Washington border wolf pack clearly has become beef eaters-

The controversy over the Wedge wolf pack began in a muddle — what is really going on? Now, however, it is clear they are eating beef, perhaps mostly beef. As a result, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued an order to kill all of the U.S.-British Columbia pack, which has turned out to be quite large — 8-11 animals.  The pack spends most of its time in “the Wedge” just south of the border. That’s where the depredation controversy has emerged.

The controversy has simmered for months. Local ranchers have said the pack has killed a lot of cattle from the start, but the evidence for this was pretty ambiguous. It was also not clear that anything was being done proactively to reduce the risk of wolves finding and eating dead cattle or deterring attacks once they learned beef was food.

Conservationists argue that failure to be proactive has allowed this to grow until the pack is a problem. Now conservation groups, at least Conservation Northwest, is agreeing that this wolf pack has got to go. Conservation Northwest, the Washington Cattlemen’s Association,  and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have issued a joint statement on the matter.

Rather than consign the statement to a link, here it is.

Statement on Wedge Pack wolf management actions
September 21, 2012
Conservation Northwest
Washington Cattlemen’s Association
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The most important goals of the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan are to promote the recovery of a self-sustaining wolf population and to minimize wolf-livestock conflict. The Wedge Pack of wolves in Northeast Washington, which has engaged in an escalating pattern of attacks on livestock since July, is putting that plan – and those goals — to the test.
There have been 15 documented attacks on cattle this summer, and it is likely that many more attacks have occurred, given the extent and remoteness of the grazing lands in the region. The pack’s pattern of attacks has been continuous, and has escalated in recent weeks. There is a very high likelihood that this pack has switched from the normal pattern of preying on deer, elk, and moose to focus on cattle.
Wolf managers have long recognized that the only way healthy populations of wolves will be sustained is if the problems they cause locally are addressed quickly and effectively. In situations like the one involving the Wedge Pack, experts from across the West agree: Eliminating the pack will help to reset the stage for wolves that are not habituated to livestock to establish themselves in that area.
While this scenario and measures to address it were anticipated in the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, putting those measures into practice has proven trying for everyone involved. Wolf management is relatively new in Washington, and we have all worked hard to avoid the current situation with the Wedge Pack.
Northeast Washington supports habitat for several predator species, including wolves, bears, and cougars, because prey is abundant. This is also a region where ranchers and their families have made a living for generations and built communities based on raising cattle. It is clear that coexistence between cattle and wolves will require adapting the management of both wolves and livestock.
The state’s wolf plan is less than 1 year old. On one hand, we can celebrate the fact that wolves are quickly re-colonizing the state. On the other, we know that promoting wolf recovery while ensuring ranchers do not bear an undue burden will be critical to the long-term recovery of a sustainable wolf population.
Our organizations recognize the need for patience and cooperation if wolf recovery in Washington is to succeed. Washington’s wolf story should be about the recovery of wolves rather than a chronology of conflict.

While wolf recovery is new to Washington State and this pack is large, NE Washington is clearly good wolf habitat. It has 4 known wolf packs, including the Wedge. It also has 4 more suspected packs.  From past experience with rediscovering wolf populations, the number of wolves removed in this large control action will probably be replaced by next summer.

There are numerous stories about this in the Washington media. While the number of cattle killed is of no more than very local impact, it can be argued these long-running depredation controversies often take a real toll on public opinion favoring wolves.

Kill Order Issued For An Entire Washington Wolf Pack. KUOW.org. Earthfix.
Spokesman-Review. Outdoors blog. Cattlemen, pro-wolf groups weigh in on Wedge Pack death sentence

View from Conservation Northwest. It’s Come to This.

From the Washington Department of Fish and Game. WDFW plans to eliminate wolf pack to end attacks on livestock and ‘reset’ stage for recovery in the Wedge
– – –
Update Sept. 25, 2012. Two wolves have been shot from a helicopter so far. They were killed about 7 miles south of British Columbia in “the Wedge.”

Update Sept. 28, 2012. The remaining wolves in the pack are reported to have been shot, including the alpha male.

 
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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.

176 Responses to Wedge wolf pack will be killed because of its increasing beef consumption (Update 9/25 – 28)

  1. avatar Mike says:

    How about the ranchers get out their and protect their cattle like the good ole’ days?

    Oh that’s right. Jay Leno is on and there ain’t no refrigerators for the cool un’s.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Mike,

      The ranchers have never protected their cattle. The long term goal of the western livestock industry has been to reduce labor costs by transforming the landscape into a wildlife free pasture.

      • avatar jon says:

        Ralph, weren’t some of the cattle killed o public lands in a national forest I believe it was? Things need to change. Something needs to be done that doesn’t allow ranchers to put their cattle on public lands.

        • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

          jon,

          I don’t know. I have only been through there once.

          • avatar jon says:

            Ralph, these particular ranchers did not want to accept compensation for their livestock losses. What does that tell you??

            • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

              jon,

              I think, I have heard, it might have been more complicated than that. One rancher in the area clearly didn’t want compensation, just dead wolves. He was outspoken. He was also one of the older ranchers.

              In many situations like this outspoken ranchers can put pressure to be uncooperative on those who would be willing to accept compensation for losses and who would make changes in grazing practices. I am not at all familiar with this area, but Mitch Friedman of Conservation Northwest must have thought there was some hope. The statement in story was signed by both Conservation Northwest and the Washington Cattlemen’s Association.

              Continuing on with my example, however, I understand in SW Idaho right now there is a new rancher who came in and doesn’t want to do things the old rancher way with the old attitude. As a result, he is getting his fences cut and trespass cattle put on his property and public grazing allotment.

        • avatar bret says:

          jon, I think most of the loss occurred on NF allotments, some on private property on several ranches. Non lethal measures where taken, range riders,howl boxes, fladery, don’t know all the details.

      • avatar Ben Schoppe says:

        Ralph,
        Your comment is bigoted, assumptive and generalizing.
        Being personally involved with livestock grazers on public land, I can attest to the fact that most, if not all, of them are, in fact, huge supporters of wildlife.

    • avatar jon says:

      Sad news indeed. Since when did we start placing cattle ahead of native wildlife?

  2. avatar Joseph Allen says:

    Making the west safe for dumb livestock..such a travesty.

  3. avatar alf says:

    “While wolf recovery is new to Washington State and this pack is large, NW Washington is clearly good wolf habitat.” (second to last paragraph in Ralph’s write up)

    I assume you meant NorthEAST Washington, not NorthWEST Right, Ralph ?

    RIGHT, rALPH ?

  4. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    I have read where consumption of beef in the US is down. I have never regretted giving it up when I read things like this, and also about factory farming horrors. I gave it up back during the first Mad Cow episode because I couldn’t contribute to an industry that destroyed so many animals. Perhaps if factory farming methods and ranching methods would change and become more humane, I might go back to it again. The Arapaho post gives hope. :(

  5. avatar Richie G says:

    Ralph I think Jon is correct,these cows are on federal land all our land,just because the rancher makes sweet deals with the local government, should not mean kill all the wolves. They probably are drinking buddies,see this is why I can’t fall in love with these states. SB said this would happen he was correct, we need calls a lot of calls to all our leaders. P.S. SB could be a little more soft with Jon just a side note. SB is a hunter and I believe this really does not effect him that much. So much for the blue states. It effects people like Jon Mike , me etc. If I might say this sucks so sorry for the word Ralph.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Richie G,

      If you want to help get the livestock off of our public land, you should join the Western Watersheds Project. They are about the only group actively working to do this, mostly by building support to buy up grazing leases and suing the government when they fail to enforce the grazing laws.

      The National Wildlife Federation has also helped retire many thousands of acres of national forest land in the Greater Yellowstone which were constant sources of irritation between cattle and all kinds of wildlife.

  6. avatar Richie G says:

    Yea reading it more they are drinking biddies,that is what makes the world go round,so sad.

  7. avatar Nancy says:

    “Wedge wolf pack will be killed because of increasing beef consumption”

    And as most of us already know by now, the slogan – “Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner” – only applies to mankind :)

    Could a couple of range riders have made a difference, back when those unattended bovine (seldom seen til fall roundup, whether on private or public lands) became a more interesting and easier, food choice to a handful of wolves?

    • avatar Ben Schoppe says:

      I suggest you contact the beef producer and offer to personally purchase his beef at a higher price in order to hire wolf patrols.

  8. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Could a couple of range riders have made a difference, back when those unattended bovine (seldom seen til fall roundup, whether on private or public lands) became a more interesting and easier, food choice to a handful of wolves?

    It really does stretch the bounds of credulity, doesn’t it, to think that some ranchers (not all) feel that they are so entitled they don’t have to make any effort whatsoever to protect their own livestock, and even worse, that our government finds this acceptable and goes along with it. It would be another matter if despite their best efforts they still suffered losses.

  9. avatar Richie G says:

    What happened to the rights of all people for and against wolves,it’s a stacked deck against wolves,Obama might go into ss too,according to Bernie Sanders, and he said call,so I will say for the wolves we must call Obama.Now is the time he wants a second term,this is the best time not if he wins,then it’s too late !

  10. avatar jon says:

    http://stevenscountycattlemen.wordpress.com/

    But even if the Wedge pack is removed, Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association President Scott Nielsen said the problem will not be solved.

    “We have eight wolf packs in the immediate Eastern Washington area that can also become ‘habituated’ to eating cattle. We need the wolf removed as an endangered species in the Eastern Washington region so livestock owners can practically deal with the situation themselves on an as-needed basis,” said Nielsen. “We are not advocating the removal of all wolves, but we want the packs brought to a manageable number and for livestock owners to be able to protect their animals from wolves without fear of jail time or a felony charge.”

    This was posted by someone on facebook. It’s very troubling. Ranchers want wolves delisted and treated as predators.

    • avatar jon says:

      There is one article on that website that talks about how ranchers want wolves delisted in Washington and treated like predators. I’m sure the ranchers in WA will be calling for the extermination of any pack that kills a few cattle.

      • avatar jon says:

        But do ranchers have the power to force delisting and treat the wolf as a predator that could be shot on sight Ralph? Carter?

        • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

          jon,

          These wolves are protected under Washington State law, not the the federal ESA. This part of Washington was delisted too when Idaho and Montana wolves were delisted.

          Wolves have “double” protection in the western 2/3 of Washington.

          • avatar jon says:

            Yeah, but ranchers in WA want wolves in WA delisted now Ralph, so they can be treated like predators. Ranchers as I understand it want wolves delisted from the state’s protection.

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      Surprise, surprise.

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      Surprise, surprise. They don’t have enough of a population yet to take them off the ESL, so this is the only alternative.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      This is something ranchers say, but they are usually not able to shoot an offending wolf. The Diamond M Ranch soon got a permit to shoot for this pack. They are the ranch that lost most of the livestock, maybe all of it.

      They didn’t shoot a wolf.

    • avatar Ed says:

      Is SCCA Scott Nielson, perhaps related to Judge Frem Nielson, who let the White boys of Twisp, WA off with 0 jail time for poaching/slaughtering the entire Lookout Pack, while they were FEDERALLY listed? He let these guys off on FEDERAL charges, yet in another case in this time period, sentenced a mentally ill man to 13 years in prison for having a firearm!!!
      Corruption at its worst!!!!

  11. avatar Carter Niemeyer says:

    On this particular ranch in Washington calves were attacked on public land most of the summer. The rancher has moved his stock onto private land now, where several wounded calves have been examined for severe injuries by wolves. The wolves followed them to the private land. I believe the cattle will be removed from that area about mid-October.

    Unless a cooperative dialogue and working relationship is established between the rancher, Forest Service and Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife for coming years the outcome will remain the same – injured and dead livestock and dead wolves.

  12. avatar Sam Smythe says:

    In my humble opinion, the ranchers take the risk of grazing their cattle on Federal land rather than their own property. If the wolves are coming onto their privately owned ranch land, fine then do what you have to do. If it’s on Federal grazing land, that’s the risk they take for using that land, that predators such as the wolves could reduce their cattle.

  13. avatar Richie G says:

    Look ranchers want a big profit margin ,it’s a bussiness, that is o.k., but now we have wolves,cuts into their profits,that’s it simple. We need to make them realize, their is another voice on this stage. AS I said called the president’s hot line, not the governor,unless she is up for re-election, it’s a game.Do you want to beat the ranchers,well we need a voice to the top,ask Ralph, it’s all politics.P.S. I hate to see a dead animal that looks like my dog, I do not understand why others do not see this.Must be me being from the east. Obama is up for election,this is a time to call.

  14. avatar Richie G says:

    opps it’s that simple ,sorry Ralph

  15. avatar Kit Parker says:

    All for cheap food, huh? I don’t eat nor want “cheap food”, especially meat. I pay more for non-GMO, Non-meat foods at store… AND my taxes (subsidies) still get poured into ranchers pockets who are grazing on my (public) lands.

    The only good ranchers are to ME? I guess, according to them, they’re helping to feed our wolves. Would a thank you letter for that shut them up?

    Stop eating beef/meat! It’s the only thing starting to get the producers attention… finally!

  16. avatar Mark L says:

    Better still, just eat bison and turkey, both of which are ENDEMIC to North America. Heck, even chicken or even rabbit are a better choices (no, not pork or sheep). There’s plenty of choices out there…there’s just a whole lot of people with a financial reason to keep you from seeing what the choices are. Vote twice…in a voting booth, with your wallet.

  17. avatar Salle says:

    If the wolves followed the cattle to private land, it is still in my reckoning, the ranchers’ fault for not having an adequate human presence attending the cattle while on public lands. This probably would have been an adequate deterrent in the first place. It seems to be a clandestine approach to baiting of wolves to ensure that the ranching community gets what it wants… dead and disappearing wolf populations in their area of operations. If they actually did their jobs and lived up to their romanticized ideal of “cowboying” this wouldn’t be such a problem for them or the advocates of a complete ecosystem.

    I think that maintaining a human presence to accompany these cultivated species, and if they are perceived to be so precious and valuable, you’d think these “producers” would figure that part out. You have to put effort into your business endeavors in order to be successful. Let’s see… what was that thing mitten$-r-money said in that video about the perception of victimhood…?

  18. avatar Valerie Bittner says:

    This is my letter which the Seattle Times published on 09/13 (in print and on-line). Also, there had to be a special message line set up by the WA Fish and Wildlife to take protest calls. So for awhile I was hopeful that Wish and Wildlife would spare the Wedge Pack — especially since one of their own took out the breeding alpha, leaving the youngsters without the necessary wildlife hunting guidance. (Seattle Times 09/22).

    I wrote this letter after speaking with Mitch Friedman of Conservation Northwest who informed me that the Diamond M rancher is a really big player virtually all of his cattle roaming unfettered on 30, 000 acres of fragile (due to aridity) of National Forest Land most of the year.

    So it was disturbing to read about Friedman’s capitulation — another version of DOW’s* fatal settlement attempt. There simply can’t be compromise with a rancher who refuses to use ANY non-lethal methods because he doesn’t want to legitimize the wolf’s presence (Seattle Times 09/06)

    Greetings Editor,

    Your cogent report is heartening and disturbing. In the positive realm, it keeps Washingtonians informed about the institutional treatment of the iconic gray wolf. For, there is no other species which can match it for ecological restoration. The wolves’ synergistic interrelationship with other species, including elk and deer, stands against continuing depletion of our biosphere by intensely exploitative land uses.

    On the other hand, to read that the owner of the Diamond M Ranch’s questions the legitimacy of the wolf’s very existence, is the height of hypocrisy since the ranch’s tax-payer subsidized, unfettered grazing is the most widespread form of ecosystem destruction in the country, followed by hydro-fracturing.

    In essence, Washington’s priceless new wolves are the resistance fighters for our “geography of hope” — a considerably more “legitimate” endeavor than destructive ranching for profit.

    *********

    * It’s telling, I think — at least as far as I know –that DOW hasn’t joined the Wyoming lawsuit even though a few months ago they were soliciting $100, OOO for a huge billboard in Times Square depicting Idaho’s slaughtered wolves. I wonder what happened to all the donated money? I could be wrong, but I don’t think it is being used in Washington state for conflict management. Does anyone know?

  19. avatar Ralph Maughan says:

    There are a lot of folks angry about these public land ranchers and what to do about them. They pay almost nothing to graze public lands, but how to raise their grazing fees?

    Well there is a U.S. Senate race this year in Nebraska between former senator Bob Kerry and tea partier hypocrite Deb Fischer, who is a public land rancher. In what is probably a first, Kerry is making an issue of her welfare rate grazing fees. Here is a story in the Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20120914/us-nebraska-senate/

    Those concerned ought not to let this historic opportunity slip by — help Bob Kerry. Bob Kerry for Senate

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      Ralph,
      why does this use of public land persist, how do you see retirement of public grazing permits being accomplished?

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        Louise Kane,

        Most kinds of federal public lands are used for multiple purposes (“multiple use”). This multiple use is mandated by law. Livestock grazing is mandated by law as one of the multiple uses, although the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management have quite a bit of discretion where they can allow it to take place. In fact, these agencies seldom use their administrative discretion to exclude grazing even when it conflicts with other multiple uses. As a result almost all of their land – the national forests, for example – is divided into livestock grazing allotments. Permits to graze these allotments last for 10 years. Then they have to be renewed. They can be pulled (not renewed) for past failure to comply with regulations, but they rarely are withdrawn.

        Most western states also have state owned lands devoted to generating revenue for the public schools (state school endowment lands). These lands were mostly granted to the states as a gift from the federal government at the time of statehood to support the building and maintenance of public schools.

        Today these state lands are often broken into grazing allotments in much the same manner as federal public lands, and are grazed on ten-year leases. However, there is one big difference. The grazing leases on state lands can change hands if some other grazer or person wants to use the lease. If they do, when the lease expires, there is an auction. The state lease goes to the highest bidder.

        The Western Watersheds Project (WWP) has acquired some ten-year Idaho state leases by outbidding the rancher. WWP then retired the land from grazing for a decade, letting it heal (with some beautiful results). This was very controversial at first and the WWP had to battle for the right to pay grazing leases after they won them at auction with the stated intent not to graze them.

        The federal process is much more closed than this. There are no auctions, and the there is no way a person or a non-grazing organization can pay to acquire and retire a grazing lease. A law needs to be passed by Congress to permit grazing leases to be retired by means of payment or donation. This is important to protect the land and wildlife where the feds have inappropriately subjected the land to grazing leases. There are a number of organizations and individuals who think, for example, that it would be better to keep the grass or the streams livestock free in various public places because elk, moose, bears, and fish, for example, are more important to their mind than cows, and would be willing to offer money to more than offset the tiny amount collected in federal grazing lease payments.

        Although it has been ruled by the courts that federal grazing leases are not property rights, they do have a shadow value on the market. A ranch with a federal grazing attached will sell for more than one that lacks a lease.

        The fact that a ranch with a federal lease is forced by law and administrative custom to graze or lose the lease keeps livestock on the land even when it is being damaged and the market, were it legally able, would reject grazing as its highest and best use. Many ranchers wish they could convert their grazing leases to cash, sell them, and stop grazing.

        Grazing activists are pushing for a law to offer any rancher with a federal lease who wants to, to receive a generous federal buyout of the grazing lease. Taking the buyout would be voluntary, and many ranchers would take it. Opposition to such a law comes from livestock associations who are afraid too many of their members would retire and from politicians who like to think of their constituents as cattle or sheep growers, or maybe as the tired old rancher bucking hay at age 80 as “landscape art.”

        The Western Watersheds Project has supported passing a federal law to offer grazing buyouts to all ranchers on public lands. The money would come from the government (taxpayers). Money would be saved because the grazing fees currently paid are only a tiny fraction of what the federal government spends (from taxpayers) to keep grazing going on public lands. WWP supports passage of the Rural Economic Vitalization Act (REVA). It would accomplish this.

        At a minimum, the law should be changed to do two very simple things:

        Direct the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management to retire grazing allotments when willing permittees waive their permit to the administering agency.
        Make permanent the retirement of grazing use on those public lands on which permits have been waived.

        • avatar Maska says:

          Ralph, thanks for this clear explanation of a complicated subject. I hope numerous readers will consider supporting the efforts of Western Watersheds Project and other organizations to promote a bill that would direct the USFS and BLM to allow voluntary retirement of grazing leases.

        • avatar Salle says:

          Louise posted this on Saturday but it needs broader attention and this seems to be a good place to reinsert, so…
          ======
          Louise Kane says:
          September 22, 2012 at 9:47 pm

          https://www.popvox.com/orgs/wolfwatcher/_action/4028
          HR3432 retire grazing lands / revitalization act

        • avatar Louise Kane says:

          Ralph thank you so very much for your detailed response. I appreciate it very much

          sounds like there is a great deal of abuse of discretion here

        • avatar Louise Kane says:

          Ralph what law mandates the grazing leases as one of the multiple uses?

      • avatar Bob says:

        See “Sacred Cows at the Public Trough,” by Denzel & Nancy Ferguson (1981) for a good history of the problem. Nothing has changed in the 30 years since the book was published. For a more current and heavier read, see “Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction Of The American West” by Wuerthner and Matteson (2002).

  20. avatar Valerie Bittner says:

    Greetings Louise and every pro-wolf advocate,

    For the past three months I’ve been finishing up a writing project about the events leading to the “legislative solution” delisting the wolf.

    In this connection, this past summer, I interviewed the nation’s foremost expert on the ESA, Professor Dale Goble (UI). I asked him what he thought was the greatest legal mistake made in connection with the court challenges to delisting. He responded: not challenging the original (1987) recovery standard (affirmed in the 1994 EIS)before the court challenges began in 2008.

    Since Wyoming is still in play, does anyone with procedural expertise think that a NEPA challenge demanding a supplemental environmental impact statement based on advancements in conservation science — e.g., the 500/1000 population viability standard; the concept of a “naturally functioning population” — consolidated with the pending ESA challenge would crack that nut open?

    My e-mail address can be found on my web-site: omniadvocacy.net

    • avatar SAP says:

      Valerie – that is very interesting. I would suggest you also interview Professor Oliver Houck at Tulane and find out whether the goals in recovery plans can be contested.

      We’ve gone over this before on this site (see http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2010/11/18/breaking-judge-sides-with-wyoming-in-wolf-case/) — the question of what the ESA is supposed to do (ie, did Congress intend for it to avert extinction in the short term, or to ensure that listed taxa would be around forever and fulfill their evolutionary potential).

      Various standards of population viability are all inherently subjective. Congress has not adopted any standard of viability in the ESA. It gets left up to agency discretion to determine those goals.

      For background, look up the 1995 federal court decision on the grizzly bear recovery plan. I’m pretty sure that Judge Friedman in that case said that FWS’s population goals were ok (seems like it was around 250 bears). Even though there’s been a lot of work done on population viability since 1995, I don’t think any of it would change that outcome because it still remains largely theoretical and inescapably subjective.

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      Valerie have sent e mail to my friend.

  21. avatar Louise Kane says:

    Hi Valerie,
    I think you are working with an amazing writer. Mr Goble wrote one of the most concise arguments about the shortcomings in the wolf recovery plan and why the ESA was abrogated by the section 10 j special status provision. Should anyone that has not read it wish to its here at
    http://nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/bibarticles/goble_wolves.pdf
    AS for your question about the NEPA review, I’ll check with a friend who used to work in NOAA as a policy advisor to the Secretary on NEPA review. Not sure she can help but I will ask.
    Great question

  22. avatar Salle says:

    Valerie,

    That’s a great question and thank you for asking the right person. Dr. Goble is absolutely the right person to ask… and to ask the right question was brilliant, since this is often the major stumbling point in many cases.

    And thanks, Louise for the link.

  23. avatar Richie G says:

    Thanks Ralph I gave once I will give again this week and join as a member,thank you for your response. But I am still making my call to the Governor,even thou they hung up on me the last time,all I wanted to do was thank them for a stop to this the last time.

  24. avatar Valerie Bittner says:

    Louise and Salle,

    Thanks so much for your positive commentary. Louise, if you get an answer from the policy advisor that confirms my theory about opening up the recovery standard through a SEIS demand, please let me know ASAP, and moreover, let the attorney (J Tutchton representing Wild Earth Guardians, et al. know what you found out). I’ve already sent my theory to Wild Earth Guardians and Advocates for the West but, as expected, received no response (most likely because of attorney-client privilege). Still, I believe it would be constructive for other attorneys to provide input on the matter.

    Salle, yes, Dale Goble is THE man to speak with if one wants to discuss substantive issues re: the ESA. However, he informed me that he is not a procedural specialist (having worked as a solicitor, versus a barrister at DOJ) and thus could not give me an idea about the timing of a SEIS demand.

    • avatar Salle says:

      Valerie, I think those are due to commence within a 60-90 day period following an action… perhaps Ken Cole could be helpful there. I’ve been out of the loop for some time now but I’ll see if I can find out about that myself, should be in some documentation I have access to if not in the ACT itself.

  25. avatar Valerie Bittner says:

    Addendum: SAP.

    Thank you SAP. I certainly will check out your references. While the agency has discretion, nonetheless, they are required to issue a SEIS when the best available science becomes available. Keep in mind that peer review biologists lambasted the 1987 MVP as “ad hoc”, administrative”, “expedient”, etc., etc.

  26. avatar Richie G says:

    Does anybody have an update I was reading they were starting on Friday, and if they did not get at least four, they were taking to the air. I called four different numbers, and one guy said he was on vacation and hung up on me. I asked do they have the numbers of cattle dying from illness, orb other predators vs wolf kills they could not answer me or would not.

  27. avatar Salle says:

    Interesting mostly fact-free reporting on the huff-n-puff…

    Washington State Wolf Pack Targeted For Elimination

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/24/washington-wolf-pack_n_1909181.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green

    From the looks of the comments, readers aren’t buying this storyline.

  28. avatar Valerie Bittner says:

    Salle,

    Thank you for your response re timing of an SEIS demand. My thinking is there shouldn’t be a “deadline” (unless you’re talking about the timeline re: the federal “unleashing” of the Wyoming plan) because who knows when new scientific info. will be available to the agency. “NEPA imposes a continuing duty to supplement an existing EIS in response to significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns bearing on the proposed action or its impacts.” (Turtle Island Restoration Network v. U.S. Dept. of Com., 438 F.3d 937, 949 (9th Cir. 2006). My current supposition is that a SEIS demand must be brought before the judge rules on the merits of the challenge under the ESA.

  29. Would like to add some comments on this issue. I am from North of the border and I am a guide/outfitter and hunt for personnal pleasure and am also a wildlife biologist. I do not agree with this wolf kill at all. I feel that if measures had been taken to deal with this issue including educating rsnchers the problem would not have reached these proportions. The statement I heard on the radio that our grandparents had delt with this problem by exterminating all the wolves in Washington is ludicrous. I would also like to comment on the statement that “our friends in Canada should help us exterminate the pack” is embarrasing. I bet you that if you looked up these ranchers and the governor (also a rancher) that are all in favour of Canada helping, belong to RCALF and have tried to eliminate the importation of Canadian cattle into the states. That is a political as I get. Totally disagree with the kill.

  30. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    Diamond M Ranch runs about 300 cow calf pairs on 30,000 acre alloment(s)in Stevens County, WA.

    http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/outdoors/tags/diamond-m-ranch/

  31. avatar Richie G says:

    Did they kill all the wolves ?

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Richie G,

      They have to find the wolves to shoot them. I haven’t scanned the news this morning, but so far as I know they haven’t killed any.

  32. avatar Nicole Rustad says:

    After visiting conservation projects of predators all of the world including in some of the poorest regions on earth where ranchers are working with conservationists to protect predators, I find it disturbing that we cannot do the same in North America – still one of the wealthiest places on earth.

    From herders in Ladakh, India protecting the Snow Leopard to Masaii in Kenya taking action to protect livestock from lions who are living on less than a dollar a day, I find it unfortunate that we cannot make an effort to protect wildlife that are endangered.

    • avatar Mark L says:

      Nicole, good point. Dr. Laurie Marker with cheetah.org has a good working relationship with many herders in Africa. Too bad we won’t ‘template’ her ideas to the U.S.
      Maybe we are too smart to be fooled by 21st century ideas…just shoot at all predators like our grandads. Our grandads would be proud.

      Our grandkids will never forgive us. (culture of death)

  33. avatar Ty Davis says:

    “Ralph, these particular ranchers did not want to accept compensation for their livestock losses. What does that tell you??”

    That tells me that these particular ranchers do not want to be paid for something they did not earn. The government paying up to hundreds of dollars to feed these wolves each calve they eat makes no sense at all. People love having these pretty wolves to look at no matter what the cost. Also by not being in this rancher’s position, they also don’t understand the impact.

    • avatar timz says:

      “That tells me that these particular ranchers do not want to be paid for something they did not earn.”

      Give us a break, they’re already collecting welfare in the form of public lands grazing. Listen to the guy he’s a kook spouting some wolf planting conspiracy theory.

  34. avatar Louise Kane says:

    an ironic and incongruous message….that lethal removal of wolves is a necessary and integral component of wolf recovery. The words learning to live with wolves and a requirement to implement progressive predator avoidance tactics should be substituted for lethal removal.

  35. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Is it true that this pack was only discovered in July of this year? Maybe I misread … curious that all this damage has happened since. I also don’t know if this is true or not, someone from Washington state has said this gentleman is the only rancher who has complained. It says in the linked article that experience has shown that relocating them isn’t a good option as relocated wolves don’t tend to survive as well – I don’t think shooting them gives them a better chance for survival. I think this is bad news for the rest of the packs in Washington.

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      From the article:

      “The Wedge area is good habitat, so wolves will likely recolonize relatively quickly over the next year or two,” Ware said.”

      I don’t see how this makes sense. If they are a supposed threat to cattle now, won’t they still be if they recolonize? Is this going to be a continual cycle of shooting and recolonizing? It doesn’t make sense to do this just to smooth ruffled feathers. Maybe they are planning to implement better protections of the livestock in the future?

      • avatar ma'iingan says:

        I have some experience at translocation of wolves, and there are some difficulties. They don’t stay where you put them, even if you think it’s prime wolf habitat.

        If the breeding pair (who do most of the killing) are habituated to livestock, they will continue to seek out livestock after translocation.

        If the only means of capture is trapping, it’s very difficult to trap the entire pack. On a landscape where the animals can be darted from the air, it’s possible to move the whole pack.

        After removal of the depredating animals, a recolonizing pack may leave the local livestock untouched – not every pack depredates, even if livestock are easily available.

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        Ida Lupine,

        Hopefully the wolves will not occupy exactly the same habitat next time. Perhaps the line-up of ranchers will have changed and/or their willingness to be proactive themselves and/or accept help.

        I also think Washington Game and Fish will have learned by experience.

        On the other hand, the recent tendency of politicians to intervene destructively can’t be discounted.

    • avatar bret says:

      Ida the first attack on livestock occurred in 2007 I believe.

      the issue of relocating the wolves is not their survival but that once they have the taste of an easy meal they will continue in the new location and teach their young.

      • avatar Ed says:

        The attack in 2007 was a lone wolf. The Wedge pack did not appear until late 2008/early 2009. The Wedge pack lived in the ranch vicinity for 4 YEARS without a SINGLE incident!!!!!!!
        UNTIL……People were informed of their existence……

  36. avatar Louise Kane says:

    63,000 + people took poll on whether Wedge Pack should be killed or ranchers should do more to protect their cattle. 73% against wolves being killed.

    I believe the public is generally against wolf killing and that its a local and minority voice that advocates for these archaic policies

    Poll attached to NBC story
    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/25/14093139-gray-wolf-pack-in-washington-state-will-be-shot-dead-after-preying-on-cattle?lite

    • avatar TC says:

      A random survey of NBC News website readers? Likely few of them educated about wolves, wildlife conservation, ranching, rural lifestyles, ecology, population biology, conflict management, etc.? Most of them probably sitting at the computer in urban/suburban residences or offices, wearing their leather belts and shoes, credit cards stuffed into their leather wallets and purses, covered and coiffed with personal consumer goods derived from livestock (and worse! GMO corn) byproducts, musing over what meat dish they’ll have for dinner, thinking “I too love wolves; wolves are cute and huggable and pretty and noble beasts”. Good grief. This battle is lost (evidence, dead wolves). It wasn’t winnable, or in my opinion even justifiable. How do you get buy-in from the people that count significantly (sorry, proximity does count) – those that live in rural areas and have to live with wolves (if wolves are to survive) – if you cannot agree that repeat offenders must go? Repeat offenders that have broken the rules on private land, no less? You don’t. You get stiff spines and a breakdown in all communications and cooperation, even from the most hopeful candidates among them – the younger generation, the progressive producers or landowners, the producers or landowners with some ecological or biological training or interest. You lend credence and authority to the cranky ignorant bastards among them – “See? See what these people want? Wolves everywhere and no accountability!”. And you push people to take actions into their own hands – they will kill wolves, and not just problem wolves, if pushed hard enough. And you cannot stop them. Not with all the lawsuits or pious good intentions in the world. And that’s a loss even if you win some Pyrrhic victory in a court or a legislative session somewhere – not saying those are not important, but good Lord, a little common sense now and then really is the salve for many itches.

      About the only thing on this thread I could get behind is a need to significantly revise our public lands grazing (and by default, depredation) policies. There’s a very worthy battle worth fighting.

      • avatar Louise Kane says:

        How do you get buy-in from the people that count significantly (sorry, proximity does count) –

        don’t even know where to begin with that pompous statement and all the urban people bashing. I guess the people that count all live close to Idaho, MT, and Wyoming and the rest of us are too self absorbed and ignorant to understand even the basic concepts behind the wolf issue? Sounds sort of like the Romney bit about not caring about 45% of the population.

        • avatar Immer Treue says:

          Got to agree with TC, proximity does matter, in particular if it occurs on your land. That said, with what is known about wolves, it’s going to cost money to learn to live with them, or remove them. One would think that with lessons learned, and money spent in ID, and MT that more proactive measures than “just” killing might be in practice by now.

          • avatar timz says:

            The article clearly states this guy is grazing on public land, and thinks all this is a conspiracy to take away his lease.

            • avatar Salle says:

              That’s the popular storyline, it fits in with all the other victimhood claims. Like Immer said, one would think… But what isn’t actually about for these guys boils down to them not getting their way and telling everyone else to suck it and then getting away with it, on our property. Bullies who aren’t winning the battle every time anymore, basically.

            • avatar Salle says:

              Huh,

              But what isn’t it’s actually about for these guys.

              Guess the spell check wasn’t the way to go on that one :)

          • avatar Louise Kane says:

            Nabeki’s site shows 2 Wedge Pack wolves were killed today. shot from helicopters. More killing, more of the same. terrible

        • avatar TC says:

          I stand by everything I wrote. “Too self-absorbed and ignorant to understand even the basic concepts behind the wolf issue” (whatever that means) – nope, and that is not what I wrote. Wolf (wildlife) biology, ecology, and conservation are not black boxes, only knowable to locals. In fact, locals need some serious education in these areas. What I wrote was that you are never going to acheive that goal (more educated locals, more cooperative locals, more supportive locals – LOCALS THAT LIVE WITH THE WOLVES in the NRM and Pacific Northwest – wolves, I may reiterate, that YOU DO NOT LIVE WITH) without knowing them, working with them, and gaining their trust, and to that end agencies and managers need to show good faith and follow some rules – including removing problem wolves on occasion. Your livelihood is not affected by these wolves, in a positive (and there could be positives) or negative way – it is VERY EASY for you to be the good guy (gal) on the white horse advocating for wolves at the expense of humans from your easy chair there in the northeast. Get over it, it’s the truth, and frankly it’s ridiculous that I have to keep trying to make this point with you and others – you insinuate I have a superiority complex above – sister, check out the mirror sometime.

          It doesn’t mean you don’t stop pushing for better wildlife conservation practices based on best available science – it means you occasionally dismount your high horse and give a crap about people that sometimes will do the right thing or the common good thing if you can get through the door and show them the way.

          • avatar Salle says:

            TC,

            For whom is your rant intended?

            You aren’t making a lot of sense.

            And if you were referring to me, I do live in the heart of wolf country and cattle country and it does impact me and my livelihood in a number of ways. Aside from that, I am pretty well informed about these issues, have been for many years and have been making attempts to help educate the “locals” as well, myself included. And I don’t have any horses of any kind, high or otherwise.

            So to whom are you aiming your point, whatever it was?

            • avatar Rita K. Sharpe says:

              I,guess,that arm chair biologists,who live in areas that do not have predators;such as wolves,cougars,and and that assortment of bears? I,too,do not know to whom he is addressing or maybe he is just venting?

            • avatar Salle says:

              I had to ask, you know?

            • avatar Nancy says:

              Why Salle… I’m starten to get the Opinion that TC might just be one of those “cow” worshippers :)

              “it is VERY EASY for you to be the good guy (gal) on the white horse advocating for wolves at the expense of humans”

              Because it seems the hunters who chime in on this site, advocate (and often) the harvesting of wild game vs. beef.

            • avatar Salle says:

              Holy cow, Nancy! I was getting the same impression. The part that I thought was interesting was when they got all fired up about being on the east coast, as if there is no way anyone there could ever know anything about life out here… unless, of course, they might happen to be from here or have lived out here, know someone who lives out here or just happen to have been paying attention… ;)

            • avatar Savebears says:

              Watch out TC, the Vultures are circling!

              LOL

            • avatar timz says:

              “Watch out TC, the Vultures are circling”

              And the typical horses asses are out.

            • avatar Louise Kane says:

              Salle I believe it was directed at me, the same old argument you don’t live here, it doesn’t affect you, and you can’t possibly understand. The rest of it is confusing. A rant yes

            • avatar Salle says:

              Louise,

              Funny, I don’t ever recall you saying anything about having high, white horses… ;)

              Although, I do recall my making reference to looking at one’s self in the mirror in the past… It’s not a bad idea if one is passing judgement on others.

            • avatar Savebears says:

              Nice come back timz.

            • avatar JB says:

              I don’t know, Salle…this makes a lot of sense to me:

              “…without knowing them, working with them, and gaining their trust, and to that end agencies and managers need to show good faith and follow some rules – including removing problem wolves on occasion.”

              As did this…

              “You lend credence and authority to the cranky ignorant bastards among them – ‘See? See what these people want? Wolves everywhere and no accountability!'”

              The “no compromise” views of some of the folks on either side of this issue only work to ensure that we have swings between total protection and heavy “harvest” (or worse…all out war). This is a valid point, even if made in the middle of a rant.

      • avatar Louise Kane says:

        70,000 people weighed in pretty quickly about the issue and most of them believe the ranchers should be more proactive in protecting their cattle. But hey most of those 70,000 people probably don’t have the capacity to even read the story never mind comprehend it.

        • avatar Salle says:

          It’s up to 85158 currently and 73% think the wolves should not be killed and that ranchers need to do more to protect their livestock. (…that would be including my insignificant vote since I live way over here in MT and some people think I’m probably stupid cuz I don’t hunt or raise cattle.)

          • avatar ma'iingan says:

            “It’s up to 85158 currently and 73% think the wolves should not be killed and that ranchers need to do more to protect their livestock.”

            I’m pretty sure those 85,000 people (and some of the posters here)are totally clueless about the 250 or so wolves killed every year in Minnesota for depredation.

            • avatar Salle says:

              Interesting assumption.

            • avatar jon says:

              250 wolves out of a population of 3000 or more. Compare that to Washington’s wolf population.

            • avatar ma'iingan says:

              “250 wolves out of a population of 3000 or more. Compare that to Washington’s wolf population.”

              Is that really a concern here, Jon? A good portion of this pack’s territory is in British Columbia, so they’re well-connected to the Canadian metapopulation. This area will be recolonized in no time, hopefully by animals that won’t depredate livestock.

        • avatar TC says:

          Ah, petulance. So pretty. But, I’d probably be in closer agreement with your statement that most of those people cannot truly comprehend all of the issues at hand than the opposite argument. Chalk me up for yes. Have a super day. Keep doing good work.

      • avatar Ed says:

        TC: Bull. I live in the Wedge. I eat no beef or wear leather. I spent my entire life in ranch country, REAL ranch country of the American Southwest. These boys up here are pussies! PERIOD.

    • avatar Mark L says:

      I know it’s no consolation, but the times of using an expensive helicopter and a marksman may be coming to an end. Drones may end up eliminating more than just Al Qaeda and Taliban.

  37. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    The Wedge Pack’s official discovery was documented in July by KING 5’s Gary Chittim.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49126993/

  38. avatar JEFF E says:

    I guess my question would be “how do they know that the two wolves that were killed were even from the depradating pack?” and will the necropsies be expansive enough to prove one way or the other, and last would the state say that the wolves were not involved in depradations if it was confirmed thru the necropsies, or would they come out with the old “we got em” line.

  39. avatar Richie G says:

    I do not know if I ever said this before,so if I have forgive me. I was on seven devils drive once,forgot name of town,it’s where the battle of white bird happened.So I went up the mountain,came down.Second day wanted to go to top,in the meantime their were cows half way up, I thought how could this be? Second day going down I seen a rancher with a truck and a flatbed,I guess for his cattle. Now this is a Nez Perce National forest how could this be done?Now if a preadtor or a wolf killed his cow or cattle,he would be saying kill all those wolves. Now who is right? His cattle are unattended so he is in the wrong to me, IMHO.

  40. avatar Angela says:

    Just wanted to make sure the MSNBC segment was included in this post–I just thought it was so disturbing to watch.
    http://tinyurl.com/8dtzja4

  41. avatar Ben Schoppe says:

    The only solution I gather from these blue comments is:
    The all new McWolf burger.

  42. avatar Ben Schoppe says:

    The cattle are unattended because WE are unwilling to pay a higher price for our beef.

    • avatar Salle says:

      Actually, it’s because the rncher is a cheapskate who is so addicted to ranching nearly for free that he will scram and bitch in a deathmatch before actually doing his damned job. If he is going to raise his cattle for what is it (?) $1.32/AUM (meaning, actually 2 cows at this rate for each month) on our public lands then he’s going to have to accept some responibilty on that. Aside from that cheapskate rate he also has access to the $X000.00 per hour we taxpayers pay for USDA’s (APHIS’s) “wildlife services” to go out and kill all the predators that the rancher is too cheap to protect against. WolfMcBurgers my hind foot. This is precisely why I stopped eating meat. THose guys can fail… for all the trouble they cause the rest of us.

      http://cironline.org/reports/hidden-costs-hamburgers-3701

    • avatar ma'iingan says:

      “The cattle are unattended because WE are unwilling to pay a higher price for our beef.”

      From the WDFW website –

      Calving areas have been located away from the region to make calves less vulnerable to predation.

      Cows with calves were released onto the range later in the spring when they are larger and more natural prey is available to wolves.

      The rancher now employs five cowboys or “range riders” to help monitor the herd.

      WDFW has worked with USDA Wildlife Services staff to patrol range in mid-summer with the goal of driving any wolves away from the herd.

      Injured livestock have been moved off the range to recover, reducing the risk of attack.

    • avatar DLB says:

      Ben,

      I’ll take my beef from a feedlot in Texas and it won’t cost me a dime in predator control. Don’t waste anyone’s time with this garbage about predators and beef prices.

  43. avatar Richie G says:

    Ralph I was reading your answer in detail about government land and grazing. Is the government afraid a construction company would come in and try to pass a law to build on this government land ? houses I mean,developments ?

  44. avatar Nancy says:

    Two days ago, a semi hauling cattle, went off a corner of highway not far from me.

    Its not a nice corner but anyone in the business of hauling cattle locally (as in empty cattle trucks to ranches) realize this highway has some nasty little corners to it and going up a pass empty, is quite different when you come back down with a full load of cattle.

    6 cows were dead at the scene of the accident and someone mentioned the number of severely injured cows (dragged out of the semi) would probably bring the total of dead cows to maybe 20.

    That very same rancher about a year ago, lost a few head of cattle, when another semi, hauling his cattle back from summer pasture, ran off the same stretch of road.

    Is this an example of “loss” by stupid (ranching) humans in a rush to market their product vs nature taking advantage every once in awhile ( predators) to their lax ranching practices?

    • avatar elk275 says:

      ++Is this an example of “loss” by stupid (ranching) humans in a rush to market their product++

      The trucker was a contract trucker who did not know the road and is being paid by the mile. The rancher did not have anything to do with this accident. Truckers hauling cows are no different from any other independent trucker, they are piss poor.

      • avatar elk275 says:

        “most likely he/she was a contract trucker”

      • avatar Nancy says:

        Give me a fricken break Elk…..Most, if not all of these truckers, KNOW these roads, because of the contracts they get year after year, to haul cattle.

        • avatar elk275 says:

          ++Most, if not all of these truckers, KNOW these roads++

          Then you can not fix stupid.

          • avatar Nancy says:

            So, can rest my case when it comes to stupid ranchers?

            • avatar elk275 says:

              ++So, can rest my case when it comes to stupid ranchers? ++

              NO,NO,NO

              A trucker is not a rancher, a trucker was driving the truck not a rancher.

              How could anyone call most ranchers stupid. I your neighborhood would you call th Huntley’s, Peterson’s or the Hershey’s stupid. There ranches are worth between $25,000,000 to $50,000,000 each and they have owned them for generations.

              I have come to the conclusion after reading this forum for the last 3 years that a percentage of the readers dislike ranching because of it’s impact on wildlife. I am not talking about federal lands but the impact on fee lands, too. The best habitat is patented fee land, that was the most productive land and was patented by the homesteader and consolidated after the depression in to large ranches.

              My question to you Nancy is why did you move to rural Southwest Montana 20 years ago if you do not like the way of life. Ranching and its practices are not going away.
              If I disliked my neighborhood I would move.

            • avatar Salle says:

              My, my elk, calm down now. Actually, some ranchers are, indeed, truckers themselves when it comes to hauling the cattle in and out. Even if that is not the case, contract drivers can be stupid or careless at times and some might be unfamiliar with the road. BUT, cattle don’t just stand still while in transit and, directly after being loaded can be quite rambunctious and could upset the entire rig by bunching up and/or engaging in unsettled ways… especially right after getting crammed into a trailer.

              In addition, ranchers, regardless of how much they are worth on paper does not equate to intellect, trust me… and some have inherited that worth-as you said yourself-and much of that wealth was likely gotten by using cheap grazing on public land to make such financial gains while crying all the way to the permit office. Is this a function of intellect?

              And if the rancher is worth so much money and he keeps losing cattle on the same stretch of road, just how smart is it for him to not pay to have the curve re-engineered to correct a curve that was probably poorly engineered in the first place? Just asking.

  45. avatar Nancy says:

    “My question to you Nancy is why did you move to rural Southwest Montana 20 years ago if you do not like the way of life. Ranching and its practices are not going away”

    Simple Elk…. I had no idea how primative the practices were UNTIL I moved here.

    I don’t hunt and I don’t eat beef so soon after moving here I discovered I had little in common with most of the ranchers in my area other than chatting about the weather, how the kids (now adults) are doing, who’s died and who’s recenting divorced.

    Discussing politics are pretty much off the table since many around here feel Obama is a dyed-in-the-wool Muslim, although I do know a retired rancher (going on 97) who still votes democrat.

    Did some cooking a few years back for a local ranch during haying season and the crew at the time, were absolutely thrilled whenever I tossed together meals that DIDN”T include beef.

    Being knee deep, can often distort one’s vision :)

  46. avatar Deb Pittack says:

    3 more wolves were killed today by WDFW sharp shooter from a helicopter. The rancher involved is an #%|<€* by the name of Bill McIrvine. ALL the other ranchers in area were willing to work with WDFW for non-violent/lethal method to remove the Wedge wolves. NOT McIrvine.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Deb Pittack,

      Thank you for this information about McIrvine. I had been trying to find out if there was a willingness to cooperate among the ranchers. I got the sense there was, so explaining why Conservation Northwest reluctantly went along with the removal of the wolf pack.

      If it was just this one big rancher, McIrvine who wasn’t willing to work toward a common solution, it confirms what I have been saying — that ranchers are very often pressured by other ranchers who have more political or economic influence to be recalcitrant even though it creates a lose/lose situation rather than one were there is at least some kind of positive outcome.

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        Well, the more I read about this and get email updates, the more it looks like the genesis of the problem with this wolf pack was McIrvine and his failure to try anything proactive. Instead he early on began spouting unpleasant rhetoric about wolves and those who supported their restoration.

        McIrvine said nothing proactive worked with the wolves and yet according to Mitch Friedman of Conservation Northwest, McIrvine even refused to participate in a range riding program other local ranchers were using to protect their livestock from predators and whatever. SEE http://is.gd/JS5lVJ

        • avatar Mark L says:

          I’m far from an expert on this, but I suspect that the more time and effort the state spends on sharpshooters and equipment/time on this pack, the more ranchers will regret it in the end. ‘Boots on the ground’ (or in the air) will end up being too expensive before long, and more and more people begin to see this as a debacle that was started through stubborness and hate, then continued through politics. Not good.

          • avatar JEFF E says:

            Helicopter time costs(taxpayers)abut 1000 per hour.

            • avatar Sash.in.MN says:

              I am very curious what the total bill be.
              There’s never going to be any sort of progress when one party absolutely refuses to budge or have an open mind for other options.
              I pray this rancher isn’t instilling his single mindedness onto the young of his family but I highly doubt it.
              Travesty all around.

      • avatar DLB says:

        Washington State ranchers like McIrvin will get their stubborness reciprocated in due time, it’s just that the the Wedge Pack wasn’t the one make a stand on.

        I do believe that there a number of ranchers who are willing to cooperate to an extent, but the largest, most entitled outfits; as well as the loud-mouths, drown everyone else out. I’m interested to know whether the loud-mouths from the big outfits dominate the cattleman’s associations?

        • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

          DLB,

          I agree. This whole affair was such a muddle complicated by this big rancher, and who knows who else, that I’m not sure it could every be sorted out.

          The wolves are dead now. They will repopulate, but hopefully a bit in some other direction from his property. Folks need to consider that these unreconstructed old school ranchers are dying off.

    • avatar timz says:

      are you following this Schoppe. Maybe you should crawl back uner the cowpie you crawled out from under and stay off of this site with your bullshit about how all ranchers love wildlife.

  47. avatar Nancy says:

    “Actually, some ranchers are, indeed, truckers themselves when it comes to hauling the cattle in and out”

    Salle – most of the cattle trucks I see on this stretch of highway, have local ranch names printed just above the cab and with out a doubt, they haul for each other in the spring and fall, depending…..

    • avatar Salle says:

      Nancy,

      I know that too. I have dealt with that “community” in the trucking world of the past, things don’t change all that much in that end of the planet… ;)

      I was trying to cover all the possibilities, I did put that up front because it’s the most likely scenario. Maybe they should petition to have something done about that patch of road that seems to have a poorly engineered curve, (surely f they are such powerful and large-scale operators they would have some “sway” with county folks to get that done). And maybe they could put the cows in the trailer and have a cup of coffee or something to give them a chance to calm down before “puttin’ it in the wind” as the saying goes. I mean, there are options for these folks and especially with regard to timing since a majority of the cattle on the ground is heading to market in this protracted drought situation. If these drivers are familiar with the road that narrows it down to two and a half possibilities with one common factor (that being a poorly engineered curve) they are either being careless, the cattle are “bullying” the trailer or both which seems to result in spilled cows.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        Actually this l mile stretch has two poorly engineered curves Salle and numerous accidents (and a couple of deaths) have occurred on both of them.
        Straightening it out would require cutting thru a sizable chunk of a rancher’s land and cutting thru a hillside.

        Someone should of given it some thought back when they paved it years ago.

        • avatar Salle says:

          Nancy,

          Poorly engineered curves don’t necessarily require straightening so much as they need to be banked properly… that would be to, in many cases, elevate the “outside” of the curve and lower the inside of the curve appropriate to the length and angle of the portions of the road that are on either side of the curve(s). I agree, that should have been done when they went about paving it. Sounds like this problem is the result of a cheapskate paving plan.

          • avatar elk275 says:

            I remember when those roads were gravel. I am dating myself.

            • avatar Salle says:

              Many of them still are gravel around here. In my neck o’ the woods and weeds, if you’re not on the US Highway or a private road, you’re most likely on dirt/gravel.

            • avatar Nancy says:

              “I am dating myself”

              Oh and here I thought you had a girlfriend Elk :) Just kidding!

              The county and state have done a bag up job of maintaining that road (since it was paved) in the past few years, so much so that posted speed limits are more often than not, exceeded by locals and out of staters.

              Really wish someone would get their act/sh*t together and start monitoring (and posting) sensitive areas. Areas where deer, elk and pronghorn cross, certain times of the year.

              I’ve seen two dead proghorn and a couple of mule deer, dead on my little (used to be unpaved) road in the past couple of weeks.

              Left the cabin just about dawn this morning, heading over to a job in Wisdom and came across a dozen elk attempting to navigate the fences and get across the road.

              A few miles past that, the out of stater who wizzed past me doing 65, and obviously clueless of their surroundings, was breaking hard because of a half dozen mule deer, grazing both sides of the road.

  48. avatar Richie G says:

    When I drove out west I found many bad roads,you take your life in your hands around the mountains,but it is beautiful country. As for the ranchers,I suspect it’s a deeper problems than wolves. Wolves are smart, they team up in packs, and they know how to make life hard for a rancher, in other words in makes the rancher look stupid,and I think they will fight to the death to not look silly or stupid. Does not matter how many are killed by disease,it’s in their hands ,it’s the elements, but they do not like being made out to be fools.Look how much they are worth, they are like CEO’s ,they tell people what to do even the governmnt. Watershed maintainers is the best way to go take the land out of heir hands,or take the hammer out of their hands. A smart rancher who does not have a big ego,will go out of his way to protect his cattle,dogs, electric fences,etc. This type of rancher will adapt,he does not think he looks stupid, it’s the narrow minded people who cause the problems.Again I do not mind hunting for food, but wolves,coyote’s are too close to dogs for me to like this killing,I do not consider them game animals.

  49. avatar Ty Davis says:

    Rihie G,
    What animals do you justify killing? The one’s that you like in particular shouldn’t be killed? Say you like wolve, bears, and Mountain Lions. So allow the hunting of Elk, Deer and etc. With the decrease in their populations and no population control on the predators how can that balance work?

  50. avatar Louise Kane says:

    I can’t speak for Richie but I think he objects to trophy hunting and killing for sport. I bet if left alone ungulates and predators would find the correct balance just as they did through the ages. Its human interference that has mangled ecosystems.

    • avatar JEFF E says:

      Louise,
      not to throw a damper on your utopia, but humans and hunting has been a factor in that balance through out the ages

      • avatar Louise Kane says:

        not the kind of hunting that occurs now and I’m sure you’ll correct me if I am wrong but was trophy hunting, trapping, snaring and hunting with dogs, baiting and poisoning a factor in this “balance through the ages” where a rising population of 7 billion humans and fragmented and degraded habitats have extriminated many populations of animals and leave some populations struggling in the hundreds and low thousands? Not all that balanced to me.

        • avatar JB says:

          Louise:

          Again, I think your view of human management of ecosystems of overly pessimistic. We know more about how ecosystems function, what makes them resilient, etc. then ever before–and we learn more every day. Yes, it takes some time for the science to filter into our management, but it does…and management of ecosystems improves.

          The combination of ever-improving science, electronically-available information (since the late 1990s), and policy with teeth (since the early 1970s) mean that rare/imperiled species and ecosystems in the US get more attention than ever before. Wolves in Canada are hunted and trapped, as are wolves in Alaska, and there are ~40,000 and ~5,000, respectively.

          • avatar Nancy says:

            “Wolves in Canada are hunted and trapped, as are wolves in Alaska, and there are ~40,000 and ~5,000, respectively”

            Kind of like coyotes out here in the west, right JB?

            Now there’s a species that has no problem “adjusting” their populations to our needs, when it comes to hunting and trapping for fun and profit :)

          • avatar Louise Kane says:

            JB I think my view of management is driven by a variety of factors. Politics driving management, refusal of politicians to accept scientific consensus on something as easy to understand as global warming, segments of our society widely refusing to believe in evolution, a loss of apex predators worldwide, constant assaults on and attempts to undermine key pieces of environmental legislation, a staggering human population that continues to manage its resources as if endless, a crippled and damaged web of marine systems. Not to mention the greed that drives some of the worst catastrophes that are glossed over even while entire ecosystems are destroyed (Gulf spill for example). And politicians and special interests jump at the chance to make those same mistakes over and over again. Two years ago one of the most damaging oil tragedies occurred in the Gulf of Mexico a highly productive marine ecosystem. Millions of gallons of oil gushed out daily for months. The categorical exclusions that were handed out allowing the drilling to occur without a response protocol barely made the news. Despite the difficulties in controlling oil spills in relatively easy waters the push moves forward for drilling in the arctic, against public opinion. The Valdez spill will look like a piece of cake when something goes wrong in the areas they are moving forward with now. Pessimism perhaps, I’m just not all that comfortable or complacent with the trends I’ve seen in managing wilderness, or wildlife and marine ecosystems. I think its the watchdog NGOs that fuel a drive for meaningful laws and reform. Its constant vigilance that is required to keep from going backwards and even then its like we still live in the dark ages.

            • avatar Salle says:

              Louise and JB,

              Louise Kane says:
              September 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm
              ——-

              I second that.

            • avatar JB says:

              Louise:

              Thanks for those clarifying thoughts. Actually, I agree with everything you wrote in the above post. However, I believe that marine ecosystems and imperiled species in areas with high and increasing populations are quite a bit different than the carnivore and ungulate populations mentioned in your (and Richie’s) prior posts. In fact, I would argue that these are more different than similar. Both carnivore (with a few notable exceptions; e.g., wolverine, lynx) and ungulate populations (exception = moose) have been doing extremely well in the U.S. and Canada. Black bear are increasing their numbers and range, as are cougar, wolves, coyotes, bobcat, and grizzlies. Elk and deer (despite the dire predictions of some hunting groups) are doing quite well–heck, white tailed deer are now problematic because they’re generally too numerous. And all of this occurs where they are hunted and sometimes trapped too!

              Your concern and desire to protect these species are admirable, but your advocacy needs to be bounded by reality–else you commit the same offense (i.e., hysteria and hyperbole) that you accuse others of (e.g., hunters).

  51. avatar Nancy says:

    “Poorly engineered curves don’t necessarily require straightening so much as they need to be banked properly… that would be to, in many cases, elevate the “outside” of the curve and lower the inside of the curve appropriate to the length and angle of the portions of the road that are on either side of the curve(s)”

    Yeah I agree Salle but instead of going thru that much effort, even with numerous accidents, they instead put white/reflective, bendable posts, every few feet, to “accentuate” the curves.

    • avatar Salle says:

      Yikes! But I’m not surprised. I guess it just goes to show… just because they may be worth a pile of cash, it doesn’t mean they have much of anything going on up in the cranial cavity.

  52. avatar Richie G. says:

    To TY Davis;
    No I love all animals, but I make no bones about it,I love wolves, coyote’s too, Bears too very much, I belong to the bear group in New Jersey. But getting back on track, wolves are hunted like no other animal, traps,snares, planes letting them run exhausted for miles,then shoot down, oh I forgot poisin too painfiul death for days sometimes, no that’s not normal, and I will use the word normal. Man throughout history,are the most horrfying killers. I can see killers who have a mangled backround,but hunters are normal,seeing an animal take it’s last breath. No that is not me, as for hunters for food, must feed your family o.k. I will buy that,but Louise Kane is right man has screwed up a lot in this world. Why is it other countries,some ! Try to work with wildlife, I seen that K5 clip the big rancher stating I WANT THESE WOLVES OUT OF HERE. Who does he think he is Hilter!This guys got big pull,probably his family goes way back,happens all over. Did you ever see a dog hurt it’s back,how the dog grabs it’s back,I seen a clip of a plane shooting a wolf and the bullet hits it in it’s back and it goes to grab it’s back the same way,if you can’t connect the dots,I can’t help you their. No I do not killing an animal,and that is my right. Thank you Louise

    • avatar Ed says:

      No, his family did not move into the area until the 1950s. They are not even real cowboys. That breed went extinct in the late 1800s. These guys are businessmen, with cowboy hats so they can get laid. Actors all.

  53. avatar Nancy says:

    Salle says:
    September 28, 2012 at 6:23 pm
    Holy cow, Nancy! I was getting the same impression. The part that I thought was interesting was when they got all fired up about being on the east coast, as if there is no way anyone there could ever know anything about life out here… unless, of course, they might happen to be from here or have lived out here, know someone who lives out here or just happen to have been paying attention…

    Had to carry your wonderful comments down Salle because there was no “reply” to click under it and I did want to express these thoughts:

    :) :) :) :)

  54. avatar Louise Kane says:

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/29/14151323-killing-of-wolf-pack-criticized-by-key-washington-state-lawmaker?threadId=3578300&commentId=70540479#c70540479

    I hope this is not a repeat post. Contrast this story with the non attention given to the wolves that were eliminated in the Lolo region. Is this issue finally getting some national attention or is it just that Washington is much more progressive and demands tolerance of wildlife. I believe the story hit its mark on 3 fronts, the rancher was very steadfast in his refusal to try predator avoidance tactics, non lethal options were not exhausted and the killings set a bad precedent. I am glad to see some focus on this.

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      Perhaps it will be the proverbial dollar that begins speaking in cases like this. If you want to graze public land, and have wolf problems, you had better start showing preventative measure prior to having the Feds come in at 1,000 k per whatever in a helicopter, or begin to bear some of the responsibility for the cost. No free handout. Be a good republican.

  55. avatar MK says:

    This sickens me! What an outrage! What pathetic men who snipe beautiful wolves & watch them suffer. I watched a devastating video years ago called, “Say Goodbye”. I never got over watching scum shoot frightened wolves from a helicopter. Too late for the vibrant “Wedge Pack”. My hope is you will burn in .,,,,,,for emding the lives of animals who deserve to roam freely more than you & yours.

  56. avatar Amanda Switzer says:

    And so it begins again.Cattlemnen have learned nothing.They wiped out the natural predators so deer and elk numbers became unbalanced and disease results.Cattle become infected get pumped ful of antibiotics and now we have drug resistant organisms making people sick.Time to re evaluate the real cost of our love affair with beef.After learning of the culling of this wolf familly not unlike my own family struggling to survive in a greedy world,we’ll live without it.E coli anyone?

  57. First and most importantly, those wolves belonged to me and my fellow Washington residents. No one had the right to destroy them without due process. We loved them. Secondly, I would like to know why these wolves were so terribly thin if they were preying so heavily on this pathetic excuse for a rancher`s livestock. And thirdly, I`m descended from Nebraska cattle ranchers and I`d like to know how many acres make up the Diamond M ranch and how many head this man runs. He should run 1cow and calf per 2 acres. If his herd exceeds this, then he should scale back, sell off the over flow, or supplement their feed. My guess is his greed won`t allow that, therefor, he should scale back the number of head he runs and keep them on his own land, not ours. If his ranch is small or his land is poor soil then he made a bad choice of business to go into and isn`t in any way a true to the bone, clear thinking, intelligent rancher. There is a vast difference between a factory beef producer (which I believe this person to be) and a true rancher who runs his ranch with honor, respect and integrity.

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      Thanks for your post Debra and comments coming from a ranching family.

    • avatar Richie G says:

      I like your thinking Debra,

    • avatar WM says:

      Debra,

      What constitutes “due process” for a wolf? Aren’t state wildlife agencies empowered to manage a state asset, with an appointed Commission and a professional staff, operating under a state plan which received public input in hearing after hearing

      I think you already had the vote on “your” wolves, as did others of us, including Conservation NW, who has their finger on the pulse of what it means for slow acceptance/tolerance of wolves in WA.

      Due process?

  58. avatar Louise Kane says:

    WM CN did an about face in their testimony and they took a lot of heat from their constituents. I posted the link to the testimony a while ago if you had not seen it. Its two sessions that comprise 4 hours of testimony. This issue is not at all settled in WA, I don’t think. I believe that you are correct and the vote was in but it was heavily leaning in favor of eliminating all non lethal options first, and this was not done with the Wedge Pack. When the rancher acted in a deliberatly obstructionist way, people were outraged. I know you are from Seattle, but there are a lot of people all over the country that paid particular attention to the WA wolf plan because it was so progressive compared to others. Washington constituents wanted wolf policy to remain that way, progressive. They were making a statement about wolves and their future in WA. The public polls clearly indicated that they want wolves, do not want them killed as a first line of defense and that they want meaningful predator avoidance policies put into place, before wolves are killed for depredations. While state wildlife management authorities may be empowered to manage state assets they often due so not as a result of public input but of political will, as we are seeing with wolves. If policy were always directed by public input then there would be no wolf hunt in MN, or in most of the other states for that matter. Special interest groups drive draconian predator policy. Washingtonians seem to want to hold their officers accountable, this is clear from the comments, the polls taken after the Wedge Pack was killed, and from the public meetings. Its refreshing to hear people asking for that accountability, in favor of wolves for a change. If Debra is from a ranching community/family its also refreshing to hear her call out these lazy wolf hating ranchers that were hell bent on killing this pack of wolves, and got the department to do it despite huge public opposition. Maybe the tide is turning in some states and the people are fed up with seeing ranchers subsidized while their public trust resources are squandered.

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Quote

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

~ Edward Abbey