Idaho Fish and Game commissioners spite department biologist's own recommendation – raise limit 100 over

It’s higher than the initial proposal, giving some indication of the commission’s temperament. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game Commission has set the limit at what the Statesman claims might mean the killing of 500 wolves :

Fish and Game commissioners set limit for 2008 wolf huntIdaho Statesman

As is noted in the article, the commission went higher than Department biologists recommended – wanting to assure the goal of just over 500 wolves in Idaho is made – because the politically appointed commission, “did not believe that hunting would bring the wolf population numbers down to the levels they wanted to see.”

No word on Wolf Watching areas.

Added : Hunting Season Announced for Once Endangered Gray Wolf – LocalNews8



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  1. JB Avatar

    Key quote: “…but commissioners decided to go higher because they did not believe that hunting would bring the wolf population numbers down to the levels they wanted to see.”

    I think this is good news for those who oppose delisting. It shows–yet again–that Idaho is not interested in sustaining a viable population of wolves, but rather knocking them down to appease livestock interests and CQs.

  2. Ed Avatar

    There is no guarantee the population will stay where they think it will. If they are off by a small percent, the population is again in danger of extermination. A bad winter or two, some illegal kills (which will positively happen with legalized hunting) and the population is back to the late 90’s. Only a coward hunts an animal on the brink of extinction.

  3. Buffaloed Avatar

    I agree JB, this decision is politically motivated and not based on any scientific or biological information at all. It will probably have some influence with the lawsuit and likely stop delisting.

    These guys don’t know how to be careful.

  4. Brian Ertz Avatar

    the fact that the commission raised the number it’s department’s own biologists recommended (not that those numbers had much to do with the viability & connectivity arguments) even amidst the lawsuit demonstrates the extent to which this department has been politicized. asking ‘please’ and illustrating a scientific and rational case for the importance of wolves doesn’t work with these politicians – but when the anti-wolf folk spew a bunch of hysterical nonsense about wolves being “terrorists” and decimating big game herds – that budges the commission.

    One week and counting before Judge Molloy hears oral argument for and against wolf advocates’ motion for an injunction to delisting. Let’s hope the facts move the judge to enjoin.

  5. Jon Way Avatar

    This type of stupid, redneck-like decision making plagues status quo commissioners nationwide, not just ID and WY.

  6. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    HERE’S THE IDFG PRESS RELEASE … Keep in mind the intent is to have a mortality of 428 wolves by December 31, 2008.

    And if that doesn’t happen, you can bet the anti-wolf/anti-all predator IDFG Commissioners, will continue the wolf hunting season to March 31, 2009.

    Also, if Judge Molloy rules to stay delisting, then I for one am predicting retaliation on wolves this summer by IDFG and Wildlife Services and we will see severe lethal control. This is a very sad day for wolves. It’s as if we are back 100 years in time.

    Boise, ID

    Date: May 22, 2008
    Contact: Ed Mitchell

    f&g commission adopts wolf hunting rules

    The Idaho Fish and Game Commission Thursday, May 22, adopted the first regulated hunting season on gray wolves in the state’s history

    The commission, during its May meeting, set a wolf population goal of 518 wolves, and adopted hunting seasons, limits and rules for the 2008 hunting season.

    The season would be open from September 15 in the backcountry and from October 1 in all remaining areas and run through December 31. The commission would review results in November to consider extending the season if limits are not being met.

    A hunter can kill one wolf with a valid 2008 hunting license and wolf tag.

    “I think we made history today,” Fish and Game Director Cal Groen said. “We must manage this species; they are well beyond recovered.”

    The wolf hunt rules are based on the Idaho Wolf Population Management Plan, approved by commissioners in an early March meeting. The gray wolf in the Northern Rocky Mountains was removed from the endangered species list in late March. The plan calls for managing wolves at a population level of between 2005-2007 levels (518-732) wolves for the first five years following delisting.

    The estimated population at the end of 2007 was 732 wolves, with an estimated 20 to 30 percent annual growth rate. Adding this years expected pups, that number would be more than 1,000 wolves before hunting season would start.

    Commissioners adopted a wolf population goal of the level from 2005, which was about 518 wolves.

    Fish and Game rules call for a total statewide mortality limit, including harvest from the Nez Perce Tribe, of about 428 wolves in 2008, which includes all reported wolf kills – from natural causes, accidents, wolf predation control actions and hunter kills. If the limit is reached it would result in an estimated end-of-year population of fewer than 550 wolves.

    Hunting will be managed in 12 zones. Hunting intensity would vary with levels of conflict between wolves and livestock or game animals. But when the statewide mortality limit is reached, all hunting would stop. When limits in individual zones are reached, hunting in those zones would stop.

    Additional rules include a mandatory report within 72 hours and check-in within 10 days of killing a wolf, and no trapping, electronic devices, bait or dogs will be allowed in the first year. Weapons restrictions are the same as for deer.

    Fish and Game expects to release season and rules brochures to the public in July.

  7. ranch hand Avatar
    ranch hand

    This Judge Will look at the facts and the interests of all parties and determine there to be no need to reenlist them! I think the wolves are very neat and am by no means “ANTI WOLF” but they cant just let them roam anywhere and everywhere or it will turn into a madhouse!!

  8. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    The madhouse will be if and when there is ever a hunting season on wolves.

  9. Dave Avatar

    In March of 2007, Minnesota had an estimated 3,000 wolves, and Wisconsin and Michigan had approximately 500 each. Strange that we don’t hear a lot of whining and complaining coming from the residents of those states….

  10. Dave Avatar

    Reference to the wolf numbers in the Upper Midwest stated in my previous post:

  11. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    A segment of folks in Idaho have been whipped into a hysteria. I don’t say this as hyperbole. During the Salem witch trials, all evidence (regardless of its direction) was used against those accused because of the hysterical condition that had been generated. It is the same with the Idaho wolf haters, but the upper midwest is a different place where these kind of social processes have not taken place.

  12. cobra Avatar

    Why does it always have to be one way or the other. I’m not anti-wolf by any means but I am pro big game. I hunt and was raised on elk and deer, and my kids were all raised on elk and deer. To say that delisting the wolves will make them perish I feel is all wrong. I feel even if allowed to hunt them that wolves will prevail, they are far from being just a dumb animal and it won’t take them long to figure out to fear man, which right now they don’t seem to much. Quit a bit of the hunting community would at least like to feel as though we have a say in the wolf popultion. Alot of us feel as though we are losing our elk and deer herds to these animals that were brought in. Most of us in North Idaho still hunt for meat and to hear the horror stories of sport killing and such outrages many of us. When we find a dead elk from sport kill and only a small portion of the animal or animals is eaten it makes us feel as if it was such a waste. Many of us butcher our own game and take great pride in the way we take care of our game in the field all the way to the table. By allowing a season at least it makes us feel as though we have a say in whats happening to our animals. And by our animals I mean all of them, wolves included. I know a few guys that woud shoot every bear and cougar also but I don’t that’s the norm, most true sportsmen enjoy seeing and being around all the animals but there does need to be a balance, where that is with the wolves I’m not sure but I do believe we are getting close. At least with a season the wolf harvest is more likely to be over seen with regulations, without a season many will open there own and the wolves will lose in the long run with no regulations.

  13. ranch hand Avatar
    ranch hand

    Well good luck with your reenlisting! How boring would it be without something to whine about?

  14. Buffaloed Avatar

    Part of the hysteria that Ralph and many others mention is this myth about “sport kill”. Most of what is considered “sport kill” is likely either due to fact that a wolf or small pack of wolves can’t eat an entire kill in one sitting and has left to come back later, or the wolf was disturbed by the observer shortly after the kill was made so it/they left the scene, or the kill is due to something else entirely like winter kill or another predator.

    I have seen numerous carcasses killed by wolves shortly after the kill was made and watched wolves come back to them in the evening and finish them off. Cougars do the exact same thing but they are much more private with their kills so you don’t observe them as often. Cougars will drag their kills someplace and cover them up with debris to keep the ravens, magpies and other scavengers away from them because they can’t consume an entire kill in one sitting either.

    There have also been many publicized instances where there have been a number of kills rounded up shortly after they happen by people who think that they are helping in some way. One instance that I have seen reported was on a Wyoming feed ground where the caretaker would find a carcass and drag it behind the barn, then the next morning the wolves would kill another elk and he would do the same thing. Eventually someone figured out what was going on. The wolves would have come back to the carcass had they been there so the caretaker was causing the wolves to kill more elk through his actions.

    Ranch Hand,

    I’m sure that if there weren’t any wolves there would be mass hysteria and whining by these people about something else too.

  15. lover of ALL wildlife Avatar
    lover of ALL wildlife

    I am astounded the IDFG actually raised the mortality quota for a proposed hunting season. I live in Lowman and there are 3 wolf packs vying for territory in my river drainage – but there are also literally thousands of elk! The wolves are here because of the elk. I have seen more evidence of starvation from this recent hard winter than any “decimation” of our game herds. My husband hunts and I go with and help butcher and we love and respect elk. I also have a wildlife biology background and realize that predators help keep prey species healthy.

    Another point has to do with a 1 on 1 discussion I had with Steve Nadeau at the Boise wolf meeting on monday. I was asking why they would allow collared wolves to be shot – purely from a financial investment angle. He actually said that he was worried that hunters would get in trouble from shooting a wolf and then realizing it had a collar later. For an IDFG official to propose that hunters should be shooting anything before they get a real good look is proposterous! I have seen many wolves – collared and otherwise – and it is very obvious when they have a collar. This is the kind of hunting that leads to people getting shot and horses getting shot when the hunter thought it was an elk.

  16. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    Dave said, “In March of 2007, Minnesota had an estimated 3,000 wolves, and Wisconsin and Michigan had approximately 500 each. Strange that we don’t hear a lot of whining and complaining coming from the residents of those states….”

    Actually there is just as much opposition to wolves in those three states as there is in the west. But their opposition is not as publicized as it is here in the west.

    I also do not see how it is even possible to compare Minnesota, Michigan, or Wisconsin’s wolf population or even management criteria to any of the three western states. There are too many factors that are completely different between the areas to even make a comparison IMHO.

    If you look at Minnesota alone it has more sqaure miles of “Suitable Wolf Habitat” than Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming combined, when road density, forest density, ungulate density, and human conflict are considered.

    Wolf packs in Minnesota average a territory size of 25 to 150 square miles and most packs have a population of 5 to 8 wolves. Wolf territory sizes in the GYA average 200 suare and in Northwest Montana they average 300-400 square miles. Inside YNP wolf packs average 10.5 wolves per pack and for packs in Wyoming outside on the park they average 6.7 wolves per pack.

    You also have to consider the prey species between the two regions. The wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan have White Tail Deer as their primary ungulate forage. In the west our wolves are using elk as their primary ungulate forage. Then if you look at the population numbers along with the population density of the White Tail Deer in the areas with wolves vs. the elk population and density in the west there is a considerable difference between the two ecosystems.

  17. Moose Avatar

    “Actually there is just as much opposition to wolves in those three states as there is in the west. But their opposition is not as publicized as it is here in the west.”

    That’s a ridiculous statement – for the very reasons you elucidate in your argument above. 90%+ of the livestock industry in Midwest is in southern 2/3 of those states – wolves habitate the northern 1/3 of same – same goes for whitetail deer pop.s and hunters. You’re arguing out of both sides of your mouth here.

  18. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I doubt what you say is true Moose. Folks in Minnesota always lived with wolves and the wolf population has been several thousand for years now.

    I lived in Wisconsin for a while and I can say the ag community there is far more progressive than in Idaho, but that’s not the issue. Most of central Idaho wolf country is wilderness with the livestock removed in the 1960s or earlier, and much of the controversy is there where certain outfitters allege wolves have killed most of the elk.

    In addition, what counts is what politicians do. In Idaho they have whipped up a hysteria, whereas they are more sober in MN, WI, and MI.

  19. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    Moose, I absolutely do not understand what you are getting at. How does anything I stated about how I feal that you cannot compare Minnesota, Michigan, or Wisconson refute that there is opposition to wolves in those areas? There is opposition in those areas as well as support, to think there isn’t is just plain wrong. Remember that the livestock industry is not the only type of opposition that wolves receive.

    Wolves habitate the northern 1/3 of the state Minnesota because of that is where the “Suitable Wolf Habitat” exists. This habitat exists because of the vast amount of State and National Forest land that Minnesota has. The livestock industry is in the southern 2/3 because the rest of the state is primarily Private Lands.

    As for the Whitetail population numbers, the southern area of the state actually has a higher population and density than the northern 1/3.

  20. Moose Avatar


    I’m not sure what you disagree with in my statement above, but my main point is you can’t really compare the two regions – there are way too many differences. The Ag business in Wisc/Minn/Mich (of which livestock is a very small portion) will never be impacted in the way the West Ag business perceives it could be by expanding wolf range – same with hunters in those MW states. Thus, you aren’t going to get the same level of reaction from either that there is in the West (not even considering the baggage that comes with one pop. being reintroduced and the other repopulating on its own). I totally agree with your assessment of the general Midwest pop.s acceptance of wolves…even in the most rural areas of the UP – people may say there are too many wolves, but they are quick to add that they want them to stay. As for the politicians – again my point is the MW states have large urban areas – which tend to support wildlife…any politician attempting to whip up hysteria is a very small minority and not going to get any traction in the MW.

  21. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    I said “As for the Whitetail population numbers, the southern area of the state actually has a higher population and density than the northern 1/3.”

    This is an inacurate statement I was looking at the map incorrectl

  22. Moose Avatar

    Wyo Native,

    My point is you can’t meaningfully compare the situations in both regions – both the perceived/real impact of wolves and the reasons for level of acceptance/non-acceptance among the general pop. of the regions.

  23. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Idaho has a large urban area — Boise. Idaho Fish and Game didn’t schedule a public meeting there. That was not accident. At the last minute, under pressure and all the comments already counted (assuming they bothered), they quickly held one.

    There are lots of difference between the states, but not so many that you can’t generalize a bit. The biggest difference is the backwards looking crew that came to dominate Idaho politics beginning in 1994.

    Wisconsin has lots of livestock. It’s called “the Dairy State.”

  24. Moose Avatar


    I can’t argue with your assessment of ID politics and the behavior of their F&G – I’m also discouraged by their methods.

    Yes, Wisc has a sizeable dairy herd (of which a very small portion is in “wolf habitat”) – my point was the issue of livestock depredation in the MW will never reach the level it has in the West among Ag advocacy groups in those states.

    We can respectfully disagree on the usefulness of making comparisons betwix the two regions.


    Deer pop.s and densities (and subsequently hunter activity) are highest in the southern portions of the MW states. – this is a function of habitat (lots of food sources from farmland) and climate (winters up north much more severe) generally speaking.

  25. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native


    Thank you for your corespondence! I actually agree with you 100% that the two regions are completely different in just about every aspect when it comes wolves, that it is not useful to make comparisons.

  26. Catbestland Avatar

    For what it matters, according to USDA statistics, the total inventory of all cattle in the states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnisota for the year 2007 was 6,870,000. The combined land area of the 3 states is 234,759 sq.mi.

    The total inventory for all cattle in the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming for the year 2007 was 6,150,000. The combined land area of those 3 states is 328,422 sq.mi.

    So it would seem that ranchers in the upper mid-western states would have more to complain about since they have more cattle squeezed onto less land than do the western states. Also the western states have more wilderness area than the upper mid-western states. Yet the mid-westerners don’t complain. Go figure.

  27. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    This nonsense about MN and WI having more suitable habitat then the rocky mountain west is ridiculous. True, The northern third od MN is heavily forested w/ the Superior National Forest covering a 3 million acres. Within this 3 million acre national forest is the roadless Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) which is @ 1 miilion acres. WI has national forest land but nothing nearly as expansive as MN and WI certainly doesn’t have 1 million acres of roadless acreage. The national forests in both these states are heavily roaded and a lot of the forest is second growth due to extensive logging from decades ago.

    In these 2 states alone (and we haven’t even addressed the upper penninsula of Michigan, which borders the northern boundary of WI) there is a population @ 3500 wolves. If you include the U.P. of MI we’re talking @ 4000 + wolves.

    Attitudes are different and to some extent a little more tolerant. MN always had wolves and they naturally expanded into WI and MI. Also these states do not have the sacred cow trampling, unattended, the national forest lands. However there is the whiney ass hunting segment that does a lot of pissing and moaning when one or more of their bear hounds gets shredded by a pack of wolves in the woods during bear killing season.

    Getting back to suitable habitat – prey base and secure habitat determine what is suitable and nonsuitable. The west clearly has the prey base and habitat to support more than the “1500” wolves that, WY, ID, MT agreed upon in “the deal”.

    I watched that video from the Jerome meeting and I was amazed at how a handful of grown men, some ranchers, some manly hunters, can be such cowardly and whiney pricks.

  28. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    Wyo Native –

    Why can’t we compare the 2 regions. The both have wolves, deer, elk, trees, water, farmers, ranchers, rural folk, hunters etc…

    Tell me why these 2 regions cannot be compared…you keep saying we can’t compare the 2 regions but you never explain why.

    The big difference I see is that the west has a greater proportion of crybaby grown “men”.

  29. Buffaloed Avatar

    Another very large difference between the Great Lakes states and the Northern Rockies is the amount of moisture. This is an immense difference which makes the lands of the Great Lakes states much more productive than the Northern Rockies.

  30. JB Avatar

    Having lived in both the West and Midwest in recent years, I can say–unequivocally–that there are huge differences in support for wolves in the Midwest as compared with the West. To be clear, in both regions there is support for a sustained wolf population; however, the opposition in the West is much more vocal and politically organized (there is no point in the Midwest as they have more deer than they know what to do with).

    In the West, opposition comes mainly from ranching interests, SOME elk hunters, and the politicians who are beholden to them. In the Midwest, livestock depredations are not nearly as problematic because (1) the areas with highest wolf densities have lower livestock densities and (2) livestock producers do not turn cattle loose to wander free on public lands. Opposition in the Midwest comes mostly from bear hunters who lose dogs to wolves (usually while training during the spring), when dogs run through the middle of den or rendezvous sites.

    The real difference–as Ralph alluded to–is the politics of the regions. Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan all lean left and are fairly progressive. This stands in stark contrast to the West where people are strongly conservative and livestock and property-rights dominate the government’s agenda. Moreover, it is important to note that wildlife managers in these states were raised with the same political leanings, and so their decisions reflect these political differences.

    The irony is that the Midwest supports some 4,000+ wolves that range mostly on private lands in the northern 1/3 of each of the three states, while the West complains bitterly about a wolf population about 1/3 of the size that resides mostly on public lands.

  31. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    Jeff N, it is not rediculous that the midwest has more suitable wolf habitat than the Rocky Mountains. Prey base is not the only factor that is used to determine “Suitable Habitat”.

    Habitat models have been used since day one of reintroduction of the Grey Wolf. These models use the criteria of the amount of public land both state and federal, the amount of private land surrounding and mixed within the public land, the amount of forested land, the amount of year-round ungulate populations and densities, low numbers of domestic livestock, low road density, low human population, the amount agriculture use of the land, and precipitation amounts. The models come up with the aproximate numbers.
    Minnesota – 50,200 sq/km
    Michigan – 29,400 sq/km
    Wisconsin – 15,400 sq/km
    Montana – 8300 sq/km
    Idaho – 7400 sq/km
    Wyoming – 3400 sq/km

    You also should re-read my posts because I did explain some reasons why I felt the two regions should not be compared.

  32. Brian Ertz Avatar

    it is a unique form of madness that allows for “suitable habitat” designations with the ESA on public land to be tainted by the “sociology” of the industry responsible for the need to list — that’s backward. land uses on public land, upon conflicting with a listing, ought be put at the back of the bus.

    Here is a map displaying “suitable habitat” in dark green as informed by Larsen & Ripple (2006) with the current wolf occupation in the west as light green (fading to represent proposal upon delisting). The map also displays the DPS area and the currently occupied habitat boundary.

    Here is (Larsen & Ripple 2006)

    Larsen & Ripple used biology their model – not “sociology” to the extent that has been used. this is important – because the ESA ought provide restoration given the biological best science. Once things responsible for extirpating species are allowed to inform/restrict/continue to diminish “suitable habitat” in the suitable habitat designation process – you’ve essentially thrown out much of the protections prescribed by law (ESA) – you’ve pulled out the point of the teeth. It’s backward – the law prescribes emboldened protective regulation of these uses – especially on federal land to restore species – not protection of the uses within the process of designating habitat.

  33. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    Brian, thanks for the map for the Rocky Mountains. It pretty much matches the University of Kansas habitat study that was used to assist Wyoming with their management plan.
    Page 7

  34. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    Wyoming Native – I did read you post and I should have been a lttle more specific. Biologically the west has more suitable habitat then the midwest. Social and cultural factors should not ne factored in (as Brian alluded to above). Are portions of western national forests deemed unsuitable because of cattle being present. I would imagine a lot of national forest acreage is precluded as being nonsuitable because of the presence of cows and whiney ass ranchers and head-in-the-sand hunters/outfitters (I am not lumping all ranchers and hunter/outfitters in those categories)….the blowhard, cowardly, and lazy who refuse to accept fact.

  35. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    Wyoming Native…I’m not insinuating that you are in either of those 2 groups.

  36. sal Avatar

    …but they cant just let them roam anywhere and everywhere or it will turn into a madhouse!!


    What’s the definition of the word: WILD?


    Does anybody understand English anymore?

    Ranchers want control over the land. It’s just another thing for them to whine about; how they ‘re hapless victims of someone that has a different way of perceiving life, like with a sense of reality.

    They sound like that guy from Shell Oil testifying in Congress yesterday telling the legislators that the oil companies are hapless victims of environmental protection policies and environmentalists. Meanwhile they are piling up record profits…

    And then there’s that Farm Bill… that sort of relates to farming, the welfare parts of it.

    So, who’s doing the whining?????

  37. Brian Ertz Avatar

    Jeff N.,

    yes, “sociological” factors were used to preclude “suitable” habitat for wolves in the west – and used as such under the guise of “science”.

    as you can see, there is much (overwhelmingly ‘most’) biologically “suitable” habitat that is not currently occupied by wolves. unfortunately, a lot of the hunts and “conflict” areas as determined by state managers – especially in the state of Idaho — cut off recolonization to states like Oregon – it’s as if they were designed to do so. that’s a lot of ‘former/historical’ and biologically “suitable” habitat that will not enjoy the ecological effectiveness of wolves. The 10(j) rule litigation currently underway will play as critical a role in the ability of wolves to recolonize into WA & OR as the the request for the injunction to delisting — because if delisting does past muster – wolves will continue to be protected beyond the boundary of the DPS as they are now – the delisting is only relevant to the DPS.

  38. Brian Ertz Avatar

    gosh-darn avatars — somebody should write wordpress about that.

  39. Brian Ertz Avatar

    as kind of a side and mind twist — presence of livestock ought render a habitat more suitable for wolves — if their presence increase proportion of ungulates/prey base – they are ungulates… but in reality, it’d be interesting to consider how livestock diminish biological suitability as a consequence of habitat degradation and over-utilization/competition with wild ungulates for public forage.

    this pervasive (ab)use of our public land has destroyed so much of the potential to understand so much of the wild in so many ways.

  40. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    Brian – “the ability of wolves to recolonize into WA & OR” as well as CO, UT, Northern NM, NV, CA…..biologically suitable habitat in all of those states.

    Wyo Native – Whereras in the midwest pretty much all suitable habitat has been populated by wolves.

  41. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    Brian and Jeff, first off let me state I am very Pro wolf but I also am very pro state management, although I disagree with Wyoming’s management policy. With that said though, I disagree that social and cultural factors should not be included in determining suitable habitat.

    Social and cultural factors have been used since day one with wolves in the Rocky Mountain region. They have been used in everything from the reintroduction plan, depredation management, the states management plans and ultimatly the delisting rule.

    In my opinion if social and cultural factors of humans are not included in in determining suitable habitat the science is inacurate and not biologically sound concerning the species in todays environment with human and livestock interaction.

  42. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    It is my contention that western public lands are unsuitable for cattle ranching. If these western ranges were suitable and sustainable there wouldn’t be a welfare program put in place for ranchers.

  43. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    Jeff N. I agree 100% with you regarding public land grazing, I absolutely hate it. But until the time that it goes away, if that ever happens the social and cultural aspects need to be used.

    Also wolves do habitate a vast majority of the areas in Wyoming that have been deemed suitable habitat using the same habitat criteria of the midwest. The exception being a small portion of the Wind River, Wyoming and Salt River ranges.

    Wyoming’s plan also does not prevent the cross exchange of wolves between the Central Idaho and Northwest Montana. The predator classification area may or may not impede wolves from naturally migrating to Colorado or Utah. Since the USFWS managed 63 wolves with a vast majority of those being in the “Predator” area of Wyoming and there still were confirmed wolf sightings in both the Wasatch and Uinta ranges I would suggest that they will still migrate successfully even with the predator classification. But without an extended period of time under state management we may never know.

  44. JB Avatar

    Brian, Wyo Native:

    You’re both right. Regarding the ESA and the listing of wolves… The ESA demands that a species be listed based on 5 statutorily defined “listing factors,” one of which is the “inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms.” If the problem with wolves is conflict with cattle on public lands, then clearly regulatory mechanisms are inadequate for preserving wolves and cattle should be removed from public lands.

    On the other hand, I don’t believe that you should exclude social sciences from the listing process or wildlife management. For instance, at least one publication that I am aware of concluded that paying for livestock losses to wolves did not increase tolerance ranchers tolerance for wolves. This is important information that could and should affect management/recovery plans.

    To give another example, if you read FWS’s Final Delisting Rule you’ll find that the assumption that killing wolves increases tolerance for the species is pervasive. This is an easily testable hypothesis that could potentially impact how wolves are managed. You can’t have it both ways: you can’t use national-level public support for wolves as a justification for their preservation while at the same time totally discounting local opposition.

  45. JB Avatar

    To further clarify…

    Using the presence of cattle as a means of excluding PUBLIC LANDS habitat as suitable habitat is absolute BS. The presence of cattle is, in effect, due to inadequate regulation. To use this very factor to exclude habitat turns the ESA on its head.

  46. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    JB, in the study from the University of Kansas that I provided if you look at the Suitable Habitat map on page 7 and compare it to the satilite image on page 2, you will notice that most of the forested areas of Wyoming were deemed suitable habitat even with the amount of livestock interaction that may occur in forested areas outside of Wilderness designation.

    Wyoming politicians were the ones that chose to ignore those areas that were considered suitable habitat when it came to the dual classification.

    As for the majority of the state that is not considered suitable most of that land is either private, or BLM. The BLM land that is not suitable most likely was determined from the lack of ungulate forage and not livestock conflicts.

  47. JB Avatar

    “…you will notice that most of the forested areas of Wyoming were deemed suitable habitat even with the amount of livestock interaction that may occur in forested areas outside of Wilderness designation.”

    Wyo Native–

    That may be so, but if the variable (cattle present) was included in the model–as it was for the study that FWS used to delist–then their assessment as to what constitutes suitable habitat is flawed.

  48. ranch hand Avatar
    ranch hand

    Ralph,There is a huge difference between feedlot fed dairy cow operations and beef cow operations.You cant even begin to compare the two!So when you say its the “Dairy State” think dairy cows.

  49. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    The majority of cows in Idaho are now in feeding operations too.

  50. Salle Avatar

    And allow me to elaborate on the beef cattle operations in the west. The life of a cow/steer in Idaho begins in a calving operation, these may be in wide, open land but it’s usually an a ranch of some sort or perhaps a grazing allotment. Then it is grazed on public lands for a spell, after that it goes to A FEED LOT ~ they’re all over Treasure Valley if you have never smelled Jerome…

    This feed lot practice goes on until the cattle are shipped off to Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota or Canada (last I knew these were the primary destinations) for processing.

    Most cattle operations don’t have the real estate to support their herds… This the part that gets me; if you don’t have the land to support your operation, find another business, trim down or get some more land of your own.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if someone conducts a study and finds that most of the money made in cattle raising comes from feed lot fees, transport costs (shipping cattle to and from grazing allotments and feed lots, auction and slaughter) and not the sale of the beef itself.

    Other cows, dairy cows now overwhelming the lower Snake River Plain is the ubiquitous corporate dairy farm that now adds to the overwhelming aroma of the whole of southern Idaho. The ones that spend most of their lives on the family ranch is a thing of the long, lost past for the majority of cattle operations in the west.

    Even though the Dairy State has mostly small farms with cattle remaining on the farm most of their existence, you have to remember that the lake states have some big rural areas too and the wildlife that are there certainly mix and mingle.


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Brian Ertz