Legal wolf trapping is now underway in northern Idaho-

Idaho first legal wolf trapping season is underway.  Trapping is controversial and there are many questions about it. Answers will come. Lessons might be learned.

During this first season, wolves can be caught with leg-hold traps or by snares.

Whether trapping is ethically or morally right, wrong, or neutral seems not to be a question settled by debate, but here are questions that might get an empirical answer this season.

How many people will actually try to trap a wolf?  What will the success rate be? How many will be caught? Will the option to trap wolves attract newcomers to trapping or will it be primarily a shift from trapping coyotes, etc. to wolves by those who are already experienced? How diligently will trappers check their traps?

What will the “by-catch” be?  Almost certainly dogs, deer, elk, moose, cougars, coyotes, and livestock will be caught.  How many?  How many will die? Will trappers be injured as they try to free by-catch? How many will deliberately kill the by-catch rather than release it? As far as pet dogs go, it is most likely that they will be caught in traps or snares set by someone else — they will not be  dogs of those out trapping.  Will these people, most of whom will have had no training, be able to release their dog?  The dog will be panicking. The owner likely as well.  It seems very likely their dog will bite them unless they know how to approach close enough with protection to step on the levers of the trap, opening it.  A small person, let’s say a 120 pound person, may not have the weight to open a trap. Finally will Idaho Fish and Game be legally liable for livestock, dog injuries, or human injuries, especially since those people who get a trapping tag are required to have taken IDFG’s brief (8 hour) course on trapping?

For those worried about their dog being trapped, take note of the following. Private trappers will not be required to use any warning (like signs). Traps can be legally set close to, but not on roads and trails. Government trappers generally use a 6 1/2 inch diameter jaw spread. IDFG is allowing up to 9 inch diameter traps. Of course these are more powerful and capable of catching and holding elk size animals and perhaps horses too. The large traps are reportedly being sold to wolf trappers. Carry a camera too for the winter scenery, but it is very useful to  document the capture of pets and non-target animals. Take lots of pictures from different angles, differing expossures so at least a couple are right.  Digital photos are essentially free.

Carry a cable cutter for cutting through a snare.

Use your coat to protect yourself from bites as you free the dog.

Here is an Associated Press story on Idaho’s First Trapping season. Idaho wolf trapping season begins. By John Miller.

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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.

98 Responses to Idaho’s first wolf trapping season is underway

  1. avatar skyrim says:

    This just in……… “Darwin was wrong”

  2. avatar william huard says:

    You know something is wrong when known wolf haters say-“Letting an animal stay in a trap for 72 hours isn’t right”
    Why isn’t anyone forcing the legislature to adopt a more humane 24 hour trap check policy?

  3. avatar Nancy says:

    Maybe it would help to start an Occupy Trapline group in Idaho? Imagine there are penalties for setting off traps but can’t imagine there would be penalties for just “hanging around em” :)

  4. avatar John Glowa says:

    I knew it was only a matter of time before the trapping and snaring would begin. Apparently, not enough wolves were being killed with guns. In Canada’s Laurentide Reserve, wolf snaring is very effective at taking wolves. Before the season begins, the snarers set up bait sites where the wolves are trained to feed on carcasses set out for them. Once the wolves find and start feeding on a carcass, the snares are set up all around it. In this way, the wolf packs are decimated with packs that might have held 5-10 individuals going into winter, left with 2-3 individuals by Spring. This hasn’t wiped out the wolf population but it keeps it artificially low and in a constant state of disruption. Snaring is a dirty, disgusting, and cruel business. No wonder the wolf haters are in favor of it.

  5. avatar Immer Treue says:

    “You can set snares up to kill the animals quite rapidly,” Davis said. “In about five to seven minutes, they’ll be dead.”

    Whether cognitive processes are active or not, quite a long period of fear and panic before life is snuffed out.

    Perhaps the most heinous of trapping methods.

    • avatar IDhiker says:

      Immer,
      I agree. Snares are truly despicable. But they are cheap and it’s easy to rig large numbers of them. Trappers aren’t concerned about the suffering they inflict or they’d stop their activity.

      I have come to realize that some people have different “networking” in the brain. They don’t feel the same levels of empathy that others may, they believe they are normal, and they can’t imagine why anyone would care about what they do.

      A scary thought…perhaps they are normal, and those of us with high levels of empathy are the ones that are abnormal?

      • avatar Savebears says:

        ID,

        I can guarantee you, both side whole heartily believe they are right…and they believe in what they do, but of course we all know we differ in our belief’s…

        Who is right?

        • avatar IDhiker says:

          SB,

          I agree it’s a tough question. To me it is a comparison between intentionally inflicting extended suffering vs. compassion and empathy for other living things. Which is right is up to the individual. As I mentioned, different people have different thought processes and find it impossible to understand those with the opposite.

          We all have to make our own judgments and fight for what we think is right.

          • avatar Savebears says:

            ID,

            You are always going to be right, if your doing what you believe in, that is where everything breaks down in these issues, everybody thinks they are right! Unfortunately, all to often, we are all wrong! History has proven this all to often.

            Values are a moral issue, and we all have a different definition of morals.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            SB,

            That is true about values being a moral issue. But another example would be people that want all wilderness declassified, logged, mined and whatever. And then those that want it preserved. Both sides still believe, for their own reasons, that they are right. Unfortunately, in our society these days, one side wins and the other often is the loser.

          • avatar Savebears says:

            ID,

            You are 100% right, one side will win and one side will loose, depending on the outcome, one will feel victorious, one will feel jilted, so as life goes. I look forward to the day that both sides can work something out, but I can assure you, it will no happen in my or your lifetime. We will leave these questions to our children and grand children..

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            SB,

            I’ll agree with you on that. It makes me wonder what our children and grand children will think of us when we’re gone.

  6. avatar Mike says:

    Yeah five to seven minutes isn’t a quick death. Totally unethical.

    • avatar Savebears says:

      Mike, 5-7 minutes is a very quick death, if you happen to be the one in the trap. Most of us have no idea of how quick 5-7 minutes goes by, until we have actually been in that position.

      Now after being shot, while on duty, I can tell you for a fact, 5-7 minutes it a very short period of time!

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        Savebears,

        5-7 minutes in a lifetime is a short period of time, but those minutes can be tough, from dental drilling as a youth with no novacaine, to a myelogrsm due to a shattered disc, to yodeling in the thunder mug because of too much of a good thing, as humans, we at least know the “suffering will end, or at least abate for a while.

        Wolves/canines studies lean toward they have no real concept of time, nor would I assume they understand what a snare is. I can only imagine the panic they endure until they pass out, and then die due to lack of oxygen to the brain.

        Then again, the anti-wolfers like to bring up that wolves will begin eating before their prey is dead. Wildlife suffer because they are just that, wild.

        I guess my take on it is if the animal is to be “harvested” humans have it in their means to quickly dispense of an animal with little suffering on the part of the animal. Trapping does not necessarily work like that.

      • avatar Mike says:

        Sorry, but it’s not. I’v almost kicked the bucket. Five to seven minutes of confusion and agony seems to last forever.

      • avatar william huard says:

        Maybe SaveBears was an animal in a former life, hence this supernatural ability to know 5-7 minutes is a short period of time for suffering or dying.

        • avatar Paul says:

          All I know is that if I do something as simple as stub my toe a few seconds feel like several minutes while I am dancing around, cussing, and whining like a baby. I wouldn’t want to know what it feels like to have a limb stuck in a trap.

          • avatar Savebears says:

            Try a shot to the hip Paul, you would be amazed how quick time goes by when you loosing the blood volume in your body. I had that experience in 1991 and I tell you what, those 5-7 minutes went by real fast, I knew for a fact I was going to die. Those medics perform miracles, I can tell you that for sure.

            William, once again, your just being a smart A$$, but most of us are becoming real used to it.

          • avatar Savebears says:

            And Paul,

            Just so you don’t get the wrong Idea, I am not a trapper.

          • avatar Paul says:

            Savebears, please don’t think for a second that I would ever minimize what it is like getting shot. Fortunately, I have never had to experience that. I was mugged outside of Minneapolis in 1995 and that is the closest that I hope I ever get to being shot. When that little “gansta” wannabee pointed that 9mm at my face time slowed to a crawl. The barrel of that thing looked as big as a 55 gallon drum. I didn’t feel so invincible after that.

  7. avatar John says:

    The trapfreeoregon.org site has some info on dealing with pets and traps.

    http://www.trapfreeoregon.org/page3.html#Conibear

  8. avatar Paul says:

    Here is an opinion piece about a recent incident in WI where a dog was killed by a trap.

    http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/column/patricia-randolph-s-madravenspeak-the-end-of-safe-state-parks/article_420b6707-7f53-5114-a8b9-55b69986dad1.html

    Bear hounders get reimbursed by the state if a wolf kills one of their dogs that they voluntarily put in that situation, but pet owners get nothing if their dog is killed by a trap. Am I the only person who sees something wrong with this?

    • avatar Maska says:

      Nope. It sounds like a clear message that non-hunters and trappers should stay out of the woods.

    • Thanks for posting this Paul. Even though I live in Idaho, I went to grad school in Madison, Wisconsin. It was a wonderful state, and I am so disgusted with this Koch Brothers-installed tyrant Scott Walker who sneaked in.

      I give to various 99%-of-us causes there maybe $10 a month. Time for another metaphorical dime against Walker and his billionaire funders.

      • avatar Paul says:

        Ralph,

        Madison is certainly a unique place, both good and bad. The recall effort against Walker started yesterday and I am seeing people circulating petitions all over the place, even in the more conservative small towns like where I live. I had to stop myself from signing a petition form this morning because I was on my way to work and I was in uniform. The first chance I get I will sign one. It has been a long time since I have seen people this fired up in this state and I think Walker knows his days in office may be numbered. Today he actually had the nerve to say that the recall is not because of anything that he did.

        http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/walker-says-hes-not-responsible-for-recall-effort-against-him-uj334ng-133969353.html

        Can you believe this guy? I wonder how much Koch Brother money is going to be used to defend him. I get nauseous just thinking about these people and their antics.

        • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

          Paul, I have read that the money from the Koch Brothers and their allies is maybe being used to disrupt the recall process, such as having petition gatherers who are really working for the Koch Brothers circulate recall petitions and then never turn them in.

          • avatar Paul says:

            Ralph, they are also looking at running “fake Democrats” in the recall primaries if it comes to that. They want the Dems to spend as much money as possible in the primaries so they will have far less for the actual recall election. They did the same thing during the recall election primaries a couple of months ago. Do these people have any shame? I am not a big fan of either party but the GOP lost me for good a long time ago.

            http://whbl.com/news/articles/2011/nov/14/fake-democrats-could-appear-again-if-gop-senators-recalled/

          • Paul,

            They have no shame. The Koch Brothers do not believe in democracy as far as I can tell from their right-wing ideology.

            They probably believe some council of corporations and rich people and people who own a lot of land should rule. They might think that their model political system will make most people rich, or they may not care if 99% are poor.

            I think many of these people believe in some kind of high tech feudalism, and that is why I have been portraying Idaho as a semi-feudal state in what I have been writing the last several years.

  9. I have heard that beavers often drag wolf traps into their “robust” ponds when they find them. I have also heard that tree limbs often fall into set traps if the wind blows “robustly”. A “robust” deer or elk can kick rocks into traps as well. A lot of “robust” things can happen to a trap that is only checked every 72 hours.

    • avatar william huard says:

      Like end up on the bottom of a robustly deep pond

      • avatar IDhiker says:

        Well, I remember a person that encountered a five trap cluster along a river trail in Idaho. His dog got into one, then another. The traps ended up on the river bottom.

        The trapper who set them was legal, but unethical. The dog ownber was illegal , but ethical.

        • avatar IDhiker says:

          oops…owner

        • avatar william huard says:

          Id Hiker-
          I had a trapper threaten to kill me after I threw his rusty old trap in the lake near my house. This dirtbag is trapping animals on my private property without permission and he’s going to kill me…..Classic
          That’s probably why I loathe trappers

          • avatar Savebears says:

            If in fact you are telling the truth William, you are justified in hating those who abuse private property, but to lump them in all together is misguided. William, loathe criminals, not all who participate in that activity.

            I had an animal activist group threaten me back in the 90’s they told me they were going to kill me if they ever found me alone, I don’t hate all animal activists, just the extreme members who would do harm to others who have a different opinion..

    • avatar Bob says:

      Larry
      Remember those words later when your condemning some poacher or someone talking about gut shooting a wolf. Seems your cut from the same cloth, a criminal is a criminal and scum is scum even if it comes from a different pond. You all have a good day now.

      • avatar IDhiker says:

        Remember that this whole concept of “ignoring laws you don’t like” was started by GOVERNOR BUTCH OTTER. It then moved right down the line to legislators, local county attorneys, law enforcement, and IDFG. They either encouraged law-breaking or just looked the other way.

    • avatar Jerry Black says:

      Also heard that 2 legged forms of “wildlife” piss on the traps which discourages other animals from approaching.

      • avatar Paul says:

        I have heard of those two legged animals and how they are known to take a “robust” piss on traps. I guess when you gotta go, you gotta go. :)

        • avatar Paul says:

          Of course the two legged animal I am referring to is Sasquatch. Certainly no human would ever impede the great work of these “conservationists.” :)

          • avatar william huard says:

            The way legislators protect “huntin” and “trappin”- you wouldn’t even think of it would ya……With these ethical Fish and Game Depts like the one in Idaho I quess we should be grateful it’s not a week for a mandatory trap check policy…..

      • avatar ma'iingan says:

        “Also heard that 2 legged forms of “wildlife” piss on the traps which discourages other animals from approaching.”

        These comments about disabling wolf sets are worthy of a chuckle or two – do you really think wolf trappers scatter their traps around, hoping that a wolf blunders into one? If a trap is visible to YOU, it’s certainly visible to a wolf.

        A proper wolf set has an 1/8″ layer of native topsoil covering the entire trap. Once the soil is sifted over the trap, I use a spritz bottle of rainwater to blend the surface.

        When I can’t see the slightest sign of a disturbance, I MIGHT be able to fool a wolf.

        Good luck.

        • avatar Savebears says:

          If I remember right and I think I do, it is illegal to mess with a legally set trap in the state of Montana, and remember you can get arrested for interfering with a legal hunt as well

        • avatar IDhiker says:

          Usually most of the traps I have seen have a bait hanging above it, such as a rag soaked in scent, a birds wing, or compact disc. Not that I’m doing it, but if a person was to go hunt for traps, it’s easy. Simply watch for the footprints(in the snow)leaving the side of the trail at odd places. Following these will usually lead you to a trap or snare.

          • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

            IDhiker —
            You are probably seeing mostly marten and cat (lynx or bobcat) sets with visual attractors to lure those inherently curious species rather than traps set for more wary candids.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            SEAK,

            That is probably true, since there hasn’t ever been wolf trapping (recently) until this week.

            That makes it even more of a hazard if out with your dog…

  10. avatar Tom Page says:

    Just a note to say that trapping is not open in the entire state…check IDFG’s website for open units.

    • avatar Ken Cole says:

      Tom,
      I doubt that will stay the case for long.

    • avatar IDhiker says:

      But unfortunately all of the big wilderness regions like the Frank Church and Selway-Bitterroot are open, which includes the Salmon River, Middle Fork, Selway, Lochsa etc.

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        This brings us back full circle for non-consumptive users, that if you enjoy wilderness, during hunting seasons, both you and your dog had better be clad in blaze orange. Also, time to pack tools if you want to enjoy the wild with your canine friend.

        • avatar IDhiker says:

          Immer,

          But remember, non-consumptive users are not a priority in Idaho. You will just have to work around the traps, snares, etc. or stay home (with your dog).

          As Mark Gamblin said, “Your preferences have not carried the day in setting management objectives.”

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            IDhiker –
            To say that those who prefer non-consumptive use of wildlife are not a priority is either misunderstanding the process of public involvement or perhaps using literary license to emphasize your argument. All public constituents are a priority in the difficult task of crafting allocation decisions for limited opportunity and diverse desires and expectations. I clarified that decision makers (ID F&G Commissioners) do in fact listen to, consider and weigh diverse preferences and desires to look for balanced, fair alternatives. Wanting an exclusive use or benefit when others are equally important to a large group of stakeholders, when it is unnecessary in order to accomodate the desires of both stakeholder groups simultaneously – might be considered unreasonable and not good policy for serving the public interest.

            For the preference you and Immer describe and your personal conflicts with being the woods with hunters in the fall – I’ll suggest that risks are inherent to all wilderness recreational pursuits – including bears, breaking a leg, drowning, etc. Is it necessary to reserve exclusive wolf viewing areas, e.g., to reasonably accomodate your preferences and desires for non-consumptive wildlife viewing in the fall, during traditional hunting seasons? Or, is it reasonable to recognize that wildlife viewer/watchers can in fact pursue their preferred enjoyment of public wildlife resources 12 months of the year, including the hunting season? State and federal parks offer an abundance of exclusive wildlife viewing opportunity. Multiple use federal and state public lands are intended to accomodate diverse and simultaneous public benefical uses – precisely what is provided by ensuring abundant wildlife for everyone to enjoy, hunters and wildlife viewers included.

          • avatar Jon Way says:

            Mark,
            ID Hiker makes some good points and your response is a perfect comment to illustrate the bias of any state fish and game agency. I for one and with JB in that I greatly appreciate your input into this blog, but to say that wildlife watchers focusing on wolves can pursue their interests while ID is allowing wolves to be reduced to a “robust” token population is utter BS. There is no other way around it. State Game Agencies cater to the hunting (and livestock in the west) industry and what is left – or where hunters don’t go – is where non-consumptive users can enjoy. I assume you know that most photographers aren’t looking to photo a dead wolf or elk/deer being dragged out of the woods. Yet, unless we are in a national park or private land that doesn’t allow hunting, it is unreasonable to suggest that wildlife watchers can legitimately pursue their interests 12 months a year.

            The wolf is a great example in ID, especially with mgmt regulations currently in place for the robust token wolf pop.

            To give you an example of what could be done to appease more users: there is no reason why the forest service (remember we all own this land) can’t practice zoning and allow wolf (or other) hunting in some places and wildlife watching in others. To suggest that hunters don’t have a disproportionate impact on other users is risking posting here in a dishonest way, or with a skewed viewpoint not representing all of your citizens. Please just acknowledge that rather than using fancy language repeating what you stated above.

          • avatar william huard says:

            I don’t think Idaho’s present political lineup is capable of allowing designated wolf viewing areas. To do that would require an admission of tolerance for the wolf, something sadly they are incapable of. The 72 hour trap check policy is evidence of this. They are in effect saying that they could care less if a wolf is caught for three days in a trap. Think about that for a minute- and then ask yourself if these people should be in charge of managing anything.

          • avatar Elk275 says:

            Jon Way

            ++ it is unreasonable to suggest that wildlife watchers can legitimately pursue their interests 12 months a year.++

            Hunting season only last one month or maybe two months each year. Wildlife watchers have 10 to 11 months each year to observe wildlife, besides if hunters can find wildlife during hunting season why can wildlife watchers find wildlife. I live in the Rockies Mountains and outside of Yellowstone National, I only see several wildlife watchers every year. This summer I was in the Centennial Valley and went to the Red Rocks National Wildlife Refuge looking for wildlife watchers. On that day I did not see one wildlife watcher.

            There are certain Forest Service trails around Bozeman that allow different uses on different days. Hunters have two months hunting and everyone else has 10 months.

            Secondly, it is mid November, snow is on the ground and if it were not for hunters most forest service roads would be drifted in and impassable. So how are a wildlife watchers going to access the forest lands, one can only ski so far and most wildlife watchers are like me. I hate snow machines.

          • avatar Jon Way says:

            Elk,
            I am not completely against hunting and if you live outside of Yellowstone then you don’t need a dedicated wildlife watching area b.c yellowstone is one and that is probably where most watchers are.

            You are missing the point. If hunting is 1 or 2 months or 6 (for wolves) or 12 (coyotes), wildlife behaves differently in hunted areas. If there were dedicated areas (similar to national parks) then people would likely spend more time in those reserves (a national forest in ID is a perfect example for wolf watching). I don’t care how long hunters are in the woods, they clearly affect wildlife and drive their numbers lower even for elk. That doesn’t mean I think hunting should be banned but again it shouldn’t be the defacto tool everywhere. Also, as for me, I would be glad to hike over closed gates – I am not sure if hunters are the ones keeping the roads cleared. Likely the forest service doing it for hunters.

            And your 1 day trip to the various locations you mention are probably not indicative of wildlife watching in those areas. In most parts of the country, wildlife watching contributes more to the economy than hunting. Thus, I repeat: WW should also get priority in some areas – it is hard for me to think that I am going to take a great pic of a bull elk (for example) in an area where people are trying to kill it.

          • avatar Elk275 says:

            ++I am not sure if hunters are the ones keeping the roads cleared. Likely the forest service doing it for hunters.++

            You maybe right in some situations,but you are also wrong. The road up the Ruby River over to the Centennial Valley is currently be kept open by hunters. I have never seen the Forest Service plow any roads in Montana, that does not mean they don’t. If a government agency plows the roads, it is the county who maintains the roads, that lead up to the Forest Service lands and the county also plow Forest Service roads. The Forest Service does not have the money to maintain the roads (nor do the counties).

          • avatar Jerry Black says:

            Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge….. sounds like a wonderful place for “wildlife watching” doesn’t it?
            Well, think again, because they allow both trapping and hunting. I was there 2 weeks ago….lots of gunshots and was informed by the “supervisor” that trappers only have to call to get permission to trap! Not a good place to bring the family for wildlife viewing, especially small kids.
            http://www.fws.gov/leemetcalf/

          • avatar SAP says:

            Elk275 – you are correct. USFS does not keep those roads plowed in the fall. Hunters keep them semi-passable by driving them daily to get to hunting spots (or just to drive around . . .).

            Quite a few years back, an early storm trapped a bunch of hunters up Spotted Bear/S. Fork Flathead. In that situation, USFS did plow the road open, at considerable public expense, because otherwise folks were stranded.

            Last year, Papoose Trailhead up the road here got snowed in bad. You know how that grade is — more than one horse trailer has gone over the edge. In that case, the hunters paid a contractor to come in and open the road (less than a mile) so they could safely get out.

          • avatar JB says:

            “I clarified that decision makers (ID F&G Commissioners) do in fact listen to, consider and weigh diverse preferences and desires to look for balanced, fair alternatives.”

            There is an important distinction between listening to someone and actually taking actions on their behalf. Listening without action might be most aptly described as “ignoring”. However, one cannot manage for the desires of all stakeholders regarding wolves, as some are mutually exclusive (i.e., total protection from human harvest, vs. total eradication). So the question becomes, how does IDF&G create a management plan that maximizes public buy-in across very diverse groups? I submit:
            (a) One does not maximize acceptability with legislative interventions on behalf of only some of a states’ citizens.
            (b) One cannot maximize the acceptability of a management plan when all of the people making decisions come from one of the diverse groups.
            (c) Research shows that seemingly intractable conflicts can be reduced or mitigated through multi-party, collaborative processes, where agencies share decision authority with stakeholders.

            “Wanting an exclusive use or benefit when others are equally important to a large group of stakeholders, when it is unnecessary in order to accomodate the desires of both stakeholder groups simultaneously – might be considered unreasonable and not good policy for serving the public interest.”

            When I shoot a wolf with my camera, it is still available for anyone and everyone to enjoy–hunting wolves with a camera does nothing to negatively impact one’s ability to hunt a wolf with a gun. So who is getting the “exclusive” benefit?

          • avatar JEFF E says:

            gosh darnit JB, you’re using logic again. You know how that muddies the water……

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            Elk,

            “Hunting season only last one month or maybe two months each year.”

            Actually, in Idaho wolf hunting is open in some areas for eleven months. The trapping season is open for four and a half months.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            Mark,
            You said, “I clarified that decision makers (ID F&G Commissioners) do in fact listen to, consider and weigh diverse preferences and desires to look for balanced, fair alternatives.”

            You call the Idaho wolf season balanced? According to Boise State polling, pro and con feelings about wolves are evenly split in Idaho. If this was a “balanced” management plan, perhaps IDFG would be looking to maintain a population of 500-600 wolves as was once mentioned, before being shot down by legislators. Talk about literary license. These commissioners never had any intention of conceding anything to any other users of the outdoors.

          • avatar Elk275 says:

            Jerry this is from the Lee Metcalf website:

            Using money generated from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service purchased lands which established the Ravalli National Wildlife Refuge near Stevensville in 1963.

            This is what you said:

            ++Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge….. sounds like a wonderful place for “wildlife watching” doesn’t it?
            Well, think again, because they allow both trapping and hunting. I was there 2 weeks ago….lots of gunshots and was informed by the “supervisor” that trappers only have to call to get permission to trap! Not a good place to bring the family for wildlife viewing, especially small kids.++

            The hunters paid for the land out of there duck stamp funds and now the wildlife watcher want to use the refuge and are concerned about hunting and trapping. If it were not for the duck stamp funds there would be no refuge today; it would be a subdivion.

            It is time that wildlife viewers start contributing to these land purchases, except now it is almost to late as land is to valuable. I think that wildlife viewers should be charged $100 a day to visit the refuge. Now that is not going to happen, everyone is welcome but do not bitch about hunting and trapping we paid for the refuge. I could get a little pissed but we all live on this planet and have to get along and each and everyone of us has different outlooks and feelings.

            Duck stamps have contributed to the purchase of over 4,000,000 acres, plus there is Ducks Unlimited.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            Mark,

            “…your personal conflicts with being the woods with hunters in the fall – I’ll suggest that risks are inherent to all wilderness recreational pursuits – including bears, breaking a leg, drowning, etc.”

            I never said I had a conflict with hunters in the fall. I had friendly talks with many hunters last month in the “Frank,” none of which, by the way, had wolf tags. I also hunted for many years myself.

            I am well aware of the dangers of wilderness pursuits. In the last 40 years, I’ve spent close to 1500 days in the Frank Church and Selway country. In all that time I’ve never been bothered by any predators or suffered any injury. But, I and my dogs have been trapped three times and been threatened by hunters twice. Traditionally, dangers to be encountered in the wilds are from wilderness causes which I accept and expect, but shouldn’t be from man.

            What I was complaining about was the lengths of the wolf hunting and trapping seasons, not the “traditional” seasons. My problem with the trapping season is the extension of eight weeks beyond the traditional season, and hunting going eleven months in some areas. This is excessive, not “balanced.”

            I also am well aware of multiple-use concepts. Unfortunately, trapping does not fit with that concept. Traps interfere with other uses. Trappers are like the rest of us, they use the easy to travel trails and place their traps close by. In Montana, trappers represent less than one-half of one percent of the population, in Idaho it is even less. For 400 wolf trappers, you have extended the season two months.

            Finally, trappers do take a priority. Otherwise, they would be liable for the damage their activity does to others, but they are protected by state law. Why? Because legislators recognize the hazard trapping presents. If they were liable for their actions, like the rest of us, there would not be trapping.

          • avatar Elk275 says:

            SAP

            ++Last year, Papoose Trailhead up the road here got snowed in bad. You know how that grade is — more than one horse trailer has gone over the edge. In that case, the hunters paid a contractor to come in and open the road (less than a mile) so they could safely get out.++

            That gives me the chills

            I went over the edge with my horse trailer last Sunday. I almost made it to the top of the hill and then lost traction. My lady friend jumped out of the cab. I was able to control the backward slid for 200 yards before I jack knifed and started over the edge. It was a clump of willows which saved me from plunging another 100 feet down the embankment. My trailer was on a 30 degree pitch with the truck perpendicular to the road. I was in shock and Jennifer took charge and unloaded the mule. I am lucky to be alive, my mule is lucky to alive and no truck or trailer damage. I got everything out of the mountains this morning.

          • avatar JB says:

            “It is time that wildlife viewers start contributing to these land purchases…”

            I couldn’t agree more, Elk. But remember, it wasn’t wildlife watchers that killed the “Teaming with Wildlife” campaign–it was industry, who worried any tax would hurt sales.

            And to put things in perspective, Pittman-Robertson’s 10% excise tax on firearms and hunting equipment was passed in the HEIGHT OF THE DEPRESSION. If today’s anti-government, Tea Party thugs were in charge then there would be no land protected for wildlife–it would all be in private hands, let alone any “job killing” regulation protecting them. Hopefully that thought will give a few of you anti-Obama fanatics pause as you ponder whether to stay home in this election.

          • avatar Paul says:

            I have said all along that as a wildlife watcher I would have no problem paying extra taxes or fees for land and wildlife preservation. Of course that means we get equal say as to what happens with the land and wildlife. Of course I don’t think many hunters or trappers would go for that because “tree huggers” like myself might actually get to have a say in an area that hunters and trappers have dominated for over a century. I don’t buy for a second that many hunters and trappers would give up their domination of the funding for conservation projects. The fact that they provide the funding is far too convenient for them to throw out whenever anyone questions their motives or practices.

          • avatar Jerry Black says:

            Elk……I’d like to have matching funds in my pocket for all the $$ I’ve contributed to wildlife conservation including duck stamps, conservation fees, hunting and fishing licenses.
            Tell me Elk, how much $$ to trappers contribute to conservation? It’s all take with them and I can’t remember in the last 50 or so years of doing stream and wetland restoration that I’ve EVER worked along side a trapper nor have I heard from others of any trapper willing to give back. They’re parasites.

          • avatar IDhiker says:

            Jerry,

            As I recall, in Montana the license fees that trappers pay every year do not even equal the salary and benefits of the FWP Furbearer Coordinator. Trapping is a losing proposition for the state. Not, of course, for the trappers and fur buyers.

            I am unaware of any actions trappers have taken to replenish the animals they trap or their habitat. We have Trout and Ducks Unlimited, RMEF, Wild Turkey Foundation etc…..but no organizations run and funded by trappers. They are takers, plain and simple.

          • avatar william huard says:

            I agree Jerry and ID, trappers contribute very little revenue to state fish and game coffers. Most trappers do their dirty work as a hobby, and they are takers…..Indescriminate takers- you will never hear about the thousands of unintended victims of this “hobby”.
            When did they up their social status from bottom feeders to parasites?

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            Jon Way –
            Forest Service “zoning” for wildife management and public use allocation??

            Oh my

          • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

            JB –
            A little more critical thinking applied to the question of exclusivity would help.
            “There is an important distinction between listening to someone and actually taking actions on their behalf.”
            That implies or assumes that sound public service/representation for advocates of exlusive wolf management opportunities (of which hunting is NOT and example) can only be accomplishment by providing those specific desires in their entirety. Rather than balancing (yes – BALANCING) those desires for wolf viewing opportunity with other public desires for wolf hunting opportunity, management of wolves at lower numbers for other resource management public needs, desires and benefits. No, it is not unreasonable to expect wolf viewing advocates to expect to pursue their interests when others are also pursuing theirs OR the state is executing management programs required to achieve wildlife manageement objectives that have been fully vetted through a well defined state management process. Simply put, sincerely listening to, understanding and finding responsible and BALANCED management options to accomodate the diversity of desires and expectations does not require that every desire/expectation be fully implemented. In the case of the minority segment of Idahoans desiring exclusive recreational viewing opportunities for Idaho wolves – the Commission is challenged to achieve population management objectives, wolf hunting opportunity expectations (approx. 30,000 wolf tags sold to date this season) with a reasonable and implementable management program. Having wolf viewing opportunity literally 12 months of the year is indeed a REASONSONABLE, BALANCED, and RESPONSIBLE management option. The argument that wildlife watchers, photographers and other non-consumptive users are somehow discriminated against because wildlife is disturbed by hunters or will be disturbed/inconvenienced/traumatized by the spectre of hunters pursuing or killing wildlife is – well…. another example of literary license.
            Because all resource management, including management for public benefits, is founded on the provision of OPPORTUNITY, your suggestion that the harvest/kill/take of wildlife is itself an example of exclusive discrimination in favor of hunters is an argument not well thought out. Of course it is not. Because hunting is typically managed to achieve specific wildlife population objectives, including desired numbers of wildlife for hunting and other beneficial uses (viewing/photography e.g.) and because wildlife management has never been and never will be founded on individual animal objectives – the management priority of opportunity for hunters, viewers, photographers is the same: a ROBUST, VIABLE and SUSTAINABLE population of deer, elk, rabbits, trout, wolves, etc. for public beneficial use in it’s own diversity of forms.

          • avatar JB says:

            “The argument that wildlife watchers, photographers and other non-consumptive users are somehow discriminated against because wildlife is disturbed by hunters or will be disturbed/inconvenienced/traumatized by the spectre of hunters pursuing or killing wildlife is – well…. another example of literary license.”

            Mark:

            As I recall the notion that wolves would be more fearful of people after they were hunted, was trumpeted as a reason to hunt them? So let me get this right, IDF&G is going to try and cut the population from >1000 to >151 using hunting, trapping, lethal control, and ???; which will mean reduced wolf densities and wolves that are far more fearful of people. Apparently, wolf numbers are low enough already that hunters are having a hard time finding them (and filling the quotas). And your argument is that advocates of wolves should be satisfied because they too have the opportunity to (not) view a wolf?

            Idaho provides saskwatch viewing opportunities 365/24/7 as well; but I don’t anticipate ever seeing one.

          • avatar JB says:

            And I’ll add that hunting and wildlife viewing need not be mutually exclusive–certainly the way elk are being managed in the West provides for very good viewing opportunities. However, when you manage a species that naturally occurs at low densities and generally avoids people for a minimum viable population, and you apply this type of management statewide, you are minimizing viewing opportunities.

            So it might not be “discrimination” to minimize one group’s benefit in order to maximize another’s, but it sure as hell sounds like it.

          • avatar Immer Treue says:

            JB,

            ***However, when you manage a species that naturally occurs at low densities and generally avoids people for a minimum viable population, and you apply this type of management statewide, you are minimizing viewing opportunities.***

            Wolves are wild animals, and must be respected as such. That said, their natural curiosity is one of their behaviors that lends to their viewing. Plus, when camping, if you have ever been awoken by wolves howling nearby, and I mean nearby, there is nothing quite like it.

            The experiences I have had with wolves never would have occurred if wolves were managed above “minimal” numbers. It must be understood that their are people, not the “wolf cult” people of the fringe castigation, who enjoy experiencing wolves in the wild.

          • avatar JB says:

            “Rather than balancing (yes – BALANCING) those desires for wolf viewing opportunity with other public desires for wolf hunting opportunity…”

            Prey tell what concessions were made to wolf advocates in order to achieve a balance between the disparate desires of these groups? All of this talk of “balance” rings hollow when the IDF&G is managing wolves for their legal minimum.

          • avatar Jon Way says:

            Imagine if the tobacco industry was in charge of smoking laws. There would probably be no legal limits for smoking inside places like my son’s pre-school class.

            Kind of sounds equivalent to some of the claims Mark G. makes about wildlife mgmt. Here’s a good one: “Simply put, sincerely listening to, understanding and finding responsible and BALANCED management options to accomodate the diversity of desires and expectations does not require that every desire/expectation be fully implemented.”

            So, basically, we hear from you parents that smoking is bad but we are the tobacco industry so we are going to do what we want since we are the ones that make the decisions (not the EPA or other neutral health dept). The small majority of us have every right to smoke where we want to.

            Substitute “tobacco industry” with “ranchers/hunters” and “smoking” with “shooting”.

          • avatar ma'iingan says:

            The proposed reduction in wolf numbers, if and when achieved, will affect wolf hunters equally with wolf watchers – i.e. a reduction of opportunity of some magnitude.

          • avatar Jon Way says:

            lets assume all 30,000 wolf tag owners want to kill a wolf. Idaho has a pop. of 1,567,582 so that is only 1.9% of the pop doing the hunting but of course not all diverse interests will be acknowledged. Yeah, Mark, we know who those people are…

          • avatar JB says:

            “The proposed reduction in wolf numbers, if and when achieved, will affect wolf hunters equally with wolf watchers…”

            Which, of course, won’t hurt their feelings at all, as a number of studies indicate that most are motivated by a desire to reduce the wolf population to boost elk populations.

          • avatar ma'iingan says:

            “Which, of course, won’t hurt their feelings at all, as a number of studies indicate that most are motivated by a desire to reduce the wolf population to boost elk populations.”

            Understood, JB. I’m considering wolf hunting in and of itself – regardless of how far the population is driven down, those who wish to hunt wolves in the future will face a reduction in opportunity, equal to those who wish to view wolves.

  11. avatar Paul says:

    Speaking of Idaho, I do not recall seeing anything here about Rex Rammell’s latest poaching endeavors in September.

    http://www.uvsj.com/news/rammell-cited-for-fish-and-game-violations/article_4e6da318-f5c9-11e0-aaf7-001cc4c002e0.html

    Did anyone else know about this? If I missed this I apologize for posting it. Shouldn’t a lifetime ban be in the works for this guy?

  12. avatar Dave J says:

    IDFG’s approach to wolf management has been and continues to be completely one-sided. If the agency believes its approach is in any way inclusive or reflective of the state’s overall population including non-hunters, it is simply delusional.
    A more honest approach would be for the agency to come out say it: “IDFG would like to eliminate wolves, but the legal framework imposed by outsiders (i.e. “the Feds”) won’t allow us do that. Instead we will employ every tool availble to vent our frustration and anger while driving the populationn toward the minimum legal number. Canadian wolves do not have full status as wildife anymore than non-hunters have full status as citizens.”

  13. avatar Josh Sutherland says:

    Jon I have to obviously disagree with you on wildlife watching. I drew a deer tag on a limited entry unit this year in UT. I spent over 21 days on the unit. Guess how many people I saw besides the other tag holders…. ZERO. I saw families camping and riding four wheelers etc. I can count on one hand in the last ten years of hunting, that includes all the months before the hunt starts scouting how many “wildlife watchers” I have seen. Not to mention I hunt chukars from September to Jan in the west deserts of UT and I have NEVER seen anyone out there “Wildlife Watching”. I would love to know where all the “wildlife watchers” are. Cause I never ever ever ever see them!

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Josh and Jon,

      There is something wrong with the argument some people are making. This is not an issue of hunter access versus wildlife watchers.

      Josh, I know you hunt remote areas and western Utah is country that just doesn’t see many people except in a few spots. It is the blank spot on the map in the minds of Utahans. If you saw me there, of which there is a tiny possibility, it would be neither for hunting or for wildlife watching. I would be exploring this little known Great Basin desert and mountain ranges.

      The area of land in question makes a huge difference on who is using the place and for what.

      I do think general hunting season does push out non-hunters to some degree. What puzzles me is whether there is an effect from the proliferation of different kinds of hunts based on age or physical condition of the hunter, weapon of choice, characteristics of the quarry and so forth. It used to be pretty simple. I sure isn’t now.

      • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

        Ralph,
        I agree. Others here know far more about the area, but from what I’ve heard visiting Wisconsin (albeit a few years ago) is that even though the management agency would like to increase deer harvest, the occupation by hunters during the general firearms is so intense that they have not considered extending the general season more than the traditional 8 days. Apparently, they feel the rest of the public would not stand for having the woods completely taken over for more than that, so they have created lower intensity archery and muzzle-loader seasons etc. over a much longer period. Actually, I know hunters from southern Wisconsin who found the general season so intense that they tried it only once and went strictly to bow and arrow after experiencing one opening dawn in woods filled with blaze orange, brown blurs streaking and so many shotguns popping they couldn’t distinguish individual shots. I wonder if there has been a survey of the public to see to what extent they are impacted in their use of the woods for those additional months of low intensity hunting or would they rather just have 6 more days of orange and thunder and be done with it? I can, however, certainly understand the interest in those alternative seasons for many hunters.

        • avatar ma'iingan says:

          SEAK –

          I can’t speak to your Wisconsin experience, but I can tell you that the WDNR has tried to increase the general gun deer season to 16 days from the traditional 9 days on a number of occasions, and each time the proposal has been soundly rejected by HUNTERS.

          Infringement upon the non-hunting public is not the driver for maintaining a 9-day general firearm season – it is the overwhelming preference of Wisconsin hunters.

          As far as the non-hunting public being impacted by the specialty seasons, I would suggest there is very little conflict.

          Certainly, bowhunters strive to be as unobtrusive as possible – so I’m not sure how they could disturb anyone. And the fact that their season is so long results in extremely low hunter density at any given time.

          And although the late-season muzzleloader hunt continues to grow in popularity, hunter density is again extremely low – to the point where many people are not even aware that hunting is still underway.

          • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

            ma’iingan –

            Thanks for the clarification on the source of sentiment behind the general Wisconsin season. My limited experience hiking for a half day or so on public land on a couple of occasions during the bow season in the Siren area is consistent — I didn’t even notice hunting activity.

            There are so few signs of the deer season in this area that I think many people hardly know it’s happening. It extends over 5 months and, aside from a people hiking off the road system in a few spots, much of it is accessed by boat and spread over vast shoreline access on islands. There is no concentration around agriculture and no reliable deer trails to watch as the deer can eat and bed in the same areas in an old growth forest, so you have to go to them, with the exception of heavy snow events that push them near the beach in some areas.

            You don’t even see much hunter orange as it isn’t required, although highly advised in my opinion, especially in the more heavily hunted locations. I passed three hunters coming down our way while walking the beach to work at dawn yesterday, and only one had any hunter orange. About a week or so ago, we had the 3rd hunter shot that I’m aware of locally since about statehood — by one of his own party at Hawk Inlet on Admiralty, and amazingly he survived like the other two before. He was hit in the liver with the bullet stopping under his skin and managed to walk to the beach for Coast Guard medivac and was sent to Seattle (the bullet had gone through his pack first and I suspect must have somehow lost most of its energy for him to have survived).

            To see concentrated evidence of deer hunting activity, one would have to watch the boat harbors on weekend afternoons when people are returning. The one exception was that until it burned and sank after receiving a new engine a few years ago, the beautiful old 85 foot wooden vessel “Aleut Princess” (pioneer of the Alaska king crab fishery in the 50s and 60s) used to come into the main downtown harbor from an extended trip to seldom hunted areas of high deer density on the more maritime Yakobi and Chichagof Islands once a year, with about 40 bucks hanging from the boom and mast. It usually made the front page and always drew out some debate in this very urban community (with about 20% of the population cycling in and out annually from the lower 48). I wonder if Alaska Marine Lines towed their barges in from Seattle in with all the beef halves being shipped to town hanging out in the breeze, if it would generate the same controversy?

  14. avatar IDhiker says:

    Mark Gamblin (IDFG),

    I am still waiting for your response concerning my request of how trappers can release, unharmed, large predators such as mountain lions accidentally caught in wolf traps.

    I realize you are busy, and I’ve tried searching the web for this answer but have had no luck. Everything is how to catch them.

    • avatar Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

      IDhiker –
      Thanks for your patience. I am out of state on family business and my Regional Wildlife Manager, who is also a key member of our wolf management team, is away for a state managers meeting. I have forwarded your information request to the team and will share a complete response as soon as I have it.

  15. avatar John Glowa says:

    As far as the ethics of snaring wolves is concerned, a state wildlife biologist here in Maine conducted research on snared “coyotes” and found many whose brain had essentially exploded due the tightened snare restricting blood flow from the brain. The term used for these animals is “jellyheads”. As wolves and coyotes try to escape the snare, they thrash and pull the snare tighter and tighter wrapping the wire around adjacent small trees and brush in the process. I suppose a “clean” kill can happen in 5-7 minutes. Not a humane death. I hope wildlife and animal advocates publicize the hell out of this abominable nonselective slaughter.

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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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