Now is the time to speak up on Washington State’s wolf management plan-

Forks on the Olympic Pennisula, until recently best known for logging, is the home of Twilght, romantic vampires. Has anyone not seen this? Yes, people over 40.

To get you up-to-date, here is a video from the Seattle Times.

The Olympic Penninsula could probably support one or two wolf packs. They aren’t going to migrate there, but the Washington wolf plan could put them there so that all the wolves that migrate into Washington State from Canada and Idaho don’t pile up in NE Washington.

There are 5 meetings left on the plan. The next one is Monday, Nov. 2 in Seattle. There is even a meeting in Sequim, not far from Forks.

Be brave! 😉

Mon., Nov. 2 Seattle REI store
222 Yale AVE N
Wed., Nov.4 Mount Vernon Cottontree Inn Convention Center
2300 Market ST
Thu., Nov. 5 Sequim Guy Cole Convention Center
Carrie Blake Park, 212 Blake AVE
Mon., Nov. 9 Omak Okanogan County Fairgrounds Agriplex
Hwy 97 South
Tue., Nov. 10 Wenatchee Chelan County PUD Auditorium
327 N Wenatchee Ave.

 

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

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

28 Responses to Vampires and werewolves. Would Forks want some real wolves?

  1. avatar Save bears says:

    The only problem, I have with wolves on the Olympic…How do you ensure the genetic exchange without extensive intervention by the agencies? As you said, they are not going to migrate there, and I don’ see any of them actually migrating out of there, that seems to be such a point of contention in the Rocky Mtn Delisting, but yet, I have not seen it mentioned in the Olympic proposals…

  2. It needs to be brought up in all plans that require simple in-migration or a one-time introduction.

    In the absence of wildlife corridors, I think we are going to have to be proactive for many species of plants and animals so they can deal with changing conditions. It is in our interest.

    By the way, the Cabinet-Yaak, Montana grizzly bear management area, hard up against the Idaho/BC border has been the beneficiary of a continual trickle of new female grizzlies brought in by the government.

  3. avatar Save bears says:

    I am very familiar with the Cabinet-Yaak area and the trickle effect of bringing in a bear or two every once in a while, but I don’t think that bringing in wolf every once in a while in the Olympic is going to have quite the same effect to ensure genetic exchange, completely different dynamic involved between these two species…

  4. For isolated wolves, the way I’d envision it, is capture of the alpha female and artificial insemination.

  5. avatar Save bears says:

    While I am sure that is an option, it does seem to be an expensive way to work with an isolated population..

    I don’t know, it just seems to me, the benefits don’t outweigh the negatives in this particular ecosystem, I did a lot of my field studies in this area….

    I am all for introductions or reintroductions in areas that are feasible, but after a certain amount of time, we should be able to take a more hands off approach once viable populations are established, in my opinion I don’t see this being practical in this ecosystem…

  6. Save Bears,

    You could well be right about this area. The Washington wolf plan doesn’t call for packs on the Peninsula, but it does for the West Coast, which I think means west of the Interstate.

    I did want to introduce that the idea of translocation is a supplement to corridor protection because we know wildlife and plant corridor protection is only going to be somewhat feasible for political and other reasons.

  7. avatar Talks with Bears says:

    To All – important wolf news. Just back from my whitetail hunting trip to the upper Ruby valley – what I have to report is shocking. Beginning with the arrival of wolf packs last year the whitetail numbers began to decrease at a drastic rate. I can report now that the whitetails have been decimated. As I walked thru miles of 4 day old snow this morning and saw a total of 5 deer tracks, I began to understand why the wolves must be controlled – they leave a wasteland in their wake. The destruction is so complete the wolves do not even stick around. In the past one would have seen more than 50 deer tracks on the same route. By the way, I have 5 years of experience fishing, hiking and hunting in this area. Hopefully, the people in Washington can stop this before it starts.

  8. avatar catbestland says:

    Talks with Bears,

    The deer haven’t disappeared, they have only become more warry, smarter. You should be happy that the wolves will make the herds healthier for you. You must become a smarter hunter. Maybe the wolves will help you in that respect too.

  9. avatar Save bears says:

    Well beings wolves have not been reintroduced to WA and they are a natural migration population, I don’t know how much of a leg you have to stand on, as well as them being endangered, you might have a uphill battle on your hands…of course whitetails in eastern WA are also a natural migration population, we could have a conundrum on our hands, in addition the migrating populations have put a real strain on the indigenous populations of Mule Deer, sounds like a sticky wicket..

  10. avatar Talks with Bears says:

    Catbestland – I’m sorry, do you have any experience to speak to the destruction of the whitetail herd on the Upper Ruby? There is not a hunter that I know of that would consider taking an animal from a population that has been decimated by wolves or anything else.

  11. avatar Jay says:

    Decimated a population over the course of a year? Interesting…

  12. Talks with Bears,

    The fact that the destruction is so complete the wolves didn’t even stick around, tells me it’s likely there weren’t many wolves in the first place and are not responsible for you not seeing whitetails.

    You have got to provide more information. Are they muleys in area? Elk?

  13. avatar jerryB says:

    Talks with Bears ……
    A good reason why one should always carry their fly rod when deer hunting.

  14. avatar gline says:

    Talks with Bears:
    If wolves were decimating deer populations all along, we would have no deer now.

    ie, Wolves have evolved here for the past million years- wouldn’t your deer populations already have been decimated by now?

  15. avatar Elk275 says:

    Talks with Bears

    Hunting whitetail in the upper Ruby.

    Where were you hunting? After the Vigilante Ranger Station there are very few whitetails. Were you able to observe whitetails on The Snowcrest Ranch (Turner’s Ranch)? How about from Alder, Montana to the Ruby Reservior, one has to drive slow at night because of the whitetail deer and there are several ranches on that road that are enrolled in Block Management.

    Remember that you are in area 324 which is draw for mule deer: it is easy to forget and there are those on this forum that if you shot a mule deer that you should lose your licence until the next life time.

  16. avatar Talks with Bears says:

    Elk275- You are correct there have never been many whitetails above Vigilante Station. Observe on the Snowcrest – great question, the numbers there have been drastically reduced also. In addition, this year the whitetails that remain have been in small groups with bucks and does together during summer and pre-rut – quite unusual for the bucks not to be seperated in their bachelor groups. The whitetails were out on the road this a.m. between Alder and the Res. Not sure of the numbers there as I have never hunted that area therefore, I do not have the knowledge necessary to comment. To date, the state of Montana has seen to it that myself and family should not be successful in the 324 buck mule deer permit.

    gline – I have indicated the wolves over a period of time have decimated a whitetail herd in a specific area – currently there are not enough wolves to devour all deer.

    Jerry b – good tip, however we find deer and elk quite palatable.
    Ralph – the few deer tracks appeared to be whitetail. This particular area has over the past 5 years been mostly a whitetail area. Elk are as elk can be in and out – no fresh sign this a.m.. My understanding from FWP is that the Blacktail herd (which would include this area) elk count last winter was down – I do not have the particulars. The last wolf sign that I can confirm would be late November 2008. Would it not be reasonable that a wolf pack move on after consuming a food source?

  17. Talks with Bears,

    Yes, wolves might move on after consuming a food source, but I’ve also watched (from the Yellowstone Park studies), packs fight it out rather than move. In some ways they are like tribes of people — some move, some fight.

    The thing is, wolves like elk and mule deer as well or better than whitetail, so the complete lack of wolf tracks makes me think they are not much a factor with an absence of whitetails. They’d still be there working on the muleys and the elk.

  18. avatar Elk275 says:

    In two weeks the rut will be at it’s peak. Try hunting between the 11th and 14th of November. Look on the Snow Crest Ranch if there are whitetail then there should be whitetail other places if there are not then there was a definite decrease. Go over to Rob Creek and hunt. The bucks had not yet got real interested in the ladies.

    There are several access points on Turner’s ranch that go into state and federal lands that are good whitetail areas for the bucks this time of year. With in a week or so the bucks will have migranted to the willow bottoms on the Ruby and where access is impossible. The access points are located between the Tate Ranch (Upper Canyon Outfitters) and down river about ten miles. There should be some elk in the area.

  19. avatar Talks with Bears says:

    Elk275 – I will keep my eyes open when passing thru Snow Crest Ranch. Will be focused on elk for the most part here on out seeing as my last deer tag is 324 antlerless WT and they are gone. Headed to the west slope of the Snowcrest in the a.m. Thanks for the thoughts on deer and elk.

  20. avatar Wilderness Muse says:

    Ralph & save bears,

    I find it really interesting that Washington proposes in its draft wolf plan to use ‘translocation” to introduce wolves to different parts of the state AND to ensure genetic diversity. That is their alternative initially to controlling numbers by lethal means. And, of course there are some physical barriers like the Columbia and Snake Rivers, I-5 and Puget Sound that will block natural westward migration. While the Olympic Peninsula is not in the preferred alternative, expect a big push by Olympic Park Associates to make that happen, somehow.

    Curiously, Defenders and the other plaintiffs in the Rocky Mountain wolf delisting suit before Judge Molloy objected to translocation and genetic infusion by intervention, as a means of ensuring genetic exchange in the first delisting suit. Of course, how did all this get started in the first place in central ID and WY? Duh, translocation from Canada.

    I know for certain Washington had its plan reviewed by all the credible wolf scientists, whose names we hear regualarly, before going public. So they must have weighed in on the scientific acceptablity of such an approach. I also wonder if that could be interpreted as a not so subtle backhand slap at Defenders and other plaintiffs?

  21. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    It would be good to see wolves there but it sounds like they would have to be managed like the buffalo on the National Bison Range. An over-glorified zoo.

  22. avatar Layton says:

    I have a friend that was a research biologist for the University of Idaho. He’s retired now. At one time he was a part of a team doing research for the establishment of wolves in Olympic Nat. Park — I think the study was done in the early 90’s, not sure of the time.

    The conclusion at that time was that the park was not suitable for a site for a wolf population. Some of the listed problems were the elk population, the inability to confine the wolves to the park, and the lack of it being a popular concept with local residents.

  23. Wilderness Muse,

    You wrote, “Curiously, Defenders and the other plaintiffs in the Rocky Mountain wolf delisting suit before Judge Molloy objected to translocation and genetic infusion by intervention, as a means of ensuring genetic exchange in the first delisting suit.”

    You may not know that Wyoming said they would not allow any translocation of wolves in their state once they had gained control over the wolves. So it wasn’t and still isn’t a politically possible option. The outcome of the 2nd lawsuit might change that.

    Then too, wolf supporters want wolves to migrate down into Colorado and Utah, and Wyoming’s “all-wolves-are-vermin” zone for about 85% of the state made that very unlikely. A translocation into Colorado would be best for both genetic and wolf location reasons, but anti-wolf forces seem ready to allow a slow and relatively painful infiltration of wolves in lieu of something planned.

  24. avatar Wilderness Muse says:

    Ralph

    Thanks, I was not aware of that part of WY’s position, but it certainly seems consistent with their approach.

    Layton

    I think you summarized the conclusion for reintroduction to ONP pretty well. Surprisingly ONP has a fairly decent Roosevelt elk population that is able to get to lower elevation habitat on at least three sides and remain on Park land, a feature that distinguishes it from, say Rocky Mountain NP in Colorado. However, as I posted on an earlier thread, the human conflict areas for wolves will be just a bit lower in those drainages, and you correctly state that some folks won’t tolerate wolves (Ralph and I already discussed the Forks residents, who by the way even have elk on the small airport runway just south of town most of the winter). Notwithstanding these constraints there is a very strong local contingent who would like to see wolves in the Park – but, as I understand it, want smaller Canadian wolves from a source area where they are attuned to eating salmon.

  25. avatar Layton says:

    “but, as I understand it, want smaller Canadian wolves from a source area where they are attuned to eating salmon.”

    NOOOOOOOO!! C’mon – you’re kidding me — right????? There MUST be a smiley face there somewhere — gotta be!!

  26. avatar Wilderness Muse says:

    Layton

    I thought it was joke too, three years ago. But, no.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/09/080903-wolves-salmon.html

  27. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Where does it say these wolves are smaller? These would be the same subspecies, just ones from a coastal region that have adapted to eating salmon.

  28. Yes, we are always hearing about the giant Canadian wolves, but the wolves of the B.C coastal area tend to be smaller, but they do intermix with other wolves.

    Apparently the Lookout Pack which migrated from B.C. to north central Washington near Twisp, came from coastal B.C. wolves.

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

~ Edward Abbey

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