Idaho Resumes Hunting Of Gray Wolves. by Doug Nadvornic. Part of “All things considered.”

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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.

44 Responses to National Public Radio: Idaho Resumes Hunting Of Gray Wolves

  1. avatar April Clauson says:

    I find it hard to take that the Indian tribe wants to kill wolves….of all people they should not want a wolf dead! But I am hoping that out of the thousand folks that bought a tag that only maybe 1/4 get a wolf. $12.00 is to cheap, if FWS wants to make money they should at least pay $100.00.

  2. avatar dave smith says:

    “I find it hard to take that the Indian tribe wants to kill wolves….of all people they should not want a wolf dead!” April C.

    Based on my limited experience–a few years on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation adjacent to Glacier National Park, MT–I’m not at all surprised an Indian tribe wants to kill wolves. Jeez, the Blackfeet blasted grizzlies and bald eagles on the rez, and poached bighorn sheep in Glacier. What’s your experience with the Idaho Nez Perce?

  3. avatar Dusty Roads says:

    The comment about the Nez Perce refers to an authorization, by the state, of a number of tags assured for use by Nez Perce members, it means just that. By mention of it with no more information than that seems to lead listeners to assume that they will be used or claimed and that the Nez Perce are eager to hunt wolves.

    As the Nez Perce view the wolf with great respect and honor the animal as brethren it’s doubtful that many, if any, will be used other than to keep them out of circulation… perhaps.

  4. avatar April Clauson says:

    Do not know much about the Nez Perce, but my friend, Tanya Littlewolf is Apache, and she runs a wolf sanctuary in CA. I know her people revere the wolf and would never ever kill one….I just figured most other tribes would be the same…

  5. avatar April Clauson says:

    Based on my limited experience–a few years on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation adjacent to Glacier National Park, MT–I’m not at all surprised an Indian tribe wants to kill wolves. Jeez, the Blackfeet blasted grizzlies and bald eagles on the rez, and poached bighorn sheep in Glacier. What’s your experience with the Idaho Nez Perce?

    If that tribe did as you say, they will answer to the spirits in due time….and those Indians that did the above should and was I bet, punished by tribal leaders for that!!! If not then the Nez Perce tribe is really not much of a tribe! did you see all the above happen or are you going by things you have heard???

  6. avatar BrianTT says:

    April Clauson says:

    “But I am hoping that out of the thousand folks that bought a tag that only maybe 1/4 get a wolf. $12.00 is to cheap, if FWS wants to make money they should at least pay $100.00.”

    Actually April, over 12,000 tags have been sold and even if the quotas are all met, less than 2% of hunters will fill their tags. I’d say the $11.50 for a tag has been a pretty good money maker for IDF&G.

  7. avatar BrianTT says:

    I worked for several years with a couple of members of the Sho-Ban tribe. I can tell you from personal experience that they don’t seem to have much reverence for any wildlife. They pretty much shoot anything, anytime, and anywhere they want.

  8. avatar April Clauson says:

    I worked for several years with a couple of members of the Sho-Ban tribe. I can tell you from personal experience that they don’t seem to have much reverence for any wildlife. They pretty much shoot anything, anytime, and anywhere they want.

    ____

    Oh heck, if the Indians want them dead, I give up, may as well hand a gun over to a 2 year old and let them have at it to! I guess nothing is sacred anymore to too many people now a days????….Wolves will be killed, not killed off, but when the alpha males/females get killed, the pups are going to really start trouble, since they have no adults to teach them!

  9. avatar Tilly says:

    April, please hold off on criticizing the Nez Perce on those tags until it is seen what they do. They were instrumental in the re-introduction, and in fact RAN the Idaho Wolf Recovery Program for many years prior to the state taking it over. I don’t remember the dates, but I’m sure Ralph can fill in.

  10. avatar Aaron M.C. says:

    “They’ll kill them and let ’em lay,” Ziegler says. “They’re a pack of dogs and they’ll chase stuff down for the fun of it. They might only take a couple of chunks out of it and let it go for a while because they’re already so full from all the other animals they’ve been eating.”

    Talk about the leading laughing stock for the scientific community to enjoy. You make wonderful use of negative emotions Ziegler.

  11. avatar April Clauson says:

    April, please hold off on criticizing the Nez Perce on those tags until it is seen what they do. They were instrumental in the re-introduction, and in fact RAN the Idaho Wolf Recovery Program for many years prior to the state taking it over. I don’t remember the dates, but I’m sure Ralph can fill in
    _____________

    Tilly, I hope you are right, just going by what Dave said, and the other comment on the other tribe. Like I said, I would be surprised if an Indian of any tribe killed a wolf. but in these days even they can forget morals and consideration for their wild life. I hope they did buy the tags just so other’s would not get them. But with 12,000 tags out, won’t help much…..

  12. avatar SR25Stoner says:

    Russel Means calls most of these reservation Native Americans who act out in these ruthless ways “Hangs Around the Fort Injuns. ” Study on the late and early American and Canadian boarding school abuses these people suffered, and the laws of that time which outlawed Native Americans from raising their own children, and their native languages were not allowed either, Means touches on all these things in ” Where White Men Fear To Tread” and you then understand what is up with their minds today, concerning the bad things which has gone on, like all the killing of game, the alcohol abuse, and what have you, none of this bad activity is very traditional. I have studied on this topic in depth and I can tell you it is true and heart wrenching. The Lame Deer family wrote of these things also. I will be surprised if any Nez Perce take a wolf.

  13. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Aaron, I thought Ziegler’s comments were pretty funny too. I think it is interesting how so many of these people actually view the wolves as competitors. Sure, I hope to get an elk this year ans I would rather have that healthier meat than beef or pork, but I am well past that Neanderthal stage. If I don’t get an elk so be it, at least I got out in the sticks for a while.

  14. avatar Ken Cole says:

    April, there are an unlimited number of tags to be sold. The 70,000 number that I have seen several times in the media is just an estimate of how many tags the IDFG thinks it may sell but there is no limit to how many they can sell. It may be more it may be less.

    As far as the tribes, I think it is a little presumptuous to assume anything. I hate to see anyone make generalizations about any group good or bad.

  15. avatar Dusty Roads says:

    Folks should learn more about a people before passing judgement on them and condemning them for something they aren’t doing or haven’t done.

    The piece does illustrate the nonfacts and barely touches on the real argument – NPR fails to do a proper job of reporting on this one.

    The fact is that only 220 tags can be filled, period. The state will have WS and their personnel kill off the rest of the 630 wolves they plan to exterminate ~ per the IDF&G comments since last year. And then there are the SS&S crowd who kill an unknown number of wolves and then have the IDF&G try to keep it covered up until the federal judge makes his ruling…

    That would be the point NPR missed like the broad side of a barn on a sunny day.

  16. avatar JEFF E says:

    As far as Indians hunting wolves it mostly depends on the politics. For example the San Carlos reservation tribes fought the reintroduction of the Mexican wolf and I believe still are against it. (think livestock industry) How the Nez Perce Individual tribal members think about it and how the tribe’s “government” think about it may not be the same.
    After that you start to get into different tribe traditions and views on different animals, not to mention that each person is a individual and may or may not even adhere or care about how it “used to be”

  17. avatar JEFF E says:

    220 + 35 = 255

  18. avatar Ryan says:

    If the Nez Perce treat their tags like the local indians treat game and fish around here, then they’ll take 35 per the goverment allowment and another 100 for ceramonial reasons.

  19. avatar Save bears says:

    Better watch out Ryan, That much truth, could get you in trouble!

  20. avatar Craig says:

    “Until about 15 years ago, there were no wolves in Idaho.”

    That is a total lie!

  21. avatar JW says:

    Once again the following quote contradicts what the hunters in the story are saying. How repetitive can these articles get?:

    “The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has put out a report in February showing that the last three years the elk herd in Idaho has grown and it’s now at an all-time high of 115,000 elk.”

  22. Yes Craig there were a few wolves in Idaho at the time of the reintroduction. However, they were scattered, probably all of the same sex (male) and not an adequate genetic base for a robust wolf recovery even if there had been a female.

    The USFWS was not able to find them during the one year they were allowed to search for pack activity. Their presence became know later — 3 male wolves, each of which help found a wolf pack with a female from Canada.

  23. avatar Craig says:

    Thanks for at least saying the truth Ralph! I had seen Wolves and tracks back in Chamberlin basin, Railroad Ridge back in the early 80s and before. Not packs, but had seen individual Wolves. Actually heard them Howling North of Whiskey Creek around 81′ and there where multiple Wolves doing it.

  24. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    115,000 elk? Even 1,000 wolves can’t devastate that much. Craig, there is not too much denial that wolves existed in Idaho and even in Yellowstone before the reintroduction. However, as Ralph says, they were not enough to ensure a genetic base. The same thing goes for wolves that have dispersed into Washington, any possible survivors in Mexico, and grizzlies that may have persisted (and still exist) in the San Juans of Colorado, the Bitterroots, and possibly even in Mexico. Reintroductions were and are needed to ensure a genetic base in these areas.

  25. avatar Craig says:

    ProWolf in WY, I understand that! But when one writes a article saying there were no wolves as of 15 years ago in Idaho, that just shows pure ignorance and lack of any knowledge or research about what they are reporting on! Then all the idiots in America who believe everything that is printed makes it fact and thus the truth is distorted! It just pisses me off that crap like that is printed!

  26. avatar Aaron M.C. says:

    It makes sense, if you unnaturally take a species out, its probably necessary to artificially put it back in. Though inevitably, as a side effect, with such sharp changes comes the “weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

  27. avatar Ken Cole says:

    There seem to be some things that are not very clear about the Nez Perce Tribe’s involvement in the hunt.

    1. Does the Tribe intend to take their quota of 35?
    It appears that the NPT Executive Council is not eager to kill wolves now just because they can. In general the NPT and the State of Idaho have vastly different philosophies regarding wolves and wolf management. But as with any “group” in society there are no doubt different viewpoints and certain tribal members may be inclined to exercise their “right” to harvest a wolf for ceremonial purposes or other reasons. The NPT does indeed hold the wolf in very high esteem (it’s name in Niimiipu means “brother”), but that does not mean that they never killed wolves in the past.

    2. Is the Nez Perce quota of 35 part of or in addition to the 220 harvest quota?
    There seems to be some question about this. I have heard in the media that the 35 is in addition but from a reliable source I have heard that the NPT’s allocation of 35 is part of the overall 220, so the max. number of wolves that can be harvested by all parties is 220, not 255. The NPT is the only tribe with negotiated wolf harvest rights, no other tribes are guaranteed a part of the take (unless individual members buy a tag).

    I think it is critically important to clear up the second point.

  28. avatar Ken Cole says:

    Here is my feeling about the hunt itself. I don’t like the hunt but what I like even less is the attacks on hunting and hunters themselves.

    We don’t know how many wolves will be taken but I assume that hunting will become more successful once the elk and wolves become more concentrated during the winter. They will be more visible then.

    I think the greater threat is how the IDFG gets to their 518 goal. It will be done through increased Wildlife Services killing and if many of the commentators on this blog are correct there will be greater conflict with livestock because of the hunt.

    I think it is a huge mistake to turn this into an anti-hunting argument. Hunters, as most here are aware, are not all wild-eyed anti-wolfers. Some of them are just as passionate about conservation as wolf advocates are, and would like to see less livestock grazing on public lands.

    That is the issue that wolf advocates should be advancing not an anti-hunter agenda. If you want a healthier environment and more wolves and other wildlife on the landscape you get more bang for the buck by getting the livestock OFF OF PUBLIC LANDS.

    The recent Defenders advertisement, while it gets a lot of attention to the issue, feels disingenuous to me. It only describes how half of the wolves will be killed in Idaho’s effort to reduce the population from the estimated 1000 to 500. It says absolutely nothing about how the remaining 280 or so wolves will be killed. Wildlife Services, at the behest of the livestock industry and the IDFG, will do it. To leave the greater portion of the killing out of the ad is wrong.

    I have already had some real criticism by others for this stance but I don’t feel that anyone is above criticism, let alone myself. Ignoring the biggest part of the threat to wolves, and a huge number of other species, seems wrong to me and I am not afraid to say it.

  29. avatar Craig says:

    GREAT POST Ken, that would sum up my feeling too!

  30. avatar JEFF E says:

    I agree Ken. IDFG is in the middle of a big smoke and mirrors attempt.

  31. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    ProWolf in WY, I understand that! But when one writes a article saying there were no wolves as of 15 years ago in Idaho, that just shows pure ignorance and lack of any knowledge or research about what they are reporting on!

    Craig, I will agree that people should acknowledge that wolves did exist in Idaho even after they were “exterminated”. However, that does not make a good argument that there should have been no restoration. It is all about the genetics and ensuring a VIABLE population, not the survival of one or two wolves (that as Ralph said were probably all males) over hundreds of square miles.

  32. avatar Ken Cole says:

    Craig,
    I heard stories about a pair of wolves in Sulphur Creek, near Whiskey Creek too. A USFS employee claimed that he saw them but he didn’t want to do all of the paper work to report them.

    Another individual told me about doing howl surveys in Chamberlain Basin in ’92 and said that he got a vigorous response to a howl from an individual wolf but when he reported it over the radio they seemed upset that he had done so. They didn’t want to find wolves.

    My Dad, a retired USFS employee, tells me that the ranger in Bear Valley would always put in his wildlife report each year that there were wolves there. Every year the main office would take it out of the report.

    There was a wolf killed near Warm Lake that the killer tried to sell and he was prosecuted for it.

    Another wolf was poisoned in Bear Valley and is standing someplace, stuffed in an IDFG office someplace. I saw it at the headquarters office several years ago but when I recently went there it wasn’t in the same place.

    I heard a wolf in ’92 in Landmark. I was awaken by the sound of howling coyotes and then came that long, mournful howl.

    There were wolves here, I heard rumors all of my life about them but the reports were so sporadic and, I think the agencies didn’t want to find them. That being said, Ralph is correct in his description of wolves present at the time of reintroduction. One with the Thunder Mountain Pack, one with the White Cloud Pack, and one with the Kelly Creek Pack. Not much to start a population with.

    Here’s where I differ with Ralph and I haven’t always felt this way. I think that wolves could have made a comeback on their own if given enough time. Their genetic diversity would not have been very high though. Would this have been better for wolves? We’ll never really know. They certainly would have had greater protection and could have recovered quickly once established populations became established because they would have had full protection under the ESA. They were being illegally killed though.

  33. avatar Craig says:

    I did not dipute that! ALL I said and I quote “Until about 15 years ago, there were no wolves in Idaho.”

    “That is a total lie!” Period!!!!!!!!!!!! A complete lie printed for who knows how many of thousands of people to be mislead and believe! Small things like this just escalate into bigger myths and more lies! Print the truth, not lies, nor ones opinion and then let people decide!

  34. avatar Ken Cole says:

    I should add that the wolves in Northwest Montana were wolves who made their way down from Canada on their own. They have done very well but I don’t know how much of that is due to the reintroduction. Maybe someone with greater knowledge of those wolves could weigh in.

    They surely would have expanded into Idaho on their own but that is all speculation.

  35. avatar DB says:

    A lot of nonsence posted here today about what the Nez Perce might do. I worked for the BIA for ten years, four in Lapwai, and every year I would set up camp with several tribal members to hunt elk in the Selway. None of my tribal friends had hard feelings about cougars, bears (wolves were not an issue), which took elk. I doubt very many Nez Perce have any inclination to hunt wolves. The tribe has been doing a bunch to recover wolves. And NPTEC sure doesn’t want to see domestic livestock threatening bighorns.

  36. avatar Craig says:

    Ken, you are right Sulpher creek is the exact area where I heard them! I heard stories too, but then experienced it for myself. A group of Elk hunters told me about it and I hung around and heard them howling. They acutally thought it was really cool and these were older hunters and never had a bad thing to say about the Wolves being there! They just enjoyed listening to them Howl at night! That was my fist experience of hearing a Wolf too and it was really cool, made it feel like you were really in the Wilderness!

  37. avatar Jay Barr says:

    IDFG cannot profess to use human harvest of wolves as a surrogate management tool for depredation concerns. The wolf season, at its earliest, starts 9/1 and only in 1 zone where depredation is a big concern (Sawtooth). For livestock operators suffering losses during the summer, it is unrealistic to think that IDFG will tell them, “Don’t worry, the hunters will fix your problems this fall and winter when the season is on.” The rancher will seek relief when the depredations are occurring, typically well before wolf season begins and so Wildlife Services will perform their usual role. IDFG may believe that further thinning packs will prevent depredations the next year, but this fails to account for social disruption within and between packs, which may exacerbate future conflicts. Anyway, it would be nearly impossible for IDFG, WS, or hunters to manage/remove pack members in order to preserve the wolf social fabric because those agencies seldom know the status of any wolf in a pack. I don’t fault them for this because in order to know these types of relationships would entail huge expenses (and more radiocollaring) and efforts far beyond what is achievable with current funding levels. I think Ken is right in cautioning against vilifying hunters; as stated by many, they have done much to preserve/protect habitat and species for a long time. To paint all of them as blood-thirsty anti-wolf zealots is as unfair as April’s statements regarding the inappropriateness of Nez Perce (and other Native) hunting of wolves.

  38. avatar Craig says:

    Jay Barr It was 2 zones -Sawtooth and and the Lolo zones opened the 1st.

  39. avatar Smitty says:

    Speaking on hunters Ken Cole said: “Some of them are just as passionate about conservation as wolf advocates are, and would like to see less livestock grazing on public lands.”

    Bravo Ken. I am an archery hunter and always feel angry to see a herd of cattle or sheep in the middle of pristine deer or elk habitat. If ranchers can’t get their critters off public lands by the time hunting season roles around it should be “open season” on “open range”.
    While there are bad apples in every barrel,(including wolf advocates) hunters were the first conservationists and do much to preserve habitat and conserve wild game.

  40. avatar Ken Cole says:

    I won’t speak for Jay Barr but I think he was referring to depredation of livestock which is not a concern in the Lolo as there are no livestock concerns. I think, judging from his knowledge of the issue on other posts, he knows that hunting is open in two areas.

  41. avatar Craig says:

    Ahhhh my mistake! Didn’t realize he was just referring to depredation. Sorry!

  42. avatar Sean says:

    Regardless of what side of the issue you are on, people aren’t giving enough credit to the wolves ablity to elude people. I postulate that most of the wolves taken will be those who loiter too close to people or populated areas. I think when the wolf seasons close and the tallies are done, the “slaughter” is going to be a red herring. They’re extremely smart and will survive. The only thing that allowed them to be wiped out last time was traps/poisons/and an all-out concerted effort to eradicate them.

    Just like modern conservation methods (Primarily brought about by the modern conservation movement funded by sportsmen/hunters) have brought deer and elk numbers back in the West to numbers never seen in history, so should wolves be managed. No matter how many people wish man would butt out- man is and will continue to be the biggest player in the ecosystem and must moderate and manage both predator and prey species to help keep a balance.

  43. avatar Ryan says:

    “Better watch out Ryan, That much truth, could get you in trouble”

    Save Bears,

    Your familiar with the dirty little secrets of the Boldt decision/ reality.. (not the PR campaign put out by the tribes) I’ll look to see if I have my pictures saved from last years adventures in southern Oregon. Nothing like seeing spotted fawn hides and orpaned calves due to “tribal” hunting rights in June and July. I came across a herd of 9 elk (mostly cows and calfs) that I had been watching all summer on my trail cameras and scouting mowed down, with a couple left to rot as the weather was too hot. I turned in my pictures, including the “hunters” that I had on my trailcam, and was told by OSP, although wrong, they weren’t breaking many laws and their impossible to prosecute. Atleast they hunt using their ancient handed down traditions of spotlights and high powered rifles. Its always fun to look at the stipped out salmon left on the banks to rot in the Puget sound area, taken by the tribes and killed for nothing but their eggs. Lets not forget the refusal to tend their nets or follow any ESA listed guidelines for salmon or steelhead harvest. Overall, I’m real impressed with the “stewards” of the land and their convervation efforts. 🙁 Hopefully the Nez Perce are different, but I severely doubt it.

  44. avatar Ryan says:

    Their genetic diversity would not have been very high though. Would this have been better for wolves? We’ll never really know. They certainly would have had greater protection and could have recovered quickly once established populations became established because they would have had full protection under the ESA.

    Ken,

    I agree with you on both of your posts, Although I would tend to disagree that they wouldn’t have good genetic diveristy as the wolves seemed to be reestablishing them selves in a pretty linear path heading south ensuring genetic interchange. This whole mess could have been avioded without the current state of disaster it is right now if they had just been allowed to naturally reestablish themselves. No big bad canadian wolf arguments, hutners, ranchers, etc would not have been nearly as up in arms as they are now. Hows the old saying go, you throw a frog in boiling water, it will jump out, boils the frog from room temperature it won’t fight at all.

    As for the hunting comments (not yours), I find them both offensive and confusing because on one hand most hunter are lazy cabela’s queens who are dissappointed that they can’t shoot an elk out of their truck window, but on the other hand there going to completely decimate the wolf population, even though wolves are a much tougher target then elk.

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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."

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