Many hunter organizations like to promote the idea that hunters were the first and most important conservation advocates. They rest on their laurels of early hunter/wildlife activist like Teddy Roosevelt, and George Bird Grinnell who, among other things, were founding members of the Boone and Crocket Club. But in addition to being hunter advocates, these men were also staunch proponents of national parks and other areas off limits to hunting. Teddy Roosevelt help to establish the first wildlife refuges to protect birds from feather hunters, and he was instrumental in the creation of numerous national parks including the Grand Canyon.  Grinnell was equally active in promoting the creation of national parks like Glacier as well as a staunch advocate for protection of wildlife in places like Yellowstone. Other later hunter/wildlands advocates like Aldo Leopold and Olaus Murie helped to promote wilderness designation and a land ethic as well as a more enlightened attitude about predators.

Unfortunately, though there are definitely still hunters and anglers who put conservation and wildlands protection ahead of their own recreational pursuits, far more of the hunter/angler community is increasingly hostile to wildlife protection and wildlands advocacy.  Perhaps the majority of hunters were always this way, but at least the philosophical leaders in the past were well known advocates of wildlands and wildlife.

Nowhere is this change in attitude among hunter organizations and leadership more evident than the deafening silence of hunters when it comes to predator management.  Throughout the West, state wildlife agencies are increasing their war on predators with the apparent blessings of hunters, without a discouraging word from any identified hunter organization. Rather the charge for killing predators is being led by groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation,  and others who are not only lobbying for more predator killing, but providing funding for such activities to state wildlife agencies.

For instance, in Nebraska which has a fledging population of cougars (an estimated 20) the state wildlife agency has already embarked on a hunting season to “control” cougar numbers.  Similarly in South Dakota, where there are no more than 170 cougars, the state has adopted very aggressive and liberal hunting regulations to reduce the state’s cougar population.

But the worst examples of an almost maniacal persecution of predators are related to wolf policies throughout the country. In Alaska, always known for its Neanderthal predator policies, the state continues to promote killing of wolves adjacent to national parks. Just this week the state wiped out a pack of eleven wolves that were part of a long term research project in the Yukon Charley National Preserve. Alaska also regularly shoots wolves from the air, and also sometimes includes grizzly and black bears in its predator slaughter programs.

In the lower 48 states since wolves were delisted from the federal Endangered Species Act and management was turned over to the state wildlife agencies more than 2700 wolves have been killed.

This does not include the 3435 additional wolves killed in the past ten years by Wildlife Services, a federal predator control agency, in both the Rockies and Midwest.  Most of this killing was done while wolves were listed as endangered.

As an example of the persecutory mentality of state wildlife agencies, one need not look any further than Idaho, where hunters/trappers, along with federal and state agencies killed 67 wolves this past year  in the Lolo Pass area on the Montana/Idaho border, including some 23 from a Wildlife Service’s helicopter gun ship. The goal of the predator persecution program is to reduce predation on elk. However, even the agency’s own analysis shows that the major factor in elk number decline has been habitat quality declines due to forest recovery after major wildfires which has reduced the availability of shrubs and grasses central to elk diet. In other word, with or without predators the Lolo Pass area would not be supporting the number of elk that the area once supported after the fires. Idaho also hired a trapper to kill wolves in the Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness to increase elk numbers there.

Idaho hunters are permitted to obtain five hunting and five trapping tags a year, and few parts of the state have any quota or limits. Idaho Governor Butch Otter recently outlined a new state budget allotting $2 million dollars for the killing of wolves—even though the same budget cuts funding for state schools.

Other states are no better than Idaho. Montana has a generous wolf six month long season. Recent legislation in the Montana legislature increased the number of wolves a hunter can kill to five and allows for the use of electronic predator calls and removes any requirement to wear hunter orange outside of the regular elk and deer seasons. And lest you think that only right wing Republican politicians’ support more killing, this legislation was not opposed by one Democratic Montana legislator, and it was signed into law by Democratic Governor Steve Bullock because he said Montana Dept of Fish, Wildlife and Parks supported the bill.

Wyoming has wolves listed as a predator with no closed season or limit nor even a requirement for a license outside of a “trophy” wolf zone in Northwest Wyoming.

The Rocky Mountain West is known for its backward politics and lack of ethics when it comes to hunting, but even more “progressive” states like Minnesota and Wisconsin have cow-towed to the hunter anti predator hostility. Minnesota allows the use of snares, traps, and other barbaric methods to capture and kill wolves. At the end of the first trapping/hunting season in 2012/2013, the state’s hunters had killed more than 400 wolves.

Though wolves are the target species that gets the most attention, nearly all states have rabid attitudes towards predators in general. So in the eastern United States where wolves are still absent, state wildlife agencies aggressively allow the killing of coyotes, bears and other predators. For instance, Vermont, a state that in my view has undeserved reputation for progressive policies, coyotes can be killed throughout the year without any limits.

These policies are promoted for a very small segment of society. About six percent of Americans hunt, yet state wildlife agencies routinely ignore the desires of the non-hunting public. Hunting is permitted on a majority of US Public lands including 50% of wildlife “refuges as well as nearly all national forests, all Bureau of Land Management lands, and even a few national parks. In other words, the hunting minority dominates public lands wildlife policies.

Most state agencies have a mandate to manage wildlife as a public trust for all citizens, yet they clearly serve only a small minority. Part of this is tradition, hunters and anglers have controlled state wildlife management for decades. Part of it is that most funding for these state agencies comes from the sale of licenses and tags. And part is the worldview that dominates these agencies which sees their role as “managers” of wildlife, and in their view, improving upon nature.

None of these states manage predators for their ecological role in ecosystem health. Despite a growing evidence that top predators are critical to maintaining ecosystem function due to their influence upon prey behavior, distribution and numbers, I know of no state that even recognizes this ecological role, much less expends much effort to educate hunters and the public about it. (I hasten to add that many of the biologists working for these state agencies, particularly those with an expertise about predators, do not necessarily support the predator killing policies and are equally appalled and dismayed as I am by their agency practices.)

Worse yet for predators, there is new research that suggests that killing predators actually can increase conflicts between humans and these species. One cougar study in Washington has documented that as predator populations were declining, complaints rose. There are good reasons for this observation. Hunting and trapping is indiscriminate. These activities remove many animals from the population which are adjusted to the human presence and avoid, for instance, preying on livestock. But hunting and trapping not only opens up productive territories to animals who may not be familiar with the local prey distribution thus more likely to attack livestock, but hunting/trapping tends to skew predator populations to younger age classes. Younger animals are less skillful at capturing prey, and again more likely to attack livestock. A population of young animals can also result in larger litter size and survival requiring more food to feed hungry growing youngsters—and may even lead to an increase in predation on wild prey—having the exact opposite effect that hunters desire.

Yet these findings are routinely ignored by state wildlife agencies. For instance, despite the fact that elk numbers in Montana have risen from 89,000 animals in 1992 several years before wolf reintroductions to an estimated 140,000-150,000 animals today, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks does almost nothing to counter the impression and regular misinformation put forth by hunter advocacy groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation or the Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife that wolves are “destroying” Montana’s elk herds.

I have attended public hearings on wolves and other predator issues, and I have yet to see a single hunter group support less carnivore killing.  So where are the conservation hunters? Why are they so silent in the face of outrage? Where is the courage to stand up and say current state wildlife agencies policies are a throw-back to the last century and do not represent anything approaching a modern understanding of the important role of predators in our ecosystems?

As I watch state after state adopting archaic policies, I am convinced that state agencies are incapable of managing predators as a legitimate and valued member of the ecological community. Their persecutory policies reflect an unethical and out of date attitude that is not in keeping with modern scientific understanding of the important role that predators play in our world.

It is apparent from evidence across the country that state wildlife agencies are incapable of managing predators for ecosystem health or even with apparent ethical considerations.  Bowing to the pressure from many hunter organizations and individual hunters, state wildlife agencies have become killing machines and predator killing advocates.

Most people at least tolerant the killing of animals that eaten for food, though almost everyone believes that unnecessary suffering should be avoided. But few people actually eat the predators they kill, and often the animals are merely killed and left on the killing fields. Yet though many state agencies and some hunter organizations promote the idea that wanton waste of wildlife and unnecessary killing and suffering of animals is ethically wrong, they conveniently ignore such ideas when it comes to predators, allowing them to be wounded and left to die in the field, as well as permitted to suffer in traps.  Is this ethical treatment of wildlife? I think not.

Unfortunately unless conservation minded hunters speak up, these state agencies as well as federal agencies like Wildlife Services will continue their killing agenda uninhibited. I’m waiting for the next generation of Teddy Roosevelts, Aldo Leopolds and Olaus Muries to come out of the wood work. Unless they do, I’m afraid that ignorance and intolerant attitudes will prevail and our lands and the predators that are an important part of the evolutionary processes that created our wildlife heritage will continue to be eroded.

 
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About The Author

George Wuerthner

George Wuerthner is an ecologist and former hunting guide with a degree in wildlife biology

253 Responses to Whither the Hunter/Conservationist?

  1. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    George- can you possibly submit a shortened version of this column to the Casper Star Tribune in Wyoming ? They occasionally run your pieces , which are always an excellent counterpoint to the prevailing nonwisdom hereabouts. Other Wyoming news outlets would benefit also.

    This is the season for the various Species Banquets.

    • avatar Kristi says:

      George, I’m with CodyCoyote (a personal favorite of mine by the way)…how about submitting something to John Flesher of the AP in Michigan? MI is having the same situation as MT, ID and WY…RMEF is having some banquets in MI soon. Perfect timing! (although I’m not sure that RMEF knows that all the wolves are in the Upper Peninsula and all the elk are in the Lower Peninsula).

  2. avatar Mike says:

    Those who do not speak up over injustices are just as guilty as the perpetrators.

    Very, very few hunters are true friends of conservation. The pervading mentality is not what they can do for the outdoors, but what the outdoors can do for them.

    I, too, wait for hunter’s groups to take a stand against the wolf slaughter, illogical predator “management” and barbaric trapping.

    But they don’t.

    Because they are cowards.

    • avatar jon says:

      Hunters are not conservationists, they are sick killers. They are a scourge on wildlife.

    • avatar Cobra1 says:

      Mike,
      Cowards? I’ve never considered myself a coward and many of my friends who also hunt are far from being cowards. Pretty strong words from Chicago. Go back to Peta.

      • avatar Mike says:

        Hunters are cowards because they are afraid of looking emasculated in front of their comrades.

        They refuse to call out the more sadistic forms of their past-time (lead bullets, trapping, etc).

        • avatar Elk375 says:

          Mike try to find a steady supply of Barnes TTXS bullets. Until you have a supply of good quality copper bullets lead bullets are not going anywhere. It is not going to happen soon.

          • avatar Mike says:

            Shame on you for poisoning raptors, Elk275.

            Shame on you when you can do something about it.

          • avatar aves says:

            If hunters can’t or won’t use non-lead ammunition they can still save non-target wildlife by burying or removing the gutpile.

        • avatar Cobra1 says:

          I’m not afraid of looking emasculated in front of anyone. If you want to know how I feel just ask, but you may not like the answer I give and I don’t really care because it’s how I feel.
          We’ve got a few people here that talk about poisoning wolves and I call them out on it. Same with gut shooting and on and on.
          If you’re going to kill an animal no matter what animal it should be as quick and as painless as possible.
          By the way, what have you done for wildlife lately?

      • avatar jon says:

        Hi cobra, just because someone is not a big fan of hunters does not mean they are supporters of peta. I don’t support peta and never have. They have a record of killing dogs they take in. peta kills far less wildlife than hunters do, but I would never support peta.

        • avatar Logan says:

          And just because someone is a hunter does not mean they are cowards or grasping at their last shreds of masculinity.

      • Hunting is the act of killing someone who cannot fight back on an equal level. Now, I would love to see you try to take on a beautiful grizzly bear with your hands, I’ll wage some bets on that one. If you do not understand this level of conversation, let me say it more simply: why not try going after another human, like yourself, and both of you fight it out to the death–using your high-tech weapons, or your hands? That would be a fair “game.” Now do you get it? Let me know when you are “manly enough” to do something that brave–I would love to attend your hunt!

    • avatar Logan says:

      May I ask a sincere question Mike to help me understand your point of view on this question that I have haad for some time? Your comment raised the question for me again: “The pervading mentality is not what they can do for the outdoors, but what the outdoors can do for them”

      What motivates non-hunters and anti-hunters to be conservationists?

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        That’s easy. We love our wild lands and want to protect them, and preserve them for the future.

        • avatar Logan says:

          Ida

          I agree and share your sentiment. I think that non hunting conservationists also get enjoyment from being in wild places and viewing the wildlife and plant life. In that light I think it very clear that even non hunters are motivated by getting something from the wild lands they try to preserve. Hunters and non hunters both share a love for wild lands and want to preserve them, it is ok to enjoy the fruits of that effort in different ways.

    • Mike–thank you for your insight and intelligent comments. There is increasing commentary these days that hunting has absolutely no redeeming qualities, and really has Nothing To Do With “Conservation.” It is the greatest lie there is by the hunting industry. Hunting is an act by cowards, who have to feel “superior” to other life, who suffer from such inadequacies, that killing sentient beings is the only way to feed those inadequacies, which is very sick.

      “[After almost being pressured by other boys to sling rocks at birds.] From that day onward I took courage to emancipate myself from the fear of men, and whenever my inner convictions were at stake I let other people’s opinions weigh less with me than they had done previously. I tried also to unlearn my former dread of being laughed at by my school-fellows. This early influence upon me of the commandment not to kill or to torture other creatures is the great experience of my youth. By the side of that all others are insignificant.” ~ Dr. Albert Schweitzer

  3. avatar Bob Ferris says:

    Great piece, George. The short answer is that we have to aspire to be this next generation of conservationists who come from a hunting culture. We have to strive at every opportunity to remind fellow hunters that being an ethical hunter means embracing “fair chase,” defensible science and pursuing aggressive conservation that protects more road-less and wilderness areas as well as fighting the undue influence exercised by the agricultural, timber, energy and mining interests along with their philosophical allies at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and Big Game Forever.

  4. avatar topher says:

    Ignorance and intolerance clearly do prevail, and not just among hunters.

  5. avatar Pam Little says:

    My husband is a life-long hunter growing up in the Yakima, WA area. Over the last number of years, and as member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, he has noticed a distinctive shift in the RMEF opinions from science to hyperbole. He is a structural and civil engineer, so knows how to parse facts, from wishful thinking to what in indeed, on the ground. A recent study in our Bitterroot valley concluded that, cougars, not wolves were the top predator or elk. Predator, prey depend on not just each other but the wind, weather, bugs, bacteria, viruses, the flip of the coin- -assume less, watch more.

  6. avatar Mark Bailey says:

    George- Keep that pen fired up and keep the heat on these flat-earth government agency guys. Thanks for this piece.

  7. avatar Kathy Vile says:

    Well said, unfortunately if we wait I don’t think that those hunters or groups of hunters will ever come along in these times. Hunters of predators who do not eat those animals are arrogant, selfish killing machines. They could care less about you or I who also have a right to these animals alive and wild as they should be. All they see is that these “vermin” are theirs to do with as they see fit. That would include torture before certain death. It really is a sick world now and they are teaching their children these ways.

    • Kathy, you are so right. Those who get their kicks from destroying other sentient beings, or otherwise injuring them, causing them great stress, making young animals orphans, disrupting and separating animal families, are now more often described as “Animal Serial Killers.”These neanderthals, either have sociopathic tendencies, or they are full blown sociopaths. It is well documented that most serial killers killed, tortured and hunted animals at a young age. They are not capable of any rehabilitation after about the age of 7.

      • You are so right Rosemary.Hunters who hate animals and kill without feeling are sociopaths or future serial killers in the making.They probably started with family pets and other small animals which psychologists say they will have no problems killing human beings.I say they also probably beat on their wives and kids also.I am sure that this behavior occurred as a result of abuse sexual or other when children thus the urge to make innocent creatures pay for their misery.And of course we are then looking at our future serial sexual predators of the worst possible kind.Before hunters are given licenses they should have to take a quick psychological evaluation.And those who use traps which cause the creatures great suffering are sadistic deviates that should be committed.

  8. Hunting has become too easy. ATVs, 4 wheel drives, range finders, cell phones, adjustable scopes, rifles that will kill at 600 yards, RVs, paved roads, graded USFS gravel roads,trail cameras,radio collar receivers, bait barrels, google maps, and GPS devices are used by many of today’s hunters.
    Outfitters fly over their alloted hunting area a few days before the season opens to locate the Bighorn Ram or any other animal their clients want to kill. The animals don’t have a chnace.
    The ease of hunting has attracted a bunch of out of shape couch potatoes that think hunting should be as easy as tossing a TV dinner into the micowave. They are convinced that by buying a rifle, some ammunition and a hunting license, that they are true conservationists.
    Most of them are too lazy to pick their beer cans out of the campfire ashes before they head home.
    They want to be able to kill an elk on a two day weekend hunt and if they can’t, they blame the predators for killing all of “THEIR’ elk.
    Hunting books that I read as a young man said that a successful elk hunt took a week. Four days to locate the elk, a day to kill it and a day or two to get the meat out. You either back packed in or used horses. Today’s hunters would have a heart attacK if they had to backpack into a hunting area and wouldn’t have a clue as to how to hunt using horses.

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      And even with all of that, some of them still whine about not getting an elk! These guys couldn’t hold a candle to the Teddy Roosevelts and true conservationists!

      None of these states manage predators for their ecological role in ecosystem health.

      There’s no excuse for this in today’s world. Where’s the so-called science?

      • avatar Elk375 says:

        “None of these states manage predators for their ecological role in ecosystem health.

        There’s no excuse for this in today’s world. Where’s the so-called science?”

        Where is the so-called science and the predators ecological role in ecosystems health. It is called private land. Montana is 30% federal land, 5% state land and 65% private land. Due to the size of Montana it has as much federal lands as Wyoming and Idaho but a larger percentage of private property. A complete ecosystem is not mountain peaks and is going to encompass private and state lands. Most tracts of private lands are used for cattle and sheep grazing and the owners of that land could careless about complete ecosystems. Montana state lands are by law to return an investment back to the state and not to be part of a complete ecosystem.

    • I killed a large bull elk in the North fork of the Big Lost River in the early 1960s. It was two miles from the nearest beat up old road. It took two round trips with two horses to pack him out.
      Today there is a USFS logging road right through the meadow where I killed the bull.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        Most tracts of private lands are used for cattle and sheep grazing and the owners of that land could care less about complete ecosystems. Montana state lands are by law to return an investment back to the state and not to be part of a complete ecosystem”

        A big plus+ Elk! Got to live here to understand the total lack of concern for anything other than business as usual.

    • avatar Elk375 says:

      Larry do you know how to hunt with horses? I agree with most of what you said.

    • avatar Jeff says:

      Larry you are lumping a whole lot of people together in one big heap. Most of my hunting friends are conservationists, I consider myself and environmentalists. Your blanket statements are off base, full of generalizations and generally false.

      • Hunters know that their industry is on the decline, and they are doing and saying everything they can to stop this trend, by perpetuating the lies and myths, that “hunting is conservation” “hunting is enjoying nature” “hunting keeps animals from overpopulating,” and other nonsense. But the general public is now on to them, and they do not like it. Too bad. The lies, the myths have been exposed. It probably won’t be long before Game Depts. will be using other dishonest tactics to inflate their dwindling numbers, like counting newborns or something. This is a “dying” (pardon the pun) industry, which has no place in the 21st century.

    • avatar Elk375 says:

      “Hunting has become too easy”

      Hasn’t skiing become too easy

      Hasn’t rock climbing become too easy

      Hasn’t fly fishing become too easy

      Hasn’t photography become too easy.

      Hasn’t river sports become too easy

      Hasn’t backpacking become too easy.

      Maybe golf and tennis have become too easy, since I am not player in these sports I can not answer.

      We both have seen what technology has done in the last 50 years and it has effected everything.

      • avatar Yvette says:

        What is the difference in the items on your list, and hunting?

        A couple of things jump out. That is a list of sports. Hunting is not a sport; it’s a means to either acquire needed (needed!!) food, or it is a means to kill for no reason other than the thrill to kill.

        • avatar Jeff says:

          It is a sport in the sense that it takes skill, practice, patience, endurance, and strength. Most hunts, just like wolves, are unsuccessful because the prey has superior strength, senses, knowledge of the geography and patience.

          • avatar Mike says:

            ++It is a sport in the sense that it takes skill, practice, patience, endurance, and strength. Most hunts, just like wolves, are unsuccessful because the prey has superior strength, senses, knowledge of the geography and patience.++

            It takes no skill of any kind. What it takes is a few repetitions of basic physical action.

            Anyone can learn how to hunt effectively. Anyone. It is not a talent.

            • avatar Jay says:

              Mike, do you ever get tired of yapping your ignorant mouth?

              • avatar Mike says:

                Hunting is trumped up amongst hunters as elite skill in an order to mask base insecurities and inadequacies.

                Anyone can do it. It’s not figure skating.

              • avatar jon says:

                I don’t see hunting as a sport. Most if not all sports don’t involve killing. Hunters are not athletes by any stretch of the imagination.

              • avatar Jay says:

                Have you ever hunted? Rhetorical question, it’s obvious you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Stick to things you know, like talking shit on blogs.

            • avatar Jeff says:

              You’ve clearly never hunted in the mountains of the West or you wouldn’t make such foolish statements.

              • avatar Mike says:

                I was a hunter. I have friends who are hunters. They know I dislike it, but we are still able to get along as long as we don’t talk about needlessly shooting animals for fun.

                Back when I was hunting in my teens years and early 20’s, I hung with a crowd that liked to drive the roads at night and just shoot whatever came out of the road, be it grouse, porcupines, whatever. I didn’t know it at the time, but found out one chilling evening in the U.P.

                I had to shout down a friend who got out of the truck and pointed his shotgun right at a harmless woodcock that was just sitting on the road and looking at us.

                The second time was for a porcupine.

                There’s something just not quite right about most hunters. They really, really seemed to love Show and Tell, but also the feel of an animal in their hands:

                “See what I got people! Look! Look!”

                It’s like they want to be close to the animal, to capture the essence of it, but the only way they know how to feel close to the animal is to kill it. There’s an emotional disconnect, a synapse not firing the way it should here.

                The next day, I was in a meadow relaxing, just listening to nature when up the ridge a friend blew away two grouse out of the blue. It was not grouse season, he just said he was hungry.

                That was it for me.

                • avatar Maureen Black says:

                  Mike I truly commend you as well for your courage to stand up to your so-called friends who think nothing of taking a life and that life being a living creature who deserves as many right to live as humans, sometimes more depending on the circumstances. I truly find it tremendously barbaric and inhumane to kill an animal in the wild (and even not) but I will not get into that subject. it’s most unethical to poach which can be devastating to many species and especially endangered species. I sincerely hope you are able to turn your friends illegal and unethical actions around. At the best of times, too many people do NOT have feelings for animals who attempt to live their lives caring for their families and trusting in nature to help supply them with food. Your acquaintances have taken that away from them and totally disrupting their family and possibly leaving offspring behind to starve if their mother had been killed. This world is a mess as it is, so unnecessary and inhumane killing of helpless animals is to me a disgusting and violent way of thinking. Again, you have a conscience, but your friends, if they still are…are living an unconscionable life when it pertains to helpless animals.

              • avatar Jeff says:

                I couldn’t comment below so I have to do it here—what you are describing is poaching in the Midwest, it has nothing to do with legal hunting in elk country out west. Traveling off trail, on foot, with 35lb pack, 8lb rifle, climbing thousands of vertical feet at elevation is a physically demanding activity that gets a lot harder IF you actually bag an animal. Yes, when successful an animal dies and my family enjoys high quality, organic meat for the next year. Your musings about posing and pictures don’t apply to me or my friends, we’re too busy working to worry about frivolous poses when the truck is 5 miles away and daylight is burning.

          • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

            Just a question – not to get in the middle too much – but it’s the hunting part (ie – finding the animal) that takes skill so why not leave it at that? Why follow up with killing? Why wouldn’t the being outdoors, tracking, managing not to get lost, etc be enough – why does a life have to be taken?

            • avatar wolf moderate says:

              Ever had elk or moose meat? It is better for you and tastes as good as beef. Also feels good to provide for family. What is wrong with killing animals? We’ve been doing it since the dawn of time.

              • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

                No interest in elk or moose – it wouldn’t feel right. I ate meat in the past but decided I didn’t want to contribute to suffering for another being as much as I could so I stopped. You can provide for your family without eating meat. And as to what’s wrong with killing animals – I guess I’d like to think that for humans – there are 2 things in my mind – First, we don’t have to in order to survive. Second, unlike other predators, I think we actually have a deeper understanding of the suffering we’re causing and of what we’re taking away when we take a life.

              • avatar wolf moderate says:

                B. Get dropped off in the middle of Alaska for a year and see if you can live without eating protein. You will die.

              • avatar Mike says:

                ++B. Get dropped off in the middle of Alaska for a year and see if you can live without eating protein. You will die.++

                I agree. This is where you need to hunt.

                Unfortunately, many hunters play “pretend time” and act as if that two mile trip from their row of housing to the forest is the Return of Jeremiah Johnson.

                Throw in the chest-puffing insecurities, life issues, and you have a bunch of thugs using wildlife as their punching bag.

              • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

                “Get dropped off in the middle of Alaska for a year and see if you can live without eating protein. You will die.”
                Protein comes in many forms…You don’t have to eat an animal to get enough. As examples – elephants, hippos, rabbits, horses, oxen…I could go on – are all vegetarians.

              • avatar Elk375 says:

                B G.

                ““Get dropped off in the middle of Alaska for a year and see if you can live without eating protein. You will die.”
                Protein comes in many forms…You don’t have to eat an animal to get enough. As examples – elephants, hippos, rabbits, horses, oxen…I could go on – are all vegetarians.”

                Have you ever spend a winter in artic Alaska? I spend the winter of 74/75 and 77/78. In 74/75 I was outside all day along in weather up to 50 below. After working outside 10 hours a day in 40 below weather surveying the artic coastal plain, I remember returning to camp for dinner. Steak was a staple every night along with other food and I would eat a minimum of two steaks a night plus the assorted veggies never gained a pound and was hungry when breakfast was severed. One can not live with out animal protein in that environment. Sorry animals but they are for us to use and eat.

                I returned for a short while to Montana in the spring and my brother, father and I were working cattle in the corrals and brother said “these cows stupid’ my father answered back “that’s the reason you eat them and they do not eat you.” So true.

              • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

                Elk375 – No I’ve never spent a winter in Alaska but I would imagine that if I were dropped off in the middle of Alaska – a lack of protein would be the least of my worries. I’m originally from Southern California where anything below 50 is considered cold. But as far as needing protein, what you actually need more is fat which digests more slowly and provides more calories so nuts, seeds, beans and chocolate would provide that without eating meat.
                I don’t know that I agree about cows being stupid but if stupid is grounds for mistreatment then I’d say there are quite a few people who should be worried. Maybe what you’re interpreting as stupid is actually fear…

              • avatar Yvette says:

                I grew up eating elk meat during the periods I lived with my sister. Without the elk there would have been little meat in our household.

                I’ve been hunting. In no way do I claim to be a hunter, but I have been deer hunting, and one time, dove. I didn’t like dove hunting, though I killed quite a few, and then cleaned and cooked them. I don’t even like the taste of dove.

                I’ve only been deer hunting a couple of times. On one of those hunting forays, the buck we got had previously been shot, but we didn’t know that when my boyfriend shot him. (I wasn’t the one to shoot him) That buck had wondered around the woods wounded and suffering for probably 2-3 days. Then we had to go up to the fallen buck and shoot him with a pistol to kill him. I did not like that, but it had to be done.

                My brother has taken down an elk from a long distance with a not so powerful and high tech rifle. Then he packed that elk, by himself, over that distance. Sort of a tribe against tribe initiation since this was on the Northern Cheyenne rez in Eastern Montana. (they didn’t accept us Southern NDNs too much). The Cheyenne in-laws didn’t think he could do it, but I guess they found out differently. I do have my brother repeat that story to me once in a while, but it’s not because of the hunt, but because of the arrogance directed at my brother by the Northern NDNs. It’s just a good family story.

                Not once in my family have any of the hunters every felt the need to pose, smiling with a cheesy grin, while holding up the head of a dead buck. I guess they were too busy gutting, cleaning and skinning him, so we could have meat on the table.

                The marketing of hunting being a sport and hunters being conservationists is something derived from a culture in which I don’t live. Hunting is not a sport; it’s a means to have meat on the table.

            • avatar Jay says:

              I don’t eat beef–I leave that for hypocrites like Mike. Beef is horrible for wildlife, so it’s far better to take an elk or a deer every year than contribute to another cow on public land.

              • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

                If you’re going to eat meat, I’d probably agree that it is more ethical and better for the environment. As to whoever Mike is – he may not be a hypocrite. Maybe he doesn’t eat meat at all.

      • Perhaps you have been doing too much animal killing, Elk–your “poem” seems very disjointed.

    • avatar tom murphy says:

      Very well said and so true. Send this to the politicians. Although they are supporters of all hunting groups..

    • avatar Logan says:

      As a hunter I can strongly agree with much of your post. I despise ATVs and the hunters that at best just travel roads and at worst destroy vegetation by going off-road. Flying over an area is something I would like to see banned but I think that at best we will only see a ban on hunting the same day that you fly in, similar to Alaska. Many hunters never get more than a mile from the nearest road and they make up the bulk of unsuccesful hunters. ANd don’t get me started on litter. I simply don’t understand why it is harder to pack out an empty beer can that it was to pack it in full.

      I would say that most hunters recognize that it takes more than a weekend to kill an elk. I typically average 5 days and serious hunters plan for 5-7 days or more. And I agree that the excuse that wolves killed all the elk is how many justify their failure. The fact is even in areas with few wolves, elk are hard to hunt. I don’t own horses or atvs so my boots get a lot of wear. Last year I was hunting 5 miles from the nearest road, that is long way to pack out meat on your back.

      I don’t believe that radio collar recievers can be used by hunters, I certainly have never heard of such a thing. While I personally prefer a map and compass some people can’t figure those out and rely on gps, unfortunately it helps more people reach difficult areas but at least we don’t waste as much money on search and rescue.

      IDFG has put restrictions on ATV use in many areas (now if we could get more enforcement), and has a proposal to ban the use of radios for communicating big game locations between hunters. I agree with both measures.

      • avatar Elk375 says:

        GPS: My GPS is one of the most important hunting tools and I would never leave home without it. I have a 2G chip with a map of the entire State of Montana showing where I am at and whether the land is public or private and who owns the land. I have had to show it to several ranchers who said I was on private land when the GPS said public lands. Before I had a land ownership GPS I was kicked off of public lands by several outfitters. A GPS will identify landownership and will kept a person off of private lands and kept a rancher or outfitter from throwing one off of public lands.

        In 2011, 17 outfitters and ranchers were cited by the Wyoming Game and Fish for kicking hunters off of public lands. What works for hunters will work for the rest of us.

        • avatar Mike says:

          Elk –

          How can you justify the use of lead bullets after watching this video? The EPA tried to ban this, you know. And the EPA is notoriously conservative towards industry.

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

          Lead poisoning is the worst death known to man. It is slow, neurologically debilitating, and agonizing.

          • avatar Logan says:

            Despite the use of lead hunting bullets the populations of Bals eagles and other raptors has continued to grow.

            Lead is the best and most reliable material to ensure a clean kill on a big game animal. Yes, non-lead ammunition exists but it is more expensive and many hunters are wary of the effectiveness of other materials to properly expand and cause the damage that leads to a quick and clean kill. I would say that those are the biggest deterants to most hunters.

            • avatar Mike says:

              ++Lead is the best and most reliable material to ensure a clean kill on a big game animal. ++

              There’s no such thing as a clean lead kill. Humans will be ingesting the lead, or wildlife. It’s a toxic, deadly substance.

            • avatar aves says:

              Only a handful of raptors are monitored sufficiently to know their numbers. That doesn’t mean those not closely monitored are declining nor that those that are known to be declining (American kestrals nationwide, golden eagles in some spots) are doing so because of lead poisoning. Lead poisoning has been documented to negatively affect populations of California condors in the US and Stellar Sea Eagles overseas. Condor populations can be described as stable but only because annual releases of young birds are counteracting deaths due to lead poisoning (their biggest source of mortality) and other causes.

              I think the intense suffering of poisoned raptors elevates it to the front burner whether it has population level impacts or not. Having personally seen condors and eagles that have died or are suffering horribly from lead poisoning I don’t need to see a population level impact to want action. Few hunters would tolerate an elk or deer suffering the way a lead poisoned bird does.

              Hunter resistance based on fears about the performance (accuracy, clean kill) of non-lead ammunition is indeed common, but those fears are unfounded. Unconvinced hunters should still at least bury or remove the gut pile to prevent the suffering that can, without a doubt, occur.

              In my experience the biggest deterrents to more hunters changing their ways are ignorance of the effect on scavenging birds and fear that the issue is an anti-hunting plot. The NRA has been promoting the anti-hunting plot quite effectively for years, and comments by some anti-hunters on this blog play right into that.

              Some hunters legitimately cannot find the caliber replacement they need. But more hunters need to be aware of the science behind the issue and to act to protect non-target wildlife. Removing the gut pile has the same effect as changing bullets.

              For more information:
              http://www.huntingwithnonlead.org/
              http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/california_condor_lead.shtml
              http://scavengerhuntfilm.com/

          • avatar Jerry Black says:

            Mike…you’re absolutely right and I wonder if some of these “deniers” weren’t affected by lead themselves. I doubt also that they’ve ever seen the affects of lead on wildlife like what’s happening to snow geese and swans here in Washington State…it’s ugly

        • avatar topher says:

          I use a GPS mainly to mark a waypoint for the truck but they are extremely useful in identifying public land distribution and hunting unit boundaries. One of the guys I hunt with is a human compass but for those of us who aren’t its nice to be able to find the truck in the dark or heavy fog.

  9. avatar JEFF E says:

    petunia bait

    • avatar Jeff N. says:

      Jeff E.

      Care to elaborate?

      • avatar JEFF E says:

        my comment has less to do with GW’s article, which I mostly agree with, than with the flurry of knee jerk mindless comments by the usual petunias.
        thanks for asking

        • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

          So only “petunias” make “knee jerk, mindless comments”? Please define Petunia.

          • avatar Louise Kane says:

            “define petunia bait” – the knee-jerk acerbic response delivered with lightning speed designed to make other posters feel shitty and small for their opinions. Interesting that the lofty and oft alluded to middle of the road attitude is not practiced by many of the people that preach it the hardest.

    • avatar Jeff N. says:

      Jeff E.,

      Let me be more clear regarding my question. I’m not trying to be confrontational….

      You are a hunter and also, from what I take from your posts, a person who supports having wolves and other predators on the landscape. I also realize that you are equally disgusted by the the extremes on either side of the argument.

      If you have time I’d like to hear your opinion/perspective of George’s article.

  10. avatar Keli Hendricks says:

    Thank you George for an excellent article regarding this topic. I come from a hunting/ranching family and while I have never been a hunter, I am involved in ranching. I think there are more hunters than we know who don’t agree with things like coyote killing contests or the prophylactic killing of predators. However, I think they are so afraid of being considered bunny huggers, they keep their mouth shut.
    I find the same mind set in the ranching industry. There are a lot of ranchers who know how to live peacefully with predators and they won’t kill one just because they can. But, by the same token, they won’t stick up for them either. They just don’t want to be hassled by their buddies.
    In life there are times when we need to mind our own business and there are times when we need to speak up. When it comes to watching another living thing suffer needlessly, that is a time to speak up.
    If someone doesn’t agree with me fine, but I’m not going to sit back and watch them kill for fun and I’m not going to keep my mouth shut if someone is spewing anti- predator BS.

    • avatar Maureen Black says:

      I commend you for admitting you do not hunt when the opportunity arises, but in my way of thinking hunting is never necessary. What are some of your friends wimps because they cannot allow themselves to admit they have a humane bone in their body and the rest do not. Their so-called buddies are trigger happy and ruthless murderers of animals who have as much if not more rights to live life as God intended it. Without them, nature collapses and many become extinct because man has chosen not to educate himself/herself on wolves important role. Wolves, and of course ALL endangered species should be protected at all cost as they are meant to live on earth as we. Is man so arrogant, ignorant and God-like that he believes he has the right to destroy what was placed on this earth for everyone to enjoy and live together without further destruction? Is this type of horror suitable to teach our children and ones who hear of these plans? This is highly unconscionable behaviour to even think of destroying such much needed and intelligent individual(s). Wolves do not harm humans, only humans harm wolves who are more of a benefit to nature than any other animal on earth. Nature takes care of itself and it doesn’t need man to interfere as usual. A wolf is the life force to so many other flora and fauna. Man certainly does not take care of the balance of nature…only destroys it. The total restoration of Yellowstone Park after the reintroduction of wolves is the prime example why wolves allow the balance of nature and the ecosystem to run smoothly. They deserve respect for a vital reason as man in this case is the true predator, not the wolf when it pertains to restoring life, not ridding our world of same.

  11. avatar jon says:

    This is another great article by george. he speaks the cold hard truth about these predator hating hunters.

    • avatar JB says:

      It is a simple question of supply and demand, Elk. When a resource is scarce, and demand high, one expects to pay more. Western agencies’ pricing of wolf/cougar permits perpetuates low devaluation of predators by artificially holding costs low when demand is high. It also encourages people who do not value predators to hunt them–which invites criticism.

      • avatar JB says:

        Sorry, this post belongs elsewhere. I’ll move it.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        “It also encourages people who do not value predators to hunt them–which invites criticism”

        Excellent point JB.

        I often wonder what it would be like out here in the west if predators were allowed to co-exist without such intense management (management that too often benefits a select few like hunters and ranchers)

        Would predators adjust and manage their own populations if actually given the chance to do so? And, when was the last time they were allowed that privilege by our species?

        Heavy snows in my area thru most of February and I know for a fact, its been hard on all animals trying to exist.

        But sad fact is, their lives (whether predators or prey) are already being factored into the next hunting season totals, revenues, etc.

  12. avatar wherecanigetsomeobjectivity says:

    Not surprising that an article about wolves (whether pro or con) has a heavy dose of hyperbole. It’s unfortunate that in our world that this is what it has become, us or them. Long gone is the middle ground. The comments further verify that regardless of what side of the spectrum you are on there is far too much ignorance and intolerance in this world.

    Not much more to say other than hunters carry the heavy financial load when it comes to conservation. If you want to play a part, rally support and introduce a predator stamp, I’d be first in line to buy one as I feel wolves are vital to our ecosystem. Read what Hal Herring wrote nearly 5 years ago….too bad there hasn’t been any movement behind this.
    http://www.hcn.org/articles/money-where-your-mouth-is

    • avatar Yvette says:

      I don’t know anything about a predator stamp, but would certainly research it and probably invest.

      Along with that we need to take the majority of the money used to pay livestock owners for any animal lost and put that money into wildlife and conservation. Ranching is a business, no? What other business gets the American taxpayer to pay for their business losses. Additionally, they lease federal land at welfare rates. What other business industry operates like that?

      • avatar W.Hong says:

        Base on the many news stories I read everyday, it seems a lot of American Business’s are helped by the government, it looks like the banks are some of the biggest business that gets a lot of help and the power business boy they seem to get a lot of money.

        • avatar Yvette says:

          Yes, I thought about the bank bailouts, but most of those banks repaid those loans, I think. Don’t take me to the bank on that one.

      • avatar Mark L says:

        I’m really hesitant about ‘monetizing’ wildlife (a la Hal Herring’s ideas). Yes, the principle is there, but I see too much room for corruption in monetizing something to get an (imaginary?) voice in the mix. Money may talk, but no one has to listen until they are forced to.
        I like George’s posts because they usually present a moral conflict that many on here attempt to address with legal arguments. The legal WILL follow the moral…it will just explore every other option possible until it does…inevitably following the moral. To me, a huge problem is that so many get their direction from jackasses on TV (and internet) that hype the kill and ignore the process of getting there…’instant hunters’.
        Same thing has happened with martial arts in the last 30 years…..MMA, UFC, etc. There’s still a lot of people that keep the ‘old style’ respect and humility, but a lot that just want attention, which used to be withered out through years of discipline. A lot of both issues are not letting your passion towards something get the best of you.

        • avatar Yvette says:

          “The legal will follow the moral..”

          You have more faith than I. Plus, whose morals do we follow?

          • avatar Mark L says:

            Yes Yvette, that’s the kicker….tough call who’s morals. I’ll give the examples of how we used to kill natives, women’s voting and slavery as examples though.

        • avatar JB says:

          “I’m really hesitant about ‘monetizing’ wildlife…”

          Yes. The monetization of wildlife (in the form of market hunting) got us into the mess–requiring both federal and state intervention. Now P.R. provides lots of federal funding for wildlife conservation, but the ‘catch’ is that it demands license sales. To the point of the original poster, my state sells a wildlife diversity stamp, which I purchase every year. It helps, but the funds pale in comparison to hunting license sales.

          • avatar Mark L says:

            Does your state have an accounting of where those funds go, and which wildlife issues it addresses? I know some are a lot more forthcoming than others…just wondering. If a lot of people picked up on this I could see it REALLY making a difference, even in policy, but I think drops in the bucket are ignored by those with a ‘preconceived agenda’.

            • avatar JB says:

              The stamp proceeds support:

              –habitat restoration, land purchases and conservation easements
              –keeping common species common
              –endangered & threatened native species
              –educational products for students and wildlife enthusiasts
              –wildlife and habitat research projects

    • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

      I read an article by a cougar biologist which counters the belief that “hunters carry the heavy financial load when it comes to conservation.” Here’s the link:
      http://www.mountainlion.org/featurearticleguestwhoownsthewildlife.asp
      Although I don’t like to think of owning a living being, doesn’t it make sense that hunters when they pay a fee or buy a license, it’s because they are in essence buying something someone else owns? The fees are paid to the government which then could be said to own the wildlife and as the government is in turn owned by all citizens then all citizens must be owners of the wildlife. As a hunter then takes something we all own for his own “pleasure” or consumption then the fee is a way of paying back or buying something. Hikers, etc – don’t really take anything so a fee doesn’t really make sense. Although there are park fees, camping fees and general taxes that go to support public lands.
      How would a predator stamp work? Is the idea then that this would support habitat for predators?

      • avatar Logan says:

        The hunter is only paying for the opportunity to hunt. Since only 15-20% of elk hunters and 30-40% of deer hunters are successful every year I would say that the states are getting some free money.

        I wish I could give credability to the article you posted but it is sponsored by a sight that has heavy anti-hunting positions so I fear that their research would be biased. Just like anyone here would take any research conducted by the RMEF with a large grain of salt.

        • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

          Yes – I can see what you’re saying that you’re only paying for the opportunity to hunt but when predators are eliminated, you’re also getting the benefit of the odds being improved in your favor whereas those who would prefer there be no hunting are left out of the equation. That said, if someone is hunting for food – I don’t like it but we all are guilty of choosing our own life over another’s. Even on my vegetable diet someone’s habitat is gone so my food can be grown.
          There has to be another way to co-exist with wildlife where it isn’t about who has the money and anything from legitimate hunting for food to coyote killing contests, hunting predators to extinction,using wild donkeys as target practice is fair game. It’s a matter of getting our policies to reflect respect for the rights of all beings. Not just the numbers but the individuals.
          As far as the article, it may be from an anti-hunting site – I actually don’t know- but I think it makes a fair point that wildlife policies are too weighted toward hunters and ranchers which has been justified by the contention that they pay for it through fees but the truth is the rest of us also contribute and have to deal with the consequences of decisions made so maybe it’s time to take the non-hunting point of view equally into account.

          • avatar Louise Kane says:

            “It’s a matter of getting our policies to reflect respect for the rights of all beings. Not just the numbers but the individuals.”
            +1

          • avatar Logan says:

            “There has to be another way to co-exist with wildlife where it isn’t about who has the money and anything from legitimate hunting for food to coyote killing contests, hunting predators to extinction,using wild donkeys as target practice is fair game”

            There will always be lawbreakers and unethical people, I don’t have a solution for that.

            I’m happy to see you recognize that even a vegetarian diet has impacts on wildlife. Too many people spout off on not abusing wildlands and forget that they life in house built of lumber (from wildlands), Use electricity from coal or hydro either way use land through mining or water resources, use computors and talk on cell phones using various metals that are mined in our wild areas. We all have an impact and are contributing money to the continued exploitation of our resources. The challenge is doing so responsibly and in a way that can be reversed and rehabilitate the land when we move on, or not at all.

            • avatar wolf moderate says:

              Shhhh. Don’t call on there hypocricy!

              How does like someone like “Chicago Mike” reach the wild lands of the west? Do they hoof it? While here do they murder trout to survive or do they eat chili Mac Mountainhouse grub? Do they sleep in a tent and cook using butane?

            • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

              I agree with your second paragraph- we all need to live more lightly and think about the consequences of our lifestyles. Although I think it’s better to avoid damage in the first place rather than trust we can reverse everything.
              As far as unethical treatment of animals – I think hunters could do a lot more. Are there hunters groups who speak up for wild horses? for dolphins being hunted? for coyotes being slaughtered for fun? Are they out there? I haven’t heard them..

              • avatar wolf moderate says:

                Why would there be? Wild horses? No such thing. Too many coyotes? Possibly.

                I gave my unemployed neighbor some snares. He has got 11 this year. He’s getting $75 a piece to support git hobby and family and helping the rancher down the road. Its a win-win situation. He is an out of work right now due to the economy. Trapping helps support his family. I gave his family a deer also. What’s the problem? Plenty of coyotes, why not let the guy get a few to pay for his hobby?

                It really does not matter what anyone says. Coyote hunting and trapping is not going away. It has helped the community fro. Outfitters, to ranchers, to hunters, to his personal bank account.

              • avatar jon says:

                don’t be so sure of that Matty.

              • avatar wolf moderate says:

                Matt to you punk

              • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

                ” What’s the problem? Plenty of coyotes, why not let the guy get a few to pay for his hobby?”

                The problem I see is that you’re treating coyotes as numbers. Each coyote is no more just an anonymous number than each of my dogs is or I am. Each individual deserves a right to life. A life should only be taken if absolutely necessary – food, self defense… “Hobby” doesn’t meet that standard. There are other ways to make money..

                “It really does not matter what anyone says. Coyote hunting and trapping is not going away. It has helped the community fro. Outfitters, to ranchers, to hunters, to his personal bank account.”

                On a practical note..coyote killing does not help anyone or the environment. Coyotes serve a practical purpose in nature – being excellent rodent control and taking the place of apex predators where those have been removed. It also has been shown that disrupting the order with random killing leads to more human – coyote conflict and higher breeding rates. On an ethical note, I don’t suppose you can see anything wrong with causing that kind of pain to another being when you don’t have to? I would suggest trappers go out and experience slamming the car door on their hand then stand there for hours or days to get an idea what it feels like.
                As to it never going away – I wouldn’t count on it – Society has evolved away from lots of things – think segregation, slavery, and it can from this as well. It just takes more and more people to step up.
                Sorry about your neighbor – it’s a tough economy.

  13. George: This is another outstanding article about predators and predator politics. You have a gift for informing and doing so with the facts at your fingertips. Thank you for your continued support for rational, scientific efforts to support predators.

    You mentioned the anti predator attitude of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF). I looked at their most recent newsletter and noticed an ominous trend. Under News, they listed no less than three items about killing mountain lions. The items themselves were ludicrous, and included a story about a cougar which hung around a ranch, and was shot and killed by a nine year old “hunter.” The animal, upon being examined by state authorities turned out to be an emaciated three year old female that weighed 50 instead of the expected 100 pounds for her age. In another article, a mountain lion that hung around humans was killed, and afterward discovered to be missing an entire paw (perhaps caught in a trap?). I mention these “new” items only to show that RMEF now seems to be amping up fear of cougars among their members, perhaps as preliminary to a campaign to eliminate these problematical threats to elk. Perhaps the strategists from RMEF are already looking ahead to the day that wolves are eliminated. Once this happens, they can no longer blame them for loss of elk population, RMEF however, will be able whip up their members to give more donations to them, by saying that “the mountain lions did it.”

    I must say that I was disappointed by some of the more extreme and vituperative responses to George’s article. They sound almost as bad as the anti wolf people. To them, I have this to say. You may get your rocks off by demonizing hunters etc., but it contributes little to either the hunters’ or our enlightenment. Instead, I would like to hear some practical suggestions from you for remedying this sorry situation.

    I have two, right off the bat: (1) lobby for state tax support for their fish & wildlife agencies, so that the power of the hunters over these agencies will be diminished.
    and (2) organize an effective boycott of these states’ tourist industries, because they are most vulnerable to this tactic. Money talks. Forget about potatoes. It would be too difficult to organize that kind of boycott.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Ken Fischman, Ph.D.,

      I agree with your observations about the general anti-carnivore trend among hunting organizations. I also agree that some, too many, of the anti-hunters are appallingly extreme in their rhetoric and will, therefore, not be helpful in bringing about any kind of progress to a solution.

      • avatar Jeff says:

        Agreed, making the Gubernatorial appointed Game and Fish commissions more democratic would be another solution. I dropped RMEF years ago when they moved from habitat protection to anti-predator in their mission. Just like Congress both sides of this issue are putrid at the extremes and middle of the road folks are increasingly rare. Anti hunting groups are just as full of themselves and out of touch with reality as many in the NRA, SFW groups.

        • avatar Mike says:

          That’s a false equivalency.

          One group is actively, in the field, torturing and killing millions of animals (and if you don’t think dying of lead poisoning is torture, I don’t know what to say).

          The other group is merely reacting verbally and writing letters of displeasure aimed at the actual physical behavior of the other group.

          Please don’t lump in non-violent, non-predator killing groups in with those terminating lives in often sadistic fashion.

          • avatar Jeff says:

            No torture a clean kill is the usual outcome of a skilled hunter and ethical hunters routinely refuse shots beyond their skill set.

    • avatar Mike says:

      ++To them, I have this to say. You may get your rocks off by demonizing hunters etc., but it contributes little to either the hunters’ or our enlightenment. Instead, I would like to hear some practical suggestions from you for remedying this sorry situation.++

      It’s a false equivalency and intellectually dishonest to compare non-violent, non-consumptive behavior of anti-hunters to that of a group who is sadistically wiping out predator populations.

      • avatar wherecanigetsomeobjectivity says:

        It’s intellectually dishonest to paint hunters with a brush so broad you make Pat Robertson look tolerant.

        What about the 200 million or so people in this country that think nothing of the food they put in their mouth and blindly continue to fund the war on habitat and wildlife?

        Hunters and environmentalists should be working together here. We are the users of the land, both consumptive and non-consumptive and there can be a balance for all.

        Articles like this get me fired up because we should be working to find common ground, not seeking to further divide those that have more in common than they realize. Just like when I read yet another article by the RMEF and they ignore the science that they are funding (see Bitterroot Elk Study).

        • avatar Mike says:

          ++It’s intellectually dishonest to paint hunters with a brush so broad you make Pat Robertson look tolerant.++

          Am I? What hunting groups are speaking up about the extreme aspects of their past-time?

          What groups/hunters are calling out the aerial wolf slaughter, or Montana’s insistence that wolverines still need to be trapped? What hunters called out the luring of Yellowstone wolves to park boundaries?

          Crickets. Just crickets.

          Nothing wrong with a broad brush if its the right size for the project.

          ++What about the 200 million or so people in this country that think nothing of the food they put in their mouth and blindly continue to fund the war on habitat and wildlife?++

          I don’t have an answer for that.

          ++Hunters and environmentalists should be working together here. We are the users of the land, both consumptive and non-consumptive and there can be a balance for all.++

          Yes, they should be. But hunters were pulled to the far right, anti-science extreme by the NRA. See the EPA lead bullet debacle.

          ++Articles like this get me fired up because we should be working to find common ground, not seeking to further divide those that have more in common than they realize. ++

          In order to reach common ground, something has to give on both sides. Hunters are able to hunt a wide variety of species across the country, both predator and ungulate. Yet they refuse to budge on the extreme portions of their past-time, like trapping and lead bullets.

          ++Just like when I read yet another article by the RMEF and they ignore the science that they are funding (see Bitterroot Elk Study).++

          Or the fact their their bloated museum is built on excellent wildlife habitat.

        • avatar jon says:

          I don’t agree with that at all. Hunters and environmentalists are not the same. You have one side that wants to kill wildlife and the other one wants to save it. I myself don’t believe all hunters hate predators, but I do believe a lot of hunters are out there are predator haters. Is there a middle group? I don’t think there is. Hunters look at the word anti-hunter as a dirty word. A conservationist who is anti-hunting has nothing to be ashamed about. He’s against killing. That is the normal and the right position to have.When I say hunting, I am not talking about hunting elk or deer for food. Killing predators for sport or for fun is a sick activity. It is long past time for people to start debunking the myth that hunters are conservationists.

          • avatar Logan says:

            You have one side that wants to kill wildlife and the other one wants to save it.

            Are you referring to a species/population as a whole or to an idividual animal?

            Hunters do want to save wildlife, but they think more on overall population dynamics and not very much at the level of individual animals. It seems that many non-hunting conservationists focus most of their thoughts on the individual animal being hunted.

            For example:

            A hunter looks at a population of 100 deer and if 15 of them get killed he doesn’t worry about, the coming spring will replensih the herd. It appears to me that non-hunters look at the loss of each of those 15 deer as a tragedy.

            • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

              I think you’re right in that non-hunters look at animals as individuals and hunters look at them more as a resource. Yet when you think of pain or fear, it’s not a herd that feels it, it’s an individual.

  14. avatar Cody Goodnough says:

    Excellent article and very well said. It’s extremely frustrating. The U.S claims to be the most advanced country and we have all of this amazing technology and have exceeded in so many things, but yet we are far behind when it comes to wildlife. And yet we have the nerve to go to other countries and judge other countries and tell them to save rhinos, elephants, cheetahs, pandas, etc. when we can’t even live with a 100 lb wolf. Pretty pathetic if you ask me.

  15. avatar Mike says:

    Also, let’s be perfectly clear on what “extreme” is. Calling out hunters for allowing trapping, lead bullets, and wide-scale predator slaughter is not exactly extreme. It’s voicing displeasure over extreme actions.

    Let’s be perfectly clear about that.

    The extremists here are the ones who support non-discriminatory trapping, aerial wolf-gunning, trapping in wilderness areas, and the use of deadly, poisonous lead bullets that violently kill 22 million birds a year.

    Here’s what happens when a rifle bullet fragments into a deer or elk that runs off, never to be found, then eaten by raptors:

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

    Here’s what happens when Idaho loses its mind:

    http://www.kplu.org/post/grisly-photo-adds-fuel-wolf-hunt-debate

    Saying “I don’t like hunters hurting animals” is not an extreme position.

    Actually *torturing and killing* the animals is.

    Anyone who says otherwise is intellectually dishonest.

  16. avatar aves says:

    George Wuerthner wrote “So in the eastern United States where wolves are still absent, state wildlife agencies aggressively allow the killing of coyotes, bears and other predators.”

    There ARE wolves in the eastern U.S. While they take up only a tiny dot on a map, red wolves roam a million acres in northeastern North Carolina. They were the first wolf species to ever be reintroduced, not that you’d know it from how often they are ignored by many conservationists. Jan Deblieu, author of “Meant To Be Wild”, said it best when she wrote that “red wolves have been doubly damned. They are despised, on the one hand by people who think of wolves as bloodthirsty and sinister, yet they are often overlooked by those who might be expected to rush to their defense”.

    Less than 100 red wolves remain in the wild and a dozen have been gunned down in the last year. A state agency, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, is openly hostile to red wolf recovery. They have publicly questioned their ecological value and legalized the night hunting of coyotes within the red wolf’s range knowing full well it would lead to more red wolves being shot. The state’s rationale was that coyotes are out of control, killing people’s cats and killing too many of the animals hunters want to kill. While the overwhelming majority of North Carolinans (both in and outside the recovery area) favor the red wolf’s recovery, a loud and vocal minority claims the wolves are killing all the deer. They are, in my opinion, also deliberately shooting red wolves. The upper levels of USFWS have long undermined the program with lack of financial and public support and the regional office in Atlanta, Georgia recently undercut the program even more by authorizing the first lethal take of a red wolf by a landowner who claims red wolves are decimating wildlife on his property.

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      Aves I know you follow this
      what is happening with challenge of the night hunting and is there a legal challenge against the lethal removal. It was a dismal year for the red wolves.

      on another note, its astounding that a wildlife agency would cite as a reason to kill coyotes that they kill cats. I wonder why it is that dogs can not roam free under law (as it should be) and are licensed but cats who destroy everything may roam. I love all animals and would never harm a cat but I think people that let their cats out should be arrested and is the cat is eaten the coyotes are doing good.

      • avatar aves says:

        A judge has asked for more information from the USFWS and NCWRC on the issue before ruling. There’s no timeframe for her decision.

        http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/02/24/3650503/judge-in-red-wolf-suit-seeks-more.html

        I haven’t heard about a legal challenge to the kill permit yet.

        I agree about outside cats. I have an indoor cat and if he ever got outside and the coyotes got him I would blame myself, not the coyotes. I think it was just an excuse by the state to demonize coyotes and hurt red wolves in the process.

        • avatar Ida Lupines says:

          Me too. My cat is strictly indoors, she doesn’t seem to miss being outside. There are too many dangers in addition to non-human predators. But those in positions of authority or given it use whatever excuse is convenient at the time, consistency and logic (and science) be damned.

  17. avatar snaildarter says:

    The problem is the demigodery of talk radio, they are destroying America with their manipulating of the facts and inflammatory language. It’s all very sad, the gun culture has lost touch with common sense and decency.

  18. avatar Logan says:

    From the article

    “So where are the conservation hunters? Why are they so silent in the face of outrage? Where is the courage to stand up and say current state wildlife agencies policies are a throw-back to the last century and do not represent anything approaching a modern understanding of the important role of predators in our ecosystems?”

    Where are the wolf lovers with the courage to stand up and recognize that hunters are not mindless indiscrimanate killers? Where are the non-hunting wildlife advocates proclaiming that there must be compromise and wolf reduction will need to be tolerated from time to time? If there is no spirit of compromise on one side of the arguement, there will be no spirit of compromise from the other.

    As long as anti-hunters and pro-predator groups continue to throw out words such as “slaughter”, “barbaric” and “selfish killing machines” hunters will counter with “hippie”, “city folk” and “idiot” then how can anybody expect there to be rational discussion. I ask the same question on the hunting forums I frequent whenever the subject of wolves is brought up. When someone says “kill all the wolves” I try to reason that such an attitude will not produce any progress and is damaging to their interests. I find that proportions of extremists are about equal on both sides.

    Each side has a few people willing to venture into middle ground. It is hunters in this group that have the attitude that wolves are a valuable addition to our forests or at least tolerable and should be maintained in populations large enough to have a continual presence and never risk re-listing. These hunters do not have a problem with reducing wolf numbers to augment game populations. Many recognize that habitat is also at issue in certain areas. On the other side In this group are the wildlife and predator advocates that understand that in order for predators to have a continued presence, control is a necessary part of the compromise. While they may not agree with reducing predator numbers to increase game animals they tolerate it because they understand that doing so will placate most hunters and help them have a less hateful view towards predators.

    IDFG monitors mountain lion and black bear season and sets quotas, mandatory checks are required of all hunters of these species as is with wolves. A tooth is extracted to determine age and this is a factor in determining future hunting season to prevent damage to the age structure.

    Bears and lions were once in the same position that wolves are now. Once hated and now a valued game animal to hunters. Hunters who demand the continued presence of those animals. hunters who have in years past been the driving factor in closing seasons and reducing quotas in areas where they saw numbers decline.

    I think that we are at a wolf population that is higher than what many hunters want and lower than what many pro-wolfers want. That sounds like middle ground to me and I would be happy if the current numbers were maintained from here on out. IDFG did say that they would manage for 580 wolves and that was approved by USFWS, now if we can just get that idiot Gov. Otter to backtrack on his stupid Wolf control board.

    • avatar Mike says:

      ++As long as anti-hunters and pro-predator groups continue to throw out words such as “slaughter”, “barbaric” and “selfish killing machines”++

      Do you think leaving a bobcat in a trap for 48 hours is humane?

      Do you feel that slowly destroying a bald eagle’s nervous system, hour by hour, day by day is humane?

      You know what’s humane? A well-placed copper bullet into an ungulate, which you then take home to eat.

      That’s humane.

      But until hunters stop the other sadistic behavior, people will continue to use accurate descriptors. Until then, worry more about killing endangered lynx in traps and poisoning 20 million birds a year.

      • avatar Logan says:

        How many hunters have you won over to using copper bullets with those “accurate descriptors”?

        on to your points.

        1. Yes, but less than ideal. More on that later.

        2. No, but I haven’t seen that this problem is prevelant in my state.

        3. We agree on on your third point. there is nothing to disagree with there.

        But I would add that I am currently eating a bear and mtn lion as well.

        As a side note:
        I have attempted trapping, I am not very good at it but I can tell you that before I set my first trap I stuck my hand in it several times to satisfy myself that I wasn’t going to cripple the animals I targetted and they would not be suffering while in the trap.

        • avatar Mike says:

          ++How many hunters have you won over to using copper bullets with those “accurate descriptors”?++

          I’m not trying to win over hunters, because they can’t be won over, much the same way a rock can’t perform arithmetic.

          ++1. Yes, but less than ideal. More on that later.++

          So letting an animal go hungry in the cold, in a small circumference for 48 hours (possible an animal with young nearby who require the mother for feeding) is humane? That’s not even getting into the injuries sustained during the ordeal, or the potential of being an easy meal for larger predators, with no way to defend yourself or flee.

          Heck yes it’s barbaric. It’s 1700’s and 1800’s methodology and has no place in a modern world.

          Why don’t you try staying in the same spot, in the elements for 48 hours with your leg in a steel jaw or snare?

          ++2. No, but I haven’t seen that this problem is prevelant in my state.++

          2 million birds killed and poisoned in the most horrific fashion every year by hunter’s lead bullets isn’t a problem?

          ++
          3. We agree on on your third point. there is nothing to disagree with there.++

          Of course you agree with me there, because you’re getting something out of the situation.

          The other points are not self-involved, and involve analyzing situations from within the shoes (or paws) of other living beings, which is a bizarre and alien concept to most hunters.

          ++
          I have attempted trapping, I am not very good at it but I can tell you that before I set my first trap I stuck my hand in it several times to satisfy myself that I wasn’t going to cripple the animals I targeted and they would not be suffering while in the trap.++

          Trapping anything against its will, without an ability to defend itself or feed, is suffering.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      “I think that we are at a wolf population that is higher than what many hunters want and lower than what many pro-wolfers want. That sounds like middle ground to me and I would be happy if the current numbers were maintained from here on out”

      And I think as long as people like you Logan have this “middle ground”… game farm mentality, most wildlife will not have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting along with our species.

      Seriously, look around at the areas in dispute here in the west and ask why there never seems to be any room left (in the millions of acres of land still considered wilderness, PL, BLM etc.) for just a few thousand predators?

      • avatar Logan says:

        I live here and I am arguing that there is room for the predators, especially on Public lands. But as I tried to explain before, those who think that a complete ban on predator hunting or a kill them all policy will ever happen are fooling themselves and only fanning their opponents flames. No matter how much anyone might want politics to be removed from the situation it won’t happen. I am stating that eventually wolf numbers will settle into a range that hunters and wolf advocates can mutually tolerate (hunters will think it is too high and wolf advocates will think it is too low), however those on the fringe of both groups will always be dissatisfied.

        I care most about Idaho so most of my knowledge is centered here. Idaho has 20,000 black bears, 3000 mountain lions and I’m not even going to attempt to place a number on wolves (# now versus after pups are born etc. and any number I put would be called too high of an estimate anyways). I couldn’t find numbers for grizzly bears but two small north Idaho populations plus the Island Park area hopefully expanding soon into the Selway.

        Despite this supposed war on predators, Idaho has a higher population of Black bears and Mountain Lions than ever, with stable or slightly increasing populations throughout most of the state.

        After this hunting season it appears that the pre-welping population of wolves will be in the range that IDFG promised they would manage for under the delisting rule, approx. 580. If they try to take the population any lower I will be out there in the public hearings demanding a halt to the reduction. I did in fact oppose Gov. Otters ridiculous “Wolf Control Board”.

        • avatar Ida Lupines says:

          Logan, your posts are outstanding.

        • avatar Cobra1 says:

          Logan,
          I Live here as well.
          +10

        • avatar Mike says:

          ++Despite this supposed war on predators, Idaho has a higher population of Black bears and Mountain Lions than ever, with stable or slightly increasing populations throughout most of the state. ++

          I notice you only mention animals you are allowed to hunt. I understand that’s your focus.

          However, you failed to mention lynx, wolverine, fisher, marten and other animals that continue to be hammered by trapping-especially the recent scourge of wolf traps.

          Non-hunting species always seem to get ignored by hunters. In fact, it seems like a reflex. I’ve met more people in cities who know what a fisher is or a water ouzel than backwoods hunters.

          In another post you mentioned you were enjoying some “bear and mountain lion”.

          Did you use bait, or hounds?

          • avatar Logan says:

            Good questions,
            I am very interested and involved in the recovery of other animals. I had the privilege of seeing a wolverine a few years ago, I’ve seen, fishers, pine martins and hope to set progress there. I am very concerned for the woodland caribou, and since there will never be a huntable population of them in my lifetime you can be assured that it is not due to motivation to hunt them.

            As for the bear and mtn lion, both were killed without hounds or bait. I was specifically hunting for the bear, the lion and I just happened upon each other.

        • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

          Isn’t the problem with looking at wolves in the way you are that wolves survival depends on pack structure? If you have (I’m making up a number) 30 wolves but they form 3 packs and you kill 10 but those 10 come from 3 different packs, you’ve not only killed those 10 individuals (which I still question why) but you’ve also compromised the survival of the remaining wolves because you’ve destroyed the pack structure.
          I read your other posts regarding compromise and I think one thing that would be really helpful is if the Fish and Game departments were replaced with Wildlife Protection departments where the title actually defined the focus. Fish and Game by its very name leaves non-hunters out of the equation.

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      “I find that proportions of extremists are about equal on both sides.”

      The extremists on the “pro wolf” side though are not killing off apex predators and creating policies that damage entire ecosystems. Perhaps some of the people you label extremists have just gotten disgusted with waiting for this so called middle ground to emerge where predators will be treated fairly. Public hunting of wolves and for that matter predators serves no valid management objective.

    • avatar IDhiker says:

      Logan,

      When did IDFG say they would manage for 580 wolves?

      WAs I recall, that was before the Tester Rider, when IDFG wanted to compromise with pro-wolf groups. I, personally, was satisfied with that number, but I believe IDFG threw that number out, after Tester, when they knew they would no longer have to compromise and had complete control. Am I mistaken?

      • avatar Logan says:

        580 was the number that IDFG agreed to for the 2009 delisting. The congressional budget rider reinstated the original 2009 delisting rule, and afterwards IDFG re affirmed that as their target number. I usually check their site several times per week and read most of their research and management documents and have never seen anything that states anything other than managing wolves at the 2005 level which was when all 3 states met the original criteria for delisting.

        Recently Gov Otter has been pushing for even lower numbers, I hope his proposal eventually fail.

        • avatar jon says:

          Not likely. The legislature and the Gov tells fish and game what to do. His proposal will pass and it will be signed by him very quickly. He did the same thing with the ag gag bill.

      • avatar jon says:

        That’s been thrown out the windows. Idaho fish and game not telling people how many wolves they want in idaho is very troubling to wolf advocates, but not surprising. The thing is Idaho fish and game are going to kill as many wolves as possible, but they will remain above 150 wolves. No other native predator in Idaho is treated this way when we are talking about numbers. 150 wolves in Idaho, but thousands of bears, cats and coyotes. If there can be thousands of bears, cats, and coyotes, why not wolves?

  19. avatar Logan says:

    I will add one final comment. I do not believe that ranchers should be compensated for their losses. It should be viewed as a business risk to graze animals on public lands and there is no reason why they should be compensated if any predator kills their livestock on public land. Private land gets a little more into a gray area but for the most part as long as livestock owners are given the right to defend their animals while on their property then we shouldn’t need to provide compensation for losses on private land either.

    • avatar IDhiker says:

      Logan,

      If wolf management ever moderates in Idaho and Montana, it will be when actual hunters insist on it. MTFWP and IDFG really don’t listen to anyone else, but they will listen to the hunting community.

      You sound like a responsible and reasonable man to me, but you seem to be alone out there in the hunting world. Hopefully, by speaking out, you can influence others to alter their thinking and begin to turn this conflict over wolves around.

  20. avatar Mark L says:

    Logan,
    some….actually,, a lot of what you say sounds reasonable. Glad to hear it, cause sometimes on here there’s little else to show both sides of an issue. Usually when both sides are unhappy it shows a sign of middle ground…scary to the fringes, but necessary to the core. (Suffering sucks..but it beats dead and no longer suffering.)
    As aves and snaildarter hinted at, the wolf issue actually has around 5 ‘fronts’ in NA, if you will . Some will argue more, some less, but those in the south and southwest…and east know it’s not ‘just grey’…there are colors. Trichromacy reigns?. A blanket policy for all these animals just won’t work because they are literally different animals. Hell, almost every coyote in the south has s-o-m-e red wolf, maybe some with alleles that the NC ones don’t (anyone even looking at this…why not?). When each ‘front’ becomes a hunt for funding, rather than a scientific (or philosophical/moral fight) then they are already lost to biology, and we are just watching egos duke it out while valuable alleles…DNA…the only REAL exchange that means anthing in the long run…is lost. Sucks.

  21. avatar rork says:

    Not bad article, but I thought “rabid attitudes” was over the top, and the article’s many facts were not facts about hunter attitudes. For example hunter poll results might be interesting, if any exist that aren’t biased.

    There most certainly are hunter/conservationists. I know many. Perhaps we are primarily conservationists who happen to live in a place so overrun with deer that we want some of that meat. I’m thawing a shoulder now. You eat it. I’m a good cook too, and it is butchered exactly how I want. I fish and gather lots of plant/fungus too. We are past the middle Logan describes – we likely will not agree to wolf reductions to augment ungulates, at least not easily (may not help, and less ungulates is probably good, or at least not bad). I very vocal about that in my area, but I’m not a famous person. I write my DNR and comment when my local hunters or non-hunters are ignorant (examples: wolves, coyotes, mute swans, stray cats, deer overpopulation, feral horses).
    Now as to hunter organizations, that’s a different matter, so always distinguish. The folks like me don’t usually belong. We give money to Sierra or American Rivers, not the NRA. I disagree with my local hunters/anglers/horseriders/bikers when I see bad things, but folks like me won’t easily change the attitudes of a hunter organization – we’d need to be a majority. We could make a new one maybe – but we don’t need to, there are plenty of conservation groups already. Maybe we should anyway.
    Finally about lead, or hunting being easy: come climb a tree with me (if you can) and try bow hunting (if you can practice archery enough, and have strength), and navigating wetland-chocked land in pitch dark without GPS (if you’ve studied the area hard enough to know every acre).

  22. avatar rork says:

    Next week: are there any anti-hunter/conservationists?

    In my state (MI), HSUS spearheads anti-wolf-hunt campaigns.
    This is like depleted uranium rounds in the hands of a good pro-wolf-hunt pundit: against wolf hunt means pro-HSUS. It hurts.

    • avatar jon says:

      I am a proud anti-hunter and anti-hunters and conservationists are one in the same. I am against sport killing of predators. There are by far many more anti-hunters in this country than hunters.

      • avatar Logan says:

        While I agree that there are more non hunters than hunters I doubt that there are more people who are opposed to hunting than there are who support it at some level. Since neither of us has any firm documented information to back up our opinion I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

      • avatar rork says:

        Anti-hunters sometimes want protections for feral horses, cats, and mute swans, and intentionally or inadvertently feed wild animals when it’s a bad idea. Some think letting deer reach carrying capacity where predators are limited is humane. Some call for “high powered rifle” only, in areas where they don’t realize using rifles is illegal. Some don’t like us genetically engineering mice while trying to understand diseases. (Some don’t have the word “some” in their vocabulary.)

        • avatar Louise Kane says:

          If predator prey relationships were stabilized/ promoted the “need” to control out of control ungulate populations would not be as necessary.

          • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

            Absolutely. We have tons of deer where I live and coyote killing contests – Make sense?
            Rork – As to wanting protection for “horses, cats, mute swans” – It’s called sharing the world. We cause the over abundance of horses (racing industry), the overpopulation of cats (not neutering and dumping), swans (some were introduced)..Look at what is being done in the southwest where exotics are being introduced for hunters. These animals shouldn’t pay with their lives because of our stupid behavior. If you create a life, you’re responsible for it. The main thing we need to control is the profit at any cost society we’ve built up.
            As far as genetically engineered mice – or any animals in a lab setting. Most recent research has shown that you can’t extrapolate from an animal to a human. It’s often torture with no redeeming value.

            • avatar Ida Lupines says:

              Amen, BG! We can see that our stupid behavior has created layer-upon-layer of problems, I think it would be very difficult to attribute environmental problems to just one source – deer’s fault, wolf’s fault – it’s our fault, and until we address our contributions to poisoning our environment, it’s hard to take some of these new studies seriously.

        • avatar Ida Lupines says:

          Some don’t want to use stem cells either.

  23. avatar Jeremy says:

    The truth of the matter is nothing will be conserved unless it has value. Hunters may be the minority but we provide the lion share of this value/revenue. Ignore the hunters and all wildlife and wild places will suffer then disappear. I am sure there are a few who want all the wolves gone but the vast majority of hunters I know respect wolves and just want them kept in check. Hunting and trapping wolves generates more revenue to fund wolf research to help the long term stability of the species. Let’s not forget the more elk/deer/moose ect. we have the more revenue is generated and a portion of which goes directly back to benefit the wildlife. The wolf managment plan right now might be a bit aggresive but thats only because they took to long to get a season going. Your “facts” in this article ignored too many other factors which leads to a viewpoint that will do little to help the wolf or any other wildlife.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Jeremy,

      When you wrote “The truth of the matter is nothing will be conserved unless it has value,” you wrote the truth. You are also right when you wrote, “Hunters may be the minority but we provide the lion share of this value/revenue.”

      The trouble is today’s politics associated with maintaining organizations of hunters and also the politics of other kinds of organizations has prevented the generation of significant revenues from, or for, other ways of conserving wildlife. This problem has been a perennial topic here in the Wildlife News’ comments.

      When you continue and write that “Hunting and trapping wolves generates more revenue to fund wolf research to help the long term stability of the species,” recent events show this is not true. The states are charging far too little for a wolf tag, and it is deliberate underpricing. The states do not want to generate much revenue from wolf hunting or trapping. The wildlife/game commissions and/or the legislatures have made that plain. They have frequently said so with a considerable amount of venom. Wolf hunts could be a source of new net revenue, but they are intentionally being made otherwise, probably to keep support for wolves low. Research money comes instead mostly from state universities. This is true with not just wolves but most other wildlife research too.

      I think George Wuethner’s article credits past conservation help from hunting organizations, but the large and/or influential hunting organizations today have lost focus. They are not interested in conservation. It appears, for example, that hunters who are interested in more than just hunting elk, but who are interested in an outdoor adventure while hunting have been driven from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. RMEF now has a very narrow focus indeed — just growing and killing elk without reference to other huntable animals and without instilling an ethic for hunting. This is true more generally. Take bighorn sheep, for example. They can be held up as a fine example of the enormous value that can be generated with single perhaps for large rams going well over 10,000 dollars. Nonetheless, entire herds of bighorn are allowed to be wiped out by pneumonia transmitted to them by domestic sheep and goats. The Wildlife News has had article after article on instances of this, of disease transmissions that took place not through ignorance but by even as little as the recalcitrance of one sheep grower or as little as one 4H lamb.

      There are conservation hunters still, many I think, but we need to know how to create these valuable people because the current organizations and state wildlife agencies are just not doing it anyone. They are interested only in keeping their agencies or interest groups going and growing, and they lack other values. Wildlife as wild . life no longer seems to have much value to them much different than livestock. Elk, deer, moose, waterfowl, upland birds, are just alternative livestock, to be killed by inefficient methods (hunting or trapping); and mostly because it is fun although you can eat them too. Carnivorous animals are discounted because they are more trouble then they are perceived to be worth even though tags for them could be sold for quite a bit of money if it was allowed.

      • avatar rork says:

        I agree with many points there but wanted to repeat about the money cause that’s a frequent mistake near me. In MI, 1000 tags at 100$/tag was essentially nothing compared to the costs of administering the hunt (don’t expect an exact accounting though). Hiring pros might be cheaper (but may benefit local business less). I think asking $500 may have consequences – poaching. I’ve been recommending no sports hunt lately, and just expanding the permitting process, where some wolves can be shot on some (private) land. We’d still loose money.

        • avatar Immer Treue says:

          ” I think asking $500 may have consequences – poaching.”

          $5.00 or $500.00 per tag doesn’t matter. Poaching will continue. Those who give a rats ass about wolves are not going to buy a tag. Two years of wolf hunts in MN, and illegal take is still averaging 10%. This won’t stop until peer pressure comes to bear.

          • avatar rork says:

            I agree, but there is another set that will buy at 100, but not at 500. (They probably have 1 tag among 8 people.) Some folks may want pelts. I’m not sure how poachers deal with that. You got black-market tanners?

            • avatar Immer Treue says:

              Nothing wrong with a $100.00 tag, marketed as an opportunity to bag a truly elusive animal, at least give the illusion of worth, rather than the opposite of getting your wolf tag in a box of cracker jacks. 500 is unreal.

              • avatar Elk375 says:

                How many tags are you going to sell if there are $100 a piece versus $20 a piece. What will your the bottom line be at the end of the licensing period. It has been years since I was in an economics class but there was a concept called the elasticity of supply and demand. How elastic is the demand for wolf tags? I would not purchase a wolf tag for $100 but I will purchase one for $19 a tag.

                In Montana moose, goat and sheep tags are on a drawn and the tag for residents is $125 if drawn, the success ratio is approximately 75 to 80 percent. Therefore, if a hunter is successful the cost should be approximately $150 revenue for a kill.

                Montana sells approximately 20,000 plus wolf tags at $19 each for an approximate revenue of $400,000. The kill so far this year is 225 wolves or an approximate revenue of $1750 a kill. Is wolf tags to expensive or are moose, goat and sheep tags to cheap?

              • avatar Immer Treue says:

                Elk,

                $19.00 cheapens the value if the animal. In MN, the season is broken up into two parts, thirty bucks for each, or $60.00 total and we have 3-4 times the wolves you do. 20,000 tags sold, big whoop. Maybe raise the price to something commensurate to the rarity of the animal, and you get a few less yahoos out there. Perhaps that guy who’s malamute was shot might still have his dog.

              • avatar JB says:

                We’ll put, Immer.

              • avatar Elk375 says:

                “Maybe raise the price to something commensurate to the rarity of the animal, and you get a few less yahoos out there.”

                Or, the higher the price of a wolf tag the less wolf tags sold. No more $19 wolf hunters who purchase a wolf tag as an animal of opportunity.

                Non resident wolf tags in Alaska are $25 and BC $30.

                It is up to the state legislature and the voters to decide the cost of a tag not out of state pro wolf people. Mountain Lion tags in Montana $19 and I have never heard that they are too cheap.

                I do think that all resident hunting Montana licenses are too cheap and need to double in price. I purchased my new fishing license the other day and it include bird hunting, access fee and duck hunting. I am 62 and the cost was $8, I offered to pay full value but the computer would not allow it.

              • avatar Immer Treue says:

                Elk,

                “It is up to the state legislature and the voters to decide the cost of a tag not out of state pro wolf people…”

                Excuse the hell out of me for voicing an opinion. Starting to sound a bit like 3 dollar might not haven been barking at the moon.

              • avatar JB says:

                It is a simple question of supply and demand, Elk. When a resource is scarce, and demand high, one expects to pay more. Western agencies’ pricing of wolf/cougar permits perpetuates low devaluation of predators by artificially holding costs low when demand is high. It also encourages people who do not value predators to hunt them–which invites criticism.

              • avatar jon says:

                Some things I am wondering about. In the 2012-2013 wolf hunting season, hunters were allowed 1 wolf tag and trappers were allowed 3 wolf trapping tags. 95 wolves were killed by traps in the 2012-2013 wolf trapping season, 225 wolves total were killed in the 2012-2013 wolf hunting season. This year, wolf hunters were allowed 5 wolf tags and trappers were allowed 5 wolf trapping tags. Less wolves were trapped this year than last year and amount the same amount of wolves were killed this year as last year. Can anyone explain this? Also, Idaho allowed snares to be used and so far, Montana has trapped more wolves than Idaho. Could wolves getting smarter being the reasons for this?

              • avatar jon says:

                You would think by offering more hunting and trapping tags, the wolf kills would go up, but this hasn’t been the case in Montana or Idaho. Either there aren’t as any wolves out there as some are claiming or wolves are getting smarter.

              • avatar Elk375 says:

                Jon it cost money to go hunting. I spend about $125 per hunting day, $60 to $100 on gas depending whether I am pulling horses, $25 on meals and $7 at Norris Hot Springs for a good soak after hunting. If I get a motel room that is another $50 plus dollars.

                From what I have read and heard it takes about ten days to shoot a wolf if the wolf is not a target of opportunity. The total cost is over a thousand dollars. How many wolves does a person need or want to kill. Wolf hunters are limited.

              • avatar Elk375 says:

                JB

                “When a resource is scarce, and demand high, one expects to pay more. Western agencies’ pricing of wolf/cougar permits perpetuates low devaluation of predators by artificially holding costs low when demand is high.”

                Lets reword it: When a resource is scarce, and demand high, one expects to pay more. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks pricing of mountain sheep permits perpetuates low devaluation of mountain sheep by artificially holding costs low.

                The most valuable hunting license in the world is a Mountain Sheep License in the Missouri Breaks. In 2013 the auction tag sold at the Wild sheep foundation for $500,000 and this year it sold for $320,000. The sheep tags are awarded by drawing and the cost of the license for residents is $125 and non residents $750. The chance of winning a tag is less than 1%. Most hunters will never draw.

                So with demand so high and the resource so scarce it perpetuates low devaluation of mountain sheep by artificially holding costs low when demand is high. Should those breaks tags be sold at fair market value or should they be drawn and sold for $125 each.

                Moose and goat tags are drawn. The state awards approximately 300 moose tags and 300 goat tags each with 10% going to non residents at $750 each and 95% going to residents at $125 each. Should goat and sheep tags sell over the counter for between $2500 and $5000 each depending upon the area. Are we devaluing a scarce resource with moose/goat and sheep.

                On a side note, I think that the cost of those licenses needs to increase.

              • avatar Logan says:

                A factor that I think is being forgotten is the success rate amount wolf hunters. In Idaho there are about 100,000 elk hunters and success rate averages 17%, the tag is $30.00. Idaho sells 30,000 wolf tags, the success rate is 2%, the tag is currently $10.00 (all resident prices).
                Why would somebody pay more money to hunt an animal that presents a much lower chance of success. Most hunters don’t take the time to specifically target wolves, most are killed incidentally to deer and elk hunting.

              • avatar JB says:

                Elk:

                You’ve made my point for me. 🙂

                Try re-reading my post: “Western agencies’ pricing of wolf/cougar permits perpetuates devaluation of predators by artificially holding costs low when demand is high.”

                They do not do this with mountain sheep–they do exactly the opposite. So with sheep, like wolves, demand is high, supply is low, and the market dictates a high-cost. All I’m saying is that they should do the same for wolves (rather than hold the cost artificially low).

              • avatar Elk375 says:

                So you are saying Montana should have a $125 wolf tag?

              • avatar wolf moderate says:

                The success rate for mountain goat and sheep are very high. The hardest part is getting a tag. The success rate for wolves is around 1-2%. If anything they should reduce the cost of wolf tags to $5-10 so deer and elk hunters would purchase them. If the opportunity arises then they would be able to kill a wolf.

              • avatar JB says:

                What I’m saying is that the price of a tag for a predator should be similar to other valued big game species–else you encourage the notion that predators are not valuable. Don’t believe it is possible? Check out Minnesota’s pricing structure. They use a lottery for those who want a wolf tag ($4); then you pay $30 for an additional tag. And what do deer permits cost? $30–just like a deer wolf permit.

                And to the point about success rates; the disparity is MN is similar. You are waaaay more likely to get your deer than bag a wolf. But I’m sorry, you guys were telling me how all of this wasn’t possible…?

              • avatar Immer Treue says:

                JB,

                Just so things are clear about MN. The lottery/application fee for a wolf tag is $4.00. Then there are two season, early and late firearms, each at $30.00. A wolf trapping license is another $30.00. Hypothetically, based upon unsold lottery tags, and individual, I think, could spend $90.00+ and get three wolves. Usually, because wolf/deer firearm season coincides, many to most wolves taken are incidental. A bit different during 2nd season, which coincides with trapping and deer muzzle loader.

                There are three deer seasons: Archery; firearm; muzzle loader. These tags are $30.00 a pop.

                Back to original discussion with rork, this does little to alleviate poaching, other than perhaps a few less wolves (compensatory affect of legal hunting) for the SSS boys.

      • avatar Logan says:

        Ralph,
        I credit the poor conservation attitude of many of today’s hunters on the modern hunting media. The “whack me and stack me” culture sells more hunting products than the mild and respectful demeanor of Fred Bear and Gordon Eastman. Ever watch “High wild and free” from Gordon Eastman? excellent hunter\conservationist values are displayed. I think the tide may be turning against the modern hunting shows that focus more on product placement and celebrity self importance and back towards respect for the resource. In the last year I have seen 4 or 5 hunting blog and forum conversations that express extreme disgust for hunting shows and a call for more visible and meaning conservation. However, with the increasing polarization between hunters and anti hunters there is no way that hunters will admit it to the other side or risk joining with non hunting conservation groups for fear that their monetary contributions will be used against them to limit access to wildlife and wildlands for hunting.

        • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

          “However, with the increasing polarization between hunters and anti hunters there is no way that hunters will admit it to the other side or risk joining with non hunting conservation groups for fear that their monetary contributions will be used against them to limit access to wildlife and wildlands for hunting.”

          I don’t think that’s really a possibility. It’s going more the other way. Plus, if you read all the comments here, even the anti-hunters understand the hunting for food. It’s the hunting for the sake of killing that most people oppose. It’s not hard to be disgusted when you see people just piling up dead coyotes in a pickup truck with a can of beer in their hand.
          I really think there’s room for compromise – Most people I think have a live and let live attitude and tend to speak up not out of a desire to control someone else’s lifestyle but when they see something wrong.

          REPLY

    • avatar Marc Bedner says:

      It is only fair that hunters bear the brunt of the cost for enforcing anti-poaching laws and restoring the wild areas they take for granted. We don’t use cigarette tax revenue to promote smoking, but state wildlife managers insists on using hunting license fees to promote hunting.

  24. avatar Joanne Favazza says:

    I too have been wondering for a long time where the conservation hunters are when it comes to this issue. Their collective voices would carry a lot of weight, but they have remained silent.

    If hunters wonder why many frown upon hunting, all they need to do is look at how the state wildlife agencies are “managing” wolves and other predators, or look at the horrific photos online of maimed and tortured wolves posted by so-called “sportsmen.”

    It’s time for ethical hunters to speak out against the brutal, senseless atrocities that are occurring due to the backward policies being implemented by state wildlife agencies. These policies show a complete disregard for the ecological value of predators, as well as an utter disdain for conservation.

    • avatar rork says:

      I disagree with some of this and the next comment. Hunters that are truly OK with predators are maybe 10% of hunters, perhaps 1% of the population, how is that weight? I try to teach people about compensatory death, or when coyote killing does essentially nothing to alter ungulates available to hunters – ya know how many are listening after they’ve been told predator effects are “obvious” a million times? I give old examples about how killing red-tails or owls actually backfired on upland bird hunters (you get more accipters, or rats). We’re gonna have to teach them again and again and again that it’s really complicated, and then 20% will get it. And some will always be outright idiots.

      “horrific”,”maimed”,”tortured”,”brutal”,”senseless”,”backward” – peppering every sentence with outrage may not be an effective tactic on idiots. Quite the contrary, it puts you in a worse light.

  25. avatar B. Gutierrez says:

    Absolutely – I grew up with my family driving between California and Mexico. The sight of coyotes hanging on fences in Texas has never left me…It’s the utter disrespect for the life taken which now shows in hunters posting torture photos of animals they’ve killed.
    This is where ethical hunters could step up and make a difference.

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      As Aldo Leopold so aptly put it more than 50 years ago: “The sportsman has no leaders to tell him what is wrong. The sporting press no longer represents sport; it has turned billboard for the gadgeteer. Wildlife administrators are too busy producing something to shoot at to worry much about the cultural value of the shooting.”

      Ain’t that the truth. Thanks for posting.

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      Thanks for posting nice to see

  26. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    You guys are funny. Talking about wildlife as if they were inanimate widgets in a factory, and output and revenue can just be increased. Only it don’t work that way, and the states will be SOL one day because it ain’t sustainable. And not a moment too soon.

    • avatar W.Hong says:

      Ms. Lupines, you seem to make a lot of predictions and I don’t understand how you do this, please explain?

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        My crystal ball. Goodnight!

        • avatar Yvette says:

          You made me laugh, again! 🙂

          • avatar W.Hong says:

            I am trying to understand all of this, but it seems I am failing. Goodnight.

            • avatar Ida Lupines says:

              Mr. Hong, if you truly are sincere in trying to understand these issues, you couldn’t have picked a better place to begin than this blog. There are lots of articles posted by people who know a whole lot more than I do, and history of the same conflicts going back several years, with the same cast of wolf-hating characters for the most part.

              I have more questions than answers myself, and also am trying to understand, so repeatedly asking me to explain is not going to bring you the answers you’re looking for – you should ask the blog administrators, writers and scientists.

              I only make observations of inconsistencies and downright hypocrisies in the way we Americans supposedly manage our environment and the wild animals who live there. (Notice I didn’t say ‘our’ wildlife).

    • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

      I just read all that too – Seriously, ” should we pay $10 or $100 to kill a wolf”…How do you put a monetary value on a life? And does whoever you’re buying the right to take that life from own it in the first place?
      The randomness with which people talk about killing is kind of bizarre. This is not killing to eat – this is just killing because it’s there. There’s a huge difference between the two – One is hunting – Not sure what the other is.

      • avatar Elk375 says:

        It is hunting. If you do not like you do not have to participate.

        • avatar Elk375 says:

          “it”

        • avatar jon says:

          If a wolf kills a wolf hunter, would you call that hunting elk?

        • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

          I think ethically there’s a difference between hunting for food which is understandable by hunter and non-hunter alike and killing something just because it’s there.
          That’s really hard to comprehend and I am trying to understand. Does it make your life better than to have just seen the animal and walked on? Do you think about the animal at all? If it’s doing you no harm and you don’t need to kill it then why?
          I’m not trying to be combative, I’m seriously trying to understand.

          • avatar Logan says:

            B. Gutierrez,
            I know that most on this blog will not believe this to be an acceptable justification for hunting predators but here goes.

            Hunting for whatever species provides the hunter with a resource. Deer, elk, and other ungulates provide meat, ie food that would otherwise have needed to by purchased. Predators for the most part fall into the category of fur bearer and as the name implies, provide the resource of fur. That fur is a valuable commodity and can be sold by the hunter or trapper who acquires it. Some fur bearers bring very high prices. Even the lowly coyote is worth between $20 and $70 depending on fur quality and the point to which the fur has been processed, I skinned, raw or pelted and dried.
            In other words even though food is not the motivating factor for some hunting, a different type of motivation exists.

            • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

              Thank you for answering. You’re right in that I don’t agree in that as being a justifying motive because honestly you can make money other ways.
              It’s the difference between need and want – the fur bearer needs its fur..the human wants it. Need should take priority. But thanks for answering anyway.

    • avatar jon says:

      It’s almost as if hunters care very little that they are taking a creature’s life for entertainment. Hunters see wild animals as shooting targets and nothing more. The compassion they have for wildlife is not there.

      • avatar Yvette says:

        Not all hunters have that attitude, Jon, but the trophy/”sport” hunters seem to predominately be driven by a cavalier attitude toward the lives of non-human species.

        • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

          That’s the part I don’t get either. The hunting for food or killing for self-defense I get but the hunting for entertainment I just don’t understand. How can something that involves ending someone else’s tenure on the earth for no reason be done with apparently so little thought.

        • avatar rork says:

          Hint: jon is unable to write “some”, and to refute he’s lying will plead “hunter” doesn’t mean hunter when he says it. It’s a special, private Idaho in there.

      • avatar Logan says:

        Hunters don’t view view the taking of an animal as a tragic loss so long as the overall population is sustainable. It seems that most non hunters are more concerned about the individual animal first.

        Put simply, hunters care more about population first and individual second, non hunters care about the individual first and populations second.

        • avatar Marc Bedner says:

          Organized hunters, who are the subject of Wuerthner’s articles, don’t seem to care about conserving either populations or individual animals. Even if all the hunters on this blog care about conservation as well as killing, the hunting organizations only use conservation as a rationalization to justify killing. They can find studies by pseudoscientific wildlife managers on how best to preserve animals as a resource to be killed, but this has little to do with environmental protection.

          • avatar wolf moderate says:

            How can they not care about game populations? Do deer and elk grow on trees?

          • avatar Immer Treue says:

            The industrialization of hunting demands inflated numbers of deer and elk. Otherwise, who buys all the camo and gadgetry?

            Always wondered about the amount of money spent on boats motors, trailers, depth/fish finders, fishing tackle… An enormous industry has been created around fish and wildlife.

            • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

              Very true…Once money enters the equation – every other consideration takes a very distant back seat.

          • avatar Nancy says:

            BIG + 1 Marc 🙂

  27. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    Jon, the first thing to question is whether or not Idaho and the other wolf-hating states are lying about their numbers. If many of the biologists who work at the F&G departments are so appalled about what’s been happening with wolves, why are they still working there? Why are they not speaking out?

    Of course, the states are terribly afraid of having wolves relisted. The second thing I would wonder about is if there are as many wolves left to hunt. ‘Commensurate with the rarity of an animal’ – if an animal is rare, it shouldn’t be hunted at all?

  28. avatar rork says:

    There’s been lots of articles about a cougar poached in MI.
    http://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/index.ssf/2014/03/dnr_officer_bay_city_man_ate_c.html is one. Don’t think I commented on that one, but I’ve piled on in many other articles – it’s been running awhile.
    Plenty of hunters condemn it, and ask for stiffer penalties, and that folks not call these slime “hunters” (a common request around here). And you can’t always tell who is a hunter or not unless they repeat “I am a hunter” every time, and sometimes you won’t say that cause it’s not actually that relevant. There are lots of anti-predator comments too, and you can’t tell if they are hunters, or grandmothers, or some way-out brand of libertarians who think everyone should shoot whatever they want.

  29. avatar Gary Humbard says:

    Teddy Roosevelt called the wolf “the beast of waste and desolation” and then he created the national wildlife refuges. Living with wildlife opened his eyes to the natural world.

    Although hunters account for a relatively small population in Idaho, they generate ~$320 million dollars in revenue each year and that’s “no small potatoes”.

    Although wolves account for a relatively small percentage of overall elk mortality, they are the easiest factor to control. The cost to restore habitat (main factor of elk mortality) is more difficult and expensive and that is why (IMHO) state agencies are supporting the hunting of predators.

    Recent research has proven that having apex predators on the landscape brings a balance to the ecosystem. We must stay vigilant in sending the message to state wildlife agencies to allow natural processes (ie. wildfires and no predator killing) to occur in wilderness areas.

    Some “food for thought” from L. David Mech.

    http://www.floridalupine.org/publications/PDF/Mech-2012-Is-Science-in-Danger-of-Sanctifying-the-Wolf.pdf

  30. avatar Gary Humbard says:

    Teddy Roosevelt called the wolf “the beast of waste and desolation” and then he created the national wildlife refuges. Living with wildlife opened his eyes to the natural world.

    Although hunters account for a relatively small population in Idaho, they generate ~$320 million dollars in revenue each year and that’s “no small potatoes”.

    Although wolves account for a relatively small percentage of overall elk mortality, they are the easiest factor to control. The cost to restore habitat (main factor of elk mortality) is more difficult and expensive and that is why (IMHO) state agencies are supporting the hunting of predators.

    Recent research has proven that having apex predators on the landscape brings a balance to the ecosystem. We must stay vigilant in sending the message to state wildlife agencies to allow natural processes (ie. wildfires and no predator killing) to occur in wilderness areas.

    Some “food for thought” from L. David Mech.

    http://www.floridalupine.org/publications/PDF/Mech-2012-Is-Science-in-Danger-of-Sanctifying-the-Wolf.pdf

  31. avatar Louise Kane says:

    http://www.petersenshunting.com/2014/03/07/coyote-contests/

    Read this and then ask yourself where are the hunters calling out this propaganda or working to deter killing contests. I think Logan’s post was right on target, some hunters don’t want to be seen siding with “environmentalists” or predator supporters. Hopefully that will change. killing contests need to be outlawed.

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      and all people concerned about predators and other wildlife that are targeted in killing contests, need to write their legislators, flood the Fish and Wildlife offices with calls and let it be known that killing contests are unacceptable.

    • avatar rork says:

      Maybe most hunters think that forbidding coyote hunters to assemble, but permitting it for deer, rabbit, grouse, squirrel, bluegill, walleye, and morels, is goofy. Do we vote on each species, or have an inquisition to say which species are on which side of the line?
      Regulations about seasons, methods, numbers taken are sensible debates. Teaching people that killing predators wins less than they think helps. I’ll gain less if I’ve discredited myself by siding with what seems obvious bunny-hugger mentality. But it’s not just the perception – I don’t want to side with predator supporters when I think they are wrong, and using by-any-means tactics (to achieve almost nothing). One can argue the degree of importance or intelligence even, but it’s fuzzy, spiciest talk.

      • avatar Louise Kane says:

        Sorry Rork
        calling out killing contests is not “bunny hugging” tactics. Killing contests and penning are not harmless sports and actively pursuing legislation to prevent these activities is not forbidding coyote hunters to assemble. Many states actually do prohibit assembly and attendance at violent spectator sports like dog and cock fighting. Our society has determined that these events are barbaric and promote cruelty and should be banned. If these events are prohibited what is so bunny hugging about a law to prevent groups of armed, ignorant, motivate to kill thugs assembling to fan out and kill masses of wild animals only to throw them into ditches or to stack them up like cordwood. Cant we agree that this is abhorrent in a civilized society? If what hunters here post is true then most of you would whole heartedly support legislation to ban killing contest events. Labeling a desire to stop violent, economically stupid and ecologically indefensible killing of wildlife via legislative reform, bunny hugging is short sighted and argumentative for no good reason.

        • avatar rork says:

          You refuse to get my point I think. We had the “shiver on the river” walleye contest with newspaper articles almost every day for at least a week. The number of people I saw objecting: zero. Kids gathered to learn ice-fishing with prizes for biggest bluegill – zero objections. Logical line between that and coyote gathering: none.

          • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

            Maybe the difference is people eat the fish so are basically performing the role of predator – No one eats coyotes or foxes – or at least I think not.

            • avatar Mark L says:

              I’ll second B. Gutierrez…it’s a different issue when fishing. Aside from the ‘not eating coyotes’ part, bluegill are not top predators in their ecosystem, and they DO usually have another animal that assumes the same role in the ecosystem.
              What closely replaces a coyote in it’s ecosystem? Nothing.
              Oh, and yes I hunt. I’m not really worried what my buddies think of my moral stand…hunting isn’t a ‘facebook event’ for me.

            • avatar rork says:

              So is it no coyote hunting should be allowed, or just no groups of coyote hunters? Tell me about the science there. How about Northern Pike? Mink? Why not deer?
              I’m not saying it is impossible to make a law to single out a few charismatic animals and say people can’t publicly discuss hunting them in groups of more than 3 (or whatever folks think legislation would say). I’m saying people backing them will be hypocrites. Animal rights folks don’t do themselves any favors painting themselves in such a corner. Maybe ya’ll can point me to some legislation achieving what you’d wish in some state, like we could do for penning. Laws about when hunting dogs are allowed are also lower-hanging fruit.

              • avatar Mark L says:

                rork says,
                “So is it no coyote hunting should be allowed, or just no groups of coyote hunters? Tell me about the science there.”
                Ok, if you hunt coyotes, then expect more and more problems with human interactions. The cat lady down the road may be very unhappy with coyotes picking off Mr. Fluffers when she’s inside on the potty, cause young coyotes don’t know any better..old ones do (but now they are dead). Now she wants revenge and more humans get involved. More shooting…more young coyotes. This isn’t a science problem, it’s a sociology problem wrapped in science.
                Pike, mink, deer? None play the role of top predator in their ecosystem. We’ve eaten pike and deer for thousands of years. Mink? Good question what the effect is.
                What I’m saying is we can’t use science part of the time, then retreat to ‘what’s legal’ when faced with an ethical question. That’s cowardly. Either trust science or don’t.

        • avatar rork says:

          Dog and cock fighting – illegal even if done in private I hope. Penning – varies by state, but should be illegal everywhere I think, and a good, clear cause. Wastage of wildlife should be illegal, and mostly is, along with throw in ditch. Calling out and outlawed are different.

        • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

          Interesting thing too is “bunny huggers” seem to have science on their (our) side. If, as seems to be the case more and more, it’s proven that animals feel very much as humans do – that they suffer, know fear, have close family connections – is that not enough reason to stop these contests?

  32. avatar Louise Kane says:

    https://www.academia.edu/2068760/Predator_control_promotes_invasive_dominated_ecological_states

    Australia struggles with similar archaic predator control programs implemented to irresponsibly and prophylactically protect livestock interests.

    • avatar Barb Rupers says:

      Lately I have read several articles about dingoes in Australia which has been loosing many species of birds and mammals due primarily to feral foxes and cats. http://conservationbytes.com/2009/09/03/can-we-solve-australias-mammal-extinction-crisis/

      There is an interesting video essay about Jennifer Parkhurst and the Fraser Island dingo, which is a protected species on many national public lands.

    • avatar SEAK Mossback says:

      A couple of years ago, my wife and I went on a 3-day hike in New South Wales. In a trail section bordering park land, we came by a sign warning of 1080 (poison) sets for foxes — that also said in big bold letters “Keeping Australia Safe for Lambs and Wildlife”.

      Of course even the dingo is an exotic — maybe why the thylacine went extinct on Australia proper long before Europeans arrived?

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        Another study brings disease into the debate as a major factor in thylacine’s extinction: “Casually collected anecdotal records and early boutity analyses have, at times, prompted the suggestion that disease was a major factor in the extinction of the species, that occurred when the last known specimen died in Hobart Zoo during the night of 7th September, 1936.” This study also suggests that were it not for an epidemiological influence, the extinction of thylacine would have been at best prevented, at worst postponed. “the chance of saving the species, through changing public opinion, and the re-establishment of captive breeding, could have been possible. But the marsupi-carnivore disease, with its dramatic effect on individual thylacine longevity and juvenile mortality, came far too soon, and spread far too quickly.”

        Words to live by, or at least to moderate our behavior by. We can’t always manage and control everything.

        I have always found this animal and its fate interesting. It could be a candidate for cloning due to its recent extinction due mostly to human activity.

  33. avatar Allan Thompson says:

    Wow. Talk about simplification of the world we live in. wow.

  34. avatar B. Gutierrez says:

    This is long but I hope people will read it..It deals mostly with cats – wild and domestic but it makes some points regarding hunting in man vs. hunting among other predators that are interesting.

    https://www.thedodo.com/big-cats-arent-the-natural-bor-458395147.html

    • avatar Nancy says:

      A very good read BG. Thanks for posting it 🙂

    • avatar topher says:

      “Rick Hopkins, a cougar biologist who has studied the cats in theDiablo Mountains of northern California, says the risk of an attack is one in 25 million.”
      How much do the odds increase when your looking one in the eyes? I know the odds are long but they still scare the crap out of me when I’m alone.

    • avatar Yvette says:

      Great article! I enjoyed his perspective, but disagree a wee bit on his view of domestic cats. I’ve always been a cat person, and I have a LOT of cats now. A couple of them can live up to the cat persona, but mostly they just want to sit in my lap or step on the laptop. Much more affectionate than many people give them credit.

      Glad you shared this link. Great new site for me.

      • avatar B. Gutierrez says:

        I agree – We have always had cats and of the ones we’ve had over 20 years – only 2 have even had any interest in hunting. For the most part, the only thing the rest hunt is the heater vents…

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      I haven’t finished it yet – I give articles a scan first, and then go back and more deeply read. This is one to ponder.

      My cat I have had for 17 years. She’s very affectionate and trusting, not vicious at all, and very communicative. I’ve had her since she was 9 weeks old. Not to say that I haven’t been bitten or scratched mildly, but that’s how she communicates (rarely), I’m convinced!

      This line was interesting: “Deadly competition among (human) individuals or nations maybe highly aberrant behavior, not hard-wired survival techniques”.

  35. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    Whither the hunter/conservationists?

    Not in Michigan, that’s for sure:

    Two Michigan Men Charged With Poaching Black Bears, Buying Bear Parts

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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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