We hear this from wolf supporters all the time. The Oregonian checks to see if it is true-

We also hear from many of those who didn’t want wolves reintroduced that an attack and human death, probably of a child, is imminent. There are also sometimes hints in stories and rhetoric that sound as though someone might have been killed.

The Oregonian (Oregon Live) wanted to do its own check. They concluded that it’s true there have been no wild wolf-related deaths in the Rocky Mountain States. Story: Have there really been no wolf-related deaths in the Rockies? PolitiFact Oregon. By Ryan Kost, The Oregonian.

On the other hand there was one deadly attack in boreal Saskatchewan in 2005 that was ruled as a wolf attack, and in 2010 Candice Berner was attacked and killed by two or more wolves while jogging near the village of Chignik Lake on the Alaska Peninsula in Alaska. In both deaths the wolves seem to have been healthy. There have been several non-fatal wolf attacks by food conditioned wolves, and or sick or starving wolves. None of these were in the Rocky Mountain States, nor any of the lower 48 states.

My view-

My view is that while a healthy adult wolf could easily kill an adult human, for some reason wolf attacks are rare both in absolute numbers and compared to attacks by other large animals. There are many more fatal and non-fatal attacks on people by horses, cattle, deer, elk, moose, bears, cougars, coyotes and especially domestic dogs.. The idea of a wolf attack seems more feared, however, because of cultural conditioning during childhood and in other places (should be a subject of study).

There also seems to be an asymmetry in reports of wolf attack threats related to attitude toward wolves. Almost all such reports come from people who have expressed fear or antagonism toward wolves before their report of a close call with a wolf. A hypothesis that explains this is that their attitudes cause a misperception of a wolf’s behavior. If there was not misperception, there would have been some attacks.

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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.

166 Responses to Have there really been no wolf-related deaths of humans in the Rocky Mountain states?

  1. avatar Jon Way says:

    Nice post Ralph!

    I think one of the reasons why canid (coyotes, wolves) attacks on humans is so rare (compared to cats like mt. lions which are also statistically rare but they do happen much more often) is because of their method of hunting. Canids (except when preying on small rodents) like to chase prey (being cursorial predators – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cursorial ). This is why wolves are typically called selective but it is also probably one reason why we don’t look anything like their normal prey. Meanwhile cats are generally stalkers (except maybe cheetahs) and their ambush technique probably makes us more prone to attack.

    This is borne out in the stats. As you indicated wolves have killed 2 people in all of recorded history. Coyotes (including the eastern coyote/coywolf) have also killed 2 people in all of recorded history (incl. the 2009 attack in Nova Scotia) and average about 3-5 coyote related bites on humans in all of the US despite them living everywhere including cities and most of these are food conditioned animals. Our domestic dogs aren’t quite as benign, however, as there are about 5 million dog bites on humans in just the US every year, with 100,000 (amazingly) going to the ER every day here in the US, and 15-20 people dying from dog attacks. So, the comment that people in the Rockies are probably more safe with wolves around is indeed accurate as they might lower (a diff’t topic) ungulate numbers which cause far more injuries (mostly thru car crashes), and they themselves are a statistical non-factor – at least for all but the politicians determining their fate…

    Anyhow, good article…

    • avatar Jon Way says:

      Sorry, that should be wolves have killed 2 people in recorded history here in North America. There have been many other wolf attacks in the Old World, esp. in India – as the attached (from Ralph’s posts) describe…

  2. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    We should always bear in mind, wolves are wild animals, predators, no pet, no toy. When we go out into predator country, irrespective if it´s wolf, bear, lion, tiger or leopard country, there is of course a certain, albeit low and theoretical risk that something could happen. And, there is Murphy´s law, things that can happen will happen, sooner or later. It may sound little bit banal in the meantime, but it is still true: Our life itself is somewhat risky! These days we had a case of two wolves stalking children at a bus stop in…..no, not New Mexico, but eastern Germany ! Oh no, not this old and stereotype story again, please! It was of course a feast for the blood thirsty boulevard press, supported by the usual pictures of a growling wolf. Few days later the story was put into perspective when the owner of the two escaped German Shepherds collected his dogs. In the German wolf area there has not been a single documented and proven incident with wolves and people since wolves showed up there again in year 2000. This does not mean that it is completely impossible! Again, things that can happen, will happen, sooner or later, maybe tomorrow, maybe in ten years. But, is this sufficient reason for proactive hysteria? Is this risk unacceptable high? Now comes the “save our children” killer argumentation again. Interest groups and “wolf haters” love to play this card. I say, playing with the legitimate concerns of people is pervert! To put this string of arguments also into the right perspective: We, our society, willingly and quietly accept thousands of casualties annually from road traffic accidents, among them hundreds of children! We willingly sacrifice them for our mobility, for our “civilization”, for our lifestyle. Yes, that´s the price we voluntarily pay! No lobby, no initiative, no “car haters” fighting this very real and omnipresent risk. Another note: According to the American Anthropological Association, more than 200 women kill their children in the United States each year. Three to five children a day are killed by their parents. Where is the general public outcry about these unbelievable numbers? There is none, we shrug our shoulders and go back to normal. But the far flung and theoretical risk of somebody being threatened by a wild wolf out there in the woods drives people crazy. Is this a phenomena associated with the society, our “civilization”? Maybe, I´m always surprised how pragmatic people in other parts of the world, often in the so-called third world, coexist with predators, be it wolves, bears, lions or tigers.

    • avatar Jon Way says:

      Peter, great quote and perspective:

      “But the far flung and theoretical risk of somebody being threatened by a wild wolf out there in the woods drives people crazy.”

      So true… As Ralph has repeatedly stated on this blog, part of it is intentional to deflect us from more important things like the economy or how politicians are raping our wilderness for personal or political gain.

  3. avatar Ken Cole says:

    I heard a well known anti-wolfer testify that he was afraid to mow his lawn for fear of getting those dastardly tapeworms.

    The whole phenomena reminds me of that incident in Portugal where teenagers started reporting that they had the same symptoms as those in a popular teen soap opera.

    Well armed grown men have turned into little wimps and are trying to convince everyone else to be afraid with them.

    • avatar Daniel Berg says:

      I wonder if it was the same guy that said he found fresh wolf crap in his yard almost everyday. 50 square miles of territory or more and one man is lucky enough to get a fresh, steaming pile in his yard with unexplainable regularity.

    • avatar Mike says:

      ++I heard a well known anti-wolfer testify that he was afraid to mow his lawn for fear of getting those dastardly tapeworms.
      ++

      lol. That dude has more to fear form his local Burger King.

      ++Well armed grown men have turned into little wimps and are trying to convince everyone else to be afraid with them.++

      They’re not men. That’s an important distinction to make. They are children trapped inside a fully-grown body.

  4. avatar Elli says:

    The incident in Germany that Peter wrote about has been cleared. The “wolves” who were “stalking” children have been identified as runaway dogs from the local village.
    Merry Christmas to all.
    Elli

  5. avatar Kayla says:

    Now I also have heard this rant from many of those that are Anti-Wolf of how they will attack and kill people. But as far as my experiences being back there in the Thorofare and the deep Absarokas wilds has been is that they are indeed afraid of us Human Two Leggeds and will leave us alone. During the last few years have even stumbled upon their densites back in the Thorofare with Wolf Pups in the den. All that the wolves did was bark at me from like 100 or so yards away, while I gave a hasty retreat. Onetime several years ago in late June I was at Hawks Rest, went and got water from a spring that is right next to the Forest Service Patrol Cabin. I heard one lonesome canine bark which I thought was odd since no one else was around at the time. I looked around but did not see a thing. Then I went on back to my camp. Once I arrived back at camp, there howling at the edge of my camp closeby was the entire Yellowstone Delta Thorofare Wolf Pack. They howled and then went on its way. What an experience! I have had many close encounters with the wolves back here in this wilderness since the wolves were reintroduced. And I have never really felt threatened where I felt my life was in danger.

    Also I will add this also. I have had though many close encounters to Grizzlies thru the years also. Like last summer in mid August was coming down a slope near Clear Lake and here 40 to 45 feet was a Sow Grizzly with 3 newborn cubs of the year. I pulled out my bear spray and faced the Sow Grizzly. The Grizzly and her cubs promptly retreated. After many an close encounter with the Grizzly, I somehow Trust the Grizzly and the Wolves more then many people in this day and age. And certainly more then any freaking politician bigtime!

    In some personal thoughts of mine, I see us Human Two Leggeds now days being such easy prey if many of these predators so desired it seems. But many of these predators do not attack us. Even attacks by Mountain Lions and other critters are really rare if one seriously thinks about it. The thing I see is just how many of us Human Two leggeds are sooooo unconnected to the outside world anymore with living in a world that is soooo over cultured and over domesticated in my opinion. We have lost that which many of our Gatherer-Hunter ancestors had with a knowledge of how to live in the outside wilderness world which to them and also can be for us … which is ‘Home’! Living in balance and Harmony with all Life goes a long ways.

  6. The numerous wolves I have met over the years have shown no interest in me as potential prey. They uniformily avert their eyes when they see me looking at them and pretend that I am not there. They look just long enough to identify me as human and then ignore me and go about their business.
    I suspect the few peple that have been killed by wolves were running or started to run when they saw wolves. I could provoke a similar chase or attack by running from most barking dogs.
    I have met polar bears that looked intently at me as possible prey and I would not want to be out in the wild with them without a large caliber firearm.

  7. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    Old World superstition imported to the New World. Nothing new here. If we can’t get those opposed to wolves to separate fact from fiction; reason from rhetoric ; science from dogma , etc—then we have no chance in upgrading from superstition to mere folklore. It’s been in our ancestor’s cultures so long that it’s almost genetic pathology to automatically hate a wild wolf today.

    A good analogy is the sound made by someone scraping their fingernail on a chalkboard. That sends chills down some people’s spines because it’s almost exactly like the sound of a screeching primate ( Baboon) which triggers our fear response since back when we were tree dwelling hominids c. 1 million B.C. — we had good reason to fear said Baboon and learned that sound, and it became ingrained.

    This is perhaps the greatest obstacle about getting the populace to be open minded about Grey Wolves… it requires folks to Un-Learn the myths and superstitions.

    The cattle barons are not being helpful there…

  8. avatar JEFF E says:

    I fully believe that wolves have utilized humans as prey in many if not all areas of their range throughout history. Has not happened yet (recently) in North America because the right conditions just have not happened such as those with Candice Berger.
    My opinion is that either a food conditioned wolf in Yellowstone or a sick, injured,starving or old wolf elsewhere will be the culprit.
    I know there is always the caveat of a “healthy wolf” but we can only take that so far.

    It is apparent that wolves do have the capacity to take humans as prey as has been recorded in other parts of the world and as the result of human warfare as was conducted historically, widespread famine where 1000’s of people die over a relatively short period of time, or mass murder/genocide such as The Russian Gulag.

  9. avatar Chuck Newton says:

    I am in complete agreement with Kayla on this also, I too feel more safe in the wilds then I do in a gang riden town like Nampa. Having said that I still do pack bear spray when I am in grizzly country. I have had some real strange encounters with wild animals that left me real suprised that it didn’t turn out different. That has me wondering if these wild animals can sense that you mean them no harm??

    • avatar Connie says:

      Interesting comment, Chuck. I seem to have a special affinity with animals and the only explanation I’ve been able to come up with is that they sense I mean them no harm.

    • avatar Mike says:

      Chuck –

      Interesting comments. I looked at a few houses in Nampa this summer. Nice town. Of course, I may not have seen the parts you are referring to.

      Each time I visit this website I wonder what went wrong with Idaho. It’s such a beautiful state, but I’ve never seen such anger. Sure, you get crazy people in any state. Idaho is not unique. What is unique is the overall pervasiveness of it. It bleeds into the landscape there.

      As far as spending time in the woods, I usually feel safer there than in the city. However, mix in guns and booze and that changes real fast. Many “men” think it’s Disneyland when they get into the big wide open spaces. They rip stuff up with their quads, fire guns and hit the bottle hard. I can’t even tell you how many idiotic situations I’ve encountered over the years where booze and guns were the main culprits. I’ve seen grown “men” post paper targets (using the human body as a shape) on perfectly healthy pine trees in drive-in campgrounds and blast away. I’ve seen bonfires during Stage II restrictions that would make your mouth drop. I’ve seen drunks hitting on women, even grabbing them. I’ve seen jerks trampling meadows with trucks and gear so they don’t have to carry their shit to the campsite. It goes on and on. What’s the common denominator? They’re mostly local. To some of them, federal land is the enemy. To others, anything that runs with fur is the enemy. What they all bring is a complete and total disrespect for the outdoors. These are the things I fear in the woods, and one of the reasons I carry bear spray even in black bear country.

      A few years back I had Yellowstone to myself. It was early October and a two day sleet storm had sent everyone home. I had been in my tent for fourteen hours, and wanted to fish even though it was about 33 degrees. As I left Pebble Creek campground, a ranger pulled up and told me I was crazy. He said I was the last one and that he was closing the campground for the season. So I packed up and parked across from the Lamar. I hiked about half a mile out with my fly rod, the sleet coming down hard. The wind was evil, and by the time I got to the bend in the river I was frozen. But I fished anyway, the wind taking my line and doing whatever it wanted. As I reeled in the last cast, wolves howled about me. It was dark, grey, and I was the only thing in that valley with two legs. I did not fear the wolves. I was more worried about kicking up a bison in the dark or a roaming grizzly.

      I’ve fished and enjoyed the outdoors with wolves as long as I can remember, since Iwas a kid. I’ve hiked alone, deep into the last of the upper Michigan wilderness areas and seen their tracks and heard them at night, back when there were no wolves in Yellowstone, and they were trickling back into the upper midwest. I grew up around them in the remote Huron Mountain country, never afraid. What I feared was men with booze and guns. And so should you.

  10. avatar Leslie says:

    I have never had a close encounter in the wild with a pack of wolves, but have had several with solitary wolves, as close as 10′. My experience is that they are willing to keep their distance but are extremely curious. I’ve encountered wolves that will trot off to 25′ away (that seems like the comfort zone with coyotes too), then turn to look back at me. This has happened more than once and I think that curiousity could be their downfall when it comes to hunting season. I think that kind of behavior fits the description of the man/wolf connection throughout thousands of years. Wolves used to follow humans as they hunted and vice versa. Through this connection, tamer and even more curious wolves became our dog friends.

    My old timer neighbor who is wary of wolves gave me a newspaper clipping from the 1880’s, a story about a homesteader wife and child that had been attacked and killed by wolves. He did this so I would become scared and wary too when I hike alone. Upon reflection, I realized this attack probably came at the time of the terrible winter of 1883 and the demise of the bison as well that wolves used to follow.

    I too agree with Kayla. My observation is that in general animals can allow themselves to be seen if they want to. It truly is amazing how animals live covertly at the edges, all around suburbs and in cities, yet are rarely seen. Now who are the smarter ones here?

  11. avatar Doryfun says:

    I just got off the hill from a late bow hunt where I spent two nights camped in the snow on top of fresh wolf tracks. Everywhere I hunted there were wolf tracks all around, (most of the time right behind elk tracks).

    Sure, they take elk, but I don’t mind sharing. In fact, I really appreciated being able to have the feeling of stepping into a sea of wolf wanderings. Never saw one, nor heard any howl, but their hidden presence was a welccome part of my surroundings. I appreciated it for the complete ecosystem it represented, rather than a broken one.

    Never once did I tremble with fear in my sleeping bag. Never felt the need for a rifle back-up by my side, like when camping in grizzly country. No nightmares of vicious wolf attacks, just dreams of a more robust wilds to be completely immersed in.

    Sad and ironic is the level of ignorance related to the natural world, when everyone seems so connected these days by internet and improved access to information. Unfortunately, it is also where much mis-information exists.

    For example, a recent study showed that many people who watch Fox News are often less informed than people who watch no tv at all. Such are the ramifications of some media sources reckless use of non-factual information.

    It is hard to manage anything wisely with the wrong information.

    • avatar Jon Way says:

      Nice perspective Doryfun,
      Make sure you let your opinion known to the people that manage ID wildlife – esp. wolves. The fact that you hunt will only give your opinion more credibility to IDFG.

  12. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    … or put another way , phonetically for the benefit of the intellectually challenged wolf haters:

    ” Those who cry ‘No Wolves!’ do not Know Wolves.”

  13. avatar JR says:

    Minimizing people’s real fears on the subject of wolves is not a wise move in my opinion, considering you are in a debate that weighs highly on public opinion. Founded or unfounded, many people have real fears of the possibility of a wolf attack. Anyone who claims they have been in the woods in close proximity to a pack of wolves, alone, and with no protection in the event of an attack, is not telling the whole truth in my opinion if they say they “felt no fear.” As to the argument that wolves will make the west safer by reducing the number of ungulates in close proximity to highways, thus reducing the number of traffic related deaths due to collisions with said ungulates, it could also be equally argued that those same wolves,in the very pursuit of an elk, could push those elk onto or near a highway, thus resulting in the same collision, or at best negating the benefit seen by a reduced number of ungulates. My personal first hand experience is that, in general, the elk and deer along the Salmon Highway tend to use the river as protection from the wolves in the winter. The elk are naturally low in the valley anyways due to it being part of their winter range, but often the elk can and will escape un pursued across the river. The wolves also, at least in broad daylight, do seem to have a natural aversion (heightened by recent hunting as well) to being in close proximity to the human populations, and it appears that the elk and deer are using this to their advantage as well, by living as close to the human populations as possible, where they are somewhat safer from the wolves. This in turn puts them even closer to the highway in many instances than they would have otherwise been if the wolves had not been there. This is purely subjective data of my own observation, and may not mean much in itself, but can offer an alternative view, to which at least goes to show that the original argument that “wolves will make the west safer by reducing the number of traffic related deaths” is not necessarily the ‘gospel truth’ and may in fact be completely false.

    Is it also possible, that in reference to the argument that there have been “only two wolf related deaths in all of recorded history” which seems to be a gross underestimation on its own (even if it was just in reference to here in the states), that there are not more wolf related deaths recorded because of lack of evidence? I have personally seen the remains of elk only a day after being fed upon by wolves, and seen what little remained, and then a few days later witnessed what even less was visible after the scavengers had their way with the carcass. Im not saying this is the case, Im only asking if it is possible that some unsolved missing person cases could be attributed to wolf attacks. Considering the vast thousands of square miles of wolf territory over the entire country and world, this seems likely to some extent.

    Other predators, like Grizzlys have been mentioned here; Grizzly bears only account for a tiny percentage of YNP deaths, and often years go by between attacks (although this year was a particularly bad one) but that doesn’t alleviate the public’s fear of them, or even make it un-wise to carry bear spray or a pistol for protection from them. Why is it any less wise then to fear wolves, which arguably are an even more effective predator when in pack formation than is a grizzly?

    It has been said or at least inferred that because wolves are coursing predators, and it is in their nature to relish the chase, that humans are not a likely prey. While yes they are by definition so, it does not mean that they will not equally feed on menu items of opportunity. A road kill carcass is just as fair game to them as is a live elk running away. Case in point, last Memorial Day weekend above Henrys Lake, two wolves dragged a road killed cow elk 100 yards up the hillside in broad daylight, in full view of a dozen cabins not 300 yards away. This was seen by a number of witnesses. So if a wolf does not necessarily need its prey to be running from it to entice its need to feed, why then would anyone rationally assume that humans could or would be any less on the menu than other prey? Another example; I talked to a gentleman this morning who’s brother last year lost an elk to a pack of wolves. He had tagged the elk, then made the hike back to his truck several miles to get the packs (for hauling out the meat) upon his return, it was getting close to dark, and shortly into his preparation for boning out the meat, a wolf howled near by. Shortly after, the pack joined in, on both sides. He, realizing this not to be a good situation, left everything behind and crossed the steep ridge above him in hopes shake the pack. Despite his alternate route back, the pack followed him up and over, and proceeded to howl at him from both sides of the trail for over a mile before they left him alone. Upon his return the next day with his brother to retrieve his gear, they found the carcass completely gone. Surveying the situation in hindsight, they both agreed that were it not for his quick action to simply abandon the carcass immediately, he could have easily joined the fate of the elk, and no one would have ever been the wiser to his fate. I have talked to numerous other hunters who have had close calls with wolves, either following the hunters for great distances, surrounding camps in the middle of the night only to be scared off by gun shots, sitting in ground blinds in the middle of the day only to have wolves approach and not retreat until deadly force was applied, etc. Some stories may have elements of exaggeration, but certainly not all.

    While there are only few documented wolf attacks on humans, there are numerous stories of close encounters. While many of them may turn into tall tales in their extreme forms, the basis (has to be acknowledged by a reasonable person) rests likely in a valid account where perchance only fate itself intervened to prevent a confrontation. Furthermore, how many would be attacks were averted because the human prey had in their possession a firearm? Wolves are a smart creature, one that resists (I believe) close human existence, and instead prefers to live deep in the back country when conditions allow. Out of all the human occupants of the same deep back country, a significant portion are armed in some way, be it bear spray, pistol, or rifle. For better or worse, many of these persons would rather ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ when it comes to protecting their own lives or the lives of others near them, which in its own right may account for the low number of documented attacks on humans. Who here if, when encountered a wolf on a trail, and it made an aggressive posture towards them, and it did not retreat upon a shout or otherwise, then would not hesitate to use lethal force instead of waiting for it to literally be on top of them before they reacted such. Are wolves “out to get us” as many of the extreme anti-wolf faction would have us believe? Certainly not, and not any more than other predators that we share the woods with. But does that make them any less dangerous?

    In reference to the comments made relating numbers of car related deaths to wolf related deaths. While this argument sound well and good amidst this fervor of wolf worship, it does not account for the relatively small percentage of the population that live, work, or play in CLOSE proximity to wolves, compared to the Huge percentage, (if not 100%) that lives in and around automobiles everyday. Certainly cars will represent a higher number of deaths than of wolves. Even then, do you drive your car without a seatbelt? No, you take the necessary precautions, and you are aware of certain traffic laws to mitigate the risks. In the same fashion, belittling peoples real fears of wolves can appear that because there is no ‘statistically relevant’ risk of being attacked by wolves, so therefore anyone who has some fear of wolves is irrational. That is no different that suggesting that because of the high rate of automobile deaths, why bother wearing a seatbelt, if its going to happen, its will happen anyways. Or do you call folks who enter the woods with firearms for protection wimps? Even though they are taking no lesser precautions to a potential hazard than you or I putting on that same seatbelt, so as to lessen the risk of that other potential hazard?

    I agree that much of the extreme anti-wolf sentiment is unfounded, but I would expect that a reasonable proponent of wolves would also agree that much of the extreme pro-wolf sentiment is equally unfounded. But to suggest that peoples real fears are not legitimate, or even that they are completely unfounded is simply irrational in and of itself. Human nature is what it is, and our fears are what protect us. Do some of us humans take it to extremes? Of course, that is inarguable. But the basis of this healthy fear of wolves lies in the fact that they do possess the capability of doing us bodily harm. There is nothing wrong with having that understanding. Does it mean we eradicate all wolves because they possess that capability? Of course not. No more than we should get rid of all the cars because of the potential for harm that they possess. But if push comes to shove, and two lives hang in a balance; one a human and the other a wolf, the human life far outweighs that of a wolf. I pray that we all use as much energy and resources to fight real evils in the world as we do with this back and forth wolf debate. Considering the HUMAN hunger and disease the world over, arguing about the plight of a wild animal can seem rather petty at times.

    • avatar Dude, the bagman says:

      “But if push comes to shove, and two lives hang in a balance; one a human and the other a wolf, the human life far outweighs that of a wolf.”

      Fine, but it seems like you agree that most of what motivates people’s violent reactions when they run across a wolf is irrational fear rather than probable danger. I’d be a little on edge walking through a herd of cattle, but that doesn’t mean the cows are out to get me.

      “While there are only few documented wolf attacks on humans, there are numerous stories of close encounters. While many of them may turn into tall tales in their extreme forms, the basis (has to be acknowledged by a reasonable person) rests likely in a valid account where perchance only fate itself intervened to prevent a confrontation. Furthermore, how many would be attacks were averted because the human prey had in their possession a firearm? … I have talked to numerous other hunters who have had close calls with wolves, either following the hunters for great distances, surrounding camps in the middle of the night only to be scared off by gun shots, sitting in ground blinds in the middle of the day only to have wolves approach and not retreat until deadly force was applied, etc. Some stories may have elements of exaggeration, but certainly not all.”

      Well, I can tell you about my experiences as someone who isn’t really afraid of wolves, but recognizes that they could kill me if they were motivated. Every time I’ve ran across wolves in the backcountry (in the Frank and other wilderness areas in NW MT), they haven’t wanted anything to do with me.

      I’ve had my camp “surrounded” in the middle of the night, and over the course of a couple of days in the meadow in the Frank Church. The wolves howled throughout those couple of days, and they were close, but we never even saw them.

      I’ve waited out a thunderstorm in a truck at the end of the road into the Frank, and had a pack of wolves cross within 100 feet of me. I got out of the truck to take pictures. The pups were curious and came to investigate me. The adults didn’t like that at all, and howled at them from up on the hill. The pups listened, and the entire pack climbed up the hill out of sight. I howled at them for a couple of minutes, and they howled back until they were sure it was a ruse.

      Last summer I was hiking in MT, and came across a wolf pack at the top of a saddle. A couple of younger wolves saw me and ran off. I howled at them as they did. This prompted one of the wolves to come over the top of the saddle and investigate the commotion. I was downwind, still, and dressed in pretty drab clothing. The wolf trotted toward me, and never realized I was there until it got within about 30 feet and I said “hi there, big fella.” At that point the wolf figuratively s#&t its pants and retreated to about 50 yards away. It stopped to look at me and kind of woofed nervously for a minute before running off. It seemed curious and confused. I got some good pictures. I admit that I did have my hand on my bear spray as it approached, but the wolf didn’t want to have anything to do with me.

      I’ve ran across wolves in meadows in the Frank several other times, but they always leave once they know I’m there. I’ve never had to fire a weapon or defend myself. Probably a lot of people who felt they did let their imaginations get the better of them. Remember this story? http://www.mtexpress.com/index2.php?ID=2005112785

      I’m sure your friend who shot the elk was pretty scared when the wolves pushed him off his kill. I would have been too. Still, it seems like they were more interested in eating elk meat and just wanted him to leave.

      Personally, I’m a lot more afraid of bears and cougars than wolves. Cougars will stalk you, and bears are big and can be grumpy. I’ve only ever seen cougars on the road, and I’ve done a lot of hiking in cougar country. And my experiences with bears have mirrored my experiences with wolves – they all run away.

      And I’m really more afraid of humans in the backcountry than animals. There’s no reason not to take precautions against any potentially dangerous beast, but there’s no reason to let your fear get the better of you either.

      Here’s one of the monster Canadian wolves that crossed into Montana:
      http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff498/dudethebagman1/wolf5.jpg
      http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff498/dudethebagman1/wolf3.jpg
      http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff498/dudethebagman1/wolf2.jpg

      Running away:
      http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff498/dudethebagman1/wolf4.jpg

      The pups from the Frank. It was getting dark, but you can see their eyes in the flash. One had different colored eyes:
      http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff498/dudethebagman1/246.jpg

      • avatar Paul says:

        During my time in the wilds I had far more fear of the two legged predators than any four legged one. I am of the opinion that these stories of wolves “stalking” people are 99% bull$hit. I am not saying that it is impossible, but it certainly seems strange that only hunters, ranchers, and their families are the “victims” of this. I live in an area that is on the edge of my town so seeing wildlife, including some predators, is a common occurrence. I was out walking my 9 and half pound Japanese Chin last night just before dark when what I thought was a dog crossed in front of us about a half of a block ahead. As I got closer I realized that it was a coyote. He or she took one sniff/look at us and took off running as most wild canids tend to do. I felt no fear and my dog actually got excited and wanted to play with the coyote. Other than being excited by the chance encounter, I continued my walk without any fear or hesitation. If I were like many of these people who are terrified of all things predator, I am sure that I could have embellished this encounter and say that the coyote was “stalking” my dog and I just for being in the vicinity. I am not saying that wolves and coyotes are harmless and docile animals. What I am saying is that the threat or perception of a threat often comes from preconceived notions rather and the facts on the ground. If you are led to believe that the “big bad” wolf, bear, coyote, etc is out to eat you and your family you are going to think that they are “stalking” you just by being in the vicinity the animal. I also think that if the predator were going to attack, you would be the last to know. Just hearing/seeing a predator does not automatically constitute a threat.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        Thanks for the photos Dude.

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        Dude,

        Nice captured moments. In terms of the long legs, once I had completed a 50+ mile ride(cycling) I was soft pedaling down the Fernberg (the end of the road)and I saw a black shape trotting along the road. A body floating along upon ridiculously long legs. At first I could not tell if it was coming or going.

        As I got closer it was obviously a black wolf with it’s backside toward me. When I got within 30-40 feet I gave it a couple of tongue clicks. I’ll never forget those large golden eyes looking at me with a combination of surprise and humility. Legs, eyes and all then ran off into the woods.

      • avatar DT says:

        Why are there such differing views from people who are experienced in the wilderness when it comes to wolf encounters? Either they are curious and want nothing to do with you or they are stalking you trying to eat you.
        Either they are a part of nature or they are vicious animals that should be wiped out.
        There are no wolves where I live. I have traveled up into the north country, upper Michigan and Wisconsin and have not heard a real wolf howl yet. I’m hoping some day that will change.

        • avatar Alan says:

          “Why are there such differing views from people who are experienced in the wilderness when it comes to wolf encounters? Either they are curious and want nothing to do with you or they are stalking you trying to eat you.”
          It’s all a matter of perspective. If you expect to see monsters, you will see monsters. I have been surrounded by wolves on a couple of occasions. On one of those occasions they howled and woofed. I never felt threatened and simply enjoyed the magical moment that it was. I felt sorry to have to leave and continue my hike. Another might go home and tell the story of how they barely escaped with their life.

          • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

            Alan,

            I certainly agree. When people are confronted with ambiguous events, and a wolf encounter is usually is one because it doesn’t happen often, people make sense of the event through their predispositions. A wolf just standing and looking at someone from 50 feet away will be interpreted in very different ways by people. If you know their amount of knowledge and attitude toward wolves beforehand, you can predict the tone of the wolf encounter story they will tell.

        • avatar Mike says:

          ++Why are there such differing views from people who are experienced in the wilderness when it comes to wolf encounters? Either they are curious and want nothing to do with you or they are stalking you trying to eat you.++

          The people that see the wolves as “stalking them” want to see that. This is how they are conditioned in their bass-ackwards community, and so that’s what they see. They also see Cessna’s as black helicopters or secret test planes.

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      JR,

      Fear of wolves? No. Respect, yes. I have a phobia of spiders, but I don’t kill them when I see them, nor do I advocate their killing.

      I have a healthy respect for anything wild. To throw a bit of kerosene on the smoldering ashes, I have shared lakes (frozen) with wolves, approached by an entire pack, fear no, excitement, yes. Are MN wolves that much different than NRM wolves? I really think not.

      I’ve written this before, but of all the times I’ve seen wolves and they did nothing to me, how many times did they see me, and I didn’t know they were there?

      I have had my camp surrounded by wolves twice, and while the howling was initially unnerving, it was as beautiful to me as the elk bugling that you so much enjoy. My biggest concern with the delisting is how long will I have to keep orange on my dog(s), and if trapping begins, again, how much concern should I have for my friend wandering into someone’s trap. I have no fear for that at this time. Idaho Hiker has brought this forth very eloquently a number of times. Got no real problems with wolves, but those who will now pursue wolves add danger to my life that I did not have before. Perhaps much concern about nothing, but none the less, it is now there.

    • avatar Mike says:

      ++Another example; I talked to a gentleman this morning who’s brother last year lost an elk to a pack of wolves. He had tagged the elk, then made the hike back to his truck several miles to get the packs (for hauling out the meat) upon his return, it was getting close to dark, and shortly into his preparation for boning out the meat, a wolf howled near by. Shortly after, the pack joined in, on both sides. He, realizing this not to be a good situation, left everything behind and crossed the steep ridge above him in hopes shake the pack. Despite his alternate route back, the pack followed him up and over, and proceeded to howl at him from both sides of the trail for over a mile before they left him alone. ++

      Wolves don’t “howl at you”. Sounds like a fairy tale.

      ++Upon his return the next day with his brother to retrieve his gear, they found the carcass completely gone. Surveying the situation in hindsight, they both agreed that were it not for his quick action to simply abandon the carcass immediately, he could have easily joined the fate of the elk, and no one would have ever been the wiser to his fate.++

      hahhahahaha. There’s that spooky “woods magic” talk that spreads like wildlfire amongst gullible folks.

      ++I have talked to numerous other hunters who have had close calls with wolves, either following the hunters for great distances, surrounding camps in the middle of the night only to be scared off by gun shots, sitting in ground blinds in the middle of the day only to have wolves approach and not retreat until deadly force was applied, etc. Some stories may have elements of exaggeration, but certainly not al++

      hahahhahahahaha

    • avatar John R says:

      I’ve done winter camping in Yellowstone about 8-9 times in the last 13 years, and seen and heard wolf packs each time. Sometimes very close to my tent at night. It never felt like they were of any danger to my person.

  14. avatar Doryfun says:

    In response to JR’s book. Sorry, I’m just not afraid of wolves, and I am not a liar. At least not until they give me reason to fear them, like Immer, I respect them. I have had a few encounters with bears that did scare me however.

    I’m also not belittling other peoples fears, real or not, like they say, perception is reality. My point was that it is hard to filter out fact from fiction in a sea of emotionalism.
    What good does it do to promote fear mongering with bad information?

    Sure, there are always exceptions to anything in the wilds, and hell, a wolf my kill me on my next outing. I’m willing to risk it, and would rather be killed by a four legged than the more dangerous two legged kind, or some mechanized monster.

    As a kid, a story in a comic book always stuck with me: three men were being interviewed for a position to be an astronaut to fly out beyond our solar system. Each one had to first do a solo mission to saturn and return, then report what they saw.

    The first man saw horrible monsters. The second one saw monsters worst than the first. The third one saw a paradise. He was hired. Apparently, when they all flew through the rings of saturn it had an effect on their minds. It made them see what they wanted to see.
    So they sent the one who would be looking for the good side of things.

    When I raft rivers and come to a bad rapid, I get out and scout. First I identify the holes and more dangerous places, then I put all my energy on where I want to run. If my energy is on the holes, they work at sucking me in. My focus is all on where I want to go.

    Might our view of negotiating our way through the wilds be improved with a smilar attitude?

    Oh, and like Immer and Idaho Hiker, I am more concerned about my dogs. I’ve had to release them from leg traps twice now. Along with more sharp shooters out and about, and add the fact that more private lands continue to get posted, the resulting accumulated impact to finding a safe place to take your dogs is seriously compounded. This is when I do feel fear, more than from any wolf.

    • avatar IDhiker says:

      As far as fearing wolves, I can say honestly I do not. Am I careful around them or when in wolf country – absolutely! I have been up close to wolves many times and never had any threatening situations, even though I had dogs with me every time. As I have said before on this site, I never go in the wilderness unarmed and I realize there is a potential danger. But, it is just potential, not a serious risk.

      For someone who had for many years an irrational fear of bears, which I blame on my childhood upbringing, I can see where this fear comes from. It is mainly from heresay and misinformation. Education is the key.

      Over the years, I learned that bears aren’t really a hazard with proper precautions taken, and I’ve never had a bear incident in my life. I’ve even learned in the last number of years to travel comfortably in grizzly country.

      So, since I’ve been there, I know that these fearful people’s phobias are irrational, but “real” to them. Over time, here in the northern Rockies, hopefully this fear will dissipate. There are much more serious dangers to face in the backcountry than wolves.

  15. avatar Dan says:

    I think the reason we have not seen any wolf/human incidents is because where the wolves are currently located and prey base that’s located there. Currently, the wolves are located mostly in areas uninhabited by humans in the Bitterroots/other mountains within Id/Mt/Wy where there is an abundance of elk. Why would wolves chase something unfamiliar like a human when a wolf knows exactly what to do with an elk. I don’t think we will see any incidents until the elk populations are diminished to the point wolves are desperate to find a few to kill. Will this ever happen? No, not with the current wolf hunting seasons in place.
    Where is the place we are most likely to see an incident in the lower 48. I would say Yellowstone because the elk populations are plummeting and as a result the wolf population is dropping due to lack of prey making for some hungary wolves as evidenced by the taking of a bison. Let’s face it, the lower 48 is a target rich environment if you’re a wolf. There are millions of things to eat – elk/deer/cows/sheep/etc. Relative to these potential meals, humans are rarely standing around in the woods or edges with the woods. Outside of Yellowstone, a wolf/human incident is only going to happen if a weird set of circumstances happen. With the absence of domestic animals in Yellowstone and the downward trend of elk and wolves the chances of a wolf/human incident, I believe, increases somewhat.
    Side note…2 bow seasons in a row now, I have been within 20 yards of a pack of wolves and they showed no actions like they thought of me as food. The first season they walked away (there was no wolf season) and this year I put an arrow through one of the wolves but the shot was to high and I never recovered the wolf after 2 days of searching (I hope he survived)

    • avatar Jon Way says:

      Dan,
      Interesting perspective you have on the lack of food in Yellowstone. While elk numbers are down I am amazed how many I see every time I am out there. Wolf numbers have stabilized and I wouldn’t even be surprised if elk increase given some favorably mild winters like what is taking place right now. I don’t think that elk will plummet any more and there are plenty of them there to feed the 100 odd wolves that live in the park presently.

      Unless feeding of wolves takes place, which is unlikely given the laws, I doubt wolves in Yellowstone will ever view humans as food.

      • avatar Dan says:

        I think we agree….an incident in Yellowstone is far from imminent..I only think it is somewhat higher than elsewhere…and I think elsewhere is pretty low….

    • avatar WM says:

      If the Kenton Carnagie incident in Canada, the school teacher incident in AK, and the advices of Dr. Geist (from his experiences in Canada and specifically on Vancouver Island) are to serve as any indications of if and when wolves might consider an attack on humans, it might be: 1) if they were habituated to humans (had been given food and they showed no fear of them); 2) the “prey” exhibited flight type behavior (like running), or: 3) the wolves were severely starved and no alternative food source was available to them (mostly rare because they tend to migrate toward where they can find prey).

      I would be inclined to believe Yellowstone would be one of the last places an attack would occur, especially since NPS is engaged in a purposeful program of removing or eliminating potential problem wolves, and educating humans (regardless of animal species) to keep from creating attractive conditions to change the behavior.

      Seems a couple of years ago there was a young male wolf chasing motorcycles and bicyclists as they passed on the roadway (behavior, not unlike a young dog, and I think it was near Mammoth Hot Springs). The problem was swiftly dealt with lethally.

      Another situation involved elk moving into the buildings area around Park HQ at Mammoth Hot Springes, arguably to avoid wolves. NPS was a bit nervous about the elk in the area potentially being pursued by wolves near people. They used cracker shells to disperse the elk from the area (but I think the elk are back). Haven’t heard any follow-ups on these types of things for quite awhile.

      One would think if there were incidents or conditions in Yellowstone it would be publicized.

      Humans with dogs on or off leash leash seem to be a problem sometimes, when the combination exists near wolves. Though there are more threats of attack, and maybe a few skirmishes. From what I have read involving such past incidents, if a human were to be injured, it would be more likely in defense of the dog, rather than a direct attack on the human.

      Does anyone know what ever happened to the elk hunters (in MT?) who went back on horses to retrieve their kill and they or their horses were “attacked” by wolves? They killed at least one. There were initial witness/investigative reports on line, but no final word on whether these guys would be charged with any violation (happened while NRM wolves were listed, as I recall).

  16. avatar Kayla says:

    Now as far as JR’s book above, I am in disagreement with what he wrote. This what I wrote earlier, is based simply on my experiences in the Yellowstone and Absaroka Backcountry thru the years. JR from what he wrote, would say that I am a liar. I stand by what I wrote above! JR does have his freedom to say what he wants. But I also have the right to disagree! When the wolves were first reintroduced, I did have some fear in my heart as to what the wolves in a pack would do when I came upon them in the back deep wilds. From an untold number of experiences now, this fear and trepidation has vanished. In what I have personally experienced first it is always the wolves who first retreat and depart from being close to me. I have yet to have one experience in the deep back Yellowstone Wilds where I have felt threatened by a wolf or a wolf pack. And it is almost always for the record that am hiking by myself and unarmed. Yes this is right, I hike unarmed without a gun in Grizzly and Wolf Country with just Bearspray and using my head! Now if someone wants to disagree with me that is fine. But I will swear on a stack of Bibles with this statement that I have never felt threatened by a wolf or a wolf pack when deep in the Yellowstone Backcountry. And anymore I feel more safer around the wildlife or whatever sort including grizzlies and wolves then many Human Two Leggeds! Like Paul said earlier, I am more afraid of the various people I meet in the backcountry then any Grizzly or Wolf. It seems they the Grizzly and the Wolf have the common sense anymore and does NOT stab someone in the back like we Human Two Leggeds do.

    Now for several more close encounter wolf stories. Last summer I was on the Yellowstone Park side in the Thorofare and off the main trail just hiking along the Yellowstone River. I love to do this for one never knows what one will see and the banks are always soooo covered with all kinds of tracks. On this day where I was going, every sand and gravel bar was covered with wolf tracks with some grizzly tracks here and here. I did come upon some animal (Elk) carcasses on the gravel bars. I always was keeping track of what was around just in case. I try to give all the wildlife the room that they deserve. Plus I did not want a super close Grizzly Encounter … I have been there. I love Grizzlies but I give them their space. Then in some deep willows near the Yellowstone River, here the Yellowstone Wolf Pack started howling right on the other side of the willows nearby. Wow! I just stood their taking it all in and wondered what would happen next! The wolves had sensed me and quickly departed from that area.

    On another occasion, this was in early June in the Soda Fork Meadows which is 5 to 6 miles up from the Turpin Meadows Trailhead at the end of the Buffalo Valley Road near Moran. Here shortly after waking up, saw a wolf pack take down an Elk Calf in some willows right below camp. I was on a bluff overlooking the meadows and below camp was and is a thick stand of willows. I have camped here in the spring for years. Now when they took down the Elk Calf, I just sat down and watched the show with the wolves feeding on the Elk calf right below camp. This went on for like 30 minutes or so. Then one by one they noticed me sitting right above on the bluff near camp watching them. Then they trotted off and left the area. Later at some point at night a Grizzly came by and took the carcass. I was never threatened at any point.

    On another occasion in mid August, was in the Pacific Creek Meadows which is like 4 to 5 miles up from the trailhead at the end of the Pacific Creek Road. Now of course anymore there are always Grizzly and Wolf tracks and sign along the trail. That evening before dark and near camp out in the meadows, came the entire Pacific Creek Wolf Pack which numbered near 15 individuals or so. Here among the members were the new pups of the year. So I got into a position near some trees quietly where hopefully they would not see me for I did not want to scare them. Here till dark they played with each other out in the meadows nearby with occasional howling. I do not know if they knew I was around or not. It was such a treat. In the Thorofare near Hawks Rest in the Teton Wilderness and at the Soda Fork Meadows have had a multitude of occasions when the wolf pack has stumbled onto my campsite. All the wolves did was howl or give a bark or two then quickly retreat.

    Now if someone feels like they have been stalked by wolves … do think it could just be curiousity of the wolves wondering about us freaking Human Two Leggeds. And like Paul, do think that these stories of wolves stalking people are 99% Baloney! Now I personally have a very deep respect for Wolves, Grizzlies, and animal residents in this backcounry. As for myself, how much can they be teachers to us if we let them be. Now as for being in the backcountry, one much always be using one’s head and watching what is going on for on any given day anything could happen. I have heard far far more stories of people being treed by an angry Moose then someone seemingly threatened by an Grizzly or Wolf combined! But that I guess is not press worthy of threatening Moose for it is always the Big Bad Wolf or Big Bad Grizzly! The biggest threat I think when it comes to the deep wilds and the creatures therein and us Human Two Leggeds is now days how much we Humans are sooooo disconnected bigtime from anything wild it seems! How many people have even forgotten how to be or go about business when they are out in anyplace natural it seems anymore. Just for myself, any city or metropolitan place on this planet is a far more dangerous place in my opinion, then any place that is wild and natural. I would rather be in the deep wilds anyday surrounded by Grizzlies or Wolves then in many of these freaking cities surrounded by clueless and braindead people it seems anymore.

    Just my two cents worth.

    • avatar Kayla says:

      Thought I would add this one more story on how the Wolf can be such a Teacher to us Human Two Leggeds instead of some threat. Now I was back in the Thorofare, deep in the Yellowstone backcountry one day in early June. I decided to cross the Thorofare River and check things out on the other side. No other people were around in the area at the time. The Thorofare River was full of spring snowmelt but there is this oneplace of a bunch of islands where one can cross the river usually even in spring. I crossed the river which provided no hassle. On the other side, north side in Yellowstone NP, is a densite that I know of for the Thorofare – Yellowstone Delta Wolf Pack. I thought I would check it out from a long distance away to see if it was occupied or not. I did not want to alarm the wolves in anyway for it is their ‘Home”. Once I crossed the Thorofare River, I tried to stalk and go quietly across the landscape as much as I could to a nearby lookout point where could overlook the whole area from a distance. After sometime eventually made it to the lookout point. But once I got there, right on the other side, here was one of the wolves just there standing staring at me. He was like saying, “Hi There, I knew you were here’. It just blew me away for I tried to go so quiet to no effect. He still knew I was there. I very quickly looked around, yes new wolf pups of the year at the den, and very quickly retreated leaving it to the wolves. They did not threaten me in anyway! And they did not follow or pursue this dumb Two Legged. When it comes to the landscape and knowing what is happening around us, how often we Human Two Leggeds are the really dumb ones. Gosh to be as alert and know what is happening all around as one of these wolves or so much of the wildlife. What a teacher these wolves can be or a grizzly can be. All the Native Americans had such respect for all the wildlife with treating them as Teachers in so many aspects also. I have watched the herds of Elk in the Spring feeding in the Soda Fork Meadows being watchful and alert in this day and age. How much can we soooo dumb downed modern Human Two Leggeds learn from all the wildlife.

      As for late last summer, this wolf pack is still using this same densite. And such a great hidden location in plain site for the wolves.

      For Whatever it is worth.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Kayla – enjoyed reading about your encounters :)

  17. avatar Mike Post says:

    I think a lot of what people are describing here is the context within which people and wolves (or any predator) meet. For better or worse the bulk of the folks that comment here are knowledgeable about wolves, wolf habitat, and predator-prey interaction. It is not a shock to run into a wolf so it does not pose the same fight-flight conflict that other less prepared folks might experience.

    Secondly, while deaths are very few, the numbers of coyote attacks on humans are astronomically higher than wolves. These occur maining in urban contexts with habituated coyotes and disconnected city folks. I have documentation of over 60 attacks just in the Los Angeles area alone and by attacks I mean blood drawn, puncture wounds,…real contact, not just threatening behavior. This urban coyote history has to have an effect on how the most urban folks (read that majority of voters/contributors) think about wild canines generally. There is a big education gap there and I suspect it is why there is a large silent majority that is not ready to jump in on either side of the wolf debate.

    I have had my own wolf experiences in Ontario, Alaska and just this summer in Yellowstone. I stopped to water a tree (talk about vulnerability) just off the shore of Yellowstone Lake and looked up to see two white wolves from the Mollies Pack trotting by at about 50 yards. I howled at them and they stopped and stared. I seemed to see a look on their faces of both disbelief and contempt for my amature vocalizing but I did get a good close look for almost two minutes and then they turned away and trotted on. I was quite energized by the whole experience, even if the wolves were bored to death…

  18. avatar JR says:

    My apologies for my last ‘book’ and I will try to be more succinct in my rebuttal;

    To clarify, I’m not suggesting that we as the human race need to fear wolves any MORE that we would fear any other large predator. I am merely confronting the notion that there is ZERO need or even a reason to fear them, and the implication that anyone who does fear wolves for their own reasons, justified or not, needs not to be belittled for a perfectly rational emotion. Just because the preponderance of stories shared on this site, and I’m sure in general, usually have happy endings, does not mean that the possibility of a non-happy ending is any less plausible, nor should someone accuse the bearer of a less than happy story to be a ‘liar’ any more than the you or I would appreciate such an accusation.

    In truth, I don’t expect that folks as experienced in the wilderness as it appears those who frequent this site are, will bear the brunt of nasty occurrences like wolf or bear attacks, and the reason is simple; we do know how to behave ourselves in the woods, we are experienced, and knowledgeable to that which will keep us safe. Unfortunately, most who enter the woods in today’s modern world, don’t have the necessary knowledge to keep them safe, and that lack of knowledge most certainly would breed fear. And in all reality, with an absence of knowledge, sometimes it is only that resulting fear that would keep someone out of harm’s way.

    I too enjoy the call of the wild, be it elk or wolf. But I also tread cautiously near the feelings of those who are not so optimistic about sharing the woods with such a capable carnivore.

    I also continue to resist the implications that because a story originates from a hunter that it inevitably must be; wholly untrue, mistaken, or mis-told in some fashion. Hunters as a majority represent a highly trained, ethical, and moral group of individuals, and the dishonest, illegal, or unethical decisions of a few unscrupulous hunters need not taint the entire pot any more than a few unscrupulous environmentalist groups need taint that pot for the rest who would bear that title.

    Furthermore, it would be regrettable in my opinion to deny the absence of evidence to the contrary or evolution of your opinion, and even when evidence is offered to you; to then summarily deny it. If you are incapable of a challenge to your ideas, then a proper or rational outcome is impossible. I hope as a rational person, and that by interacting with others in this setting, my own opinions might be altered, enhanced, grown, or altogether come closer to an ultimate (if it exists) truth.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      +I too enjoy the call of the wild, be it elk or wolf. But I also tread cautiously near the feelings of those who are not so optimistic about sharing the woods with such a capable carnivore+

      JR – my only suggestion to you is – shouldn’t be in the woods – if you feel so threatened by a carnivore, who many find curious and downright bored by our presence – unless of course, your a rancher or a hunter…

    • avatar Dude, the bagman says:

      Fair enough. I have heard of wolves pushing a cougar off a kill (and heard the wolves). I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch.

      As for “stalking,” I do think that it’s probably 99% imagination (like those researchers the FS had to evacuate from the Sawtooth a few years back), but a VERY SMALL NUMBER of people HAVE been killed by wolves. That behavior is an aberration for the animal, so I couldn’t categorically deny that stalking could also have happened. Sometimes even deer attack people. It’s unusual, but it does happen.

      As for the noble educated hunter – meh. Hunters are people, as are backpackers/campers. Some are respectful, some are real slobs. The activity itself doesn’t bestow any special status onto someone who’s already a (fill in the blank – your choice). You could say the same thing about people who fish, but we’ve all noticed the balls of line and empty packaging some of those people leave behind when no one’s watching. Both groups are too diverse to stereotype either way.

    • avatar Doryfun says:

      I would agree, “abscence of evidence, is not evidence for abscence.” There is also good reason that we have two ears and only one mouth. We can’t learn anything new, if we are the only one doing all the talking, since we already know what will be coming out of our own mouth.

      I agree with you about challenging things. Because, one of the beauties of a “challenge” – is the chance to grow.
      After all, the more we learn, the more we find how much more we don’t know. Unraveling mysteries (as best we can) is a marvelous thing.

    • avatar Kayla says:

      Good piece JR. I have to agree with you on that second paragraph of yours. You seem to be wood savy yourself to say that. I personally do know quite a few good hunters here in Jackson who do care about anything wild. Yes how many people these days do not know how to behave in the woods and then are afraid of anything wild it seems. Thru the years how many parties have I met back in the Thorofare at Hawks Rest who never seemingly go any distance from their campsites in that Paradise because of their fears and worries.

  19. avatar Immer Treue says:

    Thought I would put it here as it has been a good 24 hours for seeing wolves. Last night returning home from dinner at a friends place I turned onto my county road and not expecting it, a wolf “floated”‘ in front of me abbot quarter mile from my cabin. Got my dog and w et for a walk with him and something really picked his curiosity.

    Today was the first day I actually got on skis on the lakes of the BWCA. Ice is great but snow cover has been poor. My knees, shoulders and other parts appreciate the flats of the lakes. I can’t tell you how many times I have sskied toward something on the ice, only to see a large rock. Tried it today and about 400 meters out something moved from the black shape on the snow.

    Got a bit closer and saw ravens and the typical rocking horse motion of a wolf chasing a raven. At least three grey forms moved on the ice. Curiosity beckoned me to get closer as I did not have binoculars with me (s&@7)! However common sense ruled in particular because I had my GSD with me, and in general, just leave the wolves alone to do their thing.

    I had come over the portage that gave a straight line of site to what I can only suppose was a kill site on the outward portion of the trip, and nothing was visable. On the return portion of the trip I made the observation, and I assume a kill was made in the 30 minutes it took me to ski out and back on the lake.

    Two things. One, in tune with what I have said many times in regard to wolves in the BWCA, is that the wolves are there, and they leave people alone. The wolves could see me, and my dog, who remained close. They made no motion in my direction. Second, to be able to witness nature in this fashion is truly spectacular. I only hope as wolves are managed in MN, that these opportunities for observation do not disappear.

  20. avatar Louise Kane says:

    why would you shoot a wolf with a bow and arrow if it was not bothering you. You hoped it survived. what kind of animal could survive after being shot with an arrow? Did you think the mate would surgically remove the arrow? You have just stated the issue with bows and arrows. Cruel beyond words.

    • avatar Savebears says:

      Louise, they are legal game animals, which is why you would put an arrow in them. You may not agree with the hunting of wolves, but if it was a good faith effort to legally take a wolf with a bow. This bull crap anti hunting slant is starting to get real old. You people have to understand there are legal and ethical hunters that correspond on this website and whether you like it or not, we will continue to correspond on this website as long as the people in charge allow us to do so.

      • avatar Paul says:

        Those of us who are not hunting supporters have just as much of a right to state their opinions as anyone else does on here. This is no different than right wingers constantly complaining in other arenas about how “immoral” abortion is. It is still legal just as these forms of hunting are but the complaining does not stop. Not one person is saying that you or others cannot correspond on this website. I actually like to hear the view of the other side. But that does not mean we have to like or accept what activities you partake in. You have a problem with anti-hunters, and some of us have a problem with hunters. That is just the way it is but no one is making any effort to shut anyone up.

        • avatar Savebears says:

          Paul who was making an effort to shut anybody up? I know I did not tell anyone to shut up, you really need to get over yourself, you seem to really not like it when one of us lousy hunters chimes in on an extremist point of view. The post in question was accused of being cruel, he legally shot a wolf, he unfortunately did not recover the wolf, as a bow hunter, despite the best efforts, it does happen every once in a while, I have lost 2 deer in thirty years of hunting, one during gun season when I hunted with a gun and one to a bow since I started hunting with a bow. Both animals I spent close to week trying to find them.

          As others of my ilk have said, I really don’t worry about what you think, but when I continue to see this anti hunting BS, I will interject my opinion on it.

          Yes, I have a big problem with anti hunters, just as you have a big problem with hunters, that is the way it is, I have a big problem with liberals, you have a big problem with conservatives. Fortunately we are allowed to post our opinions without reprisal at least not reprisal that really matters.

          • avatar Paul says:

            I am not going to get into another pissing match with you. Did I say one word about the person who posted about shooting the wolf with an arrow? No, I didn’t. You get pissed every time someone takes offense at hunting behaviors that they find distasteful. I get pissed when I read people trying to justify that behavior as being something more than it really is whether legal or not. If you kill something and eat it fine, but who is eating a wolf? Besides what does it really matter what “liberals” like myself think? You hunters can shoot one type of animal or another year round with the full support of the vast majority of state governments in the United States. We “liberals” can file a few lawsuits and have PETA nuts walking around in lettuce bikinis to get their points across. It has been that way for years and will continue to be that way for many years to come. Just like many Christians in this country many hunters act like they are being persecuted when in reality they have all of the power. I am expressing my opinion just like you have. I am not attacking you or anyone else personally.

    • avatar Savebears says:

      Just to add, lots of animals survive after being shot with both a gun and a bow, heck I ever survived after being shot with a 7.62 x 39 AK-47 round!

    • avatar somsai says:

      Some ask why, others say why not.

    • avatar Mike says:

      It is cruel.

  21. avatar somsai says:

    In reading through these comments I’m struck by a couple of things.

    First a constant reference to “wolf haters”. I read widely from a number of sources and I have to say I’ve yet to hear of one of these people. Are you all making up a bogey man and if so to what end? Just because someone would like to see wolves killed or numbers reduced does that make them a hater? My wife wants to kill all the mice that invade her pantry, certainly she’s not a mouse hater.

    Another common theme is that people who think a wolf might well attack a human are wimps quaking from the shadows. Certainly Valerius Geist who has spent a lifetime often alone in the Canadian rockies studying animals is fearful of little, similarly I can’t think of any hunters or ranchers that would fit that description.

    Why the need to belittle those with whom you disagree? Certainly if your argument is persuasive there is no need?

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      somsai,

      Qualify what you mean by “wolf hater” and I’m sure a shopping list will be provided for you.

      In terms of “wimps” quaking in the shadows… I think the recurring theme is, why is it that those who genuinely are interested in wolves and the outdoors, wolf biologists, timber cruisers, pro-wolf or just plain folks who accept wolves, who live in the woods, never have these so-called negative experiences with wolves, where the so-called anti-wolf folks have this litany of experiences where wolves have chased/stalked/attacked them?

      I believe this dichotomy of supposed experiences vs nonexperiences might lead one to believe that most of these folks who aren’t afraid to expound the gun culture to which they belong, and how they would not go into the woods without a gun (this includes GL states), whereas the pro-wolfers who go into the woods, don’t expound on how they will “pack”. Sorry for the run-on. Wolves are naturally curious. Guess some of us welcome that curiosity, and some don’t. Odd how the chest thumping folks who might be clumped into the wolf-haters are the folks who seem the most frightened.

      • avatar IDhiker says:

        Some of the “wolf-haters” I have encountered are the one’s that have “Smoke-a-pack-a-day,” stickers on their vehicles, advocating unlawful action. Another is a fellow LE officer maintaining he will not only shoot a wolf, but “gut-shoot” it. I would argue that intentionally inflicting needless pain on an animal is more a hatred response versus simply wanting to reduce a population. There are plenty of these “haters” around here in the Bitterroot – I know several more personally. In comparison, I have never heard hunters say when I get my elk, I’ll “gut shoot” it. Like it or not, there are people out there whose feelings about wolves go beyond simple population control, for whatever reason.

        • avatar Immer Treue says:

          +++I’ll “gut shoot”it+++

          One of the tools of the “haters” in MN. when in a stand, gut shoot and the wolf goes off somewhere else to die, so it can’t be pinned on the shooter.

        • avatar Dude, the bagman says:

          I’d also say that “hate” is an accurate word. There seems to be a kind of mythological cultural fervor to it, like wolves are the manifestation of pure evil (wolves are vampires and ate Little Red Riding Hood’s grandma…they also represent the big bad feds to a lot of people). If you’ve heard some of these people speak, you’d likely agree that they hate wolves. They certainly exist.

      • avatar Dude, the bagman says:

        What about pro-wolf types who aren’t afraid of wolves yet own more guns than is really even practical? How do I fit into this stereotype? A paranoid liberal living in a hostile rural state? A social libertarian who believes in environmental regulation? Just a guy who values the natural world but still likes to shoot guns and believes that maintaining the capacity for self-defense is wise? Which culture do I “belong” to? Am I cultural property? I desperately need to be categorized if I am to know which political party supports my social identity. Please help.

        (The preceding sarcastic rant is intended as a slam against categorization, not against you personally).

        However, I agree with you that fear may be a common component between anti-wolf folk and gun folk. Both fears center on the rational (but improbable) fear of needing to defend yourself from attack where the consequences may be severe. Many insecure animals engage in chest thumping threat displays to ward off perceived threats/evil spirits. There’s probably a correlation, but I still think you conflate these two groups.

        All that being said, in real life I don’t go around brandishing firearms or advertise the fact that I own/carry them. Better to “speak softly and carry a big stick.” I don’t need to be a tough guy. I don’t care to provoke fights involving deadly force, and I don’t intend to lord that force over others. I also don’t want to offend anyone’s equally semi-rational fear of firearms. I just don’t care to be a victim either. Fear isn’t always irrational.

        I’ve met some unpredictable and scary human beings in my time (road rage incidents and LARGE intoxicated people hell-bent on starting a fight and immune to diplomacy). Most of these were outside of cell phone coverage (rural state). You could analogize this to bear attacks – for the most part if you’re smart you can learn to live with bears by anticipating their behavior. You can avoid most unpleasant interactions by exercising good camp hygiene and not surprising them. Yet this won’t protect you from running across an old starving bear with a toothache who views you as prey. This is why I carry bear spray.

        The bottom line is that I don’t care to be at the mercy of the grumpy or insane, and even knowing the statistics on gun ownership, it’s my choice to make. My experiences with wolves have been less threatening (nary an unkind word or aggressive act).

        • avatar jb says:

          Okay, you made me laugh out loud with that post. What a great analogy!

        • avatar Immer Treue says:

          I don’t take it personally, because my categorization was, perhaps, a bit too inclusive. I also am a liberal (with a few libertarian leans) who owns guns, and uses them just enough to understand their enormous power. I can narrow the categorizations to the point of names, but that’s unnecessary. All one has to do is visit their sites, or view their so-called documentaries, or how they get their panties in a bunch about wolves and fan the flames of paranoia. We all know who they are by real or screen name.

          I’ll never forget the idiot I saw un-secure his gun on a trail in Colorado as a dog LOADED with a pack was approaching him a bit ahead of the dog’s owner on a trail. Generalization, perhaps, but it seems it’s only the fear mongers who feel the need to “carry” and broadcast to all that they will carry when they go into the woods. This includes the GL states.

          • avatar Dude, the bagman says:

            Ha. Well I hope the dog was at least a husky or a big black chow and not a lab. Certainly still an overreaction indicative of the guy’s mindset.

            Maybe the guy just really isn’t a dog person and hates unleashed dogs. Some people really freak out about muddy paw prints. Annoying? Yes. A big deal? Not really, unless the dog acts aggressively.

    • avatar CodyCoyote says:

      You obviously are not up on the literary exploits of one Tobias Bridges of Greater Missoula.

      Without regard to his other fields of study , Valerius Geist’s opinions on wolves are also of little value. he may not be a wolf hater, but he certainly is extremely biased against them…

      Toby just plain hates ‘em.

  22. After taking a whole lot of all kinds of folks from all over the world into the wilds to see brown bears one thing became very apparent to me; when people see something alive, up close and personal that they have feared all their lives, for whatever reason, usually because they don’t know anything about it, they tend to have all their powers of observation turn inward and do not know what they did, what they said, what happened and certainly did not read animal body language or have any clue other than a basic ID of the animal what really happened. The stories I hear about bears are constant because I wrote a book about them. . everyone wants me to hear their story, but after watching people and wild animals it is fairly easy to ask the questions that reveal it was a one sided and incomplete observation of the encounter. Almost always if a bear walked towards me and whoever I was guiding the person thought for sure certain that the bear wanted to eat them, when in fact if a brown bear wants to eat a person they use all their considerable skills in stalking secretively around the person sizing up their chances. (I realize this is a generalization, but it holds mostly true) I have asked a person after a bear encounter if they stood still, walked forward or move backwards and they honestly had no idea. . but later, when the beer flows and the stories come out the incident no longer resembles the facts. That’s why I like tracking, if I can get to the site of someone’s story soon enough the truth is on the ground. This is why I don’t believe many wildlife stories where the person was “stalked” almost killed and thinks that it is just a matter of time before the world knows the truth about the danged blood thirsty animals all those “bunny huggers” want to save.

  23. avatar Nancy says:

    “After taking a whole lot of all kinds of folks from all over the world into the wilds to see brown bears one thing became very apparent to me; when people see something alive, up close and personal that they have feared all their lives, for whatever reason, usually because they don’t know anything about it, they tend to have all their powers of observation turn inward and do not know what they did, what they said, what happened and certainly did not read animal body language or have any clue other than a basic ID of the animal what really happened”

    Way to sum it up Linda Jo!

  24. avatar Louise Kane says:

    a couple of comments to address savebears comments to me when I asked why anyone would put an arrow in a wolf?
    You said, “they are legal game animals, which is why you would put an arrow in them. You may not agree with the hunting of wolves, but if it was a good faith effort to legally take a wolf with a bow. This bull crap anti hunting slant is starting to get real old. You people have to understand there are legal and ethical hunters that correspond on this website and whether you like it or not, we will continue to correspond on this website as long as the people in charge allow us to do so”

    Louise: You are correct I am anti hunting of animals that you can not/ do not eat and I do not apologize for that. I think you confuse legal with ethical. While it may be legal to kill animals in most states, what is ethical about coming across a wild animal and shooting it just cause’ you can. What is ethical about causing horrific pain just cause’ you can. You might think its bull crap but there are an awful lot of us who would be much more apt to believe in your ethics if it did not include killing for sport. I’m sorry but what is killing for sport? Think about what that means, you leave your home with a weapon of choice and go out purposely to kill something that you do not need to kill, for fun. The wolf that you kill belongs to a pack of animals whose survival may depend on that particular animal’s hunting skills, experience and leadership. Or she may be the mother of a pup whose survival depends on its mother or its a yearling not savvy enough to run the moment it sees a human. You took the life of that animal for fun.

    Why is it that hunters think its ethical to trap, snare, and shoot animals with bows and arrows and guns for sport and to cause excruciating pain, fear and angst. What code of ethics is that? And to argue that mistakes happen and some animals must suffer when your shot is not so good, is unethical to me. I know a great many hunters, many of whom I respect and even love and they don’t hunt “for sport”.

    Ask yourself this question, why should we kill things for sport? what is driving you and others to find enjoyment in getting out to nature to see some magnificent animal only to kill it? This is not a conservation ethic its a killing ethic. I hope you can ask yourself this question. Loving the outdoors is not a valid argument to kill things.

    There are many of us that are fed up with the tired argument that its legal. Wildlife management laws are outdated. Where do animals live without fear of being trapped, strangled, poisoned, shot and tracked down with helicopters or snowmobiles. It might be legal but it sure is not ethical.

    Finally why would someone say “I shot the wolf and it ran away but I hope it survived”. what an absurd statement.

    when I was a child my father who was a commercial fisherman fed a seagull for two years. The seagull had only one wing and it could not fly. A lot of the guys fed him at the fish pier. One day we found him shot with an arrow, and the person who did it said it was legal. I’ll never forget the look on my father’s face. He was a tough man in a tough world but he did not understand killing for sport and neither do I. next time you go out to kill something try taking some binoculars and look at how that animal interacts with the world before you decide to kill.

    I make no apologies for respecting other non human beings.

    • avatar Savebears says:

      Louise,

      I don’t kill for sport, I have not killed a wolf or a coyote ever, I hunt for meat to put on my table. That said, I will not condemn those who practice ethical and legal hunting, I may not do it, but I will not tell them then can’t, the state and the Federal Government says they can. I spend the majority of my time in the woods, which includes my 20 acres taking pictures, I don’t kill what I don’t eat.

      I don’t expect you to apologize, but I would expect you to understand your position on this issue is not the only position, I am not making a judgment on who is wrong or who is right, I am simply stating what is legal.

      I have never taken an animal for sport, and never will. Perhaps you need to read through the archives on this blog, you will see I have vocally stated my position many times.

      • avatar Savebears says:

        And as I have said many times in the past, ethics to you are not the same ethics that others follow, ethics are a personal judgment, they don’t pertain to anyone except yourself, your ethics are not my ethics, my ethics are not another hunters ethics..etc.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      To Linda Jo, Nancy, Louise Kane, savebears, and others,

      I don’t know if anyone has said this before, but I am supposing that there is a continuum that runs from disgusting unrestrained slaughter of wildlife at one end through hunting with various ethics to those who don’t care. Then the continuing line goes to mild distaste for hunting and finally all the way to a most virulent state of animal rights with the idea that humans shall not knowingly kill any animal.

      If I am right, here (and in other debates) we are faced with people trying to split this long line of positions, views, philosophies in two and then (wrongly) classifying people as one or the other when really there are hundreds of variations along the way.

      • avatar JB says:

        Ralph:

        I suspect you are right. Moreover, I would add that, as we discussed the other day in the post, “How should animals die”, people have different motivations for hunting, and different motivations for opposing hunting. Meaning there is likely more than one continuum that underlies and informs the judgments we make about the acceptability of hunting.

        —–

        Louise: In your post you focus on the act of killing, which is the culmination of a hunt, but it isn’t what most hunters consider “fun”. The fun (sporting) part of hunting is the time spent preparing, tracking, scouting, and developing the skill to find and dispatch a wild animal in its own environment.

        Like Savebears, I have never killed a wolf or coyote; but I have “hunted” them with a camera. I imagine the thrill a hunter gets is much the same as the thrill I get when the hard work pays off and I have a chance to shoot my “prey”. I imagine that you’ll disagree with me, but hopefully this will help you better understand.

        • avatar Louise Kane says:

          Hunters do express that they love the outdoors and love the preparation for a hunt as you suggest. Yet this does not convince me that the killing part is not part of the “thrill”. That is what I have a problem with.

          If we consider it the highest crime to kill a human, why then is it not a crime to kill other beings for sport? Why do we have the right to decide that animals are trophy game?

          Its a concept that needs to be reexamined, and I believe will determine whether we maintain healthy ecosystems or expect all wildlife to live in small corridors where they may never live normal wild lives.

          Why society allows killing animals for trophies is probably explained by the fact that it has become a custom, but that custom is not supported by a moral code that respects life. What is thrilling about watching a beautiful wild creature’s life snuffed out? What was once arresting, even magnificent… the trophy hunter leaves as a carcass with dead lifeless eyes, cold flesh, a limp body and a life extinguished prematurely. A thrilling death? What is that whether human or not?

          Conversely, what could be more thrilling to know that you have witnessed wildlife as an intimate moment in time? That you have used that opportunity to learn about life. That you respected your surroundings and the creatures that made it wild, unique and compelling, instead of diminishing the landscape by eliminating its key inhabitants.

          The Romans used to watch lions tear apart men, we enslaved men, we denied women basic civil rights, we wiped out entire nations of native peoples, and we killed off entire species of animals. It was customary and legal.

          The question is not whether it is legal but whether it should be legal. When permitted, humans tend to seek ways to legitimize cruelty. Placing a lower value on the rights of animals has become customary. But that custom is being challenged. Many of us don’t believe killing animals for trophies is moral, just or defensible. We don’t believe that the first way to manage wildlife involves killing all predators. And we are not all granola chomping whack jobs that have never been in the woods or wilderness.

          When cruel, unjust and immoral customs are challenged those challenges may be typically mocked, belittled or shifted aside. Yet it takes individuals with moral conviction and courage to advocate for change. Animal rights are far behind the curve when it comes to enacting meaningful change. For domestic animals it is getting better, but for wild animals they are still poisoned, shot, trapped, choked and shot from helicopters often without legal repercussions. If one thinks about what it would be like to be tracked down and shot at from a helicopter and to have your whole family extinguished, to have your loved one poisoned, to be beat to death after being trapped, or shot by an arrow when out for a walk, its fairly horrifying. Yet we inflict this on our wildlife.

          Predators are maligned. We allow hunters to take the biggest and strongest of the animals they hunt. Wild animals are treated as trophies without regard for their social structure, the pain they feel for loss of their family members or justification for killing them. It is well documented that wolves grieve (as dogs do) when their pack members are killed.

          It is never too late to hope for and advocate for a change in how we value and manage wildlife. Our wildlife deserve better from us. Thankfully there have been people like Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Rachel Carson who remind us that animals are more than items to be “harvested” as the hunting codes refer to them and that our wild lands have limits to the stressors they can be subjected to.

          The thrill of getting to see an animal in the wild is something that many people will never realize. For those of us lucky enough to witness animals in their natural habitat, we should respect their rights to live unmolested.

          Customs can be challenged and become outdated. I hope that killing for sport and our current management regimes will be just as untenable as other outdated customs like enslaving human beings, dog fighting, and circumcising women.

          The persecution of wolves that is being cloaked as a traditional right/custom in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming (soon to be) and a way to keep ungulate populations safe, is a terrible time in our history… a return to a legacy that we should be heartily ashamed of repeating.

          • avatar JB says:

            “Yet this does not convince me that the killing part is not part of the “thrill”.”

            And sadly, the rest of response is predicated on your belief. I have no doubt that some people get a thrill out of killing animals; but I also am quite sure that these folks are in the extreme minority. Moreover, you could outlaw the killing of all wild animals tomorrow and it wouldn’t stop people who are sick from killing.

            “Placing a lower value on the rights of animals has become customary.”

            Rights are not inherent. In the U.S., they derive primarily from the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions. They were written by people, for people, and they are only valid insomuch as people (via the state’s police powers) chose to enforce them. Animals do not have rights and have never had rights (and are unlikely to gain rights any time soon).

            So let me ask you a question. If you could make sport hunting illegal, as you desire, would you incarcerate a man who kills an animal for sport, but also uses that animal to feed himself or his family? Would you spend ~$50,000 in tax payer money (the avg. cost of incarcerating someone per year) to take a productive human being away from his/her family for violating the rights of a wild animal? I’m just curious how much you’ve really thought through the policies you advocate?

  25. avatar Doryfun says:

    Like it or not, fair or not, all life is about relationships. Bottomline: predator prey relationship. Everything is food for something else. One giant circle.

    There is no escaping that we live lives that use in some way, dead animals. There is no such thing as a “Saint,” as no human can lead a perfect behavorial life. It is pretty hard to avoid being (in some way) hypocritical in our daily lives when put to a microscope. Therefore, much tolerance is needed to get along better in this world. (based on a few recent speeches by some Republicans – that seems to be a bad things these days. No compromise, no collaboration. Nope, hold the line. Obstructionism full speed ahead)

  26. avatar Louise Kane says:

    The comments I left were not without thought. If for example the thrill component of hunting can be satisfied by gearing up, tracking and finding the animal then why not stop there. Why does the person have to kill the animal if the thrill is not in killing the animal?

    As for your claim that my concerns related to animal welfare and trophy hunting, my argument is not predicated solely on my beliefs but in a philosophical argument that has its basis much in the same way that the Constitution had its basis in the philosophical discussions of the day such as Thomas Paine’s, Rights of Man.

    In the old world people were treated with great inequities. An age old hegemony prevented people from being treated as equals. Non royalty or subjects of the king could be subject to death, pain, inequality of freedoms and loss of property without recourse. It was argued that the king, royalty or noble men had the right to determine a person’s life liberty and happiness. The publication of Rights of Man, which argued that men had natural rights, “caused a furor in England. Thomas Paine was tried in absentia, and convicted for seditious libel against the Crown”. In essence Paine argued that every man has natural rights and that laws do not always provide for natural rights.

    Despite the Constitution here and in other countries that afford civil rights, there are still many places world wide where human civil rights are denied. Just because those countries do not have laws that protect their civilians does not mean that their residents do not have civil rights and should not be afforded civil rights; it means that the laws should and must change.

    As a civilized nation we should have evolved to the point where we recognize that animals feels pain and suffering and deserve the right to be free from treatment that causes that suffering. Our laws need to change.

    The actual term animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is a philosophy that argues, “that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings”.

    Advocates approach the issue from different philosophical positions. The positions range from the protectionist side of the movement, presented by philosopher Peter Singer—with a utilitarian focus on suffering and consequences, rather than on the concept of rights—to the abolitionist side, represented by law professor Gary Francione, who argues that animals need only one right: the right not to be property. Despite the different approaches, advocates broadly agree that animals should be viewed as non-human persons and members of the moral community, and should not be used as food, clothing, research subjects, or entertainment.” I argue that it is unlikely that most people will stop eating animals but that we need to treat them better when raising them for food, and that we should not kill for sport. Our wildlife management practices are cruel and outdated.

    If you want to research the philosophy further, I had to look no further than Wikipedia. This is easy enough to do. “the idea of awarding rights to animals has the support of legal scholars such as Alan Dershowitz and Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School. Animal rights is routinely covered in universities in philosophy or applied ethics courses, and as of 2011 animal law was taught in 135 law schools in the United States and Canada. Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby argued in 2008 that the movement had reached the stage the gay rights movement was at 25 years earlier.[4]”

    This is my point, we have long since passed the time to consider how and why we kill animals for sport. Not only do animals face diminishing habitats and food sources as our human populations swell, they also face natural rises and falls in their populations related to the severity of conditions in living in the wild. They should not have to face hunters who kill for sport and extreme management protocals that use killing as the first line of defense in potential human predator/ human wild animal conflicts.

    While we may not yet have laws that protect wild animals, we need them. And when we do come around to protecting wild animals from the abuse they suffer (being run over with snowmobiles, beat over the head, and torn apart in pens for sport) those laws should be enforced swiftly and with severity if they are to be effective as deterrents to recidivist behavior.

    One of the primary reasons that people have objected so strongly to the states regaining control over managing wolves is that the ingrained fear, bias and hate shown toward these animals in these states constitutes a threat that may not be defined in the ESA, yet nonetheless is probably the biggest threat these animals face. And, wolves are extremely sentinent beings and a huge segment of our population does believe that animals have a right to be unmolested and that this right is founded in philosophical considerations that need to be codified into laws.

    Here is something to consider, some studies suggest that human concern for animal rights may be an evolutionary trait, and that compassion for animals is correlated with compassion for other humans. Early studies have established links between interpersonal violence and animal cruelty.

    So what is trophy hunting? A desire to hunt and kill. what is the motivation of the kill part of this equation.

    • avatar somsai says:

      Wolves kill song doggies, people kill wolves, so what.

    • avatar Savebears says:

      You will never stop the pain and suffering of wild animals, it is an everyday reality for a wild animal. Do I cause pain when I hunt, yes, does the ends justify the means, yes, they are food for me and my family. I don’t hunt coyotes or wolves, but I do hunt deer, elk, antelope, etc. I rarely purchase meat, I live on wild meat. I don’t believe we should be cruel if at all possible, but I also don’t believe that animals should be put above humans.

    • avatar JB says:

      Louise:

      We covered many of these topics recently in a post you (apparently missed): http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2012/01/29/how-should-animals-die-a-topic-worthy-of-reasoned-debate/

      Stopping sport hunting will not prevent animals from suffering; in fact, the ways in which hunters typically kill animals are far more humane (i.e. less suffering) than the ways they die in the wild. Again, revisit the other thread where these topics are covered in much greater detail.

      • avatar Mike says:

        JB, I don’t buy that at all. Sorry. There’s nothing “humane” about a lead-filled deer that stumbles through the woods for who knows how long, and then gets eaten by raptors, who then suffer from lead poisoning. This happens all the time.

        There’s noting “humane” about an animal stuck in a trap for days or even weeks.

        There’s nothing humane about blowing up hundreds of prairie dogs and not even bothering to collect the meat.

        You’re trying to create a false dichotomy, and really, you should know better.

        • avatar JB says:

          Mike,

          If there’s anyone whose playing loose with the data here, it is you. You’re smart enough to know how animals die in the wild (e.g. starvation, disease, predation, exposure). Human hunters, in contrast, goal is to kill animals swiftly so as not to lose them.

          You clearly recognize that hunters are pretty efficient at killing, as you later (in the thread) write:

          “…and then you have the technology squeezing wildlife even more. It’s not a fair game…It’s shooting fish in a barrel. There’s nothing really sporting about blowing something away with a high powered rifle…”

          Seeing how you believe it is easy to kill animals, and the intent of hunting is to kill animals quickly so as to recover them, I can’t seem to grasp how you think sport hunting is less humane than any way an animal would die in the wild–again, disease, starvation, dehydration, exposure, predation, etc?

          Louise wants to reduce animal suffering. That’s admirable. But all animals die, and I guarantee you that animals killed by hunters–on average–die much, MUCH faster than those killed “naturally”. So arguably you would create more suffering by ending sport hunting. A few great examples of this are what happens with urban deer herds who become overabundant and can’t be hunted due to safety concerns. Ever see a starving deer? How ’bout a 5.5 foot browse line?

          Has your hatred of hunters rendered you utterly blind?

          • avatar Mike says:

            How do any of those things compare to a gut-shot deer, which wanders the woods for weeks, and finally dies only to be eaten by eagles, and in turn those eagles become paralyzed and die the worst death known on the planet – lead poisoning? How does that compare?

            How do those things compare to prairie dogs that have their back legs shot out, crawling back into their burrows to die long, cold deaths?

            How do they compare to a fox in a snare that can’t move past a small radius, that lives in constant fear and panic as is starves?

            You are creating a false dichotmoy,and it’s shameful, JB. You know better.

          • avatar JB says:

            Mike:

            What, exactly, have I dichotimized? I said, “…the ways in which hunters typically kill animals are far more humane (i.e. less suffering) than the ways they die in the wild.” (Note: I put the word “typically” so as to recognize that not ALL animals that are hunted by humans will die swiftly).

            Again, the inescapable reality is that hunters GENERALLY (again, not always) kill animals far more swiftly and less painfully than they die in the wild. Certainly there are cases where animals are wounded and die slowly–no question; but these cases are NOT the norm, as you well know.

            The goal in SPORT HUNTING is to kill an animal so as to be able to recover it for food and or trophy. This means that SPORT hunters (who are armed with those high-powered rifles that you believe makes it so easy to kill animals that it’s like “shooting fish in a barrel”) try to kill animals as swiftly as possible. So, again, banning sport hunting will NOT lead to less animal suffering and could, in fact promote more suffering.

            —-

            By the way, shooting prairie dogs isn’t sport hunting, as the meat isn’t recovered, no trophy is taken, and the species is classified as a “varmint” or nuisance species, not game. Personally, I don’t care for prairie dog shoots, or any form of unregulated killing of wildlife, but my personal opinions aren’t really relevant to the conversation. What is relevant is that hunters generally kill wildlife more swiftly–and with less suffering–than they would experience under natural conditions. You can twist all you want, Mike. You’re simply wrong.

          • avatar Mike says:

            That’s simply not true, JB. Again, you’re imparting “magic thinking” here.

          • avatar JB says:

            So your response to a well-reasoned argument is to accuse me of “magic think”? If by “magic think” you are referring to the use of logic and reason to address a factual question, then I stand guilty as charged.

    • avatar Rancher Bob says:

      Louise
      All of us that hunt have stalked a animal just to look at it though the sight and not killed, that’s the thrill part only when one pulls the trigger, does the thrill end and the work begins. Most non-hunters will never understand.
      You want to end wild animal suffering, here are a few things I see every year caused by wild predators. I have less than 3 month old fawns running around in a panic because over night some animal killed it’s mother. Every year I see at least one deer or elk with a broken leg that was broken trying to escape a wild predator. Every year I’ve seen one species or another with large chunks bitten out them and their alive waiting to see if they can fight off infection.
      The only way to end animal suffering is to put a end to all animals, that’s not logical.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        “Every year I see at least one deer or elk with a broken leg that was broken trying to escape a wild predator”

        Or, perhaps that broken leg was a result of trying to escape from a fenceline?

        http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20100529/NEWS/100529806

        Thousands of miles of fenceline in my neck of the woods RB. Cut a few deer out of them that were not lucky enough to survive the ordeal of struggling for hours trying to free themselves. But…. I did have a local game warden assure me IF they did manage to free themselves, even with dislocated hips, broken legs…. they could go on to be productive members of their species.

        “Every year I’ve seen one species or another with large chunks bitten out them and their alive waiting to see if they can fight off infection”

        20 years living here and I’ve seen thousands of elk, deer, antelope around yet I can’t recall ever seeing any with large chunks bitten out of them, so I’m guessing you are referring to livestock/predator encounters?

        • avatar Savebears says:

          Nancy,

          I have seen plenty of wild animals with chunks bit out of them..

        • avatar Rancher Bob says:

          Nancy
          The discussion was wildlife so I was talking wildlife, although there are those happening too. Also many of the animals I see with broken legs are in places with no fences.

          • avatar Nancy says:

            RB – WADR, there are few places left out here in the west that don’t have some sort of fencelines, cris-crossing them, given all the public and federal lands that have been handed over to livestock grazing over the years. Please correct me if I’m wrong about that fact.

          • avatar Rancher Bob says:

            Nancy
            WADR you lost me there?
            I spend a lot of time outside and when I want to I have no problem finding land with no fences or people. You continue to paint the same old picture but I have no problem enjoying Montana, there are million of acres without fences, cattle, people, roads, ect. I would say, Yes, your wrong every year fewer acres are grazed, in my experience. I know of no new grazing permits.
            You would know what percentage of Montana’s western pubic lands are grazed?

          • avatar Nancy says:

            “You would know what percentage of Montana’s western pubic lands are grazed?”

            Doesn’t seem to be a lot of available information out there regarding that question RB, but out of the 4 big ranches in my area who push 1-2 thousand head of cattle on to public lands (most of it forest areas) for a few months, its a sure bet their allotments are fenced off otherwise there would be one hell of “traffic jam” (as in sorting) come October when they brought em all back down.

            Glad your area isn’t riddled with fenclines. Last time I saw no fences… for miles, was in the heart of the Bob Marshall.

            FYI – WADR – With all due respect

      • avatar Mike says:

        Bob – Have you ever shot an animal, and it escaped?

        • avatar Rancher Bob says:

          Mike
          Yes, I’ve also butchered wild game with healed bullets, arrow heads, and busted off chunks of antler in them some of them healed for many years.

    • avatar WM says:

      Louise,

      ++While we may not yet have laws that protect wild animals, we need them…..

      ?????????????

      Actually in the US we have both state federal laws which include provisions to protect wild animals (maybe you were thinking of elsewhere in the world). You may disagree with how many laws there are and for which species.

      I think you need to look at it from a different viewpoint. Killing, or harassing wild animals is generallly prohibited, UNLESS it is specifically ALLOWED for individual species (hunting, preventing birds/mammals from eating crops, livestock etc.), or during certain times of the year. That is what wildlife and game management is all about. Forgive, the candor here, but I think you choose to be incredibly naive on the subject.

      The other aspect is actually catching the violators who do things contrary to the state and federal law. That has been and will always be difficult because there will always be people who operate outside the law. Just look at how many people are in prison for all kinds of stuff acroos this country.

      • avatar JB says:

        Excellent points, WM. There are three general legal categories of wildlife: game, protected and unprotected (nuisance). The vast majority of all wild animals fall into the protected category. Those that are game, which are those pursued by sport hunters, are generally highly-valued and their killing is highly-regulated. Where Louise’s argument has real relevancy is where nuisance/vermin/unprotected species are concerned. Of course, this has little or nothing to do with sport hunting.

    • avatar Mike says:

      <>

      This is really getting to the heart of the issue, and needs to be mentioned more often. Many aspects are creating a “vice” on wildlife. First, you have increases in technology that make it very easy to hunt. You have vehicles that can get into every nook and cranny of landscape. You’ve got more powerful guns, GPS, trail cameras, radios, remote-controlled objects, planes, snowmobiles, you name it.
      On top of that technology, areas where wild animals live are getting smaller and smaller. Massive development squeezes these wild areas, and then you have the technology squeezing wildlife even more. It’s not a fair game, anymore, especially in the lower 48. It’s shooting fish in a barrel. There’s nothing really sporting about blowing something away with a high powered rifle in a region where there’s 300 million people and 3,000 wolves.
      Our actions are ceaseless, and un-scrutinized. Legions upon legions of hunters driving pickups and ATV’s leech into the backcountry and apply a technology assault on things with fur and feather. It took me many years of driving and visiting our last great wilderness areas to realize just how insane this pressure is. Most people seem to think these landscapes are endless and infinite, and they behave as if they are. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Most people aren’t aware of it because they lack a finer sense. They do what they do and they do it without question or thought. But for our species to evolve, we should be questioning why we do things at least every year. How many people here take stock of their habits every couple of years and list the pros and cons, and ask why they do the things they do, and how they affect others around them? Very few, I bet. That desire for self-improvement, for personal refinement is rare. That’s why you see guys in Idaho offering up plans to bait wolves with live animals. They just lack any kind of self-awareness. They’re oblivious. It’s all about them, all the time. You can tell a lot about a person in how they treat animals. Sociopaths don’t fare so well (and many hunters fall into this category, unfortunately—even ones who have TV shows).

      <>

      Well said. The penalty for such cruelty should be similar to human-targeted crimes.

      <>

      This is an outstanding point. It’s also one of the reasons the national forests and parks were created—to remove them from the easily-corruptible local influence.

      <>

      This is 100% correct.

      • avatar wiliam huard says:

        People like Siddoway thinks the bible tells him it’s OK to treat animals like shit. It’s a conservative thing. They talk about the Constitution as they deny people the right to vote. They talk about freedom as they bash minorities, gays, women, working people, and anyone that doesn’t think or look like them. They do what they do to animals because animals can’t fight back – in a word these people are backward thinking cowards

    • avatar Mike says:

      ++++Not only do animals face diminishing habitats and food sources as our human populations swell, they also face natural rises and falls in their populations related to the severity of conditions in living in the wild. They should not have to face hunters who kill for sport and extreme management protocals that use killing as the first line of defense in potential human predator/ human wild animal conflicts.++++

      This is really getting to the heart of the issue, and needs to be mentioned more often. Many aspects are creating a “vice” on wildlife. First, you have increases in technology that make it very easy to hunt. You have vehicles that can get into every nook and cranny of landscape. You’ve got more powerful guns, GPS, trail cameras, radios, remote-controlled objects, planes, snowmobiles, you name it.
      On top of that technology, areas where wild animals live are getting smaller and smaller. Massive development squeezes these wild areas, and then you have the technology squeezing wildlife even more. It’s not a fair game, anymore, especially in the lower 48. It’s shooting fish in a barrel. There’s nothing really sporting about blowing something away with a high powered rifle in a region where there’s 300 million people and 3,000 wolves.
      Our actions are ceaseless, and un-scrutinized. Legions upon legions of hunters driving pickups and ATV’s leech into the backcountry and apply a technology assault on things with fur and feather. It took me many years of driving and visiting our last great wilderness areas to realize just how insane this pressure is. Most people seem to think these landscapes are endless and infinite, and they behave as if they are. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Most people aren’t aware of it because they lack a finer sense. They do what they do and they do it without question or thought. But for our species to evolve, we should be questioning why we do things at least every year. How many people here take stock of their habits every couple of years and list the pros and cons, and ask why they do the things they do, and how they affect others around them? Very few, I bet. That desire for self-improvement, for personal refinement is rare. That’s why you see guys in Idaho offering up plans to bait wolves with live animals. They just lack any kind of self-awareness. They’re oblivious. It’s all about them, all the time. You can tell a lot about a person in how they treat animals. Sociopaths don’t fare so well (and many hunters fall into this category, unfortunately—even ones who have TV shows).

      ++++While we may not yet have laws that protect wild animals, we need them. And when we do come around to protecting wild animals from the abuse they suffer (being run over with snowmobiles, beat over the head, and torn apart in pens for sport) those laws should be enforced swiftly and with severity if they are to be effective as deterrents to recidivist behavior. ++++

      Well said. The penalty for such cruelty should be similar to human-targeted crimes.

      ++++One of the primary reasons that people have objected so strongly to the states regaining control over managing wolves is that the ingrained fear, bias and hate shown toward these animals in these states constitutes a threat that may not be defined in the ESA, yet nonetheless is probably the biggest threat these animals face. And, wolves are extremely sentinent beings and a huge segment of our population does believe that animals have a right to be unmolested and that this right is founded in philosophical considerations that need to be codified into laws. ++++

      This is an outstanding point. It’s also one of the reasons the national forests and parks were created—to remove them from the easily-corruptible local influence.

      ++++Here is something to consider, some studies suggest that human concern for animal rights may be an evolutionary trait, and that compassion for animals is correlated with compassion for other humans. Early studies have established links between interpersonal violence and animal cruelty. ++++

      This is 100% correct.

  27. avatar Louise Kane says:

    I don’t believe that we can never stop the pain and suffering of animals. Its a long road but that is why we have laws and why people have challenged traditions and customs that are based in cruelty and or prevent basic freedoms. Dog fighting, an age old tradition/custom, is finally getting the bad press it deserves and people are paying attention. Laws are being passed to address domestic animal cruelty. Now we have to do the same for wild animals that are caught and put into enclosures so they can be ripped apart or shot, for chasing down animals with snowmobiles and helicopters, for poisoning animals and for hunting practices where the end use is not for meat. I admire that you do not hunt for sport and that you do not practice cruelty. Its a philosophical question about whether or not the ends justify the means…I stand firm that trophy hunting is unjustified.

    • avatar Savebears says:

      Louise,

      What about the trophy hunter that uses the meat? Are they are on your list as well, I know quite a few that hunt for the trophy and use the meat to feed their family. I would suggest we coin a new term, instead of “trophy hunter” call them “Exploitative Hunters”

      Allot of hunters go after the best trophy they can take, but still use the meat to feed families and friends, Exploitative Hunters on the other hand, take the cap and the head and may leave the meat, of course this is against the law for the majority of big game species that are hunted in the US.

      I know that many are against the hunting of animals in Africa, but I also know that the meat from those animals go to the villagers that live in the area the hunt occurred.

      By using blanket terms such as “Trophy Hunter” you are targeting a group that may not be what you think they are.

      • avatar Mike says:

        ++Allot of hunters go after the best trophy they can take++

        These hunters are creating smaller and smaller animals. So I’d like them to stop for the benefit of all of those who like wildlife the way it is.

        • avatar ma'iingan says:

          “These hunters are creating smaller and smaller animals. So I’d like them to stop for the benefit of all of those who like wildlife the way it is.”

          Once again, you’re creating your own fantasy in an attempt to support your anti-hunting belief system.

          http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/whitetail-365/2012/02/boone-and-crockett-club-record-entries-400-percent

        • avatar Savebears says:

          Mike,

          You are so mis-informed it is not even funny anylonger.

          As far as what you would like, what if I told I don’t care, because you don’t care what I like?

        • avatar Rancher Bob says:

          Mike
          Save that line for your anti-hunting friends it will sound better, horns are a function of age, nutrients, and genetics. Perfect example was a whitetail on the ranch with a fish and game tag in his ear, his horn mass peaked at ten years he continued to breed even after that, his unique horn style can be seen still five years after I quite seeing him.
          You want to see bigger horns and bigger animals get the wolves to let the prey go back to eating more, nutrient intake by prey is decreased by wolves it seems.

          • avatar Mike says:

            Bob, you need to read the article. Part of the problem with the anti-predator crowd is they don’t seem to understand how science works. Don’t be one of them:

            http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/01/13/us-hunters-evolution-idUSTRE50B73320090113

            It has nothing to do with “lines”, but science. By targeting the largest animals, hunters are shrinking them.

            Please stop so you don’t ruin wildlife for the rest of us.

          • avatar ma'iingan says:

            “It’s the National Academy of Sciences.”

            Not, it’s NOT. It’s a link to an online news article, discussing a research paper, AS INTERPRETED by the reporter.

          • avatar Mike says:

            Wow. How long did it take to get you potty-trained?

          • avatar ma'iingan says:

            “You need to do the research:”

            All right Mike, you win the banality award – but did you actually read the paper?

            I recall it very well -there were 29 species modeled; 21 fish, two invertebrates, two plants, and TWO ungulates. And the most profound effects were found fish that were commercially exploited – at the rate of billions per year.

            That’s the best you’ve got?

    • avatar Elk275 says:

      Louise

      The last I read was nearly 50% of the states have a right to hunt cause in there state’s constitutions. You or any of your followers are not going to stop hunting. The best thing that you and others could do is to work to preserve and purchase important wild life habitat and that means sharing it with consumptive wildlife users during hunting season.

      I hunt because I enjoy hunting.

      • avatar Mike says:

        Good for you,Elk. Now can you please join the enlightened portion of society and use lead-free bullets?

    • avatar somsai says:

      You know not all hunting is food or trophy hunting. Aldo Leopold wrote a whole long involved chapter on predator control, I’m always amazed that seemingly so few have read it.

      Leopold could well be considered the father of modern wildlife management, and a great writer to boot. If one doesn’t understand reasons to hunt other than food or trophy one is missing the entire way in which hunters fit into the mosaic that is wildlife management in America.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        Guess it would all depend on when he wrote that chapter on predator control somsai :)

        “We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.”
        ― Aldo Leopold

      • avatar JB says:

        somsai: Leopold is most certainly considered the father of wildlife management. His book “Game Management” (1933) was the first on the subject, and a standard text for nearly 40 years.

        • avatar somsai says:

          That’s the one I was referring to. It’s written in such a way that most of the ideas are applicable to all species and it survives the test of time. I re read it often. Though details may differ I think he had wildlife management and his ideas on conservation mostly figured out in 33.

    • avatar wiliam huard says:

      Louise-

      Hold your ground. Somehow different people on this blog try to label “animal rights activists” as something “naive” or misinformed. The majority of people in this country are not thrill killers. We get just as much joy taking a photograph of an animal. We have evolved to a higher place were we don’t feel the need to “shoot an animal in the lungs” so the animal chokes to death on it’s own blood.
      It’s people like jeff Siddoway- who propose using live bait dogs to kill wolves….These people are the problem- not you or I
      It’s humans that make the choice to allow foxes, coyotes and other animals to be ripped to shreds so “people” can get a sick thrill from the experience. People are waking up. They realize we have just as much right to decide how wildlife is managed.
      Maybe Ma’aingan can go on the SHARK.org website and see how his friends at Field and Stream just came out in support of “slob” pigeon shooting in South Carolina at an old slavery plantation. We haven’t evolved very far have we……

      • avatar Mike says:

        ++++It’s people like jeff Siddoway- who propose using live bait dogs to kill wolves….These people are the problem- not you or I

        It’s humans that make the choice to allow foxes, coyotes and other animals to be ripped to shreds so “people” can get a sick thrill from the experience. People are waking up. They realize we have just as much right to decide how wildlife is managed.
        ++++

        So true, and yet so sad.

        • avatar wiliam huard says:

          We are not there yet, but people are waking up. The Wisconsin wolf bill proposed by a weasel (Suder) is a perfect example. No thought to addressing the depredation issues in the state, no scientific consideration given whatsoever, instead you see a big gift- given to the worst of the worst hunting groups in the state- with the hope that no one would be paying attention. Suder was wrong- people are paying attention. You can’t just say that wolves need to be managed 1000 times and for people to say- Geez- that Representative Suder really knows what he is talking about….

          • avatar Paul says:

            William,

            I think that you just insulted weasels :) I must say that I have been encouraged by the backlash this “bill” is receiving. But I still would not put it past this legislature to somehow pass it. I see that the Center for Biological Diversity is now joining the fight against this bill. Suder and his ilk may want to think twice about ramming it through, or this thing will be in court for several years to come and delay state management even longer. To think that that clown actually had the nerve to say that this was a “conservative” bill. Conservative? If that is the case I would hate to see what his idea of an extreme bill is. I still get nauseous thinking about that radio interview he gave where he talked about wolves being “beautiful” and “majestic” creatures, but they still need to be hunted by dogs, and reduced to 350. Talk about polishing a turd!

    • avatar Mike says:

      Well said.

  28. avatar Doryfun says:

    Louise,

    Do you take photo’s of wildlife? Capturing their spirit on film is a kind of trophy. Football games are played for trophies. Even posting on blogs, our posts become somewhat of a trophy when we think we may have made a good contribution. So what is a trophy? It is a reward system. In part. In that aspect I can understand why some people hunt for big antlered animals, for example. Once one has chased animals around the woods and learns how difficult it can be, then more respect is given to the hunter, who gets a larger, older animal, because they are often much harder to get. That large antlers represents a hunters reputation for some. (These animals don’t get that way by being stupid or without having superb survival instincts. Other than occasional luck, most are killed by those with the most finely tuned hunter’s skill.

    While I can appreciate the skills of a hunter who has the abilities to get the more difficult animal, I also don’t really like the ego that measures an animal by the response it will get from other hunters (raising their reputation as the big hunter). To some, killing animals becomes more about the trophy of ego, than need for meat.. But, who am I to judge?

    Like Save Bears, I only eat wild meat, or home grown by friends (on occasion) because it is a “responsibility ” thing for me, as a meat eater. I’m not a trophy hunter, as I will take any branch antlered elk. I do not kill young ones, as I like to gift them more time to experience their life as an elk (at least not to die by my hands).

    Yet, I try not to play God or be so judgmental over what constitutes a trophy or not, or get too deep into why someone does what they do. I used to hunt barefoot and once pulled a sneak to count coup on a sleeping spike elk. Tip of arrow two inches from heart. Never woke it up, as I slowly backed away, and never killed it. Made my hunt for a lifetime of memory. I re-live that one hunt, every time I go out hunting.

    In a way, whatever meat I get for myself and family, is a trophy. Why is my way any better than someone who uses horns to measure their trophy? In both cases, the animal is still dead. Matters not to the animal the why of the hunter.

    I also don’t get overly concerned about animal rights vs human rights, and don’t feel I need legalese to designate what is or isn’t a right. On a personal level, I believe more in the worldview of most primal peoples: seeing the human as a two legged animal, on equal footing with all other life forms. That doesn’t mean I won’t show favoritism to the human at certain times. But it does mean, that I realize that I am a predator, and like any other predator, when a kill is made, it isn’t about a thrill. It is just how things are in a predator/prey world. I accept the animals gift whenever it happens, which is not as often as I sometimes would like.

    Nature is not fair, the dance of life and death is harsh. Everyone loves Bambi, but nature’s way is more than some grandiose fantasy world for folks on high horses.

    • avatar Mike says:

      ++Nature is not fair, the dance of life and death is harsh. Everyone loves Bambi, but nature’s way is more than some grandiose fantasy world for folks on high horses.
      ++

      Agreed. But is it “nature’s way” for an animal to slowly starve to death with a chain or snare around its leg? Is it “nature’s way” for a lead shot-filled deer to be feasted upon by bald eagles, and then for those eagles to be paralyzed and die one of the most horrific deaths imaginable?

      As a “superior” species, we should know better. What we deal out is much worse than what goes on “out there.” how we treat other living things (including our own kind) is all that matters in the end. nothing else does.

      • avatar Doryfun says:

        Mike,
        In this case, I agree with you in the snaring thing. I don’t like trapping, especially snares, so do think it is worthwhile to examine the continued use of such. I have other retired wildlife biologist friends who agree with me on this one, too, so not alone there.

        Regarding the lead bullet thing. While shooters now use steel shot for waterfowl, due to lead poisoning, I doubt the chance of an eagle dying from one lead bullet in a deer is very likely to happen. That is a stretch.

        • avatar Mike says:

          It happens all the time, Dory. Please stop using lead bullets.

          20 million birds a year are killed by lead posioning, many by eating lead fragments in deer.

          [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFXbSZybpwk&w=420&h=315

          Please don’t be one of the slobs that contributes to this. Please. Understand that lead poisoning is the worst death known to man.

          [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyZLxobg5k0&w=560&h=315

          • avatar wiliam huard says:

            It’s extremely selfish behavior-but that’s one of the problems. When you question the hunting community about ny issue it becomes an attack on hunting rights. What a disingenious argument. You show these people the eagle videos and they deny the proof right to your face. More of that “magical thinking” Outrageous!

          • avatar Elk275 says:

            Mike non lead bullets can be difficult to purchase due to a limited inventory. The last I checked approximately 5% of the ammunition inventory of a large national sporting chain was lead free. Lead free ammunition is expensive approximately $45 a box to $20 to $25 a box of lead jacketed ammunition. Non lead store bought ammunition is only available in popular rounds such as: 30-06, 270, 300 win mag, 7mm RM, etc.

            Not all bullets whether lead or non lead are accurate in a particular rifle. The main manufacture of non lead ammunition is the Barnes Bullet Company and the bullets they make are excellent and a bit expensive. In order to achieve optimal accuracy the bullet must be seated fifty thousandth off of the lans.

            Non lead bullets or monolithic copper bullets are excellent, very accurate and will retain 100% of there weight. Most monolithic copper bullets exit the animal. The drawn backs are cost, not all rifles will shoot them, the limited availability of non popular rounds and the expense. If the tip of the bullet is damaged it will not expand. A non expanding bullet is a very big cause of wounded game. FYI: the ATF ordered the Barnes Bullet Company to stop manufacturing and selling of there banded solid brass bullets in calipers 45 and under. It is a minor glitch with a federal government but they will get that ban over ridden.

            Now I have to leave for the upper Madison for some work, maybe some fishing and wildlife watching. I love the look at the thousands and thousands of antelope and elk.

        • avatar Mike says:

          Raptors are incredibly sensitive to lead. Even a small fragment from a deer can kill them. It happens all the time.

          It’s clear you don’t understand how this works.

          That’s okay, Dory. Many in the hunting community don’t have the self-awareness to folow up on these things. Many hunters only focus on the game animals. They don’t focus on the complete picture of flora anf fauna, nor do they look deeply into the possible effects their choices have on wildlife outside of what they can shoot.

          True, this is very lazy behavior, but it’s par for the course. Not all hunters are like this, but most are.

          It’s embarrassing that many continue to use lead bullets despite all of the science indicating how catastrophic they are to the ecosystem.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyZLxobg5k0

          • avatar Doryfun says:

            •“Raptors are incredibly
            sensitive to lead. Even a small fragment from a deer can kill them. It happens all the time.
            It’s clear you don’t understand how this works.

            That’s okay, Dory. Many in the hunting community don’t have the self-awareness to follow up on these things.”

            You assume a lot when you cast off your dispersions and finger pointing. In any argument, it helps to start off with the right assumptions, rather than wild speculations before engaging any meaningful attempt at arriving at good solutions for anything. Making statements about not knowing anything about the subject and is why most hunters are so poorly informed, shows your own short comings at jumping to conclusions. . Had you read my posts, more closely, to educate yourself about what I have said you could have surmised from my information that I am a bow hunter, not a rifle hunter, so do not use lead. I also have an education in wildlife science, so I’m not an idiot about lead poisoning.Thank you very much.

            I don’t hunt waterfowl anymore, since the time that lead shot was banned, though I do for hunting chukars. Even when fishing, for myself or guests, I rarely use lead, and when we do, rarely lose it in the river.

            I don’t have time to do research on every aspect of fish and wildlife issues, and is why I depend on professionals to be up on the latest science and implementing it to modern management practices.

            When they took lead off the table for waterfowl, years ago, it was due to the problems of lead poisoning. Managers didn’t apply steel shot only to upland game birds, as bird behavior and habitat needs were different. If you are not, or have never been a hunter, I could assume you don’t know the difference between shooting at ducks or chukars, and what all it entails in the real world.

            I guess I have a little more faith in the professionals to minimize bad influences, or determining when a particular limiting factor is significant or not, than do you.
            That doesn’t mean I don’t question things, such as types of trapping, snares, etc.

            But, I am wondering how much confirmation bias you employ to make arguments against anything that pertains to hunting, since it appears you hate it so much??

            The Youtube clip you offered, claimed their studies showed that lead was the cause of the toxicity, and that it was related to deer hunting with lead bullets. It didn’t say anything about how extensive the impact is to the bald eagle populations as a whole in that area. (unless I missed it somewhere). How significant is it? While no one likes to see any animal die like this, how significant it is as to affect seems a more pragmatic way to deal with the problem. If it is indeed significant, then I am all for using steel bullets, or some other answer to help quell the problem.

            Just because people don’t agree with you, doesn’t mean they don’t know what they are talking about. If you had as much tolerance for people as you do for wildlife, the dialogue might be more productive, and potential positive outcome for issues more favorable.

    • avatar Mike says:

      ++In a way, whatever meat I get for myself and family, is a trophy. Why is my way any better than someone who uses horns to measure their trophy? ++

      Because your way isn’t shrinking the species.

      • avatar Doryfun says:

        Mike,

        How about this thought: assuming that you mean horn size when you say shrinking the species. Lets say hunters shoot out all the big horned animals, soon only medium horn size is the result. Then the trophy hunter will no longer have those larger size critters to choose from, so will move on to something else with better potential ego fulfillment. The long term result might be a return to larger horn size. Nothing in nature is static. Just a thought. Any evolutionary biologist out there to weigh in on this one?

  29. avatar Mike says:

    ++Louise,

    Do you take photo’s of wildlife? Capturing their spirit on film is a kind of trophy.
    ++

    You aren’t seriously comparing taking a photo of an animal with shooting its brains out, are you?

    • avatar Savebears says:

      Mike the majority of us, don’t shoot their brains out, it is far better and more efficient to shoot them through the lungs.

      • avatar Mike says:

        Semantics.

        • avatar Savebears says:

          Stupid

        • avatar Elk275 says:

          Mike, the last animal that I shot was an antelope in the Centennial Valley in Southwest Montana last October. I shot it at 75 yards with a 100 grain bullet going approximately 3000 feet per second. There was no animal running around with a bullets in it suffering, there was no suffering at all, it was dead before it hit the ground. It was the biggest buck in the herd and I used a bullet with a lead core. I will admit that I am a slob hunter in yours and Williams minds and I do not care. It was a good hunt, it took several hours of waiting and stalking it on the south end of the Snow Crest Mountains.

          • avatar Mike says:

            Well, you did your job. The animal did not get away.

            I have to ask though, why are you still using lead bullets? The damage they do to the ecosystem is widely known.

    • avatar Doryfun says:

      Mike,

      Is my writing that bad? Did you read the rest of my post? Of course a photo is different than a dead animal. My point was that “trophy” is in the eye of the beholder. High horses and self-righteousness begets alienation and promotes division.

      • avatar JB says:

        I think that has been Mike’s goal all along.

      • avatar Mike says:

        Dory –

        You made a comparison between taking a photo of a living animal, and blowing its brains out. I found that pretty strange.

        • avatar Doryfun says:

          Mike,

          I don’t see “blowing brains out” anywhere in my post. People who embellish facts with fantasy are part of the problem in any dialogue, not part of the solution. And certainly not serious about reaching any common ground, when most people on this blog enjoy wildlife and want the best for them in the end, for whatever reason. Being antagonistic at the drop of a hat won’t advance reasonable discourse.

          • avatar Mike says:

            Dory –

            You compared taking a photo of an animal to trophy hunting, not me. And using the descriptor “blowing an animal’s brains out” simply means killing it. That’s what trophy hunting is–killing an animal.

            There’s a very big difference between taking something’s life and taking a picture of it. There are no “embellished facts” here, only important distinctions that sometimes need contrast.

  30. avatar Nancy says:

    Savebears says:
    February 11, 2012 at 2:54 pm
    And what?

    No reply button……..And what do you think were the causes SB?

    • avatar Savebears says:

      Nancy,

      I would imagine something that has teeth, as I was not as close as I like to make a full inspection, I can say, it was probably a lion, bear or perhaps a wolf, I have no idea what took the chunk out of the animals that I have seen, but I think the odds are, something that eats meat, these were not gashes caused by fences, I have investigate many of those situation as well. There is a big difference between a bite and a gash from a fence.

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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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