It should be obvious that while wolves will be absolutely protected in GTNP, the Park is so small it is almost meaningless-

All of Grand Teton’s wolf packs spend some, usually most of their time outside the Park, so Grand Teton’s concerns are much more likely to be valid than DOI’s, which is treating wolves as a purely political issue. Why they (the Administration) doesn’t get something out of the issue is unclear to me. For example, yesterday President Obama’s “jobs bill” failed in the U.S. Senate by one vote. All the Republicans voted against it.  Obama could have directed Salazar to tell Wyoming’s two Republican senators that if they voted “wrong,” he would develop a sudden great affection for wolves in abundance, especially in Wyoming.  Past Presidents did things like this as a mater of course. It is a form of bargaining. It used to be normal American politics.

Wolves causing federal discord. Grand Teton, Interior Department disagree over requirements for genetic viability. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole News and Guide.
October 12, 2011

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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.

110 Responses to Grand Teton NP and Dept of Interior fighting over WY wolf delisting

  1. avatar Jon Way says:

    Will the Mark Gamblin equivalent in Wyoming come on this blog and explain why protecting wolves around Grand Teton isn’t necessary when the majority of people in this country probably believe it should happen, including in the feedgrounds. Oh, I think we already know the answer.

    It is nice that GT Superintendent stood up for wolves – I wonder if she’ll get to keep her job or will PEER be fast at work defending her?

    • avatar william huard says:

      I think it is great that Grand Teton NP has exposed this bogus Wyoming wolf management plan for what it is. A plan generated to allow an appointee to have his job at the expense of hundreds of wolves- disgraceful. Our FED government in action……Now if only wolves could get some national TV exposure about their plight in Wyoming……

  2. avatar Nancy says:

    +Hottle says a ranger killed the wolf with a rifle on Saturday. The wolf was estimated to be between two and four years old and Hottle says park staff were concerned it might demonstrate more aggressive behavior.

    Hottle says the park staff never saw anyone feed the wolf

    BUT….. Hottle “believed” it was conditioned to human food because it was following people (Feeding animals is a violation of park regulations)

    What? A death sentence is easier to accept, explain away (and much easier to expedite) vs understanding why this wolf might of decided to make contact with ‘our’ species?

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      I understand the thought of possible threat, if the wolf had done something to a person, but I also understand the irrational fear of fairy tales. If this wolf was so approachable, why not a tranquilizer dart and relocation within the park? Sounds like Valerius Geist philosophy wins out.

      • avatar Paul says:

        That is what I was thinking as well. Even capturing the wolf and having a zoo or educational center take him would have been far preferable to killing him. Nancy said it best that killing is always the easy way out. I think maybe NPS was jealous that their Federal brethren in Wildlife Services get all of the wolf killing fun. (Sarcasm!!!)

        Here is a similar story in Canada that is even more sad.

        http://www.thetelegram.com/News/Local/2011-06-22/article-2603103/Bear-cub-meets-sad-end/1

        • avatar Savebears says:

          Based on information available by various groups, there is very little room at the zoos and wildlife centers around the country right now to relocate animals that have got in trouble, as the populations of both wildlife as well as humans expand, there is going to be more and more killing and less and less space.

        • avatar Harley says:

          What I found interesting in your solution Paul is that it may have been more preferable for YOU to put a wild animal into captivity. Do you think the wolf would have preferred that? I think I’m pretty safe in saying that animals born in the wild do not do well in captivity. Yes, I know the counter argument. It would still be alive that way! But I also have experience in dealing with the lose of a quality of life. Yes, the wolf was young. Sure, it could have had at least 10 more years left in it! Behind bars. Not free to come and go as it pleased. To be on display. I can’t stand to go to zoos anymore, specially when it comes to viewing the predators. Some can put forth the argument that we learn a lot this way, keeping animals in zoos, but most of the time I see an animal that was born for another life and instead, it’s now a display for people to gawk at. It was born to hunt and instead, it has meat given to it. Where is the quality of life?

          • avatar Paul says:

            I never said that I was big on zoos either. You bet I would prefer captivity to a bullet. But I don’t know what goes through the mind of a wolf. Notice that I did mention movement to an educational center as well. I know first hand of some instances where this has worked well with other animals, especially orphans. Would it have worked in this instance, I have no clue. However it appeared that the wolf was used to being around people so maybe it would have adapted to captivity. Again, I don’t know. I just have a problem with a bullet being used to solve the problem.

          • avatar Savebears says:

            Fortunately, it is not used as often as you might think.

          • avatar Harley says:

            Pups are one thing, animals that are older are another. You can take any animal out of the wild but you can’t take the wild out of any animal. I think probably the only exception I have seen is wild horses but again, it also depends on a lot of factors. As for me? I don’t think I could stand to be confined.
            I do hear your what you are trying to say though. But I honestly believe in some cases, a bullet would be more preferable to life in a cage.

          • avatar Harley says:

            pfft, and that could just be me projecting my own thoughts to an animal’s!

        • avatar william huard says:

          The mother of this cub was probably killed by a hunter.

          • avatar aves says:

            Nope. It was 2-4 years old and only acting food conditioned for the last few months. It was seen with it’s pack as recently as last month. Plus its pack, Mollie’s, is the only pack that dosen’t leave the park. They stay in the Pelican Valley area feeding on bison.

          • avatar aves says:

            Never mind, you must have been referring to the bear link and not the Yellowstone wolf.

    • avatar aves says:

      Killing the wolf was not the first option used. This wolf had been hazed away from the crowded roadside before, including with rubber bullets last month. Yet it continued to approach people.

    • avatar Mike says:

      Man that is disturbing. When you set out to end something’s life, you need to have a bit more than a hunch. Pathetic and lazy.

      • avatar JB says:

        Perhaps you missed this, but they attempted to use aversive conditioning to remedy the situation. Only after they ascertained that they couldn’t keep the wolf from approaching people did they decide to kill it. Given that Yellowstone is visited by 3 million people every year, and they’ve recently gone through some nasty deaths caused by grizzlies, I would say their actions were justified.

        • avatar Harley says:

          It’s good to see that they did try all that they could.

        • avatar Nancy says:

          Humans are always so quick to jump to bad conclusions when it comes to wildlife taking an interest in “us”

          I guess I would of made every efford to keep this wolf alive and try and figure out why he had such an attraction to humans or is it a sad sign of the times that there was no place for him to continue to exist?

          Was he really food conditioned? Or, perhaps he grew up with humans around, filming his pack, and wasn’t frightened by that them or their activity?

          There are thousands of rare and wonderful stories out there of human/wildlife encounters and it always seems that when the wildlife is a small predator or a prey animal, like deer or a fox, most people don’t have a problem with it and actually enjoy those intimate encounters with nature.

          Many times over the past few years, I’ve looked out my window and seen Mule deer working their way across the property and close to the cabin. When I step out on the porch, heads go up and there’s a little stomping around by members that I’m guessing are either new to the group or young.

          I can almost sense a silent communication between some of them “oh, its just her” and then they go back to foraging. I’m not a threat.

          • avatar JB says:

            Nancy: If you or others want to have an encounter with a wolf, there are places that offer that type of experience (e.g. Mission Wolf) via their “ambassador wolf” programs. If I was the park administrator and I had a 110 lb carnivore that is capable of killing elk, moose, and bison in a park with 3 million visitors (including many people who don’t know a thing about wildlife) I would make the same call.

            Moreover, I would argue that wolves (as a population) are better off because of it. Wolves get enough bad press; the last thing they need is an attack in YNP.

        • avatar Alan says:

          Interestingly, though, bison injure more people than any other large animal in Yellowstone; yet because they are not predators, they are allowed to mingle among people all the time, grazing on lawns in front of visitor centers, napping next to boardwalks and gift shops etc. Just sayn’

  3. avatar timz says:

    Had the wolf attacked a human in the Park the anti-wolf nuts would have had a field day with that.

  4. I have been in Yellowstone for the past four days and have made three trips to the Mary’s Bay area where the wolf was killed. I have been hoping to see the rest of the Mollie’s pack. There are at least twenty two wolves in the pack this fall. I was told that another wolf in the pack was shot with a bean bag yesterday.
    I think the new superintendent has over-reacted to the death of the two tourists this summer. He has closed all of the Hayden Valley to visitor access. Bears and wolves near the road have been cracker shelled and it is hard to find any bears or wolves within a mile of the highway.

    • avatar wolf moderate says:

      Yeah what’s the world coming to when you can’t drive down the “highway” to see endangered species!

    • avatar Alan says:

      “I think the new superintendent has over-reacted to the death of the two tourists this summer.”
      And, of course, the two who died were no where near the road. People travel to Yellowstone from around the world primarily because of the possibility of seeing wolves or grizzlies in the wild. Watching one of these animals going about its daily, natural, activities (at a reasonable distance) from the road is the safest way to view them. Don’t know if this animal was fed or not, but think it likely. I see people feeding wildlife in the park all of the time, and turn them in when I can (or, if possible, discourage them from doing so, but sometimes your efforts are rewarded with the single finger salute). They just do not understand how they are ruining it for other people, or don’t care.

      • avatar Paul says:

        Last fall, my wife and I visited the Devil’s Tower. While leaving we pulled over to watch the prairie dogs that live along the road leading to the visitor center. While sitting there watching them some moron a few feet away was attempting to feed snack crackers to a few of the more curious prairie dogs. Of course there were signs posted all over (and right next to) this idiot that said “Do Not Feed the Prairie Dogs.” I got his attention and pointed to the sign and he had this dumbfounded look on his face. Finally his female companion pointed out that he was not supposed to be feeding the animals. I wish that I could say that this is an isolated event, but I have seen this type of behavior several times where people try to approach or feed everything from the little prairie dogs, deer, and bison. It does not matter how many signs and rules are posted, these types of people just assume that they do not apply to them.

        It reminds me of the time when I was at an air show in Janesville, WI and some moron was puffing away on a cigarette right under the wing of a KC-135 tanker (of course there were “NO SMOKING” signs everywhere). I asked him if he realized that he was smoking directly under the wing of a giant flying gas tank. He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders, flicked the cigarette on to the tarmac, and walked away.

  5. avatar Nancy says:

    +If I was the park administrator and I had a 110 lb carnivore that is capable of killing elk, moose, and bison in a park with 3 million visitors (including many people who don’t know a thing about wildlife) I would make the same call+

    JB – There are 70 – 110 lb dogs that make the headlines frequently for either killing or maiming people (and I’m sure the “dog kills dog” incidents are much higher, they just don’t make the news) and, fact is, “fido” (& friends) are responsible for far more livestock depredation than wolves.

    In the 20 years wolves since wolves were re-introduced in this part of the country, there have been no human deaths (and a handful of “questionable” life threatening encounters)

    When you think about the relationship the Detchers (Wolves At Our Door) had with those wolves and the fact that those wolves were able to recognize them (as long lost pack members) two years later, was astounding and why this incident shouldn’t of ended with a bullet to the head. Was he an unfortunate ambassador?

    • avatar JB says:

      Yes, Nancy, but dogs are not wildlife. If they kill somebody the owner can be sued. Furthermore, dogs don’t make a living killing, as wolves do. Certainly the risk of being attached by wolves is low, but that is in part because our policies don’t take risks with people’s lives. More importantly, wolves have done fantastically in the West and Midwest despite these policies. Their populations are stable or expanding and they are occupying new territory.

      Warning: If you focus on the tragic outcome for individual animals, the glass will always be half empty, despite all of the successes we’ve seen.

  6. avatar Nancy says:

    +Their populations are stable or expanding+

    A strange statement to make JB considering attempts are now underway to reduce their populations by half (Montana) two thirds (Idaho) and they’re under consideration, as nothing more than vermin in Wyoming (shoot on sight)

    • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

      Nancy – JB’s statement is not strange at all. Wolf populations are thriving and will continue to thrive, while being managed for lower population numbers. Reducing the numbers of wolves in the NRM will in no way jeapardize the continued presence of wolves across Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

      • avatar william huard says:

        “Wolf populations are thriving and will continue to thrive”
        Gee whizz Mark-How did you come to that answer? More of that science based thinking?

      • avatar Jon Way says:

        Mark and Nancy,
        Not to speak for JB, but I don’t think his post was referring to a potential oncoming slaughter of wolves – I know as a state biologist you don’t like that term, Mark, but that is why the policies effectively are amounting to.
        While wolves are currently thriving in the west and midwest, it remains to be seen if they will be thriving in a few years from now, following removal from ESA which just happened. JB seemed to be referring to indiv. animals and to not focus on them as part of a thriving population pre-ESA removal. Again, it remains to be seen what happens to wolf populations down the road, as Nancy correctly asserts.
        I might add: Some North American Model of Wildlife Mgmt to allow so many wolves to be killed following removal from ESA. That doesn’t define conservation – it defines appeasing ranchers and hunters.

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          Jon Way –
          What you choose to refer to the upcoming wolf hunt is your prerogative. Just the same, slaughter is a poor choice of adjectives to describe the purpose and likely outcome of the Idaho hunt – in commonly understand terms. In terms of a healthy and robust wolf population across the NRMR – current management programs pose no threat to that common objective – of the three states. Wolves will be managed for smaller numbers – an objective entirely compatible with the objective of a thriving, viable and robust population.
          William – yes, that would be science based thinking.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        +JB’s statement is not strange at all. Wolf populations are thriving and will continue to thrive, while being managed for lower population numbers+

        Oh my gosh Mark! Is that what some would consider an “oxymoron?”

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          Nancy –
          Only if you argue that a wolf population can’t thrive at lower numbers. That would be a falacious argument.

          • avatar Jay says:

            Is a wolf population thriving at 10 wolves? 100? 500? How low can they go to where they aren’t thriving?

          • avatar Paul says:

            We are talking about Idaho here. I would imagine that the ideal “thriving” number would be the numbers that are currently in zoos or elsewhere in captivity in the state. Their governor and politicians have made it very clear that their ideal number of wolves in the wild is ZERO. Between the states no quota, WS gunners, and gun toting “grannies” in “fear” of their lives I doubt there will be much of a “thriving” wolf population in Idaho this time next year. I hope that I am wrong.

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Jay –
            A good question and obvious point that there is a minimum viable number for a wolf population. The Idaho wolf management plan sets management objectives that will result in a smaller, but viable and sustainable population. That objective will be more than 150 wolves or 15 breeding pairs across the state. The Idaho wolf population will be managed as close to the delisting criteria without risking unintended mortality pushing the populations below 150 wolves or 15 breeding pairs. One of several practical questions remains – CAN hunting and trapping possibly reduce the Idaho wolf population to a number close to a total of 150 wolves or 15 breeding pairs? The answer is …. extremely unlikely and therefore very little risk of an Idaho wolf population that does not thrive as a healthy, viable and robust population.

          • avatar Jon Way says:

            Mark,
            All of your answers/responses are opinion and not scientific fact, despite your obvious stance that you are the expert managing wildlife. Many, many people would argue (including me) that 150 in a huge state with Idaho (with lots of federal lands which all Americans own) is not thriving. Thriving is your opinion and is probably as poor a choice of words as me using slaughter.

            You might want to suggest that they won’t go extinct b.c of the 150 threshold, but thriving would be a poor choice of words. Most of us aren’t worried about the hunt it is what you guys do after the hunt when only a few 100 wolves are killed. If you leave wolves be (ie, no extreme wildlife services) then maybe they will still be “thriving”.

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Jon Way –
            Opinion? Yes, of course, as are your concerns. Scientific fact? No, of course not, though my opinion is based on science and documented observations. Repeating my rhetorical question: can hunting and trapping push wolf numbers in Idaho to relisting threshold of 150 wolves or 15 breeding pairs? Based on science – our understanding of the facultative reproductive capacity of wolves, their social structure that gives them remarkable success in hunting and survival in general, their ability to adapt and avoid hunters and trappers, our understanding of the history of wolf hunting and trapping efficiency – taken together a very well informed, reasonable and prudent conclusion is that hunting and trapping, especially when closely regulated, pose NO threat to the sustainability and viability of a wolf population. Your objections to this wolf hunt are value based much more than science or fact based. That doesn’t make those concerns less valid for you individually, but they do not rise to the level that should require serious reconsideration of the Idaho wolf management plan as it represents the interests and desires of Idaho residents or as it meets the requirements of the ESA.
            I agree with you that “thriving” is a relative adjective as much as is “slaughter”. It can mean different things to different people. I’ll offer that for Idahoans, a robust, sustainable wolf population managed near the objectives of the Idaho wolf management plan will be considered as a thriving population. Yes, that is my personal assessment – based on years of talking and listening to Idahoans and the benefit of surveys and opinion polls on a variety of topics.

          • avatar Jon Way says:

            Mark,
            I have been away a few days so sorry for the delay in responding. The 2 problems I see with your response is:
            1. Much of Idaho is public land and ID benefits from taxes from all Americans. I give only the ID perspective is downright undemocratic.
            2. You frequently cite opinion polls support your statements. Show me peer reviewed polls to back up your surveys. IDFG non-peer reviewed opinion polls have the potential to be as biased as all of us know wolf management is – I will repeat again: I do not think that IDFG mgmt plans are indicative of all of Idahoans values as you frequently suggest, let alone the rest of America’s values where most of our (not just “your”) wolves live.

            Again, this is why I see some type of Federal Canid Protection Act for Federal lands. That doesn’t mean there will be no hunting, but it also won’t be based on current management plans – esp. with WS and the unknown number of animals that they may “harvest” from helicopter once hunters and trappers don’t kill enough…

          • avatar Jon Way says:

            Sorry that should say “To (not “I”) give only the ID perspective is downright undemocratic.”

    • avatar JB says:

      Nancy:

      I recognize that the change in regulatory regimes now that states are assuming management has created a great deal of tension regarding if/to what extent wolves will thrive in the future. Nonetheless, my point was that there is a lot to be happy about, especially with the Yellowstone population, which is small but *mostly* protected.

      It’s hard to know what will happen in the near future with wolves. My GUESS is that hunting won’t have a huge impact; however, hunting along with the addition of aggressive lethal control will probably decrease populations some. We also don’t know what kind of impact poaching will have now that the threat of federal prosecution is no longer in place. If the state is lackadaisical about pursuing will poaching cases and/or courts hand out “slaps on the wrist”, I suspect it will increase.

      A final, and more worrisome factor is whether states will pursue lethal removals (outside of hunting and livestock depredation control actions) in areas where elk objectives have not been met. For such actions, the term “slaughter” seems to fit just about right, though I would grant that is a matter of perspective.

  7. avatar william huard says:

    That’s a great question Jay. One thing you can be sure of- Idaho’s working on it.

  8. avatar william huard says:

    All Idaho needed to do was to come up with a wolf management plan that was based on science and not on the politics of appeasing ranchers and hunters. We realize with all the wolf hysteria, decimated game herds, and pastures littered with half eaten cow carcasses that a rational plan was beyond Idaho’s comprehension.

    • avatar Jon Way says:

      That is true William. If they stuck with the 550 + threshold instead of 150 then many of us (and some – not all – of the lawsuits) might go away. Then maybe we could agree on the “thriving” population described above….

      • avatar william huard says:

        Jon-

        You make a good point by mentioning the millions of acres of land in Idaho. 150 wolves in the whole state- the only way to describe Idaho’s stance on wolves is two words- backward and regressive. These Idahoans should be ashamed. Wiping out years of FED protection in one year-unprecedented…..the way they were delisted….. and Gamblin thinks it is “extremely unlikely” that hunters and trappers wil bring the wolf population down to that 150 number that they pulled out of their A%^.
        If I hear the word “robust” one more time…..

        • avatar Immer Treue says:

          William,

          About the only thing I agree with Mark about is that hunters and trappers will not reduce the wolf population to 150 wolves. There is probably only one way to do that, and I believe the uproar, if used, would be deafening.

          That said, I do disagree with the hunting season length, trap check time frame…, etc.

          Also, as a counter to Mark, if it’s “known” that hunters and trappers will not have the “desired” impact(as per Idaho (stake holders) on wolf numbers as the season now stands, then what in the world is wrong with the season parameters as put forth by David Mech? This would have been, I might say, more agreeable to the non-consumptive users of wildlife/pro-wolf people.

          • avatar william huard says:

            I agree with you. The length of the hunting season, the whole trapping issue…..Gamblin and these Idaho wildlife people are lucky they are even hunting wolves, after all, the whole delisting process was so slimy and cheap. Never have we had an Endangered Species face such brutal hunting and trapping pressure. Have any of you people ever talked to Todd Grimm? I have. He loves killing animals, and he gets paid to do it….

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Immer –
            The current hunting and trapping season is appropriate for the beneficial use of the wolves as a public resource and as a management tool because 1) it is sustainable and does not conflict with conservation objectives for Idaho wolves and 2) because it does contribute to the larger objective of controlling and regulating the Idaho wolf population.
            How do you suggest Idaho wolf hunting be managed differently, guided by Mech’s paper?

          • avatar Jon Way says:

            Immer,
            I agree with all that you say here. Mark thinks that I am completely against hunting and trapping, which just convenient lumps me with the other “pro-wolf liberal from out of state” (yet they have no problem collecting our taxes since ID gets a very high ratio of federal taxes back per what they paid). However, wolves are not being treated for conservion purposes, that is obvious. That is why I think that IDFG and other western state agencies should not have control of wolf mgmt. They do not manage wolves under the North American Model of Wolf Mgmt – more on this concept later (not this post but down the road). And it is almost funny to hear Mark suggest that they do.

          • avatar william huard says:

            Jon-
            This criticism and mistrust of the state of Idaho is something that they have earned. It has nothing to do with Mark gamblin and the people that are in the position of managing wolves. I was rereading parts of “Wolfer” last night when I came across page315.
            “I sort of suspected it before I moved there in 2000, but compared to Idaho, Montana’s wolf politics were a Sunday picnic. Idaho, with the exception of it’s few fiery environmentalists lodged mostly in Ada County where Boise is, and Blaine County where the rich and famous of Sun valley live, was as redneck as they come- from the legislature to the people on the land. The state’s official position on wolves from the beginning was simple. The animals weren’t welcome. When the first load of wolves was released in 1995 at Corn Creek in Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness, the Legislature unanimously passed a law prohibiting the Idaho Dept of Fish and Game from having anything to do with them. Much later, the Legislature also passed a meaningless but symbolic bill calling fo the immediate removal of all wolves in th state by any means necessary,”
            Carter is in a position to know, and say what you will about Carter, he is not a “liberal treehugger”
            A few pages on- this is 2000…
            “I flipped through the plan. It struck me as nothing more than a long-winded permission slip to kill as many wolves as possible……

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Jon Way –
            I don’t think I’ve suggested that you are anti-hunting. In fact, I recall that you have emphasized numerous times that you are not. My comments in our discussions have been directed to issues of wolf management, biology and research. Not my intent to catagorize/label you or anyone else here.
            Wolves are in fact managed within the North American Model. How do you suggest otherwise?

          • avatar Jon Way says:

            Hi Mark,
            Thanks for the reply. Yes, you are correct: you didn’t label me per se. But to think that ID wolf mgmt techniques are anything but rational for an animal coming off the ESA is something to laugh about. And I agree with William, that likely comes from forces above IDFG – I believe if IDFG was in charge there would be somewhat more reasonable standards. Like managing wolves at present levels (800-900 in a state as big as ID is not a super number) rather than the antiquated ESA rules of 150 per state.

            Anyhow, I promise to revisit the North American Model down the road with wolves. But to summarize: the lack of conservation associated with wolves, the lack of stakeholder involvement, and the seeming detriment to managing wolves to better manage other game are some reasons. I very strongly think that it is a conflict of interest for a state wildlife agency (not just Idaho) to manage for predators when their paying clients (ie, hunters), which are just one stakeholder, mostly hold negative views of them. Again, please let me elaborate on this a few months down the road as I/we am/are collecting thoughts and evidence on this very topic. I don’t want to elaborate any more…

        • avatar Paul says:

          William, Idaho admitted that if hunting and trapping does not meet their “management” objectives, they will bring in aerial gunners, along with other methods (any bets that poison will be involved?) which I assume means WS, to finish the job.

          http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2011/06/30/new-idaho-wolf-hunt-likely-to-propose-no-limit-on-number-of-wolves-killed/

          And I thought WI was ass-backwards. Not even close, yet.

          • avatar Paul says:

            Immer Treue, honestly do you really think that Idaho cares about what the uproar would be if those practices came into play? If they cared about the uproar from “outsiders,” this insane current wolf killing plan of theirs never would have been implemented. I think that is their way of being the modern “rebel” and thumbing their noses at the “eviro-nuts,” and Feds (except for WS, they appear to love them).

          • avatar Immer Treue says:

            Paul,

            Radio collaring is going on for two reasons, population estimations, and aerial gunning. I’ll assume that IDFG has certain numbers that must be attained by a certain time, if not, aerial gunning will begin while snow is still on the ground.

            In terms of poison, all I can say is that it is indiscriminate and repulsive, and if used, will produce a backlash of legal, and unfortunately perhaps not so legal activities. I submit here and now, that I am ***NOT*** advocating illegal activities.

          • avatar Paul says:

            Speaking of WS and poison, has anyone ever read this article?

            http://www.predatordefense.org/docs/m44_article_Mens_Journal_waronwildlife_Jan2008.pdf

            Very disturbing.

          • avatar Alan says:

            Funny how they don’t bring in “aerial gunning” if elk quotas aren’t made.

  9. avatar Immer Treue says:

    Mark,

    “Repeating my rhetorical question: can hunting and trapping push wolf numbers in Idaho to relisting threshold of 150 wolves or 15 breeding pairs? Based on science – our understanding of the facultative reproductive capacity of wolves, their social structure that gives them remarkable success in hunting and survival in general, their ability to adapt and avoid hunters and trappers, our understanding of the history of wolf hunting and trapping efficiency – taken together a very well informed, reasonable and prudent conclusion is that hunting and trapping, especially when closely regulated, pose NO threat to the sustainability and viability of a wolf population. Your objections to this wolf hunt are value based much more than science or fact based.”

    We can revisit our past conversations if you would like, but all I said was if hunting and trapping pose no threat to sustainability and viability of Idaho’s wolves, then why not wait until November to start and end when females become gravid, as per Mech. Other than trap check time and the open number of wolves allowed to be harvested, you would have heard very little from me on the issue.

    • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

      Immer –
      I appreciate your comments. Why not wait until November to start and end when females become gravid? Because that would work counter to rather contribute to management objectives to reduce wolf numbers across the state, for no reasonable need. I believe I understand your objection to the trap check rule. I’m not clear on your objection to the absence of a quota.

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        Mark,

        A quota simply sets the bar. Can it be achieved or not? It also sets a safety net for management of the wolf. I understand the objective in Idaho is to reduce wolf numbers. I got that. The >/= 15/150 parameters, for some reason, seem very unrealistic.

        We can go round and round on the numbers again. I don’t live in Idaho, but a state that has 4-5 times the wolves that Idaho has. I’ve chosen the state, in large part because of the wolves. I’d sure hate for some yahoos to gain control of the socio-political agenda and say, “look what Idaho did!” Not likely to happen, but who knows.

        I’m rather non-consumptive in terms of wildlife. Might change next year. Just not philosophically ready to hunt at this time. But I do enjoy slapping on the skis, and searching for wolves. I am thrilled rather than abhorred by their presence around my cabin. I respect them as a wild animal, and I understand the need for some type of management, but not Idaho style.

        We can agree to disagree about what goes on in Idaho.

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          Thanks Immer. Without arguing numbers, I’ll emphasize again that the 150/15 delisting/relisting theshold is not the management objective. The objective is to manage as close to those numbers without risking wolf numbers dropping below due to factors beyond our control. That will be something signficantly above 150 wolves or 15 breeding pairs. Focusing on the threshold numbers risks misunderstanding the management objective.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        +In terms of a healthy and robust wolf population across the NRMR – current management programs pose no threat to that common objective – of the three states+

        Mark – gotta say MY objection is the fact that those 3 states cover over 83 million acres of forest & BLM lands – public lands, mind you (31 million in Idaho alone) where roughly 1,500 wolves – spread out over 3 states- are considered a threat and need to be managed and reduced by agencies that have spent atleast the past half century catering to special interest groups ( ranchers & hunters) when it comes to what’s left of wildlife and wilderness areas.

        Do the math Mark. !0% of the population in this country actually go out and hunt wild game, and only 3% of cattle raised, come from this part of the country.

        It is time to start thinking outside of the box…..

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          Nancy –
          With respect to state wildlife management objectives, wolves in this discussion, the number of acres of public land in Montana, Wyoming or Idaho is irrelevant, as is the percentage of the U.S. population that hunts or the percentage of beef production that comes from the western states. What is relevant is that wolves, in this case, are under the management authority of the state of Idaho. The Idaho wolf management plan has been fully reviewed and vetted by the Idaho public and elected leaders. The “special interest” groups you refer to among the principle stakeholder/trustees of the public trust resources we’re talking about. Whatever priviledges for allocation of beneficial uses of those resources that they and other stakeholders recieve are the result of the appropriate process of Idaho state government. With that perspective, no – it’s not time to think outside of the box. The thinking as well as the “box” are functioning exactly as the Idaho and U.S. constitution intend.

          • avatar william huard says:

            Some people wear their ignorance like a badge of honor. We’ll see how long it takes Idaho’s “wildlife commission” to address the trap check policy….Don’t hold your breath. Things are workin just fine…..

          • avatar Nancy says:

            Curious Mark – do you receive any kind of compensation for your overtime (weekends) when you go to bat, trying to explain the reasoning behind IDFG decisions?

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Nancy –
            No, as an administrative employee, I do not earn overtime or compensatory time.

          • avatar Harley says:

            I’m not sure why you are so tenacious here Mark but I admire you for it. You take a lot of hits but you keep coming back.

          • avatar wolf moderate says:

            I really hope that Mark isn’t getting paid overtime to post on this site. It is a waste of my hunting fees. All you guys do is slam the guy for not adhering to your values and beliefs.

            On Monday, it’s time to call IDFG to let them know that I do not approve of them paying Mark to post on this site.

            What’s the point? It appears that you all know it all and can’t be persuaded. It’s a waste of valuable state resources IMO.

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Harley, Wolf Moderate, others –
            My purpose here is not to gain friends, convince anyone to change their mind about wildlife conservation issues. It is simply to provide accurate information about Idaho wildlife management programs and policies as well as wildlife managment and conservation in general. My comments are intended not just for those who choose to participate in these discussions, but also for the thousands who use this blog as a source of information.
            Recieving criticism goes with the territory. It doesn’t diminish my purpose as a representative of the IDFG. Wolf Moderate, if it helps any my participation here doesn’t cost you anything more, as a license buyer, than if I don’t. This is just one of many responsibilities I take on in a given day. When I judge that I have the time to respond to a relevant and important topic I do. When I don’t – I don’t. Feel free to call or email me at my work contacts if you would like to discuss this further. I’m available to the public as some here know.

          • avatar wolf moderate says:

            “No, as an administrative employee, I do not earn overtime or compensatory time”

            Ok, I am now off the soap box. I’ll still call you soon to talk about a few things.

            Thanks again.

          • avatar JB says:

            “Whatever priviledges for allocation of beneficial uses of those resources that they and other stakeholders recieve are the result of the appropriate process of Idaho state government” (emphasis added).

            Mark: I believe what many here are questioning is the “appropriateness” of the political processes at work–i.e., whether they are fair and representative. The term “appropriate” is both subjective and prescriptive–meaning it implies that the processes are “right”. I think your analysis is correct from a historical (descriptive) perspective; however, I question whether the political processes via which wolves have been delisted and through which management objectives are set are “appropriate”. I believe this if the fundamental policy debate where wolves are concerned.

          • avatar JB says:

            And I should add that I understand that you are speaking on behalf of IDF&G and their policy-making body (i.e., the wildlife commission). It is not at all surprising that the people who are currently making the rules find the policy processes to be “appropriate”. Political institutions always resist change.

        • avatar Bob says:

          Nancy
          some more math for you, over 75% of the nations wildlife eats and live on private land, even higher in Montana, sometimes its more about where the animals live over where the people live. You may think the wilderness is great but the math says private land rules. So to whom should the wildlife managers listen. Wilderness is great for getting away from it all yet the facts prove not a great place for animals.

          • avatar JB says:

            “Wilderness is great for getting away from it all yet the facts prove not a great place for animals.”

            Most of the places set aside as “wilderness” or national parks in the northern Rockies are semi-arid, high-altitude, and rugged. In fact, part of the justification for setting aside Yellowstone was that it was land that no one would want anyway. So of course many (not all) species of wildlife are more successful on the lower altitude, wet, productive areas that were the first claimed by early American settlers.

          • avatar Nancy says:

            Bob – I know this discussion has come up before here but I’m sure it depends on the area. I do see large herds of elk migrate in, in early spring, to private pasture but long before summer rolls around (and the grass really starts growing) they’ve moved to higher areas (public lands) those same areas where thousands of head of cattle (and sheep) are pushed into for 4-5 months.

            How many areas of Montana & Idaho pay riders to move elk off of private lands in the winter? I personally know someone who does this so I know it happens. How often are they pushed off private lands back to public lands that have been over grazed by livestock all summer?

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Nancy –
            I’m not aware of the IDFG hiring riders to haze elk off of private property – in Idaho, but it’s possible. We employ a variety of techniques to control elk (and other wildlife) depredations of agricultural crops and other private property. For years we have distributed or loaned legal and safe pyrotechnic devices (“cracker-shells”, “screamers”, propane cannons, etc.) to haze elk away from harvested and un-harvested crops. New ATF regulations have restricted the public use of some pyrotechnics, so those tools are more limited now. We provide heavy wire panels to protect haystacks from elk and deer depredations and if appropriate provide materials for construction of hay stack-yard fence enclosures to protect large stockpiles of hay. When necessary to manage an urgent safety issue we may haze elk away from highways or other public safety risks. We issue kill permits to farmers if necessary, with the responsibility to properly dress the animal(s) for salvage and donation of the meat to the needy. Special depredation hunts may be called on an emergency basis to deal with serious problems. If deemed necessary, management objectives for a geographical area may be changed to reduce the number of elk in that area.

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          JB –
          Speaking to the political process of our government, there’s nothing in your comments that I can or should disagree with. There will always be disagreement in our society with the process and outcome of our system of government – as it should be. One of our strengths is that we CAN disagree with governmental decisions and have a means of changing those decisions we disagree with – the ballot box. You correctly noted that I represent the IDFG on this blog.

  10. avatar Paul says:

    I will give him credit for one thing, he comes across as a believer in what he preaches. Not that I buy into a thing he says about his states insane wolf “management” plan. It takes guts to face a crowd that you know will be hostile.

  11. avatar Wyoming Lead Cow says:

    The wolves in question that leave the Southern end of Grand Teton Park, go up the Gros Ventre and are surplus killing the Elk herds to the point of no return! The Gros Ventre is now a Bulls only area, as all the areas thick with wolves have gone to as well, that speaks volumes that the Jackson Herds are in peril!!! Bulls and Bucks only, and no Moose hunting at all, they are disappearing at an alarming rate!! Wyoming needs wolf management before they are allowed to kill off three other species!!

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Wyoming Lead Cow,

      Do you even know what “surplus killing” is? Why would wolves leave GTNP to go up the Gros Ventre to surplus kill anyway? Are there no elk in the Park? I saw some.

      I was just up the Gros Ventre yesterday and today. I camped near Slate Creek last night. I went as far as Alkali Creek. Then I hiked southward about two miles into the Wilderness. I saw no fresh wolf sign. I didn’t see any elk either, but there were fresh tracks and droppings.

      This doesn’t prove anything — anecdotal evidence — but studies show people believe it more than statistics.

      Anyway you can’t blame wolves in one of the few places in Wyoming where elk are below objective, and ignore the large majority where they are at or over objective and there are just as many wolves.

      That is really cherry picking your data!

  12. avatar Nancy says:

    So Mark, its probably safe to assume that Bob’s comment about 75% of wildlife living on private lands, do so at great risk or continuous harassment.

    • avatar Bob says:

      Nancy
      Do wild animals live where they are at great risk or continuously harassed? Answer is yes, yet more animals live where they are not at risk. If you think humans are the greatest threat to wild animal life you need to spend more time out doors. The real world is 24 hours a day of eating and being eaten, killing and being killed.
      You and others paint ranchers as bad for wildlife yet you only show how little you know. Repeating something doesn’t make true.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        Sorry Bob – if the shoe fits…..

        • avatar JB says:

          You’re both greatly oversimplifying matters. Humans change ecosystems–whether via residential development and landscaping, planting crops, or grazing livestock. Usually, the changes we make benefit some species and are a detriment to others. Thus, racoons, skunks and opossums thrive in urbanized settings, but you are unlikely to find bears, elk or moose in these settings. White-tailed deer have benefited tremendously by the agricultural practices in the Midwest, but these practices homogenize landscapes to the detriment of some species (e.g., early successional dependent birds). Likewise, ranching isn’t necessarily bad for wildlife…but it certainly can be.

      • avatar Jay says:

        Bob, it would seem the IDFG disagrees with you, at least with respect to elk…
        “Unlike deer, elk populations may be highly influenced by harvest. Although not the case
        everywhere, most annual mortality of elk (≥one year) is associated with human harvest.”

        I found this in their 2009 elk report.

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          Jay –
          Not sure, but is seems you may infer that hunting is, in Bob’s words, a
          “… threat to wild animal life…”

          If so, it should be emphasized that “threat” and “influence” are not the same in this context. Hunting harvest/kill/take is simply one significant source of annual mortality for elk populations (and deer also). Elk are much less susceptible to winter mortality and other sources of “natural” mortality than are deer. Hunting mortality is often the most imortant source of annual mortality for elk, but has not constituted a “threat” to elk populations since the days of unregulated market harvest/kill/take.

          • avatar Jay says:

            “If you think humans are the greatest threat to wild animal life you need to spend more time out doors.”

            I said with respect to ELK, according to IDFG, humans ARE the biggest cause of mortality.

            Seems logical to assume that if HUMANS are the largest source of mortality to ELK, then therefore HUMANS are the greatest threat (source of mortality) to wild animal (elk) life.

            I’m not saying that humans are driving elk into extinction, but I am say that according to your own agency’s statement, if I’m an elk I’m more likely to die by human hands than anything else.

          • avatar Alan says:

            I would think that habitat destruction (mostly human caused) is the greatest threat to wildlife (not individual animals, but to wildlife in general).

          • avatar wolf moderate says:

            The biggest threat to wildlife are Californians moving to Montana and building McMansions. Just drive from Darby north to the Canadian border and you will see nothing buy McMansions all over. It is truly the worst possible thing for wildlife. Afterall, where do the ungulates winter if it’s nothing but ranchettes? Predators need ungulates for food. Where da winter range at? Remember that!

          • avatar Jay says:

            Its an easy out to blame Californians, but Montanans routinely send their livestock up into the hills in spring/summer to eat forage that should rightfully go to wildlife; when said wildlife comes down in the winter to return the favor by eating ranchers’ pasture grass, the ranchers throw a fit and get depredation hunts to kill or chase off the wildlife. Wildlife is getting squeezed into smaller and smaller spaces, and you can blame it on overpopulation, not just Californians.

          • avatar JB says:

            Wolf Moderate:

            What is it about Californians that makes them a bigger threat than people from elsewhere? Are the “MacMansions” owned by former residents of Nevada somehow a lesser threat to wildlife?

            A few years back a colleague of mine published a paper tracking migration patterns to Colorado. The perception was that (you guessed it) Californians were ruining Colorado by moving there in droves. The truth was that migration was coming disproportionately from the Midwest.

          • avatar SAP says:

            On the “Californians are the worst” issue: it’s kind of a fun-with-statistics thing:
            There are over 37 million Californians — they actually outnumber Canadians by almost 3 million!

            They make up about 12 percent of the US population.

            Californians outnumber Coloradans by a factor of 7.4; they are about 7 times more numerous than Minnesotans.

            They outnumber Texans by over 12 million, New Yorkers by 18 million.

            There’s simply a whole bunch of Californians, and as much as some people would like to close their state borders to everything except the federal tax bounty (paid by densely populated states like California), we can’t do that.

            Sure, a lot of Californians have moved to Oregon. Should that be a surprise? There’s a lot of them, and my map shows that they’re right next door. Other than abundance and proximity, I bet Californians are really no worse than Ohioans, Vermonters, Nebraskans, whatever.

            The only thing I’d say against Californians here in our remote valley is that those who sold their California houses at the height of the housing frenzy came here with tons of cash and drove local housing prices through the roof. Again, though, not really their fault.

            There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with Californians, there’s just a lot of em and they happen to be pretty close by.

        • avatar wolf moderate says:

          If you have to ask that question then I can’t help you.

          Take a look at Medford and Bend Oregon, not to mention the rest of Oregon.

          Californians are the worst invasive species there is, and if you can’t see/understand that then you are hopeless.

          Of course other states are encroaching on the land, but Californians are the worst.

          I moved from Oregon, because I couldn’t stand what they were doing to the state. Yes I am a transplant to Idaho…But can guarantee that the only 2 states in the US that I will ever live again is Idaho and Alaska. The rest of the country is lost.

          Oregon is lost and Montana is full of a bunch of freaks.

      • avatar Alan says:

        “You and others paint ranchers as bad for wildlife yet you only show how little you know.”
        I guess that all depends on whether we are talking about “desirable” wildlife, like elk and deer, that the rancher can charge someone to hunt, or “undesirable” wildlife like coyotes and badgers (for example.) We all saw how “beneficial” the farmer was to the pelicans in Minnesota.

    • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

      Nancy –
      I can’t do better than Wolf Moderate’s response above. Humans are simply one of a host of stresses, harassments, lethal factors in the day to day existence of wildlife. We are part and parcel of the ecosystem we inhabit. The miraculous distinction we hold is that we have the capability to recognize the effect we have on our ecosystem and the ability, if we choose, to modify our impact for our own good. That is the only reason we have conservation laws and other rules of human behavior – for our own good. And, that is the only rational justification for those rules. If not for our own self interest, it would matter little to the world ecosystem. It will adapt and evolve, with or without us. Countless species have come and gone before our arrival and that process will continue, hopefully with our presence and active involvement.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        +Countless species have come and gone before our arrival and that process will continue, hopefully with our presence and active involvement+

        “Hopefully” is the key word here Mark. Its hard to deny the fact that fresh eyes are starting to question how wildlife has been (and being) manipulated & reduced (managed) to satisfy a minority of stakeholders, especially on lands that all of us technically, have say in.

        • avatar Paul says:

          Bravo Nancy!

        • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

          Nancy –
          You speak to a different issue than I commented on in my previous post. My point was/is simply that human effects on wildlife are in inevitable part of our part in the ecosystem we live in. Ultimately, the only reason for us to care is because our effects on wildlife in fact affect our own self interests.
          You again refer to your objection that wildlife management is disproportionately influenced by a minority of stakeholders (i.e. residents of individual states aka NRMR states) – on lands that belong to all of us. Reminding you again, there is an important distinction between the land and the wildlife that inhabits the land. Like wildlife, public land is a public resource that is managed by the federal and state governments but unlike public land, wildlife is a public trust resource held in trust specifically for the residents of each individual state BY THOSE STATES. This is an inherent element of American constitutional law, upheld by the Public Trust Doctrine and numerous Supreme Court decisions – Kleppe notwithstanding.
          You express a wish for wildlife management to be based on the desires of yourself and others, regardless of your state of residency. That is not how wildlife is managed in the U.S. system of government and isn’t going to change in the forseeable future. It’s a dead issue that does not contribute to the important, contemporary wildlife conservation issues we are challenged by.

          • avatar Nancy says:

            +You express a wish for wildlife management to be based on the desires of yourself and others, regardless of your state of residency. That is not how wildlife is managed in the U.S. system of government and isn’t going to change in the forseeable future. It’s a dead issue that does not contribute to the important, contemporary wildlife conservation issues we are challenged by+

            No Mark – I believe I have always tried to “express” and dispute, what appears to be too often, an unfair advantage when it comes to the so called “designated management and that responsibility” to what’s left of wildlife and wilderness areas.

            I’ve lived here (rural Montana) for years Mark and I do have a clue when it comes to worrying or wondering about these kinds of issues.

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Sorry Nancy, I should have remembered that you live in MT. I was multi-tasking today, cutting up this year’s antelope. Just the same, my point remains. In your state and mine there is no indication that resident desires and priorities for wildlife management are ignored or misrepresented.

          • avatar timz says:

            I’m watching my Vikes get throttled trying to figure out who is more clueless, their coach or Gamblin.

          • avatar wolf moderate says:

            You see what I mean? They are like kids. They do not understand that Dad busts his hump 70 hours a week to put food on the table.

            It’s sad that the elitists’ can’t figure it out. Do they think that wildlife can live in harmoney with mankind? Do they not understand that there are 7+ Billion people here? I guess not lol! Sorry, but wildlife are going to take a backseat to the Apex Predator. Believe me, I’m not happy about it.

            I wish that Mr Gates would let Natural Selection take its course, but some just do not understand…

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

~ Edward Abbey

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