There might be a backlash, but it is doubtful related to a spike in wolf attacks on livestock-

Matthew Brown from AP wrote this story. It has some good facts in it and a lot of wild anger from livestock owners.

I think what sparks backlashes are not the number of livestock killed. It is the number of news stories about it.

I think if someone did a content analysis of the news about wolves and livestock and compared it to the number of wolf-killed livestock each year since the reintroduction, there would be no relationship.

Matthew Brown points out that “The sharp increase over 2008 livestock losses, reported Thursday by state officials, was fueled largely by a wolf pack ravaging 148 sheep in southwestern Montana near Dillon in August.”

This single story got a lot of media attention, and I never read a single good account from the media or the Montana government giving the details of how this happened. At the time on this blog, I complained day after day about the lack of facts, except that a lot of sheep were dead.

As far increasing the hunt quota next because of the perception of large livestock losses, Montana FWP’s report was very clear that the hunt removed far fewer wolves in areas with livestock than they hoped, and more in livestock-free parts of the backcountry.  Therefore, increasing the quota would be purely a political move unrelated to wolf depredations in fact.

Wolf supporters have got to win the delisting case, as the state wildlife agencies are nothing but political pawns. I am sick to death and furious!

– – – – – – – –

The statement that there are 8 dead livestock by wolves for every one found is often repeated as in this story. It seems to me they used to say “1 in 5,” but at any rate in checking, this all seems to come from one small study by John Oakleaf.  The area studied was hardly representative — a remote section of public land leased for grazing that was  known to have a high density of wolves. No doubt in less rugged and accessible country the number not found would be less.

If you think about it, the broad statement is absurd. The percentage of livestock killed by wolves and not found would vary everywhere. Every season cattle and sheep are simply missed (not rounded-up). They linger and die of the cold. They are also lost to accidental injury, sickness, poison plants, and other predators. Most carcasses would be scavenged by many scavengers, including wolves.

To sum it up, this “one in eight” figure appears to be an effort to inflate a relatively small problem for political purposes, and is based on a single unrepresentative study.

Tagged with:
 
avatar
About The Author

Ralph Maughan

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

97 Responses to Montana Wolf Attacks Spike in ‘09, Sparking Backlash

  1. avatar jerryB says:

    There’s a backlash developing alright, and it is amongst the people who are tired of wolves being managed by the livestock industry and the hunting organizations. I’ve never witnessed so much email and blog traffic from those fed up with the current status quo…even to the point of advocating for the removal of Sime and her team of wolf “managers”.
    Thanks to the internet, there’s more awareness of the continued removal of complete packs by MFWP.
    The “Public Trust Doctrine” is a joke in Montana because those making decisions on citizen advisory committees and the commission are either ranchers, outfitters or trappers and no one else can gain a seat. So contrary to the spirit of the “Doctrine” special interests dictate wildlife management and not science.
    Check out…..http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/
    Lots of Montana wolf info.

  2. avatar Talks with Bears says:

    Jerry B – so you want more wolves? How is that going to help the situation?

  3. Talks with Bears,

    I can’t speak for JerryB, but it seems to me that a new season ought not to be set until there is a pretty good count of the number of pups born this coming April.

    With this high mortality level this year, most of it from Wildlife Services, there needs to be serious facts collected, and they are not available now. I think the wolf population will be found to have declined. I could be wrong, of course.

    The same is true for Idaho.

  4. avatar Talks with Bears says:

    Ralph – I have no issue with that. I would think that most people that choose to hunt wolves do so in addition to other species – therefore, a late notice of seasons would not be a major inconvenience.

  5. avatar jerryB says:

    TWB
    Jerry B – so you want more wolves? How is that going to help the situation?
    We want representation….isn’t that the idea of the “Doctrine”?
    Kinda like a “democracy”…something that doesn’t exist in the present political climate of Montana. Look at what just happened with the Otter Creek Coal fiasco……another case of special interests rule the day.

  6. avatar nabeki says:

    Here it comes. Right before the hearing on the wolf relisting. All the moaning and whining about livestock losses. Over FIVE HUNDRED WOLVES ARE DEAD and counting and Idaho isn’t done yet. Where’s that story? Where are the pictures of all the dead wolves? We won’t be seeing those. We won’t be seeing that carnage. Oh no, we have to worry about livestock.

    Is anyone asking these ranchers how many cows and sheep they lost to weather, or how many died of disease or giving birth, or were stolen, or killed by other predators….mainly coyotes and I don’t want to blame the little coyotes because even they kill so few livestock.

    This is part of a plan to keep people from talking about wolves and keep the focus on ranching and livestock. That’s the way it’s always been and that’s the way it is now. This is why state game agencies should not be managing predators!!!

    I am so sick and tired of hearing about cows and sheep I could scream. Ranchers need to stop complaining and start changing their habits. For one, stop relying on the government to sanitize the landscape so they can be reckless with how they graze their livestock. You can’t turn your livestock loose in wolf country and expect nothing to happen. The Dillon incident was a fluke and who knows what really happened there? But they will run that story into the ground.

    We are not supposed to be managing wolves for ranchers. It’s not the the state of Montana or Idaho’s job to make sure only ranchers and hunters are happy. They represent all the people. Wolves are native here not cows and sheep.

    This is completely political. Montana had every intention of increasing the hunt quota for next year, it has nothing to do with increased predation. It has everything to do with marginalizing the wolf population and fragmenting them to the point where they are mere shadows on the landscape.

    They need to stop killing wolves for the livestock industry. Wolf advocates speak up for wolves!!!! Let your voices be heard!!!

    http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com

  7. avatar bob says:

    good lord Ralph.

    In his declaration to the federal court dated May of 2008 Mech said that there are 3,000 wolves in the northern Rockies.

    “I think the wolf population will be found to have declined. I could be wrong, of course.”

    Give it a rest

  8. Bob Fanning,

    Hello? Is anyone there?

    Mech testified in May 2008. My comment is about the possible number in June 2010. That is 2 years later

  9. avatar Richie,NJ says:

    Again big bussiness wins this round, if I might speculate about the future. The wolf and wildlife lovers will win in court then is a couple of years when wolf population grows. Enough revenue comes in from tourism, watching wolves and bears and other wildlife, then the hunt begins again. Revenue from hunters,selling tags and guns, bullets, cabin rentals etc, and the cycle begins again. I still say let nature manage the wolves and bears etc, hunting for food is one thing but revenue by government is another.

  10. avatar Richie,NJ says:

    To all wildlife and wolf lovers this angers me too.

  11. avatar Jon Way says:

    Ralph said: “Wolf supporters have got to win the delisting case, as the state wildlife agencies are nothing but political pawns. I am sick to death and furious!”

    I agree and you could substitute the word “wolf” with other species and it would be the same nationwide with state wildlife agencies. If you don’t hunt, you have no voice, just like JerryB says.

  12. avatar Wilderness Muse says:

    Richie,

    Wolf tourism in national parks is one thing (U of M economics/math professors studied that and came up with a $35M annual revenue boost for YNP. They don’t take it the next step and say, as most of us know. that most of that money goes to the corporate concessionaires with HQ’s out of state. It does provide some jobs however).

    The case for wolf tourism outside national parks will be nowhere near that, in my opinion, even if wolf populations are doubled or even triple what they are now. If wolves are delisted, they will be back off the ESA list in a couple of years, and the states will likely be able to pursue their numbers management.

    In the meantime, hunting revenues have a good chance of being adversely affected – especially non-resident licenses and a reduction in goods and services they purchase in the hunting state will not be offset by wolf tourism. How would this net out? Who knows. There will be winning businesses and losing businesses.

    And, Richie, it is not just “revenue by government,” it is the people who own small businesses in rural areas near hunting (or wolf watching) locations, who be affected most. If wolves go on the list again, and elk population is adversely affected in some areas, it will be interesting to see how the hunting outfitters, or other businesses respond. Will they start offering “wolf tourism” trips/services in the off-season from their hunting business, or will they just go out of business?

  13. WM,

    The states have not proven that deer and/or elk numbers have been reduced by wolf predation. Therefore, it is not clear that any revenues will be reduced, except inasmuch as self-imposed negative advertising (a curious phenomenon I am not familiar with in other areas) can convince hunters to stay away.

    This is a false trade-off, although it is possible to make people believe it is real. That happens frequently, e.g., we must take your freedoms to fight terrorism.

  14. avatar Wilderness Muse says:

    Jon Way,

    I believe you are an independent urban coyote researcher – Maryland, I think- making your living off of them.

    If you lived in the West you might expand you comment to “If you don’t hunt, raise livestock, live with pets in rural areas OR offer goods and services in support of those who do, you have a weaker voice.”

    The purpose of my comment is to suggest the issues are not as clean, or the public interest quite as narrow as your, perhaps self-serving, statement might suggest.

  15. avatar Salle says:

    WM,

    “Wolf tourism in national parks is one thing (U of M economics/math professors studied that and came up with a $35M annual revenue boost for YNP. They don’t take it the next step and say, as most of us know. that most of that money goes to the corporate concessionaires with HQ’s out of state. It does provide some jobs however).”

    Please show where this is so.

    Most of the wolf watchers of YNP stay outside the park in the gate communities and nearby. Aside from that, they buy groceries, eat at restaurants, buy gas in those communities and enroute to YNP. Most of the serious wolf watchers stay for several days to ensure a successful journey. They also purchase sundries and photo supplies and sometimes extra clothing, primarily in the gate communities and enroute because they know that the concessionaires are expensive and CLOSED during the off season (Lamar Valley is located along the part of the park that is plowed year-round due to limited access for Cooke City residents, it’s the only way in or out of that little town in winter.)

    SO please show how you came up with this guestimation and back up your assumption with figures.

    If this assumption were true, Dr. Duffield would have mentioned it as a consideration in his study.

  16. avatar Salle says:

    BTW, Dr. Duffield is an economist.

  17. avatar Wilderness Muse says:

    Ralph,

    I think Mark Gamblin, in an earlier post this week, in fact said non-resident hunter licenses/tags did not sell out last season for some units. Factors included price increase, economy AND actual or perceived effect of wolves on harvestable animals. The jury is still out on the effects of elk/deer population effects of wolves. However, there is published data in MT and ID that shows localized decreases in elk populations – you have seen it, and it is available, and updates soon will be. Certainly the word is out and infomred groups like Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation believe that is the case.

    I agree with your observation about the “negative advertizing effect” regardless of what facts say.

  18. avatar Wilderness Muse says:

    Salle,

    Duffield is/was in the Mathematics department at U of Montana at the time of his initial study in 1992 (AS WERE HIS TWO COLLABORATING AUTHORS), and his subsequent follow up study. He obviously has an economics background, and hence the nature of my reference to him.

    John W. Duffield, Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula,
    Montana 59812; john.duffield@mso.umt.edu

    And, yes, there is no detailing that I am aware of profiling exactly where people spend their money in/outside YNP. I should have developed the thought a bit more. The entrance communities and the chain motels do get their share for Park related tourism, which is likely different from some of the hunting crowd. That is part of my point. By the way, nobody purchases “photo supplies” anymore. Its nearly all digital, now. Unless you are thinking somebody needs a new telphoto lens, which would work on film or digital bodies.

  19. avatar Richie,NJ says:

    How much money was made on tags to hunt wolves in all western states ?

  20. avatar Salle says:

    Actually,

    Hunting folks usually camp out in the areas where they hunt and don’t buy much except for some food and lots of alcohol, bullets on occasion.

    Wildlife watchers, on the other hand, stay at hotels/motels in the surrounding communities by and large, purchase extra memory cards for their digital cameras and lens cleaners and use Internet Cafes and wifi at the motels and hotels, they charges hourly fees. Some go to photo shops in gate communities, that have them, for prints as well. They eat at the restaurants and buy groceries, camp at campgrounds, RV parks etc. Not to mention they buy gas and diesel outside the park, mostly, because it costs much more inside the park. They might buy snacks in the park but the majority buy from the stores on the outside. And then there is the gas and food/lodging and airline and car rentals that are not offered inside the park. then there are the camping and travel supplies purchsed, even if in their home communities, are purchases not made inside the park. Seen a Cabelas or LL Bean or what have you in the park yet?

    regardless of Dr. Duffield’s dates of study, it was a good beginner project to point out that the hunting crowd does not make up the majority of $$ spent in the region with their license/tag fees. I hope there will be more studies to identify the specific areas where the money comes from and goes to in the near future… Any grad students out there looking for a study theme?

  21. avatar Wilderness Muse says:

    Salle,

    Wolf (or other wildlife viewers for that matter) stay a couple of days. Hunters usually stay for longer periods of time (but probably don’t use as many services or spend as much per day, I would think, and of course they are more dispersed around the states, so different specific businesses are affected).

    Many in-Park services and concession businesses may not be available in winter, but certainly are the remainder of the year when tourists hoping to see wolves are present, yes?

  22. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Re: the public trust, here’s something to consider:

    Although the politically correct would never say this, the public trust acknowledges that the trustees of our common lands, waters, and wildlife–politicians and bureaucrats–are so craven and corrupt that they will inevitably capitulate to powerful political and economic interests determined to enclose the commons for their private benefit and refuse to exercise their fiduciary duties for the public trust unless the courts, acting upon citizen lawsuits, force them to.  In short, the beneficiaries of the trust, we citizens, must remain ever vigilant and active lest the craven and corrupt trustees give it all away for what passes these days as thirty pieces of silver.

    Enforcing the public trust is citizens’ responsibility. If we fail to act, then government will follow its natural inclinations.

    RH

  23. avatar JimT says:

    Robert H,

    I don’t think you have to be politically correct or incorrect to acknowledge the concept of the public trust and the benefit intended for all citizens.

    One of the major problems in enforcing the public trust protections are the series of standing cases by Judge Scalia over the past dozen of years or so. Those rulings severely constrain the average citizen’s ability to participate in lawsuits, a concept I find offensive to the very basic foundations of our legal system…everyone has a right to their day in court, to put it broadly.

    Karin Sheldon wrote a few law review articles on these cases several years ago. They are worth tracking down and reading.

  24. avatar Wilderness Muse says:

    Salle,

    Sorry. I did not have the benefit of your last post before preparing mine.

    Just to put things back into perspective, my original comment was directed to what I perceived to be limited revenue producing potential for increased wolf tourism OUTSIDE the national parks, and the commensurate potential for decreasing hunting revenues, and how that affected service providers.

    You raise some excellent points regarding revenue sources for wolves inside YNP and the benefits to in-park and gateway communities. Maybe there are similar results for Teton, but I have not heard anything.

    Economic studies are definitely warranted to determine impacts and potentials under different scenarios. I expect there will be new winners and losers in the businesses affected.

  25. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    JimT

    Don’t Scalia’s rulings apply only to the federal courts? The public trust is a state doctrine.

    RH

  26. avatar Jon Way says:

    Wilderness Muse,
    My comments are not self-serving at all. Here in the east (Massachusetts) we deal with all the same things that you do out west, except livestock isn’t a major activity (altho still present) like out west.
    However, wildlife watchers in urban areas spend exponentially higher than hunters do (the difference is even greater than out west), yet state wildlife depts are no different in catering to hunters. When I go out west (at least once a year) I am spending my money in those states due to wildlife watching, not hunting.
    This has nothing to do with me studying coywolves or any wildlife species for that matter. The fact remains wildlife watchers, animal welfare/rights folks, and many others have no voice in wildlife mgmt as we have often discussed on Ralph’s site. Your so-called narrow focus (ie, me) is actually the majority of people in almost every state.

    Also, I don’t get your comment about pet owners in rural areas being a major player in the debate. Pet owners in urban areas have just about as much to be concerned about since wildlife lives in cities too nationwide. Most reasonable people protect their pets to avoid confrontations from occurring and responsible ones don’t blame wildlife (wolves in west, coywolves in NE) and demand management actions (ie, killing) when it happens.

  27. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    JimT

    I was under the impression that Scalia’s rulings applied only to the federal courts. Is that not true? The public trust is a state doctrine.

    RH

  28. avatar JimT says:

    Most of the litigation on the public trust is in federal courts…

  29. avatar Talks with Bears says:

    To the legal staff – help me out on this. 1. How has one Justice on the Supreme Court (Scalia) severely constrained our individual rights. 2. Does the federal government not have to allow a lawsuit against to proceed against it? For, example I as TWB can go and file a lawsuit against the federal government regarding some injustice – if the government does not want to “entertain” my arguement the court throws it out – correct?

  30. avatar gline says:

    If it is “frivolous”, they can throw it out.

  31. avatar jon says:

    Nabeki, I agree with you 100%.

  32. avatar gline says:

    Yes, I agree as well nabeki and jon. Trying to find date and time of oral arguments for the lawsuit in Molloys’ court. Anyone know? The information is not on the court calendar yet.

  33. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    JimT

    I’m aware of that My interest is in building up public trust case law in state courts, as I’ve indicated in other threads.

    RH

  34. avatar JimT says:

    I will do a little research and get back to you., RH. I am not sure how the jurisdiction issue would work. What state are you interested in?

  35. avatar Wilderness Muse says:

    Jon Way,

    I included “rural pet owners of the West” as “political players” to mean that the owners of horses, burros, mules, goats, llamas (their smaller cousins alpacas, guanacos, etc.), working dogs, family dogs, etc., and the occasional family milk cow, sheep or chickens- weigh in and align their views with the livestock for profit crowd and hunters, in some instances. Of course, I don’t have empirical proof of that, but it seems reasonable as at talking point.

    Certainly in the presence of some wildlife species we talk about on this blog, these “pets” are at greater risk of harm or death. Owners of these animals, because of their own selfish desires to protect their pets, and minimize risk, may be inclined to support political views that result in greater regulation/management of wildlife – coyotes, wolves, cougar, bears (and the pesky fox for those chicken owners). The “managers” are state wildlife agencies (not just reflecting hunter views), or the dreaded APHIS Wildlife Services in USDA (who do alot of control other than just wolves, as you probably know).

    By the way, I am not justifying this, only making a generalized observation.

    Comparing rural to urban population, I am going to guess that proportionally rural pet owners (or western “urban” folks with rural oriented values), make up a greater percentage of the total population, than in many of the more populated states in the East with which you are familiar.

    For example the “urban” population of a Pocatello, ID, or Billings, MT, Casper, WY, is going to have a different value set than say Boston or Baltimore. I have been to these places enough to detect the differences (West – small town vs. East – big city, sprawling suburbia).

    Contrary to your statement, I am pretty sure the wildlife risks in the West are different enough from the East, to affect the manner in which these risks are perceived and addressed. That is why made the rural pet owner comment. Hope that makes sense.

    I will say again for the West, however, it is not that wildlife watchers, animal welfare/rights folks, have no voice in wildlife mgmt – it is that the other voices are louder possibly the result of coming from a broader base than you are willing to acknowledge.

  36. avatar JimT says:

    TWB.

    !. Because he is in the conservative majority of the court; he is brilliant, unfortunately, and he is pretty aggressive internally about getting certain types of cases he has interests in, in this case, standing issues. Believe it or not, but he and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the most liberal member of the court, are very good friends. Frankly, I don’t know how she could stand being in the same room with the man, but there you go.

    2. You are pretty much talking about standing rules, those categories of injury, available and appropriate remedy, and applicability of the statute’s provisions to your particular alleged harm. There is a also a body of law called soverign immunity that forbids certain types of lawsuits against government entities. All of this is under the general heading of civil procedure… a mishmash of common law and codified law that probably was the most vague, irritating class in law schools, even included federal tax.

  37. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    In the same article about the “Montana Wolf Attacks Spike” there is at the bottom of the article a link to another about the grizzly recovery plan that has more information regarding purchase of land and conservation easements for connectivity between fragmented habitat areas.

  38. avatar Elk275 says:

    To JerryB

    ++Kinda like a “democracy”…something that doesn’t exist in the present political climate of Montana. Look at what just happened with the Otter Creek Coal fiasco……another case of special interests rule the day.++

    I am not necessary for the Otter Creek Coal Tracts and do not know much about them. But it was voted on by the land board which consist of the five highest elected officials in the state, all members of the land board are democrats which is a first in many, many years. I do not know how it could be any more democratic than that unless it was a referendum in a general election. I think that if it was put to a popular vote that the populous would vote for leasing of the tracts. If the populous voted for it in a general election then you would still have the same complaint.

    Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has divided the state into 7 regions each with a regional office. Instead of the governor appointing fish and game commissioners at the end of there term maybe we should elect 7 commissioners one for each district in the general election. I personally think that this maybe good. This would be similar to the Public Service commission. I doubt that wildlife watchers would ever be elected in any district and would never be in the majority. This is democracy in action but there are very poor losers. Example, elk farmers who raised elk for hunters still have pending litigation ten years later. It is the will of 51% of the people.

  39. avatar Talks with Bears says:

    OK – gline maybe you can help. If the Federal Government can throw out my lawsuit because it is deemed to be frivolous – who is making that decision?

  40. avatar jerryB says:

    WM
    “I will say again for the West, however, it is not that wildlife watchers, animal welfare/rights folks, have no voice in wildlife mgmt – it is that the other voices are louder possibly the result of coming from a broader base than you are willing to acknowledge.”

    I disagree. The wildlife watchers, animal rights folks etc are discriminated against by wildlife agencies and politicians. To begin with, the Commissioners are political appointees…. do you really think Schweitzer is going to appoint a “wildlife watcher” to the commission?
    Then we have our “Citizen Advisory Committees” …..one for each hunting district. FWP choses who will be on the committee. I could go into detail about my personal experiences about who is appointed and who is excluded from this “body” that makes wildlife management decisions….too long a story.
    The whole process is a sham and unless you are a hunter, fisherman, trapper, NRA member or a combination of, you are excluded, and I can tell you, they know who they want and don’t want sitting at the table.

  41. avatar Elk275 says:

    JerryB

    It would be interesting on your take on “Citizen Advisory Commitees” as I have wanted to apply in region 3. I missed the application period last time. I do think that there should be a wide range of voices in the appointment.

  42. avatar cobra says:

    Salle,
    While I agree with most of your earlier post not all hunters buy LOTS of alcahol to go hunting. Not all hunters consume masssive amounts of booze while hunting. There are many of us that can enjoy the hunt without it. It makes me sick to see the amount of beer cans along the roads during the season and I don’t feel it’s right to be drinking while your hunting, but as I said there are many of us hunters that do not drink while we’re hunting and actually clean up after the slobs that do. It’s one thing to have a couple beers at camp after a hard day of hiking but to drink while your hunting from the road is a bunch of B.S.

  43. avatar jerryB says:

    Elk275
    “I think that if it was put to a popular vote that the populous would vote for leasing of the tracts. If the populous voted for it in a general election then you would still have ”
    You may be correct because the populous with the exception of the ranchers in that area are ignorant and too lazy to research the effects of the mine on the aquifers, wildlife and the whole agricultural economy of that area. These hard working people see the enormous costs that are “down the road”.
    Read Jim Posewitz’s,( maybe your familiar with him) writings on this issue to educate yourself.
    This was a decision made by powerful special interests…with the democrats we have in Montana, who needs republicans?

  44. avatar Elk275 says:

    I have all of Jim Posewitz’s books. I do not disagree with you one bit on the above post. The Pebble Mine, I do not even want to talk about it — it pisses me off as I have flown over that area many times and seem the survey stakes and heli pads. Ah, there is nothing I love more than a Big Red caught on a fly and cooked over a diriftwood fire on the river. But that is high jacking the thread.

  45. avatar Kropotkin Man says:

    Jerry wrote….”The wildlife watchers, animal rights folks etc are discriminated against by wildlife agencies and politicians.”

    From my experience this is true but has been changing over the 20 years. It still has a long way to go.

    I studied wildlife biology at University of Montana as an undergrad. I did grad work in Env Studies at Colorado State. The utilititarians ruled at that time. As a student I spoke about biocentric values over utilitarian values and was very much in the minority. The professors were not very receptive to the ideas that animals and habitat have value in and of themselves. There were exceptions but not many.

    I spoke of animal rights in wildlife classes and was viewed as traitor even by those with non-utilititarian leanings.

    My point is this; the folks I studied with are now the upper level managers and policy makers. The radical bios were weeded out and the utilitarian “team-players” got the perm jobs.

    I’ll say it again; the bios that really cared about the land and the critters were not promoted into perm slots. They were booted out and labeled as hard to work with.

    The machine rolls on.

  46. avatar jerryB says:

    Elk275…..be happy to talk about “citizens advisory committees” and my experience….Ralph has my email and the OK to pass it on to you.

  47. The utilitarians are going to have a heyday with the recession continuing the way it is.

    They are using to hit all kinds of outdoor recreation hard. In Idaho the state parks and snowmobiles and off-road vehicles will probably take the biggest hit. See the article I just posted.

  48. avatar Wilderness Muse says:

    jerryB,

    ++To begin with, the Commissioners are political appointees…. do you really think Schweitzer is going to appoint a “wildlife watcher” to the commission?
    Then we have our “Citizen Advisory Committees” …..one for each hunting district.++

    On the detail/practical level, Jerry, I tend to agree with you.

    However, it is the elected official, in this case the majority elected governor, usually with the confirmation vote of the Senate in the state legislature, who gets to make the decision on who serves on Commissions. So, if you are on the winning side of the election, your voice is louder because you are in the majority. If you are in the minority, in both the executive and legislative branches of government, then your voice is weaker, but I would not say it is not heard. For example, I have seen state Senate confirmations derail appointments. By the way, the “voice” thing was just a term carried over from the dialog with Jon Way, and my attempt to say its not just hunters who influence wildlife policy; the base is broader.

    Some governors do a better job of governing from the middle, reflecting more widely held views in rendering decisions, or selecting moderate appointees to serve in Commission positions. In the case of MT (and ID), unfortunately, that is not the case, but it still is the majority will.

  49. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    JimT

    Well, all the western states, but Wyoming and Montana in particular.

    RH

  50. avatar nabeki says:

    Jon and g…
    The new figures will be coming out this year from the USDA on cattle mortality. The latest figures are from 2005, they do them every five years. It will show that most cattle die from disease, weather and reproductive issues, even altitude sickness, as Jerry pointed out and even rustlers are having a hay day stealing cows. If we compare those losses, which are over ninety percent of cattle losses, to the small number attributed to predation, there would be no story. Predators are not the problem.

    The reality is wolf haters don’t want to know the truth.

  51. avatar JB says:

    Kropotkin Man:

    I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the concept of “intrinsic” value. In my view, most people use the word intrinsic to mean that an animal has aesthetic value. The distinction is important: aesthetic value is still utilitarian in nature; that is, the species/individual has value because people derive pleasure from viewing it. If wildlife/nature truly had “intrinsic” value that value would be present regardless of people. However, establishing the existence of “intrinsic” value is logically impossible. This is why many scientists scoff at the notion of intrinsic value. Asserting its existence is akin to asserting the existence of God (it can’t be disproven by science).

    here is a very simple logical proof

  52. avatar Kropotkin Man says:

    JB,

    I’ll give you an acre but not the forest. The world/universe/history does not solely revolve around humans.

    I look at it this way. Critters and I believe eco-processes have value based on the fact they perpetuate themselves. If an elm tree (species) didn’t have an intrinsic force (value) why wouldd it strive to perpetuate itself?

    There were critters and natural processes on the EARTH long before humans came along. Species come and go. When humans are no longer on the planet other species will be and they will strive to perpetuate themselves. I call that intrinsic value and I respect it.

    I’d recommend reading Holmes Rolston for an excellent “eco-philosopher”, a Christian not a deep ecologist but still of great value.

    A discussion for another forum.

  53. avatar Jimt says:

    If a lawsuit has gotten to the Supreme Court, somewhere in the lower courts the judges have deemed it to justiciable, meeting all the pleading and jurisdictional requirements. In other words, not frivolous. So, you see, that would not be a reason why SC would reject a lawsuit. There are very very few cases that the SC would be the original court of jurisdiction, like an impeachment.

  54. avatar Jimt says:

    RH, I will look into the general notion with a few others of my ilk, and then get back to you. If it is long and boring and legal, I may email it to Ralph and let him forward it to your private email. I know how a few folks on the blog hate legal discussions..~S~

  55. avatar Talks with Bears says:

    Jimt – just to be clear, you were referring earlier (about major problems with public trust doctrine) to decisions/rulings by Justice Scalia – do you mean that Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion or are you stating that he acted alone in some capacity to limit individual rights?

  56. avatar Jimt says:

    In the standing cases, Scalia wrote the opinion.

  57. avatar Talks with Bears says:

    Thanks for the clarification.

  58. avatar Jimt says:

    RH,

    I just spoke with a rather senior attorney whom I know quite well..my wife.. who has been doing this work for over 35 years. She agrees that the public trust is a state doctrine, historically derived from the notion of the king’s dominion over wildlife.

    What we don’t know off the the top of our heads why there are so few state cases on the issue. Perhaps it is a strategic decision by public interest lawyers to bring these kinds of suits in federal courts to affect the greatest number of acres possible, and to avoid fragmentation of the law with decisions in potentially 50 different jurisdictions. But, there are some sources to check, and I will do that over the weekend, hopefully

    Are you planning a book on the issue, or perhaps thinking of a litigation strategy in the coming years?

  59. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    JimT

    Yes, it’s a state doctrine derived from the King’s sovereignty that passed to the states upon statehood, but not to the US government, which came into being only after the adoption of the Constitution, and the states didn’t agree to pass that aspect of state sovereignty to the federal government. I don’t recall from reading Madison’s account of the Constitutional Convention that the PT issue ever came up, however. Obviously, the sovereignty issue in general did.

    In grad school I took a course from Deb Donahue in public lands law, and I learned from her it seems there are so few state PT cases–the Mono Lake case in California is an exception–because environmental attorneys don’t like the doctrine as shifting common law and prefer hard cases resting on statutory law, preferably federal law.

    I’m thinking of a litigation strategy. Plus, there’d be a certain political irony in turning the states rights argument on its head to accomplish something positive, rather than negative, as in the past.

    Thanks much.

    RH

  60. avatar gline says:

    “Vicious” Wolves eating…. berries.

  61. avatar Jimt says:

    RH,

    I have been fortunate to consult with and work with some of the best public lands attorneys who have established the protective precedents we all enjoy currently, most of them from SCDLF..Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund days..My wife agrees that there is some puzzlement why there has not been more frequent litigation on a state court basis. I suspect that state public lands strategy based on common law is less desired because of precedence…common law is trumped by codified law in this system, although I think it is too much of a knee jerk reaction by courts these days.
    And, as there is always the strategic issue of bringing a particular law suit. and the issue of gain vs.risk of a broadly based bad precedence in case that a judge rules against you. These are issues that will survive us……….we need to understand that as lawyers and advocates as we access the courts. I think that aspect of bringing lawsuits is not fully understood by the lay public.

  62. avatar Jimt says:

    TWB,

    You are welcome. I can give you a a few book titles about the Supremes that might shed some light on how they really operate,,,,for good or for bad.

  63. avatar Save bears says:

    Nice Video gline,

    It indeed shows that even predators, are omnivores, heck I have often stopped along side the trail and lapped up a bunch of berries myself, and if you got the right berry, they make a heck of a nice marrinade for a venison or elk steak!…

    Hm, Hm Good!

  64. avatar gline says:

    or ice cream…

    I tend to leave the wild berries for the wildlife that lives in the area myself. I am one of the few that do that perhaps.

  65. Everyone,

    Those are coyotes, not wolves, eating berries.

    Coyotes are omnivorous; wolves are not. That’s one reason why coyotes do so well despite all the people shooting at them.

  66. avatar gline says:

    Really? It is a video from RussiaToday- wolf research.

  67. avatar Save bears says:

    Ralph,

    I thought they were wolves as well,, hmm

    gline,

    I rarely eat ice cream or any type of sweet you can buy in a store, but I do enjoy the berries when they are in season, I had an amazing day a couple of years ago sharing a berry field in Glacier with bears, it was indeed a day to remember.

  68. avatar gline says:

    http://rt.com/On_Air/Live_Cams/rt-wolves.html

    Who knows? Maybe they are wrong.. or their wolves are smaller..

  69. The fact that they are all facing away makes it a bit hard, but notice that the ears are pretty long, the snounts seem slim and the faces don’t seem massive. They are also remarkably alike. Wolf litters can be that way, but coyote litters are more likely that way.

    However, gline put in a link that they are Russian wolves, so they are probably a more petite species.

  70. avatar nabeki says:

    Ralph..
    Those are wolves from Russia Today. As you know there are five sub species of wolves in Russia. Not sure which one this is but these are definitely wolves, not coyotes.
    http://rt.com/On_Air/Live_Cams/rt-wolves.html

    Scroll down..there are lots of videos on these wolves and the Wolf Cam is active right now.

  71. avatar JB says:

    “I look at it this way. Critters and I believe eco-processes have value based on the fact they perpetuate themselves. If an elm tree (species) didn’t have an intrinsic force (value) why wouldd it strive to perpetuate itself…When humans are no longer on the planet other species will be and they will strive to perpetuate themselves. I call that intrinsic value and I respect it.”

    –In my view, you’re confusing the construct of value with that of life. Of course all living creatures strive to perpetuate themselves. Judging value based upon a species drive to perpetuate itself leads to the conclusion that individuals of more successful species have more value, which is generally the opposite conclusion that one who wants to conserve would want to draw.

    Claiming that the value of something is intrinsic means it is innate; that is, its value is not dependent upon some valuing entity (a thing with intrinsic value would have value even were all other things in the universe to be removed). Yet the whole concept of value REQUIRES some evaluating entity. Value refers to “relative worth, merit, or importance..
    “monetary or material worth…equivalent worth or return in money.” No matter what definition you chose, value is always ASSIGNED.

    In any case; the hypothesis that value can be intrinsic is not falsifiable (just like the God hypothesis).

    Regardless, I have great respect for people who believe that species have intrinsic value. However, I think it is a very poor argument for species preservation. We preserve species because they are important to us, to our happiness and our survival…and I don’t see that changing.

  72. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    JimT

    Anyone who’s been doing this understands the potential strategic risks, and rewards, of litigation. That’s why in Wyoming I’ve been waiting for the right public trust case–one that reflects a particularly outrageous, unequivocal neglect of the public trust. I believe that case will be an outbreak of CWD on the elk feedgrounds.

    RH

  73. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    I’m behind on an important thread. Ralph –

    “The states have not proven that deer and/or elk numbers have been reduced by wolf predation. Therefore, it is not clear that any revenues will be reduced, except inasmuch as self-imposed negative advertising (a curious phenomenon I am not familiar with in other areas) can convince hunters to stay away.”

    As I’ve emphasized numerous times in previous threads, the IDFG has established that wolf predation is holding elk herd production and recruitment, across substantial geographic areas, below the capability of habitat to sustain. This has caused the IDFG to significantly reduce public elk hunting opportunity. This documented effect of wolf predation on another public wildlife resource has also had economic impacts beyond the obvious revenue reductions to the agency responsible for managing all wildlife in those areas and the state. Local economies are impacted by the reduced elk hunting opportunity and some families who rely on elk for a significant part of their annual diet are denied that source of food. I am not aware of any “negative advertising” on the part of the IDFG or any organization. The discussion of feared and realized effects of wolf predation on deer, elk, moose and other hunted wildlife species has generated much interest in the hunting community inside and outside Idaho. The experience of hunters, like WM, who have hunted the Lolo and Sawtooth Zones have been shared across print and internet news outlets and hunters pay attention to IDFG reports, like mine here, on the status of wildlife populations in areas they prefer to hunt. If “negative advertising” includes reporting contemporary status of wildlife populations, including wolves and elk, then I would agree with you. But, I would not consider keeping the public informed on the factual status of their wildlife resources to be negative advertising.

  74. avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    JimT, RH, others discussing the Public Trust Doctrine –
    I don’t presume to educate members of this thread who are legal experts and likely are more versed in the history and adjudication of PTD issues than I, but some comments on this topic are in order. The PTD has it’s roots in Justinian (Roman Empire) law, carried through the British legal tradition – i.e. Magna Carta. The responsibilities of the PTD are vested in the states, but the primacy of the doctrine in the U.S. legal system has been affirmed more than once by the U.S. Supreme Court. Again, I don’t pretend to have legal expertise, but my readings of several legal cases that involved the PTD, suggest that it fundamentally protects the public interest in public resources with broad discretion given to the states to define what the public interest is. That leaves some wide latitude that may work in favor of wildlife and other natural resource conservtion objectives – or not. Public resources could be developed on behalf of the public interest in ways that most of this blog community would not consider in the best interests of wildlife resources. I’m interested in your thoughts about or corrections to my understanding of this critically important legal heritage.

  75. avatar Talks with Bears says:

    Mark – thanks for your input.

  76. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    My vision for the public trust, which goes beyond how the public trust is interpreted today, is as follows:

    First, we give priority to conservation over use, either subsistence or commercial. When assessing use, subsistence uses trump commercial uses. All uses must be sustainable according to the best scientific and commercial information available.

    Second, basic “ownership” rights in natural resources remain with the commons; only limited usufructory rights accrue to individuals.

    Third, citizens, as the true embodiment of political sovereignty in the commons, or body politic, must have the right to protect the public trust in natural resources in the courts and petition the courts to enforce the fiduciary responsibilities of government officials (the “trustees”) when the latter neglect those fiduciary responsibilities and seek for personal and/or political gain to hand public resources over to private interests (e.g., Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer’s deal with Ted Turner to give quarantine Yellowstone bison to Turner for his private financial gain).

    Fourth, we are rapidly approaching the point where commercial development itself is a singular threat to public resources. Of late public resources are being called ecosystem services, services provided by nature to us for free through natural ecosystem functioning that once damaged or destroyed cannot be equitably or economically replaced through technology. This is the wealth of nature and of humanity as a whole–God’s creation. When we turn the wealth of nature, the commons, into the wealth of individuals, private property, wealth created by ecosystem functioning is actually being destroyed, not created.

    Therefore, the default position is conservation and protection, and sustainable use, not development.

    I consider these points non-negotiable.

    For background, see my essay, “The Curious Legal History of the Original Outlaws” here: http://wolves.wordpress.com/?s=The+curious+legal+history+of+the+original+outlaws.

    RH

  77. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    I figured they were coyotes eating the berries, none of them had on a radio collar.

  78. avatar gline says:

    Barb- it is a Russian link- Russian wolves. look at the link.

    cool stuff on Russian wolves!

    RH said: “ecosystem services, services provided by nature to us for free through natural ecosystem functioning that once damaged or destroyed cannot be equitably or economically replaced through technology. This is the wealth of nature and of humanity as a whole–God’s creation.”

    A change in language can do a lot of good.

  79. avatar gline says:

    oh NM, think you were joking! funny.

  80. avatar JB says:

    One of the problems I see with the PTD is that the “trustee” relationship is not always explicitly codified in state law, and even where it is the responsibilities of the state is often unclear from a legal perspective.

    Take my state of Ohio, for example. Ohio law specifies that “[t]he ownership of and the title to all wild animals in this state… is in the state, which holds such title in trust for the benefit of all the people.” (Ohio Revised Code 1531.02). Ohio law is much more explicit then many other states insomuch as it establishes that (a) ownership is with the citizens, (b) the state is to act as a trustee, and (c) the management of wildlife will be undertaken “for the benefit of all the people.”

    The law ostensibly specifies that Ohio is to manage wildlife based upon utilitarian principles (i.e. they should maximize benefits for all the state’s citizens). But what does this mean, really? How do state agencies determine if they are maximizing benefits for their citizens? Do citizens (the owners of wildlife) have any legal recourse when they believe their property is being mismanaged by the state? How does one show that the state was negligent on its fudiciary responsibilities?

    Setting aside these questions for a moment. I believe that state agencies certainly deserve a wide degree of latitude when making these decisions; else every management decision would end up on court. However, I have no delusions that wildlife are being managed for the benefit of ALL of the people. In most states wildlife management decisions are made to maximize the benefits accrued by hunters and anglers (in the West you can throw in livestock producers). Some states even mandate that wildlife commissions/councils/boards (the real decision makers) be comprised of a certain number of sportsmen, farmers, or ranchers (Ohio specifies that two of its eight seats go to farmers).

    In my opinion, the first step in assuring that wildlife are managed for the benefit of all is to eliminate wildlife commissions/councils/boards, or at least dramatically revise their makeup. Commissions exist to ensure the status quo; that is, wildlife are managed for the benefit of hunters and anglers, everyone else be damned. It’s past time that we free wildlife management from their capture by traditional hook & bullet interest groups. Conservation means more than providing things to shoot.

  81. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    I have been advocating the common law principles of the public trust, modified as I recommended above, be codified in amendments to state constitutions.

    That is, I think the common law of the public trust needs a constitutional nudge.

  82. avatar JB says:

    “I think the common law of the public trust needs a constitutional nudge.”

    Robert: Thanks for the clarification; I agree.

  83. avatar Rich Hurry says:

    JB–
    “The law ostensibly specifies that Ohio is to manage wildlife based upon utilitarian principles (i.e. they should maximize benefits for all the state’s citizens)”

    The term “utilitarianism” has been used in several posts, but as the above usage indicates, it’s not clearly understood. Dating back to Jeremy Bentham and John Stewart Mill, “utilitarianism” most simply has been formulated to mean: the greatest good for the greatest number.

    Note that “greatest” does not mean “all.” Hence, I would argue, though strenously disagree with the principle, that Fish and Game Commissions as currently organized, perceive their states’ “greatest number” (if not in fact, then in political power) to be the universe of hunters, anglers, guides, ranchers, farmers, and outfitters. Thus, they judge their decisions on how well they provide the “greatest good” to this population, to the exclusion of others in the state. And this calculus is consisent with the utilitarian model. (And it’s why I believe Kropotkin Man, above, offers a far superior view toward wildlife in general.)

    Other than this clarification, JB, I totally agree with your concluding paragraph.

  84. avatar Dave says:

    SUNDAY, JANUARY 17, 2010 / 7:00 PM (ALSO REPEATS ON MONDAY. AS ALWAYS, CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS)

    Nature
    “Clash: Encounters of Bears and Wolves”
    What happens when two great predators come face to face in Yellowstone? The bear is a loner, ranging far and wide in search of a rich variety of resources. The wolf hunts to survive and finds its strength in speed and teamwork. In every encounter, the opposition must be measured, strengths must be tested, and risks must be carefully weighed. Each time, one of them will have a tactical advantage–but which one, and when? What emerges as each remarkable scene unfolds, is the keen awareness that runs through all of Yellowstone.

    http://www.pbs.org/

  85. avatar JB says:

    Hi Rich:

    I understand the distinction (and the term’s origins), and agree they are important. However, I would argue that the state’s use of the term “all” still allows for the application of Mill’s utilitarianism.

    Specifically, Ohio code says that wildlife are to be managed “for the benefit of all the people”. When the only legitimate “benefit” that is recognized is consumptive (i.e. hunting/trapping), then the state maximizes the good/happiness/benefits by managing for hunters and trappers (i.e. consumptive users) as you’ve pointed out. However, when one recognizes that wildlife provide other types of benefits (e.g. aesthetic, moral/spiritual, symbolic, ecological, etc.), then maximizing good/happiness/benefits entails considering the views of all citizens. One need not ascribe “intrinsic” value to species/individuals to advocate for their preservation.

  86. avatar Rich Hurry says:

    Hi JB!

    Ascribing “intrinsic” value to wildlife, as I see it, is a shorthand description for recognizing that our ecosystem needs the entire diversity of animal and plant life in order to sustain itself. It recognizes that while some species may not have direct “benefits” to Man, they still are intrinsic to the overall success of the ecosystem and their preservation is essential. For example, all the different species that complete the decomposition of dead animals and plants come to mind.

    I think we’re both saying the same thing???

    Cheers!

  87. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    gline
    It was one of my too subtle jokes; no collars on the pack members so they can’t be wolves. I did check out the link; very informative – thanks. I’ve watched coyotes, deer, and dogs graze through hazelnut orchards, cracking and chomping.

    Rich Hurry,
    I wish I could state concepts so well “Ascribing “intrinsic” value to wildlife, as I see it, is a shorthand description for recognizing that our ecosystem needs the entire diversity of animal and plant life in order to sustain itself. It recognizes that while some species may not have direct “benefits” to Man, they still are intrinsic to the overall success of the ecosystem and their preservation is essential.” Yes!

  88. avatar tom says:

    Hate is a very powerful word and has no place in any of these discussions.. It implies that the opinion that follows is biased..

    I am not a hunter.. Rather, I am a very avid supporter of the outdoors and a healthy ecosystem. Ranchers should be allowed to use public land but should laso understand and accept the risks..

    Having said that I am sure that some hunting is a necessary evil in order to keep the numbers of any single species in line with what the environment can support.

    What I have not been able to find is how many wolves exist or what is the number needed for them to have a good genetic pool is within these disputed public lands..
    Private land is private and owners of this land should be the masters of that domain..

    Wolves like bears and MAN are predators and predators have a place in anv natural setting.
    The one thing I do fear/detest are those who simply hate any one animal and want them removed from public land that belongs to all of us and therefore whose management should not be affected by those who may be graced with the usage of same.. I have known such people in my past..

    So.. has there been a reliable study done to provide the answer to what numbers any of these affected ecosystems can support and how that number affects what number is needed to sustain any indigenous species ??

    That should be the only number that determines if a hunt is warranted to cull any over populated species..
    Tom

  89. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    tom
    Thoughtful comments
    I do not agree with your statement that “Private land is private and owners of this land should be the masters of that domain.” As an example, private timberland owners in watersheds have little regard for the destruction down stream from their operations. Because of that activity in many areas, 100 year floods are now 10 year events.

  90. avatar Save bears says:

    Barb,

    Are you a land owner? I mean other than a small plot in a town?

    Just curious.

  91. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    Save bears

    Yes, I live in the middle of 100 acres; from which I can see no other houses, have two creeks including their confluence, and a view of the mountains to the south from which the floods come.

    And you ask because?

  92. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    Save bears
    A response would be appreciated.

  93. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    Yes, a note

  94. avatar Save bears says:

    Sorry Barb,

    I was dozing, just drove back from Billings today, was a bit tired, no special reason, I was just curious, do you own it?

  95. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    SB
    Yes, and it is paid for as is the house built in 1999.

  96. avatar Save bears says:

    Hi Barb,

    That is great, I really wish I could do that, perhaps ones of these days

Calendar

January 2010
S M T W T F S
« Dec   Feb »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Quote

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

~ Edward Abbey

%d bloggers like this: