Only one wolf illegally shot in the recent Wisconsin deer hunt
Department of Natural Resources says only one wolf shot during deer hunt. By Robert Imrie. Associated Press writer in the Appleton Post-Crescent.
It wasn’t even a wolf; it was a hybrid.
It is true the wolves are much better accepted in the Great Lakes States than in Idaho, Montana or Wyoming.
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.
8 Responses to Only one wolf illegally shot in the recent Wisconsin deer hunt
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In view of the discussion that we have recently had about the local populations where there are wolf population being tempted to take matters in their own hands here in Idaho, I think some of the comments in the story are quite interesting.
“One wolf was shot during this fall’s deer hunt, far fewer than last year and evidence that removing federal protections for the animal has eased some landowners’ frustrations, the state’s wolf management coordinator said Thursday. ”
“Adrian Wydeven, the agency’s wolf expert, said the dramatic drop-off this fall was probably due to federal officials’ March decision to remove the gray wolf from endangered lists in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
That decision handed over management of the population to state and tribal governments, which authorized the killing of 41 wolves by government agents or landowners, he said.
Landowners who have had chronic problems with wolves over the past few years are very pleased there is now a more flexible system in place for getting rid of them, Wydeven said Thursday.”
Could this REALLY be true??
I think you you are probably right that delisting would reduce the illegal mortality, maybe even a lot.
However, the Idaho wolf plan is so over the top, that I’d say that putting up with illegal mortality is much the lesser evil compared to the Idaho wolf population management plan.
As most of us know, the wolves of Wisconsin were not introduced by the feds. They naturally migrated down from Minnesota. I am from the midwest but now have been living in AZ for 11 years. The reason I say this is because, being from the midwest and following all things wolf, Wisconsin probably always had a few wolves and Minnesota had a few thousand. It was accepted (by most) that the wolves of MN were eventually going to migrate to WI on there own and the good folks of WI weren’t caught off guard when wolves finally began popping up in substantial numbers. Also ranching is not a way of life in the upper midwest. Dairy farming is common but the sacred cow does not roam/rule the range. My point (do I have one?, yes.) is I agree w/ Ralph that illegal killings in ID are probably a safer bet for the wolves because Idaho and Wyoming have been drooling for delisting since 1995 because these “Canadian” wolves (damn illegals) were shoved down their throats and now it’s time for the blood bath to commence. The same kind of mentality, although in my opinion, much more hateful, is taking place with the Mexican Gray Wolf in AZ and NM. And a little bird told me that as of 12/26/07 the population of Lobos will show a decrease from 2006 to 2007 unless a bunch of uncollared wolves show up in the final flight tracking surveys. Sad.
I guess another side of the question that I would like to ask is if folks here really believe that the “blood bath” that is being made such a big thing of is actually going to happen.
Are wolves in Idaho (or in the Northwest) really that much “dumber” than wolves seem to be elsewhere? They are hunted in Canada — I’m not sure how heavily but I think fairly extensively. Alaska has a liberal limit and even some aerial gunning and the wolf population is still high enough to cause some folks to point out that moose depredation is a problem. How come they are all (or a major portion of them) going to succumb to hunters bullets here??
My personal opinion is that when they hear the rifles go off the first few times and they figure out they are the target, they are going to be a LOT harder to find. As the “for” crowd frequently points out, they are anything but stupid.
You might be right, and in my comments to the Commission I suggested there were a lot of things they don’t know and I don’t know such as precisely that — how will hunted wolves react to their perception that there are people nearby? Also will “disrupted” wolf packs take to killing more, less, or the same amount of livestock? what percentage of wolves does it really take to rebound to the same number after one year? Will wolves be any less likely to attack hunting hounds? What is the actual demand for a wolf tag? What percentage of the tags will be filled? Will wounded wolves be dangerous?
Because these things are not known, I suggested they begin with experimental hunts where the area hunted is limited, the terrain varies, the wolves’ prey varies, the time of the time season varies.
My guess they will dismiss this out of hand, but that they are unwise if they do so.
I definitely have some nostalgia for wolves in Wisconsin. I lived on the shores of Lake Superior in Bayfield County for four winters and the first wolf that I ever saw in the wild ran across the road in front of my car. It was the only wolf I had seen in the wild until I moved to Montana. This year I saw wolves a dozen times in Yellowstone National Park!
There is wolf-hate in Wisconsin. It is just not as organized or virulent as it is in Wyoming or Idaho. The last year I was there one of the local wolf-haters had gone to the newspaper with a story about “being stalked by wolves”. What had happened is wolves had followed his dog (and by consequence him) when they were in the pack’s territory. Luckily the reporter he approached, who happened to be a friend of mine, came to me and to others and really looked into the issue. He didn’t quote me in the article since I suggested that there was a possible confict-of-interest with him going to a good friend as a source, but he did talk to several wolf biologists and when the article came out it was well-written and factual and analyzed the behavior –Wolves don’t like canines of any type in their territory. They were interested in the dog, not the man.
I think the average citizen of Wisconsin is less taken in by the anti-wolf hysteria then the citizens of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. Part of it is simply cultural, as has been discussed above, but much of it is the really organized and government-supported (i.e. Butch Otter, Conrad Burns, etc) anti-wolf hysteria here in the Rocky Mountains.
Delisting in the Great Lakes area made sense. There is a sustainable and established wolf population across northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and the Upper Pennisula of Michigan. Delisting made sense because the management plans of these three states are going to support this population and keep it viable. Wyoming’s management plan is not going to support a sustainable population and delisting should not take place as long as wolves have a designation as “predators” in the state and can be killed by any means. Idaho’s plan is also written to quickly and drastically reduce the wolf population. Until these things are changed, I do not support delisting.
At first, I was very skeptical of the delisting of the Great lakes population segment. In many ways, it seemed to be premature. There were a lot of “what if?” questions in the community. Questions like: will wolves be allowed to populate the lower peninsula, or will the wolf population grow too large for hand-off management?
As with the western population segment, the prospects of maintaining a viable wolf population in Wisconsin and Michigan were doubtful. The toll taken by illegal and depredation killing appeared to be getting worse, not better, as delisting approached. It appeared as though the anti crowd were just chomping at their bits waiting until it was “open season” on wolves after delisting.
Thankfully, that doomsday scenario has not played out, yet. There wasn’t a bloodbath just after delisting. Credit for this must be given to the interaction of the state, feds, and citizen action groups that pulled together feasible state management plans. The plans were not dominated by any one entity. Although they are less than perfect, they do ensure that wolves will continue to have viable populations. The state plans also address the concerns of all interested parties. As has been stated previously, the time and the situation seemed appropriate. I’m still crossing my fingers.
The “gun-em-down” state plans for the western population, on the other hand, are far more bleak. The science behind the Wyoming plan was edited out by the state natural resource board under the objection of the state’s own biologist and supplanted with very cow friendly language. Wyoming’s plan should never be considered a “management” plan at all; its more akin to an extermination plan. I haven’t read the other two state plans. There is no need – the plans need to operate as a three-legged stool. If one leg fails, the whole population will take a header.
We have our “Auntie Woofers” here, too. As in the west, they tend to focus on their “rights” to abuse any resource they see fit. Some are well placed in the community, like judges and local politicians, but most are lone nuts; they seem to be a more disconnected, fringe group instead of a major political force like in the west. However, they still need to be taken as a serious threat to the protection of our natural resources, especially our wolves.
Good luck to the western states’ management efforts; you’re gonna need it.
Wolfy – we’re up to the challenge. Wolves don’t rely much on luck and neither do we.