The Idaho hearing on wolf delisting plan draws wolf friends, foes
Here is the story on the Boise hearing from the Idaho Statesman. Hearing on delisting plan draws wolf friends, foes: Activists fear money, will to protect predators are lacking, but state vows to manage responsibly. By Rocky Barker – Idaho Statesman. There are other versions of the story appearing on-line.
Tonight will be the Oregon hearing (in Pendleton). The delisting plan being proposed cuts out the likely wolf dispersion zone in Oregon. It’s almost like the USFWS was making a moat of non-protection around Idaho and Wyoming. However, the states does have its “Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan,”
Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.
34 Responses to The Idaho hearing on wolf delisting plan draws wolf friends, foes
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I understand that about 80% of the testimony was against delisting the wolf.
I think you’re right about a moat of nonprotection. Filled with crocodiles, piranhas and copperheads near the shore …???
There is the Wolf Kill arc or “u” from Salmon to Copper Basin to the Danskins to Cascade/McCall, where Fish and Game in Idaho has already expressed at its Press Conference a month ago that it was going to “knock them back”, due to livestock conflicts. It seems to me that a deal has already been struck with the livestock industry by IDFG and FWS.
If you go to this FWS site, you can see the Powerpoint that Ed Bangs gave at the afternoon session. http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf/delist2007_ppt.pdf
If you look at the Gray area on the “NRM DPS” Map, you can see the extent of the DPS, and mentally sketch in the Knock Back area. Outside that Knock Back area is still a lot of country inside the gray area that FWS has defined as including their artificially defined Distinct Population Segment, where, once de-listing occurred, no protections would apply.
In his discussion of the Powerpoint slide labeled “Pack Persistence Model”, Bangs said this was based on a study that had been done that examined several criteria in looking at where wolves had been sucessful. One of the primary criteria was Problems with Livestock. So, the outcome of this study isn’t based on science, really, but on politics. Conflicts= Unsuitable.
Has anyone seen a copy of that study? Is this something that Bob Hoskins has been writing about at times here?
I ‘d also suggest anyone who was at the Boise meeting might want to write a Letter to the Editor saying that there was pretty much overwhelming Idaho public support, from a broad spectrum of folks, for keeping wolves protected under the ESA. The Statesman article does not provide a clear understanding of that.
the pro-wolf presence was overwhelming. A mosaic of different people all testifying on behalf of keeping the delisting from happening in this overtly political state climate. the anti-wolf presence was marginal and had very little to say other than to repeat the myths that we know all-to-well. during the q&a the FWS representative admitted that the the presence of cattle on public lands precluded that land from being considered ‘suitable’ habitat for wolves – which i understand the plan to mandate a large percentage of ‘suitable habitat’ must be inhabited by wolves as one condition of delisting – this automatic preclusion of ‘suitable’ habitat the FWS admitted was not a consideration of science except in socialogical terms (i.e. wolves can not inhabit territory where they are not safe from ranchers shooting them). another demonstrative example of the FWS bending over backwards for a marginal interest whose business, if you can call it that, depends on the very tax-dollars of a public who overwhelmingly would rather have wolves occupy our public land.
It would seem appropriate that if wolves are to be removed because of conflicts with cattle on marginal livestock public rangeland, the true problem is the cattle, not the wolves.
With the cattle gone there will more wildlife of all kinds. Cattle grazing at $1.35 a month per cow while they trample out the fisheries, reduce the forage for elk and pronghorn, destroy the willows and beaver ponds for moose, and ruin the esthetics for outdoor recreation, is a bad deal.
I know from my own stand point that the wolves being in ID influences alot of big-game hunters to not go to ID to hunt anymore. Lack of trophy animals, and quality of game is the big issue. Hunting is a huge revenue source for the economy of ID. I read on the internet that it costs ID $1,000,000 year just to manage wolves. On the Fish and Game agency profile.http://dfm.idaho.gov/cdfy2007/Publications/AgencyProfile/60Natural/Profile_FishGame_final.pdf Hunters and anglers generated over $1,600,000,000 in revenue for the state of ID. Thats 20,000 jobs, and over $63,000,000 in sales tax revenue. If ID continues the reputation of having horrible hunting, then I bet you could start to see that number drop. And if killing a couple of wolves helps the public eye and peoples opinion then so be it. I would hate to see the people of ID fight to the death over some wolves and lose literally millions and millions of dollars to save some wolves.
No statistics show any decline in the number of elk taken in Idaho. I posted 70 years with of statistics just the other day. Take a look!
But I think you are right that hunters might stay away from Idaho given all this alarmist publicity about wolves and elk.
What would you do if you asked someone in, let’s say, the Yukon, what hunting is like, and they said it has “gone to hell” for whatever reason. Now suppose they were wrong.
You probably wouldn’t go. So if that alarmist group of hunters and outfitters keeps saying this stuff, hunters won’t come to Idaho.
Of course, that makes me think of something else. . . I’m fishing a mountain lake, and the trout are striking at just about anything. A party of anglers on horses rides by and yells, “how’s the fishing.” I just might say “terrible.” “Keep going.”
i would encourage you to look at the harvest rates for the past year –
additionally, if there’s a qualm with the number of big game animals, i’d say the best way of addressing that would be to ensure there is more forage for the elk and deer to eat – to get a rough estimate of the number of potential game i suggest looking at the gross number of AUM’s on public lands that are being eaten by cattle – then figure out the amount of forage a cattle eats relative to a deer or elk, then take the gross AUM and divide it by the relative cattle/elk(deer) number and figure out how many wild elk or deer our state could sustain should cattle be taken off of public lands…
The revenue you cite above is compelling – perhaps compelling enough against the net $ generated by public lands ranching (which very well might be a negative considering the multi-millions per year spent subsidizing public-lands grazing) to conclude that it makes more sense for Idaho’s economy, and jobs, to leave our public lands forage for the elk and deer.
Either way – the number of game lost to habitat loss (cattle-grazed land) is FAR greater than lost to wolves…
I agree. Habitat loss is the number one reason of big-game animal populations declines. I would disagree with you on cattle grazing being considered habitat loss. Utah kills the biggest bulls of any state, and they have cattle on every mountain. And cattle are an obvious source of food and income for people in ID. I am sure you could care less if there was cattle. But what about the thousands of people that rely on them. Not only for beef. I am sure you eat hamburgers. Maybe you dont. That is kind of taking it to the extreme as far as removing all cattle and sheep from public lands. I am sure that the land could support more animals if cattle were not there. But at the same time I know that we need the resources they provide. So we have to make some sacrifices. And I am not talking only about animals that the wolves kill. A cougar kills once a week. A deer or an elk. I am sure a wolf is about the same. About the same size animal. 700 wolves. I spoke with a biologist in AK about how many times wolves make a kill to survive. He said in the winter they will make multiple kills per week. Less in the summer. And that is from the Wolf biologist in AK. So if the wolves in ID kill even every other week. That is almost 80,000 big-game animals killed every year. ID also has 20,000 black bears, and almost 2,000 cougars. Bears mainly target calves, but cougars dont. So you add up all that and you can begin to see how much pressure predators in ID are putting on big-game populations. I would just hate to see people lose homes, not be able to support families, send kids to get educations and live a enjoyable life , all because you would want to wipe out an entire industry… to support wolves. Thats a huge cost. And who is gonna pay for the wolf program after the feds leave? ID? They estimate its gonna be over $3,000,000 a year I read. So I hope that you dont look for sportsman to help cover the tab.
I can bet you dont hunt. I might be wrong. I have never said that ID should not have wolves. They just need to be controlled a little bit more. ID is in the limelight for all the wrong reasons. And Ralph you are stating if i asked about the hunting in the Yukon to just one person. AK is not all over the internet, news, radio about the wolf controversy. You say that the wolves dont effect the hunting. Fish and Game says they do. Then you say they dont, then they say they do. Its not just one isolated instance. Its been going on for years. And it will keep getting worse. Wether the harvest rates are high or not. People will shy away because of whats happening. Just look at the way the CO manages their big-game. More elk and trophy mule deer than almost any other state. And they hunt the living hell out of it. But each and every year they produce the best mule deer in the west!! How do they do it? They realize that they generate billions of dollars through it, it helps the economy, creates jobs, raises tax dollars. You know as well as I do that whatever I say will never change your mind. And vice versa. I dont think that we should eradicate woves, and I do think that lowerin the pop. to 100 is to low. Instead of making one guy the good guy and one guy the bad guy, you should just work on coming to a mutual agreement. Cause they will get delisted and I think everyone is sick of the drama. Its getting old and costing millions of dollars to drag this out. All for a couple hundred wolves. I mean in the long run is it really worth it? Everything that the state of ID has gone through for these damn wolves. If it was happening in UT I think it would of drove me crazy. But thats just me.
An interesting thing about that budget that you site, elkhunter, is that the federal grants/appropriates to Fish and Game total $27,053,300, which is just $3 million shy of the amount generated by licenses and permits. (Dingell-Johnson and Pittman-Robertson are federal grants.) So the approx $1 million cost of managing wolves is a fairly small percentage not only of the total budget of F&G but of the total amount of federal money provided to the department. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that a *significant* portion of the budget is from federal funds, something that should not be lost on those who slam the federal government. Where would F&G be without those funds that presumably don’t all go to wolf management?
One fact that should not be over looked is the source of the Pittman-Robertson funding. Hunters and shooting enthusiasts fund the program though an excise tax of 11% on bows and arrows and parts and accessories, and the excise tax of 10% on pistols and revolvers and the 11% on firearms, other than pistols and revolvers, and shells and cartridges.
I am a hunter. I also love to photograph and observe wildlife including wolves. In fact I made 2 trips last year of over 700 miles one way to Yellowstone for just that purpose so I don’t want wolves or for that matter elk wiped out. I do find it interesting and a little ironic that as a hunter I help fund management of an animal that to some extent may and probably will have an effect on hunting.
The debate goes on and on but there really does have to be reasonable population control measures in place.
Good info on the source of funds for that grant. I believe those grants probably do not overlap into wolf management here in Idaho as I’m sure there are strings attached as to how and where the money is spent.
I also find it interesting the many hunters seem to think that the only affects wolves have on elk is negative (though I know that you did not explicitly say that). I presume that is based on the thought that wolves either kill a lot of elk and so therefor there are fewer of them (generally disproved by statistics) or that wolves change elk behavior making them harder to find and kill. I think there have been plenty of arguments made here that the presence of wolves may in fact benefit the overall health of elk (reduced incidence of disease transmission and an overall pressure to select for stronger and healthier animals due to prey habits, etc), and vice versa.
One factor that does not get any attention is the question of the value of hunting in a truly wild environment that includes top predators. I don’t get the feeling that this holds much weight in the hunting community. Why not?
Here is an idea that maybe could be advanced on any written commentary that people may be sending to FWS. As part of the final rule, mandate that the grazing fees charged for public lands grazing be doubled in the de-listed areas and the funds generated by that be invested and create a fund to recompense the ranchers for any losses to wolves. Then any funds above that expense could be utilized to recover damaged habitats due to livestock. I believe that many positive results would be obtained by such an approach, not the lest of which would be to encourage the livestock industry to better manage livestock during the grazing season and maybe start to move that industry away from being subsidized by the Govt. and therefore take on a little bit more self responsibility and probably reduce the amount of constant whine. On a different note it occurs to me that another benefit of the wolves is in weeding out weak and lazy hunters because the elk are acting more like wild animals and therefore harder to hunt. The net effect would be to partially offset the number of elk taken by wolves as compared to the aforementioned hunters. Truly a win-win situation.
Its obvious that you dont hunt. I could be wrong. You talk down on hunters, then wonder why you dont have our support. Wolves effect elk populations in more ways than just eating them. Check the ID records for the last couple of years and see how many bulls scored over 400 BC points. I personally have not heard of one. UT killed over 11 last year alone that scored over 400. And do so almost every year. Same with AZ and NM. The large part of that is the rut. The rut is their breeding season if you did not know. They bulge and make lots of noise during this time. Now if the wolves are constantly on the move and pressuring elk. Which you say they are. And making them more wary. SO imagine if your a bull elk, bugling constantly. I am sure the wolves can hear that. Which gives away your location. Wolves show up, chase your cows and you around. Interrupting your breeding. At the same time your worried about chasing other bulls away. Constantly being harassed. If you have ever watched a herd of elk in the rut it is constant pressure from other bulls. Add wolves. The you have late breeding. Which means late calves. Which means high mortality rates. Which means less mature bulls, not only to do the breeding, but also to hunt. Which lowers the health of your elk herd. And you could talk to any biologist in ID and they would agree with me. I talked to a hunter who used to hunt elk in ID. Said they used to bugle like crazy and rut hard. Now hardly ever hears a bugle, cause elk are afraid to attract the wolves. I know that you think I am wrong. And i could be. But pro-wolf people need to understand that you could be wrong also. Each side has very valid points. Its is gonna have to be a give-give on each side to get this whole thing resolved. Cause it has been going on way to long. I can only imagine how many millions of dollars have been spent to protect the 700 wolves in ID. Enough is enough at some point. Each side to needs to makes some agreements, settle on certain things and set this aside cause its a waste of time, money and resources to keep dragging this our.
You have some valid points, Elkhunter. It did want to comment on just one thing. That’s the cost of wolf management. This is an issue often raised, with the suggestion that it is a huge amount of money which those who buy hunting and fishing licenses should not be expected to bear.
First of all, I agree with those who say hunters and anglers should not bear this cost, and a major reason is because
secondly, most of the “wolf management” money is spent to kill wolves because they have killed some livestock. Oftentimes, the cost of wolf “control” far exceeds the value of the livestock killed. The federal agency, Wildlife Services, often picks up the tab, however; but they think nothing of jumping into a helicopter and spending $50,000 tracking down and shooting a couple of wolves who might have done $500 to $5000 damage (there a few cases, mostly sheep, where the wolf damage has been higher). People with official capacities in these areas have complained to me in the past about this lack of fiscal responsibility. Webmaster
And Jeff you can check with the ID fish and game and ask about how many trophy mature bulls are killed each year in compared to UT, AZ, NM. It would surprise you. And even if you dont want to admit it, I think the wolves have some part to do with that. Not whole to blame, but part. I subscribe to multiple magazines that give advice on hunting different states in the west, what units in each state, quality of animals, draw odds everything. And the only species they recommend is Moose, and Bighorns. They recommend not hunting deer and elk and the reason they state is the wolves neg. impact. They could be wrong, but at the same time that is what out-of-state hunters hear. And in the long run that will cost the state millions and millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Actually I do hunt, for more than 40 years. If you read what I said closely I said weak lazy hunters. I would hope that is not every hunter out there. As far as hunting horns, In my opinion that is a big part of what is wrong with hunting. I hunt for food. I really could care less about the size of the horns. Maybe I’m just secure in my masculinity. I also suspect that a large % of those trophy bulls from UT, AZ, and NM, come from private lands guided hunts if the hunting shows I watch are accurate, just like the so called deer hunting in many other states. Those animals are really just another type of live stock. Any way that will give me some thing new too research to find out whats what. As for what happens during the rut I wonder how the elk got it done for who knows how many centuries up to this point. And speaking of so called trophy animals I would venture that hunters taking those animals do at least as much damage to the overall health of an elk heard as wolves do simply because those animals are the the ones with the most desirable genetics to pass on. Give me a six or seven year old dry cow any time. Much better eating.
You fail to mention the Yellowstone study that you and I talked about — or did that science “die” too??
Check out some past postings here concerning a 16 year study that pretty clearly pointed out the impact that the wolves have on the overall number of calves in areas where they are more active.
Interesting facts for hunters who care about elk numbers:
Number of Idaho State AUMs (animal unit months) leased for public lands grazing: 225,000 AUMs annually
BLM + Federal AUMS in Idaho for public lands grazing: 1,800,000 AUMs annually
Total Public Lands AUMs leased for livestock grazing in Idaho (S+F): 2,025,000
Now, the USDA NRCS National Range & Pasture Handbook cites these relative numbers for AUM consumption:
Cow, dry = 0.92
Cow + calf = 1.00
Elk, mature = 0.60
Deer (m) mature = 0.20
Deer, (wt) mature= 0.15
So – an elk needs 6/10 of 1 AUM to survive for a month
crunching the numbers we find that in Idaho alone, the public lands forage being subsidized to cows could annually support:
281,250 elk or
843,750 mule deer or
1,125,000 WT deer or
various combinations depending on where you’re at —
this contrasted against the roughly 13,600,000 AUMs grazed on private land in Idaho (which we could put through the same model, but because these private lands aren’t supposed to be for all of us we’ll omit from elk/deer potential habitat calculations) demonstrates that public lands ranching in Idaho only contributes around 12% of the forage used in Idaho livestock operations (public or private)…
so – public lands ranching robs elk of forage which could sustain above numbers of wildlife – how many do wolves take?… (and keep in mind, wolves kill the weak, diseased, old leaving hunters with bigger stronger game with bigger stronger genes for the next generation of herds)…
elk hunters need to re-evaluate the forces squeezing out our wildlife – and if we authentically care about our kids having the same quality opportunities to spend with their fathers, grandfathers, mothers, etc. on the hunt, we need to be willing to face the facts rather than the red herrings out there.
This is just amazing. I made it into a post, go to the top of the blog. Webmaster
elkhunter – you’re right – i don’t eat hamburgers, i eat elkburgers… i don’t see myself ever going back to beef when you consider how lean and better elk is… gets me up the mountain much better
I have a hard time believing that you have hunted for over 40 years and you dont know what a limited-draw area is. That is where the state manages for trophy bulls, and trophy bucks. The units that everyone wants to hunt on. Not private ranches, or pen-raised elk. So if you have hunted for over 40 years and do not know that, it makes me wonder. Because every state in the west, including ID has multiple draw units. And yes hunters in UT, AZ and NM do harvest some of the biggest bulls every year. But they have been for over 10 years!! Why is that Jeff? Is it because on a whole more bulls are living to be 7-8 years old. Versus young rag-horns who dont know what they are doing. You need to research about the history of Elk. They used to be a plains animal. But as humans moved west they were forced to the mountains, to avoid what happened to the buffalo. And over time I am sure that over the next couple of decades they would adapt to the presence of dealing with wolves. As for now you can just hunt young rag-horns and cows and watch while wolves eat all the young calves. And as for hunting for horns, yes I do hunt for trophy animals. Why shoot a 2-point when I can kill a large deer. I dont do it for my masculinity, there you go again talking down on me. But for someone who has hunted for over 40 years does not even know some of the most basic things about hunting it makes me wonder, unless of course you are from the mid-eastern states that dont do that. Your right Jeff you should research how come UT, AZ, NM continues year after year to produce large mature healthy bulls each and every year. Would you not say that means that the herds in those states are very healthy? That there are more than adequate bulls to replace those taken? But of course what would I know, I just hunt for horns.
You have valid points. But at the same time your talking about wiping out an entire industry that generates millions of dollars each year and supplys alot of different things to many people. I agree I have seen people take advantage of public land grazing. But at the same time I think proposing to completley eliminate grazing on all public lands to encourage wolf populations is something that wont happen. Thats a battle you will lose everytime. But you do have some very valid points, anything that will help produce healthier stronger herds, which means bigger bulls for horn hunters like me I support.
You also have valid points. The cost of eliminating the wolves sometimes does out weigh the damages. But put yourself in a ranchers shoes. If wolves killed 3-4 of your young steers and it cost you a couple of thousand dollars. You would be the one to care alot at that point. When your financial stability is at risk. And I am sure wolves get blamed for predation they did not do. At the same time I bet they get away with some that are never discovered. I am just excited to get it over with. Each side needs to give a little and come to an agreement so that we can stop wasting so much time and money arguing and going to court over this. That money could go to much better use I would imagine.
“SO imagine if your a bull elk, bugling constantly. I am sure the wolves can hear that. Which gives away your location. Wolves show up, chase your cows and you around. Interrupting your breeding. At the same time your worried about chasing other bulls away. ”
perhaps they chase the cows away, i don’t even know they’d do much of that – but i have reservations about the number of big bulls the wolves take or chase — and in my experience it takes a heck of a lot of noise & movement to chase a big ol’ stupid bull out of his rut (off his cow or other bulls) — i have serious doubts a wolf could take a bull’s mind away when they’re there.
Since you opened this dance I’ll give it one more whirl before I’m done with you.
“It’s obvious that you don’t hunt”
Who is making assumptions about who here?
“I have a hard time believing that you have hunted for over 40 years and you don’t know what a limited draw hunt is”
Where in this thread has there been any conversation about draw hunts, limited or , otherwise. Again who is making assumptions about who here? Again if you read closely what I said, it was that I suspect that a large % of trophy bulls in those states came from other than public land unguided hunts based on hunting programs I have seen but would have to look into it more.
“You need to research about the history of elk…………………forced to the mountains, to avoid what happened to the buffalo.”
Elk were plains animals and also had large populations in the lands east of the Mississippi. There are now small re-introduced populations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, and other states.(imagine that, reintroducing a species). I’m a little confused by what you mean by the last part of the above quote. Are you implying that the elk all got together and made a sentient decision to flee to the mountains to avoid what happened to the bison? Curious.
“I don”t do it for my masculinity”
I was making a comment about my comfort level with my masculinity. I really don’t care about yours or lack thereof. Why are you so defensive about it anyway?
“But for some one that has hunted ………………does not know even basic things about hunting….” Again who is making assumptions about who and what basic things do you assume I don’t know about hunting??
“……unless you are from the mid-eastern states where they don’t do that” I’m not, but what if I was. And what don’t they do in the mid-eastern states as opposed to any where else. Are you serious. As for how other states manage there elk herds, apparently, according to you a significant amount of that management is to produce animals with large racks so that those who measure their hunting experience by that standard will be able to do that. If that’s what fills your sail, have fun. I wonder how much organizations such as Sportsmen for (some) Fish and (some) Wildlife influence that management model in those states.
“and in my experience it takes a heck of a lot of noise & movement to chase a big ol’ stupid bull out of his rut (off his cow or other bulls) ”
I would guess, from this little quote, that the “experience” you talk about is quite limited. One “sniff” of something out of the ordinary will chase that “big ol’ stupid bull” clear into the next county — with his cows. It seems that you haven’t been able to observe that much of the behavior of an elk in his natural habitat. Maybe you should get into the woods more often.
It’s amazing to me that – as elkhunter has figured out pretty quickly – some of the people here that profess to have the greatest amount of knowledge – seem to be the most naive.
Maybe you should go get some of that “anecdotal” data that seems to get pooh poohed here so much. Especially when it disagrees with the “wolves are God” science of the day!!
we’ll have to agree to disagree layton – i’ve enjoyed the splendor of elk bugling/rutting on several ocassions – and while they still move, i’ve been able to get markedly closer to the animals in rut – hell, we’ve driven right up to one in the middle of the road – perhaps you’re right – it may be anecdotal – but my anecdotal seemed to conflict with elkhunter’s theory that wolves destroy the rut enough to significantly lower elk populations…
Folks need to remember that wolves really do go after what looks like the easiest prey to them in the area. Sometimes that is a big bull elk right after the rut. Sometimes it is an old cow, sometimes it is a calf. At times it is a prime animal that was perhaps just stupid.
Every winter in Yellowstone, the pattern of wolf take has been a bit different. Very detailed statistics have been gathered.
I suspect, however, that in Idaho and places where there is an elk and deer hunt, the wolves have it much easier than in Yellowstone, because they get gut piles and wounded animals at the most critical time of the year for wolf nutrition. Wolves will go for a fresh gut pile before they will chase down prey.
That may be why we keep finding these Idaho wolves over ten years old, while it is rare for a Yellowstone wolf to reach eight years.
Human hunters and wolves are partially complementary to each other. I wish human hunters would see it, and, of course, wolves are probably not capable of abstract thought.
I’ve been wondering how opportunistic wolves may be? How often do wolves eat road kills (someone mentioned this at the hearing in Boise)? Are there any areas where road kills may form some significant part of the diet? Or is being too close to roads a death warrant for wolves?
Wolves do eat road kills and they get hit doing it. The recent death of wolf B7M, the Idaho wolf who might have been over 14 years old, was a hit on a road kill.
Once again you dodge the issue at hand. You argue one point then change and try to make me out to be the bad guy cause I put words in your mouth or something. I am pretty sure you dont know much about hunting. And almost 95% of the bulls in UT are killed on public land. It seems that you try to use a bunch of cliche’s to prove some point you have. You stated your reasons for your way of thinking and I explained why I thought they were wrong. Of course you have no solid evidence to back up your way of thinking, just your opinion. But I do stick to my conclusion that someone who supposedly has hunted for 40 years, you truly know very little.
It does not take much to make a “stupid ole bull” to leave with his cows. Elk are smart. They see trucks every day on the mountain and yes they will rut while trucks are in view. Next time your up there go try sneaking in to about 50-80 yards fromn that “stupid ole bull” and see what he does. He will proceed to gather up his cows and leave to the next county. I have hunted elk for years, and its very hard. I find your way of thinking hard to believe that a bull would just stare at a pack of wolves while they drag down him and his cows. I just dont see that happening. But I have only hunted elk for 15 years so I probably dont know what I am talking about.
Watching elk from 300 yards a way with some optics, which is what you might mean by close. I know you probably think I am just some dumb hunter, but when we are not hunting elk in the rut I limit my interaction with them so as to not disturb what they are doin. It does effect the health of the herd, but you are pro-wolf so there is not alot of things that I could say that you agree with.
elkhunter – you’ve hunted longer than i have, so i’ll tip my hat. i got worked up a bit, so here’s my basic point:
there’s a reason bow season is more during the rut – bugling ’em in right? – granted, wolves don’t bugle – but as you mentioned, bulls have been buglin less – that doesn’t mean they’re not with their cows – maybe less likely to square off with a younger bull – but the bulls and cows are going to find eachother – the younger one’s might have it tougher – you’re right, elk are pretty keen when they’re rutting – heightened senses etc… but if a wolf is going to take a bull, it’s probably going to be late rut, when the bull’s had a chance with his cows and getting pretty tired with all that and the onset of gunshots. early rut – you’re probably going to see a bull pushing his cows out earlier etc. to a much larger degree and if anything the herds’ll stick close – not abandone them. and remember, wolves like the loners. i’ve even talked to a hunter who claims the herds are bigger (maybe fewer – but bigger) because elk are smart and the bulls are more cautious with their herds. so you’re probably right – the rut has been different – but later is pretty speculative – regardless – not everyone’s gunna get their animal – more than ever did last year – but the one’s that didn’t seem to like that wolf excuse.
you’re right – i’m pro-wolf – that hasn’t changed the fact that my family eats well – course, my family’s stupid – my brother’s usually hiked out to the horses and we’re packing long-distance.
I understand what your sayin, and they are very valid points. I just get a little bugged when people want to say that predators, not just wolves, have no effect on wild-game. Because I have seen if happening here for years. The decline in quality game. People like Jeff E. are different and they just wanna go out and shoot the first thing they see. I enjoy the challenge of hunting a mature animal so thats what I do. The bugle is a huge part of the rut, thats why they do it, they do it to impress cows, show dominance, warn other bulls of how dominant they are. Its communication, and they do it for a reason. Try not talking to your husband for a week. You would not be near as effective. But that is not the point I am making. It just bugs me when pro-wolf people say that wolves have absolutely no effect on big-game in any way shape or form. And I just have a hard time believing that.
Stay out of Idaho if you dont like our wolves, Idaho has more then enough outsiders from other states already; support your cattle farmers by buying more beef at your local grocery store, thats what they are there for; and get a new hobby (maybe one of those violent ones from Nintendo?) if you think killing an Elk/Bear/Wolf with a gun makes you more of a man.