s scopes, range finders, and high velocity long range varmint magnums. Sure, the Wildlife Services people make a big deal about how hard they are to hunt; but, those guys don’t meet my IQ criterion, otherwise they’d have better jobs with higher incomes. Does Idaho intend to just let 70,000 tag holders loose and expect the kill to be magically limited to 220 animals or is there another mechanism that will limit how many of these 70,000 rednecks actually get to take a wolf?

  2. Milkarooni,

    This was asked in another thread. A tag lets you legally shoot a wolf, but the wolf hunt will be ended (assuming they follow their rules) when 220 tags have been filled.

    A lot of people say, oh it will be really hard to shoot a wolf. They won’t even fill 220. On the other hand, for years now people have saying “I know where the wolves are, and I am going to go get them when we have a hunt.” “I see them every day. They come and sit on my porch at night.”

  3. avatar JW says:

    In my opinion there needs to be a National Canid Protection Act, at least on our public lands. There is no excuse for people to go blasting them away when they are a national treasure. See more on this idea at:
    http://easterncoyoteresearch.com/NationalCanidProtectionAct.html

  4. avatar Save bears says:

    JW,

    It is unfortunate, there is a large and very vocal group out there that don’t consider them a “National Treasure”

  5. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    I wonder how many domestic canines will be killed by mistake.

  6. Linda,

    How many wolves did you see in your summers at Redoubt Lodge?

  7. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    Ralph we saw none. . heard them once or twice and I found tracks once but they hung out in the North Fork drainage where no floatplanes landed. The winter caretaker up there sees them but not the summer crew. I have watched and tracked them in the Lamar Valley and I have found those big old tracks where there weren’t supposed to be twice. Once three animals and another time a single. My wonder about domestic canines being killed is that most people around here don’t know to look at the feet of an animal that looks wolf like if they are not familiar with the animal. Here in Washington wolf sightings happen often when someone loses a big dog, but then the tracks usually indicate a domestic dog.

  8. Linda,

    Thanks for the info about Alaska.

    You raise a good point about what else might be shot. A lot of coyotes will be shot. Those who allow a somewhat wolf-like pet to roam in a hunt area could lose their dog.

    Gray wolves often look like deer from a distance because of their long legs. Some may escape because the hunter thinks it is a deer.

  9. avatar Save bears says:

    I think coyotes are the one that is going to take the biggest hit, not many actually know how to tell the difference, I see it every single time I am in Yellowstone and Glacier, mis-identification is pretty common…now if I owned a Husky or a hybrid, I can guarantee they would not be let loose without me being with them and making noise, I expect even Shepard’s could be at risk, there is a lot of people around that will hunt wolves, with no idea of what they are shooting at. I think if the wolf season survives this first go around, it is going to be important to have a identification test like Montana has for bears and require it to be mandatory to get a wolf tag..

  10. avatar JEFF E says:

    Brings to mind this story from earlier this year
    http://www.huntthewest.com/updates2009/llama.htm

  11. avatar Save bears says:

    Jeff that happened several years ago, when I lived in Montana, a kid, just out of hunters ed, shot a Llama, not that it is acceptable, but unfortunately it does happen..

  12. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Save bears, there is a definite need for a wolf identification test like exists with bears.
    If they issue 70,000 permits, I sure hope they will monitor the hunt closely. Has anyone heard if Otter has purchased a permit? I know he wanted to before, was curious if he had done that or not.
    JW, would a National Canine Protection Act outlaw hunting of canines completely or would hunts for animals like coyotes require a license.

  13. avatar JW says:

    Good question ProWolf. My thought is to either make it highly regulated (bag limits for even coyotes) or to ban it outright like the raptor protection act does except in predation instances on private land, etc.
    I may sound a bit extreme but that is what I feel. Folks in places like ID should be forced to realize that these animals are valuable, etc. Altho I certainly do agree with Save Bears that not many feel that way and would be resistant.
    This might sound extreme but I think it would be the next step after PAWs, if passed. And for the record, I am not anti-hunting, but just to repeat, I think hunting wild dogs is much diff’t than hunting prey animals, say deer, elk, rabbit. It is mostly unneeded for many reasons. Just like the Civil Rights Act, people need to be forced into a cultural norm and the way folks in ID and other states are reacting really isn’t acceptable – yes, I do realize that the CRA doesn’t exist in reality everywhere, but at least it is a law now and one would hope attitudes toward race improve over time even in the most extreme places.
    Please don’t make further comments toward this idea about the CRA. I am just using that as an example and am not putting my idea on the same level. I am sure Ralph would agree to leave the CRA out of this discussion…. thanks.

  14. avatar JB says:

    “I expect even Shepard’s could be at risk”

    SB: German Shepherds that are all white, black, or black sable will be very hard for most people to distinguish from wolves. I get asked all of the time if my white GS is a wolf. I got so tired of it that a few years ago I took a picture of her next to an all-white, stuffed wolf. Side by side, the differences are dramatic.

  15. avatar Jeff says:

    So by some of your logic, chickens in South Dakota are at risk during pheasant season, domestic turkey producers should hid during turkey season, and thousands of dogs are killed during the endless coyote seasons around the west…as for how ID conducts the hunt, I suppose it will be similar to how Wyoming conducts its cougar season. A toll free number is set up and one needs to call before the go out each morning. Whenever the quota is reached the season is closed. On a side note in 11 years of elk hunting in Teton County Wyoming I have had the opportunity to shoot a wolf only once despite hunting in established territories. I think they’ll be tougher to shoot than one thinks though I do think 220 will be reached.
    It can be tough depending on the weather to find one elk out of roughly 20,000 in Teton County…Now think about 100,000 or so elk in Idaho and a success rate around 28%. What will the success rate for 1,000 wolves? Will 70,000 tags really be sold? Just wondering.

  16. avatar Brian Ellway says:

    70,000 permits is as far as I can tell, a number that Defenders of Wildlife came up with. I’ll have to do some digging but I know I read somewhere that ID F&G were thinking in the neighborhood of 11,000 permits would be a realistic number sold.

    As far as wolves being easy to kill, yes.. but being easy to find? absolutely not. I have spent every weekend between Sept 1st and Thanksgiving in the middle of wolf country for the last 5 years. I hear them a lot and see lots of tracks everytime I’m out but have only actually seen one wolf that would have given me the opportunity to shoot. Granted, I was hunting elk, not wolves but I suspect not too many will go hunting specifically for wolves. Most will buy a tag and have it in their wallet just in case the opportunity presents itself.

  17. I have to agree with Mikarooni. It is easy to get within rifle range of wolves. I often have trouble getting close enough to get good wolf photos, but to find and approach within 400 yards of wolves is not difficult.
    Most Idaho wolf packs have at least two radio- collared members. I was in the Big Wood River area last week looking for wolves and found that I suffered from wolf- collar- radio- receiver- deficiency. Carter had a radio, Lynne had a radio, Defenders had a radio , the sheepherders had a radio, IDFG had a radio , and Wildlife Services had a radio. Everyone could track the wolves by radio except me.
    There are a lot of folks that know the wolf collar frequencies. Any hound hunter with a little ambition will be able to track the wolves with his radio once he gets the local pack’s frequencies. Wolf hunting for the receiver- equipped hunter will consist of driving or snowmobiling up and down a valley and listening from high spots for the beeps from a wolf’s radio collar. If a group of hunters follow the Wildlife Services’ practice of shooting the collared wolves last, one receiver could be used to track and kill an entire pack, or perhaps two or three..

  18. avatar Ryan says:

    Wow, I thought the RWWJ had the corner on Foil hat conspiracies and the chicken little mentality. Not many dogs get mistakenly killed by rednecks shooting coyotes out of their windows.

    Mik,

    I don’t argue the fact that wolves aren’t hard to kill, but they will be hard to find. If you really believe its going to be as easy as you say. Go out and “hunt” one once season starts and see how many wolves you can get in shooting range with a legitimate shot opportunity in an area that wolves will be hunted and report back. Whatever cheap shots you may make, the guys at WS services do this for a job and there onservations may be worth something.

  19. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    Larry thanks for telling us all how to do it. Perhaps the radio collar frequencies could be scrambled during the hunt. Something should make it more even. Outside of Yellowstone I have found that unless there is a pack, it is really hard to find a lone wolf. Even if you are better than average at seeing tracks. But even without radio frequencies, spending some days out in a an area will reveal a pack of wolves.

  20. avatar Save bears says:

    Ryan,

    I know of a husky that was shot by someone who was trying to poach a wolves….it does happen..

  21. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    I think there is probably more of a risk of dogs being shot this year because there are going to be some very trigger happy anti-wolf people out there. As far as chickens being shot in South Dakota, that probably has happened. In Montana there was once a llama shot by someone who thought it was an elk and he even took it to the meat cutter. People do mistake animals at times, I just think it will be more severe with some anti-wolf people hunting.

  22. avatar Alan Gregory says:

    I apologize for not reading all of the previous comments, so I may be out of bounds with this brief note. With the wolf population now in place, how significant a role is Canis lupus playing ecologically? And, how will this role be harmed by legal killing of individual wolves?

  23. avatar JB says:

    Ryan,

    Every year a number of people get shot after being mistaken for deer. I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that coyotes and some domestic dogs look a lot more like wolves than you and I look like deer. Of course, coyotes being considered vermin, my guess is many of the people with wolf tags would have shot them anyway.

  24. Linda-
    Radio collars are never put on Idaho wolves for the wolves benefit. IDFG and Wildlife Services put them on wolves so they can be tracked and easily killed whenever they get in trouble with domestic livestock, or to help locate wolves to send hunters after them. Radio collars send out signals 24 hours a day. Hunters can spend their nights finding wolves with their radio receivers and their days hunting the located wolves with their rifles. A radio-collared wolf in Idaho is a dead wolf.
    I am not telling anything hunters haven’t already figured out. I was in Arizona this spring when news came out that Macho B, the jaguar, had been captured with a foot snare and radio- collared. There were hound hunters immediately posting on the internet trying to find and share his radio collar frequency, so they could chase and tree him with their hounds. Whether they succeeded and hounded him during the ten days while he was dying from the botched collaring operation I do not know.

  25. avatar Save bears says:

    Larry, your starting to sound like you wear one of those tin foil hats…your making unfounded accusations about them using the radio collars to benefit the hunters…

  26. avatar Ryan says:

    JB and Save Bears,

    Accidents happen, people also mistakenly drive the wrong way down the freeway. There not very common though.

  27. avatar Save bears says:

    Well Ryan, driving down the wrong side of the freeway, actually has been pretty common in Montana the last couple of years and several people have been killed because of it, of course there there is that lady in NY that did it and killed 8 people..

    Don’t take is as an attack on your skill as a hunter, me being a hunter always thinks it is a good thing when we can increase our knowledge, I guess others don’t…

  28. Alan Gregory,

    Your question is the most important one to me. I got interested in wolf restoration not because I was particularly interested in the wolf as a animal, but because their ecological niche was vacant and needed to be filled.

    Later, after stumbling into the creation of Ralph Maughan’s Wolf News, I got interested in wolves in themselves, including individual packs and even individual wolves.

    I wanted wolves precisely because they would affect elk and deer and have a lot of secondary effects as well. Note that by “affect” I don’t mean reduction of elk or deer populations. There are many effects, some still being discovered.

    I think current ungulate populations in most of Idaho, western Montana and NW Wyoming show a strong effect of the wolves’ presence. I think the wolf populations there are at about their natural peak. That’s why I don’t think a wolf hunt is any biological necessity.

    I don’t know how much of a decline in their population could take place and the wolves still having their impact.

    I think the critical number is enough to maintain the “landscape of fear” (termed used by Dr. Ripple) among ungulates that their presence has fostered. I don’t know what that is, but I do know that most of the elk now know about wolves and have changed their behavior. According to Joel Berger’s studies in Jackson Hole, the moose have been slower learners.

  29. avatar MontanaJohn says:

    There are certainly false tales of misidentified hunting accidents, but I know of three in Montana that were reported in the news.
    * A man who was sitting on a rock in the woods in northern Montana, smoking a cigarette, was wounded by a hunter who mistook him for a black bear.
    * Some fellow killed a hiker’s dog on a national park trail (can’t recall whether it was Glacier or Yellowstone), even though guns weren’t allowed and the dog was wearing a pack.
    * An air force officer on his first Montana hunt near Great Falls bagged his first elk. Unfortunately, the taxidermist had to break the bad news to both him and Fish and Game that his elk was actually a llama.

    As Will Rogers said, “You could look it up.”

  30. avatar Frank Renn says:

    Jeff

    “chickens in South Dakota”. The following happened to me years ago. While engaged in the sport of falconry I had a hunter shoot at my hawk. When I confronted him He said “he thought my bird was a duck. To this I replied “a duck perched on a sage bush”? I can take measures to ensure the safety of my pointer in wolf country. I would not be as confident in wolf tag country. No forest grouse hunting for me this fall.

  31. avatar Ryan says:

    SB,

    Never took it that way, for some people, hunting is a hobby and others its a passion. I fall in the latter category so I will tend to be a little more defensive. Much like your defense of biologists in many of these threads.

  32. avatar JB says:

    Alan,

    Honestly, I don’t think anyone can adequately answer your question. Like Ralph, I find it frustrating that the only impacts of wolves that get mentioned by hunters are negative (i.e. decreased elk, decreased fat stores due to stress). Unmanaged animal populations tend to go through boom and bust cycles, with reductions in prey numbers often followed by reductions in predator numbers. These cycles, in turn, impact other species. For example, a reduction in herbivores favors certain plants over other plants (i.e. those more sensitive to disturbance/predation). Likewise, I think reducing the wolf population will have a positive impact on elk populations IN SOME AREAS. But nobody is asking what species will lose as a result. What are the effects of artificially fixing ungulate populations at high levels for long periods of time?

  33. avatar Save bears says:

    Ryan,

    Fair enough, no problem…I as well can be very defensive over hunting

  34. avatar Ryan says:

    SB,

    You’ve been around here long enough to see the comments thrown around that are deragatory at best in most situations. Its too bad that all of this energy gets wasted on wolves, when there are much bigger issues to deal with that have a larger effect on our ecosystems.

  35. avatar billybob says:

    If you listen to Ron Gillette and his ilk finding a wolf to shoot in Idaho will be no problem.Seeing that the wolves have killid all big game and livestock in the state. Just locate the nearest school bus stop and wait.

  36. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Add these to the mistaken I.D. – In the Stanley/Sawtooth area: black wolf killed at Grandjean because a hunter thought it was a bear in camp; horse with a red blanket tied behind saddle, shot up 4th of July; and moose shot at Stanley Lake, hunter thought it was an elk.

  37. avatar Chris Harbin says:

    Meanwhile not far away in western North Dakota, The NPS wants to “cull” the elk herd in Theodore Roosevelt N.P. using “direct reduction with firearms to remove 275 elk per year until the in-park her falls between 100-400 head.

  38. avatar Jim Holyan says:

    Mr. Thorngren,

    I doubt that there are “a lot of folks” that know wolf collar frequencies. You’ve taken some information I provided in another thread and misconstrued it in this one; while it is possible that a hound hunter could discover a frequency (which is what I said in that earlier post), this would be very, very difficult. There are ~1500 possible frequencies for wolves in ID, so anyone interested in just sifting through all of them would have a tall order on their hands considering they’d have to repeat this for each and every pack (~90 in ID) and then hope that the wolf with that frequency happened to be within earshot of the person with the receiver.

  39. Jim Holyan,

    A very important point. Thanks for explaining it. I knew that at one time but I had forgotten.

  40. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Just locate the nearest school bus stop and wait. Billybob, I think you have Idaho confused with New Mexico.

    Interesting article and quotes from Otter about wolf hunting.

  41. avatar JB says:

    “‘I think everybody respects them,’ [Gov. Butch] Otter said. ‘You can still hate them and respect their cunning and their place in nature.'”

    So, if I read this correctly, the governor of Idaho views wolves the same way we viewed the Soviets during the cold war–a hated, but respected enemy.

    Again, it greatly disturbs me that the government (and governor) are willing to condone the purposeful use of a firearm for killing an animal out of hatred or spite. I realize that it is hard to account for people’s motivations when making policy, but is this the type of “conservation” we want to encourage?

  42. avatar Ryan says:

    Lynne,

    The moose one seems to happen every couple of years during elk Cow hunts. Do you have the stories on the other ones, I’d actually like to read them. One sounds like poaching/retards as becuase there are no seasons going on during 4th of July. I’d like to know the situaition behind the “mistaken” wolf in camp. Was it shot at night? Relative location to tents etc.

  43. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Ryan – the horse was shot up 4th of July Creek, not on the 4th of July. The other was at a hunter’s camp near Grandjean. USFWS never issued any more info than that.

  44. avatar timz says:

    I talked with a ranger near Warm Lake a couple summers ago where we used to see moose all the time. I hadn’t been seeing as many and ask him about it. He said they were losing at least 3 per year, shot by hunters mistaking them for elk.

  45. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JB – “Again, it greatly disturbs me that the government (and governor) are willing to condone the purposeful use of a firearm for killing an animal out of hatred or spite. I realize that it is hard to account for people’s motivations when making policy, but is this the type of “conservation” we want to encourage?”
    It’s abundantly obvious to all of us that passions run deep for this management issue, but to suggest or imply that the wolf management plan, the population management objectives in the plan or the means to achieve those objectives (hunting season with harvest quotas and methods and means for wolf harvest), etc. is solely based on an emotional reaction to wolves is a mis-characterization. The management plan identifies wolf population objectives to balance the objective of a viable and sustainable wolf population in Idaho with the desire to maintain desired hunting opportunities and minimize private property losses (livestock and pets e.g.). There will be much disagreement and debate on the MERIT of those management objectives, but the IDFG wolf management plan is not based on or driven by a hatred for wolves.

  46. avatar JEFF E says:

    Mark,
    You mentioned that you have experience in Alaska as a Fish and Game officer(is that the right terminology?). A couple of questions:
    1. What is the difference if any as to how wolves are perceived by the respective departments?; the public as a whole?. and
    2. Assuming you have had “face to face” contact with wolves in both states, are there any obvious, significant differences between the two regions wolf populations, i.e. behavior, size, pack size…….?

  47. avatar John d. says:

    Mark,

    Its strange that wolves need to be managed when they are able to ‘manage’ themselves. You’ll find very little reduction for the hatred of wolves as well, as for livestock losses you could be allowing the numbers to increase by fragmenting packs.

    If there is no acceptable reason for ‘harvesting’ wolves. Why do it?

  48. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Mark – There are 4 1/2 old wolf pups still at rendezvous sites with nanny wolves – and IDFG is giving the green light, in fact encouraging the killing of any and all wolves, whether they be pups and even those wolves with collars. This tells me that IDFG doesn’t care if someone is close enough for a good shot. The wolf hunter just have to see a wolf and blaze away at 300 yards, 400 yards. If you can’t see the collar, you’re not close enough.

    So the wolves currently in Idaho, esp. the 55 targeted in the Sawtooth zone, will be martyrs. Maybe the garish, sadistic show that wolf hunters are chomping to get underway, will wake up the great unwashed choir people in the middle, who haven’t thot much about wolves before.

    Also, there is no rules about how one can kill a wolf, except you’re not supposed to run it down with an ATV or snowmobile (who is going to know – there’s hardly any law enforcement in most of Idaho’s backcountry). You could wound a wolf and pour gas on it and burn it. Just like some of knot heads use to do where I grew up with dogs or cats “for fun”.

    I don’t think IDFG has any idea of the uproar and conflict that is about to occur. Reporters are contacting me from everywhere wanting information and I will do everything I can to help them to show the rest of the civilized world, what’s going on.

  49. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    My 1st sentence should read 4 1/2 MONTH old pups .. (I’m typing this at Smiley Ck Lodge with my laptop set upon a garbage can.)

  50. avatar JB says:

    “It’s abundantly obvious to all of us that passions run deep for this management issue, but to suggest or imply that the wolf management plan, the population management objectives in the plan or the means to achieve those objectives (hunting season with harvest quotas and methods and means for wolf harvest), etc. is solely based on an emotional reaction to wolves is a mis-characterization.”

    Mark: I apologize, that was not at all my intent. I’ll try to restate in a way that’s more clear.

    IDF&G’s continued push for a wolf hunt with the full knowledge (see the Governor’s quote) that many hunters will take the field with the intent of using their firearm to kill an animal they “hate” is very disturbing to me. When I asked, what type of conservation we (as a society) want to encourage, I was suggesting that the state’s push for a wolf hunt with the aforementioned knowledge is troubling to those of us that think hunting an animal should be an act of reverence and that if you ever start enjoying killing, it is time to quit. I’m sorry, but by knowingly allowing people to kill out of spite the agency sends the implicit message that this is acceptable behavior for hunters. As I said before, I realize it is hard to regulate actions based on motivations (heck, who am I kidding, it would be next to impossible). However, here’s an idea: the agency could send a message about what constitutes ethical hunting by pulling the permits of those (e.g. Ron Gillette) who have publicly made hateful comments about wolves. That action, at the very least, would send the message that the agency doesn’t condone such behavior.

    P.S. I don’t want to be accused of shifting my arguments so here is my original quote: “…it greatly disturbs me that the government (and governor) are willing to condone the purposeful use of a firearm for killing an animal out of hatred or spite. I realize that it is hard to account for people’s motivations when making policy, but is this the type of “conservation” we want to encourage?”

  51. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Mark, are you saying that emotion has no part on the wolf management plan? I am not trying to say anything negative about your ability as a fish and game biologist (if that’s your title) or your department but it seems with wolves there is always emotion from either side, be it extreme (saveelk and Defenders) or less so (many people on this blog). This is not unique to Idaho by any means. It seems like very few people just see wolves as wolves. What is your opinion on this?

  52. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JB, ProWolf – I can’t answer all of your points or questions about the ethics and passions of this issue. No one has all of those answers. The passionate emotion felt by the public on all sides of the issue is typical for wildlife management. It’s an advantage and disadvantage for management agencies. Helpful because good management absolutely requires the participation of the public owners of the resource and challenging because passion is difficult to reason with.
    That said, those desires and passions are why the system of fish and game commissions or boards is so important. It is central to our democractic/representative system of government. That you believe those passions are not adequately considered or acted on is a valid concern and one that I believe is best accomodated by a commission or board that has the responsibility to balance immediate public desires for wildlife management with the long term conservation needs of society, acting on information and recommendations provided by professional wildlife scientists (IDFG). The Commission does consider matters of ethics that reflect societal values and norms: waste of game; fair chase methods; inappropriate technology….
    If any of the public who we work for (and we do work for all of the Idaho public) conclude that the Department or Commission does not listen to them, doesn’t care what they think or desire it may be that we haven’t met our respnsibilities OR it might mean that those desires and concerns were heard, considerered with sincerity, BUT balanced with other equally passionate and logical desires/concerns.
    JB, the wolf hunting season and harvest objectives are a product of that process and while there are deep passions felt by opponents and proponents of wolf hunting, from a Department management perspective hunting of wolves is a socially ethical and accepted use of this wildlife resource and an important management tool to help achieve wolf population objectives. Those objectives are intended to achieve balance between the need for a healthy and viable wolf population that society desires, a sustainable abundance of valued elk, deer and moose and reduced losses of livestock and other private property.

  53. avatar JB says:

    I don’t disagree that the population objectives are sound. In fact, with a little persuading, you could probably get the majority of people who post here to agree with you there. But the reality is that this issue has become so polarized and infused with politics, that the population objectives are almost irrelevant (so long as they’re defensible); they give people numbers to argue over while the real issues go unaddressed. The ethical dilemmas posed above are the root cause of your agency’s headache, and I strongly disagree that such a homogeneous commission has the ability (let alone the desire) to fully consider interests to which it is not sympathetic when tackling these questions. Idaho’s commission is comprised of aging, white, male, sportsmen (in this case, I can use that term without fear of being accused of being sexist as there are no women). Yet, according the USFWS, in 2006 only 19% hunted, 35% fished (note some of these are the same individuals). In contrast, ~50% of the population is female!

    Even if the committee were somehow capable of adequately considering non-consumptive interests, good luck convincing people that their voices are being heard! Imagine yourself as a non-hunting women who has decided to attend a meeting to express your concern and share a few ideas about the proposed wolf hunts. You look around and there are a bunch of men in camouflage, and a commission that looks pretty much the same. Now (assuming you are brave enough) you to step up to the microphone to talk and find you are greeted with a bunch of nasty stares and maybe a few boo-hisses. Do leave the meeting thinking that your voice was heard? Do you leave thinking that the commission of sportsmen actually listened to a word you said? You get home and pick up the paper and find a grinning picture of your governor (a white man) telling everyone how he can’t wait to kill a wolf. You do some web searching, and find that the Idaho state legislature (comprised of more aging white men) previously passed a law calling for the removal of all wolves by any means necessary. Would you honestly feel your views had even a chance of being represented?

    The commissions may insulate agency biologists from taking the heat for tough decisions, but until they are diverse and inclusive, they are nothing more than a rubber-stamp for the interests of hunters and to a lesser extent, agriculture.

  54. avatar JB says:

    Mark: Here are two very recent examples from another post on how non-hunters feel:

    #
    Jon Way Says:
    June 17, 2009 at 6:02 AM

    I am repeatedly amazed at how wildlife watchers have no voice in wildlife management from Massachusetts to Idaho. They say that hunters contribute to wildlife management (which they do) but non-hunters have no way to contribute despite often contributing 10 times more to the economy (at least here in MA). Unless you are in a national park (hardly any here in the east) you have to hope that the animals you like to watch aren’t shot and have no effective voice since state fish and game agencies ignore you and use the renewable resource argument to say it isn’t a big deal, the animal(s) you like to watch will simply be replaced by others. Fortunately more of us are catching on to their ways and their entrenched views toward hunting… The fact that Larry was ignored is disappointing (to say the least) but not surprising.
    #
    Lynne Stone Says:
    June 17, 2009 at 10:01 AM

    A word on “wolf-watching zones”. The Idaho Conservation League worked quite a lot on this idea, and the result was that the IDFG Commissioners came up with a SEVEN month hunting season around Stanley and in Bear Valley. Another stab in the back by the Commissioners toward those who like wolves.

    As far the Phantoms getting shot during hunting season, I hope that folks who have firearms, will make certain that the wolves are running hard from the sound of gunfire, before any wolf hunt starts.

  55. avatar jdubya says:

    JB, you really hit the nail on the head with your post. I can’t speak to specific meetings in Idaho, but your words are picture perfect for wildlife meetings in Utah. The DWR and RAC committees actually stack the deck in such meetings in that to get your “special points” for the dedicated hunter program (which increases your odds at drawing for the hunts you want) you are required to attend such meetings. So the vast crowd is just there to be a silent, or vocal, intimidating majority for the DWR course of action. The lone dissenting voice might as well be a HIV infected leper with open sores: they are so marginalized it is amazing they are even in the same room.

    Suffice to say, none of the F&G agencies of the west give a shit about the opinions of non-consumers. They only care about people willing to buy the tags and kill the animals. The rest is window dressing that is dumped as soon as budgets tighten or conflicts arise.

    Mark Gamblin, you talk a good talk, but you don’t mean it nor does your agency. You want nothing more than the public to sit down and shut up and let you carry on with your own pre-existing plans without outside interference.

  56. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    Nice post JB. . thank you. As a woman who loves to travel by myself in the wilderness I find that I feel that in the fall “my woods” have been taken over by people I would rather not see there i. e. a hunter who told me that he hadn’t seen any wildlife but got in a couple of good “sound shots”. That makes my blood run cold. IMHO if hunters, and what I mean by hunters is an ethical meat gatherer who is woodswise, respectful and sober, want to continue to practice their art, hunters need to polarize and reestablish ethical hunting as the norm. Non hunters, for instance the 50% of women who you point out, will not be standing for hunting as an outlet for hatred, disrespect and waste in future years. Hunting is not about drinking, using ATV’s and snowmobiles to tear up the habitat and leave trash and literally shit and waste everywhere. Women in this country also own the public lands and despite the setback of having Sarah Palin in the limelight I believe their voice will be heard sooner than later.

  57. avatar catbestland says:

    Mark Gamblin,

    Emotions aside, please address the questions I and others have asked. When the result of this ill-advised proposed hunt is increased predation on livestock, because pack leadership has been decimated by “harvesting” of the more visable alphas, leaving subordinates to target easier prey like livestock, how will that increased depredation be dealt with? Will IDFG increase “control actions” on an already decreased population of fragmented and unstabalized packs? Why not take a little more time to formulate a plan to deal with the current isues based on accurate science?

  58. avatar JEFF E says:

    Mark,
    Ditto Catbestland.
    Also why if the agency mantra is to manage wolves just like bears and cougars why will mothers with young, not to mention the young themselves be open for killing?
    JB,
    Don’t forget that the majority of the Idaho State game commission all have ties to the livestock industry, including our gov, Clement.

  59. avatar Dan Mottern says:

    I personally do not think very many people “hate” wolves. I think they “hate” the consequences of wolves. Wolves invoke the thoughts of values we hold dear to our country and culture – freedom, strength, perserverance – to name a few. The consequences of wolves – rancher conflicts, reduced sportmen oppurtunity, urban sprawl conflicts, etc. are much less idyllic than the spirit of wolves. I believe, once all the animosity and bitterness tires out, that hunters and non-hunters both will build a reverance for the wolf. I think hunting is going to take hold eventually and I think conservation amongst the hunters akin what is seen with the RMEF, NWTF etc. will seat itself within the hunters as well.

  60. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Jeff – good point. Wolf pups are not able to fend for themselves now, but need help from the pack.

    Already wolf hunters are coming into the Stanley area, scouting for the wolves. This morning I saw a beautiful wolf eating a ground squirrel, and when it was finished with the last gulp, I exercised my 2nd amendment rights and did a bit of target shooting toward the wolf’s direction. All done in a legal manner for the IDFG/Wildlife Service and other law enforcement eyes monitoring this website.

    As for IDFG listening to non-hunters, the answer is – they don’t. Or at least the IDFG commissioners appointed by “can’t wait to get the first wolf ticket” Governor Butch Otter sure don’t. Wayne Wright is the IDFG Commissioner chair. He’s a retired doctor from Twin Falls, and he did come to a meeting in Hailey in Dec 07 re. the proposed wolf hunt seasons. I’ve said this before on this blog, but it’s worth repeating – about 100 people voiced support for wolves and opposed the wolf hunt. Wright didn’t hear a word they said. At meeting’s end all he could say: God gave us the right to manage wildlife.

    As is so typical in Idaho and probably other states, there are people like Wright who think that they are the only one who talks to God or Jesus, as if pro wolves friends like myself don’t have any connection with a higher power, whatever form that might take. I talk to the Goddess of Nature and she’s pissed with Wright, the Gov, and the state’s planned war on wolves.

  61. avatar Ken Cole says:

    I think there is a big component of wolf management here that is being ignored or not concentrated on enough. It is hard to tell how many wolves will be killed in the upcoming hunt but the hunt is not the only method that is on the table. To my understanding the IDFG Commission made it very clear that they have other tools to manage the wolf population. Wildlife Services is one of those tools and I would not be surprised if there will be very aggressive control measures instituted by IDFG through WS to reduce the population to the 518 goal. It also appears that, if the recent control authorization/wolf hunt in the Stanley Basin is a guide, that IDFG will issue “special” permits to livestock interests.

  62. avatar Ryan says:

    Good Gods, I’d be suprised if Mark responds to anymore questions on this thread, with all of the condesending remarks, loaded questions, and thinly veild attacks on F&G departments in general.

    I think they have done a pretty good job with this plan, The Granolas are pissed as well as the Kill em all crowd. Sounds like its a good plan to me.

  63. Well Ryan,

    I am glad that Mark Gamblin has taken time to engage in the discussion.

    He has conveyed useful information (to me certainly), and I’m sure he has learned some things, whether he feels he can say publicly on not.

    He is more than welcome to chime in or refrain.

    Real discussion takes place on this blog, not just insults.

    I must sound like a schoolmarm, but a key to having a real discussion is logic and facts, not calling folks “rednecks” or “granolas.” I don’t like more than mild cursing (not because I am easily offended. I’m proud to say I can probably curse worse than most of you). It’s just that cursing is prelude to a fight.

  64. avatar rick says:

    “This morning I saw a beautiful wolf eating a ground squirrel, and when it was finished with the last gulp, I exercised my 2nd amendment rights and did a bit of target shooting toward the wolf’s direction. All done in a legal manner for the IDFG/Wildlife Service and other law enforcement eyes monitoring this website.”

    Lynne,

    It has been brought up before, but aren’t you worried that you could just be working towards habituating wolves to the sound of gunfire? If you are shooting close enough to scare them and provide some negative reinforcement, wouldn’t that be considered harassing wildlife?

  65. avatar Ryan says:

    Ralph,

    I am glad as well, its been interesting to see his comments on the issue and how well moderated they are. I wish I had his ability to not be baited in. Perhaps you should give him his own thread and pin it to the top so that anyone who has questions for him could ask them there if he so felt. My concerns are that the loaded questions and insinuations will deter his urge to respond.

  66. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    All – believe me, I do not feel abused in this dialog. Rather, I appreciate the opportunity to share information and learn from an important segment of the public I work for. These threads are no different from the public meetings and other forums we participate in. All wildlife issues generate diverse opinions and passionate debates. I’m repeating myself now – my role in these discussions is to listen, provide information, share Department/Commission perspectives and explain programs and policies. I have no illusions that everyone will like or agree with what I say or that I will change positions or opinions. And, I will avoid debating to the best of my ability. Now……there are several good questions and comments that I think I can contribute constructive comments to:

    catbestland, Jeff, Lynn – here are comments I posted to an earlier thread, responding to the concerns pack disruption. The quote is from catbestland:
    “We now understand the pack dynamics better than we did. For instance we now know that the removal of pack leaders who teach subordinates to prey on traditional prey species may encourage those subordinates to target easier prey such as domestic livestock. Removal of the often more visable alphas may result in more livestock depredation than would have occurred without the prosposed hunt ………Do you really think this task, which could potentially cause more problems for livestock owners, should be entrusted to those who are concerned only with the sport of hunting?”

    First: Pack social hierarchy, the role of alpha adults in the pack, potential pack disruption is not new information that we have learned since the YNP/Idaho experimental wolf introduction. Those are long understood principles and have been taken into consideration throughout this conservation program. The expectation by some that wolf hunting will result in disrupted packs which will lead to increased livestock depredation is speculative conjecture. There are many POTENTIAL outcomes for hunting effects on the Idaho wolf population. Impacts on wolf social hierarchy should be expected, but perhaps not in the manner you describe. Pack disruption occurs in the absence of human intervention. When an alpha adult is removed there is almost always a sub-dominant adult waiting in the wings to assume a leadership position in the pack. It is likely that the removal of one or both alpha leaders of the pack would result in sub-dominant adults quickly filling those leadership roles. Hunting habitats and behavior are developed by the pack as a unit. The most likely outcome of one or several wolves being removed from a pack will be for a quick change in leadership and little change in hunting behavior and no change in pack territory. My comments are based on years of collective experience by wildlife managers in Alaska and Canada. In fact, the published literature (science) does NOT support a prediction that pack structure will collapse if one or both alpha leaders are removed.
    Second: In hunted wolf populations, alpha adults represent a very small portion of the wolves taken by hunters. Long experience has shown that most of the wolves taken by on the ground hunters are in-experienced sub-adults. Wolves quickly adapt and after exposure to hunting are very adept at avoiding hunters. It is unlikely that hunting of wolves in Idaho will create the counterproductive results you describe.
    Given these likely outcomes – why should the public not be given the opportunity to responsibly hunt Idaho wolves, while we maintain a healthy, sustained population of wolves?

  67. avatar JB says:

    “JB, you really hit the nail on the head with your post. I can’t speak to specific meetings in Idaho, but your words are picture perfect for wildlife meetings in Utah.”

    jdubya: Actually, the scenario (above) was based on a couple of RAC meetings I attended in Utah. I have to admit, I did ware my camo and take out my ear rings to blend in.

    “IMHO if hunters, and what I mean by hunters is an ethical meat gatherer who is woodswise, respectful and sober, want to continue to practice their art, hunters need to polarize and reestablish ethical hunting as the norm.”

    Linda: I agree. I try my best not to lump hunters into one category because they really do represent a broad cross section of the people. That said, one of the biggest problems with hunting today is image management, which (in my opinion) stems from hunters unwillingess or inability to police their own. Ron Gillette has all but called for the illegal killing of wolves, a federally-protected species and soon-to-be state game species. Hunters everywhere should be outraged and they should be expressing it publicly!

    “Good Gods, I’d be suprised if Mark responds to anymore questions on this thread, with all of the condesending remarks, loaded questions, and thinly veild attacks on F&G departments in general.”

    I hope that none of my comments came off this way? Believe it or not, I am a strong supporter of state management and I’m actually trying to help. Ralph asked (on a prior thread) what I thought could be done to fix the problem of captured agencies. My answer, essentially, was to diversify representation on its staff, get rid of (or greatly reform) commissions, and diversify funding sources. As far as I know, only my comment about the commissions is original. Even a cursory glance at the opinion pieces that have been written on the topic show the other two ideas are pervasive.

    The bottom line: State agencies know they need reform and that reform includes diversifying funding sources. This CANNOT be done when the people who you want to tap for funding (i.e. non-consumptive users of wildlife) distrust and (in some cases) despise your agency. The comments from people like Brian K. (on the other post) suggesting that it is all a grand scheme to end hunting are crazy. Public support for hunting now is as high as it has been in decades.

  68. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    John d. -“Its strange that wolves need to be managed when they are able to ‘manage’ themselves. You’ll find very little reduction for the hatred of wolves as well, as for livestock losses you could be allowing the numbers to increase by fragmenting packs.
    If there is no acceptable reason for ‘harvesting’ wolves. Why do it?”
    I spoke above to the speculative concept that hunting will worsen livestock depredation problems. Wolves will not manage themselves to reduce the impact wolf predation is having on elk production and recruitment in the Lolo and Sawtooth Zones (driving elk numbers well below what the habitat and recent hunting harvest was capable of sustaining). Likewise, wolves will not manage themselves to control or minimize predation losses of livestock or other private property (pets e.g.). Those are relevant, legitimate conflicts for which our society expects responsible management of wolves – conflicts, debates and disagreements among differing segments of society and government agencies not-withstanding. The Commission established conservative wolf harvest quotas BECAUSE these hunts are not only acceptable, they serve important purposes.

  69. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    Lynn – “There are 4 1/2 old wolf pups still at rendezvous sites with nanny wolves – and IDFG is giving the green light, in fact encouraging the killing of any and all wolves, whether they be pups and even those wolves with collars. This tells me that IDFG doesn’t care if someone is close enough for a good shot. The wolf hunter just have to see a wolf and blaze away at 300 yards, 400 yards. If you can’t see the collar, you’re not close enough.

    So the wolves currently in Idaho, esp. the 55 targeted in the Sawtooth zone, will be martyrs. Maybe the garish, sadistic show that wolf hunters are chomping to get underway, will wake up the great unwashed choir people in the middle, who haven’t thot much about wolves before.

    Also, there is no rules about how one can kill a wolf, except you’re not supposed to run it down with an ATV or snowmobile (who is going to know – there’s hardly any law enforcement in most of Idaho’s backcountry). You could wound a wolf and pour gas on it and burn it. Just like some of knot heads use to do where I grew up with dogs or cats “for fun”.

    I don’t think IDFG has any idea of the uproar and conflict that is about to occur. Reporters are contacting me from everywhere wanting information and I will do everything I can to help them to show the rest of the civilized world, what’s going on.”

    For purposes of technical accuracy and credible communication you are not describing wolf pups, you are describing sub-adult wolves that will weigh 50 lbs or more when the earliest hunts begin (Sept. 1). Sub-adult wolves will indeed be selectively removed during these hunts. The effect of sub-adult wolf harvest on wolf population structure and hierarchy, on the ground, will not result in increased wolf conflicts, but it may slow the growth of wolf numbers in the state.
    We will continue to caution hunters that there are collared wolves and ask that they not be taken. We should expect that some collared wolves will be taken by hunters, but because those are mature, savvy adults who have already been exposed to capture by humans, we shoud expect collared wolves to be rarely killed by hunters. I understand that there are concerns that hunters may have access to radio collar frequencies and make unethical and illegal use of those frequencies. I believe that concern has been answered more effectively than I can in another ongoing thread.
    There certainly are rules that define methods of take for wolves. Wolves are now big game animals like elk, deer, moose, antelope, etc.. Only centerfire rifles, muzzle-loaders, shotguns w/ slugs, or archery equipment – each with specific criteria for adequate calibre, etc. may be used to take wolves or any other big game animals. If anyone were to be guilty of the macabre specter you described he/she would be guilty of a serious crime.
    I assure you, the Department and Commission are very aware of the certain controversy that will surround this divisive issue for the foreseeable future.

  70. avatar catbestland says:

    Mark Gamblin,

    Are you suggesting that the knowledge of the science of pack hierarchy has not greatly increased since the re-introduction program? I believe it has and much of this information is now available to the general public who has chosen to educate themselves through the many publications written by esteemed biologists on the subject. That information logically tells us that to disrupt the pack heirarchy could easily result in more depredation on livestock as well as a host of other problems.

    Acting in harmony with the suggestions of sound scientific research is hardly speculative conjecture. Rather it is responsible stewardship of the ecosystems. Ignoring these suggestions in favor of ill-advised policy to placate the consumptive agenda is a far riskier endeavor. If science tells you that there is a huricane or tornado headed in your direction, do you consider this speculative conjecture and choose to ignore the advice of scientists to take cover? Of course not. To do so would be to err on the side of bad judgement. Wouldn’t it be prudent to err on the side of caution and not take unnecessary chances with this already tense situation? This is sound advice in any science. Why not take a more conservative and thoroughly thought out approach to the issue?

  71. avatar Jay says:

    C’mon Mark, being trapped and being shot from 2-300 yards are two entirely different things, wouldn’t you agree? I’m sure a wolf learns to avoid a trap, but I doubt they’ll learn to avoid walking and exposing themselves to flying lead for, oh, 3-4 months? There’s not much of an opportunity to learn after being shot, is there?

  72. avatar Ryan says:

    Cat,

    Do you have any actual information on this, there have been wolf hunts going on for decades, surely there has to be some credible studies and data that would show that, not just I read some study off the defenders website and now I’m applying anthropromorphism and “logic” to create a theory which will give me another justification to condemn something I already condemn.

    Jay,

    They both give the wolf a healthy dose of fear of man. Many are also shot with tranaquilizer guns which will help with the whole fear aspect as well.

  73. avatar Jay says:

    Ryan, you don’t learn fear of man when getting shot with a high powered rifle from 2-300 yards, and you know it. I give Mark credit for some good info, but that argument is full on BS.

  74. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JB – “I hope that none of my comments came off this way? Believe it or not, I am a strong supporter of state management and I’m actually trying to help. Ralph asked (on a prior thread) what I thought could be done to fix the problem of captured agencies. My answer, essentially, was to diversify representation on its staff, get rid of (or greatly reform) commissions, and diversify funding sources. As far as I know, only my comment about the commissions is original. Even a cursory glance at the opinion pieces that have been written on the topic show the other two ideas are pervasive.”
    I certainly do not perceive your comments as negative in any way. This has been a civil, reasoned discussion, with a few hot comments (from other participants) but very positive from my point of view. We agree on important management issues – funding being one of them.
    Before I go back to my other job. You make valid and constructive points about the responsibilities of the Fish and Game Commission and Fish and Game Department to represent and serve ALL Idaho citizens, not just those who hunt and fish. You have emphasized the ethnic, age and gender make-up of this and other Commissions and argue that the Idaho Commission e.g. cannot effectively or appropriately represent the Idaho citizenry without more diversity in enthinc heritage, age and gender. There’s no question that is your conviction, but I will ask – is that a valid assessment of how well the Commission serves the Idaho public? I’m not aware of any survey data or other evidence to support that position. We are talking specifically about how well non-hunters, non-anglers, non-consumptive wildlife enthusiasts are listened to, served, represented. To adequately serve all Idahoans does it require the Commission to make wolf management decisions that are substantially different that those made to date? Are Idahoans dissatisfied with the composition of this Commission or dissatisfied with it’s performance? If, for the purpose of this question, the majority of the readers and participants of this blog site oppose the Commission’s wolf management policies and decisions – does that mean that Idaho citizens are not being heard?

  75. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Mark – the two collared yearlings (subadults) in the Phantom Hill pack, and the other yearlings I’ve seen this summer that were collared in the past several months, are not “savy adults”. Rather, they are curious, rather carefree young wolves, and a lot of them will be shot, at a tremendous loss of manpower dollars that went into collaring them. In the case of B439, Phantom male, he was darted from a helicopter in March!

    IDFG should put collared animals off limits, period.

    When I think of all the Wildlife Service personnel and their friends and families, that will have access to frequencies … well, you know what I am saying. WS has aircraft flying all the time, esp. in winter when they are nailing thousands of coyotes on behalf of the livestock industry. From an aircraft, a radio frequency can be picked up for dozens of miles.

    I don’t understand your words “selectively” removed. That would indicate to me that someone is intentionally going after a pup. A little wolf that you call a subadult. What sport is that?

    The Sawtooth zone hunt goes for SEVEN months, right up until denning time. The snowmobile crowd will have good hunting then, if there’s any Basin Butte or Galena wolves left.

  76. avatar Jay says:

    Ryan, are hunters going to be shooting wolves from helicopters, darting style?

  77. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Mark, I have to echo the thanks that everyone is saying for you commenting on this blog. I keep reading about the goal of around 500 wolves. I hope nobody asked you this and you didn’t already respond, but is that the actual goal for the state of Idaho? I know how rumors (the 255 quota as stated in the proposed injunctionhttp://wolves.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/conservation-groups-challenge-wolf-hunting/) fly so was seeing if you could confirm that.

  78. Mark-
    I am not opposed to hunting wolves. However, I am opposed to hunting wolves in Sept. and early Oct., when the hides are so poor that they will all end up in the county dump. I am opposed to hunting wolves when they have pups that still have milk teeth and can’t sustain themselves without the adults. This means you shouldn’t hunt wolves until December. I am opposed to hunting wolves when they might have pups in a den. That means you don’t hunt them after the end of Feb. This leaves a three month season from Dec. 1 to Mar. 1. Anything else is not treating them as a valued game animal. The season as it is right now is designed to punish wolves for being wolves.

  79. avatar Ryan says:

    Jay,

    Actually its obivious you have never hunted before and are full of BS. I’ve actually been hunted for wolves a little bit in Ak, there crafty to say the least. (attempted to stalk a few on a caribou hunt). But hey, what ever view will help you to reinforce your ideas… More power to you.

  80. avatar Jay says:

    I’ve hunted plenty Ryan, but if an illogical argument sounds good to you, you go with that. Maybe you can jump over to Saveourelk.com for some more facts.

  81. I think the Sawtooth Zone hunt is clearly attempt to remove as many wolves as possible, ideally all of them from the area.

    We have heard for years about the Lolo and the Selway zones and problem with wolves. The Sawtooth is new. It suddenly appeared in as a “problem” in the last year-and-a -half.

    I can’t help but note that the area contains some of the most excitable livestock operators in Idaho, and some of them with a lot of political influence. Ron Gillette also lives there, the man who more than any helped create a wintering elk herd in Stanley Basin by feeding them, when otherwise the elk would have migrated out of this extremely cold mountain valley.

  82. avatar Jay says:

    And Ryan, way to stick on point…Mark stated (and I’ll paraphrase): radiocollared wolves will be less likely to be killed because they’ve been radiocollared.

    Ok Ryan, being the expert, explain to me where a wolf learns to avoid bullets after a) being trapped, or b) getting darted from a helicopter? You state wolves are crafty…yeah, so what? What does that have to do with the price of tea in china, or how radiocollared wolves are less likely to be killed because of being captured? There is no relation between the two, but you know because you tried to shoot a wolf a few times in Alaska. I would like to know what the proportion of wolves that you hunted were radiocollared, and what was the percentage of those radiocollared wolves in the population that you hunted that were harvested? Lets hear some statistics other than them there wolves is crafty?

  83. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    One reason the quota in the Sawtooth zone could be so high, along with what Ralph’s said, is that wolves will likely be easier to kill in winter around the Stanley/Sawtooth region and in the SFK Payette. I can already visualize the IDFG video with wolf hunters and their “trophies”, with the Sawtooth Peaks in the background.

  84. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    OK, just one more post before I give this a rest for a little while.
    Lynn, Larry and Jay – “Selectively removed?” Good point Lynn. What I meant was hunting consistently takes predominantly sub-adult wolves because, as you point out, they have not yet been exposed to hunters and consequently are more susceptible than are experience adults in the pack. In this sense, hunting will tend to “select” for sub-adults.

    Again, to keep this discussion based on facts:
    Denning occurs in April, whelping occurs in mid-April, after the wolf hunting season is over. Pups are weaned and hunting with adults by Sept. 1. Because sport hunting will rarely if ever destroy packs, it is unlikley that there will be orphaned, starving sub-adults (there will be no pups during the hunting season). Wolves are indeed social, pack animals. Young wolves rely on the pack not birth parents alone for survival.
    These hunts serve several purposes, but “punishing” wolves is not one of them. Wolves are a trophy game animal. Hunters will have several motivations to hunt. Some will be interested in the commercial value of prime wolf pelts. Some will want a pelt for a trophy. Pelts taken in September or October will be valued by many hunters. These hunts are also a managment tool to control wolf numbers for management objectives I’ve explained. For these purposes, the hunting seasons we’re talking about are justified.
    Jay – wolves that are shot at, whether it’s from 50 or 300 yds will know they are it and those who are not shot will learn very quickly what the source of danger is and will adapt very quickly with behavior that makes them much less susceptible to hunters. Those lessons are learned in much less time than 3-4 months. This is well documented from decades of experience with hunted wolf populations in Alaska and Canada.

  85. avatar Jay says:

    Mark, I’m not arguing that wolves learn to fear hunters–all you have to do is look at yellowstone, where wolves are radiocollared frequently (ask Larry T.) and will walk in front of a car or person with no fear, to figure that out. My argument is with your assertion that collared wolves are less likely to be killed by hunters because of past capture. I sense you’re backing off that initial statement, is that correct?

  86. avatar JB says:

    “You have emphasized the ethnic, age and gender make-up of this and other Commissions and argue that the Idaho Commission e.g. cannot effectively or appropriately represent the Idaho citizenry without more diversity in enthinc heritage, age and gender. There’s no question that is your conviction, but I will ask – is that a valid assessment of how well the Commission serves the Idaho public?”

    Mark: That depends upon what public you are talking about. Sometimes the citizenry will be in near perfect agreement about an issue. In these cases, solutions are easy! [Most states in the West have been spoiled in this manner (homogeneity of background breeds homogeneity of opinion).] But with wolves (and several other key issues) the “public” holds competing values/ideals/views about how wildlife SHOULD be managed–or you might say there are different “publics” to serve. When the decision-makers all come from one side (i.e. represent one view), of course people with opposing views will feel the process is stacked against them!

    Look, I’m not questioning the convictions of the commission nor IDF&G agency personnel; nor am I suggesting the management goal of 220 is not sound from the perspective of a sustainable harvest. You don’t have an ecological problem, you have a social problem.

    You ask, “To adequately serve all Idahoans does it require the Commission to make wolf management decisions that are substantially different that those made to date?”

    Maybe, maybe not. My guess is that there will always be some folks upset when it comes to wolves. But you will never know until you have a decision-making body and a decision-making process that are perceived as fair. Moreover, I believe fair representation and process would help with much more than wolves.

    – – –

    P.S. Actually, there is a LOT of social science on fairness of process; much of it in the forestry literature. Here are a few readings that might be helpful:

    Blahna, D. J., and S. Yonts-Shepard. 1990. Preservation or Use? Confronting Public Issues in Forest Planning and Decision Making. J. D. Hutcheson, F. P. Noe, and R. E. Snow, editors. Outdoor Recreation Policy, Pleasure and Preservation. Greenwood Press, New York, NY.

    Daniels, S. E., and G. B. Walker. 2001. Working through environmental conflict. Praeger, Westport.

    Yaffee, S. L., J. M. Wondolleck, and S. Lippman. 1997. Factors that Promote and Constrain Bridging: A Summary and Analysis of the Literature. Report Submitted to the USDA-Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, #PNW 95-0728, Ann Arbor, MI.

    Mortenson, K. G., and R. S. Krannich. 2001. Wildlife Managers and Public Involvement: Letting the Crazy Aunt Out. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 6(4):277-290.

    Smith, P. D., and M. H. McDonough. 2001. Beyond Public Participation: Fairness in Natural Resource Decision Making. Society & Natural Resources 14(3):239-249.

    Thompson, J. R., W. F. Elmendorf, M. H. McDonough, and L. L. Burban. 2005. Participation and conflict: Lessons learned from community forestry. Journal of Forestry:174-178.

  87. avatar Ryan says:

    No wolves were collared where we hunted to my knowledge. I was just trying to apply some logic, when animals have negative human expiriences, they tend to avoid humans. Crafty may not have been the correct word choice, wary would have been a better choice. Yellowstone is a great example because all of the animals there are very wary, not at all acustomed to humans. 🙁 I would be willing to bet that wolves that are not habituated that are collared would be less likely that uncollared wolves to get killed per capita. This will be an interesting year to see what kind of data is recovered as this will be a unique situation that has not happened in the continental US in 40+years.

    My comment on my AK expirience was noting that in my expirience wolves are a wary animal and that your 300yd comment wont hold much weight a few weeks into the season as the wolves will change their behavior in response to the hunting pressure.

    Mark,

    What is the percentage collared elk that are killed during elk seasons compared to total elk populations. i.e. 2% of collared elk are killed by hunters and 3% of population X in unit Y are killed total.

    You are correct, I get all of my information from http://www.saveanelk.com, Saveourelk.com, and Fox news!

  88. avatar Jay says:

    Ryan, you must’ve misinterpreted my comment about Yellowstone wolves–they get collared EVERY winter (chased by helicopter)–yet they will cross the road in front of your car, or walk by you as you take photos. Clearly, the radiocollaring experience DID NOT teach them to avoid humans, as you suggested. Nor will trapping teach them to avoid hunters–being shot at will eventually teach them as a whole, but to argue that capture experience makes them less likely to step in front of a hunters crosshairs is nonsense.

  89. avatar Jay says:

    when I say them, I mean radiocollared individuals, not wolves in general.

  90. avatar JEFF E says:

    Mark,
    What Larry said above IS the fact of the matter.
    To say otherwise is just simply being disingenuous

  91. avatar Ryan says:

    Jeff E.

    How is that in any way a fact on the matter?

  92. avatar JB says:

    Okay this information is a bit old, but the best I could find in short order. Denning occurs in April in Idaho? Let’s say pups are born, on average, on 14 April.

    “…pups in good physical condition will join adult members of a pack in their travels as early as October, at which time they may weigh 27 kg (60 lb) and be almost of adult size. Adult teeth replace deciduous teeth between weeks 16 and 26 (Schonberner, 1965).”

    By my calculations, that means adult teeth are present sometime between mid August and the first week in October. Also, I would argue there is a big difference between accompanying the pack on the hunt and actually becoming a prolific hunter. It seems quite logical that sub-adults from small packs that lose alpha members will be at a huge disadvantage (i.e. as smaller, unskilled hunters).

    From: Mech, D. L. (1974). Canis lupus. Mammalian Species, No. 37:1-6.

  93. avatar JEFF E says:

    Ryan,
    Would you want the pelt of any animal on Sept. 1?

  94. avatar Cobra says:

    You may not want to see a wolf season from Dec. to March. The middle of winter would be the easiest time of year to have a real chance at getting a wolf. I will agree though that thepelts would be more prime. Also, from Dec. to March hunters have little to hunt so they could take up wolf hunting more seriously. Most will worry more about hunting elk and deer in the fall than they will taking a wolf.

  95. avatar catbestland says:

    Yes Ryan, there is actual proof that science did advance over the past 14 years since re-introduction, the Bush administration’s war on science notwithstanding.

  96. avatar John d. says:

    Cobra
    The activity is about boredom not necessity, first comes entertainment fur comes second (‘using the animal’ – minus eating it of course) followed by closely by the ‘management’ (of a species that manages itself).

  97. Mark –
    I hunt wolves with a camera and have watched and sometimes photographed a lot of wolves(100s in Alaska,The Yukon,Alberta,Idaho,Yellowstone). The hunt scene featuring the Hayden Pack on my website was taken in Late October. The four ADULTS in the pack, pursued and killed one of the two elk they chased by me. The five pups did NOT participate in the hunt and followed (I have photos of all five pups as they trotted right by me) about 15 minutes later to help eat the kill. Calling pups, “sub-adults”, is sort like saying killing is “harvesting”.
    Ask Carter Niemeyer(Traps wolves and puts radio- collars on them for the IDFG) when pups get their adult teeth. He told me last week that the pups’ adult canines were just starting to erupt.
    When the two alpha Hayden wolves were killed by the Mollies Pack, a day after they killed the elk in my photos, the rest of the Hayden pack was forced out of Yellowstone by other wolves as they didn’t have enough adults left to defend their territory.
    Jay- The two Hayden alpha wolves that were killed by the Mollies, both had radio-collars which, I think, handicapped them in the fight with the other pack.

  98. avatar John d. says:

    Mark,

    Have you heard of predator prey relations? A study performed by Eli Geffen and colleagues, 1996, discovered that large canids, such as wolves, do not have smaller pups but rather litter size is determined by available prey. When prey was unavailable breeding did not occur.

    As for pet depredation, hunting hasn’t stopped that either – its more to do with people looking after their pets. Livestock depredation: proper animal husbandry and adequate measures of deterrence such as livestock guardians. You could also look up the history on how gray wolves were killed off and what justifications were used.
    Acceptable, necessary and justified? I think not.

  99. avatar John d. says:

    *unavailable
    Correction: not readily available

  100. avatar Cobra says:

    Just curious, Just how many wolves do you guys and gals feel are necessary in each state before you stop filing lawsuit after lawsuit to allow the F&G depts. to allow a season? I’m not trying to ruffle any feathers out there but am curious as to the numbers you feel are required.

  101. avatar JB says:

    Cobra,

    If memory serves, ~500 animals is the magic number to ensure adequate genetic diversity. In my view there have been enough wolves for several years. However, all of the focus on numbers misses the point. The ESA sets up conditions for a species to qualify for listing (and subsequent delisting). Nobody (to my knowledge anyway) is arguing that there aren’t enough wolves. The arguments made in the lawsuit are:

    AThe ESA Does Not Permit Delisting A Portion Of A Listed DPS
    1. The Plain Language Of The ESA Does Not Permit Partial Delisting
    2. The Delisting Rule Conflicts With FWS’s Longstanding Interpretation Of The ESA
    3. The Purpose Of The ESA Is Thwarted By Piecemeal Delisting
    B. FWS’s Assessment Of The Significance Of The Region’s “Unsuitable” And “Unoccupied” Habitat Was Arbitrary And Unlawful
    C. FWS Arbitrarily Determined That Wolves Are Not Threatened By A Foreseeable Lack Of Genetic Exchange
    1. Montana And Idaho Lack Regulatory Mechanisms To Ensure Genetic Exchange
    a. State regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to maintain a wolf population large enough to ensure genetic exchange
    b. State regulatory mechanisms to promote wolf dispersal are lacking
    2. FWS’s Claim That Past Wolf Dispersals Guarantee Future Genetic Exchange Is Arbitrary
    3. FWS’s Attempt To Declare Wolf Recovery Even In The Absence of Genetic Exchange Is Unavailing

    Given the history of wolf politics in these states and their legislatures’ and governors’ inability to keep their mouths shut and let the agencies do their jobs (i.e. passing laws calling for the removal of all wolves), I’d say they have a pretty strong case.

    The real important issue (in my view) is A; i.e. does the ESA allow for piecemeal delisting on a state-by-state basis? The courts have already rejected this method in the past, but again, FWS has never really had a consistent approach. Fundamentally, the question being asked the court is: Does the law permit the FWS to list/delist populations using political boundaries as opposed to actual physical/geographic barriers (i.e. those things that separate populations and make them distinct).

  102. JB,

    This is the best short statement I have seen of what is required for wolf delisting in addition to at least 100 wolves in each state.

    Thanks!

  103. avatar JB says:

    Thanks, Ralph. Actually, the list is straight out of the lawsuit–these are the items plaintiffs allege. I would also add that I think the state F&G agencies are more than capable of managing wolves sustainably right now (from a purely biological perspective). The question is, will the politicians in their states allow them to do so?

  104. avatar Ryan says:

    Cat,

    Any relavant articles you’d like to cite?

    Jeff,

    I have seen good bear rugs from Late August/early September. The fur should be fine.

  105. avatar Sara says:

    If anyone is wondering how this hunt is going to work all you need to do is sit on a porch at triangle c ranch and listen to Ron Gillett screeming on the phone about shoot, shovel and shut up. Heard he got the first wolf tag monday morning in Stanley Idaho, Hummmm.

  106. avatar JEFF E says:

    Ryan,
    What were the origin of these bear rugs.
    If that is the case why does Idaho not open it’s furbearer seasons (with the exception of coyote and badger; another topic) until , at the earliest, the end of October, with most later than that.
    It is also a well known biological fact that the late summer (September) is the most stressful period for wolves because of, mainly, their prey tend to be widely dispersed and conversely, at the apex of their yearly health/physical cycle, where as wolves are still feeding pups (not sub-adults Mark) still unable to fend for themselves and depending on the pack, another factor is missing adults due to dispersal, inter-pack strife, ect. ect. and not yet replaced by the pups.
    Overall, if wolves are considered a “valued big game animal”, then the oxymoron is to start hunting in September.

Calendar

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: