Reintroduction a generation ago slowly failed-

I haven’t been to these low, but rugged, little known mountains. The bighorn are coming from Oregon rather than the more alpine stock in the Wind River Range of Wyoming.

More sheep, more hunting? By Jeff Gearino. Casper Star-Tribune.

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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.

55 Responses to Bighorn reintroduced to central Wyoming's Seminoe Mountains

  1. avatar jdubya says:

    “”Hurley said the predator district also funded and conducted coyote control efforts during two morning helicopter flights Nov. 5-6 to prepare the area for the sheep release. Hunters killed 28 coyotes in the area.””

    Nothing like roto-tilling the garden before planting the seeds. I am surprised they did not also target cats like they do in Utah prior to a re-introduction. Or maybe they did and they just ain’t saying.

  2. avatar Jon Way says:

    More hunting, also what about more wildlife watching opportunities. When will they get it?

  3. avatar Layton says:

    The question.

    “More hunting, also what about more wildlife watching opportunities. When will they get it?

    The answer.

    “Agency officials said the supplemental releases cost about $115,000. Funding partners included the Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition, the Wyoming Chapter of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, the Minnesota-Wisconsin Chapter of FNAWS, the Eastern FNAWS, APHIS/Wildlife Service, Carbon County Predator Management District, and the Wild Sheep Foundation.

  4. Layton,

    You can bet the contribution of APHIS/Wildlife Service and Carbon County Predator Management District was to kill the 28 coyotes.

  5. avatar Jon Way says:

    Layton,
    if wildlife watchers had a voice in wildlife mgmt then funding schemes might be different – or augmented with “other” monies. Again, look at the numbers nationwide and wildlife watching is a major economic contributor to our economy (and yes, this likely includes many hunters who also like to watch wildlife)…

  6. avatar Save bears says:

    I am actually quite surprised, we are always talking about “Wildlife Watchers” but no one seems to have the drive to form an official group with structure and organization to start building some political clout in these issues it could be called “WWoA” Wildlife Watchers of America, could have chapters in every state….

  7. avatar Layton says:

    ” Again, look at the numbers nationwide and wildlife watching is a major economic contributor to our economy ”

    Maybe instead of contributing so much to this nebulous “economy” thing they should put some of that money specifically to the wildlife they want to watch.

    Isn’t there a saying somewhere that says “money talks and BS walks”?

    I don’t ever remember seeing anyone that claimed to be a “wildlife watcher” participating in any of the bitterbrush planting sessions, or sagebrush seed gathering, or catching deer for fawn mortality studies, etc. Maybe they should wear a t-shirt or something that identifies them. The people getting muddy seem to be hunters.

  8. avatar Save bears says:

    Thanks JB,

    I had not seen that declaration previously..

  9. avatar Layton says:

    What ever happened to Mack Bray?? He used to be on this blog a lot, is he still around??

    I’m sure the SFW supporters miss him. 8)

  10. avatar Jay says:

    Oregon bighorn sheep going to WY? That’s outrageous! Those OR sheep are bigger, more agressive, and more damaging to the WY ecosystem then the “native” WY sheep. It won’t be long before the transplanted sheep kill off all the native sheep and decimate their habitat.

  11. Layton,

    Why is this a hunters versus everyone else issue for you?

    Seondly, habitat projects are great, and I’ve put my time in planting willows and mending fences to keep cattle out of, and to repair, fishing streams.

    Third, you might argue it takes some huevos to sue the habitat destroyers. If you piss off enough governors and oil companies, something well could happen to you.

  12. avatar Layton says:

    Hey Ralph,

    I guess the second comment on the thread got me going. I’m usually for more critters, more places, but the “you should only watch them” bunch get me kind of PO’d. Their motto seems to be “you put them there, we’ll watch them, but we won’t get off our butts to help (unless there’s a lawsuit handy)”.

    You doing something like that wouldn’t suprise me at all, but a lot of other folks here just want to bitch about the hunters and do nothing else.

    RE your #3 — I’m just not enough of a conspiracy theorist to go for that. I don’t think that most of the things that an individual could do would get enough attention to get the oil companies, etc. bothered. An organized, funded effort could bother them but it’s pretty hard to “make something happen” to a group that size.

  13. avatar Jay says:

    Layton, ever heard of the Nature Conservancy? I don’t know the demographics (hunter vs. non-hunter), but I’m sure a great deal of contributors are the non-hunters, and they’ve helped to conserve MILLIONS of acres, so its not just hunters that are doing good for wildlife.

    Total acres protected by the Conservancy in the United States: 12,621,000. Acres protected by the Conservancy outside the United States: 80,181,446. Current number of Conservancy preserves: 1,400. Conservancy members in 1952: 554 – Conservancy members in 2001: approximately 1 million.

  14. avatar Save bears says:

    Heck Jay,

    A smaller organization has been doing a great job for conservation since 1984, it only has 155K members and still has managed to save and enhance over 5 million acres and spent over 500 million in land acquisitions and such, they have members in 46 countries

    Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation…so the hunters are doing a pretty good job as well, and that is just one organization…

  15. avatar Jay says:

    That’s great–seems everyone is helping out, not just the consumptive users as was implied.

  16. avatar Debra K says:

    Layton, I’ve done literally dozens of hands-on projects like removing barbed wire and planting native plants to directly benefit wildlife. Our groups have all been bunny and tree hugger types, don’t recall a single hunter ever signing up.

    All the hunters do in this part of the world is leave beer cans and other assorted garbage after the hunting season is over.

    If you want to show your commitment, I know a ranger who’s been after me to put together a barbed wire removal trip in Hells Canyon. This old fencing is apparently a real hazard to wildlife and packstock (the ranger says a horse got tangled up in it a few years ago and had to be put down).

    I’m hoping to put together a group of 6-8 folks to go in late spring 2010 to take pull out the old wire and roll it up for transport out. Interested?

  17. avatar steve c says:

    Layton, why are hunters so insecure and why do they take everything as an attack on their lifestyle?

  18. avatar Mal Adapted says:

    The argument about who does more to help wildlife, overlooks the reasons why wildlife needs help in the first place. Removing barb wire? Why is that wire there in the first place? Planting bitterbrush and willows? Why does native vegetation need restoring anyway? Mending fence to keep cows out of streams? What are the cows doing in the streams, FFS? Getting savaged by sheep dogs while recreating on public lands? How come the sheep rancher isn’t out on the range himself, guarding his sheep and controlling his dogs?

    We volunteers who work to help wildlife are paying, by our labor, the costs of livestock production that the producers have so far managed to hold external to their operations. Why can’t we expect ranchers to internalize all their costs? I’d gladly pay many times more for animal products if I believed the price reflected the true costs of production. I’d much rather pay more for livestock goods than see North America’s magnificent biodiversity diminish, as I have all my life.

    What about the rest of you?

  19. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Layton, why are hunters so insecure and why do they take everything as an attack on their lifestyle?

    I have to ask the same thing.

  20. avatar Layton says:

    Oh, I’m sooooo insecure, you’re attacking my very being!!

    Horse shit!!

    I responded to this:

    “More hunting, also what about more wildlife watching opportunities. When will they get it?”

    If you consider that little statement anything BUT an attack on hunting, I’m sorry, you are very naive.

    Sometimes the “anti” crap just gets to me. Most people on here that are against hunting don’t really have the slightest idea what it’s about, but they attack it nonetheless. The stereo typing, the disparagement and the massive ignorance just get to me once in awhile.

    Don’t worry, I’ll be back to my normal, sweet self after a few hours of sleep. Thank you for noticing. 8)

  21. Groups that want hunters to stay out of wildlife habitat issues understand the danger of them getting involved politically. They have been able to stop broad participation by hunters by decades of messages saying “they are going to take your guns,” or “it us a plot to shut down hunting.”

    And this is believable because there are groups like PETA and gun control groups. However, gun rights have never been as secure as now.

    The real threat to hunting is from land lockups, privatization of hunting, destruction of habitat, wildlife disease.

  22. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    Jay, great humor with the wolf bighorn parallel.

  23. avatar Debra K says:

    Mal Adapted, when I’ve done barbed wire and reveg projects, I’m well aware of who caused these needs in the first place. But how are you going to get ranchers out to take out wire and replant, absent some government requirements in their permits?

    My compatriots and I have been working for grazing reform on public lands for a couple decades, in many cases. Change is happening, but not fast enough. The alternative is to sit on your butt, do nothing, and have wildlife suffer for the bad practices of some.

    Alternatively, it would be great to see funding for a “Restoration Corps” modelled on the CCC to do these types of projects. Especially now with so many folks needing jobs. The unemployment rate in my area is approaching 25%, which is truly Depression era levels.

    I suggested this type of program to Minnick; nothing but silence as a response so far. No doubt, the Repubs (his record has shown Minnick is Republican at heart) view it as a threat to democracy to have “gubmit” funded programs providing jobs.

  24. avatar Jon Way says:

    I agree with your question as well Steve C.
    To see my comment about incl. wildlife watchers and other non-consumptive uses as an anti-hunting statement, which it wasn’t, clearly shows Layton’s insecurity. But I guess I have know idea what I am talking about, according to Layton!

  25. avatar Layton says:

    “To see my comment about incl. wildlife watchers and other non-consumptive uses as an anti-hunting statement, which it wasn’t, clearly shows Layton’s insecurity. But I guess I have know idea what I am talking about, according to Layton!”

    Jon, I think MOST of what you say is an attack on hunting. I don’t think that reveals any sort of insecurity at all. Simply somthing I learned while watching this blog.

    By the way — you might “know” something about Coywolves, but I still think that you have “no” idea what hunting is about. I do “know” that much.

  26. avatar Layton says:

    I also “know” that I should have used a spell checker cuz’ there IS an “e” in something. 8)

  27. avatar Jay says:

    Thanks Barb. I’m waiting for the first “sportsman” to make that comment that they love to toss around when talking about the wolf reintroduction, but I think I’ll be waiting a long, long time…

  28. avatar steve c says:

    Layton, thank you for being so emotional and helping me prove my point. Most reasonable people have no problem with eating what you hunt. It is this savage predator hunting for the sake of killing something most people have a problem with. And unfortunately an attack on any small aspect of hunting is taken as an attack on hunting as a whole. Wildlife has value for the small percentage of those of us who hunt as well as the rest of the population that doesnt. Why is all wildlife managed with hunters and hunting in mind then?

  29. avatar Save bears says:

    You only have to look at the mission statement of virtually every fish and game dept to understand why they are operated the way they are and that is the perpetuate and further management for hunting and fishing and they have been since day one…

  30. avatar gline says:

    It is time for a change on the mission statement to just provide for hunting- especially with reference to the Public Trust Doctrine.

  31. avatar Save bears says:

    I didn’t say one way or another, just simply stating a fact, the idea of wildlife conservation was started by one of the most famous hunters to ever live, and it has continued to this day..In Reality, I think it is going to take something going all the way to the Supreme court before you see any big changes, and then I think there will be a lot of rulings concerning the state managing lands and wildlife within their own boundaries..

  32. avatar Elk275 says:

    Gline I just read the MFW&P statement and I think that everyone is included in the big tent. Remember if there are enought animals to hunt then there are enough to enjoy watching.

    Our Mission
    Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, through its employees and citizen commission, provides for the stewardship of the fish, wildlife, parks, and recreational resources of Montana, while contributing to the quality of life for present and future generations.

    Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Strategic Plan—The Road Ahead ( 1.3 MB)

    Vision for the 21st Century
    Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will provide the leadership necessary to create a commitment in the hearts and minds of people to ensure that, in our second century, and in partnership with many others, we will sustain our diverse fish, wildlife, and parks resources and the quality recreational opportunities that are essential to a high quality of life for Montanans and our guests.

    Guiding Principles
    We understand that serving the people of Montana to achieve this vision is both a privilege and a responsibility. We also understand that we cannot achieve our vision alone. The following principles will guide FWP:

    We will maintain the long-term viability of Montana’s natural, cultural, and recreational resources.
    We will actively involve people in decisions that affect them; help people to participate by providing them with credible and objective information; and, develop programs with a clear understanding of public expectations for FWP service.
    We will serve as an advocate for responsible management and for equitable allocation of public use of the limited resources which we are entrusted to manage.
    We will manage fish and wildlife resources with pride in Montana’s hunting and angling heritage.
    We will create and strengthen working partnerships with individuals, organized groups, and other natural, historic, and cultural resource management agencies.
    We will use innovation and technology to improve our services.
    Goals
    Goal A: Create a work environment where priorities are clear; the decision-making process is efficient and effective; and, where employees feel a sense of accountability, value, and satisfaction in their achievements and their contributions to the agency mission.
    FWP will effectively and efficiently utilize our human and financial resources, while fulfilling our role in natural and cultural resource issues.
    FWP will complete strategic and six-year plans for fish, wildlife, and parks programs to clarify public expectations, allocate resources and define a common direction for FWP and our partners.
    FWP will foster personal and professional growth of employees by developing and using meaningful employee agreements and performance standards.
    FWP will create and maintain a professional, diverse, and responsive workforce by improving employee recruitment, selection, and career development.
    Goal B: Provide quality opportunities for public appreciation and enjoyment of fish, wildlife, and parks resources.
    FWP management decisions will equitably balance the interests of hunters, anglers and other outdoor recreationists, visitors to historic sites, landowners, the general public and the needs of Montana’s fish, wildlife, and parks resources.
    FWP will manage its wildlife program to balance game damage, human/wildlife conflicts and landowner/recreations conflicts with the perpetuation and protection of wildlife populations.
    FWP management decisions recognize that Montana’s agricultural community is integral to the management of Montana’s fish and wildlife populations and the habitats that support them.
    FWP will provide diverse and equitable opportunities for people to experience a variety of outdoor recreation and historic and cultural experiences on public lands and in cooperation with private landowners.
    FWP will provide quality services for people who use Montana state parks.
    FWP will fairly and equitably enforce all regulations and maintain public safety at FWP sites.
    Goal C: Maintain and enhance the health of Montana’s natural environment and the vitality of our fish, wildlife, cultural, and historic resources through the 21st century.
    FWP programs will be consistent with ecologically sound and sustainable practices and managed within funding capabilities.
    FWP will provide and support programs to conserve and enhance high quality aquatic habitat and protect native aquatic species.
    FWP will provide and support programs to conserve and enhance Montana’s terrestrial ecosystems and the diversity of species inhabiting them.
    FWP will provide and support programs for the long-term protection and enhancement of Montana’s cultural, historic, prehistoric, and natural resources.
    Goal D: Emphasize education, communication, and responsible behavior to afford citizens the opportunity to better understand and participate in the decision-making process that sustain our natural, recreational, and cultural resources for future generations.
    FWP will help Montana citizens to understand and participate in FWP’s decision-making processes.
    FWP will provide regulations, program information, and educational materials that are accurate, reliable, and easy for people to use and understand.
    FWP will help people to be aware of and appreciate Montana’s fish, wildlife, cultural, historic, and natural resources.
    FWP will provide family-oriented educational opportunities to help all ages learn to participate in and enjoy Montana’s many and varied outdoor recreation opportunities.
    FWP will encourage high standards of outdoor behavior by recreationists who participate in FWP regulated activities.

  33. avatar Layton says:

    Steve C.,

    If me being emotional about my hunting heritage helped you prove a point, so be it!! I AM emotional about it, and I DO see an attack on it, however small, as being something to be concerned about.

    You said:

    “Wildlife has value for the small percentage of those of us who hunt as well as the rest of the population that doesn’t. Why is all wildlife managed with hunters and hunting in mind then?”

    I agree with the first part and pretty much disagree with the second. A LOT, I don’t know the number for sure but a significant amount of F&G’s budget is spent on “non game” critters. Of course there is no way I could convince the F&G detractors of this, with the blinders they have it’s impossible.

    Here’s a pointer to something called the “Compass” which pretty much details what F&G does, for game animals as well as non-game –and what they intend to do for the next 15 years or so. Of course you will deny that they do ANYTHING for non-game, but you might want to go look at it just to laugh.

    http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/about/compass/

  34. avatar josh sutherland says:

    Elk gline would never bother to research that.

  35. avatar gline says:

    Yeah, Josh I’m only a grad student what the hell do I know?

  36. avatar gline says:

    From WM most recently, “Gline I just read the MFW&P statement and I think that everyone is included in the big tent. Remember if there are enought animals to hunt then there are enough to enjoy watching.”

    From SB just above WM “You only have to look at the mission statement of virtually every fish and game dept to understand why they are operated the way they are and that is the perpetuate and further management for hunting and fishing and they have been since day one..”

    so how am I involved in this exactly WM?/Josh et al

  37. avatar gline says:

    I didn’t disagree with SB at all…just said there needs to be change from the hunting focus. Nice bait as usual

  38. avatar gline says:

    Take a look at Idaho’s mission statement-Elk 275 big hunting, fishing and trapping focus (last line).

    “All wildlife, including all wild animals, wild birds, and fish, within the state of Idaho, is hereby declared to be the property of the state of Idaho. It shall be preserved, protected, perpetuated, and managed. It shall be only captured or taken at such times or places, under such conditions, or by such means, or in such manner, as will preserve, protect, and perpetuate such wildlife, and provide for the citizens of this state and, as by law permitted to others, continued supplies of such wildlife for hunting, fishing and trapping.”

    http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/about/history_funding/mission.cfm

    Doesn’t really cover wildlife watching does it? heavy focus on preservation for hunting, as SB had said…

  39. avatar Wilderness Muse says:

    gline

    I think you have me mixed up (once again), this time with a post from Elk275.

    Are you really a graduate student? What discipline?

  40. avatar gline says:

    yes, it is hard to keep you all separate. You are so much alike. Do you all work in the same office?

  41. avatar gline says:

    I don’t have you mixed up. I am replying to your post above of about 10 paragraphs defending your position on Fish and Game not just pertaining to hunting… so not once again. Nice bait as usual

  42. avatar Elk275 says:

    Gline, I am a Big Sky Boy and a grizzly fan not a potato digger. Tomorrow the Grizzlies will have there work cut out for them, I never cared in college but as I get older, hey, I enjoy my school’s team. Go Grizzlies

    I only researched the Montana mission statement. Once again if there is a surplus of animals to hunt, then there are enough animals to watch.

  43. avatar gline says:

    good for you elk275. glad you just researched the MT statement then made an assumption that that covers all Fish and Game mission statements across the country…. Idaho is different.

    I wasn’t debating that theory, I said we need change esp. with regard to public trust doctrine in response to SB statement.

    Go Griz!

  44. avatar cobra says:

    I think the reason it pertains more to hunters and fisherman is that who foots most if not all of the bills.
    Maybe evereyone that’s doing all the bithchin should put their money where their mouth is. Until you come to the table with other than law suits and complaints there probably will not be many changes. To most hunters and fisherman wildlife is their life, a religion really and you know what kind of wars have been fought over religion. Being able to hunt, fish and the ability to be in the outdoors is what keeps most of us going. It’s basically a life and most of us would almost as soon be dead as change that. Even after death many I know will still be out there, fishing hiking and hunting and enjoying the great outdoors.

  45. avatar Save bears says:

    I have never met, let alone worked with anyone that posts on this blog, actually I wish some of my former fellow employees would post, it would be enlightening, beings it cost me so much!

  46. avatar Save bears says:

    Actually I have to take that back, I did meet Bob Jackson several years ago, in passing.

  47. avatar Elk275 says:

    Save Bears. I was in Kurt Alt office, the region 3 big game biologist, during hunting season and I tried with him to figure out who you were from all of the tibbits that you have left in previous posts. He could not figure out who you were, somethings are met to be the way they are.

  48. avatar Save bears says:

    Elk,

    I have several tidbits, but I can tell you, unless I choose to reveal, you will never figure out who I am, I am currently working with another agency in a completely different state, on a temp assignment…that has nothing to do with what I did for FWP

  49. avatar Save bears says:

    When I worked for FWP, it was a very specialized position…that is currently not filled…

  50. avatar Layton says:

    gline,

    “Doesn’t really cover wildlife watching does it? heavy focus on preservation for hunting, as SB had said…”

    Nope, the mission statement doesn’t — BUT if you look at the “Compass”, which I put a pointer to up above, you WILL find information about the non-hunting, non-consumptive portion of F&G’s plans and actions — look at some of the OTHER info that is available.

    Of course you won’t believe it, I guess I forgot.

  51. avatar Wyo Native says:

    gline,

    Which animals are you having a hard time viewing because of Montana’s policies? Just like hunting, you need to leave the cozy vehicle to be successful. 😉 I have never had a hard time seeing any hunted animal including wolves.

  52. avatar Wyo Native says:

    Since the original purpose of this thread is the introduction of bighorn sheep to an area of MY state, I have to say HELL YEAH, way to go G&F. I love seeing my contributions via hunting licenses, fishing licenses, and conservation stamps, being used for purposes like this.

    Yes hunters will benefit with opportunities in the future, but wildlife watchers will see immediate benefits via a population of animals that were previously not in this particular location.

  53. Wyo Native,

    Who visits these and the Ferris Mountains? Just curious.

  54. avatar Wyo Native says:

    Ralph,

    Everything you could every want to know about Ferris Mountain.

    http://www.uwyo.edu/wynddsupport/docs/Reports/WYNDDReports/U04JON01WYUS.pdf

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