Media help arrives from a big gun-

A lot of people said Idaho Fish and Game Commission really screwed up when they extended the wolf hunt. Rumor is that Ed Bangs got bald tearing his hair out after learning about Idaho’s gift to anti-delisting groups.

“. .. when protections were lifted earlier this year in Idaho and Montana the states immediately approved wolf hunting seasons. But what seemed to be an ordinary big-game hunt, with licenses and duly apportioned quotas (75 in Montana, 220 in Idaho), now looks like the opening of a new front in the age-old war on wolves.” Read the rest of the NYT editorial.

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.

84 Responses to New York Times doesn't like Idaho's extension of the wolf hunt

  1. avatar JimT says:

    Ralph, I am sure your blog played a role in getting this out there….thanks.

  2. avatar Joel Thomas says:

    Does it make a difference to anyone in this audience, when at the end of the “season”, when wolf population numbers are tallied, that wolf numbers in Idaho will demonstrate net growth?

  3. avatar timz says:

    “Rumor is that Ed Bangs got bald tearing his hair out after learning about Idaho’s gift to anti-delisting groups.”

    Maybe he should have spoken out against it publicly than.

  4. avatar JimT says:

    Ed should have stuck to his original principled and science-based stands instead of trying to please the politicians.

  5. avatar Davej says:

    The Feds’ line has always been that they want wolves delisted so that the states can manage wolves “just like they do other big-game animals”. This line of thinking has always bothered me because it begins with the assumption that state management of cougar and bears is a decent model. And I sure can’t think of any example where a season has been extended like this across a large region or entire state in an effort to drive down the population.

  6. Davej,

    Neither do we see a state that has a hunting season on game and is at the same time trying to drastically reduce its numbers in a direct killing campaign like Wildlife Services and Idaho Fish and Game is engaged in.

    I’m referring to “the Real hunt” which I recently posted about.

  7. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    I interviewed Ed in Jackson in 1996; he was already bald.

    RH

  8. Robert,

    What I really heard was that he was saying “those stupid %$#@*&^%”

  9. avatar Talks with Bears says:

    To all interested parties – The Montana FWP is holding a public meeting 12/3 6:30 p.m. @ the FWP regional headquarters in Bozeman to discuss possible changes in hunting district 310 (basically north of West and south of Big Sky). According to FWP, since 2005 the winter herd has declined sharply and is now at 85 percent below the agency’s objective. In addition, FWP states “The hunters are not to largely responsible for what we are seeing there” – “There’s just not enough to feed everything”.

  10. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Well, that about sums it up, doesn’t it?

    Meanwhile, here in Wyoming, the AG is arguing in court that Wyoming’s wolf management plan is the cadillac of wolf management plans. Anything to keep the pot stirred.

    RH

  11. avatar JimT says:

    Cadillac: the choice of landed gentry….~S~

    So, are they going to feed the elk to combat climate-changed based reasons for lack of forage? Just kidding…I hope.

  12. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    No the reason there’s no forage is that cows have eaten it all.

    RH

  13. avatar Elk275 says:

    Robert Hoskins

    I do not think that there are grazing permits in that area as I have never seen any cows or signs of grazing.

  14. Elk275

    I’ve been to the West Fork of the Gallatin a number of times. It’s overgrazed. Brian Ertz, one of our part-time editors, has worked diligently on one of the grazing allotment’s reauthorization.

    A buyout of several allotments is said to be underway. Good news for elk and other wildlife.

  15. avatar Elk275 says:

    The West Fork of the Gallatin goes through Big Sky and is now mostly private land. When ones turns off at Big Sky it is the body of water that is south of the road, part of the stream now goes through the Yellowstone Club.

    I think hunting area 310 is the Taylor Fork of the Gallatin River.

  16. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    No grazing on the sagebrush flats beyond the feedgrounds? Are you kidding? It’s cowburnt.

  17. Elk275,

    Excuse me! I meant the Wapiti Allotment on the Taylor Fork of the Gallatin, although Robert seems to know the West Fork too.

  18. avatar Cobra says:

    I wish they would of left the Idaho season as is, closing Dec 1. Mainly to see how that hunt went and then do studies from that point. Leaveing the season as it was and then taking care of problem wolves as necessary might have gone a long way towards public relations. I would think it’s pretty hard to do an accurate study when you keep moving data around such as the length of the hunts and so forth. Since the snow is in the high country there are a lot more reports of wolf sightings and wolf kills. I’m not anti- predator by any means but I’am pro big game and would like to make a decision on how I feel about all of this based on some hard evidence from unbiased people if that’s even possible anymore.

  19. avatar JB says:

    Cobra:

    I don’t believe there are unbiased people; however, scientific peer-review goes a long way toward removing people’s biases from the presentation of data.

  20. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    Unfortunately, the NYT editorial simply echo’s what has become a dogmatic misconception and mischaracterization of Montana and Idaho wolf management: “But what seemed to be an ordinary big-game hunt….., now looks like the opening of a new front in the age-old war on wolves.”
    Wolf management plans and the wolf hunting seasons of 2009 in no way represent nor resemble a programmatic attempt to eradicate wolves from our respective states. Those wolf management plans do provide for a balance of wildlife species objectives to satisfy the diverse needs and desires of the residents of our respective states. Those desires include hunting, wildlife diversity and ecosystem health, protection of private property. Most importantly, these management plans provide for sustained and healthy wolf populations in the NRMR.
    The final sentence of the editorial – “What matters is the survival of not just a few token wolves, but strong, genetically healthy wolf populations.” – is a contemporary example of the old saw that the first casualty in war (in this case a protracted, hotly debated natural resource controversy) is the truth. The implication in the editorial and in other frequent press releases (DOW release today that extending the Idaho hunting season puts denning wolves at risk) that hunting or the Montana/Idaho wolf management plans do not assure “strong, genetically healthy wolf populations” – is simply incorrect. Both plans amply provide for abundant and genetically diverse wolf populations.
    As a conservation community, and every voice I have followed in this blog is clearly committed to wildlife conservation, we would do ourselves and the goal of wildlife conservation a huge benefit by keeping science and personal values and preferences in their separate and appropriate contexts.

  21. Mark,

    You might believe what you are writing, but everyone I know who is friendly towards wolves suspects that a shadow wolf hunt, in addition to the regular (now extended) wolf hunt, might be underway.

    I have some observations by Ken Fischman, a PH D biologist who attended the last Commission meeting that I am about to post.

  22. avatar JimT says:

    Mark,

    I can appreciate the complexity of your position in posting here, I really do. But, but if any side is guilty of dogmatic misrepresentations and mischaracterizations regarding wolves, it is the ranching industry and the big game industry who has constantly demonized the wolf since the inception of the re-introduction. Most of us would be happy if science led the way in ensuring healthy, growing, diverse populations of wolves taking their rightful place in historic habitat as well as a vital role in predator prey biosystems, but those entrenched industries mentioned above will never let that happen. Forgive us, those who advocate on behalf of the wolf, if we are strongly skeptical of the states’s reassurances of a balanced plan. For that to happen, the grazing and big game industries would have to change greatly to restore the pendulum in a neutral, balanced position; it has been largely skewed in their favor for decades now. Do you really see those changes being possible without alot of kicking and screaming?

  23. Dr. Fischman’s report has been posted at the top of the blog now.

  24. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    Ralph – I don’t see the post of Dr. Fischman’s report.

  25. avatar Davej says:

    Mark,

    One of the big problems IDFG faces is that your agency and the Commission have a complete lack of credibility with the non-hunters in Idaho and the rest of the country, and that’s a lot of people compared to the hunters and ag producers that agencies cater to. Until the Commission treats non-hunters like full citizens, the agency might as well forget trying to separate science and policy. Unfortunately, in my experience the same goes for the agencies in Wyoming, Colorado, and most of the rest of the western U.S.

    Dave

  26. avatar Davej says:

    Also, if anyone else who attended the meeting disputes the account provided by Dr. Fischman, or would like to provide a different point of view, I’d certainly like to hear it.

  27. avatar JEFF E says:

    Idaho plan: 500 wolves = a density of 1(one) wolf for every 53000 (fifty-three thousand acres).
    This is simply managing for the least numbers possible.

  28. avatar JB says:

    “Those wolf management plans do provide for a balance of wildlife species objectives to satisfy the diverse needs and desires of the residents of our respective states. Those desires include hunting, wildlife diversity and ecosystem health, protection of private property. Most importantly, these management plans provide for sustained and healthy wolf populations in the NRMR…”

    Mark: How does Idaho’s wolf management plan promote ecosystem health and wildlife diversity? How does it satisfy the needs and desires of any groups other than hunters and livestock producers? Most importantly, how does reducing the population to just above what most geneticists consider the minimum viable population (~500) “provide for…healthy wolf populations”?

    It seems to me your statement is laced with just as much (if not more) spin than the NYT’s article.

    “…we would do ourselves and the goal of wildlife conservation a huge benefit by keeping science and personal values and preferences in their separate and appropriate contexts.”

    As soon as ranchers, hunters, and IDF&G’s commission keep their personal values and preferences out of wolf management decisions, I will be happy to do the same.

  29. Mark Gamlin,

    It is a new post. For convenience here is the link

    Report on Idf&G Commissioner’s Coeur D’alene Meeting, Nov 2009

  30. avatar Percy says:

    Mark: “Those wolf management plans do provide for a balance of wildlife species objectives to satisfy the diverse needs and desires of the residents of our respective states. Those desires include hunting, wildlife diversity and ecosystem health, protection of private property.”

    Exactly how do residents who are interested in wildlife viewing, natural history, research on wolves, or any other non-consumptive uses benefit from the hunt? I sure don’t see any in favor of it, which tells me that you really don’t care about these constituents. If what you say is true, how come wildlife advocates are not the ones putting the pressure on to kill more wolves? And I’d like to hear your definition of “ecosystem health.”

    Human selection is not the same as natural selection. I would like to see evidence that wolf populations will be “stronger” (if this means more productive, and what else could it mean, then what is the point?), or more “genetically healthy” due to this year’s hunt. How so?

  31. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JimT –
    The Idaho wolf management plan is based on science. It ensures a healthy, diverse wolf population within population management objectives. Wolves fulfill their role as a top predator. The plan is accomplishing those objectives now. With those fundamental objectives being accomplished, the plan is achieving balance among a variety of management responsibilities: wolf conservation, sustaining desired hunting opportunity, protection of private property.
    I recognize your assertion that the plan is not balanced, but I don’t see an explanation of how it is unbalanced. I suspect you mean that the plan does not balance your preferred management philosophy or specific management outcomes – but don’t want to assume. If you are speaking to ecological concepts, that would lead the discussion in a different direction.

  32. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    DaveJ –
    Without minimizing the importance of Commission or Department credibility with any segment of society, what does credibility have to do with science or policy in wildlife management?
    How does the Idaho Fish and Game Commission NOT treat non-hunters like full citizens?

  33. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JB –
    “How does Idaho’s wolf management plan promote ecosystem health and wildlife diversity? How does it satisfy the needs and desires of any groups other than hunters and livestock producers? Most importantly, how does reducing the population to just above what most geneticists consider the minimum viable population (~500) “provide for…healthy wolf populations”?”

    The Idaho wolf management plan provides for a sustainable wolf population. A wolf population that occupies suitable habitat for the foreseeable future, within expected environmental stochastic variablity, is by definition healthy. Likewise, a sustained and healthy wolf population contributes to a healthy ecosystem and wildlife diversity. By ensuring the conservation of wolves in Idaho and thereby contributing to ecosystem health and wildlife diversity, the interests and desires of all wildlife advocates are served. The assured conservation and presence of wolves in Idaho does provide benefits to non-hunters by assuring wolf viewing opportunity and the knowledge that wolves will be a permanent component of Idaho’s wildlife resource. Those benefits to non-hunting wolf advocates are balanced with the desires and needs of other Idahoans who desire abundant hunting opportunity and control of personal property loss to wolf depredations.
    As you and I noted above, the state population objective of 500 wolves is compatible with the objective of sustaining a viable Idaho wolf population.

  34. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    Percy –
    “Exactly how do residents who are interested in wildlife viewing, natural history, research on wolves, or any other non-consumptive uses benefit from the hunt? ”

    The hunt provides desired wolf hunting opportunity and contributes to achieving wolf population objectives that balance wolf benefits (including wolf viewing) with the need to control wolf depredations of private property and other public wildlife resources. Doing so does address the needs and desires of hunting and non-hunting constituents.

    ” I would like to see evidence that wolf populations will be “stronger” (if this means more productive, and what else could it mean, then what is the point?), or more “genetically healthy” due to this year’s hunt. How so?”

    I don’t think anyone has suggested that the wolf hunt would make wolf populations “stronger” genetically or in otherwise. The plan does ensure that the wolf hunt will not jeapardize the Idaho wolf population.

  35. avatar JB says:

    Mark:

    By stating that Idaho’s wolf management plan promotes ecosystem health, you have falsely implied that wolves will have the capability of providing for the cascading effects on ecosystems that many desire. You and I both know that this will not happen; at least not at the wolf densities that Idaho plans to maintain (> 1 per 150+ square miles). In fact, by managing wolves for the minimum viable population, Idaho is explicitly seeking to MINIMIZE their impact on other ecosystem components.

    The appropriateness of using terms like “health” and “integrity” to describe ecosystems has been largely discredited. As Wicklum and Davies (1995) pointed out well over a decade ago, using the term “health” implies that there is some optimum state at which an ecosystem functions and should be maintained. This, of course, is not the case. Ecosystems are not static, they are always in flux. Again, by minimizing wolf populations (and their effects on ungulate populations) IDF&G is attempting to promote the opposite of this “natural” (stochastic) condition; that is, you are attempting to hold both large ungulate and large carnivore populations relatively constant.

    So you’ll understand why I consider the statement that wolves under IDF&G’s management will promote ecosystem health; this is pure spin.

    Wicklum, D. & Davies, R.W. (1995). Ecosystem health and integrity? Canadian Journal of Botany. Vol. 73, no. 7, pp. 997-1000.

  36. avatar JB says:

    Sorry meant to say:

    So you’ll understand why I consider the statement that wolves under IDF&G’s management will promote ecosystem health pure spin.

  37. avatar JEFF E says:

    Mark says”The hunt provides desired wolf hunting opportunity and contributes to achieving wolf population objectives that balance wolf benefits (including wolf viewing) with the need to control wolf depredations of private property and other public wildlife resources. Doing so does address the needs and desires of hunting and non-hunting constituents.”
    500 wolves= a density of ~1(one) wolf for every 53000(fifty three thousand acres)
    see the wolf?

  38. avatar gline says:

    “contributes to achieving wolf population objectives that balance wolf benefits (including wolf viewing)…”

    What? And after wildlife services goes in guns a pack down I’m sure to go to that area and spend my money….

  39. avatar william huard says:

    Mark- I’m sorry to clue you in but people are not stupid. Read the post by Ralph on the NOv Coeur D’Alene meeting. The whole process sucks. First after scientific staff recommend that the hunting season be extended for 5 out of the 12 zones, the commission asks two outfitters for their comments. Now what do you think the outfitters are going to recommend- to not give themselves extra hunting opportunities? Then there is no public comment, and then Randy Budge, an impartial son of a cattle rancher declares that the hunting season should be extended, no discussion or anything. Do you call that giving people on all sides an opportunity to participate in the process? You really make me angry with your partisan one way agenda here mark.

  40. avatar gline says:

    I concur….

  41. avatar william huard says:

    Now I’ll await your 4 or 5 paragraphs of prepared IDFG rhetoric. One could never accuse you of not being predictable.

  42. avatar gline says:

    Willima: You know I was thinking that there must be some legal reason for IDFG to show they are at least trying to communicate with those who want wolves and the general public. Legally speaking….

    From the beginning I have been asking why are you on here Marc?? Nothing will change regarding the wolf hunt or WS aerial gunning down whole packs for the kill of one sheep, so all you are doing is going through the motions of trying to look good.

  43. avatar gline says:

    *William, sorry

  44. avatar william huard says:

    Gline- as I said – people are not stupid. Only an idiot would think this is a transparent effort by IDFG. But then again- what could you possibly expect from a son of a cattle rancher- to be pro-wolf- come on now!

  45. avatar william huard says:

    I’m talking about the Randy Budge commission members of course.

  46. avatar gline says:

    William:
    So why the thinking/believing people will buy this? An illusion but it is so transparent. Kind of like not believing in the Holocaust… ! I think it may be akin to the more you say it, the more people believe. I really need to take some Marketing classes…..

  47. avatar gline says:

    “Now I’ll await your 4 or 5 paragraphs of prepared IDFG rhetoric…”

    And Marc was rewarded for his “tenacity” a few weeks ago. I’m not trying to be mean, just completely honest. There is a difference.

  48. avatar william huard says:

    Gline – I must have hurt his feelings. Isn’t it a bitch when people question or oppose the status quo!

  49. avatar gline says:

    LOL.. the status quo is always trying to hang on!!! for dear life!!!!

  50. avatar Salle says:

    I have some problems with accepting anything Mr. Gamblin has to say here and I am certain that gline has made a valid point concerning the “way it looks” for him to participate in this discussion with his prepared rhetoric.

    And some major red flags come up when you connect just a couple dots with regard to the events of the past two weeks and compare them to what Mr. Gambllin purports in his lengthy replies. (perhaps lengthy in order to confuse those with a short attention span.)

    SO WS has gunned down an entire pack of wolves, which I assisted in monitoring for a week the summer before last. This action was taken in the Sawtooth RA which the Honorable Judge Lynn B. Winmill ruled was an area in which wildlife was to take precedence over livestock… And this killing took place, apparently on a whim, of WS agents who claim this was necessary to keep hunters from killing the collared wolf (wolves) which WS DID kill last week.

    And this rubbish Mr. Gamblin purports concerning wolf watching is so ridiculous that I take it as condescension at best.

    Just how stupid do you think we are, Mr. Gamblin? And furthermore, I suspect that all his comments come from a collaborated conversation off-line with coaching from not only Butch’s gang of thugs but also from those no longer in the “limelight”, specifically that dastardly duo of wildlife-hating-cowards, the former Gov.-Sen.-Gov.-Sec. Kempthorne and former Sen. “widestance” Craig, who have gone home but have not ended their war on wildlife and wildlife advocates. (Mind you, they now receive millions of $$ a year in retirement from the state that is bent on destroying public education ~ by way of funding reductions ~ because these politicians are afraid of the flack they get from forward-thinking, educated constituents.)

    You’re not preaching to the choir here Mr. Gamblin, we can smell the stink on your feces from everywhere.

  51. avatar william huard says:

    People fail to realize that the harder you try to hang on, the faster you actually lose your grip. These people like Kempthorne are really a disgrace to public service. Salle you forgot to mention the illustrious Mike Crapo, who instead of working on meaningful health care reform for his constituents would rather focus on trying to strip Polar bear protections!!!!!

  52. avatar Salle says:

    Oh yeah, I did forget to mention that…

    Every time I encounter any of those three clowns in public, they either turn around and walk the other way, give me the “hairy eyeball” as though they think I should be intimidated by them or making a mental note to try and mess up my world asap. It’s an unmistakable look, and I have received it from each of them after our first encounter. They seem to have their best memory faculties at work when they encounter enemies, except when trying to lie about what they are saying or have said in the past. I guess that’s what they’re referring to when they say the word “transparency”.

  53. avatar william huard says:

    I think for me I would much rather these people do the right thing by wildlife and the environment, instead of the blatant disregard for it for the benefit of the chosen few special interest groups they cater to. It’s easy to get caught up in the negativity, and at that point nothing constructive ever gets done. The country is very polarized on a host of issues.

  54. avatar Salle says:

    The cultural anthropologist in me wonders when and if there’s a solution to this impasse, some way in which a cultural shift evolves toward a positive attitude that includes respect for all living things. The political scientist in me wonders if there is any policy set that can address most of the causes of this impasse and for the correction of them. Personally, I think it will likely require some major catastrophe that prompts a serious cultural shift to make everyone stop bickering in their self-interest-promoting attitudes and take a serious look at what needs to take place in order to change our (human) self-destructive trajectory and implement that set of actions.

    It’s the biosphere, folks!! Get a clue.

  55. avatar william huard says:

    An example can be seen in Sara Palin’s surreal interview at the turkey slaughterhouse last year. There she was in all her ignorant insensitivity clueless to the world around her. She is an example of a person using wildlife for her use only, to be exploited as she sees fit.

  56. avatar Salle says:

    I think it was Jay Leno, last week, who made a joke about her complaining that the media exposed her faux bus tour-she’s actually been traveling in a private jet… He said that she was complaining about the media reporting on her traveling by plane on a “bus tour” promoting a book that she didn’t write about facts that don’t exist.

    She’s quite a piece of work. I wonder how poor the news reporting will become if Comcast gets control of NBC, who owns Comcast? Rupert Murdoch? If that’s so, guess we’ll have to rely on independent media even more if we really want to know what’s happening in the world beyond the variety of sub-units for the National Enquirer that we now have. But then, comcast also has control over a number of internet providing entities. I recall when I wanted to download something while on AOL and the service truncated the download for no valid reason… I had it expunged from my hard-drive by reformatting it, which is a big pain. Once you put AOL in, you can’t get it out.

  57. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JB –
    “you have falsely implied that wolves will have the capability of providing for the cascading effects on ecosystems that many desire….. Idaho is explicitly seeking to MINIMIZE their impact on other ecosystem components.”

    I don’t and the IDFG doesn’t presume to understand what subtle impacts wolves may have on the “ecosystems” they occupy. Trophic cascade theory is a valid but general ecological concept with dynamic, unpredictable ecosystem implications. Suggesting that the Idaho wolf management plan somehow prevents measureable or observable ecological benefits for wildlife or other natural resources by managing wolf numbers is conjecture. Please describe what ecological benefits, through a wolf generated trophic cascade process, you believe wolf management in Idaho is or will prevent. I agree that the Idaho wolf managment plan intends to manage (reduce) wolf predation impacts to other wildlife resources and private property. I also agree that traditional and contemporary wildlife management typically includes managing wildlife abundance by population objectives for beneficial uses of those wildlife resources. Ultimately, the implication in your argument is that somehow that is not in the public interest. As a philosphical resource management preference, I can see a viable argument. As a scientific resource management thesis, the argument is weak.
    Wolves are now a permanent component of the NRMR ecostystem after a century of functional absence. That is ecological progress that will be sustained. I also agree that “health” or “integrity” are imprecise descriptive adjectives and that ecosystems are dynamic, subject to multiple variables in a state of flux. That is another topic that deserves a separate thread. I use health and integrity because both terms are frequently invoked by others in threads on wolf populations, ecosystems, etc. Obviously, the terms have use for many or most in this blog. Agreeing on a definition would contribute to minimizing spin by several perspectives.

  58. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    gline –
    “From the beginning I have been asking why are you on here Marc??”
    To help this blog community understand the background and basis for Fish and Game Commission and Department policy and programs and to help better understand the science and facts of Idaho wildlife management. Serious mischaracterizations and mis-statements of fact was an incentive to me to engage with the community as a representative of the Department. As a Department representative, I have a responsibility to make myself available to the public I work for.

  59. avatar Cobra says:

    Mark
    I gotta say you are a glutton for punishment. I’ve got wolves no more than a mile from the house and at times we hear them on the ridges not more than 500 yards away. Since we’ve been seeing and hearing wolves that close quite a few deer frequent a strip of timber no more than 50 feet wide between our home and I-90. We can always tell when the pack is lower on the mountain because at night the deer and moose frequent the pasture behind the house. Also noticed during our elk season in Oct. when we found wolf sign on the high ridges of some property we own that the elk were right down near the highway which unfortunately allowed some of the slob hunters in the area to see them from the highway. They would just pull off the highway jump the guardrail and start blazing away. One morning while hunting the high ridges I counted 27 shots, they may shoot from public land but the elk their shooting are on private ground. Needless to say by the time we got down there they were loaded up and gone. I don’t even have the gall to do that and I own some of the property that they killed elk on. I know of 7 bulls all raghorns killed in about a three mile stretch, not to mention I don’t know how many cows. What’s it mean when elk would rather take their chances with hunters than with wolves? If the herds would of gone up the ridges they would of been safe from the highway hunters, but not the wolves, they chose to stay down by the highway.

  60. avatar JEFF E says:

    At times my wife gets somewhat interested in this blog and asks about this or that issue or this or that poster. Sometimes she even looks at several different threads to compare my impression with her own and even (no surprise) comes up with a view I had not considered.
    About you Mark she observed that you are here primarily to preform “damage control” and are in essence the sacrificial lamb.
    When asked what she meant she replied that as the reduction from around 1000 or so wolves goes forward and it becomes apparent that IDFG are indeed killing wolves by the hundreds in concert with WS, primarily for the benefit of the livestock industry, the “public” face of that for the thousands of people, including various news outlets, that read this blog weekly from around the nation will be you Mark.

  61. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    Jeff E –
    Sincerely, I understand and appreciate the point your wife, and I think you, are making. My comments and explanations are not welcome or accepted by many who read this blog. I would prefer that everyone understand the basis for Commission and Department policies and programs and if possible, support them also. I do not presume nor intend to change anyone’s opinions, yours included. While many do not or cannot accept that these Commission and Department policies and programs are developed to serve the interests of all Idahoans, those policies and programs are in fact dedicated to that responsibility. The controversry and strife that thrives on this issue is based on many factors. Differing and seemingly intractable philosophies on the role of humans in nature, animal rights, the hunting tradition, anti-hunting, ecological mythology…… The wildlife conservation community needs to be unified, not fractured if we are to successfully conserve our wildlife legacy in the face of daunting challenges in the coming decades. This controversy is unnecessarily draining the collective resources and unity of the conservation community. The NRMR wolf population is in great shape. Those populations will remain in great shape regardless of a relisting decision or continued legitimate management by the states. My purpose is to help the public better understand the role, responsibilities of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission and the IDFG and if possible, contribute to some improvement in concensus or unity by all of us towards wildlife conservation.

  62. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    Cobra –
    What you describe is one of the wolf induced changes in elk behavior that has been experienced around the west since reintroduction. Human society, the most important part of the equation, has no choice but to adapt to the new ecological chess board. Woves will continue to have a strong affect on a variety of important wildlife and other economic resources. Some positive, many negative – from a societal veiw point. How we successfully manage those conflicts and opportunities will determine how divisive and protracted this controversy remains in the future.

  63. avatar gline says:

    “Some positive, many negative – from a societal veiw point.”

    Really – many negative? Hasn’t the USDA itself said most livestock kills are not by wolves?

    And, there are more wildlife watchers than hunters? (“US Fish & Wildlife 2006 figures report there were 12.5 million hunters nationally with expenditures of 22.9 billion dollars BUT wildlife watchers numbered 71.1 million and generated 45.7 billion dollars. http://www.fws.gov/hunting/huntstat.html)

    Dont say it SB.:)

  64. avatar Save bears says:

    gline,

    the link you provided does not work you need to remove the ) from the end of the link to get to the page with hunting statistics as of 2006.

    http://www.fws.gov/hunting/huntstat.html

    Now I didn’t see the link to the wildlife watchers statistics, perhaps I just missed it, could you provide it?

  65. avatar Save bears says:

    Don’t say what?

  66. avatar Save bears says:

    One thing I would add, how many of those hunters are wildlife watchers as well, I know I spend a lot of time in the field before and after hunting season watching and photographing wildlife, so am I being double counted in the totals given? No way to really tell..

  67. avatar gline says:

    I think that argument has been brought up before, re: legit stats of hunters as opposed to wildlife watchers and any cross between the 2 groups being represented. And as we have said before on this blog many times, anyone can argue that any stat is or is not legit.

    I believe in the stat I posted, so I’m done arguing whether it is legit or not. I don’t think the social scientists would be that stupid…

  68. avatar gline says:

    or biased.

  69. avatar Save bears says:

    Christ gline, I am not arguing, I am simply saying, I would like to read the page that shows the stats on wildlife watchers, that is all, you post one side of the discussion then neglect to post the link to the other side.

    I didn’t say one side was right or wrong, biased or correct, simply asked you a question.

    As a scientist I like to read all of the information…

  70. avatar Save bears says:

    Thank you,

    I am sorry, I didn’t see the link..

    and I wish it was nuf said!

  71. avatar Talks with Bears says:

    Mark – I am Montanan, however, clearly we in Montana are dealing with the same issues you are. Thanks for sharing with us on this blog. The single issue folks can be a handful – they are not open to learning – many of us are open to learning and appreciate your efforts.

  72. avatar gline says:

    ya, me too.

  73. avatar gline says:

    That is quite the insult TWB. And SB you are a bit patronizing. FYI.

  74. avatar Save bears says:

    I am sorry you feel that way gline, but I will return the favor as you are quite good at your patronizing efforts as well…as far as you agreeing or disagreeing with me, has no effect on what the topic as well as the discussion is.

    Thanks for the links, I am working on breaking it down state by state, most importantly by the three states that get discussed here most often, which is of course MT, WY and ID, so we can really start looking at the data, it will take me a while to correlate the information but it will be interesting to see, based on state economics and demographics…to compare the expenditures as well as impacts in these states

  75. avatar Elk275 says:

    gline

    I have read that there a number of fish watchers in Yellowstone Park. I Google “fish watching and Yellowstone Park” the statistics said that in one year there were 130,000 people who watched fish from fFishing Bridge in a given year. That is great. But are we going to times 130,000 fish watcher by the average per day a visitor spends in Yellowstone to detirmine there economic contribution to the local ecomony of fish watchers. I think that is wrong. They are just visitors who enjoyed looking at the fish, elk, hot springs, Yellowstone Lake, fishing and maybe also enjoyed the social aspects of the park.

    In the summer, if I am coming from Red Lodge, Montana across the Beartooths and through the Lamar Valley and there is a wolf or bear jam, I will stop and look at the wolves, am I considered a wildlife watcher in your statistics. I enjoy seeing all wildlife. The real reason that I am in the Lamar Valley is because I wanted to drive over the Beartooth Highway and have lunch and beer in Cooke City and maybe fish the upper Yellowstone River. It is nice seeing a wolf or bear but that is not my objective but if a park census taker is there and I answer there questions, I guess that I am a wildlife watcher. The truth of the matter is that I mighted have stopped on the Beartooth Highway and glassed for mountain goats which I love to look at but bear and wolf jam are a bitch.

    I have always been very care in my professional work using economic contributory values of various interest groups and I would caution that you do the same.

  76. avatar Talks with Bears says:

    gline – if you find a “shout out” to Mark for sharing with us, then so be it my friend.

  77. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    gline –
    You and I agree that wildlife watching is one of the many huge benefits society derives from our wildlife resources. I have been speaking to City Councils, County Commissions, and other community and elected leaders in the past couple of years – to emphasize the huge contribution wildlife based recreation make to regional and local economies. Wildlife viewing is a part of that, and as others have emphasized, hunters and anglers comprise a significant percentage of the community of wildlife viewer/watchers. The USFWS conducts a national survey of the economic contributions to wildlife based recreation (basically hunting, fishing, watching) on the national, and individual state economies. In 2006, wildlife based recreation generated over $1 billion in direct expenditures in Idaho. That makes wildlife based recreation one of the largest industries in the state. The Idaho figures are indicative of the benefits every state and the nation as a whole derive from our wildlife legacy.
    My point, again, is that we have more common interests at stake than differences. This is one common interest – the diversity of values of wildlife to each of us, that we would do well to honor those common interests and look for ways to work productively together to conserve those wildlife resources for the rest of our lives and future generations.

  78. avatar Salle says:

    Mr. Gamblin, you sound as if you are channeling Steve Nadeau.

  79. avatar JEFF E says:

    ~500 wolves= a density of 1(one) wolf for ~every 53000(fifty three thousand acres).
    see the wolf?

  80. avatar JB says:

    Mark said: “Suggesting that the Idaho wolf management plan somehow prevents measureable or observable ecological benefits for wildlife or other natural resources by managing wolf numbers is conjecture. Please describe what ecological benefits, through a wolf generated trophic cascade process, you believe wolf management in Idaho is or will prevent.”

    “Conjecture”? It is no more conjecture then your continued insistence that everyone’s needs and desires will be served by IDF&G’s wolf management plan!

    I was responding to your statement:

    “A wolf population that occupies suitable habitat for the foreseeable future, within expected environmental stochastic variablity, is by definition healthy…By ensuring the conservation of wolves in Idaho and thereby contributing to ecosystem health and wildlife diversity, the interests and desires of all wildlife advocates are served.”

    Let’s break this statement down, shall we? You claim that (a) Idaho’s wolf population will be “healthy”, (b) IDF&G’s management ensures the conservation of wolves, (c) IDF&G’s management “contribut[es] to ecosystem health and wildlife diversity” and that (d) the “interests and desires of all wildlife advocates are served.”

    And you want me to defend the statement that wolves will not significantly impact other ecosystem components when they are managed at 1 wolf per ~150 sq miles? Are you serious? I thought we’d moved past standard agency “spin”. It is disheartening to see you return to this type of rhetoric. [Alright, fine. If you insist… specifically, I was referring to the restoration of riparian areas witnessed in the Lamar following wolves reintroduction.]

    P.S. To prevent future confusion, please define: (a) suitable habitat, (b) ecosystem health, (c) wildlife diversity, (d) interests, (e) desires, and (f) served.

  81. avatar gline says:

    “My point, again, is that we have more common interests at stake than differences. This is one common interest – the diversity of values of wildlife to each of us, that we would do well to honor those common interests and look for ways to work productively together to conserve those wildlife resources for the rest of our lives and future generations.”

    Mark: My point again being that I don’t see any commonalities between wildlife watchers and IDF&G. Especially with regard to the Sawtooth region, and the Basin Butte pack, cowtowing to ranchers that are given more power than they ever should be- to take out 7 month old wolf pups for doing nothing. No, there is NO commanlity. For IDF&G to honor interests of the wildlife watching community, you would need to actually change your attitude towards wildlife, and wolves in particular. You would need to actually protect the wolves from cows grazing on National Forest Land. Then there would be commanlities. This type of change may be very well just around the bend in January.

  82. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JB –
    Yes, I’m serious. If you believe that you or anyone else knows what the ecological impact of wolves will be on the landscape at any density, I will welcome your assessment. If you believe this is “spin”, then again – yes, we are further apart than I thought too. The YNP example – Lamar Valley riparian responses to elk population and behavior changes is the one example of research I have acknowledged in previous posts on this topic. My point has been: that is the only example of wolf associated trophic cascade effects, supported by peer reviewed research, that I am aware of. YNP (or any other NP) is a much different environment, with a different ecological history and dynamic than any geographic region outside the park – for the challenge of understanding ecological impacts of wolf predation. Wildlife has been actively managed, in the presence of a broader suite of top predators (particularly humans) outside YNP. The ecological history of YNP is the opposite. Assuming that wolf predation will affect ecological processes equally among those disparate environments would be …… premature? presumptuous?
    Jeff, I explained that I use the term “healthy” to mean a sustained wolf population that is viable within expected stochastic environmental variation, providing society with assurance that wolves will be a fixture of our wildlife resources into the forseable future. If you have another preferred definition or disagree with mine, I’m all ears.
    Time for clarification again. I said that ensuring the conservation of wolves contributes to ecosystem health and wildlife diversity. Do you disagree? I then said that in so doing the interests and desires of all wildlife advocates are served. I did not say and would not agree that all interests and desires of wildlife advocates would be satisfied. There is an important different difference between serving and satisfying an interest or desire. Government service (serve) of the public interest is a balance of competing and often mutually exclusive interests, desires, expectations. For the issue of wolf managment and conservation, there are those who want no wolves at all, those who want as many wolves as the ecosystem will support, without human intervention, and a variety of desires or tolerances in-between. Conservation of wolves – assuring that a viable wolf population will be sustained for future generations – does indeed serve the interests and desires of wildlife advocates. It does not satisfy all interests and desires of wolf advocates or those who desire that wolves be eliminated or reduced to densities that truely, barely meet the criteria of ESA delisting.

    “P.S. To prevent future confusion, please define: (a) suitable habitat, (b) ecosystem health, (c) wildlife diversity, (d) interests, (e) desires, and (f) served”

    Fair enough. I don’t presume that my definitions are the only valid perspectives, but here’s a start:
    “Suitable habitat” – that habitat quality and quantity necessary to support and sustain any combination of wildlife species or other measure of wildlife resources desired by society.
    “Ecosystem health” – habitat and wildlife resources functioning at a level of productivity and diversity that satisfy a variety of societal needs and expectations.
    “Interests” – those needs, values, desires, preferences of individuals or society that should be considered in the process of (in this case) wildlife resource management decision making.
    “Desires” – the requested outcomes by individuals or groups, in the process of (in this case) wildlife management. Examples could be maximum elk hunting opportunity or maximum wolf viewing opportunity or the complete absence of wolves in the state.
    “Served” – I describe my interpretation of governmental service, in wildlife management, above.

  83. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    gline –
    OK, I accept that you don’t believe there is common ground between your desires or preferences for wolf managment and the Idaho’s wolf management program.
    Could you agree that the conservation of Idaho’s wolves (i.e. assuring that a viable wolf population will be here for future generations) is a positive accomplishment that partially satisfies your desires or preferences?

Calendar

December 2009
S M T W T F S
« Nov   Jan »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

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: