Open thread for discussion. Anything folks want to discuss
By Ralph Maughan On March 8, 2008 · 191 Comments · In Uncategorized
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.
191 Responses to Open thread for discussion. Anything folks want to discuss
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A couple really cool outdoor public land sites for anyone intrested:
The first one is:
Which is an excellent site with pictures and information on our national forests and wilderness.
The second is:
Which gives in-depth information on national parks – especially campgrounds.
I enjoy both of these.
Mighty cold this winter.
What are the chances that the rapid warming we’ve seen in recent years occurred so fast that it had no historical precedent? And that it happened so fast, that it so quickly lengthened growing seasons and so quickly melted permanent ice and snow fields that rapid vegetative growth in spring and fall and on newly melted ground quickly absorbed excess CO2 and plunged us into this cold cycle? Huh? What are the chances?
I understand that we burn and waste too much fossil fuel. The reasons for reducing waste seem obvious without using disputable global warming arguments. At least, that’s how it seems to me on this cold winter day.
I actually messed up on that response. The first link should be:
I always get them confused. Please delete this comment. Thx.
This is a cool story out of Alaska.
I’m interested in the connection between the recent arson committed by environmental terrorists near Seattle and the rhetoric of the human caused global warming fanatics and the politics of class envy within the environmental movement. The more you refer to Mcmansions and ridicule the rich and the more you villainize people because they don’t buy into human caused global warming the more you encourage this kind of behavior. I think we all need to step back and think before demonizing others for their choice of car, house, etc…
Thanks for speaking out on behalf of the oppressed who live in McMansions and drive gas guzzlers. That’s one group of people that needs all the help it can get.
Washington Fish and Wildlife worker seriously injured
This poor soul fell off a bluff into a canyon (30 ft) while putting up a fencing project so livestock could graze on this wildlife area ~ WWP’s been working on preventing stock being reintroduced into this Asotin Wildlife Area in Washington State. Government dime and labor to fence off dangerous wildlife habitat for a few private cows…
Monty, you should clarify your post. It seems to imply a strong connection between a fringe group committing crimes in the name of the environment, and those environmentalists like myself that would never advocate utilizing arson or terroristic threats to achieve goals.
Your post gives me the impression you are painting the environmentalists in the U.S. with a broad brush. Indeed, your broad brush seems to be dipped in the most extreme and unlawful fringe of the environmental movement.
Is that a tactic you use often? Associating typical environmentalists with law-breaking hoodlums seem to reek of the same weak-minded and harmful propaganda of the Bush administration. It has no place here.
I think it is possible you didn’t mean for your post to be interpreted as it seems to be written. Which is why I suggest you either clarify it, or flesh out what you are saying more comprehensively, so that you aren’t seeming to confuse the moderate and established environmental movement with law-breaking criminals acting on their own behalf.
Hey all. I was wondering if anyone could give me a link to a YNP map that shows commonly referred to land marks, such as Little America and Jasper’s Bench? I know there was a link mentioned once before.
Uberlander – Where are you that it is so cold?
Here in southwest Montana, we’ve had some pretty good snow for the first time since the winter of 96-97. It hasn’t been that cold, though.
Last really good cold spell I remember in Greater Yellowstone was, I think, in 1993. Snow on the 4th of July; -30F by Thanksgiving in a lot of places. A global cool-down in 1992-93 correlated nicely with the spread of atomspheric ash from the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo.
Otherwise, we’ve had warm, dry winters, and the hottest years on record.
I’m not sure I agree with your premise, then, that we’re in some kind of “cold cycle.” Maybe the “tip over” scenario you describe could happen, but I’m not seeing any “cold cycle” here.
Monte – crazy people do crazy things all the time, often in the name of some cause or another.
Who wants to claim responsibilty for OKC bomber Timothy McVeigh? Or Unabomber Ted Kaczynski? Or US military personnel who have murdered and raped Iraqi civillians? Should we blame their parents? Bad nutrition? Ideas they may have picked up in various places?
McVeigh’s atrocities seemed to have a clear link to ideas about limited government and resistance to tyranny. Should we blame Thomas Jefferson for the OKC bombing, then?
Next, we can blame “the politics of class envy” for bank robberies.
De riguer denunciation: I think the ELves are self-indulgent brats, ideological heirs to the Weather Underground. There may be some broader socio-cultural explanation for what they do, but it ultimately comes down to individual responsibility and choices — same as it did for the Unabomber, McVeigh, or anybody else.
BUT, Monte, what you seem to be leaning toward here is a discrediting of some valid criticisms of wasteful use of resources and economic inequality. That would be a “guilt by association” fallacy.
If, however, you and I could arrive at a mutually agreeable definition of “demonize,” I suspect that I would agree with much of what you wrote.
In this specific crime, though, the ELves were egregiously stupid and wrong — clustered green buildings, probably for folks who don’t need to do a daily commute — are comparatively benign. What a stupid, immature action, and a stupid target to lash out at.
There may be a better map, but Dan and Cindy Hartman have one on their website – scroll to the bottom of the page: http://wildlifealongtherockies.homestead.com/
I have a question reagdring BearWorld in Rexburg area.
Where do they get their animals?
I heard on the radio that they are bringin some bear cubs for picture taking during the Sportsman Show here in Utah in Sandy.
Are they breading the bears they have alrady in?
Does anyone know?
I am not sure waht to think.
I know that the bears and wolves in DiscoveryCenter in West yellowsone are fixed so they will not breed.
I dont’ feel good about breeding animals in captivity just for show.
And I dont’ want to assume they they are not so good for the animals.
Thanks for some help here.
The Associated press is reporting in a short, nonchalant, matter of fact article that more than 1,000 Yellowstone bison have now been slaughtered this winter, between the “hunt” and those captured and shipped. This is what? Like one fifth of the entire population? The purpose, the article says simply, is to protect cattle from brucellosis.
Where is the outrage? Is it that reporters don’t care, or are just incompetent and have no interest in investigating? Or is it simply that the American people are so apathetic? No matter what happens, with the exception of a few worthless stories like this, it seems that this essentially remains a local story. I ask friends and relatives in other parts of the country, and they have no idea what’s going on here. Not with the bison. Not with the wolves. Where’s the expos’e on 60 Minutes or the evening news or Scorched Earth or somewhere? Didn’t this raise a much bigger stink back in ’97 (the last time they slaughtered so many)? Meantime, I just got back from the park and saw many big bull bison so skinny they can hardly stand, heading down toward the North Gate. Several more were desperately trying to eat what is left of the grass at the Gardiner School. I am sure that these animals are doomed as well. Cruel and inhumane to deny these animals Winter habitat. Then I drove home past that dinky little CUT herd of cattle, contentedly grazing along the Yellowstone River.
Most environmental issues receive little public attention and/or concern. The Bison predicament is no exception.
The truth is that for the typical American, there are many things today that are affecting their daily life and their families. Rising energy prices, rising food prices, health care costs spiraling out of control, immigration, national elections, stock market tumbling, stagnant wages, real estate worries, the Iraq war, a looming confrontation with Iran, drug abuse among their children, the state of their children’s education, the erosion of civil liberties, the dollar is at record lows, political corruption……..and the list could go on.
The American people are suffering from sensory over-load. There are many things on the immediate horizon that are causing fear and anxiety; is it any wonder then that some bison in Yellowstone aren’t capturing the people’s attention?
The world has reached a state of almost perpetual crisis, it seems like at times. And the more that becomes the reality, as it is increasingly doing so, environmental concerns will shrink ever further from the public’s priorities.
This is already occurring. The environment doesn’t even register on some polls of what Americans think are the most important issues facing America anymore. Why are national recycling rates declining? Aluminum recycling was 68% in 1992, today it is 52%. There are many examples of this.
But this post is long enough, and I trust I made my point.
the recent killing of a protected hawk by a pro golfer adn teh response of his fellow golfers pretty much sums up why there is nothing done,, except for the fact that a semi celeb did the killing, you would never have heard of it,,
“PGA Tour players didn’t seem too shaken.
“It’s a bad break for the bird, but it sounds like there are a lot of other things people should be worried about,” Mark Calcavecchia said.
“He probably just didn’t think. He didn’t think, ‘If I actually hit the bird, what happens?”‘ Lee Janzen said. “A girl from North Carolina got murdered yesterday and there’s no suspect. That’s a lot more important. If it could have nicked him, scared him off, we’d never have heard of this. Unfortunately, the bird got hit.””
Weeeellll, since you asked.
I’d like to know what the excuse is for the wolves in this episode.
No doubt somehow the people had no right to be in the area where the wolves were — or is it just an out and out lie??
I spent over a month in Yellowstone last fall and was very concerned with the overgrazing by Bison. All of the meadows and hillsides were obviously being damaged by the large numbers of Bison.
Starving Bison are heading out of Yellowstone because they are out of food. The over- population of Yellowstone Bison is damaging the environment and will limit the number of elk that survive this winter. Two hundred years ago, there were two legged hunters in Yellowstone keeping the Bison numbers in balance with their food supply. Yellowstone is still missing those predators. Perhaps we should “reintroduce” them.
Interesting read Layton………Sounds like the hungry wolves had kids on the mind but had to settle for a little cannibal action….good pics of a couple good wolves!!!!!
Mike Fergueson of Bear World is importing three new bears from South Dakota I hear.
Layton I looked at that . . what did you mean by is it a lie? The whole story? Do kids on a slide, probably screaming in fun and going fast resemble prey running away? The wolves might have been assessing them for a meal but does that mean the kids would have been attacked? It is probably too risky to wait and find out. The dog was probably an unexpected thing for the wolves and so were the excited yelling, running people. What a mess. The wolves probably hung out after that to see why all those people were hurt because they probably sounded hurt. People have so little understanding of the views of a wild animal who knows. . we just assume we know. I don’t claim to know what the wolves were thinking but it is pretty obvious the people weren’t thinking and they are pretty unpredictable from an animals point of view. . looking so powerful but acting so scared and frenzied. There is always this huge assumption on the part of humans that any wild animal they see is ready to eat them. Yet, in Africa, in Alaska and everywhere large predators exist the other animals don’t go running, screaming and shooting anything they see on sight.
Larry – Perhaps we should reintroduce bison to the national forest lands too.
instead of human hunters in Yellowstone to control bison, why not just cut back elk permits allowed to the 2 legged kind of predator that would cut the number of elk that are killled and they would have less pressure to go out of hte park,, that would seem a better way to sustain elk as opposed to have the arrogant need to kill bison so more elk can survive,, why would you see a need to hunt in YS with all the forest and lands that surround that you can hunt elk,,,,,I saw some the carcasses the indians are leaving behind the other day up on jardine road, there freezers must be full!!!!! they are only cutting the head, the hide and the back strap,, what a waste of such a beast,,,so much for use the whole animal,,OR as Mike says, let the bison out to feed on more of there native grounds,, interesting the first solution to the bison is kill them for more elk for more of us to kill them to,, kill kill kill,,
Bison don’t leave the park because the are starving. They leave because, like every other migratory animal, they move where food is more readily available during each season.
Also, please keep in mind that much of the lands where cattle are being”protected”, at the expenses of bison, …are public lands. There is more room for bison, ranchers just need to move over so that bison can utilize the land as well.
Elk survived along side bison for hundreds of years. Having a lot of bison is of minimal consequence to elk. I was recently told , bison, unlike cattle, have a positive effect on the ground where their hooves tread. The bison hoof will actually turn the soil, allowing for their manure to be tilled into the dirt. This allows for the soil to become more fertile. Cattle, on the other hand, trample the dirt down, without turning it, and cause the dirt to be packed. Therefore it is harder for plants to reseed. I got this info from a former cattleman who now ranches bison.
The carcasses that have been noted, though sadly misused, won’t go to complete waste. There are other species who will use the meat. It would be better if the meat was obtained and used entirely. There used to be a group in Colorado called Hunters Agains Hunger. They donated the meat that they weren’t using to homeless shelters and food banks.
I was recently told by a friend of mine in Estes Park, Colorado that moose have been in the area. Estes Park borders Rocky Mountain National Park, on it’s eastern side. The moose that had been there were relocated.
The fact that the moose made it to Estes Park is not suprising. Moose are known to be in Rocky Mountain National Park, and the North Park area, more to the west and north of Estes.
I am wondering why the would be relocating the moose that have made their way there?
I also talked with the friend for a while about wolves being in the area. He was unaware that there had been a sighting in RMNP. But he said that his worry would be the reaction of the “Old Timers”, who had moved to Estes Park to retire, and play golf. What reaction would they have the first time their poodle was eaten by a wolf?
I told him that would more likely happen due to cougars or coyotes. He agreed, but still feels that there would be wolf hyteria, and that Colorado cattlemen would feed that.
He did agree though, that Estes Park, being a tourist driven economy, would benefit from wildlife watching.
When we talked about how people would react when they start having the elk shot(culled according to the park service). He said there hasn’t been much press or talk about it. He told me that people there don’t seem concerned.
I am thinking that some groups should be protesting the prcess. Does anyone know if any organizations will be planning any protests?
Hey Layton, First paragraph. DOG!
Thanks for the link. I will pass the website info along, maybe help out the owner’s.
I know of one group that is filing suit against the Park in order to stop the slated sharpshooter action. Apparently the Park wishes to reduce the elk herd by using sharpshooters. Hunter groups want to have that privelege, but group Sinapu/WildEarth Guardians is planning a suit to stop the sharpshooting in favor of wolf reintroduction. I hope they are successful. We’ll see.
here is a link to a first edition copy of young and goldman’s book “The Wolves of North America” for sale. Might make a good door prize for a fund raising effort.
Monte……to my knowledge,”the environmental terrorists”, and I assume you mean the ELF, have not been found guilty of the arsons. Let’s keep an open mind.
try that again link again. I did not do good the first time.
No one is making any excuses for wild wolves who act like wild wolves. They were probably in the act of predation. The kids appeared to them as prey. All the more reason parents should be VERY careful when in areas that are known to contain large predators. But this does not warrant the all out hatred of wolves that exists. All wild animals of capable of killing or injuring people. Notably, mountain lions have killed several kids in recent years. We do not have an all war against them. There was even a woman jogger stalked and attacked by a buck in Virginia a few years ago. We do not use this as an excuse to rid the Appalacian Mountains of deer do we? Common sense should apply. Of course wolves have the potential of causing harm to humans or otherwise getting into trouble. But this should not deny their right to exist in areas where their presence is beneficial to the exosystem. Humans are the ones who are supposed to have superior intellect. They should be the ones to figure out how to co-exist with nature.
edit- last comment, lines 7 and 8 should say all OUT war against mountain lions. I should proof read before submitting.
I think this might be the map you are looking for.
I just clicked on the park camping link in the first post and it gave me a VIRUS WARNING!
Do not go to http://www.parkcamper.com/ !
Just thought folks would like to know.
Thanks so much. That was the one I remembered. The one Matt linked was great too.
That is what makes this sight unique. There is an over whelming sense of cooperation. No other sight that I am aware of will boast populations of people who vary so greatly, and still seek to find solutions. No to mention, these people are helpful to anyone who could be inspired to love nature. It is pretty unique.
Do take note that at the end of the post “Rock Doctor” mentions that both the wolves were very skinny, and were eager to take the opportunity to feast on their former pack mate’s flesh. I think this is an important piece to this particular puzzle.
Can anyone give me any info on spotting scopes? I am looking for something decent that won’t break the bank. Thanks for any insight.
Ralph are the bears out of hibernation in yellowstone yet? Also i heard they are doing some work on wolverines in yellowstone what is going on there?
Also, why do you enviromentalists hate hunters so much? This year in utah when the deer were starving it was the hunters that were spending there money and there time going out in the cold and feeding the deer. It is obvious that we care more about the animals than you.
And for all of you that are so worried about globnal warming please use your minds. If the ice fields were growing instead of shrinking you same people would be freaking out that the world is going to freeze over. The ice has been melting ever since the ice age so calm down and stop the paranoia, everything is going to be all right. Nothing stays the same forever, MY GOODNESS!!!!
I definitely back Jim up on that. I’d love to get a spotting scope for wildlife viewing, but certainly don’t have a bunch of extra money for that purpose.
Jim and Trent,
go on http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/category/9810/Cameras_Photo_Gear.html
Iget allmy camera stuff from them. Swarowksi stuff is good but $$$..at least you have a great choice …
Try going to http://www.yellowstone-bearman.com, and follow his links. He gives some info there on spotting scopes. Also, the best time of year to shop sales is july/august. That’s when they start the big hunting sales.
You could also try buying a used one. Look under the hunting and camping supplies section of the classified ads, or even at pawn shops.
And remember that with a scope you have limited use, due to the length of time it takes, and stability to focus. A good pair of binoculars is invaluable when you spot wildlife on the move… they are so much easier to use. Now they have really powerful binocs too.
I got an Alpen 788 and I have been pretty happy with it. I dropped it once and broke a piece inside and instead of repairing it they sent me a new and better scope. I guess the previous model had been upgraded and they didn’t stock it anymore. I thought that was pretty cool. It’s no Swarovski but I have put it side by side with my parent’s Swarovski and I could tell very little difference.
Would somebody with a little more time and patience please respond to grizzfriendandhunter. I’m not in the mood.
Thanks for all the scope info!
“The kids appeared to them as prey”
Catbestland….screaming kids being pulled behind a 4-wheeler (engine noise) sound like prey to a wolf……that is a scary thought….IF you are being serious
The bears normally come out around the beginning of May. There are always several areas closed thru mid month because they are coming out. I don’t remember the time span.
You can google for the wolverines. I did not see any updates this morning.
You wrote;”It is obvious we care more about the animals than you.”
It is obvious that you know absolutely naught about this web-site. I suggest you research before making assumptions about people you obviously know nothing about. You could refer to the archives, as that would be logical place to start.
However, it is my opinion that if you pose questions without insulting, someone else may care to answer.
If the wolves really were chasing those kids, they must have been really hungry as is later shown by the fact that one wolf cannibalized the other. So yes, I imagine the wolves were hoping to get a taste of kid. Why do YOU think they were chasing them?
The problem here is that those parents probably should not have had two and three year old kids and the dog, in known wolf habitat. Surely there are other areas in British Columbia with snow, more appropriate for sledding with the family. Having the dog along only sealed the deal that wolves would be attracted to the commotion.
I just went to http://www.parkcamper.com/ and there was no problem. Must be a false positive on your end since no one else mentioned it.
Nice photos BTW.
Small addition to the spotting scope questions: Many are preferring Zeiss scopes over Svarowski. I for myself invested in good binoculars instead, because you simply cannot take a scope along for a hike. The wolf watchers in YNP depend heavily on their scopes. Fine, as long as you are stationary. But did you ever watch the hassle when they change to a different location – gives you a lot of amusement? Ok, I admit they have the better view, so I´m just jealous! Do not forget to invest in a sturdy tripod – Yellowstone is a windy location! Have fun!
I don’t know what GRIZZFRIENDANDHUNTER stated previously. It must have been offensive, as I don’t see the post. Hopefully, they’ll read on, and see a different side of things.
Hey dbh, how is the research going? Have you made any progress? Shoot me an email.
As far as bears coming out, last year, there were a great number of them out in the park, by mid April, opening day last year on the 20th, there were several reports of bears all over the park, I personally seen 11 different bears on opening day..
it was a good bit warmer and a lot less snow last year, Concerned, we are hoping that it wont get so hot so quick this spring,,there were a lot of bears though,,
I am a hunter AND an environmentalist:
I know I must hate myself…LOL!!
I agree, I would like to see a nice long slow melt this spring, but I have already seen bear tracks, this year, within about a mile from my house, and we are in NW Montana, I don’t know if it is from a bear that didn’t hibernate this year, or if it is one that has come out early, we normally have a couple around here that don’t seem to stay in hibernation during the winter.
ii usually get reports from the first sighings in the lamar,,my biology contacts that worked in pelican are nt there this year,,so if yours are out sniffing around, the yellowstone bears must not be too far behind,, seems a lot of snow in YS, and lots of still frozen water, i dont kow what they will be coming out to eat,,,but i am sure there is a carcass out there for them to scrap over
I’ve been watching 4 wolves for the last hour here in Idaho. They are doing what wolves do best this time of day, SLEEPING! They didn’t even get up when 2 cow and 1 calf elk walked up to within 10 yards of them. So much for the idea of them being “vicious killers”. The elk seemed concerned at first but have been peacefully grazing just 50 yards away for quite some time.
First Idaho wolves of the year. Woohoo!
The 2007 IDFG wolf progress report is online.
Sure wished I could find some Idaho wolves to watch.
Chuck Says:”Sure wished I could find some Idaho wolves to watch.”
Chuck, be glad you’re not stuck here in the Midwest! Lots to see in Idaho besides wolves.
HERE WE GO AGAIN !!!!!!
The Horse Butte capture pen permit is up for renewal. Scoping document says for another 10 years. Since there are no longer any cows allowed on the peninsula, why do we need this pen? This needs to be stopped….any ideas?
dbaileyhill i view this website quite a bit i may not know alot about it but it just seems people are always bashing on hunters, that is my point of view. Thanks for the advice about the bears everyone. I know quite a bit about the bears in yellowstone and i know in recent years the males have been out in early march (way before may). I was just wondering if anyone had seen them this year yet.
i’ll give a response to your concern about criticism of hunters a shot ~
there may need to be a point of clarification involved with the “bashing on hunters”. i believe that you’ve confused hunters with what JB and I collaboratively decided to be “cabela queens” ~ as opposed to the more loose affiliation of “hunters”.
allow me to clarify the distinction, speaking for myself of course.
one group wanders into the wild in search of wildlife. the other group keeps to the road with the expectation that docile game should inevitably find the road – or that one drainage every year.
one group walks out of the wild with what may remain an unfilled tag but with in any event is an entirely fulfilling experience. the other group drives out of the hunt with an empty hood and a chip on the shoulder – a resentment for the wild.
one group relies on skill, experience, and a keen awareness of the landscape. the other relies on technological innovation and domestication.
one group’s reason for a hunt involves the wild. the other would cultivate the wild, destory it, to maximize “harvest”.
one respects, values, perhaps even admires the competition of predator species as contributing to a hunting experience (humility). the other resents, blames, and whines about predator species (ego).
despite the take of an animal, one’s euphoria is spurred by the experience of life while the other’s is pre-occupied with death.
lastly, the latter activity has become predominantly commercial, while the former’s remains anything but.
from my perspective, this is a more appropriate distinction to consider when folk on this forum are critical of the activity folk purport to be “hunting” than whether or not a person hunts or not. at least that’s how i look at it.
what do you think grizzfriendandhunter ? do you like to hunt on the wild’s terms ? or do you think the hunt should be on ours ?
If your a hunter and you post on this blog, it don’t matter, you are the enemy, you ask questions that can’t be answered, so you are in for the wrath of the people…Just the way it is..
– – – – – – –
It looks like you posted at about the same time as Brian Ertz above. You might benefit from reading Ertz’s reply to Grizz, and I’m sure he will read yours.
I haven’t heard much criticism about hunters other than their hysteria about wolves and the misinformation that they perpetuate and believe about them. The other criticism that seems to be common, and I think justified here is about “canned” hunting where hunters pay for the “experience” of shooting an elk that lives in a pen.
My biggest criticism about hunting has more to do with outfitters and their undue influence on how wildlife is managed. I think they are biased with regard to predators and in most of my interactions with them there seems to be many with a lack of ethics.
You said: “This year in utah when the deer were starving it was the hunters that were spending there money and there time going out in the cold and feeding the deer. It is obvious that we care more about the animals than you.”
I don’t particularly see the feeding of deer to be the best way to help wildlife. It helps in the short term but in the long term I think that habitat improvement or protection would be better (hunters do this but so do “environmentalists”) and is not a replacement for this. Feeding of wildlife has all sorts of unintended consequences such as disease and overpopulation concerns. Overpopulation can impact habitat and diversity of other species.
I think that you are wrong about how you may care about animals more than “environmentalists” because “environmentalists” actually care about the whole system not just the few economically important species that hunters care about. When you feed deer you are impacting other things that you may not intend or even know about. It’s not as simple as you would like to make it out to be. There are fluctuations in populations which are natural and hunters don’t like it when there aren’t “stable” populations because they can’t go out and get that deer every year. If there are high populations of one particular species every year that doesn’t mean that the system is healthy it just means that the deer population is healthy. Balance means that there should be fluctuations not just static populations.
I’m reminded of something that our good friend Michael Savage the talk show host posited one day while I could stomach him. He maintained that the environment was healthy because there were a lot of bears. Well, maybe but bears are very adaptable to humans and they eat GARBAGE. That doesn’t say much for the species that are on the brink and don’t do well with human disturbance. It’s like saying that the environment is healthy because of all of the purple flowers also known as spotted knapweed.
Brian and Buffaloed,
Well said, thank you, and ditto.
Grizzfriendandhunter and Save bears,
I don’t think is an antihunting site at all. I have been posting here for over a year, and I have never been critisized for being a hunter.
Quite the contrary actually, Ralph has even posted about the good that comes from revenue provided by hunting and fishing licenses and organizations.
I think everyone here knows that a good chunk of money spent on conservation and habitat preservation (which is every environmentalist’s crown jewel), is provided by hunting/fishing groups.
I have often been out spoken here about the need for management of species populations. I have also stated that hunting cats with dogs, buffalo in fenced areas, elk in large pens, and animals with computers is not hunting. It is slaughtering, the same way cattle are slaughtered.
Please also know that I don’t think management of bears and wolves by hunting is warranted YET. But I personally believe that is is an inevitable necessity.
If you hunt, and you conserve…
If you leave no trace…
If you vote so that lands can remain unraped by oil industries…
If you fish with non-leaded tackle and barbless hooks…
If you advocate for preserving species by balancing the economy…
You will get some feed back, but not one of the regulars here will bash you. They will offer another view. The will offer potential solutions. Some times, they may get emotional…. but they are always open to ideas, looking at facts, and weighing the other side’s legitimate concerns.
Heck, we disagree here sometimes, but we all recognize a common goal, saving our environment and the wild species that remain in it.
Welcome, and please, by all means, feel free to exxpress yourself. (Try not to do any insulting, that is the one big no-no)
I am a big game hunter and one has ever given me a hard time here on this site, I am not a trophy hunter, I only hunt to put meat on the table for my family. I would never even consider shooting a wolf. I even fish too, most of the time its catch and release fishing. I enjoy watching animals and taking pictures of them too.
I think there are a few on this site who oppose hunting outright, but they are by far in the minority. Although I am a firm supporter of hunting, I’m glad these folks (who oppose hunting) are here, and I’m even glad we have a few “Cabela queens” that post from time to time. Their perspectives may differ, but honest and courteous discourse on these topics is hard to come by. I visit this site because it is (bar none) the best source for wildlife news and the best place to get this kind of discourse–and frankly, this site wouldn’t be very interesting if we all agreed on everything. So by all means, please offer your perspective! Just be prepared to defend it, as we tend to disagree on things around here from time to time. 😉
Brian Ertz….have you read Dave Petersen’s books or what ??
What a great reply!!
Yep, hunters are OK here —- sometimes.
BUT bear in mind that it’s really easy to become a “Cabela’s Queen”. All you have to do is talk negatively about the affects of predators on animals in your neck of the woods.
Never mind that you might KNOW something. Something that you have learned from observing, spending time in the area of which you speak, etc. You must realize that talking about that or referencing it in any way that can be construed to be against free reign for the predator in question is putting you in position to be referred to as a big bellied, motel dwelling, beer swilling, redneck or, maybe now the term has just been shortened to Cabela’s Queen — at least by a certain percentage of the folks that spend the majority of their time here.
Also bear in mind that — if a pack of Canis Lupi move into an area where you want to go, any area — doesn’t matter if you -and your family and acquaintances – have been going there for 100 years — you no longer have a right to be there, the wolves reign supreme. Look at the responses to a query I posed earlier on this thread for confirmation of this.
But, go ahead and hang around — cuz’, after all, hunters — if you follow ALL the rules — are OK here — most of the time — as long as you don’t vote republican and don’t own an ATV 8^)
Keep in mind that if you are a self-acknowledged wildlife biologist and expert geneticist such as Layton, your opinions will be held in the highest regard. Otherwise, you might be accused of spewing crap.
If anyone’s been recreating in an area for 100 years, they must be pretty old by now. And the key to the piece you referenced was the statement that DOGS were running around – wolves see dogs as competitors and kill them, or weren’t you aware of that?
Layton, what is a pack of Canis Lupi? Did you mean Canis lupus?
Even self-acknowledged wildlife biologists and expert geneticists such as yourself make a mistake, on rare occasion.
By the way, I hunt and fish and I think I’m welcome here.
Mack P. Bray
My opinions are my own
In all fairness, I can say that before coming to this site, I was fanatically anti hunter. It has been because of the postings of hunters that are also conservationist that I have begun to see that hunters can be both. I have learned a great deal from the participants on both sides of the issue. I have formed a new respect for hunters that actively work to secure habitat for ALL wildlife. I have learned that some hunters acutally respect and admire the wolf (and other predators) for it’s role in keeping game herds healthy and that they (the hunters) might actually learn something from them. I must admit that I still have little regard for those participating in “canned hunts” or who hunt only for the trophy. But it is because of this site that I have come to a more accurate knowledge of the beneficial role played by the hunter who is also an environmentalist.
Hey Mr. Brays like an ass,
Thanx for the reply, you confirm everything I said.
Can’t you even loosen up your hat a LITTLE BIT once in awhile?
If you READ the article — it said the dog was on the hill OVERLOOKING where the kids were — the DOG attacked the WOLVES — evidently to PROTECT the kids.
Yes, I understand the difference between “lupus and lupi”
Do YOU understand the difference between serious and JOKE?? You went after it like a duck after a june bug!! (Just a little levity from someone that you would – no doubt – consider a redneck!! Sheesh!!
We really need to go have a beer sometime — I need an example of “greenus horribleus” to point out to my redneck buddies.
When did B.C. not have wolves? Who said that the people in the incident shouldn’t have been there (you made the assumption that we would but we never did)? Were the people in danger or were the wolves interested in their dog? You weren’t there and I wasn’t there and I don’t know if there could have been misinterpretation by the observers of the incident. That being said, there seems to be a common theme among these kinds of stories and that is there is usually a dog or wolves that have been habituated to people through food. I’m not saying that they misinterpreted the situation but I am not ruling it out either.
Why don’t you put up a story about someone being attacked by a deer? It happens regularly too, but people dwell on wolves or other critters with sharp teeth. If you put things in perspective you would have consider that the most dangerous animal on earth, to people other than people, is a mosquito, not a wolf or a grizzly or a moose or a buffalo or a deer. Why is it that people dwell on these rare instances with wolves? If you ask me it’s mass hysteria.
Shit happens Layton, it’s called wildlife and wilderness for a reason. Are you afraid of it? Does everything have to be “managed” for you to be happy? Should all risks be eliminated because something might happen? Seems like insecurity to me.
I’ve spoken to people who have crawled into dens with the mother hanging out howling and barking behind them. I’ve spoken to people who have put collars on wolves with other wolves barking at them in an attempt to scare them away from the immobilized wolf. I’ve stood, unarmed, 15 yards away from a wolf in the dark on a few occasions. NOTHING HAPPENED TO THEM OR ME! It seems to me that just because people come into close contact with wolves and they are acting aggressively doesn’t necessarily mean that they are in danger. It pays to be careful and I don’t fault the people in the incident for killing the wolves out of fear but if I were in the same circumstance I wouldn’t have done it.
It seems that people have their pre-formed opinion about wolves but when shown that their perception is false they have to attack the person who tells them otherwise.
Have wolves attacked people? Yes. Did the wolves attack the people in the mentioned incident? No. Do I think that it is something that should scare me? No.
I think Layton is referring to the statement that I made when I suggested that the parents of the 2 and 3 year old toddlers could possibly have chosen a more suitable spot for sledding activity other than known wolf country. And I stand by that. I compare it to taking children into shark infested waters because you believe that you have the right to do so. How smart is that? You may have the right, but you can expect some unpleasant encounters. Apparently the parents knew there was a possibility of an “unpleasant encounter” evidenced by the fact that they brought their guns.
Come on folks – Can’t we get anyone around here to start expressing their true feelings?
What about global warming, Iraq, healthy care, dog fighting, dogs not fighting, the Hilton girls? All these things are important and you MUST have an opinion so let’s hear it.
And Ralph, guess you’re feeling pretty smug for having opened Miss Pandora’s box 🙂
Aint life great?!
That sounds reasonable to me. This does seem like an unusual circumstance though. I would never have expected wolves to approach me if I were using an ATV (I actually own one but only for plowing).
Layton and Mack,
I know we all don’t necessarily like each other but the name calling and deep sarcasm isn’t necessary. I think it should stop here because not everyone understands the context of our past disagreements and I think it just looks childish. I have said some things in the past out of emotion that I regret but I don’t think it really helps the discussion.
I’m not trying to attack anyone. I just think that the discussion should not stoop to the Crossfire or Hannity and Colmes type of rhetoric.
– – – – –
Amen. Things are getting too heated on this thread and no warmth of knowledge is produced. Ralph Maughan
Cat – from my reading of the BC wolf story, it sounds like they were very close to some kind of remote jobsite, since they say, “We drag it down to the shop for the night, planning to skin it out in the morning.” They had a camp near a shop — I surmise they’ve got the whole family out at some remote jobsite, like for seismic exploration or logging. Just filling in details from little clues.
[Ok, I looked at the site again and yes, he is a mechanic for a “gas comp station,” which I take to mean a natural gas compression facility, and that the incident occurred at one of his work sites]
Also, the firearm he mentions — a Ruger 10/22 — is a small .22 caliber rimfire, suited for target shooting and small game. So I wouldn’t take its presence as evidence “that the parents knew there was a possibility of an ‘unpleasant encounter'”.
If I were going someplace where I thought I’d need protection against wolves, I’d bring my shotgun or my .308 (I don’t own a handgun).
When I think about all the places I’ve seen wolves around here (30-40 miles outside the west boundary of YNP), it strikes me that such an encounter could occur just about anywhere, although there are several places where it’s far more likely to see or encounter wolves.
Respectfully, then, I have to say it’s a little unfair to criticize the parents for taking the kids sledding where they did.
Wolf conservationists can’t have it both ways — to constantly emphasize that wolves pose negligble danger to people, but then if some kind of scary run-in occurs, say that the people shouldn’t have been doing what they were where they were.
To me, this BC incident definitely qualifies as a scary run-in.
If I started telling people around this valley that they shouldn’t take their kids and dogs out in places where they could encounter a wolf, I would basically be telling them to keep the kids indoors unless they were transporting them to a park in the middle of Bozeman.
First, I wasn’t aware that anyone had labeled you a “Cabela queen” nor have I ever seen anyone refer to you as a “big bellied, motel dwelling, beer swilling, redneck”? You are totally exaggerating and distorting people’s perspectives. Many people, including myself, have expressed the view that the hunting of wolves is appropriate (though we disagree as to whether the populations have recovered enough). Others here have expressed the view that controlling predators to protect livestock is appropriate, though this view is definitely less popular. Certainly, people have gotten out of hand at times and it has degraded into name-calling (Mack Brays like an ass, comes to mind), but generally people are treated respectfully.
Layton said: “Weeeellll, since you asked. I’d like to know what the excuse is for the wolves in this episode…No doubt somehow the people had no right to be in the area where the wolves were — or is it just an out and out lie??”
I think people object more to your tone than the content of your remarks. You seem dead set on proving wolves are “bad,” all evidence to the contrary be damned. Wolves are large predators living in proximity to humans; of course they will get into trouble from time to time! They have attacked and killed people in the past. So have moose, cougars, deer, elk, bison, tigers, domestic dogs, etc. Why do you assume that people here need to make excuses for wolves acting like wolves?
In short, the tone of your comments is often inflammatory–which I suspect you know. Consequently, you shouldn’t be surprised when people get up in arms about it.
I appreciate you view on the incident. I do question how smart it is to take 2 and 3 year toddlers anyplace where a gun is potentially needed to protect them. Maybe this comes from being a mother.
With all due respect – and I mean that because you are NOT one of the folks I was referring to — the ONLY one of the terms that I used that I have NOT be referred to as , IS the “cabela’s queen”. I believe that, at one time or another, all of the others HAVE been used.
I constantly refer to wolves as being bad, because that is the way that I see them. I don’t live in a “little red riding hood” world, I live in the real one — where I hear of (and believe) and see the reality of the situation — and (IMHO) that reality is that the wolf situation is bad, and getting worse!
Sure, my side has the occasional Ron Gillette or that “saveourelk” idiot, but the other side has it’s own quota of people that would have you believe that wolves have family groups, go to church on Sunday and eat grass. (yes, exaggeration for emphasis) We both know that neither of these views is the truth.
Now we are coming around to the delisting process and I see the forces of the “other” side lining up to keep the mess in court for the next 15 or 20 years!! To me it’s frustrating as hell.
I guess that frustration just really rears it’s head when I see a situation like this one in BC described. Especially when people evidently have the view that wolves belong wherever they want to be and it’s people that have no right to be there —- anytime.
As to the dialog with Mr. BLAA.– well, all I can say is that I get tired of being constantly belittled and I do the same back. When he stops I will be MORE than willing to. I think it’s kind of stupid!
Naaa, I’ll stop anyway.
I actually know quite a few people in Montana that hunt Mt Lions with .22 and the Ruger 10/22 is one of the more popular models, in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, they can be quite effective. In fact it is the same weapon that my brother in law used to kill my sister and his self last summer..
That pretty much covers many areas of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, I know I have stepped out the back door at my house here several times over the years and ran into bears, Mt. Lions and we have had wolves within about 1/2 mile of the house…
I’m thinking that maybe 2 and 3 yr old toddlers are probably not old enough to appreciate a REAL wilderness experience and that maybe winter activities for them, should be restricted to somewhat safer areas. As children get older they are more receptive to the guidance if their parents. As I said I am probably looking at this from the viewpoint of an overprotective mother.
I am sure that my perspective would change, if my children were still small….but they are all grown up now, and have a pretty good understanding of what can happen, when they visit!
My son is grown as well, but I’m still overprotective especially where toddlers are concerned. I believe mothers never lose that completely. And maybe a little overprotectiveness isn’t a bad thing where the environment is concerned as well. I’m sorry to hear about your loss.
Concerned – I am very sorry to hear of the terrible loss inflicted on you. I hope you are healing.
Most of the cats that get whacked are 20′ up in a tree, bayed up by hounds — plenty of time to line up a lethal shot that does minimal damage to the trophy (insert obligatory denunciation/dissociation here). In a situation where I felt the need to stop a 100 lb canid, I want a little more powder.
I agree with what you say — with mountain lions on the edge of Missoula, moose coming right into Anaconda, and grizzlies in Choteau, Bigfork, and West, there’s very little of western Montana where you’d have zero risk of encountering a large carnivore.
One point I would like to bring up here, not all cat hunters are trophy hunters, I have a very good friend that does eat the cats he takes, he and his wife use the meat for consumption.
I have tried the meat, and it was not bad, but it was not my favorite, hence I don’t hunt cats, the only time I would kill a cat, is in self defence.
Thank you for your thoughts, SAP and Cat, I did not bring the point up for sympathy, but to illustrate a point that the .22 is an effective weapon..in both the right as well as the wrong hands..
Your point about the guns is well made an appreciated.
Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I understand that from your perspective, this must be a frustrating place to “hang out” at times. Just a couple things I want to comment on…
“Now we are coming around to the delisting process and I see the forces of the “other” side lining up to keep the mess in court for the next 15 or 20 years!! To me it’s frustrating as hell.”
As frustrating as this may be, recall that it took the “other” side longer than that to put them there. Wolves had been eliminated (at least in YNP) by 1930, and were originally listed in October of 1966 under the Endangered Species Preservation Act. Reintroduction occurred 29 years later after an extended court battle. Additionally, you might be surprised to learn that, on average, listed species spend 9 years awaiting final recovery plans. My point is that using the courts to delay undesired actions has been a hallmark of both pro and anti endangered species groups.
“I guess that frustration just really rears it’s head when… people evidently have the view that wolves belong wherever they want to be and it’s people that have no right to be there —- anytime.”
I agree, this view is unfair; it totally disregards the interests of people who live in wolf country. However, we also shouldn’t assume that wolves are necessarily incompatible with these interests. Unfortunately, there is so little trust on either side of this issue that both sides are totally reactionary; with the result being increasingly polarized views being expressed in the media. The end result is that people who have a stake in the wolf issue are falsely dichotomized into opposing groups (i.e. wolf-lovers, v. wolf-haters), when many of us represent a view that falls somewhere in between these extremes.
I am a mother. I actually took all of my children out into the wild from infancy. I even took them in tents in YNP, which some people critisized me for doing.
But, in my defense, I took them out because I grew up outdoors. I wanted to bring them up knowing this as a way of life. Could they have been eaten by wild animals, well yes. But I raise my kids to know nature and respect it, with all it’s risks and blessings. None of them is afraid to walk in the woods, or swim in a lake. None of them fears wildlife, though they respect it greatly.
I wouldn’t say that these parents were completely wrong for taking the kids into an area where they know that wolves were. I would just say that if they should have been precautious, and aware of thoe riks involved. Doing it was no different than having a swimming pool in your back yard, or playing baseball. Kids could drown, or get hit in the chest and die…. but do you want them in a bubble?
Before you get angry, keep in mind that I don’t recommend sitting your child in the path of a charging rhino, or letting them play alone in the woods where bears or wolves are. I just simply believe that you should be aware of the dangers your children face, at all times. Predators can walk upright on two legs, and your kids are more likely to be hurt by one of the human persuasion. So, be a good parent, and be aware. Don’t blame animals for being animals. Parents have an obligation to protect their children, I personally believe we do that best by educating them.
Maybe the parents should have chosen to leave. That would have obviously been the safest thing to do. But then again, the community of Wapiti has been televised with grizzly bears in the field near a school. Some communities in Alaska have put up huge fences to keep bears out, and adults constantly supervise the students when they are out doors. The children know to go into the building immediately when they see bears. Basically they are living with animals, taking precautions and learning to adapt their behavior, because you won’t adapt the animals’ behavior.
I apologize for all of the typos.
I have not read Dave Peterson’s book ~ though from the sounds of it, I’ll certainly look into it. It seems to me this topic of the de-wild-ing of hunting has not had the attention it deserves. thanks for the kind words and similar sentiment.
you were right on the mark about the hunting experience. i couldn’t agree more.
ditto to your sentiments. it’s strange how people constantly try to assign blame to feel more comfortable – or in control – of a world that is just not controllable.
i agree, the absolute and only thing we can ever control, is ourselves. some times we do that less than we should.
vicki said: “the absolute and only thing we can ever control, is ourselves. some times we do that less than we should.”
I’m not a religious person, but Amen.
Interesting thread. It is good to know there are so many different stances to draw from. I have always had respect for hunters. . that is until I became a tracker. Not all hunters are created equally I find. Just yesterday I came across big black plastic bags filled with elk parts dumped on a BLM road. Why? Why leave the stuff in plastic bags to make a mess. As the snow melts here I get to see the remains of last year’s camps. . the beer bottles, the wild turkey bottles, the piles of toliet paper and human scat along with the underware, the partial structures not completely removed and the fires where part of the garbage was burned. The boards in the trees for hanging animals and the rope still there with part of the skeleton, the deep ruts in the ground where someone got a 4×4 stuck and the tearing up of a hillside by an ATV used to cart out the carcass of an elk. The flagging tape littering the brush and spent shells and bullet casings.
I don’t find left overs from hikers. . the Pacific Crest Trail which comes through here is pristine, even where thru hikers normally camp. I don’t find stuff that a woman might use lefft in the woods either. That doesn’t obsolve them of course as I figure the men who litter and make a mess are created or allowed to exist by their mothers who have always picked up after them and later by a wife who does the same. These guys them think someone will pick up after them in the woods I guess. So, I know there are hunters who don’t do these things and to them I am thankful and sorry that ultimately they will suffer from the ones who do.
Not much to add here but I will any way.
As for hunters, I have been castigated more by ‘hunters’ on this blog for saying I too hunt than any criticism the hunters who post here that do not also support wolf recovery have ever received.
When that does happen it is more a result of, as has already been mentioned, attitude and tone of the post.
The State of Wyoming has been the single biggest obstacle to the delisting going forward than any other single reason. Ya just got ta wonder the whys of that one. (hip hip hooray Wyoming =*>> ).
I couldn’t agree with you more that nature experiences from infancy is a wonderful way to bring up children. It is just my opinion that these experiences should be age appropriate. For instance it might be better to take a child of 2 or 3 camping in an area where the chances of being attacked by a bear or wolf are less likely to happen and there is no need to bring a gun to protect them. They can have perfectly enjoyable nature experences in safer areas. As children get a little older they can be introduced to somewhat more risky situations. Of course it is only my opinion, but I don’t believe I would want a swimming pool in a backyard with very small toddlers either. But it’s a great experience for children that are a little older. Not that they can’t drown just as easily. For that fact kids are more likely to get killed in traffic than by predators but I think it is wise to not tempt fate.
could I clarify something for you Buffaloed?
I know where you are coming from. I would never leave my child unattended. But I believe there is less to fear camping than there is in a Walmart. Supervision is the key. A child in the wodds, in my opinion, is no more in danger than one in a bedroom.
What about people who choose to raise children in Alaska? They are in the presence of wildlife at all times. Anchorage boasts the largest population of moose of any city in the USA. You are far more likely to be attacked by a mose than a wolf, and they can inflict deadly blows as well. Should no one in Anchorage have children? Most of the state has bears and wolves in abundance, and since the majority of folks there who reside outside of a city have these animals in their yards… should they not have children? Or should they be vigilant in their supervision of the children they might have? I’d say the later is fine.
The simple fact is, you could lose a child at any time, in any place. But if you choose to take them into the wild, and then complain about the danger animals pose…. you CHOSE to do it. Just as if you put in a pool, you CHOSE to risk their safety in that way…
I am not, by any means, trying to tell anyone how to raise their kids… heck I’m not mother of the year material. I am just saying that blaming an animal for being a threat is ridiculous. The only way to manage risk is to be aware of it, and that is true no matter what the risk may be. Animals, pedifiles, pools… know what you are up against, be aware, and be cautious in what ever you do.
I don’t get this sentence
“As for hunters, I have been castigated more by ‘hunters’ on this blog for saying I too hunt than any criticism the hunters who post here that do not also support wolf recovery have ever received.”
i think he is saying that hunters who do not support recovery efforts ridicule him for saying he hunts? (because he does support recovery)?
That goes back a way’s but there was a period of time that I was involved in a number of contentious debates with different individuals that did not support wolves in varying degrees from none what-so-ever to at best keeping them at an absolute minimum. They could not understand how someone could engage in hunting for some 30+ years and also be as big of a wolf fan as I am. Lack of education on their part
No argument there. The key with kids in any situation with kids is vigilance.
(Sorry some times the Milton in me comes out)
Jeff, you can only expect education in those who seek knowledge, those folks didn’t seek it enough.
I can say my kids are spoiled brats… ha ha. Maybe I can find a way to blame that on the outdoors or wolves? (The wolves would cry foul, I am sure! ha ha ha)
My youngest just turned 12, and he cautions me constantly when we are outside…. and so the teacher becomes the student. I guess we really do rub off on our kids. All of them pick up trash when we are out and about. They throw things into the right recycling bin, and they actually brag about my hybrid. I had no idea how much I had actually influenced them, and they their own friends. I think that is as amazing way to make a chain reaction. Now if I could get them to clean their rooms, I would be a master parent indeed….
Thanks for the clarification Jeff. I guess if I don’t get the meaning of a sentence the first few times around then I just give up.
I’m a little late getting to this discussion, and given the play of emotions I would have abstained but for a comment by Layton above about wolves not having family groups. It seems to me, as someone who has been studying wolves for a decade and half, that this false claim needs a response. No one who has spent much time observing wolves would agree with that statement. I conclude that Layton has spent no effective time observing wolves.
The fact is Layton, that anyone who has spent time with wolves acknowledges that they do in fact have family groups. Any book on wolf natural history, biology, ecology, etc., will acknowledge that fact. Adolph Murie’s classic book on wolf natural history, The Wolves of Mount McKinley, refects thousands of hours of observing wolves and the interactions of their family groups as well as wolf interactions with prey. The book has been republished by the University of Washington Press. It’s well worth reading.
Aside from direct observations of pack family life–such as the tendency of young pups to climb all over adults, chewing away contentedly on ears and tails without punitive response from the adult being chewed–it follows from pack hunting behavior that wolf packs have a highly advanced social structure, with chasers, watchers, and ambushers–all killers. Hunters could learn a thing or two about hunting by watching wolves, and probably did.
For those who have been to Africa, Cape Hunting Dogs, which have perhaps the most vicious reputation as bloodthirsty killers in the world, also have a complex pack family structure.
Wolf packs have mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, and young pups. Wolf packs have stern serious leaders with no sense of humor and jokers who are always playing around. I have watched wolves at play, spinning around and leaping in the air for what seems to me pure joy. I have seen hardworking wolves who lead the way through deep snow, making a pathway for others, and I’ve seen shirkers and freeloaders who won’t do any more work than is necessary. I have seen curious wolves, checking out ever scent along the line of travel, weaving across the landscape, and I have seen wolves who have a mind like a bullet, keeping to the straight and narrow. I have seen wolves on the make, ambitious wolves facing off against Alphas, making ready to to take over, or perhaps just to get whacked for being uppity.
I have heard wolves in concert many times, howling in different keys and octaves, with as much acuity as an orchestra playing Beethoven.
I have watched adult wolves teach young wolves how to hunt
How is any of this not evidence of a family structure?.
It is a fact that wolves have social structure; it is also a fact that when that social structure is disrupted, such as through predator control, what you end up with is the equivalent of juvenile delinquents with no leadership, no social skills, no hunting skills. Where livestock are concerned, this presence of juvenile delinquents is where many of your depredations come from. We’d have much fewer depredations on livestock if G&F agencies and ranchers and outfitters and all too many hunters weren’t so all fired determined to kill every wolf that moves.
That brings up delisting. The reason for the lawsuits, which I have explained on this web site many times, is that delisting is violates the Endangered Species Act and the Final Rule for Reintroduction and has no scientific basis. I’m not going to go through all that detail again.
I see no reason why conservationists should roll over and agree to an illegal and scientifically baseless delisting decision. It’s unfortunate that quite a groups have rolled over, such as the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, but I gave up on GYC a long time ago.
I have hunted for over 40 years (I’m old enough to have been put through the agonizing culturally-determined wait until I was 12 years old so I could get my first rifle and shotgun, both single shots); I’ve even hunted in Africa, although it was on the cheap while on a military mission.
All that time I’ve also been a naturalist, entirely self-taught. I’ve watched many species at work and yes at play. I am fascinated by the natural world; it gives me pleasure as well as food. Existence is a dance, a complex interaction among birth, life, and death, and no being can ignore the tune. All live, and all die. Some sooner, some later. But death is no evil in the natural world.
Unlike the human world, of which, as an old soldier, I am goddamn sick and tired of.
I wish hunters would undertake the mental and emotional discipline of understanding the world in the same way that our Pleistocene ancestors did thousands of years ago: as a mystery, as something sacred as well as dangerous, as something out of which we we were born and into which we will return upon our deaths, to be born again. As something beautiful, terribly beautiful, something more to be celebrated than to be controlled.
As our home.
I do have to say, after reading many of your messages, you have definitely learned the gift of gab….I can say, I have never seen anyone, be so verbose on virtually every subject they speak on!
To touch on one part of your post;
In Uganda, Africa it has been observed that juvenile elephants (teenagers) have attacked and killed numerous rhinos, something not observed previously.( this was quite a few years ago). It was determined that lack of social instruction by older elephants (poached for ivory) was the reason. I submit that wolves have at LEAST as complex social structure as elephants do.
I am familiar with that story. The transplanted bulls into the preserve to regain order amongst the youngsters who were in a premature state of musk.
I wonder though, if wolves adapt when an alpha is killed by a neighboring pack, why now when killed by a hunter? (I would never hunt a wolf, but I wonder how it will effect them.)
I would assume that they would adapt. But I wonder about a pack’s ability to feed pups when the pack is made suddenly smaller? Will they adapt in time to survive with the pups to feed?
What happens in the natural order, is that, yes there will be times when the leadership of a pack will be impacted by intraspecific strife, but rarely will it be all of the adult members or even both Alphas. Even the Hayden’s recent ordeal left one adult that apparently has done a pretty competent job under the circumstances.
However under the massive reduction of numbers that Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming are going to engage in, the reality is that there are going to be a significant number of uneducated adolescents running around. Humans will always shoot the largest/most visible first; which will be the Adults and Alphas. A large percentage of the adolescents that are left will die of starvation/injury.(they have not been taught to hunt.)(think about hunting a bull elk with your teeth). Another percentage will become primarily scavengers, dumpster divers, or learn to prey on the relatively easy targets that are livestock and pets in those areas that that is available.
And some will be educated enough or naturally intelligent enough to just continue on being wolves.
Have you every written a book? If you have, what is the name of it. I want it. If you haven’t, you should, I’d buy it.
here is steve nadeau’s response to the question about social structure though it doesn’t really answer the question – i don’t think there will be much selective hunting. the best part is the angle i was able to get.
I’m aware of all of the things you said. But I would like to know what the exact initail number of tags to be issued is. I would also wonder how livestock predation control will impact those numbers. Too much is left unknown here. But then that just puts us right back at the start… not enough info to go forward.
I am a supporter of the reintroduction and protection of wolves. But I also wonder if at some point, need to be hunted or otherwise controlled. I don’t think it is that time now though.
Anyhow, thanks to all who have given me info.
I have not heard how many tags will be issued in Idaho. If it is a controlled hunt then there will be a cap on the total amount and within each hunt zone.
An open season hunt will be as many as people of legal age who have a licence will buy and if that is not enough to meet what ever # the state thinks there should be then there will be hunts of other types.
“Idaho Fish and Game intends to manage wolves at a population level between about 500 and 700.”
My opinion is that this is an arbitrarily low number with regard to genetics of a metapopulation that needs to have genetic transfer with wolves from Canada and surrounding states. The big question I have is about the genetic transfer between Canada. Are the populations there healthy enough to have dispersals to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming? I don’t know enough about those populations but to maintain a healthy genetic diversity common wisdom about populations is that there needs to be at least 2000 individuals in a metapopulation with at least a few animals exchanging genetics every generation between populations for the ability to maintain that diversity.
I think that the same principles need to be applied to the buffalo herd in Yellowstone which only loses genetics and never gains. This could lead to a loss in genetic diversity which would permanently damage the herd. That is one of the main reasons that I am so adamant about securing much more habitat for them outside of the Park. This is an important issue that many people don’t really understand unless they have learned about it.
The Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2007 Interagency Annual Report is online now.
Does anyone know much about the wolf populations of southern B.C. and Alberta? Are the populations very healthy or are they depressed? Is there a good possibility for much interchange between the U.S. populations? I know that there are some wolves there and I know that there have been several instances of wolves coming from Canada to Idaho and the NCDE on their own but I don’t know how the densities compare with those of the 3 states.
What do you base your opinion of 2000 animals on? I am curious
The wolf populations of southern B.C. and Alberta are very suppressed.
While wolves from Alberta recolonized NW Montana beginning in the 1980s, today almost all transboundary wolf movement is from the United States (Idaho and Montana) northward into B.C. and Alberta.
the 500 – 700 management number in Idaho is pure PR on the eve of a judge’s review of delisting.
the department is likewise in the process of publishing new methods of estimating the numbers of wolves in idaho ~ methods which produce higher estimations.
Considering the genetic limitations of the species based on those numbers and the much larger territories in Wyoming and in Montana, one would hope that they number of wolves to be allowed in those two states would be much higher. Sadly, I doubt that will be the case.
I agree that the timing of the wolf report is a little too convenient. However, can we dispute the info in the report with any justifiable validity?
I often ask these questions just to get the opinions on them out there, so new comers can read the answers,a nd be informed. Sometimes I think we forget to put enough basic info, and back our arguements, for the new guy/gal who comes here seeking knowledge. I think the answers you all often give are very valuable to people who may not yet have a definite opinion on the matters at hand.
The 2000 number was the number used in my population ecology class. I don’t know where specifically it came from and it may not apply to every population but I think it is reasonable to assume that it is a good number to use.
Many people point to the Isle Royale wolves and say that they are healthy and they only came from an initial population of 2 wolves and that the number doesn’t apply to wolves. I have heard otherwise and that there have been some genetic problems with them. The same was true with the Florida Panther, which is just a cougar. There were severe genetic problems associated with them such as heart defects so cougars from Texas were added to the population and those problems disappeared.
As far as the timing of the annual reports, this is the normal time of year that they come out and I think that the report from IDFG coincides with the final acceptance of their wolf management plan. I am a little skeptical about those numbers but I have heard that the IDFG Director wants to go slow. That doesn’t mean much with the present attitude of the livestock and outfitting industries or the politicians or the governor. I think there will be terrible pressure to bear by those interests to give out even more tags and if there is no injunction there will be swift action to kill many wolves in the Clearwater where the problem has very little or nothing to do with wolves and more to do with the habitat. We’ll see how much politics affects IDFG game management and how well insulated they are. I assume that wall has been torn down.
I’ve taken the time to learn in depth the things I talk and write about. I highly recommend it.
I was not criticizing, just observing….
Can the state be held to the new 500 to 700 management number or is the original number of 104 the only enforceable one? I am inclined to agree that it may just be an attempt to sway the judge in his review.
I just wanted to alert people to an educational and organizing event related to the buffalo in Yellowstone here in Bozeman (and discuss it, if people want to do so). We could definitely use people in the area getting the word out about it – and of course showing up – and if you are in the Gallatin Valley, helping us organize on this and other local issues.
We’re holding a film and discussion, featuring Mike Mease of Buffalo Field Campaign, on March 26 at 7PM, in Bozeman, at MSU’s Procrastinator Theater (Linfield 125). The aim of the discussion is not simply to educate people about what is happening recently with the buffalo but to use it as a means to organize solidarity organizing in Bozeman on this and other local issues.
There’s flyers and a lot more about it at http://bozemanactivist.wordpress.com .
Anyhow, we feel that this is an exciting thing happening in Bozeman in an otherwise very, very gloomy winter for buffalo in Yellowstone.
You have observed many things about the wolves by observing them. One can also learn many of the SAME things if one observes a pack, group, whatever of ANY kind of domestic dogs.
The biggest difference between the two groups would be that one group depends on the food bowl coming regularly and the other must go and KILL the next meal.
As a matter of fact I have read Mr. Muries’s book about Mt. McKinley wolves. Why do you seem to think that you alone can read and learn? Believe it or not I’ve even dabbled a bit with Mr. Leopold’s writings.
I’ve also read, heard and been inundated from most any “educated” source about wolves that would have me believe that only the Alphas breed — does this mean that I should summarily discard (as being only “anecdotal”) the information offered on this blog about the goings on during the wolf mating season in Yellowstone this spring?
No Mr. Hoskins, you are not the only person that sees things and reads. Nor are you the only one entitled to an opinion after you have done that.
Both of us evidently had to wait for that single shot .22 (I think it was a Stevens) under the tree, I too am an “old soldier” but we do evidently have quite different opinions on this one subject. I guess, in your eyes, that just makes ME wrong — so be it.
I’m sorry I didn’t read but a few of the posts here. I just wanted to ask if anyone is following the stupid cull plan for the wolves in eastern alberta. Another of those cases where the idea is hunters will have more elk to hunt if we reduce predation, and the proponents who get the most media are ranchers, who are presented as knowing first hand how deadly wolves are and how naive the rest of us are to oppose killing them.
Anyway, Defenders of Wildlife doesn’t even have anything on their website on it that I can easily find, though Pissot is quoted as saying he’s been getting calls.
Who’s working on this and what can we do?
The point was: you claimed wolves don’t have a family social structure, something that is so clearly wrong that it follows that you haven’t spent much time observing or studying wolves. What other conclusion is possible?
Quod erat demonstrandum.
From my readings it is my understanding that there is significant border crossings of wolves, particularly between Montana & Idaho. How do these wolves play into the annual wolf reports and, in the future, the state plans for control based on the number of wolves, breeding pairs and so on. How do you manage by number on a moving target by different jurisdictions with their own plans? How does this play into, if at all, in the delisting litigation?
This is a really good question and will be part of the litigation.
In the same paragraph that I mentioned wolves and family groups I also mentioned them going to church and eating grass — would you care to comment on those two points??
Of particular interest would be their proclivities toward either protestant or catholic beliefs.
Well, if wolves were Catholic, birth control wouldn’t be an option. If they were protestant, the choice of birth control depends upon whether they’re fundamentalists or progressives.
Jewish and Muslim wolves worldwide are aghast at once again being excluded from the discussion.
Don, i think i remember nadeau addressing this question at one of the meetings a couple months back. i’ll look at the tape… from what i understand ~ idaho is is considering an idea about counting for this based on season (or denning sites) – if they’re on this side of the border during a particular season, they’re idaho wolves. this is to say nothing of the potential for redundant counts given other states methods – which i know nothing about – which makes moot the rationale if they choose to count differently.
they’re also talking about a new angle for getting in to maximize counts in wilderness ~ they’re very interested in getting in with helicopters ~ off-hand remarks about not having such discussion in public forums
What are you saying here Layton? You made a claim that you couldn’t back up then tried to use the wolf/dog comparison which is the same as the apple/orange comparison then you say that you’ve been told by educated observers (who don’t apparently blog here) that only alphas breed (BTW that is still the most common circumstance outside of the Northern Range and has only been documented once in Idaho’s wolves). Robert firmly discredited your claim.
I can see that your other silly claims were just that but the claim about family groups, being placed first in the sentence, seemed to me, and I’m sure to other observers, to be something that you were likely serious about. Notice that Robert didn’t address the silly claims.
Opinions are just that, they are not fact. Most people adjust their opinions based on new information. I would suggest reading some newer texts about wolves since there has been a great abundance of new knowledge gained since the reintroduction.
I see wolves as an important part of the ecosystem that play a major role in many aspects of it. I don’t claim that wolves, or any other native creatures as long as they are in balance with their habitat, are good or bad for the ecosystem. I am very interested in wolves, I like to watch them, I don’t think that wolves will “overpopulate” the way that ungulates can (I don’t think they have in places outside the Northern Range or Wyoming’s feedgrounds), and I don’t think that they impact the livestock industry to a degree which threatens their “way of life” (I think the fact that they graze animals that evolved in the tropics here in the desert does that on its own). There is no evidence that wolves have had an impact on hunting opportunities in Idaho, not even in the Clearwater, it just seems to me that there are a lot of hunters who haven’t learned to adapt to the changes in elk behavior and want to blame their lack of success on wolves rather than their own lack of skill/adaptation. I do believe that wolves have played a part, just a part, in the decline of elk populations on the Northern Range where they were vastly overpopulated and also heavily hunted with the intent to reduce the population.
You said :
“I constantly refer to wolves as being bad, because
that is the way that I see them. I don’t live in a
“little red riding hood” world, I live in the real one
— where I hear of (and believe) and see the reality
of the situation — and (IMHO) that reality is that the
wolf situation is bad, and getting worse!”
I don’t really know what in particular you see as “bad”. Would you explain?
Maybe some Jehovah’s Witnesses wolves will stop by with some liturature that you can read. If they do you should.
Maybe this was already posted, but here’s the latest on Idaho wolf plan You tube…
Well, Layton only asked about Protestant or Catholic wolves, but we could have thrown in Jewish and Muslim wolves, not to mention Buddhist or Hindi wolves.
My own preference is for Pleistocene Panentheist wolves, with a nod toward Gaia and Her embodiment as the mortal goddess Ayla with her companion “Wolf” the wolf.
In reference to the youtube video posted by Drew, and certainly not that I am any sort of authority on the matter but that looks to me like a 6 ft marijuanna plant behind the last Commissioner interviewed and his speach sounded slightly slurred to me.
What I find is sad, is it does not matter what chat, or what blog it is, it always degenerates into this…neither side will ever agree with each other, which I find amazing, adults can’t discuss things without name calling, put downs and arguing…there is a solution here folks, but it comes down to understanding each side of the issue, and it does not matter, if you agree of disagree….UNDERSTAND and you might be very surprised at what can be accomplished, but nobody wants to do that…..
Well, Concerned, why don’t you tell me what you think it is that I don’t understand?
Think about it Robert…your a military man, as I am..26 years in retired a year ago, this month…the worst general in any army, knows, you will never win a battle without first understanding their adversary…I just find it ridiculous to call those you oppose names..contention breads contention…and yes, I have my degree in Wildlife biology, so your comment earlier about “Reading” was uncalled for and frankly quite rude..You have your point of view and be damned if someone has a different view..
Actually I was thinking that the thread had taken a turn toward a bit of levity. I mean, how often do you get to discuss the resigious persuasion of wolves? Lighten up, we are always so serious.
I am sorry, but it is a serious issue…..the religious aspect of wolves is nothing but wasted space…I correspond with another lady on a different page about the wolf issue and disagree just about 100% of what she says, but I have made a strong effort to understand her position, she is 80 years old and came to Wyoming, during the first round of getting rid of wolves, I like to understand those I oppose, that gives me a road map to how we might come to an agreement, I just don’t find that calling names will ever do anything to solve this issue, we have to make concessions on both sides, before there will ever be an agreement…That is Just My Humble Opinion…but I really find it silly when things go this way…there is no convincing somebody they are wrong, but there is often ways to negotiate positions that come out positive..
So what do you think about Nordic Windpower Ltd. opening a manufacturing plant in Pocatello, ID.???? It is supposed to hire over 160 people and the company expects to make 20 turbines a month by september 2009. The company specializes in two blade turbines instead of three. But, I bet that the turbines will still kill as many animals as a three-blade.
PS. My advice to deter a thread from deteriorating would be to employ a tactic i learned in kindergarten; simply ignore the bullshit.
I understand completely, and I bet I know who you are contending with (she used to post here) I’ve nailed her on a few other pages as well. To my notion, (that’s Southern for, to my way of reckoning, or, in my opinion) I don’t think anyone is unwilling to make concessions here but this has been a long thread and we were just throwing in a little levity. Thats all.
If you have never heard the claim that “only the Alpha pair breeds” when referring to wolf packs you REALLY should read/study more.
As for the comment about wolves and family groups — well, here is the “QUOTE”
“but the other side has it’s own quota of people that would have you believe that wolves have family groups, go to church on Sunday and eat grass. (yes, exaggeration for emphasis)”
Please notice that there is a comma – denoting that the sentence continues – after the part about family groups, there is not a comma after “go to church on Sunday” – I was taught that a comma was not necessary here, the “and” suffices, and the “eats grass” part is followed by a period — indicating the end of the sentence.
The sentence was followed by a statement within parentheses – that’s the marks that go like this ( ). That enclosed statement was meant to indicate that the sentence was purposely exaggerated — does this explanation help??
As for calling the statement about observing a pack of dogs an “apples and oranges” comparison — I don’t think so. Have you never observed an older dog teaching a younger one, or observed a young pup chewing an older one’s tail without fear of retribution?? I think the comparison is QUITE accurate.
If you don’t know what I refer to when I say that the wolf situation is bad — again, you don’t read much. The effects of wolves on ungulate herds in Idaho is being felt more and more. Read something besides the literature from one side and you will see that — if you don’t choose to ignore it. For instance, the annual reports from F&G — and please, don’t try to tell me something to the effect of “all units statewide are at or above quota” that just indicates naivety.
PPS. Ignore the crap if for no other reason than to have some respect for Ralph’s Blog.
Not to refute what you have just said about deer and elk popoulations in Idaho, but if you will go to the Idaho Fish and Game video, linked by Drew above, The Commissioner addresses this very issue and states that both the deer and elk populations in Idaho are doing very well and that there should be ample game for anyone who wants to hunt in the upcoming seasons. Check it out.
I’m on a dial-up connection, that’s all I can get where I live – unless I pop for a satelite up link — so Utube is something I usually don’t do.
In the article about this latest wolf plan in the paper last week they referenced a “few” units that WERE experiencing less animals and decreased numbers of tags for 2008.
Who/when is one to believe?
exactly which elk zones are trending down population wise due to wolf predation?
I sympathize with your position. Unfortunately, the issue has become so polarized that the various “sides” are unwilling to even consider compromise:
“No negotiation, no compromise, no consensus and no Canadian gray wolves in Idaho.” (see video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=1r8PhnTL-c0&watch_response).
Unfortunately for the wolf, they have become a symbol of big government and earned the ire of property-rights advocates, as well as ranchers and SOME hunters. I think this problem is made worse by the fact that nearly all opposition comes from locals, while the perception is that wolf support comes mostly from urban well-to-do “outsiders.”
There is a wonderful analysis of the Yellowstone wolf issue that came out in Policy Sciences in 2004 where the authors argue that the extreme rhetoric expressed in the media (in part) is to blame for either side not being able to see compromises that would benefit either one: “the goal is rarely cooperation but rather victory – or at least
denying others victory.”
Here is the citation:
McBeth, M. K. & Shanahan, E. A. 2004. Public opinion for sale: The role of policy marketers in Greater
Yellowstone policy conflict. Policy Sciences, 37: 319-338.
Layton backpedals so much he should be near California by now.
“but the other side has it’s own quota of people that would have you believe that wolves have family groups, go to church on Sunday and eat grass. (yes, exaggeration for emphasis)”
Wolves do have family groups; it’s no exaggeration, and anyone who claims otherwise is ignorant of the fact.
Actually, I bet wolves do eat a little grass every now and then…
Mack P. Bray
My opinions are my own
The ones mentioned in the article were in the Clearwater and Lolo Zones. It wasn’t specific. I know Units 12, 10 and 10A are in those zones — not sure about what others, don’t have a zone map handy right now.
Some Sportsmen for Some Fish and All The Big Game and Predators We Can Legally Kill is in the news; URL below.
SFW of Alaska wants to reduce, by 60%, the black bear population in Game Management Unit 16B in Alaska. Seems hunters think there’s not enough moose to go around. Out of some 1,900 bears, they want to kill 1,140 by rotating several hundred people in six-day shifts into about a dozen camps. The group will assist hunters with bait, food and transportation costs where possible.
Those SFW guys are experts at talking out of both sides of their mouth at the same time: “Ralph Seekins, a founding SFW board member and former state senator, said the group’s mission is “management-for-abundance oriented” rather than pro-predator control. However, predator control often fits within the mission of the group, which is entirely funded by donations and has chapters in about a half-dozen Western states, he said.”
He said it, I didn’t: “…the group’s mission is “management-for-abundance oriented…”
Sounds like Bob Wharff to me: “We’re not anti-predator; we’re pro-hunters.”
Dave Lyon, co-chairman of Alaska Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a nonprofit that promotes ethical hunting practices, said “They want to game farm, and pretty much they have one song they sing, and it’s predator control,” he said. “We don’t believe that just so hunters can go kill more moose is a good reason to go kill a bunch of bears.”
Mack P. Bray
My opinions are my own
Well, Concerned, I still don’t know what it is you think I don’t understand. I have clear goals, I understand the obstacles to and opponents of those goals, and I have a strategy for attaining those goals with appropriate campaigns and supporting tactics, techniques, and procedures. I didn’t go to the School of Advanced Military Studies at Leavenworth, since I was never politically correct enough for selection to attend CGSC, but I do know what I’m doing as well as any SAMS graduate.
It appears your real problem is that you don’t like my strategy. My understanding, or lack thereof, has nothing to do with that. I don’t like your strategy, and for good reason. Perhaps you can give concrete examples of how your strategy of collaboration is furthering the cause of conservation.
As I look around me, without ideological blinders, it is clear that wildlife is losing, and losing badly in every sphere of conservation. One reason for this loss is that conservationists have stopped fighting for what they believe in. If they believe in anything.
I don’t have a degree in Wildlife Ecology. I had to teach it to myself.
That is where you and I differ, I actually have no problem with your strategy, I think it is a straight forward strategy…but really I have no problem with it, I just happen to follow a different strategy, with the exact same goal in mind..I think wildlife is losing less now than they have in the past, but I agree wildlife is still losing, due to the repugnant political alliances of many of the leaders of the country and the hard felt beliefs of others.
By the way, Robert, “Collaboration” and “Understanding” have to different meanings….I have not collaborated with any group that opposes wildlife, but I have set down and talked to them to try and understand their position, understanding and agreement, is also something quite different..I think, based on the various messages you have posted, that you have a very good understanding of the issues, unfortunately, out of this small group, I don’t think that the normal person understands you, which I find a waste…But again, that is just my opinion, I am not employed by any agency, because I didn’t agree with teh politics of wildlife management, hence I have no standing within any community on either side of the issues.
I absolutely love to hunt on the wild terms. I probably only fill my tag about 33% of the time. Most of my most fondest hunting memories have nothing to do with taking an animal. I also love hunting in wild places. I love seeing the beauty of the mountains and all the animals (especially the predators) not just the ones that i am hunting. Every time i have taken an animal i thank the animal and i thank god.
then it sounds as if you are among like-minded folk.
For the record i want peoplw to know that “canned hunts” are frowned upon by the majority of hunters, those animals cannot even be scored in the Boone and Crocket record books. Also I am not sure if the time is right for people to hunt wolves and grizzlies, but if what i am hearing out there is true (population statistics) i think the time has come. If it is not true there will be a time in the future when we should start hunting these species.
A pack of wolves have no right to kick me out of the mountais. I do not think wolves reign supreme over us. But they do belong in the mountains.
So that’s a no on he Alberta Wolf question I take it?
See today’s blog. March 13. RM
P.S. Layton I do follow the rules but i also have an ATV and vote republican.
Thanks for the shout-out for the Alberta wolf Ralph. And I did read through some of the posts on the thread and saw a few mentions to the wolves of BC and Alberta. I’d like to learn more. Any suggestions for easily accessible web information, and I am also curious if anyone knows when this proposed cull might begin?
The Bozeman event sounds great Buffaloed. Miss you guys.
In case anyone is interested, there is a program on tonight on Versus, which is channel 151 on Dishnetwork about wolves and bears in Wyoming and the challenges of management…it has several airings this month, todays airing is at 5 pm Mountain time…here is the link to WYGF press release about it.
Kalanu, we miss you too. I hope to make it up there someday. Glad to see you are posting again.
Layton, everyone else,
SFW took a plane up to look for elk in the North Fork Clearwater area which is not the way you are likely to find elk, one should use a helicopter for that purpose. Well, they didn’t find any (Surprise). It seems with preconceived notions you see what you are looking for.
The IDFG did use a helicopter and at 2:20 in this video you can see that they found many elk. “They’re in good shape” according to Fred Trevey the commissioner from the Clearwater Region.
Remember back in 2006 when IDFG proposed to reduce wolf populations in the Clearwater area the cited habitat degradation as a contributing factor to the declining population.
I think that habitat is the MAIN factor for reduced elk populations there and in recent years the population has actually risen despite wolf presence. Habitat seems to be the limiting factor for elk populations and the habitat changes over time therefore it is not what it was in the 70′-mid 90’s. The area can’t support the same population levels it once did because of those changes (less grass more trees).
“I think that habitat is the MAIN factor for reduced elk populations there and in recent years the population has actually risen despite wolf presence.”
“I THINK” Now there’s a really scientific statement!!
YOU might “think” that the main reason for elk herds losing population is habitat — some of us don’t “think” that is the case.
Habitat could be a “contributing” factor — wolves are also a “contributing” factor in the DECLINE of the elk population in these areas.
PLEASE, show me some figures that indicate “in recent years the population has actually risen despite wolf presence” I call bullshit!!
As far as the Lolo goes – unit 12 has had a population problem since 1985 – Wolves did not have a foothold (according to IDF&G reports) in the area until 2000
Unit 12 Total Elk Pop 1985 = 4767
1997 = 2667
2006 = 1658
Unit 10 on the other hand has had an increase in elk since 2003 with an increase in c/c ratio to boot.
Total Elk 1989 = 11507c/c = 29.9
1998 = 5079
2003 = 2643
2006 = 3452 c/c = 29.4
This is from IDF&G 2007 Sightability Report that I got out of the Lewiston [Idaho] office from Clay Hickey.
There has been an increase in hunter harvest in the entire zone (units10 &12) since 2000. IDF&G W-170-R-30, 05/06 Elk Survey
1998 total hunters = 1533 total harvest =277
2005 total hunters = 1590 total harvest = 329
Here is a study abstract from 1993 (before wolf reintroduction) indicating that habitat and hunter density is affecting elk mortality in the Clearwater.
More information about habitat change:
If that’s not good enough for you then show me data that says otherwise.
Little Change In Big Game Survival Rate
I’m not even going to go into what I think of your “data”. I didn’t respond to it when Ralph posted it the first time and I won’t now.
By the way, it seems that maybe you should have quoted the line just above where your quote came from — the line that says;
“I got this information today from the Wolf Education and Research Center.
If the source were different, I might go into it a bit.
I know outfitters that have completely quit hunting elk in the Kelly Creek (North Fork of the Clearwater) because success in non-existent — what do they blame?? I’ll let you guess.
I myself used to hunt in the Lolo area, I don’t anymore — don’t even go into the “you just don’t know how to hunt” thing cuz’ I’m not bothering with that either. And of course my observations are only “anecdotal”
If you want to call it an “increase in population” to go from approx. 2600 to approx. 3400 when the population was historically 11K plus —- weeeellll there’s and old saying about figures not lying but liars figuring that would seem to apply.
Time will tell on this whole scenario and the results of this winter will probably show things one way or another. If you get into the region by region reports from F&G you can see that wolves are becoming more and more prevalent as a concern for elk herds in those regions.
Were are your numbers Layton? You haven’t proven a thing Layton. You just dismiss any numbers that are put forth even though the numbers originally come from IDFG and IDFG constantly says that habitat is a big problem there. You haven’t demonstrated your case with anything other than biased anecdotal information from hunting outfitters.
THE HABITAT IS NOT THE SAME AS IT WAS AND CAN’T SUPPORT THE SAME ELK POPULATIONS IT ONCE DID.
There is no information indicating that wolves are the cause of decline in elk populations. It’s habitat and weather.
When were elk numbers 11K plus? When did the declines start?
Who are the people who say that wolves caused the decline? Are they the biologists or politicians, commissioners, and outfitters? What is their motivation for saying it?
If wolves are the cause in the Clearwater then why aren’t they causing the same declines in other areas? Could it be that the higher wolf populations in those other areas just don’t kill as many elk or is it that the habitat can just naturally support more elk?
You want it to be wolves that are to blame and you can’t accept any evidence to the contrary. Anecdotal evidence from people who don’t have a background in biology doesn’t do anything to change the fact that wolves generally take weaker, more vulnerable animals and on a population level have very little impact except when overpopulated populations become weaker and more vulnerable due to habitat limitations as seen in the Northern Range of Yellowstone. The populations in the Clearwater started their decline well before wolf reintroduction and haven’t been able to recover because habitat has reached a point where it CAN’T SUPPORT THE POPULATIONS IT PREVIOUSLY DID? Why is that so hard to understand?
Buffaloed’s data is not from the Wolf Education and Research center, and just one link from me.
I disagree that “time will tell.” When people are wrong and time passes they usually say “I didn’t say that.”
Here are a whole slew of technical research reports from IDFG about elk. The common theme is that elk reached a peak population before wolf reintroduction and have fluctuated ever since but declines
FACTORS INFLUENCING ELK CALF RECRUITMENT
We evaluated survival and cause-specific mortality of elk (Cervus elaphus) calves on 2 contrasting study areas in north-central Idaho from 1997 to 2004. Recruitment was adequate and stable on the South Fork study area, and inadequate and declining on the Lochsa study area. We examined the effects of landscape structure, predator harvest levels, and biological factors on calf survival from birth through 31 August. The primary proximate cause of calf mortality on both study areas was predation by black bear (Ursus americanus) and mountain lion (Puma concolor). Annual calf survival ranged from 0.06-0.46 on the Lochsa study area and from 0.18-0.57 on the South Fork study area. Our models predict that calf survival was influenced both by the landscape structure surrounding calf locations and by predator harvest levels. All competing models included the percentage of forest with 33-66% canopy cover surrounding calf locations, the manipulation of predator harvest levels, the age of calves at capture, and the gender of calves. Other landscape features were influential in predicting calf survival but did not appear in all competing models. Our models also identified limits to our ability to impact calf survival through predator harvest, and demonstrated that landscape influences calf survival. Information presented here is in draft form and a completed manuscript is expected by 2007.
Elk recruitment has declined markedly in north-central Idaho since the late 1980s and early 1990s (Gratson and Zager 1997). Low or declining calf:cow ratios appeared to be a common event throughout the northwestern states (Gratson and Johnson 1995). Several factors could ultimately impact recruitment such as elk density, habitat condition, nutrition, weather, breeding condition, calf condition, and predation. The effects of these factors may be manifested through a number of demographic parameters such as pregnancy rates, birth rates, birth timing, birth mass, growth rate, and calf survival (Gratson and Zager 1997).
Research is demonstrating the relationships between ultimate factors and demographic parameters. For example, recent work by Cook et al. (2001) has found that poor nutrition can lead to delayed breeding in elk (Cook et al. 2001) which results in late-born young. Subsequently, late-born young might be predisposed to higher rates of mortality (Rearden 2005). As another example, it has also been demonstrated that mother’s condition and nutritional intake during pregnancy (Verme 1962, Thorne et al. 1976) and weather during the last trimester (Smith et al. 1997) influence juvenile birth mass. Furthermore, growth rate may be suppressed by low birth mass (Cook et al. 2004).
Likely, no single factor is responsible for declining recruitment (i.e., calf survival). For example, the effects of calf condition may interact significantly with predation. Keech et al. (2000) demonstrated this when they found that birth mass of moose calves strongly influenced the subsequent likelihood of bear and wolf predation. Similarly, Singer et al. (1997) found a relationship between predation rates and birth mass of elk calves.
To better understand the reasons for low and declining recruitment in elk populations in Idaho, we investigated calf survival and cause-specific mortality. We experimentally manipulated black bear and mountain lions harvest levels. We predicted that calf survival would improve with increasing predator harvest and decline with reductions in predator harvest. Further, we quantify what influence predator removal, habitat (i.e., landscape structure), birth mass, and other biological parameters had on calf survival.
Lolo Zone (Units 10, 12)
Objectives for Lolo Zone (Figure 4) are to establish a population of 7,600 cows and 1,600 bulls,
including 975 adult bulls at ratios of 18-24 bulls:100 cows and 10-14 adult bulls:100 cows.
Management of the Lolo Zone elk population and setting appropriate population objectives
presents a serious quandary. Existing information suggests that both predation and density
dependence (habitat limitations) could be causing low calf production/recruitment. If predation
is the overwhelming factor, population goals should be set higher (e.g., 15,000 adult elk), and
there should be little or no cow harvest. However, if density dependence is significant, goals
should be set at a low level, and cow harvest should be at moderate levels (5-10%). Also, both
factors may be contributing significantly, leading to some intermediate level of objectives. At
present, it is not possible to determine the relative contribution of those effects. In the absence of
that knowledge, the objectives were set at intermediate levels.
Historically, elk herds were scattered and numbers were low in this area. Few big game animals
were found along Clearwater River by Lewis and Clark in the early 1800s, probably due in part
to the dense, unbroken canopy of forest that covered the entire area. Wildfires burned over vast
expanses near the beginning of the twentieth century, creating vast brush-fields that provided
abundant forage areas for elk. Elk numbers increased following creation of these brush-fields,
and elk numbers apparently peaked around 1950. Elk herds declined into the 1970s, partially
due to: 1) maturation of brush-fields and declines in forage availability; 2) logging and roadbuilding
activity that increased vulnerability of elk to hunters under the then more liberal hunting
seasons; and 3) loss of some major winter ranges. In response to declines in elk numbers, an
either-sex hunting regime was replaced in 1976 with an antlered-only general hunting season.
Elk herds then began rebuilding.
Land ownership within this zone is almost entirely publicly-owned forest. The southern portion
of the zone is within the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area. Historically, habitat productivity
was high in this zone. However, habitat productivity has decreased following decades of
intensive fire suppression. Approximately one-third of the zone has good access for motorized
vehicles with medium road densities. The remaining portion has low road densities with good
trails contributing to medium-to-low big game vulnerability. Aside from damages to
reforestation projects, there are no elk depredation concerns in this zone.
Until the 1930s, wildfires were the primary habitat disturbance mechanism in this zone.
Between 1900 and 1934, approximately 70% of the Lochsa River drainage was burned by
wildfires. Between 1926 and 1990, over 1,900 km of roads were built in this area to access
marketable timber. State Highway 12 along the Lochsa River was completed in 1962 and
became the primary travel corridor. In 1964, most of the southern portion of Unit 12 was
designated as part of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.
Poor calf recruitment since the late 1980s, winter losses in 1996-1997, and a recent population
decline in Unit 10 have contributed to dramatically decreasing elk herds within this zone. The
current population is well below objectives.
The winter of 1996-1997 was marked by severe conditions, including extremely deep snow
exceeding 200% of average snow-pack in some areas. These conditions apparently caused
higher-than-normal winter mortality, leading to a dramatic decline in the Unit 10 population
(-48%). In addition, a survey was conducted in Unit 12 during winter 1996-1997 and those
results suggested a 30% decline at that time. This data, in combination with overwhelming
anecdotal information, suggests that catastrophic winter losses occurred in Units 10 and 12.
Calf productivity and/or recruitment have declined substantially since the late 1980s. Prior to
that, winter calf:cow ratios often exceeded 30:100 and occasionally exceeded 40:100. From
1989-1999, ratios dwindled continuously down to levels below 10:100. This level of recruitment
is inadequate to sustain natural mortality in the absence of hunting. Between 2002 and 2004,
population surveys and composition surveys have revealed recruitment levels between 27 and 30
calves:100 cows in Unit 12, and 19-26 calves:100 cows in Unit 10. However, the 2005 age
composition surveys showed declines from recent levels. Most notable was the decline in
Unit 12 where calves:100 cows was 13.9.
Preliminary results from current research efforts suggest that both nutrition and predation may be
potential causes of low calf recruitment levels. Additional work, in an experimental framework,
is needed to determine the relative significance of those potential causes.
To address low recruitment levels, declining bull numbers, and 1996-1997 winter losses, the
Department capped B-tag numbers at 1,600 and closed cow elk controlled hunts beginning with
the 1998 hunting season. The B-tag cap represents a 60-65% reduction in any-bull rifle hunters.
Currently, low recruitment and low adult cow survival remain a concern in this zone. Without
changes in survival in these demographic groups, the objectives in this zone will not be achieved
in the foreseeable future.
Both units support small white-tailed deer populations, few mule deer, and moderate-density
moose populations. Moose have increased moderately over the past 20 years. Grazing by cattle
occurs to a limited extent in the northwestern corner of Unit 12 on a U.S. Forest Service (USFS)
In most of the Clearwater Region, mountain lion harvest levels have increased over the last
decade. Black bear harvest remained somewhat stable through the last 2 decades, averaging
between 100 and 150 bears per year until 1998, when greatly liberalized seasons led to dramatic
increases in harvest. However, black bear population performance remains well above plan
objectives. Wolf packs are well-established throughout the zone and appear to be increasing.
Current research indicates wolves having increased impacts on elk demographics.
Winter Feeding Issues
Emergency winter feeding has not been conducted recently.
The level of the Lolo Zone B-tag cap, and any future changes in the cap, are entirely dependent
upon recruitment levels. At a minimum, recruitment should be measured with composition
surveys, corrected for visibility bias, yearly or every other year to establish the level and trend of
calf recruitment. In addition, complete sightability surveys should be conducted frequently to
evaluate population performance.
Buffaloed, I’m sure you’re confusing Layton with the facts.
What’s the old saying – “A fool and his data are soon parted.”
Mack P. Bray
My opinions are my own
Just want your thoughts on the possible rebuilding of the Teton dam near Newdale. The people here in Rexburg clearly have not forgotten what happened. What are the chances that it will pass?
Just read this about the possible dam reconstruction:
The current issue of High Country News has and interview with Jim Posewitz, executive director of Orion: The Hunters’ Institute. The full interview can be found here (subscription required).
His position is hunters, conservationists and environmentalists need to join forces rather than nitpick each other to death in order to stop the corporate takeover of our wild lands. He maintains this was once a very strong alliance that has folded over the years. What was the common ground?
POSEWITZ: The one common ground is … you have to start putting protective arms around the environment, the habitat, the land that produces this stuff. The hunter has … been doing that from the start. We understood that. And that wetland that produced the duck that we wanted, well, that great blue heron, he lives out there, too, and that muskrat lives there, and there’s some frogs out there and some toads. And while we don’t swoon over that reality, we are plumb aware of it and you know, you can’t produce the animal without strengthening the ecosystem that produces him.
HCN: What happened?
POSEWITZ: It’s reconfigured. In the interim, lots of things happened. One of the big things that happened was Earth Day. Rachel Carson comes in and finds this horrendous problem with pesticides. She writes Silent Spring. It gets lots of people’s attention. The energy crisis of the ’70s aligns exactly with the generation of Earth Day. In Montana, we have a brief period of years, ’69 to ’74, when our adversaries are catching on to the fact that this “earth thing” is going to interfere with commerce. All of the new (environmental) groups and the hunter groups were of one mind then.
And so we rewrote all of Montana’s natural resource law out of this political juggernaut of landowners, the new enviro-greens, the hunters and the anglers. The labor unions were in because of in-plant health issues and because they were hunters. And we rewrote the entire resource law in the state of Montana with the Fish and Game Department right smack dab in the middle of all that activity.
So what happens? They start breaking down the coalition in the late ’70s. They take the Fish and Game Department, they go through executive reorganization and they align the director up under the governor so they can work it through the political machine.
The corporate interests … fly their attorney to every ag meeting in the state of Montana to tell the aggies that the greens are going to take their land. And they split the agricultural interests out of the coalition, with the property-rights scare tactic. The unions fade as hard-rock mining diminishes. The agency gets lined up under political control and … the influence of active minorities working through the political system begin to try and reverse that conservation ethic that the people were carrying when that coalition was intact. It’s been defense ever since.
HCN: The timber wars in the ’80s were a further extension of this wedge politics and turning hunters and greens against one another.
POSEWITZ: They’re doing it to the Forest Service now. I mean, the neo-con philosophy is to wither all forms of government. And so we have the Forest Service budget year after year after year being diminished, ever since they took political control. Fish and Wildlife Service is going through the same thing. In this current administration, three different attempts were made to sell forest lands while they diminish the custodian’s capacity to take care of the lands.
HCN: Why are so many hunters across the country aligned with the Republican Party and the resource-extraction industries?
POSEWITZ: Because they’re easily deceived, unfortunately. And the gun issue is like the abortion (issue) of hunting. They holler, “They’re taking your guns!” And it’s just as emotionally charged as “They’re slaughtering babies,” even though neither one of those things is true. It’s a wedge tactic that is worked on and invested in by people who are willing to exploit the resource. They’re trying to create political cover for the Bushites to slash through the national forests. … I mean, Machiavelli is serving this administration. He just got a shorter name.
Can a new coalition be formed in this day & age?
I think Posewitz is absolutely correct.
One of the things I have tried to do with this blog is to help effect a union of hunters, conservationists, wildlife watchers, environmentalists, or whatever folks want to call themselves.
Those who want to mine, drill and subdivide the great outdoors understand clearly that such an alliance is not in their interest. That is one reason why I think that groups like SFW are organized — to split hunters apart and cause dissension between various groups who want to keep wildlife free and wild — not turn them into what amounts to exotic livestock.
“That is one reason why I think that groups like SFW are organized — to split hunters apart and cause dissension between various groups who want to keep wildlife free and wild — not turn them into what amounts to exotic livestock.”
Amen. Which is a damn good reason to oppose SFW. In my view, SFW represents the least common denominator among those who purchase hunting licenses; they are not worthy of the title, “hunter.”
The situation described by Jim Posewitz in the above HCN excerpt pretty much parallels the situation I’ve descibed elsewhere on this blog as what happened in Wyoming. It describes the particular process by which the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association took control of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and Department, for example. We could say the same thing happened in Montana with Fish Wildlife & Parks. It happened all over the West.
In Wyoming, it started with State Reorganization in 1988-89 when a cabinet form of government was created to eliminate broad-based executive and democratic decision making–the decision-making authority of numerous boards and commissions throughout the State–and centering executive power in the hands of the Governor, who is an easy tool of corporate interests–the ag and the minerals industries. That is, we saw the corporatization of government, with the Governor as CEO and the legislature as the Board and the oligarchic industries as the clients. The people don’t figure into this structure.
A dirty little secret that is little mentioned however is that the same thing happened to environmental and conservation groups–already burdened with corporate structures as 501c3 entities, but still with the original leaders of grass roots activism from the 60s and 70s. The groups too fully became corporations. Does anyone now still remember the “saturday night massacre” at Audubon in the early 90s? Grass roots activism–democracy–virtually disappeared as a strategy of the large groups, in exchange for collaboration and concensus, that is, the values of board members who largely came from weathy industries. The groups sold out and bought into the authoritarian structure of government and industry.
So it is also true that at the same time you see the surge in these corporate environmental/conservation groups toward the collaboration model, which is essentially a business model of getting to yes between private entities that have the same values if not the same specific interests, you see the groups engaging in corporate behavior–deal making with industry and back stabbing of colleagues. We’ve all seen it, even if we won’t admit it.
Unfortunately, for the environment, such a business model does not apply to grass roots activism, which is inherently confrontational (i.e, democratic) to government and industry, because neither is concerned with protecting the environment, but with merely exploiting it for the revenues and the political power that revenues make possible. Democracy, the grass roots, just gets in the way.
That is, the values of land, water, and wildlife conservation, which are democratic values, inherently contradict the authoritarian values of corporate America–and that includes the big, established, national and regional environmental and conservation groups.
In short, we have a problem of governance, as the political scientists call it. This country is being moved more and more toward authoritarian government, with the corporate fascist style of governing deeply rooted in the “foreign enemies abroad, domestic enemies at home” model so exemplary of 20th century fascist and communist totalitarianism, with 21st century technology to bolster it.
Therefore, the problem is a lot bigger than SFW being organized to divert hunters from problems of democracy and democratic decision making in conservation, turning hunters with pretty vicious propaganda toward the belief that “wolves and conservationists” are enemies. And the fascists are doing a very good job of it.
To those who are historically minded, this is reminiscent of how the Nazis built up their power in the 20s and 30s.
Countering this problem is, I hope, one of the goals of people who comment on this blog.
Has anyone heard about the latest die-off of bighorn sheep?
It happened in the Hays Canyon Range, west of the Black Rock NCA north of Gehrlach. Right by the California border the lands are managed by the Surprise Field Office of BLM.
There are over a hundred dead bighorns. Why isn’t THIS the crime of the century?
Theres is an ACTIVE DOMESTIC SHEEP ALLOTMENT contiguous with the Hays Canyon Range. That domestic sheep allotment is the Tuledad allotment. From Googling, it appears the permittee is Estill. This is a big cattle and sheep operation, always whining and livestock where they weren’t supposed to be back when they had a permit and ran cows at Soldier Meadows. The news reports make it sound like a big mystery about what has happened.
Looks like the Nevada Woolgrowers have NDOW under their bootheels, too … It’s odd that this happened last fall, yet is just getting reported now.
OK, here goes — Seems like you enjoy posting large parts of F&G reports that most folks would just read and digest a bit — but, whatever flips your switch.
Let’s start it this way — I said, in a post on March 13 :
“Habitat could be a “contributing factor — wolves are also a “contributing” factor in the DECLINE of the elk population in these areas.”
You came back with a post that quoted some data from the “wolf education and research center”
I submit that this data was just as “anecdotal” as what I said — is your anecdotal data somehow better than mine??
One thing you asked in a later post (March 14) was “when were elk numbers 11K plus? When did the declines start?”
My answer to this is — THOSE NUMBERS ARE IN THE DATA THAT YOU INCLUDED IN YOUR POST!! Don’t you trust it either??
In that same post on Mar.14 you state:
“there is no information indicating that wolves are the cause of decline in elk populations. It’s habitat and weather.”
Yet, in the F&G report that you posted on March 14, under the heading “Predation Issues” I read:
“Current research indicates wolves having increased impacts on elk demographics”
Does this indicate that wolves are affecting elk populations or not??
Under “Biological Issues” in the same report I read – in part:
referring to calf;cow ratios —
“However, the 2005 age
composition surveys showed declines from recent levels. Most notable was the decline in
Unit 12 where calves:100 cows was 13.9.
Preliminary results from current research efforts suggest that both nutrition and predation may be
potential causes of low calf recruitment levels”
Aren’t we talking about predation being a problem here?
Yes, bears are also sited as being a significant predator, unfortunately Mr. Gratson was killed in a helicopter crash before his study on this on complete. No, your data didn’t say that, but I knew him and the work he was doing.
There are other parts of the study that refer to predation as a potential problem — I’m not going to go thru quoting them, I think you could find them if you wished to.
I was wondering if you know how much impact that raising chickens and pigs has on the environment? We read a lot about how cattle impact the environment. I know it is more far reaching because they graze and aren’t always confined. They can spread their destruction much farther.
But what alternatives are there? Would it be better to encourage chicken and turkey farmers?