Well they finally issued it. People I talk with are really stirred up about this. It is not a wolf thing. It is the integrity of Wilderness. The Forest Service needs to have their hat handed to them on this one. We need to kick their sorry ass. RM

Decision Memo. Special Use Authorization to Idaho Fish and Game For Helicopter Landings and Aerial Darting To Support Gray Wolf Capture and Collaring In the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness

USDA Forest Service. Intermountain Region. Payette and Salmon-Challis National Forests. Idaho, Custer, Lemhi and Valley Counties, State of Idaho. Various locations in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness

Rocky had a story on it yesterday in his blog. State biologists may soon dart wolves from helicopters in Frank. Rocky Barker.

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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.

138 Responses to Forest Services issues the decision memo on the helicopter landings

  1. avatar gline says:

    Give an inch, take a mile…

  2. avatar Chris Harbin says:

    I agree, it’s not a wolf thing, it’s the slippery slope thing. I am going to fire off some letters but if there is a better idea out there I’d love to participate. Anyone……?

  3. avatar Pronghorn says:

    Welsh and Forsgren have sold out the American people, the concept and legal definition of wilderness, and wildlife. Thanks, dudes, nice trammel job, that one.

    Federal management of wilderness trumps state management of wolves, much as either side likes to pretend or claim it doesn’t. Further, collars should be considered “installations,” also prohibited by the Wilderness Act, in addition to the helicopter landings.

    Between this and Tester’s crappy bill that dilutes wilderness protections, one wonders, why the attack on wilderness? Are these people so misguided or corrupted that they don’t know or care that we as a people need and are entitled to untrammeled wilderness more than ever?

  4. avatar izabelam says:

    All this will be paid with my taxes! Right?
    Do we have any say for this action? I am not so good in all the politics. memo..bill..we pay for it.
    How can I let them know that I dont’ like them to use my money.

  5. avatar kt says:

    As the recent health care debacle shows: Obama and his minions appears to despise anything public.

    I think rancher Ken Salazar’s wolf de-listing and all of the nonsense that has followed and this latest assault on Wilderness show this.

    Why? Because powerful interests including interests beyond the IDFG yahoos and wolf killers want to have unfettered access to every palce INCLUDING Wilderness. What better way to set a precedent that Wilderness is really meaningless than to do this helicopter nonsense in an iconic Wilderness area?

    There are minerals and water and straight line paths for transmission and all kinds of things inside the existing Wildernesses that OTHER exceptions one day could be made for – once precedents are set.

    And in this context, why would anyone support the deeply flawed cowboy Tester – warped Wilderness trade-off? It is just another mechanism for looting Forest lands with logging. A big distraction from other more pressing issues.

  6. avatar Salle says:

    Just goes to show ya, in a capitalist corporatocracy, nothing is sacred with one exception…

    All hail the almighty dollar. What was that cliche..? Money talks and…

  7. avatar kt says:

    I want to know, who really ordered this aerial assault on Wilderness. who ordered Forsgren to do this. Tom Tidwell? Tom Vilsack? Is there a whistleblower somewhere who will come forward? I think there is something more here. Someone did a favor for someone, or voted a certain way ,and they are getting rewarded?

  8. kt,

    Who ordered the regional forester is a puzzle to me. Because Idaho is such a red state, I can’t see the Administration going out of its way to do Butch Otter any favors.

    Is it bureaucratic politics instead of party politics?

    This would be a good story for a political reporter to track down.

  9. avatar Percy says:

    I’m so disgusted. Just because they can, doesn’t mean they should.

    We are constantly told of cuts to critical federal and state programs, people whine and moan about Big Government and how we need to make more cuts. But we need to collar wolves in the wilderness?

    All of their rationalization is BS.

    I think a video crew should follow and film them.

  10. avatar Gary says:

    Somehow I am not surprised. This action does set a precedent and could conceivably lead toward aerial gunning of wolves within wilderness areas by USDA Wildlife Services in order to remove “problem” wolves. Natural resource agencies at both the state and federal level are so politicized that they have become worthless as true resource management agencies, especially the Idaho Department of Fish & Game. This agency hasn’t even bothered to change its name to fish and wildlife, as most state f & w agencies have, because it more accurately reflects Idaho’s mission of operating a state hunting and fishing club.

  11. avatar vielfrass says:

    What is the best way for this not to happen? I can write letter about this criminal action but will it do anything?

  12. avatar timz says:

    As I read somewhere yesterday, collaring and darting wolves in the Frank Church for the purpose of “research” is akin to the Japanese whaling for the purpose of “research”.

  13. vielfrass,

    The only way this violation of the Wilderness Act can be stopped now is a lawsuit.

  14. avatar Percy says:

    timz, that is a great comparison. I notice they never even attempted to justify the act of collaring wolves in a wilderness area. I think they know that they can’t, so they stick to justifying the need for landings, and collecting data.

    I think we should fly the anarchist demonstrators in from Copenhagen. How does one boycott a government agency?

    The fox is guarding the hen house, that’s for sure, including Salazar. They may be able to point to specific loopholes that allow them to carry out this so-called “research,” but they know they are violating the spirit in which the wilderness areas were established.

  15. avatar spanglelakes says:

    IDFG is going to need lease helicopters & pilots to carry out its assault on wolves in Wilderness. Who are these helicopter outfits and where are they? Any chance they also are the same ones who jump at the chance to rent out at $800/hour to Wildlife Services to kill wolves?

    Time to shine the spotlight on who facilitates the dirty work of IDFG and WS. How many reddish-orange small choppers like the one that was used in the Basin Butte massacre are for hire in Idaho?

  16. avatar Erin Barca says:

    No more time to search the site tonight. But I did find another place that could offer up some information. Of pertinent note is the “Interested Vendors List”

    This link is only an example as the helicopter service is being sought in KY/TN: http://bit.ly/5urNsg

  17. avatar kt says:

    Spanglelakes – Great name that conjures up summer water with little wave ripples on top on a balmy blue sky day.

    Wildllfe Services pays $800 an hour for their death thrill rides?

    Is the Chopper of Choice like the BLM Wild Horse round-ups and that Dark-Ops Contractor Catoor (sp?). Only one party EVER seems to get the horse contracts. And dark rumors abound about what all goes on .. and dies … .

  18. avatar Cobra says:

    Heck, I’d be glad to pack them in there for 800.00 for the whole week. Can’t believe the waste that’s going on in our country and not just with W.S.

  19. avatar Eric T. says:

    IDFG has landed helis’ in Wilderness areas to study Bighorns and Goats in the past. Where was the outrage then?

    Yeah right, it’s not a wolf thing.

  20. Eric T.

    Personally, I didn’t know about it. I think it should stop or be stopped.

    Everything about wolves is controversial, so if this news about radio collaring them by landing in the Wilderness exposes similar practices it is good the public becomes informed.

    What is considered “trammeling”of the Wilderness by the bureaucracy is inconsistent. For example, non-wheeled game carts were ruled as inconsistent with Wilderness when they are in fact just a variation on methods used prehistorically. On the other hand, high tech, intrusive government study fitting radio collars on animals is not?

    Which method was used by Native Americans? Were helicopters and radio collars used in 1964 when the Act passed? Of course not!

  21. avatar JEFF E says:

    Eric T
    Sources?
    Cites?

  22. avatar Layton says:

    This particular discussion has gotten so far away from the original topic – in several directions – that I can’t hardly believe it, I’m probably as guilty as anyone.

    But conspiracy theories and semi-obscene ramblings from some participants aside — just what would the “wolfies” (not a derogatory term just easier to type than “mostly radical, vehemently supportive, wolf lovers from all over the world 8) )want to see concerning wolves in the FCW??

    Just let them go?? Make the FCW a no holds barred wolf paradise where it doesn’t matter how many there are and it serves as a “seed bed” to overpopulate all the surrounding country with wolves?? What is fair, and I mean fair to BOTH sides of the equation. Are there any suggestions that include any sort of research or counting or even monitoring of wolf critters in there??

  23. avatar JimT says:

    Layton,

    I find it somewhat amusing that a person with your overall philosophy and support of game hunting and elk populations and ranchers before predator restoration, and your faintly veiled strong dislike for wolves would raise the fairness issue. The balance of Federal lands management has so far skewed in favor of extractive industries–those who make a living basically for free from federal lands–it really isn’t even credible to argue any other reality. I have no sympathy for those activities who may have to restrain their activities for the good of the restoration of ecosystems; they have been enjoying the good life for long enough at the lands’ expense. Time for things to change.

    You may not like it, but it will take some significant “slanting” of the species and management decisions to regain a balance again. So be it.

    In the meantime, IF there is to be any counting of wolves in the Frank Church Wilderness, let the state FULLY disclose its reasons for doing so. I think there is legitimate reason to think there are hidden agendas here given the eagerness of the state to reduce wolf populations wherever they can.

    And I see no reason to contravene Wilderness protections if there is an alternative to using the helicopters. Which there is in this case…foot, dogsled…activities which preserve the integrity and purpose of Wilderness. The other uses of helicopters quoted earlier…rescue operations, fire fighting, restocking areas unreachable by other methods….all fall under a “necessity” rubric. Helicopters for collaring wolves in Wilderness is not necessary. The CE is a political dodge of the requirements of NEPA, the APA and the Wilderness Act. Plain and Simple.

    And if the wolves repopulated their traditional habitat naturally, so what? Isn’t that what restoring the predator prey balance is all about? Ranchers and others have had it their way for way way too long. Time to stop whining, and start living with the idea of sharing.

  24. avatar JEFF E says:

    Layton,
    Maybe I am wrong, but is wilderness not meant to be a place where man is “just” a visitor, whether that be to hunt, hike, or camp, and the mechanisms of wilderness (nature) are left to take care of themselves.

  25. avatar JimT says:

    Still waiting for the “facts” on the so called previous excursions for sheep study…

  26. avatar Layton says:

    Atta boy there JimT,

    With an attitude like that — how can we help but succeed??

    You want it 100% your way, no compromise, take it all and damn the opposition!! I’m just SURE it will work.

    “The balance of Federal lands management has so far skewed in favor of extractive industries–those who make a living basically for free from federal lands–it really isn’t even credible to argue any other reality.”

    Not sure exactly what “extractive industry” has to do with wolf research in the wilderness — but I guess there must be a point there someplace.

    By the way, fighting fires with helicopters in the wilderness is not allowed, it’s done the old fashioned way — with axes and Pulaskis.

    Jeff,

    Seems to me that’s what the statute says (man is a visitor). BUT if you carry this philosophy out in ALL ways — hmmmmm, no nylon tents, no propane stoves, no freeze dryed food, etc., etc.

    Yes, I realize those things don’t leave a mark. But neither (IMHO) does a helicoptor landing, doing the monitor/research thing and then leaving.

  27. avatar Salle says:

    From Wikipedia on the Wilderness Act under the heading “Legal Framework”

    The most important thing about the Wilderness Act is that when Congress designates each wilderness area, it includes a very specific boundary line—in statutory law. Once a wilderness area has been added to the System, its protection and boundary can only be altered by another act of Congress. That places a heavy burden on anyone who, all through the future, may propose some change.

    The basics of the program set out in the Wilderness Act are straightforward:

    * The lands protected as wilderness are areas of our public lands.
    * Wilderness designation is a protective overlay Congress applies to selected portions of national forests, parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands.
    * Within wilderness areas, we strive to restrain human influences so that ecosystems [the Wilderness Act, however, makes no specific mention of ecosystems] can change over time in their own way, free, as much as possible, from human manipulation. In these areas, as the Wilderness Act puts it, “the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man”—untrammeled meaning the forces of nature operate unrestrained and unaltered.
    * Wilderness areas serve multiple uses. But the law limits uses to those consistent with the Wilderness Act mandate that each wilderness area be administered to preserve the “wilderness character of the area.” For example, these areas protect watersheds and clean-water supplies vital to downstream municipalities and agriculture, as well as habitats supporting diverse wildlife, including endangered species, while logging and oil and gas drilling are prohibited.
    * Along with many other uses for the American people, wilderness areas are popular for diverse kinds of outdoor recreation—but without motorized or mechanical vehicles or equipment.
    * The Wilderness Act was reinterpreted by the Administration in 1986 to ban bicycles from Wilderness areas, which led to the current vocal opposition from mountain bikers to the opening of new Wilderness areas.

  28. avatar JEFF E says:

    Layton,
    not to get off track, it seems to me that the two pertainet items to this discussion are;
    “PROHIBITION OF CERTAIN USES

    (c) Except as specifically provided for in this Act, and subject to existing private rights, there shall be no commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any wilderness area designated by this Act and, except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this Act (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.”

    and,

    “8) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as affecting the jurisdiction or responsibilities of the several States with respect to wildlife and fish in the national forests.”

    The first says”…. no landing of aircraft…..”.

    The state,in essence, says that, under subsection 8, that in order to carry out the responsibilities of wildlife management there is NO OTHER WAY to do that short of landing aircraft.
    If that is to be true for wolves then it has to be true for all other wildlife and so it goes on and on.
    Give any government agency an inch…..

  29. avatar JimT says:

    Layton,

    I want it my way until an equilibrium point is reached between use of public resources and preservation of public resources, of which I consider flora and fauna prime members. You see no reason for the status quo to change since it suits your own purposes just fine. The enviros have compromised and compromised over the years and gotten screwed. What, latest figures on remaining old growth forest ecosystems estimate approx. 3% left, and folks like Plum Creek and others want that too. If that is what compromise means to industry; if that is what compromise is going to lead to with wolves and bears, and grouse…no way, no how. The way I see, the burden is on industry users of public lands to change their ways, not the other way around.

    Wilderness is related to uses of the public lands because the folks like you who don’t want lands “wasted” either being Wilderness or WSAs; they want them forever available for profiteering. I don’t want any precedents for any kind of weakening of Wilderness protections. How many times under the Bush Administration were deliberate efforts made to use D-9s in WSAs to render them unsuitable candidates for wilderness in Utah? And not a peep from BLM or USFS….Be happy with what you have….

    MY BIL has decades of fire fighting experience in BLM…Helicopters have landed in Wilderness areas, but for emergency only reasons. If you interpret the WA strictly, flyovers are a violations. But to save lives…yeah, I can tolerate that.

  30. avatar Layton says:

    Jim T,

    “Wilderness is related to uses of the public lands because the folks like you who don’t want lands “wasted” either being Wilderness or WSAs; they want them forever available for profiteering.”

    With all due respect, you don’t have ANY IDEA IN THE WORLD what my stance on wilderness is. This thread is about a SPECIFIC use of modern technology in a wilderness area — IMNSHO, a use that in no way, shape or form hurts the wilderness OR the concept.

    Maybe you could just stick to that for a minute and get off the soapbox about past wrongs and large conspiracies among these “extractive industries”.

    I don’t think that you have any info about me or any reason to come with the “people like you” bit. I asked a question that you evidently are unable to understand so why don’t you just butt out and let someone with a legitimate idea bring it out?

    By the way, I have NO connections with any of these conspiratorial entities — AND I work for the USFS on fire crews every summer, so I have a pretty good idea how fire suppression and wildland use fires work.

  31. avatar Layton says:

    Jeff E.,

    From your last post.

    “8) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as affecting the jurisdiction or responsibilities of the several States with respect to wildlife and fish in the national forests.”

    It seems to me that using choppers would LESSEN the impact to the experience of WA users (less time spent= less disturbance, even in March). AND I feel that there is a legitimate need to know just how many wolves, packs and breeding pairs of wolves are in the Frank. Isn’t that part of the responsibility of the state in managing the wolves??

  32. avatar JB says:

    Questions of wolves aside, mountain bikes have been deemed an unacceptable use in the Wilderness. How does one then justify the use of a helicopter? My understanding is that previous capture/collar efforts have been successful and cost less than the use of a helicopter. Seems IDF&G just wants to waste money so they can bitch more about how much wolves cost them.

  33. avatar Layton says:

    JB,

    Are you really considering mountain bike usage — that leaves tracks and ruts the hell out of trails — the same as landing a chopper — on skids or wheels or floats — and taking off again, as the same sort of a usage model??

  34. avatar gline says:

    mountain bikes are not allowed within designated wilderness areas.

  35. avatar JB says:

    Yes, Layton. Wilderness exists to provide opportunities for solitude. A mountain bike is far less intrusive on my wilderness experience than a helicopter.

  36. avatar gline says:

    For all creatures,great and small.For God made them one and all.

    Wilderness is a patch of what God made. Like it or not!:)

  37. You have to also consider that the purpose of the copters is not just to draw a blood sample, take a weight, check for physical condition; it is to collar the wolves so their location can be tracked every minute (if it is a GPS collar). This is much like being a radio collared felon, not behind bars but hardly free.

    As someone commented earlier, one of the 4 things that legally define “Wilderness” is an area that “(1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; . . .”

    How can man’s work be substantially unnoticeable when the animals are collared and can be potentially located and killed or tranquilized at any time by high tech means, perhaps remotely, by someone sitting at a desk in Boise who sends the command in a signal bounced from a satellite?

  38. avatar JEFF E says:

    Layton,
    Then we should also be using helicopters for each and every species that we want to know just how many there are,regardless of the provision to land no aircraft.
    I mean if NO OTHER METHOD will work for wolves then no other method works for any other animal either.
    Why not just scrape the whole idea of wilderness altogether instead of just chipping away at it piecemeal like the state is here.

  39. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JB –
    “My understanding is that previous capture/collar efforts have been successful and cost less than the use of a helicopter. Seems IDF&G just wants to waste money so they can bitch more about how much wolves cost them.”
    My response to the same argument in a recent thread:
    “The IDFG has used leg hold traps in the FCW to radio collar wolves. We have gathered valuable data from those efforts but learned that using leg hold traps cannot provide the quantity of data in the time frame we need to answer important management questions. The benefit of having more collars on wolves in a relatively short period of time (before the beginning of the mating season) is to adequately sample the wolf packs to have an accurate and reliable estimate of the number of packs and to monitor those packs to accurately understand wolf production, recruitment and number of wolves in the wolf management zones bounded by the FCW.
    The IDFG has used leg hold traps to monitor packs in the FCW. We have learned that a more efficient tool is necessary to adequately monitor existing wolf packs in a timely manner.”
    Leg hold trapping in the FCW does not give us the ability to effectively monitor existing and new wolf packs in a timely manner. If we aren’t able to accurately account for the number of packs and production in those packs, we cannot adequately estimate the number of wolves in the FCW and other important population information. In previous threads, several have suggested that at least one consequence of collaring wolves in the FCW is that accurate accounting of wolf numbers could lead to wolves being removed. That is a possibility if wolf numbers are above the wolf population management objectives for the wolf management zones within the FCW. There’s nothing sinister in that possibility. It would be another example of managing wolves as we do other valued game species.

  40. avatar JB says:

    Mark:

    I’ll ask again:

    (1) Your data on Cougars are (a) less reliable, and (b) currently suggest there are more cougars than wolves. Since both of these carnivores hunt the same species and have similar energy requirements, why the focus on wolves?

    (2) What happens if you find fewer wolves in the FCW than you anticipate? Will wolf harvest objectives be revised downward?

    (3) “…we need to answer important management questions…” Such as?

  41. avatar Richie,NJ says:

    Like on said before it’s Obama and Salazar, it’s making secretary of interior a rancher. He will cut all wildlife down to nothing if he can or a bare minimum. Now I was reading another website and they stated the BLM used a helicopter before they got approved then they put in for approval, what the hell is that. Ralph you said something about you did research on the frank church wilderness and you are very angry. I will call Jerry and ask him what is in our plans,you di say a lawsuit , sounds good. But we need you to set the details to be augured in court,like how this dispersal of wolves leads them to hunt easier prey like sheep and cows.That is what Salazar is trying to do I believe,make the wolves look bad and kill them all in time. Everything Bruce Babbit and Clinton did will be for nothing if we sit by and do nothing please lets get together. I am gald Ralph that your blood is boiling now, or at least started.

  42. avatar Richie,NJ says:

    To Jeff E;
    Good answer could not have said it better.

  43. avatar Richie,NJ says:

    One more thing the emphsis on wolves is incredible,people really want them out of our states, I find this hatred very sad and disturbing,but again we are in two so called wars, and next could be Africa, so I guss I answered my own question.

  44. avatar Dave says:

    The Frank has a multitude of bigger problems than helos tracking wolves. Granfathered in ranchers digging out trenches to supply private lakes, (diamond d). Piper cub fly in conventions with fly bys all over the place. Outfitters building where they are not supposed to, blazing new trails to help clients get to animals quiker and easier. So if this is really about the wilderness area and not wolves maybe some of the bigger problems should be brought to light.

  45. avatar Salle says:

    Whoa Hoss,

    You, Mr Gamblin, once again are making absolutely no sense to those who of us who have any sense. Most of the points you make in your last comment really jump out with red flags screaming. I’ll just start with a couple that illustrate what a crock of propaganda is being presented here.

    You (IDF&G) said:

    “The benefit of having more collars on wolves in a relatively short period of time (before the beginning of the mating season) is to adequately sample the wolf packs to have an accurate and reliable estimate of the number of packs and to monitor those packs to accurately understand wolf production, recruitment and number of wolves in the wolf management zones bounded by the FCW.

    What? So you want to monitor them prior to breeding season, which is silly considering that this is to take place before the hunt ends ~ there’s problem #1 with you statement. Problem #2 is that is that recruitment is most effectively established after denning takes place because the pack is relatively stationary at that point in time, social standing of each individual is clearly evident. And you can count how many leave the wilderness along the boundary of the FCW without violating the wilderness The Nez Perce did an excellent job of it before you wrestled the task from them in your power grab facilitated by Gale Norton… So what’s the hurry?

    “In previous threads, several have suggested that at least one consequence of collaring wolves in the FCW is that accurate accounting of wolf numbers could lead to wolves being removed. That is a possibility if wolf numbers are above the wolf population management objectives for the wolf management zones within the FCW. There’s nothing sinister in that possibility. It would be another example of managing wolves as we do other valued game species.”

    Nothing sinister going on here? What other specie, of any kind receives this level of disrespect and cruel treatment? Do you actually go out and lethally “control” elk? Deer? Bighorn sheep? Mountain goats? And at this level? What’s sinister about this is that you have not yet answered anyone on this blog who has asked about the intent of the Idaho State legislators to have all wolves removed by any means possible. Regardless of what the bogus management plan, that you wave like some plastic American flag made in China, says in your little booklet. The MOU still stands as THE official position. Give those of us with an IQ on the positive side of the number line a break.

    I have reasonable people who make sense to deal with right now so I’ll leave it at that. What a crock!

  46. avatar Eric T. says:

    The below is Table 4 from the IDFG goat progress report,
    W-170-R-32 Mtn Goat PR08, pg. 57. I have listed goat release sites in designated wilderness areas for translocation of goats. This is USFS approved.

    Table 4. Approved mountain goat release sites, Salmon Region.
    21a Horse Creek Helicopter 30 scheduled 20 released
    27a Goat Creek Helicopter 10-20 scheduled 0 released but have USFS permission to do so.
    27a Tumble/Parrot Creek Helicopter 10 scheduled 0 released but have USFS permission to do so.
    27a Ship Island Creek Helicopter 20-30 scheduled 8 released
    27a Jack/Wilson Creek Helicopter 10 scheduled 7 released

    a= Designated wilderness, helicopter use authorized by USFS.

    Here is a press release regarding bighorn capture and relocate in the Pecos wilderness in NM in 2007.

    HELICOPTERS WILL ASSIST BIGHORN SHEEP WILDERNESS TRAPPING OPERATION

    PECOS — Hikers in the Pecos Wilderness may see helicopters carrying equipment and possibly bighorn sheep for several days this month as the Department of Game and Fish conducts a sheep trapping and relocation project.

    The action will begin early Wednesday morning when a helicopter with the New Mexico National Guard moves trapping equipment and supplies to an area near Pecos Baldy. The Department and the U.S. Forest Service have agreed that using helicopters is the least disruptive method to accomplish bighorn trapping operations in wilderness areas, which normally are closed to all motorized vehicles. The project will end by Tuesday, Aug. 14.

    The Department hopes to trap as many as 60 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep from Pecos Baldy, where sheep populations have grown to the point they are stressing their habitat. The captured sheep will be ferried by contract helicopter to the Jamie Koch Recreation Area at Willow Creek in Pecos Canyon. They then will be loaded onto livestock trailers and taken to the Dry Cimarron River area of northeastern New Mexico, and the Rio Grande Gorge, where they will augment existing small herds.

    For more information about New Mexico’s bighorn sheep and the state’s bighorn restoration projects, please call Elise Goldstein at (505) 476-8041 or visit the Department website at http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us.

    New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
    Contact: Mark Madsen (505) 624-6135
    mark.madsen@state.nm.us

    I am sure that the above are in no way enough “facts” for JimT or Jeff E. regarding previous studies of animals in wilderness areas with helicopters.

    Added 12-28. I think the Frank Church facts are much different than this. Copters really were in minimum tools for these activities above. For counting wolves, they are not. Ralph Maughan

  47. avatar Layton says:

    “Then we should also be using helicopters for each and every species that we want to know just how many there are,”

    JeffE,

    I think they do.

    OK, OK, I get it, I really do. I was trying to stay away from it, but it is abundantly clear.

    The FACT of the matter is that the wolfie side flat DOES NOT WANT THE WORLD (especially anyone with management responsibility) TO KNOW JUST HOW MANY WOLVES ARE IN THE FWA!! No more, no less.

    Thicken the smokescreen about “intruding on the wilderness experience” or what ever you can do to cloud the issue, but the bottom line is that they want no one to know!!

    How about we just rewrite the law to say that wolves in the primitive area in Idaho don’t count?? Would that make you folks happy?? Seems to me that the FCW was there when the wolves were brought to Idaho, how come it shouldn’t count now??

    Dodge it, duck it, spin it, hide it. Bottom line is “don’t let the bad guys count the wolves in the Frank.

  48. avatar Salle says:

    Layton,

    if there is anyone on this blog who qualifies as a conspiracy theorist, it is you.

    The point is that wolves in the wilderness should not be managed, nor should any other species ~ other than humans who are the true detriment to any environment. (Take a look around you and see what human presence has really done in favor of ecological health of any place they inhabit ~ with the exception of indigenous peoples prior to immigrants from other continents’ arrival).

    Management infers that there is a human influence on the natural order of life in the natural state of existence. Such a feature is just wrong, plain and simple. Is it naturally occurring ~ of its own accord ~ or is it man-made nature? What is the point of wilderness designation if you have humans disrupting the natural order?

    Wolves existed in the Frank Church before the white folks came here and weren’t looked upon as a pariah, as the white folks see them. It was white folks (European immigrants and their progeny) who wiped them out based on their fear of nature. This all happened before the Frank Church Wilderness was designated. Reintroduction of wolves was performed by the people who were here before the Euro-Americans appeared and foisted their beliefs onto them and who took the wolves away. Putting them back was a restoration action. Somehow I also see this as an affront to the Original Peoples, as Idaho and Wyoming, in particular, are so often guilty of in their never-ending attempts to take everything away from the Original Peoples.

    It’s not conspiracy theory that makes most of us upset by this, it’s the self-aggrandizing white supremacy element of this that wreaks of the control-freak stench that has brought this nation to its knees in so many ways. Those who wander through life with their eyes closed to these realities are unwilling to ponder such events even when it harkens back to their own survival in the biosphere.

    But I don’t expect you to understand this. I’m just saying… (as is often heard on Faux News).

  49. avatar JEFF E says:

    come on Layton don’t be purposely obtuse.
    What other species do they LAND helicopters in the wilderness so that they can collar and subsequently track for at best ill defined purpose.
    Aside from the point that twelve wolves will only tell what the population is that is directly associated with those collared wolves.
    NOT weather there are more or less overall.
    this is not about trying to find out what anything is other than marking a % of the overall population for future “Management”, and to establish the precedent of landing helicopters in wilderness areas for “management”.

    500= a density of ~1 wolf for every 53000 acres.
    see the wolf

  50. avatar Layton says:

    salle,

    “Reintroduction of wolves was performed by the people who were here before the Euro-Americans appeared and foisted their beliefs onto them and who took the wolves away.”

    Are you smoking something really illegal this afternoon?

    “Reintroduction of wolves was performed by the people who were here before the Euro-Americans appeared ” would indicate that the wolves were “brought back” (by the way, they were never gone) by native Americans — I certainly disagree with that.

    ” Somehow I also see this as an affront to the Original Peoples, as Idaho and Wyoming, in particular, are so often guilty of in their never-ending attempts to take everything away from the Original Peoples.”

    See it as you wish salle, I am not an “apologist” as you seem to be. I wasn’t here when these things supposedly happened and, unlike you, I don’t have some sort of an ability to see into the past to verify the things that those bad, nasty Europeans are accused of. And please, don’t EVEN try to attach some sort of a “white supremacy” label on my arguing that we need to count wolves in the wilderness.

    Please, could you tell me just where in the ESA, or the 10j ruling, or anywhere else that it says we should NOT count the wolves that live in the FWA??

  51. avatar Layton says:

    Jeff E.,

    Really Jeff, I did think that the use of choppers for game management was a pretty common thing. I have been on several collaring expeditions on deer and elk and it is there. Maybe it’s not so common in the wilderness, but Eric T,’s post up above would seem to make it not unheard of.

    At any rate, I’ll just give up on this deal, we see it 180 degrees different and neither side appears ready to budge.

  52. avatar JEFF E says:

    Layton,
    I too don’t intend to be particularly confrontational here but this whole deal smells of underhanded back ally deals.
    From the video that Brian posted to the at best nebulous explanation of Mark.
    As for Eric, it seems that those instances are of a planting nature rather than darting and collaring an existing population.
    At least all the ones cited are of releases.

  53. avatar Salle says:

    Like I said at the end of my comment, Layton… I don’t expect you to get it.

  54. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JEFF E –
    “Then we should also be using helicopters for each and every species that we want to know just how many there are,regardless of the provision to land no aircraft.
    I mean if NO OTHER METHOD will work for wolves then no other method works for any other animal either.”

    I see your point, but you’re off base on a couple of other points. Layton and Eric partially filled in the gaps. To expand – aircraft, especially helicopters, are a routine and essential management tool for a variety of wildlife species, wolves included. Winter big game counts rely entirely on helicopters. We do those counts across the state, including the FCW. Helicopters have been used in the past to land in the FCW for wildlife management activities (other than wolf management) because that is an allowed activity in the FCW legislation. Each species has different management objectives and each objective may have different legistical needs for necessary data collection or population management activities- irrespective of the status of land ownership or legal status. Frequently, there are management objectives and questions that require radio telemetry (collars) for elk, deer, moose, lions, bears, etc.. In that regard, there is nothing unique or special case about the need and desire to dart and collar wolves in the FCW. The need for time sensative and sample size sufficient collaring efforts make the use of helicopters a routine management application in this situation.

  55. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JB –
    “1) Your data on Cougars are (a) less reliable, and (b) currently suggest there are more cougars than wolves. Since both of these carnivores hunt the same species and have similar energy requirements, why the focus on wolves?”

    Yes, we don’t have the same quality of population data for lions that we have for wolves. The nature of wolf behavior and the terrain they occupy makes them more ammendable to capture and monitoring for population estimates. We do however, have the benefit of species specific predation estimates for cow and calf elk. The wolf predation study in the Lolo and Sawtooth wolf management zones is designed to assesss the effect of wolf predation on elk production and recruitment – relative to habitat and other predators. So, using the Lolo Zone as one example only, and emphasizing that findings in the Lolo Zone do not describe of predict precisely what we might expect in different areas of the FCW, we know that lions have been less important than wolves as agents of elk mortality. Between 2005 and 2007 wolves accounted for 76%, lions accounted for 16% and unknown predaton accounted for the remaining 8% of predator mortality of radio-collared cow and calf elk in the Lolo Zone. In the FCW, we expect that wolves will be a significant source of elk mortality, in addition to lion and bear mortality. That is a significant elk population impact and an important elk management concern.

  56. avatar gline says:

    “Routine management application?” It is a wilderness area- Why the need for such invasive research Mark?

    As the economy is in such poor shape, one would think the state authorities would want to save Idaho taxpayer money.

    Funny how we deal with poor economies…. For some, it is business as usual.

  57. avatar JEFF E says:

    Mark,
    We are talking about landing in a designated wilderness, not doing aerial surveys.
    Is that done with any other Species?
    A short yes or no will do.
    Eric cited a number of “releases” of Mt. Goats, a somewhat different concept and purpose in my thinking.
    Just a side note; for the state to make the statement that wolves are “a valued big game animal” is a blatant outright lie. You know it, I know it. To anyone that knows even a tiny fraction of the states stance on wolves from even before the actual reintroduction such a statement is repugnant, and sadly laughable

  58. avatar Eric T. says:

    Is the issue about landing helos in wilderness areas or not?

    XPlanting and releasing Goats and Sheep by landing helos IN THE WILDERNESS is a “somewhat different concept and purpose” than landing helos IN THE WILDERNESS for anything wolf in your thinking Jeff E? Waffle House much?

    I would imagine that during the transplanting activities described above that darting and collaring of goats and sheep are occuring as part of the process. Just a hunch.

  59. avatar gline says:

    I do not want to see “routine management applications” in Wilderness areas. Wilderness areas were set aside to keep that area untrammeled for the public.

    This is going too far.

  60. avatar gline says:

    *untrammeled for the Wilderness, really but public are visitors

  61. avatar JB says:

    Mark:

    If you’re going to toss around predation estimates, it would be useful to quantify: (a) the population under study (in this case how many elk are died in these zones), (b) the size of the sample obtained (n=?), and (c) the margin of error and confidence interval for the estimate.

    I’ll ask again:

    (2) What happens if you find fewer wolves in the FCW than you anticipate? Will wolf harvest objectives be revised downward?

    (3) “…we need to answer important management questions…” Such as?

  62. avatar JB says:

    Sorry, typing too quickly! I meant to say: “How many elk are estimated to have died in these zones” (i.e. the population you are trying to make inferences about).

  63. avatar Layton says:

    gline, Jeff E,

    I asked the question up above, but I asked Salle, he doesn’t read much unless he wrote it — so I will ask you folks.

    Should Idaho just disregard the area of the FCWA when it comes to wolves?? Counting them, managing them, researching them, etc.. Should that however many million acres be disregarded?

    If memory serves me correctly the wilderness area WAS there when the wolves were put into Idaho in ’95. Is there a section in the ESA or in the 10j that says (in effect) “disregard wilderness areas when you manage wolves”??

  64. avatar JEFF E says:

    Eric says
    “I would imagine that during the transplanting activities described above that darting and collaring of goats and sheep are occuring as part of the process. Just a hunch.”

    So what you are saying is that after the goats are released(you have yet to show anything on sheep.
    even tho your orignial statement was “to land an d study…” now we are talking about releasing”) they are then darted and collared?

  65. avatar JEFF E says:

    ….and while I did say that it was different purpose I did not say I agree with it. I don’t know enough about it to form an opinion.
    What I do know is the deal with wolves smells like a back alley drug deal between the state and the regional forest supervisor.not on the up and up.

  66. avatar gline says:

    Layton -What exactly is the “research” for?

    Below, is a bit from the past, does this sound like science??

  67. avatar JEFF E says:

    Layton,
    I don’t think I ever said to ignore the FCRONRW
    have some stomach acid about how the state is going about it, starting with Brian’s video of the commissars’ meeting.
    One thing that raises a big red flag is the assertion that it has to happen RIGHT NOW. We can’t possibly do any thing until we have this data RIGHT NOW. Did the NEZ Perce not collect any data at all while they were doing the managing while the state refused to have any thing at all to do with it?
    We know they did; why can’t the state do the same methods?

  68. avatar Salle says:

    Ha!

    gline, I like the way the antlers seem to be attached to Steve’s head at times, how apropos!! The professional liar in his element. And to think that so many thousands of Idaho taxpayer $$ went into his pockets for this display of ultimate wisdom. A crime at best.

  69. avatar gline says:

    “According to the Endangered Species Act and the Plan wolves need to monitored for 5 years following delisting in order to ensure the effectiveness of the program. There are currently 8-10 uncollared wolf packs in the FC-RONRW for which there is little …”

    k- there is one supposed reason. Idaho didn’t wait 5 years for a wolf hunt, but they spend huge amounts of money now on complying with the Endangered Species Act in the Frank Church? Strange.

    Ralph has said this is not a wolf issue. And I agree, it is a Wilderness Issue. However wolves just happen to be part of the Wilderness. The following is from the Frank Church User’s guide (where you are requested to not camp 200 yards from a river, stream or lake but helicopters can now fly in to dart wildlife, roughly collar the animal and depart in 15 seconds right in front of you):
    “Many people feel that the wolf represents a symbol of wilderness – a symbol of what is natural, wild, and free. The opportunity to see or hear one of these animals is a rare and exciting experience. If you were fortunate enough to see or hear a wolf, the Forest Service and State Fish and Game Office would appreciate it if you reported it to either of the offices for your assistance would help to preserve this symbol of the Wilderness.”

  70. avatar gline says:

    Salle – I know I am thinking that was intent – antlers in the background… very funny.

  71. avatar Layton says:

    gee whiz gline,

    Is the question hard to understand?? Or is it just that you don’t want to answer it??

    Here’s what I asked:

    “Is there a section in the ESA or in the 10j that says (in effect) “disregard wilderness areas when you manage wolves”??

  72. avatar gline says:

    I’m asking the real question Layton.

  73. avatar Layton says:

    gline, I was typing at the same time you were I guess.

    gline, Jeff E., Salle,

    Sorry I must be on the wrong planet to discuss this. I can’t get by the “they are liars”, “it’s like a back alley drug deal”, and other miscellaneous dis-crediting of anything to do with Idaho and, even more so, Idaho Fish and Game.

    You folks are dead set against anything that has to do with control, accurate research, counting, or anything else that might harm a hair on a wolf’s head. In order to be creditable I guess it has to come from the pages of a Western Watersheds publication.

    By the way gline, “monitoring” the wolf population, by any definition I know of, does NOT preclude having some modicum of control on an obviously healthy, increasing wolf population. Whether it’s done for 5 years or 10.

    Jeff, you said:

    ” Did the NEZ Perce not collect any data at all while they were doing the managing while the state refused to have any thing at all to do with it?” “We know they did; why can’t the state do the same methods”?

    I think you are probably closer to the truth than you realize. The one personal experience that I had with a pack of wolves when the research was under their control went as follows.

    Short version — they were asking for information, I called in a pack of 9 wolves in a specific area, took GPS readings and called them to tell them about it. I was informed that, even tho’ I was the 3rd person in the same area to report the same number of wolves running together that it didn’t count. “It’s only a pack if we get a radio collar on a member of it”. Soooooo I guess they wanted darting and collaring too. Maybe they should have used helicopters. 8)

  74. avatar Layton says:

    gline,

    “I’m asking the real question Layton.”

    No, you’re not — you’re “spinning” the research question to avoid the REAL question — IE
    “Is there a section in the ESA or in the 10j that says (in effect) “disregard wilderness areas when you manage wolves”??

    Like Jeff E. is fond of saying “a simple yes or no will do”.

  75. avatar Salle says:

    Must be time to close this thread, Layton can’t stop asking the same question that isn’t answerable to his satisfaction. When you tell him anything that is true but he doesn’t want to hear, he responds with insults.

    This is why I believe he is a troll. His sole purpose in participation on this blog is to goad and insult others with his ignorance, a true Idahoan that the legislators can only be proud of…

  76. avatar JEFF E says:

    Layton,
    I am against none of those things.
    What I am, based on the totality of the states history on this issue, and looking at the players currently, including Clem and his hand picked lackeys on the commissar, keeping in mind their public statements, is not ready to give them any credence whatsoever.

  77. avatar gline says:

    Salle, he can always go and read the ESA SS 7, 9 and others for himself. Good reading. The Wilderness Act of 1964 is good reading too.

  78. avatar Salle says:

    Thanks gline. I’ve read them several times and discussed them at length in seminars when I was in grad school.

    I just don’t think it’s worth my time or energy to argue with, nor do the homework for, trolls who seem to be interested only in antagonizing everyone else for sake of getting attention, which seems to be the motive here. There is no answer to any of his questions that is satisfactory to him so he keeps goading others to get them upset.

    This issue is upsetting enough as it is, there’s no need to provide trolls with entertainment of the sort they seek. I’d rather let them go unsatisfied, it’s what they deserve.

    I have been lied to at every turn by the agencies of the state and have no intention of believing anything they have to say now. The backroom deals and plans are there and not hard to recognize if you’ve had any personal exposure to the “players”. It’s really a matter of being smarter and more determined than they are.

  79. avatar gline says:

    Salle: I agree with you – too much attention and energy toward a bad cause.

    I’ve often thought the goading that goes on in this blog is depicted in the old saying “throwing you to the wolves”. ie, goading behavior is what some have attributed to wolves goading a cow or elk, yet the goaders act the same way and demonize wolves for acting this way.
    Just a thought/comparison.

  80. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    Catching up with earlier posts:
    Salle –
    “So you want to monitor them prior to breeding season, which is silly considering that this is to take place before the hunt ends ~ there’s problem #1 with you statement. Problem #2 is that is that recruitment is most effectively established after denning takes place because the pack is relatively stationary at that point in time, social standing of each individual is clearly evident.”

    I’ll try to help you make sense of this. There’s no problem with collaring wolves before the hunting season ends. The collars will still be there unless the wolf is harvested/killed by a hunter. The possibility that a collared wolf will be taken by a hunter in the rugged, remote FCW during the remaining harsh winter of this hunting season is remote. Wolf collars allow us to track and monitor the individual and the pack. Taking advantage of helicopter air time, during routine big game winter surveys, will increase collared animals before whelping and the next breeding cycle – allowing us to better account for production and mortality for the coming production year. Being able to follow the pack, growth and reduction of pack sizes is essential to accurately assessing wolf densities and effects on elk, other prey species. We know that we underestimate wolf numbers now – because of inadequate collaring of wolves. These additional efforts strengthen our knowledge of wolves in the FCW, making our management program more responsive and effective. T

    “What other specie, of any kind receives this level of disrespect and cruel treatment? Do you actually go out and lethally “control” elk? Deer? Bighorn sheep? Mountain goats? And at this level? What’s sinister about this is that you have not yet answered anyone on this blog who has asked about the intent of the Idaho State legislators to have all wolves removed by any means possible.” (Salle – friendly note: a specie is a denomination of coin currency. Species -plural- is the correct taxonomic nomenclature, singular and plural).

    First – there is nothing disrespectful or cruel in these management actions. This is basic, fundamental wildlife management. Managing wolves to meet population objectives relies on hunting and other traditional management methods no differently than other wildlife species. Yes, we do lethally control deer and elk populations – frequently, for the same reasons we control wolf numbers. Kill permits, depredation hunts and at times removal by IDFG professionals are common actions to manage depredation of private property by those valued wildlife species. Beavers are often lethally removed to control property damage. Big Horn Sheep are lethally removed to reduce the risk of disease transmission to BHS herds. There are other examples, but the fact is that all wildlife species are subject to management actions to meet the needs and desires of society. In that regard, the wolf management actions we’re discussing are not unique in any way to wolves.
    Continued speculation that the Idaho Legislature could, at some point in the future, cause wolves to be eradicated from Idaho borders on silly conspiracy theory. There is nothing in the interest of any state, it’s residents, natural resource industries or authority to manage it’s resources that would argue for the return of a species to the Endangered Species Act. Wolves are here to stay.

  81. avatar timz says:

    “Continued speculation that the Idaho Legislature could, at some point in the future, cause wolves to be eradicated from Idaho borders on silly conspiracy theory.”

    So will you agree that their passing a resolution to do that very thing is just silly grandstanding and a waste of time and taxpayer money?

  82. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JB –
    “(2) What happens if you find fewer wolves in the FCW than you anticipate? Will wolf harvest objectives be revised downward? (3) “…we need to answer important management questions…” Such as?”

    I would expect us to adjust management actions to achieve management objectives. If we determine that wolf numbers are below desired densities for a management zone then management would be adjusted accordingly. Serious question: is that not obvious to you?
    Important management questions could be: impact of wolf predation on other managed wildlife (elk, deer, moose e.g.)?; are we meeting wolf mangement objectives – high or low?; are adjustments to management actions necessary?; are we well within ESA delisting criteria? …… I’m offering these off the top. There could be, likely are, a dozen or two or more additional legitimate management questions.

  83. avatar timz says:

    Mark, I know you’re there are you going to answer my question? Hurry, i need to go to bed soon.

  84. avatar JEFF E says:

    Mark,
    please answer Timz. Inquiring minds want to know

  85. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    timz –
    “So will you agree that their passing a resolution to do that very thing is just silly grandstanding and a waste of time and taxpayer money?”

    No Tim, I don’t presume to know the mind of legislators or the legislature as a body. Whatever the intent or motivation, that was the prerogative of the legislature to communicate their message. As noted earlier, I am here as a IDFG professional and therefore a state representative, not a private individual.

  86. avatar timz says:

    No you are a lackey for IDF&G and your answer proves it. Like I have said before you are either a complete fool or a liar. Either way you disgust me.

  87. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JB –
    “How many elk are estimated to have died in these zones” (i.e. the population you are trying to make inferences about).”

    Which zones and total mortality, hunting mortality, predation? I’ll assume you meant any of the wolf management zones and predation mortality. I couldn’t tell you. Why?

  88. avatar JEFF E says:

    Mark says,
    “Continued speculation that the Idaho Legislature could, at some point in the future, cause wolves to be eradicated from Idaho borders on silly conspiracy theory. There is nothing in the interest of any state, it’s residents, natural resource industries or authority to manage it’s resources that would argue for the return of a species to the Endangered Species Act. Wolves are here to stay.”

    then Mark says,
    “No Tim, I don’t presume to know the mind of legislators or the legislature as a body. Whatever the intent or motivation, that was the prerogative of the legislature to communicate their message.”

    hmmmm

  89. avatar gline says:

    What solution should not be on public record in the above video?

  90. avatar timz says:

    Why ask Gamblin, he’s a coward IMHO. He’s not going to say anything to rock his boat.

  91. avatar gline says:

    Just would like a response to my question.

  92. avatar timz says:

    Just like I wanted an answer. I simply asked it it was grandstanding and a waste of taxpayer money. I never got that answer, because as an IDF&G lackey he cannot answer truthfully he has to spout the company line.

  93. avatar gline says:

    Will be going to bed soon, so as to make more money to pay taxes tomorrow…

    mark?

  94. avatar gline says:

    All we have is to keep asking Timz, and that is why I like you.

  95. avatar Salle says:

    Sounds like you’re the new mouthpiece to replace Mr. Nadeau.

    I feel sorry for those of you don’t see the big picture.

  96. avatar timz says:

    Gline, all I wanted was a yes or no. How hard is that?

  97. avatar gline says:

    It is not hard. But I’m sure you wanted him to answer the truth, being “yes”, however that is not his truth evidently.

  98. avatar timz says:

    gline, Amen

  99. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    timz –
    Tim, wanting to NOT fan the flames – I’ll ask How? Why? If you truely believe I’m being insincere or dishonest, I am interested in knowing how and why. Is there something more than simply being displeased by the message(s)?

  100. avatar timz says:

    Just answer YES or No to my question. Do you think the legislature passing a resolution to “remove wolves from Idaho by whatever menans possible” was a silly waste of time and taxpayer money. A one word answer is all I want.

  101. avatar gline says:

    I really don’t the see the harm in him saying yes, though Timz.

  102. avatar gline says:

    What’s with the big facade anyway??

  103. avatar Salle says:

    When I look at that video, and then read Mark’s blather, I think that he must look like Steve ~ he sounds just like him.

    I could smell the stench on Nadeauspeak the very first time I heard it.

    These “bought and paid for” mouthpieces are no more interested in answering your question than Layton is in the answers you have to his ridiculous red herring questions.

  104. avatar timz says:

    I don’t either. Matter a fact he may earn an ounce of respect if he says yes given his conspiracy statement.

  105. avatar gline says:

    How in the heck is it a conspiracy??? Perhaps a few “lucky” wolves will survive … hence not ALL wolves???

    What do you think the “solution” was/is that shouldnt be on public record??? It obviously isn’t for science or health of the wolf as a species.

    Salle, touche.

  106. avatar gline says:

    Getting tired, another day on the way, more tax dollars at work… good night all.

  107. avatar JEFF E says:

    Mark says,
    “No Tim, I don’t presume to know the mind of legislators or the legislature as a body. Whatever the intent or motivation, that was the prerogative of the legislature to communicate their message.”

    maybe this will clear it up for you

    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

    HOUSE BILL NO. 294

    BY WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE

    1 AN ACT
    2 RELATING TO WOLVES; PROVIDING LEGISLATIVE INTENT; AMENDING SECTION 36-715,
    3 IDAHO CODE, TO PROVIDE FOR TRANSITION FROM FEDERAL MANAGEMENT OF WOLVES TO
    4 STATE MANAGEMENT, TO PROVIDE FOR CERTAIN AUTHORITIES AND DUTIES OF THE
    5 FISH AND GAME COMMISSION AND THE OFFICE OF SPECIES CONSERVATION RELATING
    6 TO WOLF CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT AND TO REVISE THE AUTHORITIES AND
    7 DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME RELATING TO WOLF CONSERVATION
    8 AND MANAGEMENT.

    9 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:

    10 SECTION 1. LEGISLATIVE INTENT. It is the public policy of the state of
    11 Idaho to use every option to assert state sovereignty and mitigate the impacts
    12 of gray wolves on residents of the state of Idaho and to seek the delisting
    13 and management of gray wolves at recovery levels that will ensure viable,
    14 self-sustaining populations pursuant to the Idaho Wolf Conservation and Man-
    15 agement Plan. The state of Idaho arrived at this policy in 2002 with the pas-
    16 sage of Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 134, which approved the Idaho Wolf
    17 Conservation and Management Plan after objecting to the reintroduction of
    18 wolves and after adopting a memorial seeking the removal of wolves from the
    19 state. The Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan affirms that Idaho is
    20 on the record asking the federal government to remove wolves from the state by
    21 the adoption in 2001 of House Joint Memorial No. 5 but that in order to use
    22 every available option to mitigate the severe impacts on the residents of the
    23 state of Idaho, the state will seek delisting and manage wolves at recovery
    24 levels that will ensure viable, self-sustaining populations pursuant to the
    25 Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. Pursuant to Section 67-818, Idaho
    26 Code, the Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan is the policy of the
    27 state of Idaho subject to legislative approval, amendment or rejection by con-
    28 current resolution. Idaho directly opposes the fundamental flaw in the federal
    29 Endangered Species Act that allows the wolf reintroduction and other federal
    30 initiatives to override state policy. Therefore, in addition to the duties
    31 described below, the Fish and Game Commission, through the Department of Fish
    32 and Game, shall assist the Governor’s Office of Species Conservation in seek-
    33 ing changes to federal policy that will ensure full partnership between state
    34 and federal government in species conservation……..

  108. avatar JEFF E says:

    sure sounds like a “valued big game animal” to me
    how about you?

  109. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JEFF E –
    OK, I made the decision to respond to Tim’s baiting question with an honest, appropriate response in my position as a state public servant with responsibilities to the public and to state elected leaders. So, to conclude: The language of the specific bill that Tim referred to is clear in it’s intent. The state is committed to managing for a viable, self-sustaining Idaho wolf population that meets the delisting criteria of the Endangered Species Act. The language of the bill also makes clear the state position that the unilateral federal decision to re-introduce wolves to the state was objected to by the legislature. Had I given this the effort you did – I would have also corrected Tim that the Legislature does not, in fact, call of the eradication or removal of wolves from the state. This bill does the opposite. Within this legislative intent, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission formally classified wolves as a big game animal, conveying all of the protections and status that apply to deer, elk, moose, lions, bears and other big game species.
    I responded to Tim that no, I would not agree the legislation was grandstanding or a waste of public funds. I reminded Tim that I participate in this blog community as a IDFG professional and state employee and not as a private individual. To expand further – it is my responsibility to explain, support and enact state policy and programs. That’s as straight-forward as I can make it.

  110. avatar JEFF E says:

    “the Legislature does not, in fact, call of the eradication or removal of wolves from the state. ”

    however

    “The state of Idaho arrived at this policy in 2002 with the pas-
    16 sage of Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 134, which approved the Idaho Wolf
    17 Conservation and Management Plan after objecting to the reintroduction of
    18 wolves and after adopting a memorial seeking the removal of wolves from the
    19 state. The Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan affirms that Idaho is
    20 on the record asking the federal government to remove wolves from the state by
    21 the adoption in 2001 of House Joint Memorial No. 5”

    pay attention to lines 18-21.

    come on Mark, I thought you knew the subject material. You’re beginning to disappoint me.

  111. avatar JEFF E says:

    another little tidbit to consider re the hunting season,
    “In the northern Rockies, wolves breed between late January and early March. Usually between 2 – 9 pups are born between late March and late April after a 63-day gestation period. Wolf packs may be sensitive to disturbance by humans during this period…….(Mack and Laudon 1998).

    This is from Idahos own Management and Conservation plan

    anyone notice a possible conflict in late March???

  112. avatar JB says:

    “Which zones and total mortality, hunting mortality, predation? I’ll assume you meant any of the wolf management zones and predation mortality. I couldn’t tell you. Why?”

    You claimed that wolves caused 76% of elk mortalities (in the Sawtooth & Lolo?). This is not an absolute number (unless you collared every elk in these zones), it is an estimate of wolf caused mortality for a specific population. In order to evaluate this estimate I need to know (a) the size of the population to which you are making inferences, (b) the size of the sample you obtained, and (c) the confidence level (i.e. your tolerance for uncertainty regarding your estimate; e.g. 90%, 95%, 99%). With this data (and an expected response distribution), you can calculate a margin of error (e.g. +/-5 percentage points).

    A handy tool is available here: http://www.raosoft.com/samplesize.html

  113. avatar JB says:

    “I would expect us to adjust management actions to achieve management objectives. If we determine that wolf numbers are below desired densities for a management zone then management would be adjusted accordingly. Serious question: is that not obvious to you?”

    What’s obvious to me is that IDF&G is committed to keeping wolves off of the federal list of endangered species and managing wolves at the minimum number that it believes will accomplish this goal. Furthermore, it isn’t lost on me that the number that IDF&G keeps throwing around (~500) is the number that some geneticists insist constitutes the minimum number of individuals needed to maintain genetic diversity in a population. I fully expect this number to be adjusted downward once Idaho is sure it can count all wolves in the metapopulation (i.e. Wyoming and Montana’s wolves) toward this count. In the short term, since IDF&G has made it clear that their target is ~500 wolves (a density of one wolf per ~160 square miles), it is clear that “management” means only one thing: killing. All of this effort at counting simply assures you don’t kill too many wolves and inadvertently force relisting.

    – – – –

    P.S. The statutory language cited by Timz/JeffE is a mere taste of the Idaho government’s grandstanding regarding wolves. I’m happy to recount the various anti-wolf legislation put forth in Idaho in recent years should you so desire?

  114. avatar gline says:

    Timz asked: “Do you think the legislature passing a resolution to “remove wolves from Idaho by whatever means possible” was a silly waste of time and taxpayer money?”

    Mark said: “OK, I made the decision to respond to Tim’s baiting question with an honest, appropriate response in my position as a state public servant with responsibilities to the public and to state elected leaders.”

    Baiting question? Really? How? I’m off to work now, need to make money to pay my taxes.

  115. avatar gline says:

    Jeff E – extending the hunt to late March is the most disgusting, immoral action. Any other species does not get this treatment.

  116. avatar JEFF E says:

    anyone curious how the state went, as far as the population #s, from “recovery levels” (100+) to 15 packs to today’s ~ 500?
    I am pretty sure I know but would like to see what other people think

  117. avatar JimT says:

    It’s Monday morning, and I have a Layton post to respond …Sigh.. :*)

    Layton, if you were a true supporter of wilderness for wilderness sake, as the Act has been written and interpreted, there is no way you would endorse the use of helicopters for a questionable purpose driven by conservative legislators in a state whose leaders and most influential lobbying groups are vehemently anti-wolf. As for your beliefs regarding environmental issues in general, I get a pretty good idea of what your core principles are from your “writings”., just like you get an idea of mine. I come from a standpoint of the environment’s health first, you come from a human use first. Therein lies the rub. I don’t come from the dominion end of the spectrum; I don’t come from the humans must manage nature. WE created that path because of screwing up so many areas in so many ways we have to intervene to try and heal things. Wilderness is one way we try to keep human activity the hell out of special wild places to avoid managing the thing to death.

    As far as the sheep monitoring goes, no, not enough facts in a press release, but let me point out two key differences I see just from reading that brief post. One, this happened during the Bush Administration, when the rules were winked at, and permits and permission were just a matter of walking through the doors. Second, the mission of this effort was to attempt to save a species in trouble, or so it appears. There is no evidence the wolves in FCW are “in trouble” or need the help of the Idaho folks and their helicopters.

    I am with Ralph; the presence of collared animals who can be found with ease offends the very nature of wilderness. The access by helicopters for a non-essential task is contradicted by the laws, regs, and court cases governing the Wilderness Act.

    I do think your fighting fires is a good thing so long as USFS is doing the selecting of fires based on newer science that shows fires to be an essential part of the ecosystem cycle, and that suppressing fires for the past 75 years has only worsened the problem, especially now with the West generally in a drought, and climate change is furthering weakening the health of forests. BTW, as a sideline, you should read Tim Egan’s latest book, the Big Burn, about the 1910 fire and the folks who fought it.

  118. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    Jeff, JB –
    The language in HB 294 (2003) is clear, as I referenced in my post above. This bill references House Joint Memorial No. 5 of 2001 but clarifies the state’s position on wolf management in Idaho. The state’s official position is that wolves be managed for a viable, sustainable population, within ESA criteria and guidelines. Other language expressing the sentiments of the legislature is just that – the preferences and displeasure of the Legislature for the unilateral decision to reintroduce wolves and a call for collaboration with the federal government on this and other matters affecting state authority.
    JB – I responded to the material Jeff posted for consideration. I’m sure you are more familiar with the legislative history on this issue than I am. If you have records that contradict the state position articulated in the legislation of HB 294, I will appreciate the correction.
    Jeff – Again, the broad range of wolf behavior, including breeding, denning and whelping is not specific to individual regions or states. The behavior of wolves in Idaho in general and geographic regions in Idaho will deviate to some degree from that broad range. Ed Bangs (USFWS), Jesse Timberlake (DOW) and IDFG biologists agree that wolf whelping will not occur in Idaho before March 31. For those who are concerned about a possibility of this year’s wolf hunt overlapping the whelping season – there is little risk and or conflict. This is a red herring issue.
    JB – Your confidence of future adjustments to the state wolf management plan is greater than mine. Is there something specific you base your prediction on?
    “You claimed that wolves caused 76% of elk mortalities (in the Sawtooth & Lolo?). This is not an absolute number (unless you collared every elk in these zones), it is an estimate of wolf caused mortality for a specific population. In order to evaluate this estimate I need to know (a) the size of the population to which you are making inferences, (b) the size of the sample you obtained, and (c) the confidence level (i.e. your tolerance for uncertainty regarding your estimate; e.g. 90%, 95%, 99%). With this data (and an expected response distribution), you can calculate a margin of error (e.g. +/-5 percentage points).”

    JB – once again I’m forced to correct you on a fundamental point of statistical analysis. No, you don’t need the sample size of collared elk to calculate SE or SD or variance because this is not inferrential statistics. This is a direct estimate of the wolf predation rate on cow and calf elk. It is not a correlation analysis or a regression analysis. You are correct that the estimate assumes that collared elk are equally susceptible to wolf predation (with other assumptions) and that wolf predation of collared elk represents wolf predation of un-collared elk. Absent some effect on elk vulnerability to wolf predation, the assumption is very stong. In statistical terms, this estimate is very robust.
    This sampling method does not rely on central tendency theory to estimate the probablity that an estimate of wolf predation rates are due to a type I or type II error. It is a stronger and more reliable estimate that we could derive from other traditional inferential statistical methods.

  119. Mark Gamlin wrote:

    “JB – once again I’m forced to correct you on a fundamental point of statistical analysis. No, you don’t need the sample size of collared elk to calculate SE or SD or variance because this is not inferrential statistics. This is a direct estimate of the wolf predation rate on cow and calf elk.”

    Mark, of course this is inferential statistics unless a high proportion of the elk are collared and most of the dead elk and found and a cause of death determined. If that many are collared, only then are descriptive statistics useful.

    Therefore, people need to know the number of elk collared plus some evidence of what kind of a sample of elk it is so they can judge the probably of your conclusions about what kills the elk.

  120. avatar JEFF E says:

    “Ed Bangs (USFWS), Jesse Timberlake (DOW) and IDFG biologists agree that wolf whelping will not occur in Idaho before March 31. For those who are concerned about a possibility of this year’s wolf hunt overlapping the whelping season – there is little risk and or conflict. This is a red herring issue.”
    Mark,
    The information I presented comes from “Idahos Conservation and Management Plan” and is cited.
    That is the “overarching” document for wolf management in Idaho and was what was approved by the dept. of Interior.

    Are you saying it contains inaccurate/misleading information?

    This same document reaffirms Idahos Official position as to removing wolves from Idaho.

    This is Idahos ((official)) position, not just the legislature venting.

  121. avatar gline says:

    A long days’ work and no response. I know you are not Steve Nadeau, Mark, but you are a state representative….

  122. avatar JB says:

    Mark:

    Consult with your research biologists on this matter. You ARE using inferential statistics. You are attempting to infer a cause of mortality (i.e. wolves) for a particular population (i.e. elk in the ?? zone(s)) based upon a sample (again, unless you conducted a census/i.e. collared every elk in the population). For this reason, your estimate should be accompanied (at minimum) by a confidence level and margin of error.

  123. avatar spanglelakes says:

    For the record, the name of the IDFG regional supervisor commenting on this blog is Mark Gamblin (not Gamlin).

    Jeff E – re. Jesse Timberlake, coming from England to Idaho, and now DOW junior staffer out of DOW’s Boise’s office, and now quoted by you re. Idaho wolves … well, Jesse means well, but Defenders is so out of touch with what’s going happening on the ground with wolves in Idaho, they might as well be trying to teach sheep to moo rather than baa.

  124. avatar JEFF E says:

    Spangle,
    I did not quote Jesse, Mark did, and then later I quoted Mark….

  125. avatar Salle says:

    I have a copy of House Bill No. 139 of the Idaho Legislature 2009. It’s in PDF format and I don’t know how to post that but it’s truly interesting. It says a lot about how Idaho intends to deal with wolves. I may have to type it all out but it’s only one page… Ralph?

  126. avatar JEFF E says:

    However not to worry as there is no such thing as a “Canadian Grey Wolf”

  127. avatar Salle says:

    Thanks Jeff E.

    I have it downloaded to my hard drive and was trying to do it from there.

    There may be no such thing as “Canadian Grey Wolves” but you can’t tell them that. As far as they are concerned, there are such things and that’s what they believe exist in Idaho. Ron Gillette and Lenore Barret wrote the original MOU to have wolves removed by whatever means possible. The legislature hasn’t changed its view and I suspect that whatever backroom dirty deals they can come up with are acceptable. They have no decency whatsoever.

    And their taxpayer supported henchmen, like Mr. Gamblin are no better, therefore, there’s no reason to imagine they would tell you anything truthful, they take an oath of office, there is nothing but the propaganda, I mean party line in their work or in their minds. You can’t get a job there if you don’t walk their talk.

  128. avatar Layton says:

    JimT,

    I really don’t disagree much at all with your answer to my post. It’s obvious that we disagree on the following “I come from a standpoint of the environment’s health first, you come from a human use first.”

    So be it, I really don’t think it makes either one of us bad people. We just fundamentally disagree.

    “There is no evidence the wolves in FCW are “in trouble” or need the help of the Idaho folks and their helicopters.”

    I agree that there is no evidence they are in trouble, just the opposite, I think they are probably doing — in my estimation — better than they should be allowed to. But you don’t see it that way, I assume.

    As for the fire thing — the way you reference that fires should be handled IS the way that is being practiced (fires being an essential part of the ecosystem) these days– and I HAVE read Egan’s book.

  129. avatar gline says:

    “I agree that there is no evidence they are in trouble, just the opposite, I think they are probably doing — in my estimation — better than they should be allowed to.”

    The Frank Church is a designated Wilderness is it not? A WILDERNESS- no livestock. (although there are some private land patches…) Wolves and other species need to be left alone.

  130. avatar nabeki says:

    Wolves do not purchase hunting licenses, and most state wildlife managers draw their pay from revenue derived from sale of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses. That, in brief, is what is wrong with wildlife management in America….
    —Ted Williams, 1986

    And then of course we can’t forget about WS and all the damage they do to wolves.

    http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com

  131. avatar gline says:

    Awesome. I love Pat Williams.

  132. avatar Eric T. says:

    If endangered species (wolves) are suppose to be monitored for 5 years after delisting and the FCW wolves present a data gap in the monitoring network, why shouldn’t FCW wolves be monitored to comply with the ESA?

    Leg hold trapping was tried over 4 field seasons, 2005-2008. The Nez Perce Tribe was involved in these attempts. Zero wolves were trapped in this timeframe. $60K was spent by IDFG on those activities.

    Just because wolves are in a wilderness area does not mean they shouldn’t be studied.

    Ahh, the balance of justice, ESA v. Wilderness (remember, this is NOT a wolf issue) ((Please adjust sarcasm meter to HIGH)).

  133. avatar Layton says:

    gline,

    “The Frank Church is a designated Wilderness is it not? A WILDERNESS- no livestock. (although there are some private land patches…) Wolves and other species need to be left alone”

    Is that an answer to the question?? It sounds like it to me.

    So then your stance is that the wolves in the FCW don’t count toward the wolf numbers in the Northwest. Right??

  134. avatar JB says:

    I’d still like to know what the population and sample sizes were on the study Mark cited? No estimate is error free, and it is irresponsible for agencies to post any estimate without an associated margin of error. Actually, FWS deserves some criticism for this as well.

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